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Lynch, Patrick Nelson


Third bishop of Charleston, South Carolina; b. County Monaghan, Ireland, March 10, 1817; d. Charleston, Feb. 26, 1882. Lynch was the son of Conlaw Peter and Eleanor (Neison) Lynch, who emigrated to the United States in 1819, settling in Cheraw, South Carolina. He attended the local primary school and then Cheraw Academy until 1829, when he entered the Seminary of St. John the Baptist in Charleston. In 1833, Bp. John england sent him to the College of the Propaganda in Rome, where he distinguished himself in languages, on one occasion giving the annual address in Hebrew before the Holy Father. He was ordained in Rome on April 4, 1840, by Cardinal Jacob Fransoni, prefect of the Congregation of the Propaganda.

Lynch was became assistant at the Charleston cathedral, editor of the diocesan paper, the United States Catholic Miscellany, and professor at the Seminary of St. John the Baptist. Upon England's death in 1842, Abp. FrancisP. kenrick of Baltimore considered Lynch as a possible successor to England, but he judged his ill health and youth as obstacles. From 1845 to 1847 Lynch was pastor of St. Mary's Church; he then became rector of the cathedral and of the Seminary of St. John the Baptist, a position he held until the seminary closed in 1851. In December of 1845 he was appointed, with James corcoran and Augustine hewitt, to collect the writings of John England for publication. He supervised the erection of the Cathedral of St. John and St. Finbar (1850) and was treasurer and chaplain of St. Mary's Relief Hospital, a special project for the aid of fever victims (185253). In November of 1854, Bp. Ignatius Reynolds, who was failing in health, appointed him administrator of the diocese, an office he held until he was appointed to the see on Dec. 17, 1857.

Lynch was consecrated in the Cathedral of St. John and St. Finbar, March 14, 1858, by Archbishop Kenrick. During the Civil War, a fire in Charleston on Dec. 11, 1861, destroyed church property, notably the cathedral; the later siege of Charleston and the march of Sherman's army across the state added to the losses. The war brought new duties, no small part of which was attending prisoners of war. In 1864 the Confederate Government prevailed upon Lynch, as special commissioner of the Confederate States, to put its cause before Pius IX. Lynch accepted the commission, hoping his efforts might be conducive to peace. By the time he reached Rome, however, the Confederacy was failing, and he deemed it inadvisable to present his credentials, so he was received by the Holy Father simply as the bishop of Charleston. He was pardoned for his complicity by Pres. Andrew Johnson on Aug. 4, 1865, but he was not able to get back to his diocese until late November.

To repair the losses in his diocese, Lynch proposed to raise the necessary funds by begging in the metropolitan areas of the country, a program that occupied him the rest of his life. The establishment in 1868 of the vicariate of North Carolina relieved him of some of his responsibility. He attended vatican council i (186970) and prepared a series of articles that were published in Catholic World. His published work also included many articles in American Catholic Quarterly Review.

Bibliography: Lynch Papers, Archives of the Diocese of Charleston.

[r. c. madden]

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