"We all need help,
love and support.
- Adam, 2015
Father Rick, Roamin' Catholic, Friesen Press, 2022, is published! (See below for synopsis, editorial and reader reviews, some posted on Goodreads or Amazon)
Indie book stores, Indigo, Barnes & Noble,
Soar, Adam, Soar, Dundurn, 2019
Tantor Media (USA) released the audiobook Feb. 16, 2021. John Dickhout, actor and Adam's heart recipient, is the narrator! https://tantor.com/soar-adam-soar-rick-prashaw.html
Ehrlin Publishing, Sweden, has translated Soar, Adam, Soar. Post pandemic, we are searching for a publisher there.
A Canada Arts Council Digital Arts project features a 4-episode podcast telling the story of John Dickhout and Adam's heart transplant (December 2020) www.giftsoflife.ca
Father Rick, Roamin' Catholic, 2022
As a boy, he played a priest saying Mass. Fast forward to the ’70s—long hair and rock-n-roll—a time for enjoying a new freedom as a budding young journalist at the Vancouver Sun. But after a random, chance trip to Seattle to visit family at a rectory, his life changed in an instant.
Because when God calls, you answer.
Father Rick thrived in the Second Vatican Council Reformation. He helped build communities and opened minds and hearts through his humour, passion, and understanding. Eleven years passed, and Father Rick began to feel the familiar pull of change. Love finds a way. He could no longer deny his new calling—husband to Suzanne and Dad to an irascible Adam who would lead him to forever love.
Father Rick, Roamin’ Catholic is an eye-opening memoir shining a light on faith, religion, and the little-known life of priests. There is joy and mischief in the stories Rick tells a niece in Toronto as they munch Easter eggs on Good Friday during the Covid pandemic. He writes about a Church’s declining attendance and troubling issues, right beside miracles, good works, and good people.
“My faith was now more Roamin’ than Roman Catholic, a God bigger than any catechism taught me. Be who we are. Love who we love. A believer, still standing."
“The next Frank McCourt! Rick Prashaw is one of the most engaging, passionate and entertaining writers we have yet seen this millennium! A must-read book!”
—Teresa de Grosbois, #1 International Best-selling author of Mass Influence - The Habits of the Highly Influential
“Are there times in the hectic chaos of life that you stop and wonder what happened to your faith, your community and the Church that seems so determined to break your heart? Rick Prashaw guides us through the troubles and on to hope, to a big God, and our work for justice, beginning with real reconciliation with Indigenous People.”
—Charlie Angus, MP, Author, Musician
“Rick’s book is a testimony of hope in its assertion that faith can sustain life’s most tumultuous offerings. His writing is about the foundational belief that there is room for everyone’s story, without judgement or exclusion; he’s a light to be trusted leading us forward.” Joan Grundy, Author, “A Deepening Life”
“fast-paced, full of humour, irreverence, and deep humanity. Rick is large-hearted, drawn to the places of fracture in search of wholeness. He has learned and honed the capacity to hold so much together that could naturally pull us apart.” Sister Margo Ritchie, Congregational Leader, Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada
“Your writing invited me to keep reading, not polarized but your honest and sincere purpose to understand and appreciate the complexities of a system that allowed such trauma to take place in the lives of children and adolescents, the negative impact on the faithful and mistrust in the institution that publicly professed gospel values.” Father Sam Restivo, Congregation of the Resurrection, chaplain, counselor
“Rick’s story is powerful, deeply personal and beautiful, full of insights that connect to our own stories. I related to his stories as one who grew up Roman Catholic. It’s for all who struggle with the unquestioning faith many of us were taught, to the enduring call to service and empathy, as well as to the priesthood of all believers as well as non-believers.” Reverend Éric Hébert-Daly, United Church of Canada, former Federal Secretary, New Democratic Party of Canada
“Rick Prashaw has gifted us with a memoir that insightfully chronicles his life encounter and engagement with Roman Catholicism, with the intersection of faith and politics, with marriage, parenting, and gender, and with grief. A must read for all who may have had similar struggles. In a time when religion is predominantly characterized in the media as a conservative force, there is a need to emphasize that there are faith-informed progressive perspectives on issues which too often are dealt with as if there is only a debate between faith and non-faith. Questions of peace and war, the economy and the environment are also moral issues that can be informed by faith.” Bill Blaikie, former MP, MLA, United Church Minister
What Readers are Saying:
Greg Humbert, Author, archivist:
"...Rick Prashaw is a MAN OF STORIES - But if you expect to find a book filled with bitter cynicism about faith and church you will be disappointed. What you will find, is a searing, honest reflection filled with wit, humour, and daringly unanswered questions. In short, it is a memoir of a man of faith whose journey remains one of searching and probing. But ALWAYS GENEROUS IN COMPASSION AND INCLUSION."
