"Above all I am grateful to God whose inscrutable providence sent me to Texas to labor here in the Lone Star state where the stars are brightest, where the fields are fairest, and which is filled with a people blessed with large hearts. I am grateful to God for his blessings."
- Most Reverend Joseph P. Lynch, 1904
Bishop Joseph P. Lynch
The third Bishop of Dallas, Joseph Patrick Lynch served for 43 years – from 1911 to 1954, the longest term of any U.S. bishop. The Michigan native was ordained a priest in 1900 for the Dallas Diocese and was vicar general at the time of his predecessor’s death.
Lynch’s consecration as Bishop of Dallas on July 12, 1911 marked the beginning of the longest rule of one diocese by a single bishop in the country. He was 38 years old at the time. When Bishop Lynch came to Dallas the diocese stretched from Texarkana to El Paso, embracing 109 Texas counties, 118,000 square miles. In the years that followed, he proudly watched his far-flung diocese decrease in size three times with the creation of three separate and independent dioceses - El Paso in 1914, Amarillo in 1926, and Austin in 1953.
Bishop Lynch’s reputation as a great orator was widespread, both in church and lay circles. Often called the “Lion of Texas,” he was much sought after as a speaker. He was the bicentennial orator at San Antonio in 1931 and at the centennial commemorating the fall of the Alamo and the massacre at Goliad. He championed the welfare of Mexicans displaced to Dallas because of the Mexican Revolution in 1912 and the suppression of Catholics by a new government after the successful revolt. Within the hierarchy his reputation as a preacher was such that he spoke the consecration sermons at the ceremonies installing several bishops throughout the country.
Bishop Lynch was a progressive and dynamic force in Texas. It was his great objective in life to build schools, churches, and charitable organizations that would benefit others. During his lifetime, he helped to establish more than 150 churches and more than 200 religious and charitable institutions. Of the 150 churches he built during his time as bishop, 108 of them were in places previously without any church at all.
As Bishop, he had the opportunity to consecrate as bishop two priests from his own diocese, and he assisted in the consecration of an auxiliary bishop. Within a 40 year period, Bishop Lynch ordained more than 100 men to the priesthood.
Bishop Joseph Lynch died on August 19, 1954 and is buried at Calvary Hill Cemetery in Dallas.