Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Interview With Father Larry Richards

ERIE, Pennsylvania, NOV. 11, 2006 (Zenit) - Are you ready to give a reason for your hope?

Father Larry Richards began A Reason for Our Hope Foundation to help Catholics to do just that, and offer them the resources to spread their faith to others.

Ordained a priest in 1989, Father Richards is a diocesan priest at St. Joseph's Parish in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Speaking from his experience as a pastor of an inner city parish, a high school chaplain, a counselor and evangelist, the priest also hosts "Changed Forever with Father Larry Richards" on Relevant Radio, a Wisconsin-based talk radio network.

In this interview with us, Father Richards explains why he launched the new foundation, and how he hopes this initiative will help to spread the Gospel message through various multimedia resources.

Q: What is the aim of A Reason for Our Hope Foundation?

Father Richards: The aim of the foundation is to bring people into a relationship with Jesus Christ -- who is the reason for our hope.

We are based on 1 Peter 13:15: "Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope." We exist to evangelize the world and bring them the hope that is Jesus Christ.

Q: What is the core of the message that you try to get across to people?

Father Richards: That there is hope in Jesus Christ. This means that even though the world may be in darkness and fear so often with the constant threats of terrorism and war, there is always hope in Jesus.

No matter how dark a room is, if you just light one little candle the darkness never can overcome the light -- the light overcomes the darkness. Jesus is the light and the foundation is here to hold him up to the world.

Q: What are some of your more successful techniques to drive the message home?

Father Richards: Humor. I have often said that my style of preaching is to "make a person laugh, and then punch them in the stomach."

As the old song goes: "A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down." When we are giving people the truth that can sometimes be hard, humor allows the person to embrace it easier.

Also, I make it practical. Too often people make the truth of Christ other-worldly instead of something that everyone can live every day. For instance I don't just tell people to love others, I tell them how to love others.

Q: Why the foundation? How did it come about?

Father Richards: I was involved with The Mary Foundation for a number of years and I saw what an impact recorded media could have on people lives. I wanted to expand this idea.

One way in which we are expanding it is by making resources widely available to those who are already working to spread the faith. We don't exist just to make Father Larry's CDs available, we are in the process of launching new dynamic speakers, and developing workshops that would help priests and deacons with their weekly homilies.

On our Web site, tools are available for everyone who is interested in bringing others to Christ. I have found that the "Truth Talk," which is available for free, is a great instrument of helping people come to know Jesus.

Additionally, we are a community of support to those who are trying to live the Gospel. This is where the Web site comes in.

The site is a vehicle to support people in living their faith. There is a prayer page so that we can pray for each other. We take this very seriously. We pray for these intentions every day in front of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

We want people to come back to the Web site each day to know that they are not alone, that we are all members of Christ's body and together we can change the world and bring the world hope.

Q: In your preaching, what are the toughest questions that you get from young people? What are their biggest challenges?

Father Richards: Once I was giving a retreat in a high school and one of the boys raised his hand and said: "Christianity is all irrelevant to us."

I think that the biggest challenge is to make faith relevant. Young people are looking for Jesus and his Church to speak to their daily lives.

Too often we just preach to the choir. I believe that God calls us first to preach to those who are searching. Young people ask me: "What does this have to do with my life?" I respond: "Everything."

But that's not all, I tell them the truth: That Jesus is the only one that will answer their deepest questions with meaning, and that Jesus is the only one that can give them true peace today and forever.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to say that people starving in India sometimes were so hungry that they would pick up dog dung and eat it.

The same happens in our society, but it's the truth that people are looking for, and they will fill that void with all sorts of "dung" that masquerades as truth.

Q: How does your foundation respond to the missionary mandate of the Church?

Father Richards: In 1990 I was at the worldwide retreat for priests in Rome, and our then Holy Father, John Paul the Great, had just begun the decade of evangelization.

After hearing the Holy Father, and the various other speakers, I was convinced that this is exactly what Jesus calls us all to do -- to bring everyone we know into knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Q: What can Catholics do on a day-to-day basis to participate in the missionary action of the Church?

Father Richards: First I think that everyone needs to know that it is God's will for everyone to evangelize. After one accepts this responsibility given to them by Christ, then these are the steps that I give them:

First: Pray. We need to make a list of people in our lives that do not know the love of Christ. Then we need to pray for them each day. When we pray for someone, then we focus the grace of God on that person.

