Former vice chancellor Flynn named new chancellor
By Nissa LaPoint
As of Jan. 15, former vice chancellor James-Daniel Flynn assumed the position of chancellor for the Denver Archdiocese.
Bishop James D. Conley, apostolic administrator for the archdiocese, promoted Flynn—who goes by “JD”—making him one of few lay chancellors to serve in an American diocese.
A native of New Jersey, Flynn received a master’s degree in theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio and his licentiate in canon law degree from the Catholic University of America in the District of Columbia. He was invited to Denver by former Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., and worked with him closely on several projects.
“I’ve been blessed to have some canonical formation and some good canonical experience to be of assistance to the diocese,” Flynn said. “My goal, really, is to serve the Church in any way I can.”
Flynn succeeds former chancellor Francis Maier, who resigned in September 2011 to serve as senior advisor and special assistant to Archbishop Chaput in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Maier, who worked with Flynn, said he’s a personal friend.
“The fact that he’s been acknowledged with this appointment is a real positive thing,” Maier said. “I think it’s good for the archdiocese. It’s good for JD because he’ll grow in his vocation and service to the Church.”
In a diocese, the chancellor serves as a special assistant and theological and canonical advisor to the archbishop and bishop. Flynn’s duties will incorporate some of his former position, and take on some additional responsibilities. He will also continue his post as executive director of the Metropolitan Tribunal. Flynn’s new position means he will take on a broader collaborative role with the staff and clergy of the archdiocese.
“One thing that’s changing for me in my role with Bishop Conley and as chancellor is increased collaboration in the munus docendi,” he said, “the teaching office of the bishop.”
Other responsibilities include ensuring all official acts of ministry in the diocese adhere to canon law while also maintaining the diocese’s archives.
“The role of chancellor is really to assist the bishop in every way possible in the triple munera, or function, of his ministry, but especially in the role of shepherding,” Flynn said.
In his position with the tribunal, Flynn is engaged in evangelization and plays a key part in deciding on marriage issues—the staff of the tribunal considers annulment cases, and other dispensations and permissions.
“The tribunal is really, for a lot of people, like a first front of evangelization in the Church, because people who are not in contact with the Church in other ways are oftentimes in contact with the tribunal because they want to get married in the Church,” Flynn said.
Outside of his position at the diocese, Flynn is active in a ministry called Patriarch, a program that forms men based on the patriarchs of the Old Testament, he said.
He also assists several apostolates, particularly in the pro-life arena, in and outside of the diocese, and does canonical consulting for other dioceses.
Flynn has been married to his wife, Kate, for six years. They live in Denver.
“Our family life,” Flynn said, “is of supreme importance to me. Kate’s my best friend.”
As chancellor, he hopes to build on the legacy of former archbishops and assist Bishop Conley in effectively bringing the salvation of souls.
“I really think we’re doing great things here in terms of the ministry that Cardinal Stafford and Archbishop Chaput began,” he said. “I’m glad to be a part of building on (their legacy) and continuing to do good work for the sake of souls.”