Father Flanagan sainthood process takes important step forward

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT)-- The process of declaring Father Edward J. Flanagan a saint has taken a significant step forward, the Archdiocese of Omaha said in a release Monday.

The archdiocese has submitted a letter of support from Archbishop George Lucas and presented the Positio, or summary of records, to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the release states. The submissions mark the first step in declaring Father Flanagan "venerable," the first of three steps to full canonization, according to the release.

According to the Archdiocese of Omaha press release, in order to get become honored by the pope, the Archdiocese must send a Positio to the Vatican regarding why Father Flanagan has "performed heroic virtue" in his life.

In January, Archbishop Lucas met with Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, the prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, to support Father Flanagan’s possible sainthood.

“It has been a privilege to offer my support for the cause of Father Edward Flanagan at each stage of this process," Archbishop Lucas said. “I was able to share with Cardinal Becciu the encouragement offered to all of us in the Church during this challenging time by the virtuous life and work of Father Flanagan.”

There are three more groups within the Congregation for the Causes of Saints that must approve the Positio before Fr. Flanagan can be declared "venerable": First, historical consultants have to approve, then theological consultants, then bishops and cardinal members must clear it, according to the release.

The next phase is "beatification," which would declare the Father “blessed.” Proof of an achieved miracle as a Servant of God is necessary to pass through this last stage.

The final step is canonization, which requires a second miracle.