By Sarah Mac Donald - 30 August, 2016
Tipperary-born Fr John Ryan was ordained Bishop of Mzuzu at St Peter’s Cathedral on Saturday in a ceremony attended by Malawi’s President, Professor Peter Mutharika.
During the celebrations, President Mutharika paid tribute to the Irish Kiltegan missionary as “a man of simplicity and humility”.
Originally from Holy Cross in Co Tipperary, Bishop Ryan joined the Kiltegan order in 1970 and was ordained in 1978.
Malawi was his first and only posting and he has ministered there since 1978.
He has been involved in pastoral work but also in teaching mathematics at the University of Mzuzu, having completed his MA and PhD at University College Cork.
The co-consecrators at Saturday’s ceremony were Bishop Dr Martin Mtumbuka of the Karonga Diocese, Archbishops Ziyaye of Lilongwe Archdiocese and Msusa of Blantyre Archdiocese, and Archbishop Julio Murat, the Papal Nuncio to Malawi.
President Peter Mutharika of Malawi was accompanied by the Vice President, Dr Saulos Chilima.
Members of Bishop John’s family travelled from Ireland to be with him for the occasion and many members of St Patrick’s Missionary Society also attended.
Bishop Ryan chose as his motto: ‘Everything except sin is sacred’ based on the teaching of Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si’.
In his address, the Malawi president said, “Bishop Ryan has been with us for a long time. As a Kiltegan of the St Patrick’s Missionary Society, we have seen his commitment to education. We have seen his commitment to evangelisation and his determined passion for the youth.”
He continued, “His teaching in the seminary and in the university; and his calling to become Bishop shows us a humble servant who is committed to enlighten the minds and hearts of the world.”
The Malawi leader described the consecration of Bishop Ryan as a priceless gift not only to the Catholics but also Malawians as a whole.
President Mutharika urged the Church to help change people’s mindset and instil in them the spirit of patriotism, of hard work and integrity for the development of the country.
“We have comfort in knowing that Bishop Ryan has so much to offer to the Church and this nation. May the Lord grant him the wisdom to make the right decisions, the courage to do what is right, and the faith to follow that wisdom,” said President Mutharika.
The new bishop called for unity among the people he is going to shepherd.
Speaking in Tumbuka, the local dialect, Bishop Ryan said on Saturday, “We need to be united because it’s about all of us to make progress.”
Bishop Ryan replaces Bishop Joseph Mukasa Zuza who died on 15 January 2015.