“Though the process will be investigating proven miracles associated with Fr. Flanagan, we know that miracles occurred every day in his work to heal children in mind, body and spirit. These everyday miracles still occur as Boys Town continues Flanagan’s work by saving children and healing families today,” he said.
Before the cause can open, Archbishop Lucas will post a notice on the doors of Omaha’s St. Cecilia Cathedral on Feb. 27. The notice will be on display for two weeks to alert the public about the cause and to invite them to share their thoughts with the tribunal in charge of the investigation, archdiocesan chancellor Deacon Tim McNeil said.
The cause will formally open on March 17 with a 9 a.m. prayer service at Boys Town’s Immaculate Conception Church. Fr. Flanagan will receive the official title “Servant of God.” The local tribunals of religious officials and experts responsible for investigating Fr. Flanagan’s virtues and interviewing witnesses will also be sworn in.
At the conclusion of the archdiocese’s investigation, the cause’s documentation is sent to the Congregation of the Causes of Saints at the Vatican. The congregation can recommend that Pope Benedict XVI declare Fr. Flanagan to have demonstrated heroic virtue and is worthy to be declared “venerable.”
This action would allow prayer cards and other material to be printed to encourage the faithful to pray for Fr. Flanagan’s intercession and canonization. If anyone gives credible evidence of a miracle through his intercession, he may be beatified. An additional miracle is then required for canonization—the declaration by the Church that it is as certain as it can be that he is in heaven.
Wolf said the Father Flanagan League Society of Devotion sees the opening of the cause for beatification “as a response to the Holy Spirit that is moving through an international groundswell of devotion.” His group estimates that there is devotion to Fr. Flanagan in nine countries and 36 U.S. states.
Deacon McNeil said the canonization of Fr. Flanagan could inspire the more than 230,000 Catholics of northeast Nebraska.
“If he could live a holy and exemplary life in Omaha, why can’t we all?” he asked.