Jubilarian Profile: Richard Husted Celebrates 50 Years as a Friar

Wendy Healy Friar News

This is the 13th in a series of profiles of HNP friars commemorating anniversaries of Franciscan profession in 2010. The last issue of  HNP Today featured Joseph Hertel, OFM.

ALLEGANY, N.Y. — During his 50 years as a friar, Richard Husted, OFM, has been a teacher, a retreat director, a campus minister, a counselor and spiritual adviser, a pastor, and leader of a community of young adults. He celebrated his broad ministry at a jubilee in June, along with 14 other Holy Name friars.

The pastor of St. Bonaventure Church in rural Western New York has served the parish since 2002. On July 27, the parish celebrated his golden jubilee  of profession with a prayer service and reception.

Ever since he was a teen, Richard wanted to be a priest. The Caldwell, N.J., native attended St. Anthony’s School in Butler, N.J., where he recalls talking with the vocation director as an eighth-grader. “One night, at the supper table, I announced to my parents that I had decided to go to the seminary for high school,” Richard wrote in his Journey to Franciscan Life on the Holy Name website. “My father responded, ‘Absolutely not. You’re too young.’”

But Richard pursued his passion, and entered St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., as a freshman in 1953. “My father was convinced I wouldn’t last two weeks and refused to buy me a black suit. Instead, we had one dyed,” he wrote.

Ordained in 1966
Thirteen years later, in 1966, he and 23 other young men were ordained. “It was the middle of the Vietnam war and the ending of the Second Vatican Council. Both events had a way of challenging each of the men ordained to minister in ways they never could have imagined.”

Richard began his ministry in volunteer services at St. Elizabeth Mental Hospital in Washington, D.C., from 1964 to 1966, and worked on the staff of St. Anthony Shrine in Boston in 1966.

A year later, he was assigned to Archbishop Walsh High School in Olean, N.Y., as chairman of the religion department. From 1969 to 1978, he served as program director at Christ House, a retreat center in Lafayette, N.J. He was especially challenged by this ministry, he said, and, “liked the task of developing programs for high school seniors, priests, brothers and sisters who were struggling to rediscover their place in the Church, and for laity who were thirsty to explore their faith.”

He directed Berakah from 1978 to 1988, a community of single young adults in northern New Jersey. Berakah is the Hebrew word for blessing. During the first year, he also was campus minister at Felician College in Lodi, N.J., and then liturgy director at St. Joseph’s Parish in East Rutherford, N.J., and later, assistant pastor at Guardian Angel Parish in Allendale, N.J.

In 1991, he was assigned to serve as pastor of St. Joseph Church in East Rutherford, a parish of approximately 2,700 families and a parish school with 250 children. He spent 11 years there.

Richard earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, and a bachelor of sacred theology from The Catholic University in Washington, D.C. He studied philosophy at St. Francis College in Rye Beach, N.H., and theology at the Province’s Holy Name College in Washington, D.C.

He has also worked on the Province’s Refounding and Ministerial directorates. In 1990, he founded a troupe of Christian players called the Heralds of the World, which proclaimed the Gospel through music and drama.

What does Richard like best about being part of the Province? “In every ministry that I have served,” he said, “I have been blessed to work side by side with friars and lay people as partners in ministry. To share the journey with other disciples and see the rich diversity of God’s gifts is perhaps what convinces me that God uses all kinds of people to build the kingdom.”

— Wendy Healy is a freelance writer living in Connecticut and a frequent contributor to HNP Today. Upcoming newsletter issues will feature Miguel Loredo, OFM, and Ronald Stark, OFM.