Priest remembered as giving ‘110 percent’

| February 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

Betty Schneider was hired in 1985 by Father Roger Carroll to work as a secretary at St. Columba in St. Paul. That was the beginning of a friendship that lasted 35 years, until the priest’s death in Minneapolis Jan. 30 at the age of 92.

“I worked, I always said, for and with him from 1985 to 2002, when he retired,” said Schneider, 88, who belongs to Maternity of Mary in St. Paul. “He was just such a great person. He was very knowledgeable about so many areas that I enjoyed. … He was a very caring and kind person who always gave 110 percent of himself to everyone he came in contact with. He always made time for whoever needed him.”

Father Carroll was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and ordained a priest in 1963 at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul. He was preceded in death by his four siblings, one of whom was a priest. His first assignment was at the Cathedral. He also served at Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul, St. Michael in Prior Lake and St. Andrew in St. Paul. St. Andrew was his last assignment before retiring, and he transferred there from St. Columba. Not long after that, Schneider switched to St. Andrew, too, to continue working for him.

She enjoyed the many conversations they had in the office. One of her favorite topics was heaven. She wondered whether people who died would be reunited with their families in heaven, and she said Father Carroll always reassured her that they would.

“He was close to his family and they were always gracious and good to him,” she said. “All I can say is, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. Enjoy a well-deserved reward in heaven with your family and your friends. You will be greatly missed on this side of heaven.’”

His funeral Mass will be 11 a.m. Feb. 10 at Maternity of Mary in St. Paul with a visitation from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the parish center. Interment will be at St. Michael Cemetery in Sioux Falls at a later date.

The homilist at the funeral Mass will be Father Mike Arms, 78, a long-time friend who got to know Father Carroll while both were serving at the Cathedral in the late 1960s and early ‘70s. In 1974, they helped form a priest support group that still exists today. Father Carroll came to the monthly meetings all the way up to about the last two months, Father Arms said, and always offered wisdom about priestly ministry.

“Beyond that, we were good friends and would go to Vikings football games together and just socialize a lot, especially with Father Tom Fitzgerald (another member of their group),” said Father Arms, who has Vikings season tickets and last took Father Carroll to a game in 2018. “He was a big (Vikings) fan.”
In recent years, Father Arms said that when the two priests called each other during the football season, one often would say to the other, “Are you ready for some football?”

Father Arms also was ready for advice on how to be a pastor, which Father Carroll supplied in abundance, he said. Father Carroll was a pastor when the group started, while Father Arms became one several years later. He appreciated being able to learn from Father Carroll.

“He was certainly a very integral part of the group,” Father Arms said. “He was just a good mentor and a good pastor and a good friend.”

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Category: Obituaries