On October 28, 2008, the Diocese of St. Petersburg retired its newspaper The Florida Catholic, and along with it, Bishop Lynch’s column “Out of the Ordinary.” However, in that final column, Bishop Lynch announced that he would continue writing, although no longer in print. A few weeks later, on November 9, 2008, For His Friends began with Bishop Lynch providing his thoughts, insights, and commentary on the USCCB Fall Meeting.
Inspired by the weekly blog column of Cardinal O’Mally in Boston, Bishop Lynch chose to blog not on a weekly basis keeping to a regular schedule as he had with “Out of the Ordinary”, but to take advantage of the immediacy and flexibility of the blog format to write “when the muse suggests” (“Oh My Gosh“, 21 October 2009). Since that time, readership has grown, and the relationship between Catholics in the diocese and their bishop has been nurtured through the more personal writing of the blog and the thoughtful comments that many have returned.
On January 24, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI confirmed what Bishop Lynch knew when he began this blog and highlighted the resulting deepening of relationships. Writing in his Message for the 44th World Communications Day, the Holy Father stated that “Priests stand at the threshold of a new era: as new technologies create deeper forms of relationship across greater distances, they are called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word.”
This growth in relationship is precisely what Bishop Lynch hoped for when he proposed to blog “For His Friends”.
Upon his ordination to the Episcopacy, Bishop Lynch chose as his motto “Pro Amicis Suis” or “For His Friends.” Taken from the Gospel according to St. John in which Jesus gives the commandment to “love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13). This phrase expresses the deep belief and faith that to truly be a friend of Christ we too must be willing to lay down our lives for our friends as He did for us.
In addition to being the motto for his episcopacy, “For His Friends” also captures beautifully the primary reason that Bishop Lynch began this blog: he wanted to develop deeper relationships with the people of his diocese, his friends, for whom he laid down his life to serve as their bishop.