Raymond Flynn

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Raymond Flynn
2009 RayFlynn Boston (1).png
Flynn in 2009
4th United States Ambassador to the Holy See
In office
September 2, 1993 – September 20, 1997
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byThomas Patrick Melady
Succeeded byLindy Boggs
52nd Mayor of Boston
In office
January 2, 1984[1] – July 12, 1993[2]
Preceded byKevin White
Succeeded byThomas Menino
Personal details
Raymond Leo Flynn

(1939-07-22) July 22, 1939 (age 83)
South Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseCatherine Coyne[3]
Childrenincluding Edward M. Flynn
Parent(s)Stephen Flynn
Lillian Kirby Flynn[3]
Alma materProvidence College (BA)
Harvard University (MA)[4]

Raymond Leo Flynn (born July 22, 1939) is an American politician who served as 52nd Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts from 1984 until 1993. He was later appointed United States Ambassador to the Holy See (1993–1997) by President Bill Clinton.

Early life[edit]

Before entering politics, Flynn was an All-American college basketball player at Providence College, and during his senior year was selected Most Valuable Player in the 1963 National Invitation Tournament (NIT).[5] In April 1963, he was selected by the Syracuse Nationals in the fourth round of the NBA draft.[6] The Nationals relocated to Philadelphia to become the 76ers, but Flynn did not play for them, as he spent part of the 1963–64 season with the Wilmington Blue Bombers of the Eastern Professional Basketball League.[7][8][9] Philadelphia traded his NBA rights to the Boston Celtics in September 1964,[10] and in October he was the last player cut by the then-champions.[11][12]

Political career[edit]

Flynn, second from left, next to Boston City Council members Dapper O'Neil and James M. Kelly

Flynn began his political career as a Democratic member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1971 to 1979, representing the South Boston neighborhood during the turbulent busing crisis of the early 1970s. He later served on the Boston City Council from 1978 to 1984, before successfully running for Mayor of Boston in 1983. He was reelected in 1987 and again in 1991. Flynn served as president of the United States Conference of Mayors during 1991–92.[13][14]

Governor Dukakis with Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro campaigning in the 1984 presidential election.

Flynn, a lifelong anti-abortion activist, was instrumental in drawing the pro-life, Catholic vote to pro-abortion rights Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas in his 1992 bid for the White House against incumbent George H. W. Bush. In 1993, Flynn resigned during his third term as mayor when he was appointed by Clinton to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See.[15] Flynn served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary from September 2, 1993, through September 20, 1997.[16]

Following his service as ambassador, Flynn ran unsuccessfully for Massachusetts's 8th congressional district seat that was being vacated by Joseph P. Kennedy II in 1998. Flynn formally announced his candidacy in June,[17] and in September lost in the Democratic primary election, the real contest in this heavily Democratic district, to Somerville mayor general election winner Mike Capuano.[18]

In 2010, Flynn crossed party lines to vote for the successful candidacy of Republican Scott Brown for the United States Senate.[19] In 2012, Flynn appeared in television ads supporting Brown for re-election;[20] Flynn also voiced support for Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for president.[21]

Private life[edit]

While serving as mayor, Flynn played himself in the 1989 Cheers episode "The Stork Brings A Crane".[22] In the episode, Flynn has his entourage take away Cliff Clavin, who writes Flynn once a week.[23]

Flynn was an avid runner who made headlines when he ran in the Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon in 1984.[24]

In March 2007, Flynn was grand marshal of the 246th New York St. Patrick's Day Parade.[25]

In May 2007, Flynn joined the College of Fellows of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, California, who also awarded him the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters.[26]

In September 2008, Flynn was hospitalized after he collapsed at a Boston-area speaking engagement.[27]

In March 2011, Flynn's home was broken into; among the valuables taken were rosary beads blessed by Pope John Paul II and letters from influential world figures.[28]

Flynn is married to Catherine (née Coyne). They have six children: Ray Jr., Eddie, Julie, Nancy, Katie, and Maureen.[3] In November 2017, son Ed Flynn was elected to the Boston City Council.[29]


In 1998, Flynn had a role as a radio host on WRKO in Boston.[30] In September 2014, Flynn became a regular contributor to The Pilot, the official newspaper of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.[31] In February 2017, Flynn became a columnist for the Boston Herald.[32]

Religious advocacy[edit]

In 1999, Flynn became president of Catholic Alliance, a nonpartisan Catholic advocacy group.[33] He later started Catholic Citizenship.[34] Since 2004, Flynn has also served on the advisory board of Catholics for the Common Good, a lay apostolate for evangelization of culture.[35]


In February 2016, the Boston Marine Industrial Park was renamed the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park.[36] A nearby bridge was also renamed in Flynn's honor.[37] In May 2017, Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker dedicated Flynn Cruiseport Boston, located in the Port of Boston.[38][39]


Flynn is the co-author of two books:

