The Bishop of Elphin, Dr. Christopher Jones and the National Executive Director of Boys Town Fr. Steve Boes both pledged at the weekend to accelerate efforts to pave the way for the eventual canonisation of Ballymoe native Fr. Edward Flanagan. The two Churchmen were speaking as hundreds of people gave an emotional welcome to Hollywood great Mickey Rooney, the celebrated 86-year-old star of screen and stage who starred in the film which recounted the amazing life and times of Fr. Flanagan. Fr. Flanagan, who was born in Ballymoe in 1886, is revered in the United States (and worldwide) as the founder of Boys Town, now America’s largest privately funded organisation serving severely at-risk, abused, abandoned and neglected children. On Tuesday Ballymoe hosted the beginning of celebrations marking the 90th anniversary of the opening of Boys Town. A number of guests from Boys Town were present. The actor Mickey Rooney, who was accompanied by his wife Jan, received two standing ovations in Ballymoe Community Centre, which was packed to capacity. Mr. Rooney, who was due to stay in the Abbey Hotel that night, made a stirring speech during which he said he was delighted to be in the home place of Fr. Flanagan (see page 12). He was accompanied on the visit by his wife Jan. Bishop Jones said that every effort must continue to ensure that the process of making Fr. Flanagan a Saint continues. Speaking to the Roscommon People, Fr. Steve Boes, the fourth successor to Fr. Flanagan, said he hoped links between Boys Town and Ballymoe would be strengthened, not least because ‘this will be necessary if the movement towards canonisation (of Fr. Flanagan) is to succeed.’ See page 12 and further coverage in our next issue.