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Vatican takes key step forward for Father Flanagan's sainthood cause


Father Edward Flanagan, the Irish-born priest who founded Boys Town in Nebraska, is pictured in an undated photo. The Vatican has taken a key step forward in the priest's sainthood cause, local officials said May 15. (CNS photo/courtesy Boys Town)

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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.

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