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Bishop Bernard Flanagan Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: SC059-FLAN

Scope and Contents

This collection contains homilies and notes on homilies delivered by Bishop Flanagan. Additionally, there is information on topics he was interested in preaching about. The collection is arranged alphabetically by topic.


  • 1932-1993


Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions

Conditions Governing Use

Materials believed to be under copyright or other restrictions are available for limited noncommercial, educational and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States copyright law and with proper citation. Please note that the College of the Holy Cross may not hold the rights to all items in this collection. Users assume responsibility for identifying all copyright holders and for determining whether permission is needed to make any use of the content. For permission under rights held by the College, please contact

Biographical Note

Bishop Bernard J. Flanagan was born in Proctor, VT on March 31, 1908, the son of John B. and Alice (McGarry) Flanagan. He graduated from Proctor High School and received his A.B. degree from the College of the Holy Cross in 1928. He studied for the priesthood at the North American College in Rome and was ordained there on December 8, 1931.

Bishop Flanagan returned to pastoral work in the Diocese of Burlington, VT from 1932-1940. In September 1940, he was assigned to the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. for special studies and was awarded the degree of Doctor of Canon Law in May, 1943. From June 1943, until his election to the See of Norwich, Bishop Flanagan was chancellor of the Diocese of Burlington and secretary to the bishop. He was consecrated on November 30, 1953 in Burlington by Bishop Edward F. Ryan. Bishop Flanagan was installed as the first Bishop of Norwich, CT on December 9, 1953. On September 24, 1959, he was installed as the Second Bishop of the Diocese of Worcester.

Bishop Flanagan was known as an ecumenical bishop. He was a charter member of the Ecumenical Affairs Committee of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and one of the first bishops appointed to the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue. Bishop Flanagan led the Diocese of Worcester through the Second Vatican Council and the years of implementing its many decrees. He was also known for being one of the first churchmen in the United States to speak out against the Vietnam War. Additionally, Bishop Flanagan was interested in increasing the Church’s role in social justice and outreach to the poor. He was described by the late Richard Cardinal Cushing at his installation in 1959 as “strong and sturdy in character, kind and sympathetic in his dealings with his brother priests, understanding and tolerant in his relations with those of other faiths, prudent and far-sighted.” Bishop Flanagan died on January 28, 1998.


1.15 Cubic Feet (3 document boxes)

Language of Materials


Acquisition Note

This collection was acquired after the death of Bishop Flanagan in 1998. The source of acquisition is unknown.

January 2003
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Distinctive Collections Repository

One College Street
Worcester MA 01610