Ex-Sudbury priest writes memoir on faith

Rick Prashaw is launching a book in April at Twiggs

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Former Sudbury priest Rick Prashaw has published a religious memoir full of stories from his childhood, church and other careers.

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Titled Father Rick, Roamin’ Catholic, the book covers seven decades of Prashaw’s life and has won praise from NDP politicians, church leaders and fellow scribes.

“Some friends’ eyes blur at the mention of faith,” noted Prashaw, who served as a priest in the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie from 1980 to 1991, including five years at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in New Sudbury.

“Then they dive into the stories, enjoying the joy, the mischief, the irreverence, the miracles, the good works and the good people, alongside the sobering commentary on the troubles plaguing religion. “

Father Rick, Roamin’ Catholic is “an eye-opening memoir highlighting the faith, religion, and little-known lives of priests,” according to the book’s back cover.

“My faith was now more itinerant than Roman Catholic, a greater God than any catechism taught me,” Prashaw writes. “Be who we are. We love who we love. A believer, still standing.

Father Rick, Roamin' Catholic was published in February by Friesen Press and is available in paperback, hardcover and e-book editions at www.friesenpress.com.
Father Rick, Roamin’ Catholic was published in February by Friesen Press and is available in paperback, hardcover and e-book editions at www.friesenpress.com.

Prashaw recounts his experience with St. Andrew’s Parish, Father Brian McKee, Inco, and the times he spent at the Sudbury Hospital and Arena, among other local places.

It tells a story that “millions of Canadians have lived as Catholics from the 1950s to today or are curious about,” according to a statement. “He keeps all Catholics in mind – devout, observant, conservative, liberal, fallen, recovering, cultural.”

Simultaneously, the author is “burning a ‘God Bless America’ religion that, instead of asking for true divine blessing, has wrapped country flags and political and corporate agendas around God,” the statement noted.

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“There’s also unflinching criticism of clergy abuse, residential schools and what Prashaw calls religion’s misjudgment of LGBTQ people and submissive, second-class citizenship for women.”

Prashaw used a COVID-19 isolation after a writing trip to Mexico to tell his journey of faith in the book to a niece.

“This storytelling technique has allowed him to address hot topics like the pandemic, issues of Indigenous peoples and black lives, declining religious affiliation and church attendance, and “wars Joe Biden-Donald Trump’s “polarized” incivility, the statement said.

Charlie Angus, MP for Timmins-North Bay and himself a Catholic, praises Prashaw for his progressive instincts and savvy ideas.

“Are there times in the hectic chaos of life when you stop and wonder what happened to your faith, your community, and the Church that seems so determined to break your heart?” Angus writes. “Rick Prashaw guides us through hardship and toward hope, toward a great God and our work for justice, beginning with true reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.”

Teresa de Grosbois, author of Mass Influence: The Habits of the Highly Influential, compares Prashaw to Frank McCourt, author of the acclaimed memoir Angela’s Ashes, calling him “one of the most engaging, passionate and entertaining writers we have ever seen. this millennium.”

Former NDP member and United Church minister Bill Blaikie said Prashaw “has given us a memoir that insightfully chronicles his encounter and engagement with Roman Catholicism, at the intersection of faith and politics. “, adding: “At a time when religion is characterized in the media mainly as a conservative force, it is necessary to emphasize that there are progressive faith-based perspectives on issues that are too often treated as if it there was only a debate between faith and non-faith.

Prashaw is delighted to return to the North for a book launch at Twiggs Coffee Roasters on the Kingsway on April 24.

It’s the same venue he chose for a busy 2019 reading of his early memoir, Soar, Adam, Soar.

Father Rick, Roamin’ Catholic was published in February by Friesen Press and is available in paperback, hardcover and e-book editions at www.friesenpress.com or Amazon online, and on order at local bookstores.

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