Just like when you take a magnifying glass and direct the sun's rays on a piece of paper you can set the paper on fire, so when one prays for someone, they become a human magnifying glass, and focus the grace of God on that person and set them on fire with the Holy Spirit.

This is the first and most important step because it is ultimately God who brings others to him and not us.

Second: Love. The next thing that we need to do is love the people that God brings into our lives. This means that we become Jesus Christ to them. We need to let Jesus live so fully in our lives that they see Jesus and not us.

So often we try to bring people the truth without love, but as St. Paul says "Speak the truth with love."

As our Holy Father Benedict XVI reminded us in his first encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est," our main call is to love. If we love people, then they will listen to us because they then know that we have their best interest at heart, and that we are not just trying to get another convert.

Third: Tell. Only after we have prayed for a person and loved that person, should we then share with them the good news of the Gospel.

Ask God when would be the best time to share his love with the person. If they feel that they cannot do it themselves, then I encourage them to buy them a book that will do that, or give them a copy of my talk "The Truth," and that can be the instrument that God uses.

Q: You also host a program on Relevant Radio called "Changed Forever." What has it been like working with this new Catholic station?

Father Richards: The radio station really tries to be relevant to people's daily lives by seeking to engage people with the living truth.

It does this through the live call-in talk format. This shows that the truth needs to be engaged with, and not just held onto like a trophy.

Also, at Relevant Radio everyone knows that we are doing God's work and not ours. It is not about becoming the No. 1 radio station in the world, it is about bringing the world to Jesus Christ.

Q: Had you worked in radio before? What is your background in this media?

Father Richards: I had never worked in radio before. After hearing some of my tapes, Relevant Radio approached me and asked if they could use them and make a radio program out of them.

After about a year they asked me if I would be interested in doing a live show, but it is just impossible with all the stuff I am already doing. My main focus is being a pastor of an inner city parish, and everything else flows from this.

Contact

Catholic Online
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000

Email

info@yourcatholicvoice.org

Keywords

Hope, Richards, Jesus, Evangelize

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 250 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity
DAN SHEA

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Priestly Identity: Crisis and Renewal (Part 1)
Catholic Online

Al Qaeda...afraid of Benedict's message!
Hugh McNichol

Benedict XVI...calling all to hope...
Hugh McNichol

Perfect Women
Cheryl Dickow

Papal Palm Sunday Address - 'Enough With the Bloodshed'
Catholic Online

Spotlight on China
Catholic Online

Papal Homily for Palm Sunday
Catholic Online

Holy Week...Holy Time!
Hugh McNichol

Mary and Motherhood
Cheryl Dickow

The Void
Paul Sposite

Islamic violence wounds the global community!
Hugh McNichol

The Seven New Deadly Sins!
Hugh McNichol

Catholic benefits include Catholic principles!
Hugh McNichol

Remembering Father Alfred Kunz
Matt C. Abbott

David vs Goliath
Theresa Lisiecki

Happy Lent!
Paul Sposite

Diplomacy...Vatican style!
Hugh McNichol

Sub umbra Petri! (Under the Shadow of Saint Peter)
Hugh McNichol

Cuba...a neonascent Church!
Hugh McNichol

Kids in Conflict
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On the Writings of St. Augustine
Catholic Online

The Relevance of Lourdes at 150
Catholic Online

Hillary...what would Saint Norbert say!
Hugh McNichol

Lent...questions, answers and involvement!
Hugh McNichol

Mary, Mother of all Humanity, Hic et Nunc!
Hugh McNichol

Catholics...WAKE UP!
Hugh McNichol

Catholic Brotherhood with the People of the Covenant
Hugh McNichol

Have mercy on us O Lord! - Ash Wednesday
Hugh McNichol

Vote early, vote Catholic!
Hugh McNichol

Christ, our global Alpha and Omega!
Hugh McNichol

Being Catholic means...total affirmation of being Catholic!
Hugh McNichol

Seeing the World through New Eyes
Sarah Reinhard

Emulating the Angelic Doctor!
Hugh McNichol

Priests defend, commend Archbishop Raymond Burke
Matt C. Abbott

Saint Paul...a continued example of radical conversion!
Hugh McNichol

A renaissance of faith, reason and global cooperation....
Hugh McNichol

Cardinal Rigali's Homily at Life Vigil
Catholic Online

Angelus: On Christian Unity
Catholic Online

Silencing the Pope
Catholic Online

Papal Homily on Feast of Christ's Baptism
Catholic Online

Education and Gender
Catholic Online

The ignominy of Roe vs. Wade
Hugh McNichol

Papal Message for World Day of the Sick
Catholic Online

Angelus: On Christian Unity
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Planned Lecture at La Sapienza
Catholic Online

