Johnny Ryan, C.S.C.

Temporarily Professed Seminarian


Hometown: Billerica, MA

Year in Formation: Temporarily Professed – 3rd Year in Vows

High School: Saint Sebastian’s School (Needham, MA), 2015

College: University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN), 2019

College Major: Theology and Philosophy

Patron Saint: St. Sebastian — I chose him as my confirmation saint because my high school is named after him, but since then, he has become a dear friend and beloved companion.

Favorite Movies: Top Gun: Maverick, 80 for Brady, Star Wars, Mission Impossible

Favorite Books: Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, The Portal of the Mystery of Hope by Charles Péguy, Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan

Favorite Music: Coldplay, Kodaline, U2

Hobbies: Baseball, Football, music

Most Memorable Prayer/Liturgy you have Attended: Mass “early in the morning on the first day of the week” in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre — the altar the priest used was the very stone slab on which Jesus rose from the dead.

Place of Pilgrimage you Most Want to Visit and why: Lisieux to visit the tomb of St. Thérèse. She has taught me a lot about growing in trust in God’s merciful love for me and in my own belovedness.

Favorite Way to Pray: Spending time listening to my own heart to have a heart-to-heart conversation with the Lord

Favorite Devotion: Memorare

What drew you to Holy Cross: The joy and witness of the CSCs I met; being a man with hope to bring; the spirituality of Basil Moreau; devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows and the Sacred Heart

Your Vocation Story: Priesthood was something that was on my mind throughout high school; I thought I would go to Notre Dame and then return to Boston to consider being a priest there. But there was something particularly powerful about encountering the community of the priests, brothers, and seminarians of Holy Cross in my first days and weeks at Notre Dame. As I began to get to know individual CSCs — like priests in my dorm or seminarians on campus — I realized that these men were incredibly joy-filled and enjoyable to be around. I realized that I wanted to be friends with these men, I wanted to be like them. As I continued to spend time with these men of Holy Cross, I realized that I felt at home among them: I felt that I was well-known and deeply-loved for who I was. I eventually moved into Old College, the undergraduate formation program for Holy Cross at Notre Dame. That was six years ago now. Each year I have continued to come to love Holy Cross more and more, and each year I have continued to grow closer to the Lord and come to know ever deeper his gracious love for me.

Ways that you resonate with the Holy Cross charism, “Educators in the Faith”: I find Moreau’s description of education as a “work of the Resurrection” to be incredibly powerful. We are called to be like Our Lady of Sorrows to those whom we teach, whether in the classroom, in the parish, in the missions, or wherever we find ourselves: to accompany them at the foot of their crosses, where we stand firm as she did, as witnesses of the hope of the Resurrection. Our charism and mission to be Educators in the Faith, then, is defined by the Resurrection.

One aspect of Holy Cross spirituality that speaks to you the most and why: “Hail the Cross, Our Only Hope”: the world is in such great need of hope. There is so much despair in the world; so many people feeling alone or abandoned. People are in need of hope, and I am drawn to being a man with hope to bring. Not to get rid of people’s sufferings necessarily (though that would be a blessing), but rather to accompany people so that they know that they are not alone in their suffering: Jesus first died on this cross of suffering, and Mary his Mother stands at the foot of their crosses, just as she did at the foot of her Son’s Cross. Jesus Christ has risen to die no more, and all is swallowed up in the victory of the Resurrection: this hope, this hope of the Cross, that Holy Cross proclaims, speaks to me the most.

Favorite Verse: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.” – John 14:1

Favorite Quote:“One word of the Lord’s once immediately calmed a wildly raging sea. One glance of him toward us, and of us toward him, should even now do the same thing”- Archbishop François Fénelon

Favorite Bl. Basil or St. André Quote: “I feel my heart beating out of love for every one of you without exception, and I am quite sure that I would sacrifice my life for your eternal happiness” – Bl. Basil Moreau

“Human life is only a long way of the Cross. It is not necessary to enter the chapel or the church to run over the various stations. The way of the Cross is everywhere and we walk along it every day in spite of ourselves and often unknown to us.” – Bl. Basil Moreau

How can visitorsto this page pray for you? That I may continue to grow in my trust in the Lord and for my heart, that I may continue to respond with love to his ever-faithful and steadfast love for me.