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Father Edward J. Flanagan photographed in 1942 surrounded by his Boys Town charges Photo by: Google Images

Boys Town founder Father Edward J. Flanagan to be considered for sainthood

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Father Edward J. Flanagan photographed in 1942 surrounded by his Boys Town charges Photo by: Google Images

Father Edward J. Flanagan, Catholic priest and founder of Boys Town, will be put to consideration for sainthood by the Omaha, Nebraska archdiocese next month. In 1917, Fr Flanagan organized  the Omaha orphanage Father Flanagan's Boys Home.

WQAD writes that Omaha’s archdiocese will formally begin the process for canonization during a St. Patrick’s Day prayer service at Boys Town's Immaculate Conception Church next month. The process for sainthood is, undoubtedly, quite lengthy.

Fr Flanagan was born in Roscommon in 1886. Though he died in 1948, his legacy for dedication to helping troubled youth lives on today with his Boys Town charity.

"There are no bad boys,” Flanagan had said during his time working with youth. “There is only bad environment, bad training, bad example, bad thinking."

The process for sainthood originates in the archdiocese, then proceeds to the the Congregation of the Causes of Saints in Rome and to the pope. In order to be qualified as a saint, at least two miracles associated with the person must have occurred after his or her death.
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Reverend Steven Boes, national executive director of Boys Town, believes that Fr Flanagan is most deserving of the honor from the Church.

"Though the process will be investigating proven miracles associated with Father Flanagan, we know that miracles occurred every day in his work to heal children in mind, body and spirit," said Reverend Boes. "These everyday miracles still occur as Boys Town continues Flanagan's work by saving children and healing families today."

Fr Flanagan emigrated from Ireland to the United States in 1904, and was ordained as a priest in 1912. As a priest, he travelled the United States urging other to join him in his crusade to provide charity for trouble youths.

At the request of President Truman, Fr Flanagan toured Europe following WWII to discuss the orphaned children of the war. During his tour, he died of a heart attack in Berlin in 1948. His body was laid to rest at the chapel at Boys Town.

Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor of the archdiocese in Omaha, hopes that the canonization process might inspire Catholics in the area. "If Father Flanagan becomes sainted, it would send a message to Nebraskans," McNeil said. "If he could live a holy and exemplary life in Omaha, why can't we all?"

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