Category: Archive

Connecticut priest has praise for ‘Millionaire’ experience

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Pierce O’Reilly

Fr. Colin McKenna met with host Regis Philbin at the Manhattan studios of ABC on Tuesday, Jan. 9, and looked comfortable and confident as he prepared to test his skills on the hit TV game show "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire." The packed audience cheered as the priest, wearing his collar, entered the studio with the other nine contestants.

About two dozen supporters traveled with McKenna from Connecticut for the taping, which will be shown Thursday on ABC stations.

McKenna had chosen his brother Gene to sit in the "family chair" if he was lucky enough to get to the "hot seat."

Gene McKenna, 39, was instrumental in getting his brother on the show.

"Gene is a fanatic about the ‘Millionaire’ show and after a marathon session calling the toll-free number, we both got called to New York," Fr. McKenna said. "After the interviews, auditions and testing, I got called back."

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The public won’t know how McKenna fared until the show is aired, and McKenna isn’t allowed to talk about the outcome until after Thursday. But he did call it "an unbelievable experience" and said it was "great to have such support from family and friends."

McKenna’s mother, Tona, who emigrated from Strokestown, Co. Roscommon, in 1956 was among the many parishioners from St. Joseph’s Parish in Shelton in the audience.

A lot is riding on McKenna’s appearance. He has promised to share any winnings with his family and his local church. The priest also joked that he’d set up a "Fr. McKenna Retirement Fund."

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