Pope Francis

Wikimedia Commons

As the Pope concludes his historic trip to the United States, dozens of Rhode Island students plan to attend his outdoor mass in Philadelphia. 

Providence Diocese

One of the most interesting aspects of how the historic visit of Pope Francis resonates in Rhode Island is how Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence reacts to the message of His Holiness.

Rhode Island’s bishop has carved a reputation as a staunch and outspoken defender of conservative, traditional teachings. Tobin has often been vitriolic and rough in his criticism of liberal positions on such social and cultural issues as abortion and same-sex marriage.


Rhode Island’s Catholic Bishop, Thomas Tobin, is one of about 300 bishops gathered in Washington D.C. Wednesday for the Papal visit. The bishops will join the holy leader in prayer, then take part in Mass at the Catholic University of America.

Tobin says the city and nation are abuzz with excitement over the Pope’s arrival.


Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence said today that he is ``extremely pleased’’ that Pope Francis has ``approved the simplification of the annulment process.’’

In a statement, Tobin said, ``It will perhaps allow some Catholics to have prior marriage situations resolved in a way that will benefit them spiritually, while also maintaining the essential Catholic teaching regarding the permanence of the Sacrament of Matrimony.

Gregorio Borgia / AP

Sen. Jack Reed is accepting requests from Rhode Islanders for tickets to Pope Francis address to Congress on Thursday, Sept. 24. Pope Francis will be the first pope to ever address a joint session of the U.S. Congress.

The tickets are outdoors and standing room. Ticketholders will be able to watch the pope’s speech on outdoor Jumbotrons that will be set up. After the address, His Holiness is slated to make an appearance at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol.

Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin, who led a high-profile, albeit failed, campaign to defeat same-sex marriage legislation in Rhode Island in 2013, today blasted the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

In a statement, the Rev. Tobin said, ``a thousand courts may rule otherwise but the very notion of ``same sex marriage’’ is morally wrong and a blatant rejection of God’s plan for the human family.’’

Catherine Welch / RIPR

At ten o’clock Wednesday morning, a group of Catholics will converge on the  office of Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin to demand an apology for comments he made about the late Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela had been dead only two days when Bishop Thomas Tobin made a statement that has drawn criticism. He said that while Mandela did much to improve the lives of South Africans his legalization of abortion was, quote, “shameful.”

Disabled RI Boy Kissed by Pope Francis

Apr 2, 2013

The image of a Johnston, Rhode Island boy being cradled and kissed by Pope Francis has brought people around the world to tears. Now, his parents are speaking out about the extraordinary encounter.

It happened Easter morning after Mass. Among the thousands of people who thronged St. Peter’s Square to see newly installed Pope Francis, the pontiff chose to stop his Popemobile to hug eight-year-old Dominic Gondreau of Johnston.

Providence College Professor Paul Gondreau says he was “moved to tears” as he watched his disabled son hugging the newly inaugurated Pope Francis. The encounter, following an Easter Mass, was recorded by photographers and later picked up by CNN and other news outlets.

Congressman Jim Langevin's Office

Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin was among the 200,000 people who thronged Vatican City Tuesday for the installation mass of Pope Francis. The Catholic congressman called it one of the most meaningful and spiritual experiences of his life.

Langevin was part of a congressional delegation that represented the United States at the investiture of Pope Francis.  The Rhode Island democrat says he was thrilled and honored to be there.