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Lynch Educates Irish on Father Flanagan; Canonization Moves to Roman Phase

When it comes to the history of Boys Town, Tom Lynch is your guy. As Director of Community Programs and the Hall of History, Lynch not only has 98 years of Boys Town history memorized, but also Father Edward Flanagan’s life story.

So it was no surprise when Flanagan’s home country of Ireland called on Tom to educate them about Boys Town’s founder. Earlier this month, Lynch made the 17 hour trip to Ballymoe, Ireland, Flanagan’s hometown, to present a lecture on the history of Boys Town and Father Flanagan at his alma mater Summerhill College in Sligo.

“In the 1940s, Father Flanagan traveled to Ireland and provided his input on their childcare system. At the time, the Irish government didn’t agree with him and that led to him not being mentioned in Irish popular culture since 1946,” explained Lynch. “Those who attended the lecture were surprised to learn about this native Irishman who has made such an impact, not only in the United States, but also around the world, and that his cause for canonization began in 2012.”

In addition to the Summerhill College lecture, Tom also did a general presentation in Ballymoe, Ireland and continues to receive calls from Irish organizations requesting him to present as Father Flanagan’s cause for canonization moves into the Roman Phase. Both Summerhill College and Ballymoe residents plan to visit the Village of Boys Town during Boys Town’s centennial year in 2017.

Father Flanagan’s Cause for Canonization Enters the Roman Phase

Father Flanagan’s Cause for Canonization has entered the third and final phase – the Roman Phase. The Roman Phase has three steps: Venerable, Beatification and Canonization.

Previously, the cause was in the Diocesan Phase in which the Archbishop George Lucas of the Omaha Archdiocese formed a tribunal to hear from witnesses and examine the concrete facts on Father Flanagan’s exercise of Christian virtues considered heroic. This led to the declaration of Father Flanagan as a Servant of God. All materials reviewed by the tribunal are crated and affixed with the bishop's seal and sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican to begin the Roman Phase.

The Roman Phase is a trial of sorts where the Congregation for the Causes of Saints impanels clergy and other subject matter experts to review the files submitted by the bishop. This review is exhaustive and will probe even deeper into the life and potential miracles that can be attributed to the Servant of God.

After initial examination of the Servant of God it can be recommended that the Servant of God is worthy of greater praise within the Roman Catholic Church and the title of Venerable may be attributed to the Servant of God. This honor is given to a Servant of God whose heroic virtue has been declared by the pope.

Beatification: This stage of the process occurs at the conclusion of the rigorous investigation into the person’s life and writings to determine whether he or she demonstrates a heroic level of virtue or suffered martyrdom. A miracle attributed to the person’s intercession must be proved.

Canonization: Another miracle that is attributed to the intercession of the Blessed is required and it must occur after beatification.

On Tuesday, October 13, the Vatican officially opened the sealed boxes sent by the Archdiocese of Omaha and began its review.