The Interfaith Service brings together the clergy from Bristol’s houses of worship in a patriotic, multi-denominational prayer gathering. Together with selected soloists, Bristol’s Interfaith Chorus provides the music and a speaker gives a talk about a relevant topic. Join us this year as we celebrate our religious freedom.
Sunday, June 26, 2016
St. Elizabeth’s Church
Interfaith Speaker – Mary A. Parella
Mary A. Parella, the daughter of Bernice and the late Salvatore Parella, is a lifelong Bristolian. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Emmanuel College and a Master’s degree in Community Planning from the University of Rhode Island. In 1986, she was elected to the Bristol Town Council where she served for 6 years. In 1992, she was elected to the R.I. State Senate where she served for 12 years and in 2004 she was elected back to the Town Council where she continues to serve.
She has been affiliated with the Pawtucket School District for the last 22 years and is currently the director of the Pawtucket Child Opportunity Zone (COZ). She has provided vision and leadership for the COZ’s growth and is responsible for writing and project management of numerous federal, state, local and foundation grants.
Prior to her tenure with the Pawtucket School District, Ms. Parella was the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Governor’s Justice Commission. She has also worked for the University of Rhode Island Urban Field Center serving as program coordinator for the University/School Partnership Program. Following that, she served as the Director of the Ocean State Center for Law and Citizen Education, where she expanded the Law Related Education program from a project focusing on grades 5-8 to a broad-based, statewide organization focusing on grades K-12 and community organizations.
Ms. Parella has also been an adjunct instructor in the URI Graduate Program in Community Planning and Area Development. She has also taught a Criminology course at the Community College of Rhode Island and has facilitated many strategic planning sessions for community organizations.
Over the years she has been involved with and/or served on boards of numerous organizations including: The Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island; Part of the Oath; Friends of Linden Place (Founding Member); Bristol Heritage Committee; Leonardo DaVinci Lodge, Sons of Italy; Bristol Substance Abuse Task Force (Founding Member), to name a few. In 1995, she and her brother Joseph were named Co-Chief Marshals of the Bristol Fourth of July Celebration. She has been recognized by many educational, civic, professional, and charitable organizations.