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Tributes paid to Bishop Thomas Flynn on his death

By Sarah Mac Donald - 04 June, 2015

Bishop who led the Diocese of Achonry for almost 31 years until retiring in 2008 had a “reputation as a pastoral leader with a great love for Catholic education”.

Bishop Thomas FlynnThe Primate of All Ireland led tributes to Bishop Thomas Flynn, bishop emeritus of Achonry who died on Tuesday night aged 84.

Archbishop Eamon Martin said Bishop Flynn, who led the Diocese of Achonry for almost 31 years until his retirement in January 2008, had a “reputation as a pastoral leader with a great love for Catholic education”.

A native of Ballaghaderreen parish, where he also ministered as a priest, bishop and teacher for most of his life, Bishop Flynn was ordained as a priest in in 1956, appointed a bishop in 1977 and retired in 2008.

As a member of the Bishops’ Conference, he served on its Council for Communications and acted as a spokesperson.

He was also chair of the bishops’ Education Commission between 1992 and 2004, and contributed to discussions around the Education Act of 1998.

Archbishop Martin described Bishop Flynn as playing “a creative role in the Bishops’ Laity and Social Welfare Commissions”.

As Bishop of Achonry, he promoted adult religious education through the building of a pastoral centre in Charlestown and the establishment of diocesan centres and parish centres for religious education.

He was also involved in the Catholic Bishops’ Develop the West initiative.

“As we remember Bishop Flynn, a man with a great passion and grá for education, it seems appropriate to share some of the words of another great man of education, St Thomas Aquinas, who said, ‘If, then, you are looking for the way by which you should go, take Christ, because He Himself is the way’,” the Primate said in a statement on Wednesday.

According to Bishop Brendan Kelly of Achonry, his predecessor passed peacefully and very quietly and had been in declining health for some time.

In his tribute, Bishop Kelly said Bishop Flynn was “remembered with fondness, for the kind and gentle way in which he carried out his ministry as a priest and as Shepherd of the diocese during all those years.”

“An able communicator, Bishop Tom had a particular interest in, and passion for, Catholic education, having served for many years as teacher and President of St Nathy’s College. In addition he played a central role, nationally, serving on the Council for Education of the Irish Episcopal Conference.”

Bishop Kelly added, “Bishop Tom encouraged and implemented the reforms and developments of the Second Vatican Council with enthusiasm and determination in the diocese. He oversaw the establishment of centres for adult faith formation and pastoral education in Charlestown and Banada Abbey.”

“He was particularly happy with the opening of the Father Peyton Centre for Family Prayer at Attymass, and the establishment of the Hope House addiction centre in Foxford.”

Funeral arrangements for Bishop Thomas Flynn:

Reposing in the Cathedral of the Annunciation and St Nathy’s, Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon, from 6pm to 9pm this Friday, 5 June.  Requiem Mass will be celebrated at 3pm on Saturday 6 June.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

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