Monsignor Harry Schlitt 1939-2022
Monsignor Harry George Schlitt passed away peacefully at his home on Thanksgiving, November 24, 2022.
Monsignor Schlitt was born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, on June 3, 1939, the youngest child of the late William and Theckla (Dirnberger) Schlitt. He left school after the 8th grade and at the age of just 13 entered Cardinal Glennon College, a Catholic St. Louis area seminary. He was one of just two men chosen from his class to attend the Pontifical North American College in Rome, representing the newly created Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. A friend of the family doctor paid for his schooling and expenses for all four years of college. On December 16, 1964, surrounded by his siblings and friends, he was ordained a priest in the Vatican at St. Peter’s Basilica. He was named Monsignor on July 15, 2000.
He returned to Missouri to start a ministry that led him from teaching high school to the pulpit and onto the airwaves in 1968. He was a “rock & roll priest” deejay, hosting a wildly popular Top 40 call-in show for teens — in a town with a Catholic population of just five percent. “Father Harry, the pop art Pad’ with the mod body from the God Squad” engaged young people by connecting rock with Christian teachings. His remarkable success led to stints in radio and TV in Chicago, Las Vegas and San Francisco. He then spent 20 years broadcasting via the Armed Forces Radio and Television Network, on the ABC radio network, and he was a part of the Catholic National Telecommunications Network for five years where he became a New York Giants fan. He interviewed legendary musicians and rubbed elbows with everyone from politicians to the less fortunate. Harry just loved being with people, no matter their backgrounds.
Monsignor Schlitt served various roles for the Archdiocese of San Francisco including director of communications, director and chaplain of the Newman Center at San Francisco State University, moderator of the Curia, vicar general and vicar for administration. He also served at Sacred Heart Parish in San Francisco, Saint Veronica Parish in South San Francisco, Holy Name of Jesus Parish in San Francisco, and was the former Pastor at Saint Gabriel Parish in San Francisco. He was also an interim administrator at St. Raymond Parish in Menlo Park, Most Holy Redeemer Parish in San Francisco, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in San Francisco, and St. Philip the Apostle Parish in San Francisco. Most recently he resided at St. Vincent de Paul Parish the last seven years. He also celebrated Mass every week, in retirement at St. Vincent’s School for Boys, San Rafael as well as volunteering for Catholic Charities.
He has been the speaker for the Academy of Art University’s graduation ceremonies since 2010. He was approachable, motivated and inspired so many.
Monsignor Schlitt was predeceased by his brothers, Charlie Schlitt (Mary) and John Schlitt and is survived by his sister, Odila “Della” Darling and sister-in-law, Betty Dumas. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. He was always the favorite Uncle. Monsignor Schlitt performed countless marriage ceremonies, baptisms and funerals for his family.
Monsignor Schlitt loved sports. He was an avid handball player, a huge fan of Notre Dame, a radio, TV and media personality, and so much more. He loved to go fishing. He went to Alaska five times, being dropped off in the wilderness to enjoy fishing. He held a world record for water skiing from Cape Girardeau to St. Louis. He was an author of several books including, “I’ll Never Tell: Odyssey of a Rock & Roll Priest” and “I’ll Never Know: The Rock & Roll Priest Looks at 80”. Monsignor Schlitt was loved by many and will be forever in our hearts and souls.
Friends may visit after 5:30 p.m., Sunday, December 11, 2022 at Cathedral of St Mary the Assumption, 1111 – Gough St (at Geary Blvd), San Francisco where a vigil service will be held at 6:30 p.m.. A Mass of Christian Burial, will be held on Monday, December 12, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. also at the Cathedral. Interment will take place at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Colma. Donations may be made in his memory to the San Francisco Archdiocese Priest Retirement Fund, One Peter Yorke Way, San Francisco, CA 94109.
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