Saying Goodbye to Father Richard Lombard

by Lucy Medvec

Fr. Lombard is why my family is at St. Joseph. When he baptized our son in 1995, and one year later welcomed me into the Catholic Church, our family knew that we had found a home. He made St. Joseph Church a special place for all of us because he loved this parish so much; and as Fr. Long said at Mass, because he loved every one of us so much. We were his family. Fr. Lombard had that special gift of making everyone feel special – we all believed that we were his favorite.  He was wise, quiet and kind, sometimes stubborn and gruff, but he was always faithful and had a heart of gold. I only knew him for the past 25 years, but I would have loved to have seen him as a priest in his younger days.

For the past few weeks, I have been thinking of my favorite memories and stories of Fr. Lombard – you know we all have at least one. Like the time a baby yelled “YAY” at the end of the Alleluia and he got so tickled, he could barely read the Gospel. We all laughed along with him, which made him laugh even more. Or the time that Mark, my husband, was in the ER for a minor heart issue, yet he panicked and believed that the end was near because Fr. Lombard immediately came to see him.

He was a humble servant who lived a simple life filled with love for God and for all of us. He encouraged so many of us to do more for St. Joseph than just attend weekly Mass. He believed that each of us had a special gift – our time, talent, and treasure – that would enrich our lives and those of our fellow parishioners. Years ago someone told me their nickname for him – The Great Lombardo. This name eventually morphed in our household into The Great One. That was what we called him within our family, but it was with sincerity and love. So as we celebrate his life, let us always remember the man who gave us a home at St. Joseph Parish that is filled with love. I am thankful to have known Fr. Richard Lombard and am blessed to have had him in our family’s life.

I think all of you will agree with me when I say that God truly blessed us when he sent us The Great One. •

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