June 30, 2006

Three Benedictines celebrate jubilees
at Saint Meinrad

The Benedictine monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey celebrated the

60-year priesthood jubilee of Father Ralph Lynch and the 50-year jubilees of Father Cyprian Davis and Father Mel Patton on May 28 in St. Meinrad.

Father Ralph was born on May 20, 1920, in Cleveland. He made his profession of vows as a Benedictine monk on Aug. 6, 1942, and was ordained a priest on June 11, 1946.

He received a Master of Divinity degree from Saint Meinrad School of Theology in 1947 and a Master of Arts degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame in 1954.

Father Ralph taught civics, history and economics for more than 20 years at Saint Meinrad School of Theology as well as at the Benedictines’ former high school and former college.

From 1982-84, he served as chaplain at Holy Angels Convent in Jonesboro, Ark., and at St. Paul Hermitage in Beech Grove.

He also served as secretary to the archabbot, coordinator of pastoral assistance, assistant oblate director and Archabbey Library staff member.

Until 2006, he was chaplain for a lay Dominican community in New Hope, Ky. He currently resides at Saint Meinrad.

Father Cyprian was born on Sept. 9, 1930, in Washington, D.C. He professed his vows on Aug. 1, 1951, and was ordained on May 3, 1956.

He received a Master of Divinity degree from Saint Meinrad School of Theology in 1956 and a Licentiate of Sacred Theology from The Catholic University of America in 1957. He also earned a licentiate in 1963 and a doctorate in history in 1977 from the University of Louvain in Belgium. He also holds several honorary degrees.

Father Cyprian taught history at Saint Meinrad School of Theology and the former college from 1957-82. He also served as a visiting professor in West Africa, Senegal and Burkina Faso as well as at several Benedictine and Trappist monasteries in Nigeria.

He received the John Gilmary Shea Award from the American Catholic Historical Association for his book titled The History of Black Catholics in the United States. He has written and edited many articles and books on black Catholic history and lectured throughout the United States.

Father Cyprian serves as professor of Church history at Saint Meinrad School of Theology. He also regularly teaches black Catholic history courses at the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University in New Orleans.

He also serves as archivist for Saint Meinrad Archabbey, the Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation and the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus.

Father Mel was born on March 2, 1925, in Fairview Village, now called Fairview Park, in Ohio.

He made his first profession of vows on July 31, 1953, and was ordained to the priesthood on Sept. 22, 1956.

Father Mel earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from John Carroll University and a Master of Divinity degree from Saint Meinrad School of Theology. He completed post-graduate work at Marquette University.

Prior to coming to Saint Meinrad, Father Mel served in the U.S. Army from 1944-46, and earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

He taught Latin, English, music and journalism at Saint Meinrad’s former high school and college. He was also the organist for the monastic community for many years.

Father Mel also ministered as director of retreats and director of public relations at Saint Meinrad, and served as a chaplain at Fort Knox in Kentucky for many years.

After concluding his career as a teacher, he was the chaplain at Holy Angels Convent in Jonesboro, Ark. He presently serves as the infirmary chaplain at Sacred Heart Monastery in Yankton, S.D. †


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