Lynch, William J.Died
Fr. William J. Lynch, SJ, a Jesuit for 76 years and a priest for 63, died of cardiac arrest June 10 in Mooresville, North Carolina, where he was serving his last assignment at St. Therese Catholic Church. Fr. Lynch, who was 94, spent more than 20 years at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia and about 20 at St. Therese Church.
The son of Margaret Kearney and William J. Lynch of Reading, Pennsylvania, was a 1935 graduate of Loyola High School in Baltimore. He entered the Jesuit novitiate following high school graduation.
Following a year of studies at the St. Ignatius House of Studies in Manhasset, New York, he went to Woodstock College, Maryland where he earned his Bachelors degree in classics in 1941, his licentiate in philosophy in 1942 and his licentiate in sacred theology in 1949. He was ordained to the priesthood June 20, 1948. Later, in 1969, he earned a Master’s degree in classics from Villanova University in Pennsylvania.
Fr. Lynch began his long career as an educator at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia in 1942 where he taught juniors for three years. After ordination he was assigned to Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C., where he taught freshmen for a year before returning to St. Joseph’s Prep in 1951 — an assignment that would last 20 years. He taught English, Latin and Greek to juniors and freshmen.
In 1971, Fr. Lynch was named principal of Mater Dei High School in New Monmouth, New Jersey. After three years, he was appointed school principal and parish coordinator at St. Ann’s in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. That assignment lasted five years. He continued ministering in New Jersey, as director of religious education and as a high school religion teacher at Holy Spirit Church in Asbury Park (1979), parochial vicar at St. Ann’s in Browns Mills, (1979-1981), and as parochial vicar at St. Mary’s Church in Alpha, where he also worked with a lay ministry group for the Trenton Diocese (1981-1982).
In 1982, Fr. Lynch moved to North Carolina where he served for 30 years, until his death. He served as a parochial vicar at Our Lady of Perpetual Church in Rocky Mount (1982-1986), pastor of St. Charles Borromeo in Ahoskie (1986-1989), and as parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Church in Pinehurst (1990-1991) and St. Therese in Mooresville, beginning in 1991. After serving eight years, Fr. Lynch continued on at St. Therese as a pastoral minister.
“Fr. Lynch had a great gift for making friends and shared his spiritual values with them. He was a wise and gentle counselor to many. His preaching always provoked thought. He had a great love for protecting God’s environment on earth,” Fr. Vincent Curtin, SJ, pastor at St. Therese Church said.