Ryan Holke, a 28-year-old graduate of St. Catherine of Siena School in Laguna Beach and St. Michael’s Abbey Prep School in Silverado, was ordained to the priesthood Oct. 4 for the Father Kolbe Missionaries of the Immaculta.
The ordination took place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where Father Ryan continues to work as a missionary. The order also serves 10 chapels in Brazil, publishes monthly magazines and operates a 24-hour Catholic-content radio station.
The oldest of three sons of Matt and Debbie Holke, who are parishioners at St. Edward the Confessor Church in Dana Point, Father Ryan spent 10 years in formation at the Benedictine University of Sao Paolo. He had been accepted into the Coast Guard Academy after his graduation from high school, but spent his summer after graduation doing missionary work in Brazil. When he returned at the end of the summer, he announced his intentions to return to missionary work in Brazil, says his father Matt.
Father Ryan’s decision to pursue a priestly career took his parent by surprise.
“It was never the type of thing that we’d planned or hoped for our son,” says Matt, “but I couldn’t be more happy. It’s the most fulfilling experience as a parent because, first of all, he’s very, very happy. He has this amazing close relationship with God and he’s constantly sharing God’s love with other people. It’s as if all the things you ever hoped for your children are fulfilled, and he’s living them daily.”