Mass planned for healing for those with addictions

By Joyce Duriga | Editor
Wednesday, November 2, 2022

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As a recovering alcoholic, Father Ryan Brady knows well that the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving is one of the biggest party nights of the year. He also knows firsthand the pain addiction causes to people who have addictions and those who love them.

It is for that reason he will celebrate a Mass of healing for those suffering from addiction the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Nov. 23, at 7 p.m. at the St. Linus Church worship site of Our Lady of the Ridge-St. Linus Parish in Oak Lawn.

“It really has become a big party night, a big binge drinking night,” Brady said of the night before Thanksgiving. “It really has become an excuse to overdo it.”

Last year on that night, his mind wandered back to when he was drinking, and he felt grateful that he was no longer in that pain. He decided to celebrate a private Mass for all those suffering from addiction to drugs or alcohol.

It was especially important since substance abuse and drug overdoses have been on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, according to the National Institute for Drug Abuse.

He posted a photo of the altar on his social media and explained what he was doing. The positive responses were overwhelming, he said. This year, he decided to make the Mass public and invite anyone who wants to attend.

“Alcoholism is a disease of isolation. And for people to know, whether they are there or not, that we as brothers and sisters in Christ, we as one family in this church, are looking out for each other and praying for each other, it breaks that feeling of isolation,” he said. “It’s a big deal, not only for those who suffer, but for those who sit by and watch that person they love killing themselves with drugs or alcohol.”

Cardinal Cupich, who ordained Brady in 2021, has encouraged him to share his story publicly in order to help others. Brady got sober in 2014 at the age of 30. He had a full-time job and was going to mortuary school full-time. Being of service to others was always something he was drawn to.

“I knew that God had a vocation for me, but I was so wounded and so crippled by addiction that I couldn’t move forward to accomplish what God called me to,” Brady said. 

Just a few days before he became sober, his doctor urged him to go to the emergency room because his alcoholism was killing him. Brady went to a bar instead.

Four days later, he had an awakening and decided that he did not want to continue the way he was living, so he quit drinking.

He leaned on his faith and the practices of prayer and adoration he learned in high school seminary, and he surrounded himself with people recovering from addiction.

Sobriety allowed him to live his life of faith, which led him to the priesthood, he said.

“My sobriety freed me to better understand God in my life. Sobriety led me to a place where I could hear his words,” Brady said.

Brady hopes the Mass helps people come to understand that addiction is not a moral failure, but a disease. He also wants to share the message that there is hope and resurrection in recovery.

“Addiction isn’t a death sentence, and it can be the greatest thing that ever happened to you,” Brady said. “My addiction is the greatest thing that ever happened to me. I wouldn’t be a priest today without it.”

Many people find faith in recovery, maybe not in a particular religion or the way a religion understands God, but faith in a higher power, he said.

“A program of recovery helps you build your relationship with God, and it helps you have faith in something,” Brady said. “Because the darkest of dark things is to have faith in nothing. And when you’re dying of addiction, the only thing you have faith in is that your next breath could be your last and that’s a terrible feeling.”


  • addiction

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