  • Flynn, Ray; Moore, Robin (2000). The Accidental Pope: A Novel. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0312268017.
  • Flynn, Ray; Moore, Robin; Vrabel, James (2001). John Paul II: A Personal Portrait of the Pope and the Man. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0312266812.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Flynn Inaugural to Set Some Firsts". The Boston Globe. January 2, 1984. p. 1. Retrieved March 17, 2018 – via pqarchiver.com.
  2. ^ McGrory, Brian (July 13, 1993). "Menino, 'a neighborhood guy,' now at center stage". The Boston Globe. p. 12. Retrieved February 26, 2018 – via pqarchiver.com.
  3. ^ a b c "Archives Guide ~ Office of the Mayor". cityofboston.gov. Archived from the original on April 23, 2012 – via Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "Guide to the Mayor Raymond L. Flynn records", City of Boston Archives and Records Management Division
  5. ^ "Ray Flynn NIT's Most Valuable". Kingsport News. Kingsport, Tennessee. UPI. March 25, 1963. Retrieved February 10, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "N.B.A. Draft Selections". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. April 30, 1963. Retrieved February 10, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "Bombers open at Scranton". Morning News. Wilmington, Delaware. November 20, 1963. Retrieved February 10, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "Jets Coast, 118-98, For 3rd Straight Win". The Morning Call. Allentown, Pennsylvania. December 2, 1963. Retrieved February 10, 2018.
  9. ^ "Blue Bombers Shelve Flynn". Evening Journal. Wilmington, Delaware. December 27, 1963. Retrieved February 10, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "Celts Sign Ray Flynn; Release 3". The Morning Call. Allentown, Pennsylvania. September 26, 1964. Retrieved February 10, 2018.
  11. ^ "Celtics Cut Rookies Flynn, Werkman". The Portsmouth Herald. Portsmouth, New Hampshire. AP. October 8, 1964. Retrieved February 10, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
  12. ^ Flynn, Ray (February 10, 2018). "Flynn: About more than a win, honesty shines in sports". Boston Herald. Retrieved February 10, 2018.
  13. ^ "Meeting Is Sought With President Bush". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. AP. August 9, 1991. Retrieved February 10, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
  14. ^ "Past Presidents". usmayors.org. Archived from the original on July 2, 2015.
  15. ^ "Boston mayor will resign today". AP. July 12, 1993. Retrieved February 10, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
  16. ^ "Raymond Leo Flynn". history.state.gov. Retrieved February 10, 2018.
  17. ^ "Flynn announces run for Congress". The News-Press. Fort Myers, Florida. June 28, 1998. Retrieved February 10, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
  18. ^ "After first loss in 30 years, Ray Flynn reflects". Rocky Mount Telegram. Rocky Mount, North Carolina. AP. September 21, 1998. Retrieved February 10, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
  19. ^ Cary, Mary Kate (January 20, 2010). "Scott Brown's Victory Should Draw Democrats Back to the Middle". U.S. News & World Report.
  20. ^ "Scott Brown ad with Mayor Flynn". July 29, 2012. Retrieved February 10, 2018 – via YouTube.
  21. ^ "Ambassadors to Holy See Endorse Mitt Romney". presidency.ucsb.edu (Press release). January 7, 2012. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  22. ^ Bianculli, David (November 2, 1989). "TV tonight". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved February 10, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
  23. ^ "The Stork Brings a Crane". IMDb. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  24. ^ Clendinen, Dudley (January 9, 1985). "About Boston". The New York Times.
  25. ^ Martin, Patti (March 15, 2007). "Weekender (column)". Asbury Park Press. Asbury Park, New Jersey. Retrieved February 11, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
  26. ^ "Raymond Flynn Citation". dspt.edu. May 2007. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  27. ^ "Ray Flynn hospitalized after collapsing at Boston-area Theology on Tap event". Catholic News Agency. September 18, 2008. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  28. ^ "Former Boston mayor is theft victim". Cape Cod Times. AP. 26 March 2011. Archived from the original on 30 September 2012. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
  29. ^ "Flynn Edges Kelley in District 2". BU News Service. November 7, 2017. Retrieved February 10, 2018.
  30. ^ "From Politician To Critic". Hartford Courant. Hartford, Connecticut. November 24, 1998. Retrieved February 11, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
  31. ^ Pineo, Christopher S. (September 19, 2014). "Ambassador Flynn becomes regular contributor to The Pilot". thebostonpilot.com. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  32. ^ "Ray Flynn". bostonherald.com. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  33. ^ "Flynn to head Catholic Alliance". Times Herald. Port Huron, Michigan. AP. March 14, 1999. Retrieved February 11, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
  34. ^ Vennochi, Joan (September 18, 2004). "A church-state balancing act". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved February 11, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
  35. ^ "Meet the Leaders of Catholics for the Common Good Institute". ccgaction.org. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  36. ^ "Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park". bostonplans.org. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  37. ^ Quinlin, Michael P. (November 12, 2016). "Boston Honors Ray Flynn". irishboston.org. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  38. ^ "Governor Baker Massport Officially Dedicate The Flynn Cruiseport Boston at The Black Falcon Terminal". massport.com. May 4, 2017. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  39. ^ "Raymond L. Flynn Black Falcon Cruise Terminal". Google Maps. Retrieved February 11, 2018.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts
Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by US Ambassador to the Holy See
Succeeded by