Greenwald native to read at pope’s Easter Mass

Categories: Around the Diocese

People from the Greenwald area of the diocese may see a familiar face if they watch Pope Francis’ televised Easter Mass.

Greenwald native Thomas Schulzetenberg — who currently serves as the director of the University of Mary’s Rome campus — has been asked by the Vatican to lector in English during the Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica.

But it will be early. The Mass airs on EWTN at 3 a.m. central time. (It re-airs at 6 p.m.)

Thomas’ mom, Bonnie Schulzetenberg, said she was stunned and very excited when Thomas called to tell her the news.

“We just can’t wait to see it,” Bonnie said about the reaction she and her husband, Deacon Jim Schulzetenberg had. “We are proud and humbled.”


Thomas Schulzetenberg

The Mass is attended by thousands of people and watched on TV by millions more around the world. The call to Thomas came from Father Geno Sylva, who works in the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization at the Vatican and who says a Mass in English once a week.

“I hope to be doing very little thinking during the actual moment,” Thomas said in an email from his home on the University of Mary’s Rome campus, where he is director and administrator of 25 students studying there this semester.

“I don’t want to stumble upon a word or make any mistakes,” he said in a news release from the Bismarck, N.D., school. “I think I just want people to hear the word of God and not concentrate on the guy who is speaking it.”

Thomas, who has attended many Masses of Pope Benedict and Pope Francis during his three years in Rome, believes the opportunity for an American to be reading at any papal Mass is extremely rare.

“To my recollection, there is not always an English reader at papal liturgies, and those that do are English-speaking from other countries. That being said, it’s all that more impressive I was chosen for this specific event.”

Also very humbling to Thomas is the fact that he is expected to meet Pope Francis in person. “I’ve been told that my family will have special seats, so I’m hoping that we will have a brief opportunity to greet him at some point.”