The Riches honoured at Littlemore
DENIS RICHES, founder of Family Publications and his wife Valerie, parishioners of the Oxford Oratory, were invested as a Knight and Dame of the Equestrian Order of St Gregory the Great by Bishop Philip • Pargeter, an auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, on Saturday. October 6, writes Peter Jennings.
The ceremony was held at the end of Mass for the annual Cardinal Newman Pilgrimage, at the church of Blessed Dominic Barberi in Littlemore, Oxford. Newman, a former Anglican vicar of Littlemore, was received into the Catholic Church there by Blessed Dominic, an Italian Passionist priest, on October 9, 1845.
It had been planned that the Riches would be invested at the Oxford Oratory later in October but the ceremony was brought forward due to the rapidly deteriorating health of Denis Riches, who has cancer.
In a homily centred on the rosary, R John Saward. priest-in-charge of St Gregory and Augustine. Oxford, said how fitting it was that under the patronage of Our Lady and Cardinal Newman, the Holy Father should be honouring a great man and woman of the Church, "dear Denis and Valerie, a Christian knight and his lady. who have fought so hard and achieved so much in defence of
marriage and the family".
Denis Riches founded Family Publications, an independent Catholic publishing house, in Oxford in 1988, following his conversion to Catholicism.
Valerie Riches has been active in pro-life and family issues since soon after the 1967 Abortion Act. She was honorary secretary of the Responsible Society, founded in 1971, which became Family and Youth
Concern (FYC) the same year. She began her important work in these fields years before her own reception into the Catholic Church.
Denis and Valerie's joint autobiography Built on Love was published by Family Publications earlier this year. The book describes Valerie's fight for the family, their spiritual journey to Rome and their life as Catholics.