On Thursday, November 19, the OLM School and Parish community gathered for the second annual Grill the Priests, which was held in the school’s cafeteria. Organized by members of the school’s Parent Teacher Group, and OLM Associate Pastor Father Ryan Connors, the evening was an even bigger success than the 2014 inaugural event, drawing over 125 attendees who were not only thirsting for answers to various questions, but also enjoyed the opportunity to socialize in an adults-only format. Following a brief reception of food and beverages provided by Pranzi Catering and Greenwich Liquors, the priests took their spots before the crowd and got ready to be “grilled”. In what has become a somewhat popular format in recent years, participants were allowed to ask questions, either “live” or anonymously via notecards, on a variety of topics. Monsignor Albert Kenney, Vicar General for the Diocese of Providence, was moderator for the evening. The brave priests on the panel included OLM Pastor Father Bernard Healey, Father Christopher Murphy, Chaplain at Bishop Hendricken High School, Senior Priest Fr. John Kiley (Pastor Emeritus of St. Francis Church in Warwick), Dominican Friar Fr. Philip Neri Reese of Providence College, and Father Connors. The priests took turns answering questions that were either directed specifically to them, or based on their area of expertise.
With the events in Paris last weekend and the Syrian refugee crisis, some of the more serious questions revolved around the topic of a “just war”, praying for terrorists, and world conflict. Father Healey, lobbyist for the Diocese of Providence at the State House who had that same day attended a rally in defense of the Catholic Church’s stance on immigration, reiterated Bishop Thomas Tobin’s earlier statements on the topic. “To turn the Syrian refugees away is not only un-Christian, frankly it’s un-American.”
Some of the lighter topics included questions about selection of godparents, evangelization among teens and of course, favorite TV shows and movies. The evening was filled with tremendous faith, light-hearted joking amongst the brother priests and laughter from the attendees. By all accounts, it was another tremendously successful event that celebrated the OLM community.