Saturday, February 13, 2016

Celebration of Life for Ed Ryan, beloved husband of Kathleen (Kathie) Ryan, ARCWP - February 8, 2016.

Ed Ryan, beloved husband of Kathleen (Kathie) Ryan, ARCWP, entered eternal life on February 8, 2016. Although Ed was not formally ordained, he walked the pathway to ordination with Kathie and was a great supporter of women’s ordination through the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. Ed attended the last two ARCWP annual meetings and weekly joined in celebrating liturgy at the Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community in Albany, NY.  Today Ed’s family, friends and community gathered for his burial followed by a celebration of life liturgy at Lynnwood Reformed Church in Guilderland, NY. The graveside service and liturgy follows:

Graveside Service for Edward Francis Ryan
Ed and Kathie chose a green burial for Ed. Ed’s body was wrapped in a shroud and gently lowered in the earth.

February 13, 2016 

Suzanne: Thank you for gathering this morning with Kathie and her family as they reverently place Ed’s body in the earth.  Ed’s body served him well for many years and was, for all those who knew him, a tender expression of the face of God. For this we say thank you. 

Opening Prayer:
Kim: …and we pray: Great Mystery enfolding us, we lift up our hearts to understand that our spirits are one. You are, and we are in your presence. You are with us, and we live. Everything lives because of you, and everything is one. Your wisdom moves among us like the wind, and we are blessed.  We are one.

Reading: (adapted from writings by Michael Morwood)
Dennis: We believe we exist in God, but in a God beyond our images and descriptions, God beyond the many names we use: Breath of Life, Creator, Source, and Sustainer of everything that exists. Everywhere we look, this energizing presence comes to visible expression. We believe that each of us gives this presence and source a unique way of doing so.

Everywhere we look, we can observe the perpetual rhythm of new life, followed by death, followed by new life. So we do not believe that death is the final end of anything. Rather, it is a transformation in the continuation of the ebb and flow of existence in ways we do not understand.

Deb: Ed’s death speaks to us of the wonder of being human in a universe so vast and so magnificent and of our existence within a mystery and a power that we cannot understand or put into words.

In a very real sense, this vast and magnificent universe of ours came alive and became aware in Ed. He gave God a way of coming to expression, here in our lives, here in a way that reached out and touched us, as a husband, a father, a brother, and a loyal friend. He lived and loved in God, God lived and loved in him, and in death he lives on in God and in us.

These are the inspired words of Michael Morwood.

Suzanne: We give thanks for the many ways Ed’s life touched ours. We give thanks for the generosity of his loving. We give thanks for his faithfulness. We give thanks for his laughter and sense of humor and delight in life. We give thanks for the ways Ed nurtured, encouraged, and supported us. We give thanks for the courage with which he faced his death. We give thanks for Ed’s life with us.

 A Celebration of Life

Edward Francis Ryan
7/18/1947 - 02/08/2016

February 13, 2016
11:00 a.m.

Lynnwood Reformed Church
3714 Carman Road
Schenectady, NY 12303

“How grateful I am to have someone that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
A.A. Milne

Welcome: Rev. Mary Theresa Streck (Presider 1)

Presider 1: Welcome to our celebration of Ed Ryan. Thank you for being here this morning as we surround Kathie and her family in remembering Ed and expressing our gratitude for his life. We believe that life does not end and that Ed is here and continues to walk with us in Spirit. We have placed a candle on the table and Ed’s grandson, Gavin, will light the candle to remind us of Ed’s presence with us.

We thank you Ed, for your generous spirit and your love and dedication to your family. We thank you for the many ways you loved and encourage and supported Kathie, and we thank you for the many ways you nurtured, encouraged and supported Michael and John and their families. You continue to live on in them.

Please stand as we sing our opening song: Glory to God

Opening Song: Glory To God by Marty Haugen

Opening Prayer: Rev. Kathleen Ryan (Presider 2)

Let us pray: O Holy One, we remember the many ways that Ed revealed you to us. We remember the generosity of his loving and through his love we felt your generous Spirit. We have come to know you, O Holy One, through your son, Ed. And we say thank you! Amen.


Presider 1: Please be seated. The first reading is Kaddish Poem  By Marge Piercy, read by Ed’s sister Rosemary Hurley 

Look around us, search above us, below, behind.
We stand in a great web of being joined together.
Let us praise, let us love the life we are lent
passing through us in the body of all creation,
and our own bodies,
Let us say amen.

Time flows through us like water.
The past and the departed speak through us.
We breathe our children’s children, blessing.

Blessed is the earth from which we grow,
blessed the life we are lent,
blessed the ones who teach us,
blessed the ones we teach,
blessed is the word that cannot say the glory
that shines through us and remains to shine
flowing past distant suns on the way to forever.
Let us say amen.

Blessed is the light, blessed is the darkness
but blessed above all else is peace
which bears the fruits of knowledge
on strong branches,
Let us say amen.

Peace that bears joy into the world,
peace that enables love, peace over all,
everywhere, blessed and holy is peace,
Let us say amen.

Presider: The Second Reading is from Proverbs 30 and is read by Ed’s sister-in-law, Sharon Ryan.

