“Father Ryan did indeed give his life for his friends, friends that were Catholic, and friends that were not Catholic…His memory is still strong today.”
The procession from the cemetery where Father Ryan was interred to the basilica was mainly done with Ryan’s casket in a hearse, switching to a walking procession with bagpipes near the basilica.
Father Ryan was buried in a cemetery near the basilica following his death in September 1878, and less than a decade later in 1886 his remains were moved, with a horse and buggy procession, to the then-new Mount Olivet Cemetery about six miles away.
The diocese requested that Fr. Ryan be exhumed in part to confirm that he was a real person and not a “pious legend.” There is strong evidence pointing to the priest’s existence, like letters between clergymen and newspaper clippings.
Hamilton County officials approved Father Ryan’s exhumation in early 2019. When his casket was opened, beside his body were found vestments, a scapular, and a wooden crucifix.
Servant of God Patrick Ryan was born in 1845 near Nenagh in County Tipperary, Ireland. His family was forced to emigrate to the United States after suffering eviction from their home, and they settled in New York.
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