WOONSOCKET, RI, August 13, 2013 ( – Two Rhode Island men were told by their priest that, because of their same-sex “marriage,” he could no longer give them Communion, according to local news reports.

Lew Pryeor and Pierre Laveillee were “married” in 2007 and have been parishioners at Sacred Heart for two years. 

However, Fr. Brian Sistare at Sacred Heart Church has challenged the couple to conform to the Catholic Church’s teaching, which says that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. 


The subject reportedly arose during a meeting Pryeor had requested with Fr. Sistane on Monday. Both Pryeor and Laveillee told the media they were upset with the “new young priest” delivering homilies critical of Rhode Island Democratic Governor Lincoln Chaffee and the Democratic Party.  

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Fr. Sistane, who declined to comment to for this story, has been vocal in his criticisms of both for their support of abortion and same-sex “marriage.” 

He recently wrote to Rhode Island's legislators criticizing same-sex “marriage.” In the letter, he wrote, “Marriage has always been understood as the union between one man and one woman. This is a 5,000 year old fact!”  

He added, “I’m wondering what you will do when a mother comes to you and asks to be married to her son, or a cousin wants to marry her first cousin, or when a man wants to marry 2 or 3 women, or a human being wants to marry his animal?” 

Pryeor complained the sermons are “pushing people away” and that Fr. Sistane “should not be a priest but he should be a politician.” 

The criticisms hit close to home for Lew Pryeor on more than one front. He ran for the Rhode Island Senate as a Democrat in 2012 and was endorsed by Fight Back Rhode Island, a same-sex “marriage” advocacy group.  Pryeor lost to incumbent Marc Cote, who has voted against both civil unions and same-sex “marriages.” 

Pryeor has turned to his Facebook community for support, posting that he could not “get communion anymore” at Sacred Heart. 

Laveillee and Pryeor have indicated they will be looking for a new parish to attend.  Prior to Sacred Heart, Pryeor and Laveillee were active in area parishes, including St Eugene’s, St Mary’s, St Anthony’s, St John and James’s, and St Catherine’s. 

His Facebook supporters have encouraged Pryeor to “fight” the priest’s decision in hopes that the negative publicity will pressure the church to back down and give communion to homosexuals who publicly flout its teachings on homosexuality. 

One woman encouraged him, “Lew, if you challenge this Fr. Sistare, I'll bet you will be able to keep going to this same church AND receive communion!” She added, “that would make headlines!!!” 

Others have provided recommendations of “gay friendly” Catholic churches in the area. 

“There are several 'Roman' Catholic Churches in your area who would be happy to accept your family,” wrote a man. “I just don't want this to be a reflection of the Church as a whole, but rather one ignorant priest.” contacted the Diocese of Providence for comment on the situation, but the diocese did not respond.

Contact information:

Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence
Chancery Office Building
One Cathedral Square
Providence, Rhode Island 02903