Reverend Thomas F. Lynch
Father Thomas Lynch has been the pastor of St. James Parish in Stratford, CT for thirty years. Under his leadership this vital, engaged community of faith was named one of the top 100 Excellent Catholic Parishes in the U.S. Committed to issues of social justice and living the radical demands of the gospel, St. James has earned a reputation for bringing discipleship to life. An activist at heart, Fr. Tom stood with the Berrigan Brothers in the 60’s, and as a seminarian was tear-gassed, beaten, and harassed at many an anti-war protest or sit-in. A proponent of non-violence, Fr. Tom counts (along with Jesus Christ!) Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King as his heroes. At St. James Fr. Tom has walked compassionately with hundreds of parishioners, family members, and friends to the threshold between this world and the next. Fr. Lynch has served as Family Life Representative for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and is currently serving as a Dean within the Diocese of Bridgeport. An experienced family and marriage counselor, he brings together a deep understanding of the spiritual and emotional components that empower the open, honest, and loving conversations loved ones need to have as they walk this path together.
Along with co-author Barbara Mariconda, the two spent seven years honing “After the Diagnosis…A Guide for Living.” Lynch, a jovial Irishman with a mischievous smile, a twinkle in his eye, and a down-to-earth nature, often surprises people by the way he can suddenly see into the depths of the hearts of those he ministers to. Co-author Mariconda describes him as something of a Shaman, a man uniquely at home in the spirit world. This gift has taught him much through the years, and Mariconda brings his insights to life through anecdotes of the many people he’s ministered to, making it “real.” This book is really the culmination of a lifetime of ministry and insight, described by Kirkus Reviews as “An expansive, richly sympathetic book about the last and least-understood phase of life.”
Barbara is the award-winning author of scores of books for adults, young adults, and children, including an Edgar nominated middle grade novel, a picture book that was a National Best Books and Children’s Choice finalist, a Moonbeam Award Gold Medal winner, including The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons which Kirkus Reviews praised for its "dramatic and visually stunning" prose. She has also authored a multitude of professional books for teachers and has presented to thousands of educators across the U.S. and Canada. Her trilogy published by HarperCollins titled The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons and her young adult novel Bird with the Heart of a Mountain (Skyscape Books) delve into themes of family, love, and death, exploring the edges and undercurrents of life that can be sensed and experienced, but never grasped – the stuff of mystery, magic, and spirituality. In writing Bird with the Heart of a Mountain it was a haunting Gypsy melody that first captured the author’s imagination, that drew her to Jerez, Spain, and into Drina’s world.
Barbara is an accomplished pianist and singer, and, as a child, played a mean accordion! She's sung in the Crypt of St. Peter in the Vatican, in a top forty band, and made a recording with Big Bird! An avid traveler, Barbara's ridden a camel in the Sahara, a rickshaw in Tokyo, a hot air balloon over the Valley of the Kings, a dogsled in Alaska, climbed the Great Wall of China, kissed the Blarney Stone, soaked in the waters of Lourdes, and sailed in a gondola in Venice. Her heart is in liturgical music, having served as music director at St. James Parish in Stratford, CT for over fifteen years where she was a recipient of the St. Augustine Medal of Service Award for leading the St. James Community of Faith closer to God through song.
Barbara's latest book, "After the Diagnosis...A Guide for Living" which she co-authored with the Reverend Thomas F. Lynch, is the result of a seven year collaboration that was informed and inspired by the work Fr. Tom embraced with parishioners and their loved ones walking the final journey together. The book is subtitled, "The Transformative Power of Love During Sickness, Dying, and Death." This is a recurrent theme that runs through Barbara's work, and a driving force in her life. It is about faith and healing, about freedom and the transformation of self. Barbara believes that "After the Diagnosis...A Guide for Living" is really a book about living life fully, freely, and lovingly, right up until the moment of death.
You can visit her online at www.barbaramariconda.com.