Most Reverend Harry Joseph Flynn, Archbishop Emeritus, Dies at Age 86


by Bob Zyskowski - As reported in The Catholic Spirit

Archbishop-emeritus of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Harry Flynn died Sept. 22 in St. Paul at age 86.

Prolific storyteller, ardent battler of racism, in his leadership of a seminary and two widely distant and different dioceses, he came to embody a genial combination of East Coast graciousness, Southern hospitality and Midwestern progressive populism.

Ordained a priest of the Diocese of Albany, New York, he served parishes in his home diocese, was rector of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, was bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette in Louisiana and archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis. In 2002, he served as chair of a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ committee that developed a charter for the protection of children and vulnerable adults in the wake of the clergy sexual abuse crisis that rocked the Church across the country.

After his retirement, however, questions were raised by some about whether he did enough in the Diocese of Lafayette and in the Twin Cities to investigate clergy sexual abuse allegations.

He retired to archbishop-emeritus status May 2, 2008, after serving as archbishop in the Twin Cities and surrounding counties for 13 years. Until his ministry was curtailed by failing eyesight and his battle in recent years with cancer, he continued to assist in the archdiocese with confirmations and liturgies. He also led retreats across the country.

Services are scheduled for:

Sunday, Sept. 29, Saint Mary’s Chapel, Saint Paul Seminary

  • 5:30 p.m. – Reception of the body

  • 6 p.m. – Evening prayer

  • 6:30 p.m. – 7 a.m. (Monday) Public visitation/vigil for the deceased

Monday, Sept. 30: Saint Mary’s Chapel, Saint Paul Seminary

  • 7 a.m. – Morning prayer

  • 7:30 a.m. – Transfer of the body to Cathedral of Saint Paul

  • 8-11 a.m. – Public visitation

  • 11 a.m. – Mass of Christian burial

  • Following Mass – Immediate transfer of the body to Resurrection Cemetery, Mendota Heights

  • Right of committal and burial at cemetery