Celebrating the Face of Malvern: Rev. James Robert Flynn O.S.A.

On January 12th, a tribute was held in the Duffy Arts Center for a man who has served the Malvern community for 50 years.

While Father Flynn has served many roles within the administration since he first stepped foot on Malvern’s campus in January of 1973, “…the more meaningful roles for me, [and for many], were mentor, friar brother, confidant, and friend,” said Mr. Joe Miele ‘77 P’09 PT. 


“If you met him once, he became your friend,” Miele said.


Father has greatly impacted a myriad of lives within the Malvern community and beyond. One way he demonstrates his commitment to Malvern is through the countless sporting events and practices he has attended over the years. Out of all of the sports at Malvern, two have felt his impact the most: Football and Ice Hockey. 


“God uses ordinary people, doing ordinary things, to perform the extraordinary,” said former Malvern Football Coach Kevin Pellegrini ‘90. 


Coach Pellegrini explains that Father Flynn truly acted as the moderator for Malvern Football; he would celebrate each team mass, lead the team in prayer before each game, and be a supportive presence on the sidelines. 


“Hearing [his] voice, before we went into battle, gave us such strength and belief in ourselves, and each other. We knew we had an advantage,” Pellegrini said. 


Former Malvern Ice Hockey player and coach, Jim Jacobs ‘90 P’23’24, shares similar experiences with Father’s supportive role on the team. 


“I remember Father Flynn being there in the locker room before and after the game, and going out [on the ice] so charged up,” Jacobs said. 


While he had an extremely meaningful and profound role within Malvern athletics, Father Flynn’s most profound impact has been in both the classroom and the M.E.C.O. program over the past six decades.


During the 1970s, Malvern experienced serious financial difficulty, which almost led to its foreclosure in 1977.  


I remember through all the turmoil that Father Flynn was positive in that we would get through it all and he never wavered. Looking at this fine school today, it’s obvious that Father Flynn was right and a big part of why we are still here today,” Mr. Lou Colameco ‘77  said. 


Mr. Colameco then goes on to illustrate the love that Father has for each individual member of the Malvern community. 


“Father treats everyone the same. I have seen him around different people all my life and have never seen him act differently towards anyone. Everyone that encounters him walks away with the same respect and feeling of love. [He exemplifies this] amazing quality of humility,” Colameco said. 


Father’s genuine love for everyone, which is acutely felt during a student’s senior year is truly evident through the M.E.C.O. (Malvernians Encountering Christ in Others) program. 


“Father embodied MECO. By encountering Christ in [him] we were able to see and encounter Christ in each other. MECO is still one of the most meaningful times of my life. [His] humble heart and servitude and [his] selfless spirit, driven to demonstrate God’s love, are woven through the fabric of what MECO is and always will be,” Mr. Mark Lindsay ‘95 said. 


There have been more than 5,000 seniors who have attended this four-day retreat since its creation in 1975. While the content of the retreat is traditionally kept secret, many who have attended or have helped orchestrate have felt the effects of this program in their lives for years to come.


“The back of the M.E.C.O. cross says, ‘Christ is Counting on You.’ Father Flynn is [also] counting on you, because Father Flynn is the one person, [who we all know], is most like Christ in this world,” Mr. Kevin Frost ‘12 said. 


All who attended this celebration expressed the impossibility of showing the appreciation and gratitude Father Flynn deserves. This celebration of his service allows us to reflect on what we, as individuals, value in life and how we can lead our lives in a similar way.