Fr. Michael Ryan Wins Award for Family Ministry

Alter Christus, a Regnum Christi apostolate in Spain supporting priests, gives an annual award. Fr. Michael Ryan, LC, won it this year for his for helping families.

In the same ceremony, three other priests were also recognized. Fr. Sergio Buiza, from the diocese of Bilbao, was recognized for his work with the deaf and deafblind. Fr. José Aumente was honored for his dedication to circus people who constantly travel. Fr. José Alberto González, from the diocese of Córdoba, was thanked for his dedication to consecrated life.

Fr. Michael spoke to LomásRC, the Regnum Christi blog in Spain. He offers some advice for both bride and groom.

LomásRC: You are the first Legionary of Christ who receives an Alter Christus award among the six award ceremonies so far. As you can see, it is not an award to give “to those of the household.” What does this recognition mean to you?

Fr. Michael: I receive it in honor of all the people who have contributed to my pastoral activity for the family. Although one receives it, I feel it is to recognize the work of many.

Why, as a priest, is he specifically interested in the family, both from a scientific and university point of view, and from ministry?

I am interested in the family in the first place because of the specific people who form it and those I would like to see enjoying all the blessings that God has placed in it. It is also a great satisfaction when one can become a Good Samaritan to a couple or a family that suffers for whatever reason.

It is common to hear the phrase, “Priests know nothing about marriage.” What judgment does this statement deserve?

Sometimes when I have talked about these issues to groups, there have been people who ask me if I am or have been married because I seem to know too much about this reality. However, what I know is the result of some study, but especially my frequent dealings with couples and families.

What is the message that the Catholic Church has in this moment of marriage and family crisis?

First, let’s try to give better preparation to young people and the engaged. Second, the Church wants to accompany the families more closely so that they can become “be what they are,” as John Paul II loved to say.

To a couple who is thinking about getting married right now, what advice would you give?

Something on two levels: make a good analysis of what they have been during the courtship to detect their positive points and their weaknesses making a plan for the future; and secondly adjust their spiritual lives because love feeds there.

And for a marriage that already takes a few years and begins to have some disagreements?

If they see that it is something that is not going away, they should immediately seek help from someone who can give them a hand to untie the knots and clear up the misunderstandings that have exist.

You can read the original interview in Spanish on the Legionaries of Christ website. You can also see a short video interview with Fr. Ryan in Spanish on YouTube.