Pope's Letter to Jesuits' 35th General Congregation
Catholic Online

Fr. Cantalamessa - Behold, the Lamb of God!
Catholic Online

That We May Be One, and Never Lose Heart
Catholic Online

Sowing Hope in Sierra Leone
Catholic Online

God-incidences are the gift of kairos moments
Mary Regina Morrell

St. Augustine's Last Days
Catholic Online

Liturgy: When There's a Medical Emergency
Catholic Online

Marriage and Celibacy: Love's Link
Catholic Online

Developing a Global Catholic Awareness
Hugh McNichol

Rooms in My Father's House
Cheryl Dickow

Resolutions for New Year 2008
Chris Anthony

Keep teaching Holy Father!!!
Hugh McNichol

Dangers of anti-Catholic academic extremism....
Hugh McNichol

The liturgy war
Matt C. Abbott

Some Answers to a Few Common Questions about Vocations
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Developing a Global Catholic Awareness
Hugh McNichol

Christmas reflections
Chris Anthony

The Lasting Contribution of The Servant of God Pope John Paul II
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

No more bobble-head Jesus'!
Hugh McNichol

Pope's Address to Baptist World Alliance
Catholic Online

The Virgin Without Sin
Catholic Online

Cardinal Vingt-Trois on His New Mission
Catholic Online

Archbishop Forte on Religion & Freedom: Part 1
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Chromatius of Aquileia, Pope, Benedict
Catholic Online

Pope's Address for Consistory of Cardinals
Catholic Online

Trafficking in Lives
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict - On Hope
Catholic Online

The Hidden Costs of Gambling
Catholic Online

A Vital, Life-Giving Message
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Christianity's Contribution
Catholic Online

Youth and Fashion's Modest Twist
Catholic Online

Papal Homily at the Consistory
Catholic Online

Love, Marriage and Happy Kids
Catholic Online

The Virtue of Obedience: Our Duty, Our Crown
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Vere dignum et justum est!
Hugh McNichol

Pope's Address to Bishops of Kenya
Catholic Online

Democracy in Danger in Venezuela
Catholic Online

The Life-Sapping Human Virus
Catholic Online

'You Alone Are The Lord': A Brief Summary of Catholic Teaching
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Sacred Time...Come Lord Jesus!
Hugh McNichol

How Christ-like are we in our lives?
Chris Anthony

A Retreat for Today's Christian Woman
Cheryl Dickow

Pope Benedict - On Trust in God
Catholic Online

God and Caesar Seen From Down Under
Catholic Online

Praying the Luminous Mysteries for our Clergy
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Culture's Pressure on Our Girls
Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle

Papal Message on the Common Good
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - St. Jerome on the Bible
Catholic Online

What Every Parent Should Know About 'The Golden Compass'
Catholic Online

Cardinal Poupard on 'Populorum Progressio'
Catholic Online

A Richer Liturgical Translation: Interview With Bishop Roche
Catholic Online

U.S. Bishops' Statement on War in Iraq
Catholic Online

The 'Golden Compass' is no treasure for children
Mary Regina Morrell

Bishop Skylstad's Address to U.S. Bishops' Fall Meeting
Catholic Online

Rewarding Failure
Catholic Online

On St. Martin of Tours
Catholic Online

Undermining Parents
Catholic Online

God...our theological E.F.Hutton!
Hugh McNichol

The Secular Vs. Religion?
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Jerome
Catholic Online

The Scourge of Poverty
Catholic Online

Sons and Daughters of God...EQUALLY!
Hugh McNichol

On Zacchaeus the Tax Collector
Catholic Online

Why Dads Matter
Catholic Online

Archbishop Chaput on Citizenship and Evangelization
Catholic Online

God Created Man for Life, Not Death
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for November
Catholic Online

Imposing 'Tolerance'
Catholic Online

Evangelizing a Digital World
Catholic Online

A Turn to the Fathers: Interview With Father Robert Dodaro
Catholic Online

Aborting Viable Lives
Catholic Online

Women Religious on Human Trafficking
Catholic Online

Chicago law firm fights for civil rights, against death culture
Matt C. Abbott

Fr. Cantalamessa - The Pharisee and the Publican
Catholic Online

Media Benefits and Dangers
Catholic Online

On the Call to Martyrdom
Catholic Online

'You Alone Are The Lord': A Brief Summary of Catholic Teaching
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

