Former Sudbury priest pens faith memoir

The Sudbury Star [Greater Sudbury, Ontario, Canada]

March 13, 2022

Rick Prashaw launching book in April at Twiggs

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

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

“The eyes of some friends gloss over 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, mischief, irreverence, miracles, good works and good people, alongside the sobering commentary on the troubles plaguing religion.” 

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

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

Prashaw chronicles his experience with St. Andrew’s parish, Father Brian McKee, Inco, and times he spent at the hospital and arena in Sudbury, among other local places.

He tells a story that “millions of Canadians either lived as Catholics from the 1950s to today or are curious about,” according to a release. “He keeps in mind all Catholics—devout, practising, conservative, liberal, lapsed, recovering, cultural.”

Simultaneously, the author “scorches a ‘God Bless America’ religion that, instead of asking for genuine divine blessing, has wrapped country flags and political, corporate agendas around God,” the release notes.

“There’s unflinching criticism too on clergy abuse, residential schools, and what Prashaw labels as religion’s wrong judgment on LGBTQ folk and a submissive, second-class citizenship for women.”

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

“This storytelling technique allowed him to address current subjects like the pandemic, Indigenous and Black Lives Matter issues, declining religious affiliation and church attendance, and the polarized Joe Biden-Donald Trump ‘uncivil wars’,” the release states.

Charlie Angus, the MP for Timmins-North Bay and a Catholic himself, lauds Prashaw for his progressive instincts and wise insights.

“Are there times in the hectic chaos of life that 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 the troubles and on to hope, to a big God, and our work for justice, beginning with real reconciliation with Indigenous people.”

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

Bill Blaikie, a former NDP member and United Church minister, says Prashaw “has gifted us with a memoir that insightfully chronicles his life encounter and engagement with Roman Catholicism, with the intersection of faith and politics,” adding: “In a time when religion is predominantly characterized in the media as a conservative force, there is a need to emphasize that there are faith-informed progressive perspectives on issues which too often are dealt with as if there is only a debate between faith and non-faith.”

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

This is the same venue he chose for a packed 2019 reading from his first memoir, Soar, Adam, Soar. 

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