The Rev. Bernard A. Healey, the effective and hard-working lobbyist for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, is moving from St. Ambrose Parish in Albion to become pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in East Greenwich in August, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has announced.
Healey will continue in his role as liaison to the General Assembly, where he has been involved is such high-profile issues as marriage equality, abortion rights and immigration. Healey’s lobbying effort was cited by proponents and opponents of same-sex marriage as a crucial linchpin in keeping Rhode Island from joining neighboring states, including Massachusetts and Connecticut, in approving full gay marriage rights. (Rhode Island has civil union protections, but not full marriage equality, for gay couples).
Healey has also lobbied vigorously against anti-immigration legislation, including E-Verify standards. The Roman Catholic Church has since the 1800s had a large influence in helping to assimilate new immigrants in Rhode Island.
Healey was ordained in 1995. He hails from Cranston’s Edgewood neighborhood and is the son of the late Judge Edward Healey and his wife, Lillian Healey.