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Cardinal says archdiocese, city mourn death of 'beloved' Bishop Lyne

  • Retired Auxiliary Bishop Timothy Lyne of Chicago raises the host as he celebrates Mass in early May at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. (CNS photo/Catholic New World/Karen Callaway)
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On Wednesday morning, retired Auxiliary Bishop Timothy Lyne of Chicago died at his residence in the rectory bearing his name at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. He was 94.

Visitation for the bishop was scheduled from 2-9 p.m. Sunday and from 9-10:15 a.m. Monday at Holy Name Cathedral. Cardinal Francis George was to be the main celebrant at the funeral Mass Monday with Auxiliary Bishop Francis Kane, vicar general, will be the homilist. Burial was to follow at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hillside.

Lyne knew all six Chicago cardinals: Cardinals George Mundelein, Samuel Stritch, Albert Meyer, John Cody, Joseph Bernardin and, of course, George.

"Each one was a fascinating person who influenced me and my life in a way for which I will always be grateful," he once told the Catholic New World, newspaper of Chicago archdiocese.

George said in a statement the archdiocese "is mourning the death of a beloved bishop, and Chicago mourns the death of a great citizen of our city."

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"He contributed to and accompanied the life of the archdiocese and of innumerable individuals for decades. Seemingly indestructible because never complaining, his death is a shock. I believe he would want us to pray for him, as we continue to count on his prayers for us before the Lord. May he rest in peace," he said.

Lyne was born March 21, 1919, in Chicago to Mary and Michael Lyne. He attended Resurrection and St. Mel schools, Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary.

On May 1, 1943, he was ordained a priest for the archdiocese of Chicago. He served as associate pastor for 19 years at St. Mary's in Riverside and three years at St. Edmund Parish in Oak Park before moving to Holy Name Cathedral in 1966.

He was associate pastor for one year then rector of the cathedral from 1967 until 1990. Under his direction, the cathedral was renovated in 1968.

In 1983, Bernardin ordained the then-63-year-old priest an auxiliary bishop for the archdiocese.

He served as episcopal vicar for the area of the archdiocese covering much of Chicago's North Side and near north suburbs. From 1988 to 2013, he was vicar for senior priests. He also served as episcopal member of the Illinois Council of Churches, on the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago and on the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions.

He retired in 1995; bishops are required by canon law to turn in their resignation to the pope at age 75.

During Lyne's priesthood, the United States and its allies won World War II and soldiers came back to build a new suburban society, African-Americans and other minorities fought for their civil rights, the Vietnam War divided America and women began working outside the home in great numbers. The Second Vatican Council made changes to the way Catholics worship and to the way many Catholics understand the church.

No matter what happened, Lyne was always happy to be a priest.

"I'm very grateful, not only that God gave me the priesthood, but gave me a love of it," he told the Catholic New World during an interview in June. "I think sometimes people find their vocation hard. I've enjoyed mine. I have always been very grateful to God for my priesthood."

Lyne "was recognized as a young man of talent by his pastor at St. Mel Parish on Chicago's West Side," George said in his statement. "As a seminarian, he caddied for Cardinal Mundelein. As a young priest, he was given tasks by Cardinal Stritch that demanded great sensitivity. As rector of Holy Name Cathedral, he served the people and counseled his archbishops."

The cardinal added, "Always, he was the model of a Christian gentleman, shaped by his faith to see the good in everyone; and everyone responded with respect and affection."

Cardinal Edward Egan, retired archbishop of New York, said in a statement Lyne's death brought him "great sadness," and he noted he had known the bishop since he himself was a boy. The cardinal was born and raised in Oak Park, Ill., just west of downtown Chicago.

"In the Egan family, he was always both admired and loved. He assisted both of my parents in their final days and was for me throughout my years as a seminarian, a priest, and a bishop the wisest of counselors and the most loyal of friends," Egan said Wednesday.

"During my years in Rome, we corresponded regularly, and after I returned to the United States we chatted weekly on the telephone. I have always counted him a wonderfully kind gentleman and a truly exemplary priest of Jesus Christ. ... (He) will ever have a very special place in my prayers and in my heart as well."

In 2001, Catholic Charities opened the Bishop Lyne Residence in Palos Park for retired priests.

Lyne said he would pray the Liturgy of the Hours daily. In his free time he enjoyed chocolate ice cream and had a subscription to the Lyric Opera. He also golfed until he was 93.

His favorite quote from Scripture was his episcopal motto "Grace, mercy and peace," the first three words of St. Paul's First Letter to Timothy, the bishop's patron saint.

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