Ryan '08 and Vetter '13 Newest Alumni Priests

Louis Fabro
We are very proud to announce that on Saturday afternoon, April 6, St. Charles alumni Rev. Michael Francis Ryan ‘08, C.S.C. and Rev. Brian Joseph Vetter ‘13, C.S.C., were ordained to the priesthood at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the University of Notre Dame campus.

Fathers Ryan and Vetter were two of eight men from The Congregation of Holy Cross U.S. Province to be ordained by the Most Reverend William A. Wack, C.S.C., bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola – Tallahassee.
The day before, the St. Charles community of students, faculty, staff, and friends gathered at Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto to hold a special Rosary Service to pray for these men as they embark on the priesthood.

Click HERE to view a recording of Father Vetter’s and Father Ryan’s ordination ceremony!

Father Ryan
Ryan, the son of Mary Ginn and Bob Ryan ’69 of St. Catharine Parish, was the youngest of eight brothers to graduate from St. Charles. His brother, Brogan ’04, was a 2008 Notre Dame graduate who pursued his own priestly vocation with the Holy Cross fathers and was ordained in 2013.
Michael attended the University of Notre Dame where he earned a degree in civil engineering in 2012. He spent the next five years in Chicago with Clark Construction Group, LLC, becoming an engineer and construction superintendent.
“My time at St. Charles coincided with the building of the Walter Student Commons, and I spent a good amount of time peering from the hallways down into the construction site in fascination. While I have always been fascinated with construction, seeing this project made me want to study it. And so, I did,” he said.
Although he loved working as an engineer in construction, “after reaching goals I had set for myself, I still felt called to the priesthood. I decided to leave work and enter Moreau Seminary to more intentionally discern where God was calling me.”
While he had fleeting thoughts about a possible vocation in high school, it wasn't until his time at Notre Dame that he actually considered that ne might be called to the priesthood. Holy Cross priests are responsible with conducting all liturgies and campus ministry activities at the university. It was the influence of the priests who lived in the college residence halls that were Ryan’s main influence.
“Seeing them live a joyful life in community with the other Holy Cross priests on campus was inspirational and something that I felt drawn toward,” he said.  
As a student at St. Charles, Fr. Ryan ‘08 was an accomplished student who was involved in numerous activities and groups.
Ryan served with distinction as president of both the St. Charles Student Council and the Borromean Chapter of the National Honor Society. He also served as then-principal Dominic J. Cavello’s '64 right-hand-man on the projects associated with the school’s audio-visual equipment -- especially handling the media responsibilities of all-school and special events held in the Robert C. Walter Student Commons.
He also reflected a deep commitment to helping and serving others which seems to have foreshadowed his choice of vocation. At graduation, Ryan received The Bishop Herrman Service Award for exceptional service to the community as selected by the administration and faculty for his demonstrated commitment to serving others. He also earned the school’s Father Charles Jackson Leadership Medal for service to the school and students. His service included volunteer work with the following groups: SPICE; Nationwide Children’s Hospital; Christ the King Appalachian Project, Down Syndrome Association of Columbus, Ohio; Shepherd’s Corner; St. Theresa’s Retirement Community; the Red Cross blood drive committee; Right to Life March; and his parish youth group.
Father Ryan says his time in high school was incredibly formative for him and has played out in his post-undergrad life.
“At St. Charles I was formed as a student and learned an incredible amount from the great teachers, coaches, and staff. I still remember specific teachers and "lessons" they taught. More than that, though, St. Charles played a large role in forming me as a young man in the Catholic faith. This was done not just by specific people but in large part by the general aura, values, and character of the school,” he said.
“While I ultimately decided to work in engineering and construction versus go into the seminary, the formation St. Charles provided me as a high-schooler came out in these years and ultimately let me away from fascination in construction into religious life with Holy Cross.”
He noted there were many St. Charles faculty and staff members who were important to him during high school.
“I fear listing people because I know I will leave someone out! My time at St. Charles was marked with illness, but that is where I believe God showed me my vocation.” He said the entire faculty and staff were very kind and cared for him in a special way as he suffered with a stomach illness for most of his high school years. “People like Mr. John Salyer ‘92 would come to the hospital to tutor me. Nurse Betsy Mason brought me the Eucharist and was always willing to care for me. Others like Ms. Linda Haas ensured that I was included in prayer before her class each day. Principal Cavello routinely checked in with me and offered sage counsel.” 
“And then there were people who were literally Christ to me. In conversation with Monsignor Thomas Bennett, he once told me that sometimes people ask where is God in this dark time?” Ryan has come to firmly believe that, as Father Bennett told him, "Stop searching for God, just look; Christ abounds." This bit of wisdom has become a bit of a mantra in my life. "Just look, you will see Christ abundantly in others."
As far as other priests who helped encourage his formation, Ryan joked that it seemed like at the time nearly all the priests in Columbus had graduated from St. Charles! “My childhood pastor, Msgr. (David) Sorohan (College 1956) was a powerful example. He also looked to priests such as Msgr. (Michael) Lumpe ‘78, Msgr. (Robert) Noon (College 1948), Msgr. (John) Cody (College ’70), and Fr. (James) Ogurchock (College 1955) on whose example I look back as I prepare for my life as a priest.”

