Ahead of ordination for Archdiocese of Chicago, one priest’s unique journey into priesthood begins

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CHICAGO As nine priests are slated to be ordained for the Archdiocese of Chicago Saturday morning, one priest’s unique path begins a new chapter in a very long journey.

36-year-old Michigan State graduate Robert Ryan had no intention of ever becoming a priest. Ryan spent the majority of his life chasing a paycheck.

Ryan spent his career in sales and marketing leading up to his priesthood, making his whole life revolve around money.

“I actually listed the US dollar as my religion,” Ryan said.

Ryan said he stopped praying and going to church, while doing everything society claims would make him happy. Ryan still felt empty.

“My dad called and said, ‘Enough is enough, it’s time to move back home.’ My parents had a rule that you had to go to church. From there, the Lord and his mercy was working on me,” Ryan said.

Two years later, Robert went on a religious retreat at Mundelein Seminary, where he said he was called into priesthood by God.

“The Lord clear as day, it was the most real thing ever, he said, ‘Be my priest,’ I didn’t know what to do so I laughed out loud,” Ryan said.

Robert was assigned to St. Joseph and St. Francis The Xavier Parish in Wilmette.

“I tried to be a man on my own. I crashed and burned hard. If we’re going to do this, then we need to do this together,” Ryan said.

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