They Prayed to Our Lady of the Roller Coaster

Two local priests –– riding the Phantom's Revenge to promote Catholic Day at Kennywood –– create a viral video. Along the way they deliver a most unusual sermon.

The Back Story

  • Fr. Mike Ackerman (left) is Diocesan Director of Vocations. Fr. Mike Savage is parochial vicar at St. Sebastian in Ross Township.
  • Nick Sciarappa, digital media strategist for the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, filmed and edited the video. “They ad libbed it,” Sciarappa said. “They rode the roller coaster three times, but the video that you see is the first take. That was their natural reaction,” he told The Incline.
  • The video was an opportunity to show a priests in a different light. “A lot of times people see priests as older and more solemn and serious, but there’s a ton of young priests in Pittsburgh,” Fr. Zavage says.
  • Fr. Ackerman, who appears terrified in the video, actually loves roller coasters. “It was more of a role being played. … I just played a guy who’s terrified — it’ll make a funny video,” Ackerman says. “If something falls apart in priesthood, I’ll go to acting.”
Categories: The 412