Rev. Jamie Scott, Ottawa:
"...The third thread I want to mention is not really a thread. It is a mighty sinew that runs deeply through Rick’s whole life and holds it all together. It is his faith. Born into a Roman Catholic home and nurtured by believing parents, one might not be surprised that Rick ended up becoming a priest. But the faith journey can be as challenging and ever-changing as any road trip. Rick’s faith has had room for doubts, for questions, and for uncertainty. He’s had the courage to wrestle, to discern core beliefs from adherence to the ill-fitting trappings and policies of institutional religion. In this winnowing process, Rick found a God bigger than any catechism taught, a faith resolute in its belief in the “audacious claim” that we are all made in the image of God, that everyone embodies the divine spark...." This faith he has is the bedrock of Rick’s lifelong passion for justice and human dignity. It also sustained him in the wilderness times, in the midst of unbearable pain when even God seemed silent. For it is an Easter faith, where even tragedy can be transformed into new ministry as Rick has become an advocate for organ donation and human rights for people who are transgender. The divine spark!"
Natalie Ramon, Sudbury, ON.
"...For those of us who we're raised in the Catholic belief system (or another religion), have a current faith, but not sure how to define it, this is a book that in some way reassures us that this is ok. One can explore what faith means to them, and practice a faith even without the constructs of the church that may not evolve to encompass what is all-loving in a modern world."
Marcia Veraldi-Alexander, Kingston, ON.
"This book is definitely worth the read. It runs the gambit from highly hilarious to deeply thought provoking....The humour, the insight, the social conscience, the format of storytelling.."
Mary Pace di Francesco, Toronto, ON.
"I highly recommend this in book. It is a powerful journey; authentic and relatable" .
Ernest Zulia, playwright, Roanoke, Virginia
"I am loving this book! Savouring every page."
Michele Valiquette, North Bay, ON.
"Your honesty, vulnerability and humour were all evident in your writing. Your conflicts with the teachings of the Catholic Church ring true to many recovering Catholics.".
Rosemarie Boyle, Ottawa, ON.
It was an amazing read. So insightful and compelling to RCs lapsed and otherwise, but also so human and humane for any reader ... your story is one of a life of purpose, passion and pain and hope above all.
Carol Muncaster-Simon, Elliot Lake, ON.
"It truly is a well-written, great read and a memoir that has something for everyone. It is a very human story of hope and faith interspersed with humour - badly needed in these challenging times.
Ellen Ashton-Haiste, London, ON.
"" It truly is a great read -- inspirational, thought-provoking and more."
Soar, Adam, Soar, 2019
Dewey, Divas and the Dudes Winter 2019
CBC Spring 2019 Non-Fiction List #3
Girly Book Club 2020 5-star review
Ingram June 2019 Pride Catalogue (USA)
Globe and Mail review, Elizabeth Renzetti, June 15, 2019
After The Podcast Ends, Heather Down, July 2015
“Coming out, Coming in, Coming home”
Adam Prashaw’s life was full of surprises, from the moment he was born. Assigned female at birth, and with parents who had been expecting a boy, he spent years living as “Rebecca Danielle Adam Prashaw”, before coming to terms with being a transgender man. Adam captured hearts with his humour, compassion and intensity. After a tragic accident cut his life short, he left a legacy of changed lives and a trove of social media posts documenting his life, relationships, transition and struggles with epilepsy, all with remarkable transparency and directness.
In Soar, Adam, Soar, his father, a former priest, retells Adam’s story alongside his son’s own words. From early childhood through first coming out as a lesbian and then as a man, and his battles with epilepsy and refusal to give in, it chronicles Adam’s desire to define himself, his joyful spirit and his love of life which continues to conquer all.
Honouring a decision Adam made at 16, four of his organs are donated to save other lives. In a remarkable twist, the brave young man’s great heart was given to another man and another great heart, John Dickhout, who made himself known to Adam’s family and became one of many of the living proofs of Adam’s continued presence as a teacher, a guide, and an inspiration.
ENDORSEMENTS & REVIEWS
"After finishing Soar, Adam, Soar, I reflected, integrating and processing this beautiful story of resiliency into my own psyche. I asked myself if this was a book about trans gender, or a story about epilepsy, or a campaign in favour of becoming an organ donor. Although those are all parts of this book, they truly are NOT what this book is about. This book is a love story. Plain and simple. A love story that, I believe, everybody needs to read, especially if you are parent.
"Soar, Adam, Soar also has funny moments, light moments, beautiful moments and I-can’t-believe-that-really-happened moments. It is loving, uplifting, a piece of humanity that transcends things of this earth.”
