Father John Malone joked on Thursday at our ceremony to rename Selby Hall as Flynn Hall after Archbishop Harry Flynn that the occasion might be the closest I ever would get to naming a baby.

Father Malone was right, in his own inimitable fashion. He was even more right when he added that I chose a good time to do so.

Truth be told, I couldn’t have chosen a better time.

As I mentioned at the ceremony, very few activities in my nearly 18 years as president of St. Thomas have brought me as much satisfaction as naming the building after the man who has served as chair of the St. Thomas Board of Trustees since 1995.

And I meant it. Archbishop Flynn has all of the qualities that one looks for in a leader. He is wise. He is insightful. He values our mission. He has been, as I told the crowd, “our chief cheerleader.”

But he also brings something else to the table: the word of God. In his brief acceptance remarks after we pulled the cover from the words “Flynn Hall” over the main entrance, Archbishop Flynn said he hopes the students who live there today and in the future will “come to understand one thing . . . that God looks at each one of us individually and loves each one of us individually.” He then urged our students, in turn, to reach out to others and to share that love with them.

Simple words, yet profound words, and they so beautifully reflect the essence of this great man and the message that he always carries with him: that God loves us, and that we must share that love with others.

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5 Responses

  1. Jean Gray

    What a fitting way to honor an outstanding gentleman and archbishop.

  2. Marika Kuspa, St. Paul

    Nate brings up a good point. While the donation to the capital campaign is appreciated, the campaign has been going on for over a year and there is only $1,500 allocated towards the performing arts center–and $20 million is being asked for. We’re a little short. How about a Flynn (or someone else) performing arts center for the wonderful talented students of this campus?

  3. Paul Foley, West St. Paul

    How very true – we have been so blessed here at St. Thomas to have such splendid leadership in the form of Archbishop Flynn. I am so happy to see that same courageous leadership continuing by Archbishop Nienstedt. Thank you, Father Dease, for recognizing Archbishop Flynn with this great honor.

  4. Ron Jacobson, Rosemount

    The naming of Flynn Hall is a nice way to honor Archbishop Harry Flynn. I just want to add what is obvious to so many: Archbishop Flynn is a humble and caring person, a world treasure. Thanks, Father Dease, and thanks, Archbishop Flynn.

  5. Nate Minor, St Paul

    While I appreciate all the work the Catholic leaders of St. Thomas and the St. Paul community have done, why don’t we stop patting ourselves on the back and figure take care of some of the real issues facing this university? $14 million toward a new performing arts center would be a great start.