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Boys Town begins yearlong 100th anniversary celebration

An orphanage that grew into one of the nation’s largest nonprofit centers for struggling youth – Boys Town – began Oct. 26 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding by Servant of God Father Edward Flanagan.

Gathering employees into the field house at its national headquarters, Boys Town’s executive director, Father Steven Boes, unveiled a new logo touting its 100 years and announced a series of events that will culminate with a yet-to-be determined celebration in December 2017.

"This is such an exciting time," Father Boes said. "This is a great opportunity to celebrate the outstanding work that has been done by our organization over the last 100 years."

From its beginnings in 1917 as a rented house for five boys who needed a home in Omaha, Boys Town has expanded into a separate village in the center of the city, with a middle school and high school, cottages, police station, post office and chapel. The home for troubled youth also has a national research hospital and institute in Omaha, and nearly a dozen affiliate locations across the country.

Boys Town each year provides direct services to 75,000 children and families, and touches the lives of nearly 2 million people through its work, which also includes a national hotline, parenting classes and other educational services and service-oriented websites.

And Father Flanagan’s life is being studied for possible canonization in a process that began in the Archdiocese of Omaha four years ago and now includes Vatican officials in Rome.

All of that and more will be celebrated in the coming months, including at Boys Town’s annual Christmas Family Festival in December, which is open to the public and will offer crafts, Irish dancers and a tour of Father Flanagan’s house, officials said.

A coffee table book about Boys Town will be available beginning in December, and the village’s redesigned Hall of History will be unveiled in February, including a section on Father Flanagan’s sainthood cause.

Other aspects of the celebration will include a commemorative coin, a documentary on Boys Town and the installation in spring 2017 of a new take on the village’s famous "Two Brothers" statue. Instead of one boy carrying another, the new statue will depict a boy carrying a girl, reflecting Boys Town’s assistance since the 1970s to girls as well as boys.

Spirit of Ireland Pilgrimage

To help mark the 100th anniversary of Boys Town, the Catholic Voice is offering an April 17-27 pilgrimage to Ireland, birthplace of Boys Town founder Servant of God Father Edward Flanagan.

The trip, with retired Father Patrick McCaslin, will include a visit to Father Flanagan’s hometown, Ballymoe. Other stops will include Belfast, Dublin and the Cliffs of Moher.

To learn more about the trip or make reservations, contact the Catholic Voice at 402-558-6611 or tcvomaha.org; or Magi Travel at 952-949-0065 or info@magitravelinc.com.

The Catholic Voice

The Archdiocese of Omaha • Catholic Voice
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