Sunday 18 February 2018

Fr Jimmy marks Golden Jubilee

Fr Jimmy Ryan with Bishop Denis Brennan
Fr Jimmy Ryan with Bishop Denis Brennan
Fr Jimmy Ryan and clergy from the Diocese at the Mass in the Church of St Mannon, Cleariestown, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination. In the front row are Bishop Denis Brennan with Fr Bobby Nolan, Fr Jimmy, Fr Tom McGrath and Fr Denis Lennon, all of whom were ordained the same year
Fr Ryan cuts the cake, with nephew Niall Ryan

Sara Gahan

Much loved priest Fr Jimmy Ryan celebrated the golden jubilee of his ordination in the company of Bishop Denis Brennan, fellow priests and a large crowd at a Thanksgiving Mass in Cleariestown.

Bishop Brennan paid a glowing tribute to Fr Ryan during the Mass which was followed by a presentation from Niall Ryan on behalf of the Cleariestown Parish Council.

There were also presentations by St Anne's GAA Club, Rathangan Parish Hall and Rathangan Parish Council.

Mass goers then walked the short distance to the local community centre to enjoy refreshments, where Fr Ryan was also presented with a cake to mark the occasion.

Fr Ryan was born in 1943 to Margaret and Patrick Ryan in Grange, Campile and was the youngest of six children - four boys and two girls.

He attended Horeswood National School before going to secondary school in St Peter's College. He joined the seminary at St. Peter's in 1961 and was ordained a priest June 4, 1967.

Fr Ryan's first ministry was in the parish of Mayglass as a curate in August 1967 under then parish priest Fr Maurice Tobin.

When he arrived in Mayglass the national school had only two classrooms, but he has very happy memories of his time there. People may remember seeing him driving his blue Volkswagen car as he made his way around the parish.

Fr Ryan played football with St Fintan's during this time and was involved with the Ballycogley Drama group where he produced 'The Field' in 1969, a production which won several titles in the Muintir na Tire Drama Festival.

In 1970, Fr Ryan was responsible for the much-needed extension to the graveyard in Mayglass.

In 1972, Fr Ryan was transferred to Kilmyshall as curate under PP Monsignor Breen and Canon Wadding which was a much bigger parish with the local school having 120 students compared to Mayglass.

During his ministry in Kilmyshall, he also taught Religion in Bunclody Vocational School from 1972 to 1985.

In 1988, under Fr Ryan's stewardship, an extension was built to the national school which included a new GP room and extra classrooms to facilitate the need of the increase in pupils.

Never far from his thoughts was his love of sport, and this fuelled his drive to form a group who were also responsible for the renovation and roofing of the handball alley in 1988. From this humble beginning, the handball club now boasts seven All-Ireland medals.

In September 1989, Fr Ryan moved again but this time it was only a short trip to his new home at the Holy Trinity Church in Bunclody.

Among his many duties throughout the years, he was also Chaplin to the FCJ Convent Secondary School and Bunclody Vocational College from 1975 to 1987.

While in Bunclody parish, he played soccer with the football club and during the late 70s he was partly responsible for the re-unification of the Halfway House and Bunclody clubs who remain united to this day.

As treasurer of the GAA park development for the club, Fr Ryan was also instrumental in the building of the new club dressing-rooms during this time.

Alongside his love of football, he continued his interest in drama and was director for four years of the Bunclody Pantomime Society.

Fr Ryan's next move brought him to Riverchapel, Courtown where he became parish priest in September 1995. This was a large and busy parish as the national school increased in size from six to eleven classes.

In 2006 Fr Ryan retired due to ill health and became priest-in-residence in Clearistown.

Retirement has not stopped him from being active: he enjoys a round of golf and is a member of the Rosslare Strand Golf Club. He is currently Chaplin to Sean Gael Loch Garman and Vice President of Wexford GAA County Board. He is also President of St Anne's GAA Club in Rathangan.

Meanwhile, Fr Ryan spends every Thursday in Wexford Hospital visiting the sick and is a tireless campaigner on behalf of his good friend Sr Kate Nolan who works in Joao Pessoa in North East Brazil.

Fr Ryan will continue to fundraise for Sr Nolan's work in the shanty towns. He supports her initiatives which provide medical and educational help for the people of this hugely neglected area.

Back in the parish of Clearistown Fr Ryan is much appreciated for his continued support of the various committees that are essential to the local community.

Gorey Guardian

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