After The Book Rnds Podcast
Rick Prashaw, Adam's father, celebrates life in this moving memoir – joined, in a sense, by Adam himself, whose musings and social-media posts enrich the narrative. The result is both specific and universal.
Booklist, Michael Cart, American Libraries Association
Your story...Adam's story is incredibly rich and very moving. From the first page, I felt I knew your voice, like that of an old friend. Through your personal experience, you help us see what it means to be a father, a son, a priest, an actor, a MAN. It is powerful material through which we examine love, family, gender, sexuality, illness, and spirituality...LIFE (with a heavy dose of cosmic irony...thank you for that.) Like any great piece of drama, this story deserves to be heard by a huge audience."
Director, Playwright, Creator, adaptation of Robert Fulgham's "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten"
A deeply moving book, of truths, of life and death, told by a father about his child, born Rebecca, becomes Adam, dies accidentally, his organs donated to live on. A tale of courage and generosity that, in all its sadness, makes you hopeful of our future.
Author, Political Activist
A remarkable story by a remarkable father.
(American Libraries Assn)
You offer such incredible insight and contagious gratitude as does Adam through you.
Prashaw's compassionate, authentic, and wise words make this a powerful contribution to the emerging genre of transgender life writing.
American Library Journal
I had the honour of performing the first legalized same sex marriage in Canada and passing more LGBTQ legislation in Canada's history including the first Trans Human Rights in any Province. 50 years of Queer activism seems worthwhile because of this book. Adam's story is why.Adam is the reason. Adam's loving and accepting family is the point. This book is an answered prayer.
Rev. Cheri DiNovo
MPP Ontario 2006-2018
Soar, Adam, Soar is a gorgeous autobiography. Rick Prashaw's unique approach to co-authoring with his late son and his threading together of social media posts into a cohesive narrative is so fresh and exciting. The themes of non-conforming gender identity, the varied pressure of academia, and the lonely-yet-public stage of social media offers instructors multiple opportunities to bring theory to life. More broadly, the challenges of young adulthood will resonate with many post-secondary readers."
Soar, Adam, Soar is a deeply moving account of tragedy and triumph. Parts of this tale are so compellingly-unique that they are hard to imagine. Yet, at the same time, it is a story of love and courage that it is universally recognizable. Thank you, Rick Prashaw, for your raw honesty.
President and CEO of CHEO, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario
Soar, Adam, Soar is a moving, powerful, valuable book because of its story, but more importantly because of the intensity of the first-person account of Adam’s life and legacy provided by the author, Adam’s father, Rick Prashaw. Rick pulls no punches: this is not a romanticized, sanitized account of a difficult and challenging life and death, nor of a difficult and challenging parent-child relationship. He faces his own story, which includes the unfinished tale of his own life and the grief that now pervades it, as bravely as his son faced his. Though I read much of the book through tears, I came away moved by the joy with which Adam lived and that his spirit continues to inspire. In a remarkable twist, the brave young man’s great heart was given to another man and another great heart, John Dickhout, who made himself known to Adam’s family and became one of many of the living proofs of Adam’s continued presence as a teacher, a guide, and an inspiration. The overwhelming message of Soar, Adam, Soar is that Adam’s love of life conquered and continues to conquer all.
Dr. Colleen Humbert
Editor and Academic
Digby, Nova Scotia
Photo: Stacey Croucher
Rick Prashaw is a tested writer and public speaker whose eclectic career has thrived in jobs in journalism, the priesthood, national non-government organization (NGO) leadership, and federal politics.
He has worked for The Vancouver Sun, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, the national ecumenical Church Council on Justice and Corrections, and, most recently, for three federal New Democratic Party Members of Parliament.
At the Church Council NGO, advocates for a healing justice after crime, Prashaw served as executive director and co-authored two books. He is the co-winner of the 1999 national Ron Wiebe Restorative Justice Award, awarded to an individual who models restorative justice principles in the service of justice and peace.
Prashaw ran for the NDP in the 2004 federal election in the Ottawa riding of Carleton Mississippi Mills. His three legislative assistant jobs for Members of Parliament include championing campaigns for legislation on poverty elimination (Sault Ste. Marie MP Tony Martin, 2004-2008) and a national dementia strategy (Nickel Belt MP Claude Gravelle, 2011-2015).
Prashaw received a Bachelor of Journalism (Honours) at Carleton University in Ottawa and a Masters of Divinity at the University of Western Ontario. He also studied at San Anselmo College in Rome.
Prashaw is proudest of being Adam’s dad. It has nurtured new advocacy work for transgender rights and organ donation.
Prashaw lives in Ottawa.