Tom Lynch, Director of Community Programs and the Boys Town Hall of History, was recently asked to share an update on the canonization process of Boys Town’s founder Father Edward Flanagan. As the chairman of the Father Flanagan Cause Historical Commission, he has spent many hours on this project in hopes of Father Flanagan one day being named a saint.
On June 18, the Closing Mass for Father Flanagan’s Cause of Beatification was held in St. Cecelia Cathedral in Omaha. This public Mass signified the closing of the archdiocesan phase and the beginning of the Roman phase of the Father Flanagan Cause.
On St. Patrick’s Day 2012, I was sworn in by Archbishop George Lucas as the chairman of the Father Flanagan Cause Historical Commission. I and two other commissioners began the task of organizing and selecting Father Flanagan writings for review. To begin our work, we organized the outline of a report explaining our mission and dividing up the various tasks.
My section was to organize the writings of Father Flanagan into various dossiers based upon his life and ministry. For the past thirty years it has been my responsibility to preserve and share the writings of Father Flanagan. The writings of Father Flanagan consist of thousands of pages of speeches, prayers, sermons and articles. From this mountain of material, I selected the best representation of each subject.
In each nation Father Flanagan visited during his life, national and religious archives were searched for his letters and writings. Reports were also written describing various aspects of his ministry and how his death impacted America.
My fellow commissioners created detailed reports on Father Flanagan’s life from birth to his death. These reports discussed the local, national and international events taking place during his lifetime from 1886 to 1948. This alone was a massive project.
All of our commissioners work has been reviewed by tribunals who searched the material for examples of Father Flanagan’s possible heroic virtues. At the June 18th mass, our commission reports and the tribunal findings were placed in special boxes and secured with a wax seal. They were then sent to the Vatican for review.
It has been a privilege to work on this once in a life time event. Hopefully within my lifetime Father Flanagan will be declared a saint.