March 31, 2008

What Archbishop Harry Flynn has Meant to Me

The Catholic Spirit is asking for personal reflections on Archbishop Harry Flynn.

I decided to do a blog post, rather than a letter to the paper or online message, becuase I have too much to cram into 300 words or less.

*His Excellency visited my former dissident parish during his rounds of visits to all the parishes in the Archdiocese. Everyone expected the worst-worst meaning he'd tell us to conform, call us heretics, or tell us what to do (I know, I know, but that's who I was then). To my surprise, he thanked me for my ministry (I was a regular volunteer every Sunday). He was very kind. I'm sure he does not remember me. During the Mass he recited the Creed. I had not heard the Creed for, oh, 15 years or so. I was surprised that I could remember part of it. I was surprised that I did not mind hearing it. I began to wonder why I was not hearing it or saying it more often. I had no idea at the time that the Creed is required at Sunday Mass in the N.O. I wondered why so many were threatened and angry that he said it. It was a moment that I count among my path to reversion. Thank you, Your Excellency.

*Encouraging Eucharistic Adoration in this Archdiocese. We are blessed to have more Adoration Chapels in here than anywhere else in the world. On any given day, at almost any time, you can find an open Chapel to adore the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament

*Encoraging vocations and improving the seminaries. I think Archbishop Flynn began the turn-around. Now, we have one of the highest numbers of seminarians anywhere.

*His Exellency's pastoral letter on racism. I hear a lot of folks poo-pooing that letter (gosh, with all our problems that's all he's got?). It was a fantastic reminder that not all Catholics are white. I noticed after the publication of that letter that I heard fewer people saying "What are THEY doing here?" about our African brothers and sisters. Sadly, yes, I've heard that. I noticed more effort in the pews to make them feel welcome and included by just not even wondering why they are there. D'uh, they are Catholics too!

*His column in The Catholic Spirit on giving money to a man soliciting money at a freeway exit because he'd rather do that than face the Lord's rebuke that he passed someone by who really needed help. I blogged about that column here

*His column stories (there have been many) about how he interacts with people on airplanes and while he's traveling because they see his collar. I'm glad he mentions that because I think more of our ordained need to wear their "outfit" in public. It's a marvelous occasion for outreach. A wise priest I know said that people will stop him on the street and ask him to hear their first Confession in many years. He does. If that is not a massive endorsement for wearing a collar in public I don't know what is.

Thank you Archbishop Flynn!


Blogger Unknown said...

What a wonderful tribute, Cathy!

Now I feel guilty (although I brought up the tribute issue with the CDL).

I'd best get composing.

April 01, 2008 8:06 AM  
Blogger Brendan Koop said...

Here, here! Archbishop Flynn is a holy man. Those who call him a "liberal" bishop simply don't know the man. When he was named archbishop of this archdiocese, a reporter asked him if he considered himself conservative or liberal. Paraphrasing here, but his response was, "In terms of the Church's teachings, I'm conservative, and in terms of exhibiting the love of Christ, I'm liberal." I think that sums him up very well. He certainly has his weaknesses (as we all do), such as an over-avoidance of confrontation when it is needed, but no one can argue with his shepherding of this archdiocese. I think you nailed all the points, most important for me is vocations. Look at what he has done for vocations in this archdiocese! Long live Archbishop Flynn!

April 01, 2008 9:46 AM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Thanks, brothers!

Ray, I'm looking forward to your post.

April 01, 2008 11:23 AM  

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