Rev. R. Tony Ricard, M.Th., M.Div., is a Priest for the Archdiocese of New Orleans and is the Pastor of Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish. He is also a former Core Instructor of Church Doctrine for the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University in New Orleans. Fr. Tony has given keynote addresses, retreats, revivals, and youth talks across the nation. At last count, he has preached in 20 countries.
Fr. Tony is a native of New Orleans and a proud graduate of Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School and St. Augustine High School. He is a former New Orleans Public School teacher who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Loyola University, a Master of Theology degree from Xavier University’s Institute for Black Catholic Studies and a Master of Divinity degree from Notre Dame Seminary.
"The image that you see was created specifically for my ordination invitations by my seminary classmate, Fr. Herbert Kiff. He used his artistic gifts to put in a concrete form a vision that I shared with him. In my vision, I saw a priest standing on the banks of the Mississippi River, dedicating a child to the Lord. He was praying before God, just as Zachariah prayed for the protection of the child in his hands and in thanksgiving for the blessing that this child would be to the world. In my vision, this dedication was taking place in the middle of the night.
Believe it or not, I actually posed for this picture (a technique called pointillism-series of dots, no lines drawn). We were in my seminary room and I was sharing with Fr. Kiff exactly how I saw the priest standing in my vision. So, he asked me to just stand still for a moment as he sketched the position of the priest and the child. Since we were in my room, we did not have vestments for me to wear which would allow Fr. Kiff to sketch how the material would fall and fold. So, he improvised by taking a sheet off of my bed and draped it over my arms. With that, he was able to clearing see the vision that came to me. He returned about a week later with the art work in hand.
Many have asked who am I in this piece? Am I the priest or am I the baby who is being dedicated to God? My response to them has been simple, I am both. For, I was dedicated to God at my Baptism and through the gift of Holy Orders. And, now, as a Priest, I am called to dedicate other to the Lord in Jesus’ name.
However, to truly be the one who dedicates others to God, I must never forget that I first had to be chosen by God for my own moment of dedication."