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Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Death of retired Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin
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¬†The former Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Bishop Laurence Ryan, has died. He was 72 years of age. Upon hearing the news, the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Most Rev Jim Moriarty said: "Throughout the diocese people and priests will be saddened to hear of Bishop Larry's death. He was a kind and caring man whose dedication and commitment to his priestly life set an example for many to follow. We will miss him greatly." Bishop Ryan is survived by his sister Margaret Morrissey, his brothers Pat, Michael, nieces, nephews and many friends. Bishop Ryan was a native of the parish of St Mullins, Co. Carlow, where among his neighbours and friends he was always very much at home. He was born on 13 May 1931 and ordained to the priesthood in June 1956. He served as President of St. Patrick's College, Carlow, from 1974 to 1980 having been on the teaching staff there since 1958. An tAth CaoimhŪn O'Neill, current President of Carlow College remembers Bishop Ryan's time in the College: "As a colleague on the staff we will remember him as a pleasant companion and a most efficient and courteous administrator. He worked very hard. He managed to combine his considerable teaching and administrative workload in the college with a hectic involvement in Church related organisations at national and regional level. As a theologian Laurence Ryan had a keen analytic mind, was progressive in his thinking and was a much respected voice in The Irish Church. Past students of Carlow College will remember Bishop Ryan as a good lecturer who knew them well and never forgot a name even after 40 years!" Laurence Ryan was parish Priest of Naas, Co. Kildare, from 1980 to 1985. While Parish Priest of Naas he was ordained (Sept. '84) as Coadjutor Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin. In December 1987 he succeeded the late Bishop Patrick Lennon as Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin. Bishop Ryan resigned in August 2002. His time as Bishop was marked by huge changes in the life of the Irish Church and his commitment to promoting the role of lay people through the establishment of Parish Pastoral Councils and a variety of lay ministries was testament to his appreciation of the vision and mission of the second Vatican Council. In June 1997 Bishop Ryan led the people of Carlow and the wider Diocese in the Rededication Ceremony of the Cathedral of the Assumption, Carlow. "The renewal of our Cathedral" he said "is symbolic of the changes taking place under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the wider Church community. It can be a catalyst for further renewal throughout our diocese". Outside of the Diocese Bishop Ryan was secretary to the Irish Theological Society from 1966 ≠'76. He was appointed the first President of the National Conference of Priests of Ireland in 1976, was Chairman of the National Jubilee 2000 Committee and he also served as President of the Irish Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace. Bishop Ryan was a founder member and enthusiastic promoter of CMAC (now ACCORD) the Catholic Marriage Advice and Counselling service in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. The Most Rev SeŠn Brady, DCL, Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All-Ireland said in a statement: Fr Larry Ryan was a post-graduate student in St. Patrick's College Maynooth when I went there first in 1957. During the 1970s we were delegates together to the National Conference of Priests of Ireland. Over the past nine years I came to know him well as a brother Bishop in the Irish Bishops' Conference. He was for many years President of the Justice and Peace Commission and a member of the Standing Committee of the Conference. Bishop Ryan was a strong and courageous advocate of justice and a constant defender of human rights, especially the rights of the weak and the poor. When in recent years illness brought about his early retirement, the people of Kildare and Leighlin lost a kindly Shepherd, and the Bishops, a highly esteemed and trusted colleague. I offer my sympathy to all who mourn Bishop Larry, especially to his sister, brothers, Bishop Moriarty, and the priests, religious and lay people of the diocese. Source: Catholic Communications Office, Maynooth
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