Msgr. Gerald Ryan, the oldest serving priest in New York City and a beloved, vital figure in South Bronx, will be waked Monday at St. Luke’s Church, which he led for nearly 50 years.
Ryan died last Wednesday night. He was 93 and had been a priest for almost seven decades.
From Timothy Cardinal Dolan to people in Mott Haven, Ryan was lauded for his humility .
Ryan remained at the church’s helm during the neighborhood’s steep decline in the 1970s, working with community groups to revive the area and secure affordable housing and a better quality of life for residents.
Born in 1920 in Manhattan, Ryan moved with his parents, both Irish immigrants, to the Pelham Bay section of the borough, where he was raised.
He joined the priesthood in 1945, and settled at St. Luke’s parish in 1966.
Marty Rogers, a longtime South Bronx resident, said Ryan was a fixture in the neighborhood.
Even after he reached 75, the retirement age for priests, Ryan kept going.
Ryan’s wake will be held Monday, from noon to 7 p.m., at St. Luke’s Church at 623 E. 138th Street. A funeral Mass will be held there at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.