Church shrine to honor heroes
Tomorrow night, St. Kevin Church will host a spring concert to honor members of the military, Warwick Police, Warwick Firefighters and Color Guards, and benefit House of Hope’s Harrington Hall.
The musical event, which begins at 7 p.m., will include a musical tribute by St. Kevin choir and students from St. Kevin School.
“The whole concert is entitled ‘Honoring Our Heroes,’” said Bryan Barrette, music director at St. Kevin. “We are honoring those that help protect us and keep us safe.”
Barrette said that students in all grades at St. Kevin School will be participating in the concert and all of the songs will be patriotic-themed. The adult choir will also be performing patriotic songs.
“It is 100 percent patriotic,” Barrette said of the evening. “Our adult choir may sing a few songs people don’t know as well, but we will certainly end with well-known favorites that you can sing along to.”
With Memorial Day quickly approaching, Father Robert Marciano said the timing for the dedication could not be more appropriate.
“We just wanted to say thank you,” said Father Marciano, who is also command chaplain for the Rhode Island National Guard.
In a recent phone interview, Father Marciano said the idea for a shrine honoring the military, law enforcement and first-responders has been in the works. He said St. Kevin Church had the perfect location in their main entrance foyer and the shrine will become a permanent fixture in the church.
The semi-enclosed shrine will feature flags from all branches of the United States Military and the state flag for all police and fire departments.
“All parishes are very patriotic,” said Father Marciano. “Since 9/11, we’ve been a nation that is very appreciative of our armed forces.”
While the program will include selections of religious music, the Warwick Police and Fire Department Color Guards will be present, Warwick firefighter John Halloran will sing the national anthem, and the Providence Police Bagpiper Division will perform, bringing a patriotic spirit to the evening.
In addition, sixth grader Sarah Abatiello from St. Kevin School will be reading her essay entitled, “What the National Anthem means to me.”
“It is going to be quite lovely from what I understand,” said Miriam Sloan, volunteer manager of corporate fundraising for House of Hope, and a founding member of St. Kevin’s.
Sloan is pleased that the event will provide desperately needed publicity for the House of Hope. The organization, which provides for homeless in the area, will be the recipient of donations collected through the evening’s offering.
In her experience, St. Kevin parishioners have been supportive with offerings and donations to House of Hope in the past.
“I want to get the story out there and bring more meaning to what homelessness is,” said Sloan, who will be speaking briefly during the event about House of Hope’s work.
She feels there is a misconception that House of Hope merely provides food and a bed for Rhode Island’s homeless. She wants to ensure that people realize House of Hope does more, providing guidance and support through social workers as Rhode Islanders struggle to get their lives back on track.
“I think the concert is going to bring more awareness,” said Sloan, adding that the theme of the event is appropriate because many veterans turn to House of Hope for support.
“We love to support the House of Hope,” added Father Marciano. He too connected the evening to House of Hope because donations will specifically support Harrington Hall, a men’s shelter that provides a home for many veterans who have fallen on hard times.
Friday’s concert will also feature a slew of special guests representing the armed forces and local law enforcement. Brigadier General Mark Jannitto, USAF, assistant adjunct general from the Rhode Island National Guard, Colonel Stephen McCartney, chief of Warwick Police, Chief Edmund Armstrong of the Warwick Fire Department, Chaplain and Assistant Chief Peter Mongeon of the Warwick Fire Department, Chaplain and Major Michael Medas of the Rhode Island Air National Guard’s 281st, and Chaplain and Captain David Thurber, Wing Chaplain of 143 AirLift Wing in Quonset, are all expected to attend.
When asked about his feelings toward the event and shrine, Chief McCartney had this to say.
“It is a great honor to be representing the men & women of the Warwick Police Department and to be attending this ceremony in order to thank all those people who think enough of first-line emergency responders to put on this ceremony and shrine as a small gesture of gratitude for the work that police officers do in serving the public,” wrote the chief in an e-mail comment to the Beacon.
“It will be nice to get everyone under the same roof,” said Father Marciano.
St. Kevin Church is located at 333 Sandy Lane in Warwick. The concert event is free and open to the public.