Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 14, 2008
Hold your heads high, preacher tells students
'Cocky' Fr. Tony says we're all blessed as children of God
- WCR photo by Ramon Gonzalez
Fr. Tony Ricard tells students to live as children of God and reject things that are not good.
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
When Father Tony Ricard walks into a room he gets noticed. He holds his head high, looks people in the eye, speaks loudly and is absolutely sure of himself. In fact he says he loves being him.
Some call that cockiness and he's being told as much. But Ricard says it is simply confidence.
"I am confident because God gave me this (gift); I'm blessed because I am a child of God," he told 900 students at Archbishop Jordan High School Jan. 8. "And so are you. When you walk into a room you should hold your head high."
Ricard, pastor of Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in New Orleans, whose church and community were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, spoke to the youths about who there are as children of God and about making good decisions.
The popular, energetic and well-travelled youth speaker used humour and laughter to convey his message and had his audience on their feet for most of his presentation.
He imitated God and Adam and Eve while recounting the creation story to the students. When Adam felt lonely he asked God for a companion. "Is there a problem, Adam?" God asked.
'I feel lonely'
"No, there is no problem. I don't have to go to work, I have everything I need, I'm surrounded by gardens and I can do whatever I want. I don't have any problems but I feel lonely and I was wondering if you could just hook the brother up."
The Lord said, "Adam, Adam, Adam, are you sure you know what you are asking for?" Finally the Lord gave him a beautiful companion.
The surprised Adam exclaimed, "Oh, baby!" and, turning up to God, he said, "You are the man! You are the man!"
Ricard's hour-long presentation was sponsored by the Elk Island Catholic Schools Education Foundation, an organization that provides financial support for educational and spiritual initiatives.
A priest of the Archdiocese of New Orleans for 13 years, Ricard is a revivalist preacher who has spoken to thousands of students and teachers in 18 countries since 1992.
Why God made us? "So we could freely choose to love him back," the pony-tailed priest said. "God made us to know him, to love him, to serve him in this world and to be happy with him in the next." And to make sure the students understood this message he made them repeat it five times.
Grow in knowledge
"If you know God made you then you have to do everything possible to grow in your knowledge of him," he continued. "Begin by reading the Bible, which is a love letter from God."
And he said to show God that one loves him one must serve him by taking care of the needs of one another.
"Don't be stupid" when it comes to drugs, sex, alcohol and other risky behaviours because you know they are no good for you, the priest told his young audience. "Being stupid is to do what you already know is bad for you," he said.
"If you are a child of God, live your life accordingly and reject those things that are not good for you. You can't say that you don't know anymore. Remember who you belong to and don't be stupid."