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Father Lawrence Richardt
Conferral speech for the Distinguished Alumnus Award given at the 2003 Saint Meinrad Alumni Reunion

Presented August 12, 2003
by Father Richard M. Ginther, member of the Alumni Board of Directors

It is an honor and a pleasure to present the recipients of this year’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.  The established criteria for this award do not specify whether the recipient be lay or ordained, living or deceased.  What the criteria do clearly state is that the individual must have provided recognized service to Saint Meinrad and the Church and, most importantly, exemplified the Gospel values in his or her life and work.

As a member of the selection committee, I can assure you that our task was not an easy one.  Many of Saint Meinrad’s Alumni have made great contributions to Saint Meinrad and the Church.  The field of nominees was quite large and filled with Alumni who are very deserving of this special recognition.  But, we are pleased with the results of our prayerful discernment and discussion, and now honor three of Saint Meinrad’s Alumni.

We will be presenting the awards in alphabetical order.

I would like to call on Archabbot Lambert to assist in presenting the awards.

Our third award this evening goes to an Alumnus of our High School and College.  Born in Chicago September 4,Fr. J. Lawrence Richardt 1937, to Joseph and Wanda Richardt, and raised in Tell City, Indiana, with his 2 brothers and 2 sisters, John Lawrence “Larry” Richardt attended Saint Meinrad from 1951-1959 and then finished his studies at the North American College, receiving an STL in Systematic Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian in Rome.  Ordained in 1963, he has served numerous parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Indianapolis as assistant pastor, co-pastor and pastor.  In his early years as a priest he taught theology at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in West Terre Haute while studying at Indiana State University.  He returned to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1998 where he not only served as sacramental minister for 2 parishes, but was the Chaplain to the Sisters of Providence Mother House until July 2002. 

During his forty years as a priest, Father Larry spent seventeen of those in service to Saint Meinrad School of Theology.  As an educator, Father Richardt served as Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology from 1975-1986.  During those same years, he also served in various administrative positions including: Director of the Deacon Internship Program, Academic Dean, Vice Rector, and was the first non-Benedictine to serve as Acting Rector.  From 1992-1998, Father Larry returned to Saint Meinrad to serve as Director of Spiritual Formation.

To encounter Larry Richardt is to be enfolded by a hospitable, warm, and faith-filled embrace.  He is unassuming and humble, yet wise and strong as a leader.  He is as comfortable on the floor working a puzzle with a 4 year old as he is in wrestling with the meaning of life and personal spirituality with adults of any age.  Intelligent and eager to assist anyone in learning, making sense of or assimilating information, his breadth of knowledge in theology, psychology, scripture, pastoral ministry, spiritual direction, gardening, wildflowers, cooking, Native American religion and art, movies, music and scrapbooks – and his ability to connect these many areas into wise and useful insights – is extraordinary.  It is not surprising, then, that Father Larry has been Spiritual Director for a vast array of clergy, religious and laity, and remains very active in this area of ministry to this very day.

One of the individuals who nominated Father Larry states, “His many years of service at Saint Meinrad are indicative of his devotion to his Alma Mater.  As one who has known Father Larry for most of his priesthood, I can attest to the obvious presence of Gospel values in his way of life.  His energetic and faithful devotion to duty, combined with his attention, reverence and respect for each person, are outstanding qualities that are found in the ministerial life of Jesus.  I find it hard to imagine anyone more deserving of being named a Distinguished Alumnus of Saint Meinrad.”

We are pleased that Father Larry’s mother, Wanda Richardt is with us tonight, as well as his brother Joe and sister-in-law Bonnie.  It is with great pleasure that the Saint Meinrad Alumni Association confers the Distinguished Alumnus Award upon Father J. Lawrence Richardt.

Others recipients in 2003:

Charlie Gardner
Monsignor Jerome Neufelder

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