This month, Father Ryan Muldoon (Cohort XI, USA) welcomed JPII Leaders visiting from Italy, Ukraine, the UK, and Nigeria and program director at the Russell Berrie Foundation, Naomi Shank, to Saint Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, New York, where he serves as Adjunct Professor of Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue. Located in the Archdiocese of New York and co-sponsored by the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Saint Joseph’s Seminary offers education to seminarians from neighboring dioceses and religious orders and offers degree programs open to lay men and women and permanent deacon candidates.
Fr. Ryan is in his second year of teaching a course on Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue, which is required for those seminarian students preparing for ordination as Catholic priests. He reflects on his teaching:
“Ecumenical and interreligious relations are important everywhere, but especially in New York. I encourage my students to realize that, whether they intend it or not, they are seen as speaking on behalf of the whole Catholic Church when they engage with ecumenical and interreligious partners. This requires being knowledgeable about their own Catholic tradition, the ability to explain Catholic beliefs in a way that is easily understood, and genuine openness to learning from ecumenical and interreligious partners.”
A member of Cohort XI, Fr. Ryan shares: “My time as a Russell Berrie Fellow allowed me to begin my studies toward a Licentiate in Theology, specializing in Ecumenism and Dialogue, which gives me the credentials to teach graduate-level theology. I could not do what I do without it!”
“When I was asked very shortly after concluding my licentiate studies to begin teaching at Saint Joseph’s Seminary, the JPII Center helped me to connect with other JPII Leaders, alumni of the Russell Berrie Fellowship like me, who were teaching in similar fields,” shares Fr. Ryan. “Many of them sent me syllabi which were helpful in crafting the course that I now teach.”
“Teaching is part-time work for me, while being full-time in parish ministry,” says Fr. Ryan. “For me, it is a great responsibility, but also an immense privilege, to teach the future Catholic priests of the New York metropolitan area.”