Our time to shine: Army, priesthood inform Fr. James Flynn's outlook on pandemic

by Joan Kurkowski-Gillen

North Texas Catholic

October 26, 2020

Father James FlynnFather James Flynn
Father James Flynn outside of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Keller (NTC/Juan Guajardo)


KELLER — Overwhelmed by the enormity of the coronavirus pandemic? Worried about health, finances, or general well-being? Tired of wearing a mask or the inconvenience of social distancing?

Trust in God and rise to the occasion, suggested Father James Flynn.

“I was in the Army before I was a priest, and one of the things I learned was that you can endure more than you think,” said the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton pastor who served in the first Gulf War. “It’s easy to be a kind, loving Christian when everything is going well. It’s important to be a Christian when nothing is going well.”

And, for many people, life is far from normal. Social isolation, caused by a global health crisis, has created a disquieting malaise.

“You can see the depression in people’s overall angst,” the pastor observed. “You can’t have dinner, events, or any sort of community building. I’ve missed that too and you can feel the tension. People are on edge.”

What’s the remedy? Instead of responding to current circumstances with frustration or anger, start thinking of the pandemic as a time for personal reflection.

“It’s an opportunity to think about your relationship with Christ and trust in Him,” Fr. Flynn advised. “In good times and bad we follow Christ and trust His will. When things are difficult in the world, that’s when you learn who you truly are.”

After Mass, parishioners sometimes share their frustrations with the pastor. When people complain about wearing a mask, he counters with an optimistic, “but isn’t it great God is blessing us with the ability to persevere?”

Wearing a mask is inconvenient — not a form of suffering, he points out.

Rather than complain, the military veteran recommends finding ways to reflect joy in the world.

“For Christians, this is our time to shine,” Fr. Flynn added encouragingly. “This is our time to show the world we’re different. Be loving, kind, generous, and take care of one another.”

As we step out of our homes, take precautions, be smart, but have courage.

“In the end, know that live or die, we are the Lord’s.”

Fr James Flynn

KELLER — Overwhelmed by the enormity of the coronavirus pandemic? Worried about health, finances, or general well-being? Tired of wearing a mask or the inconvenience of social distancing?

Published (until 10/26/2028)
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