Listowel-born priest had a gift for organisation

The late Fr Sean Ryle


FR SEAN Ryle of the Columban Fathers, of Japan, Dalgan Park, Navan, Co Meath and late of Listowel, , whose death occurred on Friday, October 26, made a major contribution to the mission in Japan.

Aged 86, Fr Sean hailed from Islandganniv, Listowel and was born on May 9, 1926. He was educated at Killorglin NS, CBS Milltown, Castlemaine NS and St Joseph's College, Ballinasloe.

His vocation to the priesthood brought him to the Columban Fathers, Dalgan, Navan, Co Meath in 1945 and he was ordained priest on December 21, 1951.

Assigned to Japan, he arrived there in 1952 and after language studies served as assistant in Odowara and Katase, then, later as prior in Hondo and Minoshima.

In the late 70s and 80s he served in the Diocese of Yokohama. Shortly after Vatican II, Fr Sean took time to study pastoral counselling in Canada and the United States.

He specialised in the Family Life Apostolate and this became his life's work and his distinctive contribution to missionary outreach in Japan.

He helped many parishes develop laity-oriented pre-marriage programmes and later, programmes of marriage enrichment.

Most of the participants in these programmes were nonCatholics, but all expressed themselves extremely grateful for the insights they received.

Over the years the programmes led to a number of conversions.

He also helped to introduce Worldwide Marriage Encounter in Japan. Fr Sean had an extraordinary gift for organisation. Along with his friend and colleague Sr Yoshinaga, a member of the Congregation of Catechists, he invited many people, experts in their own fields like doctors, nurses, married couples of all ages, to help in his Family Life programmes.

His seminars were conducted over wide areas and in a number of dioceses of western Japan.

This apostolic outreach was Fr Sean's major contribution to the mission in Japan and for these efforts he is fondly remembered.

Fr Sean took up residence in the Dalgan Nursing Home at the end of 2006.

There he was often visited by his faithful friends from Japan. An unexpected heart attack led to his being moved to Our Lady's Hospital, Navan, where he died on Friday, October 26.

Fr Sean's remains reposed at St Columban's, Dalgan Park, Navan on Sunday, October 28. Concelebrated Requiem Mass was offered on Monday with burial afterwards in the community cemetery. May he rest in peace.

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