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Moments in History

From a Dumpster ​to the Hall of History: Father Flanagan’s Cross of Cong

One of Boys Town’s most visually stunning and culturally valuable artifacts — Father ​​​​​​Flanagan’s personal replica of the famous Cross of Cong, presented to him by the Lord Mayor of Dublin — was almost lost forever, had it not been for an Omaha priest passing by a dumpster. Watch the video below to see this​ fascinating story.

This ornate cross is a replica of the famous Cross of Cong that sits in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin. It was presented to Father Flanagan upon his final visit to his home country in 1946 by Peter Doyle, the Lord Mayor of Dublin. But the cross would have been lost to history had it not been for the keen eye of an Omaha priest.

The cross itself is made of heavy brass and it's craftsmanship reflects the exquisite metalwork of the famous original. The bottom bears the inscription of its presentation to Father Flanagan by Dublin's Lord Mayor.

Upon Father Flanagan's death in 1948 the cross passed to his brother Patrick, the parish priest at Holy Angel's Church in North Omaha, where it stayed for many years.

As Holy Angel's Church was emptied in preparation for it's demolition to make room for the Omaha North Freeway in the mid 1970s, the cross was unceremoniously discarded into a dumpster. Fortunately a passing priest rescued the priceless artifact from certain oblivion and took it home for safe keeping.

Many years later that same priest donated the cross to Boy's Town's Hall of History where it sits today on prominent display as a reminder of Father Flanagan's far-reaching mission to save children across the globe. The cross also serves as a poignant reminder of his humble beginnings in west-central Ireland and his eventual renown in his home country and far beyond.

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