Passionist Priest/Physician Will Address Marywood Graduates at 2011 Commencement

Published on Thu, April 07, 2011

Reverend Richard (Rick) Frechette, C.P., D.O., director of medical services, Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos International, will be the keynote speaker at Marywood University's Commencement on Sunday, May 8, 2011, at the Mohegan Sun Arena, Wilkes-Barre. He will be awarded an honorary doctorate during the ceremony, along with two additional honorary degree recipients, Reverend Thomas J. O'Hara, C.S.C., Ph.D., retiring president of King's College, Wilkes-Barre, and Reverend Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., Ph.D., outgoing president of the University of Scranton..

Rev. Frechette, better known as Father Rick, became a Passionist priest in 1979. After a few years as a parish priest in Baltimore, he met Rev. William B. Wasson, founder of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH), Spanish for "Our Little Brothers and Sisters," and worked in Mexico in 1983 at an old hacienda that had been converted to a home for nearly 1,000 orphaned and abandoned children. As a priest and administrator, his next calling was to Honduras to help establish a second orphanage for NPH.

He was drawn next to Haiti, where Mother Teresa's Sisters of Charity were caring for babies born of dying mothers, frequently sick with AIDS. Many of the babies did not survive, but those who did needed care, love and a place to live. After visiting the poor country and children's hospice, Rev. Frechette and Rev. Wasson decided to begin an orphanage there. Today, Nos Petits Freres et Soeurs, French for "Our Little Brothers and Sisters," survives amidst political chaos, economic disaster and uncontrollable crime.

To further assist the Haitian people and their needs, Rev. Frechette went to medical school and became a physician in 1998. Despite ongoing obstacles, Rev. Frechette remains determined to make a difference in the lives of children in Haiti. His duties include overseeing NPH's 250-bed hospital, St. Damien's, which provides long-term care to critically ill children and outpatient services to over 17,000 children and adults each year; assuring the healthcare at the NPH orphanage called St. Hélène, with over 450 children; and spending five mornings a week working alongside the Sisters of Charity in their centers for the sick and destitute dying.

Rev. Frechette is a graduate of Assumption College in Massachusetts with degrees in math and philosophy. He also attended St. John's University in New York and studied theology as a seminarian. He earned a doctor of osteopathic medicine degree in 1998 from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and is a licensed general practitioner in New York and Florida. Rev. Frechette presently serves as medical director of NPH International and oversees the medical needs of the children in nine countries.

Read more about the honorary degree recipients, Reverend Thomas J. O'Hara, C.S.C., Ph.D. and Reverend Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.