|Fr Richard Sutter, LC, chaplain at Christian Brothers School in City Park, distributes Communion to students.|
January 20, 2010. New Orleans, LA. Fr Richard Sutter, LC,
was just ordained this past December 12, 2009 in Rome,
and is already making an impact by his witness of
dedication to Christ. His recent visit to a Christian Brothers
school in New Orleans prompted an insightful remark that holds
true for every priestly vocation in the Church: “You don’t
know what you did today for those kids in that
room. God uses you.”
This article was first printed in
the Clarion Herald, the New Orleans archdiocesan newspaper. Article
reprinted with permission. All photos courtesy of Christine Bordelon.
shares his blessings with students
By Christine Bordelon
16, 2010 | New Orleans LOCAL CLARION HERALD | Page
One could say that Father Richard Sutter took the long
road to becoming a priest – he experienced his first
call to a religious vocation at age 17 but didn’t
start the journey to the priesthood for another 13 years.
After 11 years of study, Father Richard, now 40, was
ordained a priest in Rome with the Legionaries of Christ
on Dec. 12.
He celebrated his first Mass Dec. 17
in Rome at the Clementine altar, next to St. Peter’s
tomb, but celebrated his first Mass in the U.S. Jan.
5 at Christian Brothers School in City Park, where he
has been assigned chaplain.
|Fr Richard Sutter helps a young lector during Mass.|
He also will be a retreat
leader at Acadian Oaks Catholic Retreat Center, a Legionaries of
Christ-owned retreat center in Lafayette, and continue a leadership training
program for youth held twice yearly at Christian Brothers that
his predecessor Legionaries of Christ Father Patrick Murphy had headed.
“What makes (this Mass) so special and what makes it
so beautiful is that it is with you,” Father Sutter
told the students in grades 5-7.
The young have impact
explaining the Gospel passage of the multiplication of the loaves
and fishes, Father Sutter asked them to “respond and collaborate
with God’s love” and shared two stories of boys their
age who did just that. In one Gospel passage, a
boy gave up the original loaves and fishes when asked
by the disciples to feed the multitude.
In another story,
a boy was assigned to bring a gift for the
baby Jesus during the Christmas season. When the student didn’t
bring anything, the teacher inquired if he had forgotten to
do the assignment but the student responded: “My gift to
baby Jesus is there. My gift to baby Jesus is
myself. I will love him and keep him warm and
“He collaborated with that love of God,” Father
Sutter said. “The question for each one of us is,
‘What am I going to give Jesus today?’”
attainable suggestions to students: giving kind words, helping others, doing
home chores, thanking their parents and praying for someone in
“Jesus can feed the thousands,” he said. “One act
of charity can go a long way. God is love,
and when we love like Jesus, we share that love.
... When we give, we receive all the more.”
After Mass, he mentioned the delivery of letters to the
Pope that Christian Brothers fifth graders had written. He also
brought students ordination cards blessed by the Pope and delivered
a special blessing sent by the Pope to the school
on the occasion of its 50th anniversary this year.
Sutter said even though his call from God may have
first come early in life it took life experiences –
college, the military and a secular job – to point
him toward the priesthood. The realization to heed his true
vocation came, he said, while running in preparation for the
Boston Marathon and seeing students with book bags, thinking he
needed to spread God’s word and love to them.
is confirmation from God to be able to be here
and serve you,” he told the students. “It is the
providence of God. I come as Christ.”
Students then presented
him with a spiritual bouquet dedicated with rosaries, Masses, communions
and other sacrifices they had pledged.
“Awesome,” he said. “There
is no greater gift on earth that I could receive
Paul Rucker, a religion teacher at Christian Brothers
School, said Father Richard has inspired his students.
He speaks, they
“A couple of times he gave the homily as a
deacon, and in class, the students asked questions and were
impressed that a young guy like Father Richard has committed
his life to Christ. Especially in this day and age,
it is difficult.”
At a breakfast held in his honor
after Mass, Father Sutter met with Christian Brothers board members
and Father Neal McDermott, executive director of the Archdiocese of
New Orleans’ Department of Christian Formation, which oversees Catholic schools.
“You don’t know what you did today for those kids
in that room,” Father McDermott told Father Sutter, then proceeded
to tell him about being educated in Catholic schools before
becoming a Dominican priest. “God uses you.”
“Vocations are a
call from God,” he said. “The greatest thing one can
discover in their life is our call from God, our
vocation (whatever it is). Any vocation and every vocation has
its cross, has the joys of Mount Tabor, the gardens
of Gethsemane. ... It is through embracing the cross with
Christ that we are fulfilled.”