BEFORE Christmas, parish priest Fr Tom Ryan was affiliated as an honorary member of the Franciscan Order, in the Poor Clare’s Chapel in Ennis.
He was given the affiliation award in recognition of his service and generosity towards the Franciscan Order. The ceremony was presided over by Fr Hugh McKenna, the minister provincial of the Irish Franciscans, and Bishop Fintan Monahan.
Writing about Fr Tom, a spokesman for the Franciscans stated, “Fr Tom Ryan, a St Michael’s Villas native and parish priest of Shannon, has always been a good friend of the Franciscans. He has conducted the annual novena in honour of St Anthony in all our friary churches in Ireland. Any time we were away at meetings, Tom was always ready and willing to come to our assistance. In fact, people often joked saying Fr Tom was half a friar.
“We certainly appreciated his generous help and decided to do something about it. We contacted our provincial Fr Hugh McKenna to ask that Tom should be invited to become an affiliated member of the Franciscan Order. Hugh contacted our General in Rome and, as a result, Fr Tom was accepted as an affiliated member of the Franciscan on December 5. He was presented with a Franciscan habit and will share in the prayers and devotions of the Franciscan family.
“It’s the very least we could do for such a loyal, faithful and generous friend of the friars.”
Fr Tom said he was very pleased with the recognition.
“Personally, I felt very humbled and honoured to have the Irish Franciscans bestow this on me. I want to take the opportunity to acknowledge the Franciscan presence in the town of Ennis and the Diocese of Killaloe, which stretches back hundreds of years. It’s also an opportunity to acknowledge the collaboration that exists between the Franciscan Friars, the Poor Clare sisters and the diocesan clergy in working together.”