FUNERAL MASS FOR FATHER GERALD PAUL NEWMAN RYAN AT SAINT BRIDGET’S CHURCH, GREYTHORN, ON FRIDAY, 22 JULY 2011 AT 10.30 AM.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As family members, parishioners and friends, we gather to pray for the repose of the soul and to bid farewell to Father Gerald Paul Newman Ryan, pastor of this parish for twenty-four years prior to his retirement in January 2008.
Last Saturday he died at Saint Vincent’s Hospital at the age of ninety-six; a few days short of his seventy-second anniversary of priestly ordination which would have occurred tomorrow.
Paul was a pioneer of the liturgical movement, gifted pastor, esteemed as being comfortable with children, teenagers, young marrieds, families and senior citizens. His optimistic confidence, ready perspectives and great sense of humour have brought great vitality to this parish.
Today, as we thank God for the use of his gifts and value highly the bonds of friendship and esteem, we can recommend him to the Lord whom he served so well.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
At the Last Supper Jesus instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his body and blood to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross entrusted to the Church as the memorial of his death and resurrection. On Holy Thursday in the Prayer over the Gifts we pray: “As often as the commemoration of this sacrifice is celebrated the work of our redemption is being carried out”, in words taken from the Sacramentarium Veronense and reproduced in our present Missal.
For Paul the Eucharist was the powerhouse of grace for life. In an interview in 2006, after he had been awarded the Order of Australia medal he said: “For us, the unfinished business would be the formation of our Catholic people in the understanding of the liturgy as being their spiritual food: that every Sunday you should have enough spiritual food and understanding to be carried into the following week.”
Paul was born at Malvern on 27th January 1915 and after initial education at the Brigidine Convent in Malvern and locally in Armadale, he went to Xavier College, Kew, entering Corpus Christi College early in 1932 to begin studies for the priesthood. With the approach of the Second World War Father George Vill, a German Pallottine, was accepted by Archbishop Mannix, came to the Seminary and established a little group of seminarians who prayed the Office and studied the writings of European authors. Those of Pius Parsch from Klosterneuburg Abbey near Vienna, who wrote his books on the liturgical year, were very popular and instructive in the Seminary for thirty years because of their readability of style and outreach to ordinary people.
By 1938 Father Henry Johnson had introduced the Dialogue Mass into the Seminary. Paul’s initial interest in liturgy was later nourished by studying Jungman’s book, The Mass of the Roman Rite, and with the regular issues of the journal Orate Fratres, later Worship.
After his ordination in 1939 he was Assistant Priest in Armadale, Clifton Hill (1942), South Melbourne (1946), before being made the first Parish Priest of Blackburn in January 1954, Ormond in 1975, and Greythorn in 1984 until he retired at the beginning of 2008.
Paul was a highly intelligent man with wide interests, great capacity for friendship and was a true pioneer of the liturgical movement. In 1953 when Father Colin Miller founded the first committee for music and liturgy Paul was a gifted contributor.
Archbishop Mannix commended his publication in 1950 of the small Roman Missal with the Knox translation for the Readings and Paul’s own translation of the liturgical prayers. This sold 20,000 copies and later a booklet for First Communion sold over 180,000 copies. He was also a contributor to The Church - House of the People of God in 1974 and a guide to preparing liturgies in the same year.