Three things are too wonderful for me,
Yes, four I cannot understand;
The way of an eagle in the air,
The way of a serpent upon a rock,
The way of a ship on the high seas,
And the way of two people sharing their lives.  

These are the inspired words from the Book of Proverbs.

Alleluia: Sung

Gospel:  Matthew 6: 25-30, read by Rev. Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP

A reading from the Gospel of Matthew  
(Matt: 6: 25-30)

And Jesus said to his followers: Do not worry about your livelihood, what you are to eat or drink or use for clothing. Isn't life more than just food and clothes?  Look at the birds in the sky. They don't sow or reap; they gather nothing into barns, and the Holy One, our God, feeds them. Aren't you more important than they?

See how the lilies of the field grow. They don't work; they don't spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If this is how the Holy One clothes the grasses of the field, which are here today and gone tomorrow, won't the Holy One do so much more for you? Have faith!

These are the inspired words of Matthew, disciple of Jesus.

Homily: Rev. Mary Theresa Streck

Thank you, Kathie, for choosing
three beautiful readings for today’s liturgy.
The first reading, Kaddish Poem by Marge Piercy
is based on one of the most important prayers in Judaism.

The Kaddish prayer, written primarily in Aramaic,
is prayed after a loved one has crossed over
and the prayer focuses on the sanctification
and glorification of God’s name.
Kaddish means “holy” in Aramaic.

This beautiful prayer does not mention death or dying,
but rather it is an affirmation of
God’s holiness and the wonder of life.

The rabbis who shaped this prayer hundreds of years ago
recognized that in grief
we need to be reminded constantly
of the wonder of the universe
and the amazing gifts
we are granted
so that we can once again
focus on a meaningful life.

In Marge Piercy’s Kaddish Poem, we are reminded of
our connectedness with Ed’s life and  
our oneness with all of creation.
We are reminded to be grateful for the gift of life.  
Listen again to the first two sentences of the Kaddish Poem:

“Look around us, search above us, below, behind.

We stand in a great web of being joined together.
Let us praise, let us love the life we are lent
passing through us in the body of all creation,
and our own bodies.”

In the second reading from Proverbs,
the author is marveling at four amazing gifts of life.
The author is saying,
Oh!, Wow!, I am so grateful
for the wonderful things in life that are free
and are just too marvelous for me to understand –
and I am especially amazed at
the way of two people sharing their lives.

When two people embark on a life together,
there is no blueprint or road map.
It is truly memorable when two people
become co-creators with the Divine
and fashion a meaningful life.

Today, we celebrate and speak words of gratitude
for the life and love shared
by Kathie and Ed for over 45 years.
Their loving relationship grew deeper
And through that love,
they became a conduit of life for their sons.

And in the Gospel for today, Jesus reminds us
to pay attention to what is most important in life. 
Do not be overly anxious about food and clothes
and the things that do not last.

Pay attention to what is really important.
Have faith!

And remember that you are loved by the Holy One
…and don’t forget to love one another
because, in the end, that is all that really matters.

We celebrate today the gift of Ed’s life. 
We celebrate his love for his family and friends,
his kindness, his generosity, his humor,
and his faith in God.

Ed’s life, 
lived in love,
continues to live on in us. 

Thank you, Ed.  We are grateful for you -
You were for us
a tender expression
of the face of God.

Statement of Faith

Presider 2: Please stand and proclaim our statement of faith:

All: We believe in one God, a divine mystery
beyond all definition and rational understanding,
the heart of all that has ever existed,
that exists now, or that ever will exist.

We believe in Jesus, messenger of God's Word,
bringer of God's healing, heart of God's compassion,
bright star in the firmament of God's
prophets, mystics, and saints.
We believe that We are called to follow Jesus
as a vehicle of God's love,
a source of God's wisdom and truth,
and an instrument of God's peace in the world.

We believe that God's kin-dom is here and now,
stretched out all around us for those
with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it,
and hands to make it happen.


 Presider 1: O Holy One, enfolding us, we lift up our hearts to understand that our spirits are one. You are, and we are in your presence. You are with us, and we live. Everything lives because of you, and everything is one.

Presider 2: Your wisdom moves among us like the wind, and we are blessed.
So now we enter into the oneness as we pray our Eucharistic prayer together.

All: O Nurturing, Mothering One, You are always with us. We are grateful for Your constant loving and Your unconditional presence. At times we forget that You are holding us, attending to us. We fall and You pick us up. You send strangers, friends and family to our aid. We are never without Your Light and Spirit.

We experience great joy and we experience great pain and suffering. You are with us in the joy and the pain and suffering. When we experience Your presence we long to sing our hymn of praise:

Holy, Holy, Holy
(Words and music by Karen Druker)

We are holy, holy, holy, (3x)
We are whole.
Repeat 1x

Spirit Divine, Come to Me,
healing Love, healing Me.
Open my heart, allow me to see,
Beauty and love, lives in me.

You are holy, holy, holy (3x)
You are whole
Repeat 1x

All: Creator and Lover of all beings, we cannot grow in the darkness of this world without Your Light. Our desire to be in Your light is a gift from You. Help us keep our hearts and minds open to You through our love and care of each other and all of creation.

