PROVIDENCE — A lifelong fan, Father Ray Suriani, pastor emeritus of St. Pius X in Westerly, was recently gifted with tickets to a Green Bay Packers game to mark end of his treatment for cancer. In early October, Father Suriani traveled with friend and brother priest, Father Dean Perri, pastor of St. Timothy and St. Rita Churches in Warwick, to Wisconsin, where, on Sunday. Oct. 3, they were in the stands to see the Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lambeau Field.
The idea came about from Father Michael Najim with the help of parish secretary Debra Carey, and thanks to a special call by Bishop Thomas J. Tobin to Bishop David Laurin Ricken of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Green Bay to see if he could help facilitate this special surprise.
“The trip was awesome — something I will never forget,” said Father Suriani.
During his visit, he traveled to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, which is the first and only approved apparition of the Blessed Mother in the United States. He and Father Perri also made a stop at St. Willebrord Church in Green Bay, which is where legendary Packer coach Vince Lombardi attended Mass daily.
Father Suriani shared that he has been blessed with the support and love of his parishioners in his priestly ministry for the past 33 years.
“What made this so unique and special is that I also got to experience their support as a football fan,” he said. “For one Sunday in October of 2021, a lot of Patriot fans became Packer fans. And that made me very happy, as did the Packers’ victory that day.”
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