A monthly series that asks five random questions to an Eastern Province Priest or Brother.

This month, we talk with Fr. Timothy Lyons, CM, who serves in Philadelphia, PA. We thought we’d ask Fr. Lyons a few questions.

What was your favorite course or subject in school and why?

My favorite subject in school was English. It was in high school that I learned to love short stories and poems especially. From those early experiences, I came to deeply appreciate the power of language and the life stories of authors who used that power in subtle and expressive ways.

What animal is your ‘spirit animal’ or ‘favorite animal?’ Please explain.

My favorite animal is a dog. Specifically, I love ❤️ Golden Retrievers and have lived with four of them in the 35 years I’ve been a priest. They are such wonderful companions, and their hearts are totally open to those who care for them. My best dog story is the night when one of our retrievers, Casey, had 11 puppies in Father Greg Cozzubbo’s bedroom. Those puppies were so much work and so much fun. When they were all adopted out, we all agreed we would never do that again!

If you could ask Saint Vincent de Paul one question, what is the question and why?

If I could ask St Vincent one question it would be, “Can you tell me the story of how you came to be so totally converted to Christ in the person of the poor? Was it one particular person? Or did it happen to you a little by little, person by person over a long period of time? Was there a person who was poor with whom you were privileged to share the deepest love ever in your life? What was that person‘s name?”

As you can see, it takes a number of questions to unfold my question. I would want to ask St Vincent about his experience of loving people who are poor to understand my own experience more deeply and to share it with him as a way into a heart space between the both of us.

Besides connecting with family and friends, what do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time, I really like to work on clocks. Presently, I am experiencing a love affair with cuckoo clocks. I have a good friend who runs the clock and watch shop called Henry of Mayfair. Recently, he bought a collection of 45 cuckoo clocks from the estate of a man who passed away. I am presently in the process of refurbishing one of those clocks for a wedding gift. For small children, cuckoo clocks are absolutely magical!

If you could have dinner with one non-religious historical figure (dead or alive), who would it be and why? What might you ask them?

I think I would prefer having lunch with my historical figure. Dinner is such an intimate time, so I would have to get to know the person better before going to dinner. Be that as it may, my person would be John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States at the time of my late childhood. It seemed at that time we all loved him, and we loved our country. We thought we were the best and most blessed in all the world! Through a child’s eyes, it seemed more pure and simple then. JFK‘s presidency was a point of pride for young Catholics and it was filled with promise as his family came to the White House. At the time of his death, it seemed the whole world grieved deeply. After all this time I would want to ask, “What does the world look like to you? What did you hope for in the long run? Now that you know the state of our politics and our nation at this point in time, what would you advise for each one of us to take our part in history now?”