Charles Kenworthy (second from the right) and Father Flanagan's original boys troupe traveled around the country to promote and raise funds for the Boys Town orphanage. Photo: John Kenworthy.

Flanagan’s On Main Namesake Up for Sainthood

Flanagan’s On Main is not only celebrating the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day holiday and its captivating history, but the canonization process (the formal process by which the Catholic Church declares a person to be a saint and worthy of universal veneration) of its namesake, Father Edward J. Flanagan and his efforts to create an inclusive orphanage for boys now known globally as “Boys Town.”

On July 22, 2019, with the presentation of the “positio” to the Vatican Congregation for Saints Causes, along with a letter of support from Omaha Archbishop George J. Lucas, the canonization of Father Flanagan took a step forward. The positio, or official position paper, is a summary of the volumes of records sent to the Vatican by the Archdiocese of Omaha in 2015. These records argue that Father Flanagan demonstrated heroic virtue in his life and was thus worthy of being declared Venerable by the pope.

“I am providing some of my grandfather’s stories and some of his artifacts,” said John Kenworthy, owner of Flanagan’s On Main. “I had recorded my grandfather, for many, many, hours back in the ‘80s and ’90s. So, to have these stories told in Grandpa’s voice is really cool. I also have letters he wrote back and forth to Father Flanagan. I kept everything. When I found out a couple of years back that he was up for sainthood, I was surprised by the moment, not the honor. I went straight to my storage yard and searched for those old boxes. Now he’s about halfway through [the process], but we need miracles.”

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