St. Ignatius would approve of Legatus paradigm
Legatus’ Chicago chaplain, has a love for life, travel, Spanish and Legatus . . .
Fr. Jeremiah Lynch, SJ
Installed as chaplain in late 2011, Fr. Jeremiah Lynch, SJ, succeeded longtime chaplain Fr. Anthony Brankin, whose new pastoral duties were too heavy for him to retain his chaplaincy. The eldest of eight, Fr. Lynch is a native Chicagoan and worldwide traveler whose Jesuit preparation included two years teaching high school in Peru. Fluent in Spanish, he has worked closely with America’s burgeoning Latino community, which he believes will have a powerful and lasting impact upon the U.S. church.
Tell us about your call to the priesthood.
I always knew I had a call. I went to the diocesan minor seminary, but after my first year of major theology at Mundelein Seminary, I decided I wanted to do something else first and to travel — only Africa remains undiscovered in my travels. I taught school in inner-city Chicago, then got my law degree and worked as a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney — as a trial lawyer specializing in criminal prosecution — before going into private practice.
Over the course of my time traveling and meeting people, I knew I wanted to become a religious rather than a diocesan priest. I especially admired the Jesuits I met for their intellectual acumen and the wider understanding of the worldwide Church they embrace. I joined the Jesuit novitiate in 1994 at age 44 and was ordained at 53.
How did you become acquainted with Legatus?
Through my friend Fr. Matt Gamber, a fellow Jesuit and friend of Chicago Legates who invited me to meetings. I also traveled with Chicago Legates on their pilgrimage to Rome in fall 2010, celebrated Mass for them daily, and came to know and love them.
They have a commitment to talking with their priests about faith, issues of morality, politics, etc. Their impact on their parishes and corporations is incalculable. How does one measure God’s love?
What do you think about Legatus from a Jesuit point of view?
The potential of these people to infuse the faith into the business community is something St. Ignatius Loyola would understand — this strategic targeting of the faith, working with committed executives to influence other executives, the people they come into contact with, the people who work under them.
How would you like to see the chapter progress?
In addition to discussing some aspect of the faith at every meeting, I think it’d be wonderful for Legates to do service projects of some sort — like pro-life work. I would love to help.
You have a vocation, of course. Any avocations?
I do a lot of reading, especially in the political, cultural and economic contexts. Every day I read The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and, on the end of the spectrum, The New York Times. I also love music. Mozart is proof that there’s a child alive and well in each of us; Beethoven provides a paradigm for someone searching for resolution to a conflict; but Bach, my favorite, is clearly proof that there are angels.
Any lessons you’ve learned as a priest that are especially apt for business leaders?
You can bring people to God under any situation because the presence of God is in all things: all experiences in life and in the people you meet. This is a good antidote to any struggle one has in life. I want to help people see that in our struggles in life, we have a general paradigm for reinterpreting life by knowing God can be discovered in any situation.
Do you have any special devotions you can recommend?
Prayerful reading of Scripture in general and reflections on the daily Mass readings in particular. I’m a big believer in the Magnificat series, which includes daily readings and reflections, and biographies on the saint of the day. Knowing the saints is a rich and rewarding spiritual devotion.