Father Leo Lynch, former parish priest of St Joseph’s, Blundellsands died on Tuesday 29 October, aged 90 and in his 65th year of priesthood.
George Leo Lynch, together with his twin brother, John Michael, was born in Southport on 10 April 1929, to James and Mary Lynch. Leo received his early education at Strathleigh, Ainsdale and Bishop’s Court, Freshfield before studying at St Cuthbert’s College Ushaw, from 1942 until 1955. On 17 July 1955, Bishop Joseph Halsall, Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool, ordained him priest in his family’s parish, Sacred Heart, Ainsdale.
As an assistant priest, Leo served in St Helen’s, Crosby (September 1955), St George’s, Maghull (1963) and Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs, Croxteth (1971). The following year 1972, he was appointed as one of the defenders of the bond, in the Metropolitan Tribunal, a role that he fulfilled faithfully until 2005.
In October 1978, he became parish priest of Our Lady of Walsingham, Netherton. This was a particularly appropriate appointment since he had a special devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham. The newly-ordained Father Chris Fallon became his curate and, subsequently, life-long friend.
He also served as a parish priest in Holy Redeemer, Melling (1985), Our Lady, Star of the Sea, and St Maughold, Ramsey (1986), with the addition of St Patrick, Peel (1988), St Jerome, Formby (1991) and St Joseph, Blundellsands (2000).
Prior to the premature death of his brother, James (Fr Jim), the Lynch priests, for holiday, would travel by air, bicycle, boat, motor-bike or train across and beyond Europe, visiting many ancient sites and shrines. The Holy Land, Lourdes and Walsingham had a special place in Leo’s heart, and he often led parish groups to them.
For the best part of 50 years, he was a trustee of the Sherburne Hartley Trust, a small charity set up in 1845 to support mainly ecclesiastical education for those coming from within the boundaries of the old Lancashire Vicariate. He was a deeply committed chaplain to the Walshingham Association and participant in the Healing Ministry set up by Canon Jimmy Collins.
In September 2007 Leo retired to Formby, until in 2015 increasing frailty entailed his final move to Ince Blundell Hall. There, with patience and hope, he continued, as always, to accept the Lord’s will and died peacefully on Tuesday 29 October.
The Vigil Mass was celebrated by Canon Chris Fallon on 6 November and the Funeral Mass by Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP on 7 November at St Joseph’s Blundellsands, prior to burial at Sacred Heart, Ainsdale.
Canon Chris Fallon writes: ‘In all the parishes in which he served, Leo’s first priority was visiting the homes of the parishioners. That was not unusual when he was first ordained but he continued systematic visitation throughout his ministry, often visiting 20 homes in an evening, developing not only a great memory but also highly sensitive pastoral antennae that enabled him to breeze quickly in and out of most houses but to sense immediately where more time was needed.
‘Leo’s gentleness and patience will be remembered by many who sought a listening ear and his love of prayer, Scripture and the Eucharist sustained him and fed his parishioners. His infectious laugh, self-deprecating humour and practical generosity inspired great affection and helped many people in their struggles along the paths of life and faith.’