Our story starts with Fr. Ted Schmitt.
Fr. Ted Schmitt (FTS) had a storybook life.
He was born and raised in Chicago, an only child. His father was a police officer, and his mother a homemaker. He was actively involved in sports all of his life. But his passions for football and boxing topped the list. He attended St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana where he graduated with a double major in English and Speech.
He went on to teach at DePaul Academy and at Driscoll Catholic HS, where he later became the head football coach.
During the summers, he began his studies in film at Northwestern University. This led to a 17-year career at Universal Studies as an executive vice president and independent film producer.
Fr. Ted said, “ I was fortunate to become successful; but the more prestige I had, the lousier human being I became.” He continued, “ Then something happened. I started to pray for what God wanted instead of what I wanted.” So at the age of 57, Theodore J. Schmitt left his prestigious job and entered the priesthood.
His first assignment was at St James in Arlington Heights as Associate Pastor. In 2005, Fr. Ted became Pastor at St. Monica’s Parish in northwest Chicago until he was assigned to St. John Evangelist in 2010. He was Pastor at this wonderful parish in Streamwood until the time of his death, on the Feast of Saint Nicholas in 2014. His leadership and focus on revitalizing the school led to the honor of the National Blue Ribbon Award, the nation’s highest award of educational excellence.
Despite all of the demanding work required in running these parishes, Fr. Ted carved out time to provide spiritual leadership as Chaplain for the football programs at both St. Patrick and Nazareth Academy High Schools.
- He stressed the importance of the Sacraments as he made himself available to hear Confessions right on the practice field.
- He challenged both players and coaches to develop special relationship with Jesus Christ, realizing that this could be a game changer.
- He brought a new tradition to Naz and St. Pats, centering the teams together in prayer in the middle of the field after they would compete.
The zest and zeal with which Fr. Ted lived his life has attracted many people. He had a unique ability to invite people to share their gifts in servant leadership with Christ. He brought these people together to integrate, cooperate, and share in this mission. These qualities and influence of his life were catalysts for forming the 501c3, Game Changers FTS, in order to perpetuate these ideals.