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Flynn named coadjutor for St. Paul-Minneapolis.

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Bishop Harry J. Flynn of Lafayette, La., was named coadjutor archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis Feb. 22 with the right to succeed Archbishop John Roach.

Roach, 72, said Flynn was very high on my list" of five names he submitted to the Holy See with his request for a coadjutor.

Coadjutors are not common in the United States, even though Flynn is becoming one for a second time. In the past, coadjutors typically have been appointed in cases where bishops were seriously ill, where financial irregularities had occurred or where other problems had arisen in a diocese, and officials in Rome deemed it necessary to appoint an outsider.

Flynn, 60, an upstate New York native, became coadjutor of Lafayette in 1986 and then took control of the diocese when Bishop Gerald Frey retired in 1988. One of the major challenges he faced there was aiding the healing of a church shattered by clergy sex abuse.

In the case of St. Paul-Minneapolis, the coadjutor was named at Roach's request. Roach, during a news conference here Feb, 22, said he asked for a coadjutor to provide for an orderly transition of administration by sharing his experience - a lifetime in the archdiocese and almost 19 years as archbishop - with the man who will succeed him.

Roach is m good health and does not know if he will retire early, he said, but be plan to focus his efforts on fund-raising for Catholic schools.

One knowledgeable church source said the procedure used by Roach allowed him to exercise more control over the naming of his successor than would have been the case after his retirement.

In recent months, the archdiocese has lost two of its three auxiliary bishops. Joseph Charron became bishop of Des Moines and Robert Carlson was installed Feb. 21 as coadjutor bishop of Sioux Falls S.D. A spokesperson there said Bishop Paul V. Dudley requested a coadjutor because of minor health problems and because he wanted someone younger and with more energy to assist him.

Roach, asked if he had to request a coadjutor rather than an auxiliary, said no law requires this, "but there has been for the past several years a practice that after the age of 70, you are not likely to get an auxiliary bishop." Whether the departed St. Paul-Minneapolis auxiliaries will be replaced is an unresolved question, he said.

Flynn said Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan, apostolic pro-nuncio to the United States, told him he would be coming to an archdiocese "that has been known for Archibishop Roach's collaborative ministry, which is beautiful in the church. He encouraged me to learn as much as I can from the archbishop about the archdiocese."

Roach and Flynn have served together on two committees of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, those on justice and peace and on sexual abuse. Roach said he has been "extremely impressed" with Flynn, "and I couldn't be more pleased with his appointment."

Roach said Flynn is pastoral, evenhanded, compassionate, a genuine, demonstrated leader. He described him as a gentle person who nevertheless can be tough enough that when he digs in his heels, you'd better get your shield out."

Of himself, Flynn said, "my style is people" and "my priority is to make Jesus Christ known and loved."

Lafayette is 80 percent Catholic and the diocese has the largest African-American parish in the United States. Flynn served on the NCCB's Committee on Black Catholics from 1990 to 1993. He chairs the Louisiana Catholic Conference's committees on capital punishment and child abuse.

Asked about his approach to ecumenism, he said that had he remained in Lafayette, his dream would have been "to get as many of the other faiths as possible to speak with the Catholic bishops against capital punishment."

Sources in that diocese characterized Flynn as a strong supporter of Pope John Paul II and a person who likes to mingle with people. During his administration, they said, the number of Catholics in the diocese has increased as has the diocese's financial stability.
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Title Annotation:Harry J. Flynn
Author:Gibeau, Dawn
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Date:Mar 4, 1994
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