February 4, 2017

Remembering Fr. Cyril Lynett

Fr. Cyril Lynett was a cousin of my grandmother. As the following biography shows, Fr. Lynett was involved in the establishment of a number of parishes in the Diocese of Calgary. Prominent among those was St. John's Parish in northwest Calgary, Alberta. In the 1980s I had the honour of being in the Music Ministry at St. John's while Fr. Eric Nelson was pastor. Unfortunately, I had no idea at that time that "Cousin Cyril" (as my Dad referred to him) had been responsible for the construction of the church and rectory there. It was a very friendly and vibrant community, which (I like to think) was in some small way a reflection of the pioneering work of Fr. Lynett. Sadly, the church was closed in the 1990s and after it was sold to a developer it suffered serious damage in a fire. Today an apartment (St. John's on 10th) stands on that site.

The following excerpts are from the book: "From the Buffalo to the Cross: A History of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary" by Mrs. Paul Byrne, published 1973.

- Biography of Reverend Joseph Cyril Lynett, page 454:

"Born at Arthur, Ontario. in the Diocese of Hamilton in 1896, Father Lynett was educated at Arthur and at St. Jerome's College, Kitchener, before he went to St. Augustine's, Toronto, to study Theology in 1917. He was ordained in Calgary for the Diocese of Calgary by Bishop McNally in 1921. After being in Drumheller for a short time he was pastor of Oyen for seventeen years when he built churches at Cereal and Chinook. He was pastor of Carstairs for six years. He was appointed to the Bishop's Council in 1939. In 1944 he was appointed pastor of St. John's Parish (Calgary) and remained until his death twenty years later when he died suddenly of a heart attack. While at St. John's he completed the (original) rectory, built the Assumption Church in Bowness, and completed the superstructure of St. John's and the new rectory. He was buried from St. John's Church after an all-night vigil of priests in the church."

- St. John's Parish, Calgary, page 170:

"Rev. J.C. Lynett was appointed pastor in January, 1944. The general expansion that began during and after the Second World War increased the population of St. John's Parish, and in 1948 a small church was opened in Bowness, and an assistant was appointed, the newly ordained Rev. Paul J.O'Byrne (future Bishop of Calgary). With continued growth a new parish was instituted between Bowness and St. John's called St. Bernard's. With the increased attendance it was possible to complete the upper part of the church in 1954 on the plans that Father McGuiness had made more than twenty years earlier. It was blessed by Bishop Carroll on May, 19, 1954. Within a year new pews, altars, reredos and oak panelling were installed and the parish was entirely free of debt. A new brick rectory was built facing 10A Street in 1957. The former residence was sold and removed from the property. Stained glass windows from France were installed in the church at the same time. Father Lynett who had served the parish for twenty years died after a short illness on December 6, 1964. During all these years he had also been a member of the Bishop's Council."

- Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, Calgary, page 174:

"Rev. J.C. Lynett, pastor at St. John's, seeing the rapid growth of the Critchley and Bowness areas at the extreme west of his parish, arranged to build a chapel of ease in the area. In the spring of 1948, with a contribution from the Home Missions of $500.00, he began construction using the same contractor as had built the Water Valley Church. Excepting the fees of the contractor, the church was erected solely with the voluntary labour of the parishioners. The materials cost was only $5000 and the land was donated by Mr. Schmalz of Bowness. The church was opened and dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption (the name chosen by Father Lynett) by Bishop Carroll on August 8, 1948, and the first Mass was said by Father Lynett."

St. Mary's Cemetery, Calgary, Alberta

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