Father Larry Richards – Founder
A gifted and captivating speaker, preacher, retreat master and author, Father Larry Richards holds the answer to some of life’s most profound questions. He speaks from experience as a pastor of an inner city parish, a high school chaplain, a counselor and evangelist. Fr. Larry Richards has directed hundreds of Retreats, Parish Missions and Conferences for young and old alike. His inspirational talks and presentations, always authentic and enthusiastic, have changed the hearts, minds, and lives of millions of listeners worldwide. He continues to accept invitations for speaking engagements all over the United States and in Canada and has recently traveled abroad to continue his mission of evangelization.
Father Larry Richards was born on March 26, 1960, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He entered St. Mark High School Seminary, Erie, Pennsylvania, at the age of 17. After high school, Father Larry attended the college Seminary at Gannon University and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mental Health Counseling in 1983.
Continuing his studies at the Major Seminary at St. Vincent in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Father Larry Richards received his Masters of Divinity degree in 1987. He will soon conclude his studies and be awarded a Master of Arts degree in Liturgy from the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana.
Ordained to the priesthood on April 21, 1989 for the Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania, Father Larry Richards has served as Pastor of St. Joseph Church/Bread of Life Community, also in Erie, since July 1, 2002. In addition, Father is the founder of the DME (Divine Mercy Encounter) Retreat Program for the Diocese of Erie.
On August 30, 2004, in the midst of his many commitments to his parishioners, to the TEC community, and to traveling around the United States for Parish Missions, Retreats, and Conferences, Father Larry founded and is president of “The Reason For Our Hope Foundation,” a non-profit organization dedicated to ‘spreading the Good News’ by educating others about Jesus Christ and the Catholic faith through CDs and DVDs, as well as promoting Catholic speakers who are effective instruments of evangelization. In turn, the foundation will support charities that strive to make real the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
He has recorded many talks on all aspects of the Catholic Faith for individual and small-group instruction, all of which are available on The Reason for Our Hope website at www.TheReasonForOurHope.com. Since the inception of the Foundation, Father Larry has also recorded CDs and DVDs entitled “The Truth”, “Confession”, “The Mass Explained”, “Knowing God’s Will”, “Prayer”, “Living in the Holy Spirit”, “Be a Man”, and “What More Could He Do For You”. Father Larry’s live presentation of “What More Could He Do For You?”, a dramatic explanation of the Passion of Jesus, is riveting; the DVD of this presentation is, without a doubt, the most moving re-enactment of the Passion one can view. Father Larry will be adding to the list of available presentations on a regular basis. These CDs and DVDs may also be secured on the foundation website at www.TheReasonForOurHope.com.
Father Larry’s first book, “Be a Man! Becoming the Man God Created You To Be” was published by Ignatius Press in October of 2009, and was the #1 best seller by Ignatius Press, having sold over 100,000 copies worldwide. In “Be a Man!” he recounts his struggles to learn true manhood, as well as the inspiring stories of others he has served in his decades as a priest. He tells men how to focus on the right goal, how to live as a beloved son of God, of the need to acknowledge one’s faults and to live according to the Holy Spirit, to be a man of true love and of wisdom, to appreciate properly the differences between men and women, to pursue holiness, and to make a difference in the world. Not preachy but direct, Father Larry challenges men to be strong, without putting on a mask of false strength or machismo. He calls men to admit their weaknesses and limitations, while urging them to find strength in faith and genuine love to overcome their sins and faults.
Father Larry’s second book, “Surrender! The Life-Changing Power of Doing God’s Will” was published by Our Sunday Visitor in September of 2011 and has sold over 40,000 copies. Fr. Larry Richards challenges you to let go of attachments, assumptions and excuses that hold you back from giving yourself more fully to God, in order to receive everything God wants to give you.
In 2014, a Catholic Men’s Bible, NABRE, with introduction and instructions by Fr. Larry was published by Our Sunday Visitor. A Scripture Desk Calendar entitled “No Bible, No Breakfast! No Bible, No Bed!” containing both morning and evening Scripture passages and encouraging words from Fr. Larry, was published by The Word Among Us in 2014.
