By MICHAEL OKUTO, Special to the Bulletin | Published May 12, 2011
Father R. Tony Ricard, pastor of Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in New Orleans, will lead the annual parish mission at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Smyrna. The mission will be held nightly from Monday, May 16, through Wednesday, May 18, from 7 to 9 p.m. The theme of the three-day parish mission is “Awaken Our Hearts!” All are invited to attend.
A well-known instructor and nationally renowned speaker, Father Ricard, or Father Tony as he is often called, is a core instructor of church doctrine for the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University and since 2000 has served as the Catholic chaplain for the New Orleans Saints.
Father Tony is the author of the books “I Still Believe: A Testimony of Faith after the Storm,” “Don’t Be Stupid! Lessons You Should Already Know,” and “I Don’t Make Them Up! Reflections, Stories and Jokes from a Faithful Fool.” He is also the co-author and editor of the book, “MAXimum Faith: Prayers and Reflections by Young Katrina Survivors.” He has given keynote addresses, retreats, revivals and youth talks across the nation and throughout Canada and has preached in more than 20 countries. A film based on his life and ministry is currently in production.
The St. Thomas the Apostle community invites everyone to join them for this year’s parish mission. This is a time for individuals and for the parish as a whole to experience spiritual renewal. It is a time to look at life, its values and direction, and to ask the questions: “What is really important to me? What am I doing with my life? What values do I have? Where does God fit into my life? What does my faith, my Church, mean to me?”
To help explore these questions, St. Thomas the Apostle annually employs the help of experts from around the country.
St. Thomas the Apostle Church is a dynamic, multinational and multicultural faith community of at least 6,000 families. The parish offers several faith formation opportunities: book club; centering prayer; Bible study; Ignite!—a lay-based program of fellowship, prayer and faith stories; Just Faith, highlighting the issues of social justice; evangelization retreats; and the annual parish mission.
The church is located at 4300 King Springs Road, SE, Smyrna. Call (770) 432-8579, ext. 122, for more information.