While movie goers were flocking to the 1944 movie Going My Way with Bing Crosby in the role of the young Father O’Malley and Barry Fitzgerald as the aging Father Fitzgibbon, parishioners at St. Mary’s in Riverside were living the script – with Father Timothy Lyne as the young priest and Father William Murphy as the aging pastor.
Father Lyne did much of the work within the parish during the years 1943-1962, helping Father Murphy, who enjoyed telling stories of his days as a chaplain in World War I or admonishing those who attended Mass and weren’t using a missal.
The two were joined by Father Shirey and they lived in the rectory, an old frame house with creaky stairs that was tended to by an Irish housekeeper and an Italian cook.
Father Lyne was quite the business man. Once a year when he stepped to the pulpit to give the financial report he was almost apologetic, but he also knew how to raise money and get jobs done. He also knew who would be more than happy to donate services or materials for any job.
My recollections of Father Lyne are of a man who was always smiling and never too busy to talk to anyone, adult or child. The school saw the benefits of his actions, and the nuns who taught at the school finally had a new convent built to replace their old one. He worked with the Altar and Rosary Society and the men in the parish.
This year, possibly in a wave of nostalgia, I have given lots of thought to Father Lyne and thought how he always remembered my family and all his friends from St. Mary’s. You didn’t have to tell him your married name, he kept up with who was who.
When my mother passed away, he sent a letter apologizing for being out of town and not attending the service, telling me what a great lady she was. Remembering those times when he was at St. Mary’s, I thought it would be nice to have him remembered by the parish as he remembered us — by naming the Parish Center in his honor.
The Bishop Timothy Lyne Center would be a fitting tribute to a man who gave so much to St. Mary’s and never really left the parish. It remained in his heart.