By Jamie O’Brien
Newly ordained Perth Deacon Liam Ryan credits his upcoming priestly vocation to belonging to a community.
The 31-year-old Nollamara born and bred, who was also a keen swimmer and surfer, attended Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School Nollamara in his early years, completing his secondary education at Servite College, Tuart Hill.
At the age of 13, Deacon Liam attended a series of catechesis of the Neocatechumenal Way at St Gerard Church Mirrabooka Parish, where he started regularly listening to and scrutinising the Word of God.
“My vocation has well and truly come from belonging to a community that has nourished my life and my faith.
“It has been in this community of the Neocatechumenal Way that I have been able to learn how to pray, understand what the Word of God means for me in my current situation, as well as to prepare me to announce the Gospel,” Deacon Liam said.
The second of 10 children, Deacon Liam says he found much solace in the work that God has done in his life, particularly in his family setting, which he says provided him with a solid foundation during his teenage years.
He also spoke about his brother Joss, who has Downs Syndrome, and the impact he had on his vocation.
“Joss showed me that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, Christ loves you as you are and that each of us have been created with his will in mind.
“Having Joss as my brother has made it possible that I be witness to the reality that Christ doesn’t leave us alone, in front of all our situations, our history, and wants each one of us to come closer to him.”
“It has also been fascinating for me to see the journey of my parents, who have done their best to pass on the faith to me and my siblings, first and foremost by trying to be followers of Christ themselves.”
After completing school, Deacon Liam went on to complete a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing and Accounting) at the University of Western Australia.
Shortly after completing his degree, Deacon Liam went on to spend time as a lay missionary, through the Neocatechumenal Way, in the Diocese of Broome – with no mobile phone coverage, no internet, no beach and no friends.
“It was the first time I felt that I really needed to and wanted to to pray, all the while understanding that God was responding in ways I could not have imagined.”
“I saw in these moments that it is possible to abandon my will and accept the plan of God is much bigger and better.
And so in July 2008, the then 22-year-old Liam made himself available to start the journey to become a priest during a meeting with some 90,000 young people of the Neocatechumenal Way at Domain Stadium, Sydney.
After another year in the Diocese of Broome, as well as some additional time giving catechesis (of the Neocatechumenal Way) in the Wheatbelt region, Deacon Liam commenced his formation at Redemptoris Mater Seminary, Morley.
“It has been a tremendous adventure with Christ,” Deacon Liam told The Record.
“I’ve spent two years in Papua New Guinea and two years in Balgo, on a dynamic journey of Christ calling me to follow him,” Deacon Liam exclaimed.
Deacon Liam has been assigned to the Parish of Midland until he is ordained to the priesthood next year.