Fr Sam Lynch
Father Sam Lynch was ordained into the priesthood on the 4th of August 2012. His journey into the Priesthood was a long one, but he admits its one that fills him with immense joy. “At age 42, I finally found what I was made for,” he says.
Father Sam trained for the priesthood at the Seminary of the Good Shepherd, Homebush. “The seminary is a different experience for each person,” Sam says. “I entered late in life and I have to say it was an enormous privilege to be with so many young men who are on fire with love of God and seeking to do His will in their lives. You become very close to the guys in the seminary and I am certainly closest to those who entered with me. We have become firm friends and they are like brothers to me.”
Sadly his mother, who brought up her four children following the unexpected death of their father when Sam, the youngest was just six, did not live long enough to see her son ordained a priest. “She was overjoyed when I was accepted to study for the priesthood by the Seminary of the Good Shepherd at Homebush. But sadly she died in 2010. I wish she was with me at my ordination but I said a special prayer for her,” he says.
The youngest of four children by 10 minutes – “I have a twin brother” – Sam grew up in a devout Sydney Catholic family. “I would never have even considered the priesthood without the example of my mother,” he insists. “Her faith in God was so strong and she passed this on through quiet example. She was always totally interested in each of her children but she never pried. She really was a saint.”
Educated at Our Lady of Fatima Primary, Kingsgrove and Christian Brothers High School, Lewisham, Father Sam says the idea of the priesthood first occurred to him when he was 13 or 14 after an old boy returned to the school to say Mass. The thought was left at the back of his mind until his time at the University of Sydney where he was studying for a Bachelor of Arts.
“In my final year I considered going into the seminary, but ultimately felt I lacked the maturity to commit my life to the vocation. I was young and restless and in those days tended not to stick at things,” he says. But this began to change after meeting people at University who were involved with Opus Dei. “They helped me a great deal in terms of growing up,” he says. Later living and working at Warrane College, the residential college at the University of NSW, Sam says solid formation in his Catholic faith took him beyond his school years.
“That’s something I think all of us need to do. People often content themselves with a faith that was developed at 12 or 13 when they received Confirmation. The ‘Work’ as Opus Dei describe it, helped me grow in my faith and in a very real way, I owe my vocation to the priesthood to the Work and to the founder of Opus Dei, St Josemaria Escriva because without them I would never have grown up!”
However it was still some years before his vocation became clear and Father Sam initially pursued a career in publishing and books. This led to a job with the Church as business manager for one of its smaller agencies. As part of his job, he was sent to World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne to help prepare for World Youth Day in Sydney three years later and it was there he attended a catechesis given by Bishop Anthony Fisher which he says changed his life. “He preached about moral relativism and the lack of commitment in people’s lives today. Immediately I felt a great interior freedom and found myself asking “what is stopping me? Why don’t I respond to this call?”
He did and seven years later, Father Sam was ordained. He joined St Thomas, Lewisham and St Patricks Summer Hill as the Parish Administrator in March 2015, and became Parish Priest of St Thomas and St Patricks in January 2021.