Raymond J Lynch, OFM
1923 – 2003
Fr. Raymond J. Lynch, OFM, was born in New York City on April 6, 1923, the 10th of 12 children. He became interested in the friars through the Franciscans who helped out at his home parish on weekends. Fr. Donatus Walsh, OFM, of St. Francis of Assisi Church on 31st Street, encouraged him to go to St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., after he finished high school.
From 1942 to 1945, Fr. Raymond studied at the seminary, entering the Province’s novitiate that last year at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J. A year later, he professed his first vows. He undertook his philosophy studies at St. Stephen’s Friary, Croghan, N.Y., and St. Anthony’s Friary, Butler, N.J. He studied theology at Holy Name College in Washington, D.C. In 1949, Fr. Raymond professed final vows and was ordained to the priesthood in 1951 in the Mount St. Sepulchre Friary in Washington.
Fr. Raymond’s active ministry has been varied. He served for four years at St. Stephen of Hungary Parish in New York, then for six years at the training school for brothers in Croghan. After a year in St. Petersburg, Fla., as a chaplain at St. Anthony Hospital, he returned to pastoral ministry, which he enjoyed for the next 36 years.
From 1963 to 1969, Fr. Raymond served at Holy Cross Parish in the Bronx. He was appointed pastor of St. George Parish in Jeffersonville, N.Y., and St. Francis Xavier Parish in Youngsville, N.Y. After 10 years in Sullivan County, he was asked to serve as guardian and rector of Our Lady’s Chapel in New Bedford, Mass. Fr. Raymond also served at St. Stephen Parish in Croghan before being transferred to St. Joseph Parish in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
He served the Wilkes-Barre community for nine fruitful years. The people loved Fr. Raymond and he loved his people. Fr. Raymond was pastor when the parish and friary observed its 100th anniversary in 1998. As the people began to prepare for the centennial as early as 1994, Fr. Raymond had a San Damiano Crucifix placed above the altar on the back wall of the sanctuary. For Fr. Raymond, this crucifix reflected the whole mystery of the death, resurrection and glorification of Christ. Just as Francis of Assisi received a “decisive inspiration” for his life, Fr. Raymond also found inspiration and consolation from the cross of Christ.
Ministry was central to his life, and people were the center of his ministry. People were seen as a wonderful gift from God in Fr. Raymond’s life.
He retired from public ministry in 2002 and lived at St. Anthony Friary in Butler until moving in 2003 to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J.
Fr. Raymond died Aug. 10., 2003, in Ringwood. He was 80 years old, a professed friar for 56 years and a priest for 52 years.