Editor’s Note: Matthew Chicoine interviewed Father Richard Libby via phone call on August 23rd, 2023. Some of the questions have been rearranged and edited to provide the best reader experience without losing any integrity of the answers given.
Today’s topic is sacramentals and Catholic saints and devotions attached to them. I had the pleasure of interviewing Father Richard Libby about his experience with sacramentals and how they impacted his spiritual life.
Thank you for meeting with me again Father Libby. 🙂
Happy to talk with you Matthew!
What’s a sacramental?
An object that leads us to greater devotion. Items like the Rosary, the scapular, and the medal. They are intended to stir up our devotion.
Has your mindset towards sacramentals change much since you were ordained a priest?
There wasn’t much of a change in my attitude over the sacramentals since becoming a priest. But I have seen more and more how sacramentals are instruments to help us our journey. I have developed a new appreciation.
What sacramentals have you used during your priesthood most often?
The Rosary and the Brown Scapular. I’m also developing a greater appreciation of the Saint Benedict Medal and the Holy Face Medal.
Holy water is a sacramental and some people don’t see it as a sacramental. I like to do the rite of sprinkling once a month at my parish. I enjoy having it in the Epiphany Blessing. Holy Water is recommended in blessings such as the investiture of the Brown Scapular.
Describe a bit of your spirituality.
I was a devotee of the Brown Scapular. Since becoming a priest, I have have the opportunity to visit a Carmelite hermitage and developed friendships with them.
Which Catholic saint has had the biggest impact on your spiritual life?
The Blessed Virgin Mary and Her Rosary. I try to make it a point to pray it daily. While it’s not a required devotion, it’s such a part of our life it’s hard to imagine a Catholic without a rosary.
The three popes (John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Francis) I know the best in my lifetime have had a notable devotion to Mary.
John Paul II had a year of the Rosary during his pontificate. JPII wrote a document on the Rosary. He was influenced by Saint Louis de Montfort. Perhaps there is no more noteworthy child of Mary, in recent history, than John Paul II.
Benedict XVI’s devotion was a bit more reserved than JPII’s. However, he did dedicate his Pontificate to Mary, so there’s no question the Blessed Virgin Mary was influential on his papacy.
Pope Francis goes to the Saint Mary Major Basilica in Rome anytime he goes on a major trip.
Any last words of advice, for new Catholic converts in terms of beginning or learning about a sacramental and devotion.
Meet with your parish priest and ask them for guidance. They should be able to connect you with resources about sacramentals.
Thank you for your time, Father Richard! It was great chatting with you.
You’re welcome! Great talking with you too.
About Father Richard Libby:
Father Richard Libby is a priest of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, where he serves as pastor of St. Helena Parish and as the chancellor of the diocese. In his free time, he enjoys reading, writing poems and short stories, and birdwatching.