RINGWOOD, N.J. — Stephen Lynch, OFM, 87, a professed Franciscan friar for 63 years and a priest for 58, died Jan. 3 at Holy Name Friary.
A wake and wake service were held on Jan. 7 at St. Anthony Church in Butler, N.J. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Jan. 8 there. Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, served as principal celebrant and William DeBiase, OFM, preached the homily. Burial followed at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Butler.
Born on March 21, 1926 in New Britain, Conn., to Stephen and Marguerite Lynch, Stephen was baptized at St. Mary Church in 1926. He attended the parish school and graduated from New Britain Senior High School in 1944. Following graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces, serving in the Transport Command. He was discharged with the rank of corporal in 1946. Stephen then enrolled at St. Joseph Seminary, Callicoon, N.Y., where he studied for three years.
He was received into the Order in 1949 at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., professing first vows there one year later. Stephen received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1952 from St. Bonaventure University, Allegany, N.Y., before making his solemn profession in 1953 at Holy Name College in Washington. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1955 at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington.
Upon completing theological studies in 1956, Stephen’s first assignment was parochial vicar at St. Anthony Parish in Butler. In 1957, he volunteered to be a missionary in Japan. After initial language studies, Stephen served in a number of towns in the Province’s mission in Gumma Ken, and in 1970 became assistant director of the Franciscan Chapel Center in downtown Tokyo. Returning to the United States, he attended the Franciscan School of Theology at Berkeley, Calif., before serving for seven years as director of the Catholic Center at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
Stephen then served for five years as guardian of the friar community and rector at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston. From 1990 to 1993, he ministered as guardian at Siena College Friary in Loudonville, N.Y. For the next 14 years, he served as director of evangelization at St. Francis Chapel in Providence, R.I., also serving as vicar from 2002 until 2009. He retired to St. Anthony Friary, Butler, in 2009 and transferred to Holy Name Friary in 2013.
He is survived by two sisters, Virginia Sasek and Elizabeth Lynch. Condolences may be sent to Mrs. Virginia Sasek, 30 Village Lane, Kensington, CT 06037 and Ms. Elizabeth Lynch, 19 Cornwall Rd., New Britain, CT 06052.
Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars-Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd St. New York, NY 10001.
— Compiled by Maria Hayes and Theresa Bartha