A Florida diocesan priest who is an associate professor of theology in New Orleans has been named to succeed Msgr. Richard Hilgartner as executive director of the Secretariat of Divine Worship at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington.
Father Michael J. Flynn, a priest of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Fla., who teaches at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, will take the post June 30. Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, USCCB general secretary, named Father Flynn as his successor Dec. 13.
"The divine worship secretariat carries serious responsibility in assisting both the bishops' conference and also ultimately the more than 17,000 parishes nationwide," Msgr. Jenkins said in a statement. "The executive director of the office oversees liturgical celebrations of the bishops at national meetings, publication of liturgical books used in parishes all across the country, and statements addressed by the bishops on liturgical matters."
Msgr. Hilgartner, who joined the USCCB in September 2007, will return to the Baltimore Archdiocese, his home archdiocese, in June. He has headed the secretariat since the spring of 2011, having previously served as its associate director.
Msgr. Jenkins thanked Msgr. Hilgartner for his service, especially in overseeing implementation of the recent English translation of the Roman Missal, the book of prayers used at Mass.
"Leading a nationwide educational and implementation effort on this sensitive, international matter called for skills in everything from negotiation across an ocean to instructional workshops nationwide. Msgr. Hilgartner accomplished the task with clarity, graciousness and humor," he said.
Years of planning went into the revised Roman Missal; it went through a lengthy approval process by the USCCB and other bishops' conferences and the Vatican. In early 2010, the USCCB divine worship secretariat held 22 workshops around the U.S. to help prepare priests and diocesan leaders for its implementation.
That was followed by months of catechesis to prepare Catholics for the first use of the new English-translation of the Roman Missal on the first Sunday of Advent in 2011.
Father Flynn, 57, holds a licentiate in theology from The Catholic University of America; a master of divinity degree from Notre Dame Seminary; and a bachelor's degree in music from Florida State University. He also completed an intensive German language immersion program at Goethe-Institut Murnau in Bavaria, Germany. A native of Birmingham, Ala., he was ordained a priest in 1994.
Father Flynn also has served on the faculty of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Fla. In the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, he was pastor at Resurrection Catholic Church in Miramar Beach, 2003-2007. He had previous assignments as parochial vicar in Pensacola and Tallahassee, where he also worked in campus ministry at Florida State University and the University of West Florida.
In his statement Msgr. Jenkins acknowledged Bishop Gregory Parkes of Pensacola-Tallahassee, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond and Notre Dame Seminary's president-rector, Father James Wehner, for allowing Father Flynn to join the USCCB staff.