By John Joseph Fahey
On July 22nd, in the Curley Room at Boston City Hall, former Mayor of Boston and former Ambassador to the Holy See, Ray Flynn, was given a fitting tribute for his many years of service to the people of the City of Boston.
Flynn served as mayor from 1984 through 1993 when he was named by President Bill Clinton to represent the nation as Ambassador to the Holy See. He served in this capacity until 1997.
Not only was Flynn surrounded by many of those who have served and those who still are serving in government, but many in attendance were members of Flynn’s own family, including Flynn’s wife Cathy and son, current Boston City Councilor Ed Flynn, who represents District 2 in South Boston (a position Ray Flynn himself held from 1978 to 1984.)
The former mayor’s other children as well as grandchildren were present too.
The acknowledgment of the 52nd Mayor’ many contributions to the city was well deserved. Extending over many years, issues were addressed and solutions ensued.
In Flynn’s tenure, for example Boston Medical Center - formerly Boston City Hospital - was expanded.
This was quite appropriate given that Flynn was recognized for his numerous accomplishments in the room named after Mayor James M. Curley, who, like Flynn, also expanded Boston City Hospital during the nation’s Great Depression in the 1930s.
As the Proclamation from the City and signed by Mayor Martin J. Walsh indicates, gratitude is offered for the years to the community, not only for the larger, city wide community with respect to such salient issues as job opportunities, affordable housing and economic and justice efforts, but indeed, in terms of local accomplishments too, such as serving as a youth sports coach and helping with those with special needs.
This is a particularly relevant issue with Flynn as the former mayor has been involved in addressing the importance of helping those with special needs.
His own grandson, Braedon, was born with a rare neurological disorder. Flynn himself has become an advocate for parents of children with special needs.
An interesting addition to Ray Flynn’s various accomplishments, and specifically related to Braeden: at the cusp of the 21st century, Flynn wrote the novel “The Accidental Pope” (along with Robin Moore.)
The book was published in 2000 and, interestingly, mirrored several scenarios that actually occurred during following years related to the Roman Catholic papacy relative to political and other global events.
It’s a political thriller with all the elements that truly make a novel a page turner. Flynn has followed up with a screenplay, albeit with an insertion in the storyline bringing in the controversial topic of Bioethics.
Flynn is confident that the screenplay will be someday made into a film.
A son of South Boston who was voted Best All Around Athlete of his hometown, Mayor, State Representative, Boston City Councilor, author, speaker and writer – all such notable accomplishments. But it is likely that many will also remember Raymond Leo Flynn as one who had the interests of his constituents as a priority, and tirelessly worked to ensure that the needs of the people were addressed.