Providence Roman Catholic Diocese


Faith leaders and law enforcement from across the state will gather Tuesday night to pray for peace.

After the shooting deaths of two New York policemen, and the events in Ferguson, Missouri, Rev. Robert Marciano thought it would set a tone in Rhode Island if there was a prayer for peace, for law enforcement, and for those who strive for justice.

“The power of prayer can make a difference. And coming together, getting to know each other, as well as praying together is nothing but a win-win for everyone,” said Marciano.

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.”

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Rhode Island Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin is receiving criticism over remarks he made on the death of Nelson Mandela. 

On Sunday, two days after the South African leader died, Tobin issued a statement calling Mandela’s support of abortion rights “shameful.” 

The Washington DC based group “Catholics United” said Tobin’s comments reflect a level of tone deafness that is tragic.  Catholics United director James Salt noted that Tobin’s remarks stand in stark contrast to Pope Francis, who last week praised Mandela’s steadfast commitment to human rights.

Courtesy Rhode Island Catholic Dioceses

The Bishop of Providence, Thomas Tobin, said he has become a registered Republican.

Tobin told a group of Rhode Island Young Republicans he blamed himself and the Catholic Church for the legalization of same-sex marriage.

He also said Catholic lawmakers at the State house quote “let us down.”

The Dioceses of Providence wrote a "Letter to Catholics on the Approval of Same-Sex Marriage" which was published in the newspaper, Rhode Island Catholic Newspaper following the passage in May.


The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence is making some major improvements to the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. That will mean masses will be moved downstairs to a meeting hall for a few months.

The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul is getting a massive facelift just in time for its 125th anniversary next year.  Monsignor Anthony Mancini, rector of the church, said improvements are being made from top to bottom.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage on a 7 – 4 vote. A bill putting the issue up for referendum was defeated by a 6 – 5 vote.

The vote was greeted with jubilation by same sex marriage supporters gathered in a Statehouse hearing room. Supporters say they’re hopeful the committee vote signals full Senate approval. The bill will go to a full Senate vote Wednesday.

Reaction to the Vote

Kristin Gourlay/RIPR

The Senate Judiciary Committee is slated to vote Tuesday on legislation that could legalize same-sex marriage in Rhode Island.  The issue has never previously come this far in the state Senate.

The 10-member Judiciary Committee plans to vote on two separate bills. One would grant marriage rights to same-sex couples through the legislature. The other one has broader religious exemptions and would make legalizing same-sex marriage subject to a statewide vote.

Depending on what happens with the two bills, the legislation could move to the Senate floor as soon as Thursday.

Providence Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin says he will not release the names of all of the priests who have been investigated for child sex abuse.  Tobin was responding to a call from the group for greater transparency.  

Another Roman Catholic priest has been sidelined by a child sexual abuse allegation.  The priest has accepted responsibility for his actions.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence says Monsignor John Allard of Woonsocket has been forced to resign the pastor of St. Agatha and Precious Blood parishes because of a child sex abuse allegation that dates back more than 30 years.

The diocese says Allard accepted responsibility for his actions when confronted. He has expressed remorse for the harm he has caused and has moved out of the rectory. 

Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul
Catherine Welch

Roman Catholics who suspect financial irregularities in their parishes now have a place to go to report it.  The Diocese of Providence has retained an Oregon company to operate a toll-free number people can call to report suspected financial impropriety.

St. Timothy Church in Warwick
Flo Jonic

(PROVIDENCE, RI) Mass was celebrated Sunday at St. Timothy Church in Warwick but a familiar face wasn’t there.  The pastor, Father Barry Meehan, was forced to resign over sex abuse allegations dating back more than 25 years.

Most parishioners of St. Timothy’s Church didn’t want to comment on the resignation of their pastor, Father Barry Meehan.