Getting to Know Your Seminarians: Patrick Ryan


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Get to know a little more about the men you are praying for as they continue to prepare for the priesthood.

Age: 23
Year of Study:  
Second Theology
Home Parish:
SS. John and Paul, Coventry

Where did you grow up and go to school?
I grew up in Coventry and have always been a member of SS. John and Paul Parish. I went through the public schools in Coventry and got a good education, then went to college after I graduated from Coventry High School. In college I started to consider becoming a priest. In all of this, my best education was at home. I’m the youngest of five kids with good parents who showed us hard work and sacrificial love.

What does the word “vocation” mean to you personally?
A vocation is a calling from God. It’s the specific state in life into which our Heavenly Father invites us as we move toward our promised home in heaven. The aim of any vocation is for us to become saints so that we can get to Heaven, and to help others get to know God and get to Heaven as well.
We can hear God’s calling in the silence of prayer and through the events of life. God doesn’t pressure us. He invites us. Our primary vocation is to be holy, and that’s for everyone. To be a priest is a unique calling to conform to Christ the victim and priest, and to be a steward of the mysteries of God. Those mysteries are primarily the sacraments that He has given to us to help all people to remain in him and get to heaven.

Favorite Hobbies and/or fun fact about yourself:
I like to watch baseball, play pickup sports, and read history. I also like to read literature, study maps and watch movies.

How did you discern your vocation to the priesthood?
I always had the perception that we are made by and for God and that we should live for him. At times I would live by this ideal and at other times I would not.
It helped me a lot to meet a great Catholic community in college and to make friends in the faith, as well as to see the example of good and holy priests whom I had the pleasure to meet and get to know. In that context I learned more about the importance of the sacraments, the goodness of the Church, and the role of the priest. I saw the priest as the man who stands in the person of Christ to minister to his people here and now. With much prayer, consideration, and conversations with priests I decided to apply to the Diocese of Providence to study for the priesthood.

What is something that readers may not know about what it is like to be a seminarian?
I think many people do not know that becoming a priest is a challenging and uncertain process. Priests have a high calling, but Jesus calls them when they are still ordinary men. As a man moves through seminary toward the priesthood, he has to confront, with God’s help, his deficiencies and fears. Only with much prayer, growth, and above all, trust, does a man get to a point where he can request that the bishop ordain him a priest. Formation doesn’t happen overnight.

What would you say to a young man discerning the priesthood — or maybe hasn’t even considered it at all?
I would say to every young man that he should get to know Jesus Christ. God doesn’t call every man to be a priest, but to know him, our maker and redeemer, is the vocation of every man. Jesus is the only one who can reveal to a man the truth of himself and the way to live in that truth and be happy. What the world offers cannot satisfy a person. In Christ there is joy. We can get to know Jesus by reading the Gospels, praying daily, going to Mass and confession often, and serving others. Living the Gospel is where it begins to make sense. It also helps to read about the saints.

How do you feel we can best support seminarians?
Please pray for seminarians that we might have courage and perseverance, but above all that we might love Jesus and live the Gospel.

What is the most surprising part about being a seminarian?
I remember being surprised when I started seminary that I didn’t feel any different having arrived there. You are the same person when you enter seminary as you were before entering. The good news though is that we have at our disposal all the means to grow in all facets of our personhood so that we can become good candidates for Holy Orders.

Are there specific life changes that you have had to make to be successful at seminary formation?
I’ve tried to be more intentional about living discipline and an integrated life. Seminary can be pretty busy and it helps to make good use of time, especially given what we’re preparing for. Most important is spending time in prayer. I try to see quiet alone time as a good thing and an opportunity to pray and study. Along with that, discipline, though it’s good to still have fun and spend time with friends.

Is there any person or saint whom you credit with interceding on your behalf to God for your vocational discernment?
I trust that Mary has been interceding for me all along. I started praying a daily rosary when I was in college, and I know that Mary helps many people come to Jesus, her son.

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