Ryan holds Mass to celebrate its new president

Archbishop Ryan President Michael J. Barnett celebrates installation mass with friends, faculty, and students.

Ryan’s new chief: Michael J. Barnett pumps his fist on Friday during his installation as the president of the school. JOHN COLE/TIMES PHOTO

Last Friday, Archbishop Ryan High School held a Mass to celebrate the installation of Michael J. Barnett, class of 1990, as president of the school.

Barnett officially began his tenure as president on Nov. 6, but this day was meant to signify a new beginning for the school.

Family, close friends, members of the Archdiocese and other alums made the trip to Academy Road for the occasion, which had Barnett feeling a bit overwhelmed.

“This is truly and I’ve said this multiple times, this is truly an exciting day for our school,” said Barnett. “I firmly believe the Lord has blessed us with a great opportunity and his calling was answered without hesitation on my end as I love Ryan and the community, which has been so crucial in my own development.”

Barnett spent the past couple of decades in a multitude of different fields before deciding to change careers and apply to become president of Ryan.

Chris Mominey, chief operating officer and secretary for Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, administered the oath for the installation and expressed optimism for the school under Barnett.

“It’s a great day, for Ryan,” said Mominey. “Today, I think, is especially poignant in the sense that Mike was a graduate, and he brings a ton of energy and enthusiasm and a real shot in the arm to the Ryan community. He knows the community, they know him, and it’s always a great day.”

Impressed by the number of people in attendance from the community, Mominey thought it was symbolic of the type of individual Barnett is.

“This has been a mainstay of this community, of Northeast Philly, for a long time and it’s going to be for many years to come,” said Mominey. “You see people here, you see priests, you see principals here from some of our elementary schools and some of our own presidents and principals from the high schools, so it’s a real community day.”

Ryan celebrated its 50th anniversary last year and although the school has experienced changes since its inception, Barnett still thinks about what remains the same for the community.

“I think about the history of our great school, and how we have and will continue to transform. It is truly amazing to think about the 35,000 stories it has produced over the past 51 years,” Barnett said. “Independent upon each story, there is one common and unbreakable thread amongst them all. Each and every one has walked our hallways, and that is a commonality that binds us and binds us for life.”

Principal Joseph McFadden, class of ’97, was ecstatic to welcome a Ryan alum in the administration.

“It’s wonderful having a fellow Ryan alum in the place. I wish I could say I was a football player also or an athlete, but I can’t lie to everybody, I think they know that,” said McFadden, alluding to Barnett’s time on Ryan’s championship football teams.

Barnett concluded the installation by saying, “E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles,” followed by a thunderous applause from the faculty and student body. Faculty and friends of Barnett went to the gymnasium after the address for a luncheon. ••

John Cole can be reached at JCole@bsmphilly.com