Philip Lynch

The following recollections by Mr Arthur Hunt are taken from the Oratory Parish Magazine for Candlemas 1998.

I remember Fr. Philip Lynch with great affection, as do so many other older parishioners. A big, sturdy man with voice to match and a kind of stutter, he taught doctrine at St. Philip’s Grammar School, which is where I first met him before I joined the Parish. “Pip”, as he was known (perhaps after “Pippo Buono”), had a great sense of humour and laughed a lot – especially at his own jokes – but we managed often to make him a bit ratty in class. Then he would dish out lines at an alarming, ever-increasing rate, until they reached the hundreds. We didn’t mind, because he never collected them.

He would often come into school wearing “Oratorian” slippers with a big shiny buckle. While standing in front of the class, he would take a foot out of one shoe and rub it down the other leg. One day a cheeky boy removed the empty shoe and passed it around the room. Pip was not at all pleased to find it missing!

His Mass was pretty certainly the quickest of all the Fathers. After the entrance bell rang, he would almost run onto the sanctuary and gabble the Latin at tremendous speed. He said “people don’t want to be kept hanging about”.

One memorable occasion was after his reading of the banns of marriage; when he meant to say, “Wherefore if any of you know of any lawful impediments, etc”, he actually said, “And may the souls of the faithful departed…” I’m sure if he hadn’t been in the pulpit he would have given vent to his great guffaw.

People came from far and wide to seek Fr. Philip’s help in the confessional, and there was always a queue outside his box.

He also had a well-deserved reputation as a parish visitor, and his kindness and regularity in this role was much appreciated by the elderly sick. His cheerful extrovert manner meant that you could not be unhappy in his company.

As he grew older and became increasingly house-bound, Fr. Philip very much enjoyed some of the local gossip and tittle-tattle, while a little bit of scandal brought a twinkle to his eye and outbreak of boisterous laughter.

He was a member of the Congregation for 74 years, during which time he was a solid, most reliable, hard-working and efficient priest, loved by all that knew him. He much enjoyed going on holiday, and was very widely travelled in exotic and out-of-the-way places. We can be sure that his final destination was with the Good Lord whom he had served so devotedly.