Fr. David T. Richter’s Legacy to Continue Through Memorial Fund


by Diane Libro

Fr. David T. Richter served the Diocese of Shreveport for 29 years with a quiet but fierce passion for God and the Church. Three years after his unexpected death at age 57, his three brothers are continuing his ministry by establishing the Fr. David T. Richter Memorial Fund. The foundation supports vocations and pro-life efforts.

“He could have done a lot more good through the years,” brother Randy Richter said. “I wanted to help him and support the work he had done.”

Fr. Richter was raised in a devoutly Catholic home, where his parents prayed one of their four sons would become a priest. The real push came from the Dallas Cowboys. In 1970 the team faced a tough game, so 13-year-old super-fan David made a deal with God. If they won, he would read the whole Bible. They did, and he did.

The call to the priesthood came shortly thereafter. After graduating Fair Park High School, he attended seminary. There he met Fr. Bede Lackner, a Cistercian who became his spiritual director throughout his life.

They met only a few times a year, but Lackner described Fr. Richter as a “true servant of God,” “humble,” “fervent,” “patient” and “inspiring.”

“He was a chosen one, had no religious conflicts and led a saintly life,” Lackner said.

Ordained in 1986, he served the Diocese of Shreveport as parish priest, Vicar General, Director of Vocations, chaplain of Catholic Scouting, canon lawyer and many other positions.

He taught people about the power of silence, thinking before speaking and the power of devotion to Mary and the Eucharist.

To his family, he was a voice of measured counsel and spiritual guidance as well as presider at baptisms, weddings, and their parents’ last rites.

“One of my strongest emotions following his passing is during the Consecration of the Mass,” younger brother Kevin Richter said. “I will tear up remembering how he loved the Mass, our Lord and being His priest.”

Fr. Richter’s quiet, thoughtful nature belied a passionate commitment to the gospel and the truth. Each month
Fr. Richter wrote checks totaling a few hundred dollars to various charities – gifts discovered after his death that surprised his brothers.

Other efforts were more public. He joined prayer and protest in support of the pro-life movement, and was once arrested outside of an abortion clinic.

“One of the cops said I can’t arrest a priest,” but another had no such qualms, brother Mark Richter said. “They detained him and let him go.”

His approach was simple: “Do the right thing,” said Teresa Brandle, who met with Fr. Richter once a month or so for spiritual direction for more than 20 years. While over the years they discussed deep theology and challenging issues, she said his direction always came back to the basic truth.

“Fr. Richter said to me that that if we both strived to be holy, followed the teachings of the Church and received the Sacraments often, we could be saints too,” she said. “I’m counting on the intercession of Fr. David Richter to help me get to the Eternal Kingdom.”

By all accounts, Fr. Richter would not want much fuss made about him after his death, but he was also the kind of priest who would not let his personal wishes interfere in the work of promoting the gospel.

Continuing his legacy will require a large investment, and Randy Richter hopes those who remember him fondly will make a gift to the foundation.

“He was my baby brother. I prayed for him. I want to continue this work.”  •

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