The Rev. Dr. Bernard O’Reilly has been chosen as the Grand Marshal of the 2015 Providence St. Patrick’s Day parade. A native of Ireland, O’Reilly served as a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence for 45 years until his recent retirement.
A charismatic, witty and erudite clergyman, O’Reilly is well-known in Rhode Island. He spent 20 years as an assistant pastor, 25 years as a pastor and taught philosophy and theology at Aquinas College in Newton, Mass.; Providence College; and Salve Regina University in Newport.
He holds three masters degrees: one in English Literature, another in Psychology and Counseling and a third in Biblical Literature and Theology. And he also was awarded doctorates in Pastoral Theology and in Philosophy and Humanities.
O’Reilly said being chosen to lead this year’s parade is ``an unexpected, though deeply appreciated personal and professional honor.’’
O’Reilly became a United States citizen in 1989, but continues to hold an Irish passport and prides himself on being ``a citizen of two great countries, Ireland my native home and the US, my adopted abode.’’
He has long been involved in promoting Irish culture and fostering Irish-American friendship. The St. Patrick’s Day Providence parade is scheduled this year for March 21st.