Lyke, James Patterson

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Fourth archbishop of Atlanta, GA; b. Chicago, Illinois, Feb. 18, 1939; d. Atlanta, Dec. 27, 1992; educ. Quincy College, Quincy, Illinois, and Antonianum, Rome. James Patterson Lyke professed in the Order of Friars Minor on June 21, 1963 and was ordained a priest on June 24, 1966. In 1967, St. Joseph's Theological Seminary granted him the Master of Divinity degree. Lyke served from 1972 to 1977 as a member of the committee that drafted the National Catechetical Directory, Sharing the Light of Faith [1979]. He was also president of the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus. On Aug. 1, 1979, Lyke was ordained bishop to minister as auxiliary in the Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio, and episcopal vicar of its Urban Region. In 1990 the Holy See named Lyke apostolic administrator, sede vacante, for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, and he was installed as archbishop of Atlanta on June 24, 1991.

Lyke's interest in liturgical life spurred him, in 1987, to coordinate the development of a new hymnal, Lead Me, Guide Me, which unites Roman Catholic hymnody and the rich tradition of African-American music. He took note of the values that had originated among and been handed down by the Swahili-speaking tribes of Africa, developing them in a pastoral reflection, Say not, "I am too young!," addressed to African-American Catholic Youth. In addition to pastoral letters on the sanctity of the family, "So Stood Those Who Have Gone Down through the Ages," and on the sanctity of the unborn, "Precious Lord, Precious Life," he cooperated with other African-American bishops in a joint pastoral letter, published in 1984, on evangelization in the black community, What We Have Seen and Heard.

The strong thread connecting the pastoral efforts of James Patterson Lyke, the pastor and bishop, was his vision of uniting African-American culture and the Catholic Church. While Lyke's service to the People of God was cut short by cancer, he is remembered as an outstanding leader whose sagacity continues to inspire African American Catholics.

Bibliography: Lyke's writings include: "When the Poor Evangelize the Church," Origins 11:3 (June 5, 1980) 33-38; Say Not "I Am Too Young!," (Cleveland 1990); "The Family in the Black Community," Origins 16:28 (Dec. 25, 1986) 511-516; "So Stood Those Who Have Gone Down Through the Ages," Pastoral Reflection on the Black Family (Cleveland 1986); "A Black Perspective on the National Catechetical Directory" (Ph.D. diss., Union Graduate School, 1981); in collaboration with others: What We Have Seen and Heard (Cincinnati 1984) and Lead Me, Guide Me: The African American Catholic Hymnal (Chicago 1987).

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Lyke, James Patterson

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