Archbishop Emeritus Harry J. Flynn, former Bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette, died Sunday, September 22.
Flynn, who was most recently Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis in Minnesota, served as Bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette from 1989-1994. Bishop Flynn came to Lafayette from the Albany, New York diocese of which he was a native.
Bishop Harry Flynn took over responsibilities as fourth Bishop of Lafayette in May, 1989, after the retirement of Bishop Gerard Frey.
In February of 1994, Bishop Flynn was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of St.Paul-Minneapolis in Minnesota and assumed these duties in April, 1994. Upon the retirement of Archbishop John Roach, he became the seventh Archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis on September 8, 1995. He retired as Archbishop in May of 2008.
In a press release issued by the diocese, Bishop Douglas Deshotel of the Diocese of Lafayette says “I was saddened to learn this morning of the death of Archbishop Harry Flynn after a long illness. He was a tireless and longtime servant of the Church as Priest, Rector of Mount St. Mary Seminary, Bishop and Archbishop. Many in our Diocese of Lafayette were touched by his kindness and charity for those in need. May he now be received into the arms of his Heavenly Father who creates us for Himself. Eternal rest grant unto him.”
Funeral services, which will be held in Minnesota, are still pending. Archbishop Harry Flynn was 86.
Flynn is known as the bishop who succeeded Frey during the height of the initial priest sex abuse scandal in Lafayette's diocese. He later went to the diocese in Minnesota, where he was billed as a national leader who helped reform how the Catholic Church dealt with potentially dangerous priests. When Minnesota Public Radio published their ground-breaking report on priest sex abuse, Betrayed By Silence, one of the pieces, "It All Began in Lafayette," focused on Flynn's actions in both Lafayette and Minnesota. Some were critical over Flynn's actions during this time. To read that piece, click here.