Father hosts the EWTN radio show called “The Reason For Our Hope” on Mondays thru Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. (EST) and 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (EST), and a live EWTN radio show called “Open Line” on Thursdays from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (EST), For more information, or to listen on-line, go to http://www.ewtn.com/radio/index.asp.
Father Larry can be seen on the EWTN televised programs “Living Right with Dr. Ray” and “Crossing the Goal”. EWTN broadcasts a Mini-Series entitled “Be A Man” in 2014 in five episodes to inspire men to become the true heroes they long to be – men of courage, compassion and integrity.
Father Larry Richards also hosts a radio show called “Changed Forever with Father Larry Richards”. It can be heard nationwide on Relevant Radio on Saturdays from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (EST) and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (EST). For more information, or to listen on-line, go to www.relevantradio.com.
Mary Therese Craig – Executive Director
Mary Therese Craig is the Executive Director of The Reason For Our Hope Foundation. She is happy to be able to share her faith every day through her work at the Foundation.
Mary Therese was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania. She attended Gannon University for the Legal Studies Program. Prior to her employment at the Foundation, she worked as a paralegal at the law firm of MacDonald, Illig, Jones & Britton. She has three children and four grandchildren who live outside of Erie. She misses having her family in Erie, but enjoys visiting them in Bozeman, Montana; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Santa Monica, California!
Mary Therese also enjoys spending time with her extended family – – she has over 145 cousins!
An important part of Mary Therese’s life is volunteering at her church, Saint Joseph Bread of Life Community, where she is a Eucharistic Minister and Greeter, past Chairperson for Oktoberfest, and serves on many other ministries. In her spare time, she enjoys walking, biking, making beach glass jewelry, and sewing.
Mary Therese is passionate about sharing her faith with others and is so excited to be working at The Reason For Our Hope Foundation!
Sara Snidarich – Executive Assistant
Sara is a very valuable part of the team at The Reason For Our Hope Foundation. She handles all of the day-to-day operations and is quick to answer the telephone and assist in any way possible. She handles all of the orders, and promptly ships everything.
Sara has a wonderful family and enjoys spending time with her husband.
Nancy Murray – Finance Director
Nancy Murray is the Finance Director for the Reason For Our Hope Foundation. She currently works part-time but has been with the Foundation since its inception in 2004. Her primary function is to “keep the books” and oversee all financial functions.
Nancy was born and raised in Erie. She attended St. John the Baptist School and Villa Maria Academy. Her college years were spent at Clarion State College (now Clarion University), where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education with a concentration in Math. Further studies were completed at Edinboro University, with a Masters Equivalent in Math, Education, and Drug & Alcohol Intervention for the Schools.
Her former jobs include being a secondary education teacher in the Union City, PA School District, working in local banks, managing an electrical construction business, and serving as a chiropractic assistant for a local chiropractor. She is currently employed full-time by St. Joseph Church – Bread of Life Community as Director of Ministries and Pastoral Minister.
In her spare time, she enjoys reading, playing and listening to music, playing card and number games, walking, and keeping up with her 3 sisters, 1 brother, and 12 nieces and nephews.
Nancy is very committed to her financial work at the Foundation and admits that it is a wonderful extension of the work she performs at her church and a great opportunity to share her faith.
Caitlin Rydberg – Marketing/Operations Coordinator
Caitlin Rydberg (nee Ryan) was born and raised in Clearfield, Pa. She graduated from Gannon University in Erie, Pa with a Bachelor of Art in Journalism Communications. After living at home and working in a locally owned store, she was hired as the Youth Ministry Leader in Warren, Pa. She lived and worked in Warren for three years before get hired by The Reason for Our Hope Foundation.
Caitlin is a parishioner at Saint Joseph Bread of Life Community where she helps with the youth ministry program. In her spare time she enjoys reading. writing, watching the Hallmark Channel, kayaking and spending time with loved ones. She is married to Tim Rydberg and they have a daughter.