MANCHESTER, England (CNS) — The bishop of Northampton, England, has appointed a priest to investigate the possibility of opening the cause for sainthood of G.K. Chesterton, a British journalist and author of the early 20th century.

A statement released Sept. 19 by the diocese in central England said that the decision to investigate the cause followed numerous approaches from devotees of Chesterton, including many from the United States.

Father John Udris, spiritual director at St. Mary’s College, Oscott, a seminary in Birmingham, will lead the effort, the statement said.

The appointment represents the first step in a long process that could result in the eventual canonization of a man who created the famous “Father Brown” literary figure.

Chesterton was born in London in 1874 and died of heart failure in 1936 at the age of 62 in Beaconsfield, north of the city, and within the Diocese of Northampton.

Baptized an Anglican, he became a Catholic in 1922 and wrote acclaimed religious such as “Orthodoxy” and “The Everlasting Man.”

Chesterton wrote 80 books as well as hundreds of short stories, essays, poems and several plays. His works continue to enjoy universal appeal and popularity.