Presider 1: Please extend your hands in blessing over the bread and wine.

All: When we share this bread and wine, we know that we are sharing with You and with each other. This bread and wine is a sign of nourishment and a sign of Your great love. Your spirit is upon us and we belong to You and one another.

Presider 2:  lifts the bread

All: On the night before he died, Jesus sat at a table with friends and relived with them his work, his teaching and wisdom of the universe. Then he went among them as servant, washing their feet, touching their hearts.  When he returned to his place, he took bread, gave thanks and offered it to them saying:

Take this bread and eat it;
It is my life.

Presider 1 lifts the wine

All: Jesus lifted a cup of wine, gave thanks and offered it to them saying:

Take and drink of the covenant
Made new again through my life
Poured out for you and for everyone
That you might be free.

Whenever you remember me like this,
I am among you.

All: We belong to You and You belong to us. We thank You for these gifts. We thank You for the opportunity to love and care for each other as You love and care for us.

Bread and wine is transformed by Your Spirit and we are transformed when we open ourselves to Your Spirit. Every time we share this bread and wine we choose to be transformed. We choose to love as You love us.

We journey towards greater and fuller openness and awareness, a living sense of gratitude. Open to Your creative Spirit, we enter into life as Jesus did, for it is…

Through him, we have learned to how to live.
Through him, we have learned how to love.
Through him, we have learned how to serve.

Great Amen. (sung)

Presider 2: Let us pray together the prayer of Jesus:

O Holy One, who is within, we celebrate your many names. Your wisdom come. Your will be done, unfolding from the depths within us. Each day you give us all that we need. You remind us of our limits, and we let go. You support us in our power, and we act with courage. For you are the dwelling place within us, the empowerment around us, and the celebration among us, now and forever. Amen.
The Prayer of Jesus as interpreted by Miriam Therese Winter

Presider 1: May you experience God’s peace, always.  Please offer a sign of peace to each other and return to your seats when the music has ended.

Song for Sign of Peace: Prayer for Peace by David Haas

Prayer for the breaking of the bread

Presider 2:  Please join in praying our prayer for the breaking of the bread.
Presiders break the bread as everyone prays the following:

Loving God, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will live justly. 
Loving God, You call us to be Your presence in the world. We will love tenderly
Loving God, You call us to speak truth to power. We will walk with integrity in your presence.

Presiders hold up bread and wine.

Presider 1: Let us pray our communion prayer together.

All:  What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives; as we share communion, we will become communion, both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge.

Presider 2: Our Eucharistic celebration is all-inclusive. You are one with the Divine and nothing can separate you from God’s love. All are welcome to receive at this friendship table. 

Presider 1: Please come to the center aisle to receive the bread. Kathie and I will hold the plate, please take communion from the plate. The bread is gluten free.  Our communion song is an instrumental piece called To Touch the Sky from the Album: 2002, The Sacred Well.

Communion Songs: To Touch the Sky and Full Circle – Instrumentals from the Album: 2002, The Sacred Well

To Touch the Sky

Full Circle

Communion Meditation: I Give Myself to You by David Nahmod
Sung by Dennis McDonald
Guitar by John Ryan

Thoughts of Ed - The Ryan Family Shares Memories of Ed

David John read a tribute written by Ed's sons, Michael and John.

Ed's grandson, Gavin, shared two memories about his grandpa:
"My favorite memory of Grandpa is playing leap frog.    Grandpa
would pick me up under the arms and lift me over his head ...saying leap
frog...and I would jump high and grandpa would lift me higher...and we would
keep doing that over and over    And the other memory is playing
spider...Grandpa would make his hand into a spider and try to tickle me...I
would try to hold his hand away with my two hands...but then Grandpa would
use his other hand and turn it into a spider and  tickle me anyway.....”

Kathie closed with tender words about Ed. She explained the reason for the closing song. When Ed worked in his woodworking shop, he often whistled the tune to The Ride of the Valkyries. 


Presider 1: Let us pray: O Holy One, we thank you for our brother Ed. We know that he is with you and continues to walk with us in Spirit.

Presider 2: Let us pray together our blessing.

All: May we continue to be the face of God to each other.  May we call each other to extravagant generosity!  May our name be a blessing in our time! Amen.

Closing Song: Ride of the Valkyries:

Words of Gratitude

Thank you for coming today to celebrate Ed’s life.  We would like to thank all our family members, friends, our loving Inclusive Catholic Community, and especially the amazing staff of the Hospice of Schenectady.

A special thank you to Pastor Garret Szantner and his congregation for their wonderful hospitality, allowing us to celebrate in this beautiful sacred space.


The Upper Room
Inclusive Catholic Community
415 River Street
Troy, NY 12180

The Upper Room is an intentional Eucharistic community living Gospel equality and justice in an inclusive, non-hierarchical model of church. Our community embraces a contemporary theology that celebrates each of us as an “original blessing.”  Come join us for liturgy each Sunday at 11:00am. For an updated schedule, visit our website at

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I am deeply moved by this celebration of a good life.. The readings, the songs and lyrics give remind us of his on going presence.