About Us

Sean Raftis
Father
Fr. Sean Raftis, served previously Holy Cross in Townsend and the Cathedral of Saint Helena. Originally from Spokane, Father Raftis earned degrees from Gonzaga University, and graduate degrees from Washington State University, Loyola University Chicago, and Boston College. He has a pontifical degree focusing on the Roman Catholic Mass from Boston College. Originally from Spokane, he joined the Helena Diocese in 2014 after serving fifteen years in the Society of Jesus. His late parents were Jim and Catherine Raftis, and he has a sister, Margaret, who lives in Spokane, and a brother, Patrick, who lives in the Puget Sound area.
Bob Pearce
Senior Deacon
Doug Courdier
Deacon
Doug is a Columbia Falls native and a member of St. Richard Parish since 1955. He graduated from Columbia Falls High School in 1972 and the University of Montana in 1976 and 1979, and Northern Montana College in 1990. While in college, he met Charlene Doyle of Whitefish. In 1979, they married and began their careers in education, Doug as teacher, counselor and coach in Columbia Falls, and Char as speech pathologist in Whitefish. In 1984, they were blessed with a daughter, Brice Erin, whom also graduated from Columbia Falls HS in 2002. Doug and Char entered the Diocese of Helena’s Diaconate Formation Program in the fall of 2007. On June 29, 2012, Doug, along with his 16 fellow program candidates, was ordained into the order of the permanent diaconate by Bishop George Leo Thomas. Bishop Thomas assigned Doug to serve St. Richard’s beginning June 1, 2012. In June, 2013, Doug retired from education and is now devoting his time to serving his St. Richard family and the Columbia Falls community in his role as permanent deacon.
Raven Dryden
Youth Ministry Coordinator, Junior High and High School Religious Education
Raven began leading youth ministry at St. Richard’s fall of 2015 after moving to the Flathead Valley. Originally from Missoula she grew up steeped in the community life of her home parish Blessed Trinity. Active in Diocesan youth ministry in high school, Raven fell in love with the exuberant young church and the handing on of faith. She earned a Communication Arts degree from Carroll College in 2014 and moved to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation to teach at De La Salle Blackfeet School. While in Browning a parent asked if she would lead a high school youth group for the parish and Raven agreed! She has never regretted the decision to serve and empower youth in their journey to know Christ’s love, develop a personal relationship with Him and let faith be the guiding force in their life.
Colleen Konopatzke
Office Administrator
Colleen has deep roots at St. Richard Parish. She has been a parishioner of St. Richard's Parish for over 40 years when her family moved here in 1973. She was confirmed and married at this parish and her children received their sacraments here as well. Her husband, Steve, was welcomed and fully initiated into the Catholic faith in 2005. She was the Elementary Youth Ministry Coordinator from 2001 until 2010. In 2010 she accepted the Office Administrators position in the parish office. She continues to enjoy serving this faith community. She quotes "St. Richard's parishioners are my extended family."
Holly McKenzie
Elementary Youth Minister
​Holly moved to Montana in 1998 after growing up in Spokane and earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry from Northern Arizona University. She met her husband, Paul in Southeast Alaska and they had a son, Ian in 2001. Ian was baptized at Our Lady of Mercy in Eureka and Holly began to help out with the religious education program after school at that church while her son was young. When the McKenzies relocated to Columbia Falls in 2005, their daughter, Ilah was born and the family became very involved at Saint Richard’s Catholic Church. It was a great way to meet new people in a new community “The church needs many hands to operate and succeed and our family is there at least a few times each week” Holly took on the role of elementary education coordinator in 2010 and helped initiate the Wednesday after school program 2 years ago. I learn so much from the kids and other teachers that it is like taking a continuing education program in Catholic Catechism. Our Church is so rich in tradition and history. One of the highlights of my life was travelling to Italy in 2013 with my family and seeing the Pope in Rome! Holly currently does some consulting forestry work with private landowners and substitute teaching at the local schools. Other activities include hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting and her absolute favorite pastime……Huckleberry picking!
Mary Burgess
Music Director
Emma Gulko
Housekeeping
Lynette Smith
Elementary Youth Minister