Posted by: thedianestory | August 31, 2009

Remembering Pastor Louie Ricci

Louie Ricci

I had written two weeks ago about my childhood pastor Louie Ricci, who recently passed away, saying that I was planning on writing a tribute to him on my blog. I just haven’t been able to wrap my thoughts around this yet to do it, but finally tonight I feel like I can get my thoughts into words and honor this man who I had so much respect for.

Louie Ricci was my pastor when I was around the ages of 5-8 years. These are really impressionable years on a child and Louie certainly had an influence on me and what I thought about Jesus. I had already accepted Jesus when my family started attending Grace Brethren Church where Louie was the pastor, but I certainly didn’t know much about a Christian life yet, so watching those around me and learning at church were very important things for me.

Louie was a passionate man for Christ whose life motto was “Christ is the Answer.” I watched him week after week preaching on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings and I saw a gentle man preaching the gospel and making it evident that we all needed Christ in our lives. Louie believed in us kids at the church. He would regularly come and join the kids during Sunday school and worship with us. One thing that I have never forgotten is him telling us as children to never worry about what others thought of us as we worshipped – that our worship time was between us and God. He told us to never be afraid to lift our hands in praise to Christ, for that was an act of worship to our Savior. That little piece of encouragement has remained an important thing to me in my life, because I am one who loves to lift my hands in praise to my Jesus. Sometimes there are places where it seems no one else is actively worshipping and I start to hold myself back from lifting my hands in praise because no one else around me is doing it and I am worried of what others will think. But then I hear those soft words from Louie spoken oh so many years ago now; and my insecurities melt away and I raise my hands in my praise to Jesus.

When I was six years old, myself and several of the other kids at church began talking about baptism at our weekly kid’s program “Whirlybirds for Jesus.” Many of us decided we wanted to be baptized. Some people would question rather a six year old could truly understand what baptism signifies and whether they should be baptized. Our Whirlybird teacher, Lana Booker (who also just recently went to be with the Lord) decided to schedule a meeting with Louie to discuss it. Louie did his pastoral duties and questioned us each individually to see if we understood it. When he realized that we truly understood what it was and that we wanted it, there was no more hesitation. Louie baptized me and several others when I was six years old. I can tell you that I will never forget that day and am so grateful now to have that memory with Louie.

Louie was a man who always had time for others – always. I remember stopping at the church throughout the week with my parents just to chat and check in with him about life. Louie never seemed bothered, but rather seemed to relish the opportunity to pour Christ’s love into others. He was truly selfless. I also remember through the years seeing Louie at the hospital visiting the sick. I could almost guarantee anytime I’d be at the hospital to visit someone; I would run into Louie. He was always taking the time to visit those in need – sometimes, many times; he would be visiting people who would not have had a visit from anyone if it were not for him.

And then there was the time, fourteen years ago, when I found myself sick in a hospital bed; not just sick – but near death. My own pastor had not even cared to come visit me (which is a story of itself) but Louie had heard that I was ill and was instantly up at the hospital to visit and pray with me. He was such a blessing. And then there were the years after that, where Louie always, ALWAYS had time for me. I would see him around town on several occasions and, never being too busy, he would stop and catch up on my life and again, you could just feel God’s love pouring out of him.

I wish now that I would have sat down and told Louie what an influence he had on my life. I’d want him to know what a difference he made in my life and that I am so much better for knowing him. I find peace though; knowing that what mattered to Louie was spreading God’s love and sharing his message “Christ is the Answer.” I trust that God met him at the gates of Heaven with the words “Well done, my good and faithful son,” and that God has allowed him to see how many lives he touched here on earth.

So until we meet again Louie, thanks for your love and all you meant to me. You will never be forgotten and I will work to let your legacy live on – CHRIST IS THE ANSWER!

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Responses

  1. What a nice way to tribute a man you respected & loved! You have quite a way with words!

    • Thanks Sara! We should chat tomorrow. I miss you.

  2. Very well done, Diane.
    It is good to remember how someone cared enough to pour into the kids and youth, and made a difference. Keeps us all in hope, doesn’t it? We never really know our influence, or when our time will be done here. It is a good motivation to make the moments count.

  3. Very good job. LOUI would probaly say that is what God called him to do. So he folled Gods call and did it.

    Yes he was a very caring man. I knew him for a very long time and always had an interest in the children as they would be the future. If we don’t do our job in training them then who will be there to take the place of those of us who go to be with the Lord.

    So we too are called to share Gods word and be there to visit the sick,help the needy and just do what God calls us to do.

  4. Thank you for your article on Louie Ricci. I admired him from a distance since I never had the pleasure of his friendship. My last time seeing him was at The Well ministry when I was there to hear a choir sing. His love for the men was genuine, a reciprocal feeling. I always read Louie’s articles in the ER paper and I associate “Christ is the Answer” with him. I mentioned this in my blog today ( meridianwoman.blogspot.com). A true hero of the faith. God bless you for sharing this beautiful tribute. Norma Brumbaugh Wieland

    • You are most welcome. Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

  5. Thank you Diane for sharing about Pastor Ricci. My husband Gary first met Louie in the early 1970’s shortly after we were married. He was the used car manager at Volpato’s in Chico, Gary was a young mechanic. Gary often remarked that Louie was one of the kindest men he ever knew and always shared his deep faith in his Savior very readily. Sad that he missing from this earth but happy to know he is with the GOD he loved so much. Blessings–

    • Hi Patti. So fun to know to you guys knew Louie as well. I think most of Chick crossed his path somehow or another. Louie was also a pastor of my mom’s when she was a young girl. So he was just a special person to my family. Glad you were able to read my tribute to him. Thanks for letting me know you here. 😉
      Still hoping to get up to see you on my next trip to Portland.
      Blessings to you my friend!

  6. What a beautiful tribute to Louie Diane!!!! How fitting that I would see this now because on August 9th it will be four years [already] that he went to be with his Lord. You can not believe how many people tell me similar stories about him and his dedication and always taking the time to call on people in need or call on ones in the hospital or just to chat about the Lord. I knew he loved people but as a family we never really knew how wide spread his ministry went until after he passed and we heard this kind of story from so many. So thank you Diane for writing such a beautiful tribute to Louie…..and I so remember his relationship with your Mom over the years too starting in Corning. Blessings on you and your Mom.

    • Wow. Hard to believe its been four years already. I’m glad you got to see this now. How fitting. Thanks for taking time to read my blog. Your kind words are so encouraging. Love you!


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