Actor Spencer Tracy up for beatification!
Well, actually, not ol’ “Spence,” but the man he played in his 1938 Oscar winning performance as Fr. Edward Flanagan, the founder of the Boys Town orphanage in Omaha.
The impact Fr. Flanagan had can be measured in the fact that the faithful in nine countries and 36 of the United States have expressed a profound devotion to him, according to the Archdiocese of Omaha.
The archdiocese says it will open Father’s beatification on March 17, the Feast of St. Patrick, which is appropriate for this Irish born priest. They also have six cases of people who claim to have been miraculously cured through his intercession. We should stress the archdiocese has not yet closely investigated any of these.
Fr. Flanagan came to the US in 1904 at age 18 and was ordained at age 26 for the then-Diocese of Omaha. As anyone familiar with his biopic knows, at first, he worked with homeless men. Then, however, he began noticing all the street kids, so he opened a home for them, regardless of race, creed, or ethnicity.
Soon there were so many street urchins that the streets of Omaha couldn’t hold them. So he bought a large farm on the city’s outskirts, and pretty soon there was a school, post office, and shops where boys could learn all sorts of different trades.
Oh, and that Oscar Spencer Tracy won for playing Fr. Flanagan? “Pops” gave it to the Boys Town founder.
After World War II, President Truman asked him to travel the world, investigate the situation of orphans in former war zones, and advise governments on what to do in their particular situation. However, it was on that trip that he died of a heart attack in Berlin in 1948.
When I lived in Omaha, Fr. Val Peter, then the executive director of Girls and Boys Towns, would some time say in his sermons. “That is a bee-ewe-tee-fuhl thing.” Well, I’m sure Fr. Peter is saying that very thing right now: It is a bee-ewe-tee-fuhl thing. And that it is, indeed, Father.
Cause of Down’s Syndrome geneticist moves forward
The archdiocese of Paris has completed diocesan phase of the beatification cause of Dr. Jérôme Lejeune has recently concluded and documents relating to the cause are now with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
Born in 1926, Lejeune was a pediatrician and geneticist best known for his discovery of Trisomy 21, the gene that causes Down’s Syndrome. Ironically, this brilliant discovery was quickly advertised to parents as a way of finding out whether the baby they had on the way was not going to be perfect. They would then, of course, have the option destroying that life. Well, God blessing him, for the rest of his life, Dr Lejeune fought to keep these unborn jewels from being aborted.
Sadly, he was not very successful. Today 90 percent or so of all Downs babies diagnosed in utero lose their lives to the abortionist’s scalpel. However, God doesn’t ask us to be successful, he asks us to be faithful, right? And that is something Dr. Jérôme Lejeune.
Cause of Communion and Liberation founder opens
On February 22, Fr. Julián Carrón, successor to Communion and Liberation founder, the late Msgr. Luigi Giussani, formally petitioned the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan, His Eminence Angelo Scola to open the monsignor’s beatification cause. If Cardinal Scola agrees, then the diocesan phase of the investigation into Guisanni’s life and virtues will begin. If that goes well, the cause will then move to Rome.
According to the website Vatican Insider, “Luigi Giussani was born in Desio, in the Italian Province of Monza and Brianza in 1922. After entering the diocesan seminary in Milan at a very young age, he continued his studies, completing them in the Faculty of Theology in Venegono in the Province of Varese in Northern Italy. He was ordained priest and started teaching in this same seminary, specializing in the study of Oriental Theology, Protestant American Theology and the analysis of the rational motivation for joining the faith and the Church. In the mid 1950s, Fr. Giussani left his seminary teaching post to teach religion in middle school and high school for ten years, from 1954 to 1964, at “Berchet” high school in Milan.
“These were the years of the birth and diffusion of the Catholic Student Youth movement (Gioventù Studentesca -GS). He taught an Introduction to Theology course at Milan’s Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and went on to become the leader of the Communion and Liberation movement. On 16 March that year, during the 5th celebration of the Law of the Lombardy Region, Fr. Luigi Giussani was awarded one of the sixteen Longobard Seals (Sigilli Longobardi) which are given to citizens who have distinguished themselves in social work.
“Fr. Giussani died on 22 February 2005 at his home in Milan. The then cardinal Joseph Ratzinger presided over his funeral in Milan’s Duomo Cathedral, as a special envoy sent by John Paul II. He was buried in the memorial chapel at the Monumental Cemetery of Milan and his corpse was later moved to a new Chapel in the same cemetery. Fr. Giussani’s tomb is a popular pilgrimage destination.”
Bishop Baraga case moves forward
People with a devotion to Bishop Frederic Baraga’s beatification cause got a big boost on Tuesday, February 7, when the Congregation for the Causes of Saints agreed that he lived a life of “heroic virtue,” and thus should be called Venerable. The Congregation has forwarded its finding to the Holy Father who will rule on whether he concurs with those findings or not.