Archbishop Flynn: Build on the story

| May 23, 2016 | 0 Comments
Archbishop Emeritus Harry Flynn, right, gives Archbishop Bernard Hebda the sign of peace during the installation Mass May 13 at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Archbishop Emeritus Harry Flynn, right, gives Archbishop Bernard Hebda the sign of peace during the installation Mass May 13 at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

The needs of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis may be difficult, Archbishop Emeritus Harry Flynn said, but he thinks Archbishop Bernard Hebda “is the leader we are looking for.”

“Archbishop Hebda has the talent, the intellectual acumen and the personality to fill those needs,” the retired archbishop said.

“Upon meeting him for the first time I could see he’s a pastoral man. He cares. That’s a beautiful gift.”

The archbishop, who led the archdiocese from 1995 to 2008, said if he were to offer any advice to Archbishop Hebda, it would be the same advice he offered to new pastors: Learn the story of the place you are going to.

“Every diocese — like every parish — has a story. Learn it, build on it,” Archbishop Flynn said. “It’s extremely important to build on it.

“Every leader brings his or her own gifts and makes changes that we need, changes that are waiting for that new administrator.”

The 83-year-old archbishop, who has begun to lighten his schedule of giving retreats to priests and religious around the country, recalled definitions of leadership taught by the late Sigmund Dragastin, a former priest and longtime administrator at the National Institutes of Health.

“Dragastin said that in every church leader there should be incorporated an ‘instrumental leader,’ someone who gets something done,” Archbishop Flynn said, “and there should also be an ‘expressive leader,’ someone who raises the morale, points to a higher level and leads the way to that higher level.”

While some leaders have characteristics of either the instrumental leader or the expressive leader, it is possible that they could be incorporated into one person, he added.

“What we have in our new leader,” Archbishop Flynn said, “is a person who has the instrumental gift and will get things done, and the expressive gift, who will be able to touch everything in a pastoral manner, respecting everyone.”

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Category: Welcome Archbishop Hebda