Died 17 November 2017
Jesuit Father Edward C. Lynch died on Nov. 17, 2017, at Murray-Weigel Hall in the Bronx, New York. He was born on Jan. 9, 1934, entered the Society of Jesus at St. Andrew-on-Hudson in Poughkeepsie, New York, on Sept. 7, 1951, and was ordained on June 18, 1964, in the Fordham University Church. He pronounced his final vows on Aug. 15, 1967.
Born in Brooklyn into a large family, which included three older brothers, John, Robert and Pat – all of whom entered the Jesuits – and a sister, Barbara, who joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood, he grew up surrounded by men and women who all had strong convictions and enjoyed lively discussions around the dinner table.
As a student, Fr. Lynch threw himself into life at Xavier High School in New York City. He served as a manager of the football team, which had its first undefeated season, competed for one year on the track team, and worked for four years on The Review newspaper, also rose to the rank of captain in the school’s JROTC program.
Fr. Lynch entered the Jesuits the September after graduation in 1951. With the rest of his Jesuit generation, he served his novitiate at St. Andrew-on-Hudson, studied philosophy at Shrub Oak and, after a change of pace teaching Latin and theology at Regis High School, he studied theology at Woodstock College in Maryland, followed by ordination at Fordham in 1964. He carried with him for the rest of his life an injury brought on by a fall during the first year at St. Andrew’s. Leaping up to make a great catch, he went down head-first. The result was brain damage, which manifested itself in periodic seizures. He might be teaching or talking and suddenly the brain would shut down and he would just stand there silently. Because they respected him, the class would just quietly wait a few minutes for him to recover.
Fr. Lynch loved the liturgy and loved celebrating Mass. A critical moment came as ordination approached in 1964. Jesuit headquarters in Rome decided that, because of seizures he should not be ordained, fearing that an attack during Mass may interfere with the liturgy. It is characteristic of Fr. Lynch’s commitment to his vocation that he had decided if he could not be ordained he would remain a Jesuit as a religious brother. Fortunately, a priest at Woodstock, who was also a medical doctor, analyzed the situation and wrote to Rome, stating that Fr. Lynch could and should be ordained.
Most of Fr. Lynch’s apostolic work was in the high schools. He was assistant principal at St. Peter’s Prep from 1966 to 1970. Then he taught Latin and theology at Regis High School from 1970 to 1979. After a one-year sabbatical in Weston, Mass., he returned to teaching social studies from 1980 to 1993 at Xavier High School, where he doubled as subminister in the community and the person in charge of the book store. During those years when he could not drive a car he also had a bike which he tirelessly rode all over Brooklyn, dropping in on friends and family members whom he could otherwise not see.
In the years following teaching, he moved between Murray-Weigel Hall near the Fordham campus, where he was minister, and at the Canisius Jesuit community in Buffalo, where he was treasurer and subminister. During the New York City years he very much enjoyed pastoral work at St. Clare’s Church on Staten Island. He came back to Murray-Weigel to live in 2010.