Father Jack Ryan
This was in the October 19th issue of the Hawaii Catholic Herald. I have had the pleasure of meeting Fr. Jack Ryan at the Cathedral Gallery when he came for a visit and dinner engagement with our pastor, Fr. John Berger and one of our trusted and active parishioners, Elvie. When Elvie introduced him to me I said, "So this is the famous Fr. Jack Ryan!" He just gave me a smile.
Spanish-speaking, Irish-American admirer of Mother Teresa Father Jack Ryan, 57, was born in Philadelphia, Pa., and grew up there and in California with two sisters. He received a political science degree from George Washington University before entering the seminary. He was ordained as a Paulist priest on May 15, 1976. Father Ryan served in hospital ministry in Toronto and in inner city Memphis before earning his master’s in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University. Father Ryan speaks Spanish fluently and spent time in Ecuador and Nicaragua while earning his master’s. After five years as the director of hospital ministry for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, he came to Hawaii and worked in the same position for the diocese until 1994. Father Ryan was incardinated into the Diocese of Honolulu in 1991 and has served at two Big Island parishes. He is now pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Kalihi.
1. Which person have you admired most in your life and why?
Mother Teresa, because of her love and commitment to the marginalized. What an example of living faith!
2. What is your favorite childhood memory?
Christmas with my family. We have a close family and had wonderful times together. My grandmother had an old Irish tradition of taking a candle down to the church to get blessed. Then she would take it and go to every room in the house.
3. If you hadn’t become a priest, what would you have been?
A tour guide. I love to take people to interesting places. A group from our parish will be going to New York and Washington in March 2008.
4. What is your favorite book or author and why?
William Shakespeare because of his use of language and his insights into human nature. My favorite Shakespearean work is “King Lear” because it’s a really well-written story about someone growing old and the struggle it brings.
5. Where is the one place you have never been but always wanted to visit?
Egypt. I would love to see the pyramids and the ruins of such an ancient civilization.
6. What book are you reading now?
“Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light,” the letters of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Our Catholic spiritual tradition is a corrective to the superficiality of modern religion. I am teaching a course this year on spiritual masters, with an emphasis on John of the Cross. Mother Teresa is one of the people we’ll discuss.
7. What is your favorite movie?
“The Mission” and “Romero.” “Romero,” about the life of Archbishop Oscar Romero, was produced by a friend of mine and I had the honor of translating the Archbishop’s diary and working on the film.
8. What or who makes you laugh?
People in everyday situations in life. If you take life seriously you need to have a good sense of humor.