Father Flanagan died in Berlin of a heart attack May 15, 1948. His corpse is interred in a memorial chapel at Boys Town.
Flanagan's cause was opened in the Archdiocese of Omaha in 2012, and the diocesan phase was concluded in June 2015.
At that time, documents produced by the diocesan tribunal were signed and sealed, and then sent to the Vatican.
An official of the Omaha archdiocese told CNA that since 2015, the local Church has continue to investigate Flanagan's life, and possible miracles attributed to his intercession.
In January 2017, the then-prefect of the congregation, Cardinal Angelo Amato, signed a decree affirming the validity of the diocesan phase of Flanagan's cause.
The positio will now be reviewed by historical consultants at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, then theological consultants, and finally the members of the congregation.
If all three groups agree, the congregation would then recommend that Pope Francis declare Flanagan “Venerable”, the next stage in the process of canonization.
Omar Gutierrez, who served as notary for the tribunal that investigated Flanagan's life, told CNA in 2015 that the priest “was a man driven by his love for Jesus Christ to care for children who were forgotten and abused. He is a great model for the priesthood and for what Catholic social teaching looks like in the real world.”
Steven Wolf, president of the Father Flanagan League Society of Devotion and vice-postulator of his cause, said he thinks there is abundant evidence of the priest’s heroic virtue.
“He completely immersed his life in the gospel, and lived it,” Wolf told CNA. “He completely poured his life into saving these kids nobody else wanted to deal with.”
Father Flanagan integrated young boys, “built a society around them, and put love, God’s love, in the middle of their circumstances and helped them to become whole and complete people.”
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“He could see the face of Christ in every child, and he wanted to help every child, not just be successful citizens, but also be saints.”
Wolf added, “We need people to look into this man’s life, look into this man’s motivation, and look at his example and live that example. Pray that we can make our culture a better place through the way that he lived the gospel in his life.”
In 2015, Gutierrez said that two alleged miracles attributed to Flanagan's intercession were being investigated.