- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 16, 2017

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The founder of what has become Omaha’s Boys Town is now one step closer to obtaining sainthood.

The Vatican issued a decree of validity for the investigation that the Archdiocese of Omaha completed two years ago. The investigation looked at the life, virtue and works of the Rev. Edward Flanagan, who died in 1948.

A decree of validity means the investigation is completed and proves the priest has a reputation for sanctity, according to Steve Wolf, president of the Father Flanagan League Society of Devotion. The society is leading the canonization effort, the Omaha World-Herald (https://bit.ly/2qrX7eg ) reported.

The next step is for the Vatican to assign someone to draw from the investigation examples of heroic virtue, which would pave the way for the pope to declare Flanagan esteemed.

Part of the canonization includes proving that Flanagan is responsible for two miracles, such as healings that took place after prayers seeking his help.

Flanagan founded Boys Town in downtown Omaha in 1917. The organization housed 100 displaced boys before moving the home to a larger area on the outskirts of Omaha.

By the 1930s, hundreds of boys lived at the site, which included a school and dormitories where boys elected their own mayor, council and commissioners, according to the organization’s website. The community became an official village in the state of Nebraska in 1936.

“We are blessed in so many ways to have had the life and work and now the legacy of Father Flanagan in this archdiocese,” Omaha Archbishop George Lucas said,

The Rev. Steven Boes, national executive director of Boys Town, said Flanagan’s legacy is present every day in the area. He said sainthood would make the late priest’s legacy even greater.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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