What encouragement would Father Ryan give current SC students about succeeding and being happy in the future… those who are considering a vocation to the priesthood… as well as those who are not?
“As rector of a men's dorm at Notre Dame I think about this a lot in terms of advice to give young people. Ultimately, you need to follow your heart and where it leads you. At a certain point you need to claim your decisions to be happy and joyful rather than living under the decisions someone else made. It is good to do this with your parents!”
“And lastly, all of us, but particularly young men, are in a process of becoming the people we were created to. The actions we make in the current moment affect the person we become in the next moment. Thankfully, however, God is merciful and forgiving so we can acknowledge our shortcomings and commit to being better in the future.”
Brian Vetter
Father Brian Vetter ’13, the son of John and Patricia Vetter of Columbus, was the youngest of three brothers (Josh ’03, Chris ’05) to attend St. Charles. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2017where he majored in Pre-Medicine and Theology.
“As an undergrad at Notre Dame, my plans were straightforward: I wanted to get married, have a family, and become a doctor. Over my four years at Notre Dame, I slowly experienced a greater pull on my heart to discern religious life and priesthood. As I met more and more Holy Cross priests, I saw the joy of their community life, their mission, and their relationship with Jesus. As I had profound experiences of faith and community in my Notre Dame residence hall, I saw that religious life in Holy Cross was speaking to me. I found that I could best love and be loved by others through prayer, community, and the shared mission of Holy Cross,” he said.
Like Father Ryan, Father Vetter was also an outstanding and very involved student. He was a National Merit Scholarship Finalist, a National Latin Exam Gold Medalist, a member of the Borromean Chapter of the National Honor Society, conducted cell research with St. Charles faculty member Dr. Sarah Vandermeer and muscle psychology with Dr. Peter Reiser of The Ohio State University. He was also the captain of both the school’s track and field and cross-country teams.
Vetter, like Ryan, was presented with the Bishop Herrmann Service Award at his graduation ceremony for the exceptional service he performed in the community. Vetter, who attended St. Andrew grade school and was a member of St. Brigid of Kildare parish, was a math GED tutor at the Dominican Learning Center, a Muscular Dystrophy Association Camp counselor, a volunteer on the school’s 2012 service trip to Nicaragua, and a volunteer at the Physicians Free Clinic.
During his four years as a St. Charles student, he was trying to figure out what his faith meant to him. “I remember that my sophomore year religion teacher, Mr. Kyle Callahan, was someone who was very helpful in showing so many of us God’s love. He was approachable and willing to engage and listen to any of our questions or concerns. The faith felt authentic and genuine, something that we too could claim as our own.”
What has stuck with Father Vetter most about St. Charles is the importance of brotherhood and community. It was the first place where he began to see how much he wanted to live and be in community. He also learned important faith lessons in a more surprising place: while running cross-country and track.
“Long runs outside with others allowed for us to have meaningful and deep conversations. When I would go on long runs alone, while I would not have said this at the time, I was learning how to pray and interact with God. I was also hyper-competitive (you can ask any of my former teammates and coaches), and eventually learned from these experiences that I would never be fulfilled in life by simply continuing to chase the next goal. A life well-lived is one that knows the love of God and shares that love with others,“ he said.
“My vocation to the priesthood cannot be separated from my vocation to religious life in the Congregation of Holy Cross. From my time at St. Charles and afterwards, I felt that I can best love and be loved through community and brotherhood. Holy Cross is modeled on the Holy Family, and we truly are a family. There are so many priests and brothers in Holy Cross who have been and continue to be there for me in good times and bad. I have committed my life to being a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross primarily because I feel called to love others through the community life that I first began to experience at St. Charles.”
What encouragement would he give current SC students about succeeding and being happy in the future… both those who are considering a vocation to the priesthood… and those who are not?
“Do not be afraid of God’s call in your life,” he said. “There are and will be a lot of voices leading you in different directions, some better than others. It is very tempting to follow the path that is going to lead to the most prestige, money, or success as the world sees it. The fundamental question to ask in discerning your path to the future is “How can I use my gifts to love others, and open myself to be loved by others?”
Wherever you may be called, you will be challenged, but in embracing where God is leading you, you will find your joy.”
St. Charles Preparatory School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.