Community pray for paralysed priest
Religious and sport groups united after a senior Anglican priest was paralysed from the neck down after a freak accident.
The Reverend Canon Norman Lynas was seriously injured after he fell down a flight of stairs. Members of different faiths, as well as the rugby world and the police service, joined in a special service last Sunday to pray for his recovery.
Canon Lynas, the Canon Residentiary at the Anglican Cathedral in Hamilton, was airlifted off the island to the Lahey Clinic in Massachusetts with his wife, Mary-Claire, last Friday for treatment to a spinal cord injury after he fell the day before.
The Right Reverend Nicholas Dill, Anglican Bishop of Bermuda, said that Canon Lynas had avoided brain injury, was conscious and able to breathe on his own.
Bishop Dill added: “As a friend, Christian brother and work colleague, Norman is passionate about the ministry — faithful in pastoral care; erudite as a teacher of the faith who brings wisdom and humour to each situation.
“Previously the Dean of St Canice’s Cathedral in Kilkenny, Ireland, Norman has thrown himself into Bermudian life and is much loved across the island.
“This has been seen most recently in his shared oversight with the Cathedral feeding programme during the Covid-19 pandemic, where he was present frequently to ensure things went smoothly and our community’s hungry were provided for.”
Bishop Dill said: “We look forward to his return, whenever that may come, and until that time, pray for his recovery asking the Lord for healing, support and comfort for him and strength for Mary-Claire as well as sons Tristan and Adam, and his wife, Julie, daughter Aly and her partner, Jerimaya, and all the rest of their family.”
Bishop Dill was speaking after the prayer vigil for Canon Lynas was held at the Anglican Cathedral.
Support came from across the diocese and members of other religious denominations.
The Most Reverend Wesley Spiewak, the Catholic Bishop of Hamilton, said he was contacted by Bishop Dill on Saturday to join in prayer for the canon on Sunday.
Bishop Spiewak said in a post on the Catholic Diocese of Bermuda’s Facebook page last Friday: “Dear fellow Catholics, I received information that Revd Norman Lynas, Canon Residentiary of the Anglican Cathedral in Bermuda, whom we know from our ecumenical meetings, suffered a horrible accident.
“Yesterday, he fell headlong down the steps and fractured his vertebrae. He is completely paralysed right now. He was airlifted to Lahey Clinic.
“The Anglican community will be holding a prayer time at their Cathedral tomorrow, on Sunday. They are inviting others to join in person or on their own.
“If this will be possible for you, please stop for a moment of prayer joining our sisters and brothers of the Anglican community, in prayer. Please remember Canon Norman, his wife Mary-Claire and his family in your prayers as well.”
Bishop Spiewak said afterwards: “There was not much more we could do, so I said, let’s do what we can.
“As people of faith, prayer is something that unites us in the spirit. As we try to support each other as humans and in the area of faith, it should be even more present.”
Seafarers charity the Bermuda Sailors’ Home, police officers and figures from the rugby world also attended the service.
Canon Lynas is chaplain to the Mission to Seafarers.
He is also an associate chaplain for the Bermuda Police Service, has been the chairman of the Referee Society of the Bermuda Rugby Football Union and has been involved with Family Centre in Beyond Rugby, a joint venture for young people.
Sean Field-Lament, the BRFU president, said: “I, along with many others, was completely shocked at hearing the news of Canon Norman Lynas’s horrific accident.
“On behalf of the BRFU and its members, we have been profoundly impacted by the terrible news of his accident and subsequent injuries.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Norman, his wife, Mary-Claire, his extended family and multitude of friends.
“Norman is a very popular and highly regarded referee both locally and in his home of Ireland.
“Bermuda Rugby is indebted to his considerable service. We speak for the whole rugby community as we wish him strength and determination during his road to recovery.”
The World Rugby Classic also called on its followers to pray for Canon Lynas.
A message on the Classic’s Facebook page said: “Calling on the Classic community to send their prayers, love and thoughts to Revd Norman Lynas, a member of the Bermuda and Classic rugby family, who has suffered a terrible accident.
“Please keep him and his family in your thoughts.”
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