Father Larry Richards
A gifted and captivating speaker, preacher, and retreat master, Fr. Larry Richards holds the answer to some of life's most profound questions. He speaks from experience as a pastor of an inner city parish, a high school chaplain, a counselor, and evangelist. Fr. Larry Richards has directed hundreds of retreats, parish missions and conferences for young and old alike. His inspirational talks and presentations, always authentic and enthusiastic, have changed the hearts, minds and lives of millions of listeners worldwide.
Father Larry Richards was born on March 26, 1960, in Pittsburgh, PA. He entered St. Mark High School Seminary in Erie at the age of 17. After high school he attended the college seminary at Gannon University and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mental Health Counseling in 1983.
Continuing his studies at the major seminary at St. Vincent in Latrobe, PA, Fr. Larry received his Masters of Divinity in 1987. He will soon conclude his studies and be awarded a Master of Arts degree in Liturgy from the University of Notre Dame.
Ordained to the priesthood on April 21, 1989 for the Diocese of Erie, Fr. Larry has served as pastor of St. Joseph Church/Bread of Life Community in Erie since July 2002. He continues the task of unifying two congregations into one community dedicated to Jesus through love, prayer and service. In addition, he is the Spiritual Director of the TEC (To Encounter Christ) Retreat Program for the Diocese of Erie.
Father Larry founded “The Reason for Our Hope Foundation,” a non-profit organization dedicated to ‘spreading the Good News’ by educating others about Jesus Christ and the Catholic faith through various media forms. The foundation promotes Catholic speakers who are effective instruments of evangelization and also supports charities that strive to make real the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Tim Staples was raised a Southern Baptist. Although he fell away from the faith of his childhood, Tim came back to faith in Christ during his late teen years through the witness of Christian televangelists. Soon after, Tim joined the Marine Corps. During his four-year tour, he became involved in ministry with various Assemblies of God communities. Immediately after his tour of duty, Tim enrolled in Jimmy Swaggart Bible College and became a youth minister in an Assembly of God community.
During his final year in the Marines, however, Tim met a Marine who really knew his faith and challenged Tim to study Catholicism from Catholic and historical sources. That encounter sparked a two-year search for the truth. Tim was determined to prove Catholicism wrong, but he ended up studying his way to the last place he thought he would ever end up: the Catholic Church!
He converted to Catholicism in 1988 and spent the following six years in formation for the priesthood, earning a degree in philosophy from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, PA. He then studied theology on a graduate level at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD, for two years. Realizing that his calling was not to the priesthood, Tim left the seminary in 1994 and has been working in Catholic apologetics and evangelization ever since.
Suggested Reading: Catholics and the Culture War, Nuts & Bolts: A Practical Guide for Explaining and Defending the Catholic Faith
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