OPINION: Coverage of priest situation should matter to community

Central Michigan Life

By Sydney Smith

When I first met Fr. Denis Heames in 2015, I was on assignment.

I was tasked with writing a “personality profile.” These are usually done on someone who’s unique in a community — someone with an interesting attribute, hobby or lifestyle.

He was an actor turned priest.

I went to St. Mary’s University Parish to interview him. We walked through the church and into his home, just a couple feet away. He was wearing plainclothes that day in February: jeans and a dark-colored long sleeve shirt. You couldn’t tell he was a priest except by looking at his left-hand ring finger, where he wore a silver crucifix-style ring.

His home was modest from what I remember, though I took note of the large windows; I could see students walking to class. Heames made me a cappuccino, and I settled on a black leather armchair for our interview.

The story wasn’t the highlight of my journalism career, but Heames stuck with me because of his charisma. I didn’t expect that in the future I’d be writing more stories about him.

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