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A Tom Clancy calling

“Open minds, open arms.”

Richard Hogue
Richard Hogue
  • Holy Cross Episcopal Church
  • Contact: 204 S Freeman St., Oceanside, CA 760-930-1270 holycrosscarlsbad.org
  • Membership: 60
  • Neighborhood: Oceanside
  • Pastor: Father Richard Hogue  
  • Age: 34
  • Born: Chicago
  • Formation: Wabash College, Crawfordsville, IN; Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley.
  • Years Ordained: 4

San Diego Reader: Why did you become a priest?

Father Richard Hogue: I had a conversation with our bishop when I was a young man growing up in Wisconsin. I was at one of our church camps in the Diocese of Eau Claire, and I saw the new bishop there reading a Tom Clancy novel. I thought that was cool because I was really into Tom Clancy at that time. I was about 12. We sat on a bench talking about whatever the new novel was — Patriot Games, perhaps — and at the end of the conversation the bishop said to me, “You should think about being a priest, young man.” At the time I thought, “Yeah, whatever.” When he was at my ordination, four and a half years ago, he said, “So how did that conversation go that we had?” I smiled and said, “It turned out pretty well, Bishop.” That was the spark, but what really drew me into my calling was my experience in South Africa. I lived and worked as a missionary for the Episcopal Church in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape Province, in a medical clinic in a garbage dump slum, primarily with HIV/AIDs patients and TB patients. I saw the world through a completely different lens; I met Jesus there and I never expected to. That was really the root of the call for me in my adult life – working with the poorest of the poor in South Africa.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

FH: We’re going through a visioning process here in the near future because our move from Carlsbad to Oceanside over the past year. It was a significant feat in so many regards, and gives us opportunities to reimagine who we want to be and what we want to become in the light of God. But the tagline that will always fit Holy Cross is “Open minds, open arms.” We’re intentional in reaching out to the marginalized, including the LGBTQ community, and we’re also concerned with the life of veterans. We have a significant number in our congregation with military backgrounds.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

FH: Jesus’s bigger concern is how we live this life than what comes after it. Do I believe in a heaven and a hell? They’re both there in the Bible; but, I think the message of Christianity — or more specifically the message of Jesus — is concerned about this world here and now; that’s the change of time that Jesus talks about. We use the word “apocalypse” a lot, but not in the sense that Jesus and people in his time would have understood that word. We think of Michal Bay movies about meteors hitting the earth. But Jesus was talking about the end of the world as we know it, here and now: God turning the world upside down — the first shall be last and the last shall be first. We have to go back to the Beatitudes — it’s the changing of everything. That’s the message of Christianity. It’s about this world now. God will take care of whatever comes next.

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Richard Hogue
Richard Hogue
  • Holy Cross Episcopal Church
  • Contact: 204 S Freeman St., Oceanside, CA 760-930-1270 holycrosscarlsbad.org
  • Membership: 60
  • Neighborhood: Oceanside
  • Pastor: Father Richard Hogue  
  • Age: 34
  • Born: Chicago
  • Formation: Wabash College, Crawfordsville, IN; Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley.
  • Years Ordained: 4

San Diego Reader: Why did you become a priest?

Father Richard Hogue: I had a conversation with our bishop when I was a young man growing up in Wisconsin. I was at one of our church camps in the Diocese of Eau Claire, and I saw the new bishop there reading a Tom Clancy novel. I thought that was cool because I was really into Tom Clancy at that time. I was about 12. We sat on a bench talking about whatever the new novel was — Patriot Games, perhaps — and at the end of the conversation the bishop said to me, “You should think about being a priest, young man.” At the time I thought, “Yeah, whatever.” When he was at my ordination, four and a half years ago, he said, “So how did that conversation go that we had?” I smiled and said, “It turned out pretty well, Bishop.” That was the spark, but what really drew me into my calling was my experience in South Africa. I lived and worked as a missionary for the Episcopal Church in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape Province, in a medical clinic in a garbage dump slum, primarily with HIV/AIDs patients and TB patients. I saw the world through a completely different lens; I met Jesus there and I never expected to. That was really the root of the call for me in my adult life – working with the poorest of the poor in South Africa.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

FH: We’re going through a visioning process here in the near future because our move from Carlsbad to Oceanside over the past year. It was a significant feat in so many regards, and gives us opportunities to reimagine who we want to be and what we want to become in the light of God. But the tagline that will always fit Holy Cross is “Open minds, open arms.” We’re intentional in reaching out to the marginalized, including the LGBTQ community, and we’re also concerned with the life of veterans. We have a significant number in our congregation with military backgrounds.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

FH: Jesus’s bigger concern is how we live this life than what comes after it. Do I believe in a heaven and a hell? They’re both there in the Bible; but, I think the message of Christianity — or more specifically the message of Jesus — is concerned about this world here and now; that’s the change of time that Jesus talks about. We use the word “apocalypse” a lot, but not in the sense that Jesus and people in his time would have understood that word. We think of Michal Bay movies about meteors hitting the earth. But Jesus was talking about the end of the world as we know it, here and now: God turning the world upside down — the first shall be last and the last shall be first. We have to go back to the Beatitudes — it’s the changing of everything. That’s the message of Christianity. It’s about this world now. God will take care of whatever comes next.

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