Msgr. Paul Ryan retiring from Dorchester parish in June

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM Cap. has announced that he has accepted the request of Msgr. Paul T. Ryan to resign as pastor of St. Gregory Parish in Dorchester and that he has also granted Msgr. Ryan senior priest /retirement status, effective June 1, 2008.

A Boston native, Msgr. Ryan attended St. John’s Seminary and Archbishop Richard Cushing ordained him to the priesthood at Holy Cross Cathedral on Feb. 3, 1958.

Immediately following ordination he was assigned to the first of five parishes in which he would serve. The first, was the farthest from the Hub, St. Peter in Lowell. It was also a kind of harbinger parish for then-Father Ryan as it would be in large urban parishes that he would subsequently serve. After more than eight years in Lowell, he was assigned for about two years to St. Angela Merici Parish in Mattapan (1966-1968). Just after his 10th anniversary of ordination he was assigned as an assistant at St. Mary of the Assumption in Brookline where he would serve for 11 years until a move back into the city of Boston, this time to Most Precious Blood, Hyde Park.

Just two years later, on Sept. 22, 1981 Cardinal Law named him pastor of St. Gregory Parish in Dorchester’s Lower Mills section. During his more than 26 years as the pastor he has seen much change in the demographics of the parish, and yet he has maintained the beauty and repair of an extensive parish plant and more importantly has kept the parish family gathered around the Eucharist and provided opportunities for new parish activities.

During his tenure as pastor Msgr. Ryan was also named vicar of the Vicariate II of the Central Region, serving for almost eight years in that additional responsibility. Already widely respected by his brother priests and genuinely loved by his present and, yes, past parishioners he was named a prelate of honor by Pope John Paul II on April 21, 1998. In the spring of 1995 he enjoyed a priestly renewal program at Rome’s North American College.

To know Paul Ryan is to know a man who thoroughly loves being a priest and consistently says how much he has loved his priestly life. In fact, there is hardly a meeting or an event at which priests are present that he doesn’t offer a word of encouragement and support for his brother priests -- no matter what the “real topic” may be. Thanks Msgr. Ryan for your love of your people and your brother priests.