Man blessed by Fr. Flanagan hopeful for his sainthood

Man blessed by Fr. Flanagan hopeful for his sainthood

For Steve Wolf it's personal.

"Father Flanagan later in my life became a role model for me," said Wolf.

Wolf studied and lived at Boys Town, a community and ministry that has helped thousands of young people get their lives on track.

Boys Town was started by Father Edward J. Flanagan in 1917.

A priest who moved to the United States from Ireland.

Many believe Father Flanagan should become a catholic saint for his great work.

Wolf is part of a group called the "Father Flanagan League: Society of Devotion."

He's devoted a decade of his life to Father Flanagan's canonization.

"He changed not only this community, but he changed this nation and this world in the way you approach kids that need help," said Wolf.

Thousands of pages of Father Flanagan's writings were sent to the Vatican for review.

Officials in Rome recently acknowledged those submissions saying in a letter that local church leaders did a good job in collecting those writings.

"To be a saint, you must prove heroic virtues, and basically the person is put on trial," said Thomas Lynch, Director of Community Programs and Boys Town historian. "The Vatican is looking to see if this person went out of their way to assist people and how that affected their own life."

Father Flanagan died in 1948, but people like Wolf, who say they've been blessed by Flanagan's mission say his legacy lives on.

"Father Flanagan poured his love and god's love into these kids, and certainly I'm a benefactor of that myself," said Wolf.

He says it's a reason why so many are hopeful that one day Father Flanagan will become a saint.

"A certain part of it is really up to god and that's the miracle part," said Omar Gutierrez, who is with the Archdiocese of Omaha.

According to catholic tradition, a miracle is a sign that a person is interceding for us in heaven.

Gutierrez says Father Flanagan would need to perform two confirmed miracles after death.

"If somebody is sick we encourage them to pray to Father Flanagan and they get a group to pray to Father Flanagan," said Gutierrez. "It doesn't be a specific prayer but just for his intercession, and if they recover, they come to us, to the league."

Wolf says after an investigation, it's the pope himself who will declare it a miracle.

So far, 19 have been reported.

Two miracles were investigated.

Wolf says, right now there are no approved miracles.

Still, he says it doesn't minimize the impact Father Flanagan had on his life.

"The fact that I'm a benefactor of that legacy, and seeing the tens of thousands of other lives that he's changed through his incredible work," said Wolf.

He says he's not giving up hope that one day, in the eyes of the church, Father Flanagan will become a saint.

Get updates on Father Flanagan's road to sainthood:

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