February 21, 2014
The Rev. Larry J. Hess, 63, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, Reading, died Friday at St. Joseph Medical Center, Reading, surrounded by his family.
Born in Reading, he was a son of Mary G. Lawlor Hess, West Lawn, and the late Lyman R. Hess.
He was a graduate of Central Catholic High School in 1968, DeSales University in 1972 and Mount St. Mary's Seminary in 1979.
Father Hess began his 35-year career as a Catholic priest as associate pastor at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Easton. He then served in the academic arena for 19 years, including Notre Dame High School in Easton; Muhlenberg and Cedar Crest colleges; and Kutztown University in campus ministry. In 1999, he was named pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel Roman Catholic Parish in Gordon, and later served as pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel Roman Catholic Church in Bangor and St. Vincent DePaul Mission, Portland. In 2009, he returned to his hometown of Reading, where he was named pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Millmont.
A well-known speaker and preacher along the entire East Coast, Father Hess was highly regarded for his charismatic leadership (Bishop's Charismatic Liaison for 30 years), but more importantly, he was much loved and revered for his healing and forgiveness ministry. Known as the "Priest of the Holy Card," he wrote down a healing prayer that he had been using when visiting the sick in hospitals. Now, more than 10,000 of his prayer cards per month are requested not only throughout the United States, but also in Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Nigeria, Japan, Bolivia, the Philippines and Ireland.
In addition to his mother, he is survived by his two sisters, Catherine M. Hess, Greenville, S.C., and Mary Grace Rugh, Shillington; nephew, David Rugh Jr., husband of Jeanne, and their daughter, Kayla; niece, Kelli, wife of John Gauker, and their children, Emily, Meredith and Calvin; and nephew, Kevin Rugh, husband of Jessie, and their children, Olivia, Abigail, Zeno and Eli.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. March 3 in his childhood parish of St. Catharine of Siena Roman Catholic Church, 4975 Boyertown Pike, Reading, PA 19606. Entombment will be private in Gethsemane Mausoleum. Viewings will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. March 2 and from 8 to 10:45 a.m. March 3 in the church. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to LaSalle Academy, 440 Holland St., Shillington, PA 19607 or Berks Catholic High School, 955 E. Wyomissing Blvd., Reading, PA 19611. Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home Inc., West Reading, is in charge of arrangements. Visit www.kuhnfuneralhome.com.
Published in Republican & Herald on Feb. 23, 2014