“Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me, in the faith

and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard this rich trust with the help of the

Holy Spirit that dwells within us.” -2 Timothy 1:13-14.

These words were said by the Apostle Paul, a spiritual father on the

threshold of his departure from this world, entrusting a patrimony to

Timothy. This past Monday, Archbishop Harry J. Flynn, the Seventh

Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis was buried from the Cathedral.

He served our local church well from his arrival in 1995 to his retirement

in 2009 and well beyond. The passing of a spiritual father is a

momentous occasion for our local church. His legacy is real, and as

many faceted as the countless stories that are told about him by all who

encountered him. He was a very endearing personality, a true shepherd

and priest.

I have a few distinct memories of Archbishop Flynn that I will share

briefly. I remember his preaching at the Cathedral for the Paschal

Triduum liturgy perhaps a year or two before I was received into the

Church. I encountered something in this Successor to the Apostles that I

had not encountered in any of the preaching of the Protestant ministers

that I listened to growing up. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it

was, except that I noticed that in a real and simultaneous way he spoke

with love and authority. He has been noted as an exceptional preacher

and storyteller. I have never heard anyone fill the Cathedral with their

voice in quite the same way that he did. I still remember a number of the

stories that he told in various talks and homilies, and especially on the

first vocations retreat that I attended in 2004. During that retreat I had an

opportunity to visit with him individually. Among other things we talked

about, I mentioned that I had a special fondness for the writings of GK

Chesterton. He was delighted to hear this, and then he proceeded to tell

me that if I liked Chesterton, I would love the writings of Cardinal

Newman. He was right. I saw that as a prophetic invitation to ‘get to

know’ Newman. Getting to know Newman is really what has led me to

my interest in the possibility of the establishment of an Oratory, and as

you know, Newman’s canonization is a very meaningful occasion for us.

I can only hope that Chesterton will also be canonized in due time!

There are so many more things that could be said about Archbishop

Flynn. I am grateful in what I received from him. Although I was not

ordained by him, having entered into seminary during his time as

Archbishop made him in a very real way a spiritual father to me. I

experience his passing as an invitation, like the one made by St. Paul in

today’s second reading. I have been given a patrimony and am entrusted

with a gift and challenge in which I must rejoice. As I accept the loss of a

spiritual father, I am reminded of these words of St. John Paul II spoken

to the immense crowds of young people at World Youth Day in Denver:

“At this stage of history, the liberating message of the Gospel of Life has

been put into your hands. And the mission of proclaiming it to the ends of

the earth is now passing to your generation. Like the great Apostle Paul,

you too must feel the full urgency of the task…The Church needs your

energies, your enthusiasm, your youthful ideals, in order to make the

Gospel of Life penetrate the fabric of society, transforming people’s

hearts and the structures of society in order to create a civilization of

true justice and love. Now more than ever, in a world that is often

without light and without the courage of noble ideals, people need the

fresh, vital spirituality of the Gospel.”

As yet another member of a generation of churchmen completes the

course of their earthly service of the Kingdom, I am reminded of the

way that the work of the Gospel continues down throughout history

as one generation invites another to live generously for Christ by

taking up His mission with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells

within us. May Archbishop Flynn rest in Christ’s peace and receive a

servant’s reward.

+ I offer a word of welcome to Fr. George and Fr. Joseph, the two

Vincentian missionaries from India who are present with us this

weekend to share about the Lord’s work which is happening in the

missions in our present day, especially in the work of priestly

formation. St. Philip Neri famously desired to go as a missionary to

India, but his zeal was redirected by the spiritual insight of an old,

wise Trappist monk who said “Rome must be your India”. Even as

we open our hearts to the mission-field of Northeast, we do very well

to remember those deployed on the front lines of the missions in all

corners of the globe. May St. Therese of Lisieux, patroness of

missionaries—who’s feast was this past week—pray for these

missionary priests and all who might aspire to become missionaries

at home or abroad! A second collection is being taken up this

weekend, immediately following the normal offertory. If you are not

able to give this weekend, you can follow up next weekend or drop a

clearly marked offering by the parish office. Thank you for your

generosity to their mission appeal which is part of the Archdiocesan

wide Missionary Cooperation Plan.

+ We are gearing up for the Feast Day of St. John Paul II on Tuesday,

October 22nd. He is not only patron of our school, but having received

a First Class Relic of the pontiff-saint and with a beautiful oil portrait,

Holy Cross is a real pilgrimage destination for this beloved hero of

faith, so dear to our Polish community. St. John Paul II’s relic will be

displayed in conjunction with the visit of the International Pilgrim

Statue of Our Lady of Fatima (see p. 6). Three Masses will be

celebrated at Holy Cross on that day: 6:45 am (quiet Mass), 6 pm

(sung Mass), 7:30 pm (Polish Mass). Throughout the day Adoration

of the Blessed Sacrament will take place in church, instead of in the

Adoration Chapel. Students from St. John Paul II School will be

making visits for prayer. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy will be recited

at 3 pm. Come and pray in imitation of St. John Paul II in his deep

love and devotion to the Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Next

week a bulletin insert will include a full overview of the visit of the

Fatima statue on October 21 and 22. What a perfect way to celebrate

October as Our Lady’s month.

+ This past Tuesday we hosted our regular fall Miriam Dinner for

young women wondering about the possibility of a vocation to

consecrated life. It was the largest of these gatherings to date and was

attended by both Archbishop Hebda and Bishop Cozzens as well as

over a dozen women religious and several priests. These twice-a-year

gatherings are organized through the Archdiocesan Vocation’s Office

who also sponsor the Bethany House Discernment Program. This is a

good opportunity to offer a word of welcome to the four women who

are calling the Holy Cross Convent home for nine months. We are

glad that they are here, entering into the life of our parish in various

ways and helping to remind us what it looks like to be deliberate,

intentional and courageous in discerning God’s will. We pledge to

pray for them and all of those who are in a process of vocational

discernment or formation. Copies of the Prayer for Vocations which

was written by Archbishop Flynn are still available on the bookmarks

from Priesthood Sunday last weekend.

As Archbishop Flynn used to always pray: Come Lord Jesus! Come

Lord Jesus! Lord Jesus, come!

-Fr. Howe

Fr. Spencer HoweComment