Lynch, Joseph Patrick (1872–1954)

By: Sister M. Claude Lane, O.P.

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: September 17, 2020

Joseph Patrick Lynch, third bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, son of John V. and Veronica J. (Botham) Lynch, was born in St. Joseph, Michigan, on November 16, 1872. He attended public schools until he was fourteen years old, then entered St. Francis Seminary in 1887. He graduated from St. Charles College, Ellicott City, Maryland, and began theological studies at St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, where he changed his study to law. While practicing law near Chicago, Lynch met Bishop Edward Joseph Dunne of Dallas, who was looking for volunteer workers in his Texas diocese. Influenced by Bishop Dunne, Lynch gave up his law practice, entered Kenrick Seminary, St. Louis, completed his studies for the priesthood, and was ordained on June 9, 1900. For two years he worked as an assistant at the cathedral in Dallas and was then appointed pastor of St. Stephen's parish in Weatherford, where he built a new church. In 1905 he built a church in Handley, Texas. For the next eight years he served St. Edward's parish, Dallas, where he built a church, a rectory, and a school. During this time he also held several responsible diocesan offices, including vicar-general.

When Bishop Dunne died suddenly in 1910, Lynch was made apostolic administrator of the vacant see, in effect becoming the youngest bishop in the United States at the age of thirty-eight; the next year he was appointed bishop. During his forty-three years of service in the diocese, its territory was divided three times to make the El Paso, Amarillo, and Austin dioceses. The Catholic population grew from 20,000 in 1911 to about 125,000 in 1954. Bishop Lynch supervised the building of 150 churches and scores of other buildings, including St. Joseph's Hospital in Paris, St. Paul's Nurse's Home, St. Rita's Home for Working Girls, Dunne Memorial Home for Boys, and Mount St. Michael's Home and School for Girls. In 1915 the first mission church in the diocese for Mexican Americans was built in Dallas; the first church for Blacks was built in 1929 at Fort Worth. Lynch was a widely respected speaker; he was an orator at the bicentennial of San Antonio in 1931 and also at the centennial commemorating the fall of the Alamo. He died on August 19, 1954, in Dallas and was buried in Calvary Hill Cemetery in that city.

Catholic Archives of Texas, Files, Austin. Dallas Morning News, June 12, 1949, August 20, 1954.

  • Religion
  • Catholic
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas
  • North Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Sister M. Claude Lane, O.P., “Lynch, Joseph Patrick,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 25, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 17, 2020

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