Reverend Tony Ricard
Meeting Reverend Tony Ricard of Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish is truly fascinating. Father Tony was raised in uptown New Orleans and attended St. Augustine High School, Loyola University and holds two Masters Degrees from Xavier University and Notre Dame Seminary.
As a pastor for an incredibly active parish boasting 650 parishioners in two masses each weekend in a parish that was not to reopen after Hurricane Katrina, Fr. Tony would seemingly have his hands full.
Instead of just reaching the community of St. Roch, Fr. Tony is an accomplished author, speaker, educator, Chaplain to the New Orleans Saints and the focus of a soon to be released documentary entitled “Father Tony.”
Fr. Tony has been the pastor of Our Lady Star of the Sea since 1999 and is in his twelfth year with the parish and plans to stay in his words, “forever.”
Since August 29, 2005, Fr. Tony has been dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, “I will survive, “ has become his motto.” “Indeed, his presence here is proof that God will be with us in the Midst of the Mess.” That mess included the Archdiocese decision to close the parish, 4 feet of water in the rectory, 6 feet of water in the former Our Lady Star of the Sea School and 3 inches of water in the church. Somehow in all that mess, Fr. Tony began his writing and publishing mission with a book called “I Still Believe: A Testimony of Faith After the Storm.” Since that first book the words keep coming and he has written and published four additional books.
St. Roch’s Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish was founded on December 25, 1911 and will celebrate its one-hundredth anniversary this year. The church has a 40 piece gospel choir including musicians playing drums, electric bass, guitar and organ with choir members travelling in to practice and sing from as far away as Gramercy. Mass is held on Saturday at 4:00 PM and Sunday at 10:00 AM. Bible study is held every other Thursday at 6:30 PM and Sunday school is from 8:30 -9:45 AM.
Our Lady Star of the Sea school was in operation until 1994 as a Catholic School and in 1995 the school was rented to the Orleans Parish School Board for use as an alternative high school and the truancy program for Orleans Parish was also run from this building.
Our Lady Star of the Sea School has been shuttered since June 2005, when the OPSB decided to close the school, these circumstances made the school ineligible to receive support from FEMA to rebuild and Fr. Tony is working with the Archdiocese to reopen the school as a community center to service the parish and neighborhood.
*Courtesy of Faubourg St. Roch Project