Msgr. Nicholas A. Schneider, a retired parish pastor who was an author and noted liturgist, died May 5 at age 89 from complications of the COVID-19 virus.
Born in St. Louis, he attended Cathedral Latin School, St. Louis Preparatory Seminary and Kenrick Seminary. He was ordained on March 17, 1956 by then-Archbishop Joseph E. Ritter.
He served the Archdiocese of St. Louis in many ways, including as a rural and city associate pastor; prison chaplain; executive secretary of the Archdiocesan Commissions on Sacred Liturgy, Music and Art; and lecturer for the Pope Paul VI Catechetical Institute. He was a founding board member of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions and of the Missouri Liturgical Congress.
Following ordination, he served in the motor mission apostolate as assistant pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Wilhelmina, Missouri. He was named assistant pastor of Holy Cross Parish in the Baden neighborhood of St. Louis in 1958 and pastor of All Saints Parish in University City in 1971, Our Lady of Providence in Crestwood in 1977 and St. Monica in Creve Coeur in 1985. He retired to a private residence in 2005 and moved to the Regina Cleri residence for retired priests March 31.
Msgr. Schneider was a prolific writer and authored six books and more than 30 articles for ecclesiastical journals. He moved to an apartment after retiring, he said, because it was the best setting for him to write the biographies of two cardinals who led the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Cardinals Joseph E. Ritter and John J. Carberry. He finished the work in 2009. He wrote a book in 1971 on Cardinal John J. Glennon.
Besides that work, he also assisted at various parishes by celebrating Masses. Then, for about 10 years he celebrated Mass at the Sisters of the Good Shepherd Convent and until two years ago he celebrated Mass once a week at the Carmelite nuns’ monastery. Since 1990, he’d been involved with a priest-rabbi dialogue group.
When Vatican II convened in 1962, then-Father Schneider was assistant pastor at Holy Cross Parish in St. Louis, under pastor Msgr. Martin Hellriegel, who was influential in the liturgical movement. Working with Msgr. Hellriegel “was a blessing to my priesthood,” said Msgr. Schneider, who was executive secretary of the archdiocese’s liturgy commission for 16 years and chairperson for nine years.
Msgr. Schneider was named monsignor by Pope Paul VI in 1977.
A private service for Msgr. Schneider’s immediate family was planned subject to the restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 guidelines.