PROVIDENCE — Middletown’s Ryan Tremblay was a headliner for the second time when he performed his new album “Trust: An EP for Erica” in front of thousands at the 15th World Youth Day last month in Panama City, Panama. The album, a six-song collection, is dedicated to Tremblay’s sister, who died in 2015 from advanced Stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer.
Tremblay was raised in a devoutly Catholic and musically talented home in Coventry. He started playing the drums at 2 years old, was accompanying his father onstage at his performances at age 5 and by age 13 he was the drummer in a Catholic Rock band at his hometown SS. John & Paul Church. Tremblay graduated from Rhode Island College with a degree in Jazz Studies in 2010 and was ready to take on the world with his music.
World Youth Day is an event hosted every three years that welcomes people from around the world to take place in communal Mass, encounter the pope, listen to feature speakers and artists and grow closer to Christ through prayer and the sacraments. The Catholic Church has hosted this large-scale pilgrimage opportunity for young people across the globe since 1986. World Youth Day illustrates that the Catholic faith crosses borders, transcends generations and doesn’t speak a single language.
Tremblay was first invited to perform at World Youth Day in Poland in 2016.
“Both World Youth Day’s I have attended are such unique experiences,” Tremblay said. “I learned so much about myself, my faith and another culture in both instances.”
During these multi-day trips, such as the 2016 trip to Poland which he attended with a group representing the Diocese of Providence, the diocese takes extra care to ensure all young people are participating in a safe environment. All clergy, staff and volunteers who attend a trip such as World Youth Day must complete a background check and Safe Environment Training before traveling.
The Diocese of Providence has been committed for a quarter century to protecting children. The diocese established the Office of Compliance in 1993, nearly 10 years before the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops formalized procedures to protect children across in the country in 2002. This office administers Safe Environment Training for individuals traveling to World Youth Day, maintains a database to ensure everyone completes training and has an open line of communication with law enforcement. Safe Environment Training teaches participants to recognize the warning signs of abuse, along with a strict code of conduct to follow in interacting with children and a transparent reporting process.
The diocese has also partnered with the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office to ensure all information regarding safety of children is received by the appropriate authorities. This step is more than the reporting standard required by state law.
“It is important to be proactive about these safety issues,” Tremblay said. “I believe the diocese is doing everything in its power to protect young people and that absolutely everyone was safe at World Youth Day.”
“Bishop Tobin has shown real leadership on these issues,” Tremblay added.
When asked about his favorite part of the trip, Tremblay was quiet and reflective. After about 15 seconds of silence, he proclaimed that “you can’t possibly pick just one!” He decided the coolest moments of this trip included presenting his new album and a picture of his three sons to Pope Francis, learning about faith from his group leader, Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, Bishop Frank Caggiano, and attending the vigil at the close of World Youth Day with close to a million other young people.
Tremblay’s favorite moments of the trip also include performing his new songs in front of the large crowd at the Figali Convention Center, a stage that has hosted the likes of Justin Bieber, and the time spent learning from others.
“All people are welcome to learn more about faith, grow deeper in their own faith and celebrate the unity with one another as Brothers and Sisters under the Lord,” Tremblay said. “That is the true gift of World Youth Day.”
Visit Tremblay’s website at www.ryantremblaymusic.com to learn more about his music and see the dates of his ongoing tour.