Father Ryan, St. Francis de Sales help send Lake Zurich HS choir to Rome
Father David Ryan spends some time with the Lake Zurich High School Choir after presenting them with a $23,480 donation to help pay for its upcoming trip to Rome. | Photos courtesy St. Francis de Sales Catholic Parish
Updated: March 1, 2013 7:00AM
LAKE ZURICH — Father David Ryan’s mission to support the Lake Zurich High School Choir’s upcoming trip to Rome began over a conversation with parishioners at the Koffee Kup.
It ended with a hand-delivered donation of $23,480 from his parish, St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Lake Zurich.
“Whether one was in the parish or not wasn’t a question, it was about how we could help our young people make that trip to the Vatican to raise their voices in song at St. Peter’s,” Ryan said.
Since joining the parish six years ago, Ryan has been focused on bringing his unwavering faith in God through people to invoke a greater sense compassion within the community.
He is quick to dismiss that he is the reason for his parish’s good will, though. Instead, he credits the community for being filled with generous people.
Facilitating the humanitarian intentions of his parish is only a small portion of what Ryan has done and continues to do as St. Francis de Sales’ priest.
Ryan said each day can vary according to God’s will, but it typically begins with Mass, and is further dictated by whether he is scheduled to preside over a funeral, baptism or wedding. His other daily commitments include hospital visitations and supporting the youth community by attending events, musicals, plays, sporting events and the like.
He often also meets with parishioners to discuss topics of their choice.
Ryan pointed out that he and multiple members of the parish met last August to consider the different ways they could help lighten the LZHS choir’s financial load before the students’ departure in March. The group decided to invite the choir to sing at St. Francis de Sales’ Masses on Dec. 15 and 16.
After about 100 students performed at five of the hour-long Masses, many parishioners chipped in to help the group more easily afford the opportunity ahead of them.
“God love them, the students heard my sermon five times,” Ryan laughed, adding that he and his parish felt blessed to hear them sing and witness their musical talent.
Ryan and the St. Francis de Sales community’s desire to help others also was evident last March when the parish collected canned goods, water and $30,000 for those affected by the tornadoes that hit Harrisburg, Ill., a month earlier.
When LZHS student and Eagle Scout David LaVanne approached Ryan about providing relief to the victims, Ryan said he was proud and happy to help him realize his goal. They took many opportunities during Sunday Masses to remind parishioners of the victims’ needs.
“Through the generosity of the parish, we were able to reach out to our fellow Illinois citizens and our brothers and sisters at the two parishes in those communities,” Ryan said.
Ryan made his first trip to the area in mid-March to present $15,000 to Father Stephen Beatty at St. Joseph’s in Ridgway, Ill., and another $15,000 to Father Ignatius Okomkwo at St. Mary’s in Harrisburg.
A week later, Ryan made his second trip to southern Illinois with the LaVanne family and LaVanne’s fellow scouts to deliver more than 22,000 pounds of canned goods and bottled water to the victims.
While 33 years in a vocation can grow monotonous, Ryan said that he is still, and always will be, inspired to do what he does each day.
“In our humanness, there are times where we fall into routine, but when you are so close to Christ in your life, then every day is a new day to do the Lord’s work,” he said.