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A kind and outstanding priest

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

May 26, 2021

I’ve written about him at least twice in this column, but he wasn’t named either time. The most recent time, he was referred to as “a kind priest.” The previous time, he was referred to as “one of the many outstanding priests of our diocese.”

Father Richard S. Sturtz was both of those things. He was a kind priest and an outstanding priest.

Father Sturtz entered into new life on May 19. A story can be found here and obituary can be found here.

I first became acquainted with Father Sturtz when I had the opportunity to interview him after the death of his good friend, Msgr. Peter Riani. Father Sturtz’s smile lit up my office as he recounted his adventures with his friends, and his eyes welled with tears as he spoke of his friend’s strength through waning health.

His authenticity made it easy to like him. It was partly because of that authenticity that I wasn’t surprised when two of my friends suggested that Father Sturtz was kind and merciful when he heard confessions.

At the risk of offending some of the other wonderful priests I know, I’ll note that my friends were correct: Father Sturtz was the best confessor!

In addition to being extremely kind and merciful, Father Sturtz saw good in every situation, and he offered support and helpful counsel. While I dwelled on my sinfulness and struggles, he highlighted all the ways God was at work in my life and all the beauty in life, and he gave me practical suggestions for overcoming my struggles. He also gave me what I’d call “non-standard” penances, including several that were very, very helpful in growing my relationship with the Lord.

More than that, though, Father Sturtz embodied the peace and joy of Christ. Regardless of the situation, he always greeted me (and everyone I saw him greet) with a positive word and a contagious smile.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

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