Father Healey was born in Providence, Rhode Island and raised in the Edgewood section of Cranston, where he attended public schools and attended Mass at St. Paul’s Church. He is the youngest of nine children of the late Judge Edward V. Healey, Jr and the late Lillian E. Healey.
A 1987 graduate of The Catholic University of America with a Bachelors of Arts in Politics, Fr. Healey completed his seminary and theological studies at the American College, Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium where he earned a Masters of Arts in Religious Studies and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology specializing in the area of Moral Theology from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. He also earned a Licentiate in Canon Law specializing in the area of church-state relations from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.
Fr. Healey was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island by The Most Rev. Louis E. Gelineau on June 24, 1995. Since his ordination, he has fulfilled many critical assignments across the diocese.
His last assignment prior to Our Lady of Mercy was Pastor of St. Ambrose Church in Albion where he served for 9 years. He also served as the Associate Pastor at St. Mary, Star of the Sea, Narragansett and St. Augustine Church in Providence. He was appointed the seventeenth Pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Church in East Greenwich in June 2012 by Bishop Thomas J. Tobin. Father Healey serves as Chaplain of the Rhode Island Capitol Police as well as the East Greenwich Police Department. In September 2014, He was appointed by Bishop Tobin to serve as the Dean (Vicar Forane) of the South County Deanery (VII).
Father Healey has also served as Theological Consultant and Editorial Writer for Rhode Island Catholic, (formerly known as the Providence Visitor) the weekly diocesan newspaper from 1998 until June of 2013. Since 2000 he has served as the Chief Lobbyist to the Rhode Island General Assembly and the Director of the Rhode Island Catholic Conference. The RICC serves as the chief source of advocacy and education for the Catholic Church’s public policy positions before the Rhode Island General Assembly and other civic officials and bodies. It represents the hundreds of thousands of Catholics who call Rhode Island home.
Fr. Healey is a member of the Advisory Board of the Rhode Island Catholic School Parents Federation, the advocacy group for Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Providence. He is a founding Board Member of the Rhode Island Scholarship Alliance, an organization of Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs) working to promote school choice and educational opportunities for economically disadvantaged students through the Rhode Island Scholarship tax credit program. Fr. Healey also serves as the President of the Board of the Rhode Island Scholarship Advocates, the public policy and advocacy division of the RI Scholarship Alliance.
Fr. Healey is a member of the National Association of State Catholic Conference Directors, an association of the Executive Directors of State Catholic Conferences and affiliate Diocesan Agencies from across the country and currently is a member of the Executive Committee of NASCCD serving as its Treasurer. He is also a member of the Canon Law Society of America.
Father Healey is a board member of the St. Thomas More Legal Society of Rhode Isand, which promotes the Annual Red Mass. He is also a member of the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick of Providence, the Sons of Irish Kings, the Ancient Order of Hibernians of Providence and Newport, the Shamrock Society of North Providence and also a fourth degree member of the Knights of Columbus.
Father Healey is the recipient of the Thomas Aquinas Award for Distinguished Service and Advocacy on behalf of Catholic School Children from the R.I. Catholic School Parents’ Federation and the St. George Emblem for his service and support on behalf for Catholic Scouting in the Diocese of Providence. In 2007 he was invested as a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, the only Pontifical lay institution of the Vatican State charged with the task of providing for the needs of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and of all the activities and initiatives to support the Christian presence in the Holy Land.
Among his favorite Saints are St. Patrick, St. Oliver Plunkett, St. Thomas More, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Mother Cabrini, and St. Francis of Assisi. He enjoys reading the writings of Blessed Dom Columba Marmion, Blessed Archbishop Oscar Romero, Saint Jose Maria Escriva, Saint Augustine, Saint Pope John XXIII and Saint Pope John Paul the Great.
In his spare time, Father Healey enjoys smoking fine cigars while watching the Boston Red Sox, the New England Patriots and Notre Dame Football or while sitting on one of Rhode Island's beautiful beaches. An avid reader of history and historical fiction, he also loves to spend time watching old movies especially classic Westerns with John Wayne, Film Noir, John Ford Films and independent and foreign films.
Musically he is fan of Nina Simone, Edith Piaf, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys and the Doors. He enjoys studying and celebrating his Irish ancestry in the arts, literature and music. A life-long fan of Traditional Irish Music he is known to be a fan of the Chieftains, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, the Wolfetones, the Dubliners, the Fenians, the Dropkick Murphys and Gaelic Storm.
A lifelong student of politics and a certified political independent, he follows national and local politics with a passion and zealously advocates for the legal protection of all human life from conception until natural death, the respect of the human dignity of every human being and the common good. He loves to travel to visit priest friends in Miami and Southern California in the winter, his sister and her family in Saratoga Springs during the racing season, and any place in Europe at anytime! The youngest child in his large family, he also spends time with his brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews and great-nieces.
The Pastors of Our Lady of Mercy
|1.||Rev. Patrick J. Lenihan||1853-1857*|
|2.||Rev. William Hart||1867-1868|
|3.||Rev. Thomas Kane||1868-1872|
|4.||Rev. William Halligan||1872-1879|
|5.||Rev. William Hines||1879-1888|
|6.||Rev. Owen F. Clarke||1888-1899|
|7.||Rev. Thomas J. Fitzpatrick||1899-1904|
|8.||Rev. Peter J. Malone||1904-1918|
|9.||Rev. William R. Houghton||1918-1924|
|10.||Rev. James Kelly||1924-1926|
|11.||Rev. James J. Trainor, D.C.L.||1926-1943|
|12.||Rev. Joseph A. Devanney||1943-1947|
|13.||Rev. Francis P. Brady||1947-1970|
|14.||Rev. Msgr. Arthur A. Sullivan||1970-1986|
|15.||Rev. Richard D. Sheahan||1986-1992|
|16.||Rev. Msgr. John W. Lolio||1992-2012|
|17.||Very Rev. Bernard A. Healey||2012-|
*After Fr. Lenihan’s death, Bishop McFarland appointed two administrators who cared for the parish of East Greenwich, but resided and continued as Pastors of Sts. Peter & Paul in Phenix respectively: Rev. Michael Wallace (1857-1864) and Rev. John Couch (1864-1867)