Faith on the Move: Fr. Jay Finelli

Fr. Jay Finelli

Fr. Jay Finelli

This week, we’re blessed to have another priest as our interview subject for Faith on the Move! Fr. Jay Finelli is based in Rhode Island, but has traveled the world.

Fr. Jay shares that his first trip to Rome gave him the “desire to become a saint”. I particularly love his advice below for how to handle travel emergencies or even those little mishaps that happen along the road during a trip. As a holy priest who is also using the latest tools of technology to be a special part of the New Evangelization, Father Jay is bringing many souls with him along that path to heaven!

Fr. Jay Finelli in front of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's residence, the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery

Fr. Jay Finelli in front of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s residence


Fr. Jay Finelli


Roman Catholic Priest


Diocese of Providence (Rhode Island)


Social Media Links:

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I grew up in northern Rhode Island. Attended public schools for all but three years of Junior High School. During my seminary years, I was a Franciscan for 7 years in Kennebunkport, Maine. I was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Providence on June 13, 1992 and have served in four parishes. I am currently pastor of Holy Ghost Church in Tiverton for the last 12 years. I am a Mac geek and am the host of the iPadre Catholic Podcast which debuted in September of 2005 and have produced  317 episodes. I am also a Live Steam enthusiast. In my free time, I build and operate miniature, ridable and fully operation Live Steam locomotives.

How often do you travel?

As often as possible. I love to see the world.

Is the majority of your travel for business, pleasure, spiritual enrichment, or “all of the above”?

A combination of all of the above.

Where are some of your favorite destinations?

Italy is my favorite. I love the people, the food, culture and the history – it is like stepping back in time. I have also traveled to Medugorje a number of times.

How is travel a spiritual experience for you? How do you turn any travel opportunity into a pilgrimage?

Most of my travels are a pilgrimage of sort. I love to visit & pray (offer Mass) in old churches and shrines. They connect us to our past. When at St. Peters and many of the other old churches, I think about all of the saints who have walked where I am walking now. They inspire me to be as faithful as they were. On my first trip to Rome when I was just 18, it gave me the desire to become a saint.

Have you ever had a “travel nightmare”? How did your faith help you through the experience?

There is always some snag in travel, especially in our post 9/11 world. When something comes up, I will grab my rosary and either pray the rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet and thing turn around pretty quickly.

What advice would you give to a fellow Catholic tourist?

Remember you are a pilgrim. We are going to the Father’s house and now we are “strangers and aliens in a foreign land.” All of our travel should include Our Lord. Visit a church or shrine. Go to Mass and make a Holy Hour. Our travels should not take us away from Our Lord, but help deepen our communion with Him.

What destination is on your “must see” list for the future?

I want to go to Ars and visit the tomb of St. John Vianney, patron Saint of Parish Priests. I also want to walk the Camino de Santiago. But, there is always somewhere new and beautiful to visit.

What are some of your favorite tourism related websites, apps and books?

None in particular. I just do a Google search and see what I can find when I need it.

Do you have any additional comments you’d like to share with our readers?

Travel! See the beautiful world God created, the beautiful cultures of His people and let it all enrich your life!

Visit Fr. Jay Finelli at

Take a tour of our Faith on the Move archives to meet other Catholic Tourists

About Lisa M. Hendey

As a Catholic who loves her faith and a frequent adventurer who’s always up for a new journey, Lisa is a wife and mom, a writer, a speaker and an impassioned traveler. Visit her at to keep up with her comings and goings.