Father LaPata Recognized With Great Preacher Award

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Last month, members of the Dominican and Fenwick community gathered at the Third Annual Provincial’s Dinner to recognize a very special person: Father Richard LaPata, O.P.. The event took place on November 15 at Misericordia Heart of Mercy in Chicago, where the the Provincial of the Dominican Province of St. Albert the Great honored both Father LaPata and Ms. Allison Rosati.

LaPata was recognized with the Central Province Great Preacher Award. This prestigious award is granted to exceptional preachers who have contributed and strengthened the Catholic community through their work, dedication, and leadership.

LaPata’s ministry of 65 years as a Dominican was shaped by his Catholic eduacation. He reminisces on a number of Dominican teachers employed at Fenwick, saying, “I was very impressed by their commitment to the education of young people, and their lifestyle of living in community. Gradually, as I began living as a Friar, I acquired further reasons for continuing in this way of life.”

Evidently, Father LaPata’s relationships with faculty resulted in his vocation as a Dominican priest. “I would go so far as to say I owe Fenwick my life,” he affirms. His involvement in the community did not end at his graduation in 1950; he served as President from 1998 to 2007, and later became an associate in the Department of Institutional Advancement. He enjoyed getting to know students and their families most, which he attests added “immeasurable richness” to his life.

Being presented with the Great Preacher award holds great meaning for LaPata. Though he feels there are others worthy of receiving the award, he is honored by the recognition of his ministry. “The act of preaching asks me to make sure that what I say is truthful, backed by good theology, and a sincere desire to benefit the People of God he explains.

Through preaching, Father LaPata develops connections with his listeners and is inspired to understand their hopes, needs, and social conditions. Father LaPata’s goal in preaching is for his audience to “increase the love of God and neighbor in their minds and hearts, and to become deeply aware of God’s love for them.”

During his time as a Dominican priest, President, and associate, Father LaPata has gained immesurable wisdom, one piece of which he wishes to share with Fenwick’s students being that “Wherever life takes you, [you must] always try to create a sense of community with others– in your school, in your parish, at work, or in the social groups with which you are associated. Among other things, community is an antidote for loneliness. It helps to create peace, and eliminates toxic individualism.”

Congratulations to Father LaPata on his receival of the Great Preacher Award. It is a great honor, and one of which he is worthy.

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