OMAHA, Neb. (CNS) — The Vatican has taken a key step forward in the sainthood cause of Father Edward J. Flanagan, the founder of Boys Town, local officials said May 15.
The Congregation for Saints’ Causes found that the Archdiocese of Omaha’s three-year investigation into Father Flanagan’s life was thorough and without error, and includes evidence of a reputation for sanctity, said Steven Wolf, president of the Father Flanagan League Society of Devotion, which has helped lead the sainthood effort.
“This cause is moving forward toward the next step, which we pray will move Servant of God Flanagan’s status to that of ‘venerable,'” Wolf said at a news conference at St. Cecilia Parish in Omaha attended by, among others, Omaha Archbishop George J. Lucas; Father Steven Boes, executive director of Boys Town; members of the tribunal and commissions the archbishop appointed to investigate the cause; and backers of the effort.
The Vatican’s investigation will continue, Wolf said, and focus on signs of heroic virtue, which could lead to the title “venerable.” Generally, a miracle attributed to the intercession of Father Flanagan would be required for beatification, and a second miracle for sainthood.
Wolf also thanked Archbishop Lucas and members of the tribunal, historical and theological commissions for their support and hard work, and presented them with gifts including a framed poster, coffee mug and greeting cards honoring Father Flanagan and the cause for sainthood.
Archbishop Lucas said the effort is in God’s hands, and prayers and devotions to Father Flanagan will help further the cause.
“I’m delighted at the news being shared today,” he said. “I’m delighted that a priest of the archdiocese could do so much with God’s grace.”
Father Boes, who also is pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish on the Boys Town campus, said “any recognition of our founder is welcome to us because it reminds people of the life and works of this great man.”
Father Flanagan’s contention that “there are no bad boys” is grounded in Catholic theology and continues to be at the core of the work at Boys Town, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, Father Boes said.
Father Flanagan’s founding of Boys Town began with a rented house in Omaha and five boys who needed a home. It has grown to include a main campus of group homes and churches for boys and girls, a grade school and high school, post office and bank, as well as a national research hospital in Omaha, a national hotline and other services and locations around the country.
The archdiocese officially took up the cause of his sainthood Feb. 27, 2012, with Archbishop Lucas placing a notice on the doors of St. Cecilia Cathedral and later naming him a “servant of God” and installing the tribunal and commissions. The archdiocese closed the local phase of the investigation with a Mass June 18, 2015, passing the information it had gathered onto the Vatican.
Ruff is news editor of the Catholic Voice, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Omaha.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103