On any given Sunday you might notice Dot and John Lynch serving the parish at opposite ends of St. Augustine Church. Dot tends the religious article counter in the vestibule before and after the 9 a.m. Mass. John might be at the ambo, taking a turn as lector. Of course, married for 61 years, they are use to teamwork.
Dot does all the ordering of religious articles that are on sale at her counter. Rosaries are the biggest sellers, especially the bracelet-like wrap rosaries. This past Christmas she was sure to have on hand plenty of advent candles and wreaths. “I have gotten to know what everybody likes,” she said, “and that is what I buy and sell.” Dot’s enterprising spirit also led her to track down Linwood artist Nancy Palermo, who several years ago painted the mural that hangs on the front east wall of St. Augustine Church. The scene depicts Saint Augustine’s mystical encounter with the Christ child on the beach. “I wondered if we could sell small versions of that painting for people to frame,” Dot explained. The artist agreed and came up with a computer-generated version that Dot makes available for sale. Dot is grateful that her efforts yield profits that can be donated to the St. Vincent dePaul Society. Recently, sales generated more than $950 to buy Christmas presents for children in need.
Dot associates Catholicism with community. “It is enriching for me to be around other people who are on the same path,” she said. “It is the kind of thing that makes me feel closer to God.” Dot and John recently participated in the Rosary Coast to Coast service held at St. Augustine. “It was special to join with people from all over the country who were praying together at the same time,” she added.
John became a lector in the parish twenty years ago. He also helps to lead the daily Rosary. He is a Knight of Columbus, third degree, and was on the committee that inaugurated the K of C annual breakfast, which has become a popular event. John has the kind of voice that you can tell has been in long and intimate conversation with God. He studies the Bible daily and said he grows close to the scripture passages that he is asked to proclaim during Mass, especially during Holy Week. Influenced by his parents and Aunt Catherine, John learned early to attend Mass, pray, and say the Rosary. “It is just something that grows on you,” he said. “You have to be with Christ and Mary all the time so that you can wind up with them.” Even though John suffered a hip injury in a fall last winter, he is undeterred in his service to the church.
John and Dot are both natives of Philadelphia and both visited Ocean City in their youth. John was introduced to Ocean City in the Summer of 1951 and Summer of 1952 when he was hired to deliver groceries and meat for Ed Kline’s Meat Market, then at 17th St. and Asbury. Later he served in the Air Force and received a degree in math from LaSalle College, launching him into a career as a systems engineer designing display systems. Dot, who earned a degree from Duquesne University, taught for several years. After John and Dot married in 1958 , they began raising a family that grew to eight children, moving as they outgrew houses and eventually settling in Broadmoor in Gloucester Township. “We were in it together,” Dot said of how the two parents shared duties of child rearing.
Today, with nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren, the Lynches are proud of their children’s personal and professional accomplishments. They are most pleased, according to Dot, that “all of our children like each other. When they get together they have such a good time.” Many of those good times have always taken place in Ocean City, where the Lynches bought a bungalow in 1997 after John retired. By 2017, with the help of their daughter and son-in-law, the small house was replaced with a bigger one and the get-togethers continue. “We are a family with sand in our shoes,” Dot affirmed.