John Crosby on Von Hildebrand's Understanding of the Person
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Ambrose of Milan
Catholic Online

On Peace, Missions and Justice
Catholic Online

Address of Holy See on Religious Liberty
Catholic Online

Recovering subtle signs of our Catholic Identity!
Hugh McNichol

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on 'Populorum Progressio'
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Eusebius of Vercelli
Catholic Online

Christ's Parable About the Need to Pray Always
Catholic Online

Prostitution: Legal Work or Slavery?
Catholic Online

Escaping Poverty: Interview With Archbishop Silvano Tomasi
Catholic Online

Congratulations to His Eminence John Cardinal Foley!
Hugh McNichol

Giving Ourselves Completely to Mary
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

The 'Courage' to go 'Beyond Gay'
Matt C. Abbott

When Bioethics Turned Secular
Catholic Online

Confession Comeback
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On Hilary of Poitiers
Catholic Online

Reemergence of Global Catholic Identity!
Hugh McNichol

Father Cantalamessa on the Leap of Faith
Catholic Online

Month of the Rosary
Catholic Online

Why Technology Needs Ethics
Catholic Online

Cardinal Lozano Barragán on Future of Health Care
Catholic Online

How Can Catholics Understand Mary as Co-Redemprix, Mediatrix of All Graces and Advocate?
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

New Saint Book is Visually Stunning and Filled with Detail
Lisa M. Hendey

Papal Homily in Velletri
Catholic Online

Father Cantalamessa Analyzes Relationship
Catholic Online

Wednesday'a Audience - On St. Cyril of Alexandria
Catholic Online

Holy See Address to U.N. General Assembly
Catholic Online

Homily From Red Mass in Washington
Catholic Online

Pope Remembers Cardinal Van Thuân
Catholic Online

Faith in Politics
Catholic Online

The brave monks of Myanmar
Chris Anthony

On Lazarus and World Hunger
Catholic Online

Fighting the Good Fight: Resisting Temptation
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Media frenzy buries U.N. goals

Holy See Statement on Climate Change
Catholic Online

China's Seven Sorrows
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On Chrysostom's Social Doctrine
Catholic Online

Vatican Message to Muslims for Ramadan
Catholic Online

Father Cantalamessa on the First World and Lazarus
Catholic Online

Angels, God's Messengers in a world of fragile peace and Broken promises!
Hugh McNichol

Memo to Mrs. Clinton: Why Not Baby Bonds When Life Begins?
Deacon Keith Fournier

Reorienting the Mass
Catholic Online

Report Card on Religious Freedom
Catholic Online

On Wealth and Poverty
Catholic Online

A Response to Hitchens' 'God Is Not Great'
Catholic Online

Vetoing children's health care?

The ideal family
Joseph Sinasac

Who does the judging?
Dennis Heaney

One mistake away

The Big House ban

In praise of the parish

Text of the USCCB statement for Respect Life Sunday 2007

The Outstanding Purity of Our Blessed Mother
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Educated flock

Religion and politics

Facing a door to the future
Dennis Heaney

A long debate

Who Are the True Progressives?
Deacon Keith Fournier

Petraeus offers a dose of reality

Insurgence
Robert Storr

Papal Address at Vespers
Catholic Online

Papal Coat of Arms Still Relevant
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Address at Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Catholic Online

On Loving Jesus as Mary Did
Catholic Online

Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos on 'Summorum Pontificum'
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On the Trip to Austria
Catholic Online

Father Cantalamessa on the Joy of Fatherhood
Catholic Online

Commentary on Artificial Hydration and Nutrition
Catholic Online

Vatican on Nutrition to Patients in Vegetative State
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Q-and-A Session With Youth in Loreto
Catholic Online

Take a Risk, Follow Your Call: the challenge of a lifetime!
Sisters of Bon Secours

Papal lessons

Family matters

Lessons from a tragedy
Dennis Heaney

Shopping blues
Joseph Sinasac

Marriage Breakdown: Expensive and Divisive
Catholic Online

Her darkness was a warning

Wednesday'a Audience - Gregory of Nyssa on Perfection
Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 2:10-16
10 to us, though, God has given revelation through the Spirit, for the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 13-14
8 Yahweh is tenderness and pity, slow to anger, full of faithful ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:31-37
31 He went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and taught them on the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 30th, 2016 Image

St. Rumon
August 30: St. Rumon, also known as Ruan, Ronan, and Ruadan, ... Read More