People #10: FATHER VINCENT FLYNN, Parish Priest of St Raphael’s Church


Let me introduce you to a son of the Royal Borough.
VINCENT FLYNN-of Irish ancestry with three older siblings-was born in 1968 in Kingston, grew up in Kingston and was educated at Richard Challoner Secondary school.
After leaving, he was employed as a Sales Assistant for a year and didn’t have to travel far from home- only to Bentalls.
In 1986 he began to train for the priesthood and attended Campion House in Osterley Middlesex-run by Jesuits.
After two years he then went to St. John’s Seminary in Wonersh, near Guildford in Surrey, where he studied for a further five years obtaining a Bachelor of Theology degree.
Upon being ordained in 1994 in Kingston Father VINCENT FLYNN was appointed Assistant Parish Priest in Dartford Kent.
He remained there until 1997.
In 1993 prior to his ordination he was a Deacon in Dartford.
During his period as Assistant Parish Priest he continued his studies and obtained an MA in Theology and Education from Kings College London.
A post as an Administrator in Lewisham followed between 1997 and 2000.
Father VINCENT FLYNN then left these shores for Ottawa in Canada returning in 2002.
In Ottawa he successfully trained as a Canon lawyer obtaining a Master’s degree and a licence in Canon Law.
His current appointment commenced on the 12th of August 2002.
He is the Parish Priest of St. Raphael’s Catholic Church, Portsmouth Road, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 2NA (Email: straphaelparishoffice@googlemail.com, Telephone number: 020 8541 4999, Web: www.straphael.org.uk)
As part of his ministry as Parish Priest he has many roles some of which are-Chaplain to Kingston University, Chair of Governors at St. Joseph’s Primary school in Kingston and a Judge at the Southwark Metropolitan Tribunal (dealing with marriage annulments etc )
I’ve known Father VINCENT FLYNN since his arrival at St. Raphael’s Church in 2002.

What kind of a man is he?
What hobbies does he pursue?
I think you will be very surprised as I was.
His obvious spirituality is only one facet of his personality.
Although naturally shy and quiet he is gregarious and contented, has a splendid tenor singing voice, enjoys eclectic styles of music (from classical to dance), takes delight in cooking Italian and traditional English food, walking, is very approachable, has a dry sense of humour, accepts challenges, is down to earth and a realist.
Father VINCENT FLYNN, a natural leader, is the epitome of a modern twenty first century priest who grasps the nettle for modern day problems.
The congregation is truly diverse and representative of every continent in the world.
People from India, Sri Lanka, Africa, Europe, Oceania, Canada, Ireland, UK and Far East- Philippines, Korea, Japan and China- all attend services.
This beautiful Church of ST Raphael was designed by the eminent architect Charles Parker in an Italianate style with early Christian and Renaissance influences.
The entire cost was met by ALEXANDER RAPHAEL, a Catholic Armenian, whose family came from India.
He became the first Roman Catholic to be elected Sheriff of London after the passing of the Catholic Emancipation Act in 1829.
RAPHAEL built the church in 1846 as a family chapel and named it after St Raphael.
It was completed in 1848.
He died in November 1850.
His nephew, Edward, inherited the property and opened it to the public as the first Catholic Church in Kingston.

Fr. Ainsworth was appointed as the first parish priest.
Through successive bequests the Church and land became the property of Captain Hon.
GEORGE SAVILE, brother to the sixth Earl of Mexborough, a Yorkshire family.
Lady ANNE SAVILE, daughter of the fourth Earl, lived nearby in Thames Ditton.
A plaque is to be seen inside the Church commemorating her death.
Unlike many other members of the SAVILE family, buried in the vault under the High Altar, she has no known grave.
The Church was sold to the Diocese of Southwark after the Second World War and is now on the Registered List of Buildings of historical and architectural interest.
It is one of the finest examples of Victorian Italianate architecture in Britain.
A memorial tablet to ALEXANDER RAPHAEL was placed over the main door leading from the porch to the main body of the Church.
Written in Latin, it testifies to his generosity, unswerving faith and deep integrity.
It also refers to the honours bestowed upon him, because of his great merits, by Pope Pius IX.

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