RICHARD C. (Dick) LEACH
(August 24, 1927-May 29, 2001)
Founder and Chairman of RCL Resources for Christian Living, a division of RCL Enterprises, Inc. Dick dedicated the last forty years of his life to promoting an awareness, understanding and implementation of the vision and teachings of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) of the Catholic Church. Acknowledged as a leading communicator through the use of multi-media, Leach made contributions to adult faith formation, catechist formation, and high school, middle school/junior high, elementary, and early childhood religious education which have become paradigms for contemporary faith formation programs and religious education curriculum serving the Catholic Church in the United States. Pope John Paul II recognized Leach’s contributions by awarding him posthumously the prestigious Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross on March 8, 2002.
Dick Leach and his wife, Rosemary, spent five days in Assisi, Italy, in 1997 where they read the Life of Francis by the Franciscan friar Thomas Celano, a contemporary of Francis, and visited the holy places where St. Francis, El Poverello (“The Little Poor Man”), launched his world-changing movement in the thirteenth century. These experiences motivated Dick, who for a long time had had a deep love and admiration for Francis, to fulfill a very personal ambition to share his love for El Poverello as “our only reliable guide to the future.” Dick committed his resources to create a Broadway-quality musical based on the life of St. Francis and to share the inspiration he had gained from the story of the beloved saint. Francesco, Il Musical, which he had both helped write and produce, was based on Dick’s original treatment, the show was performed in an elaborate, 1000-seat, state-of-the-art theatre in Assisi, built by Dick’s company for the production, and fulfilled his purpose – not simply to honor the saint, but to communicate the message of St. Francis.