Died : September 25th, 2016
Former Catholic priest / Actor / Therapist
Ed Flannagan was a member of the first board of directors of the Avatar Meher Baba Heartland Center, and it was his conviction that this Center was to be, his encouragement, and his financial support during the early stages that substantially contributed to bringing the Heartland Center into being.
Webmaster : A special thank you for David Raphael Israel in assisting me in putting together the
following for Ed. Thanks also to Mahoo Shahriari for her post and the many others that wrote to me.
Ed Flanagan, formerly a Catholic priest and a longtime devotee of Avatar Meher Baba, passed away September 25th, 2016. Ed will be remembered and his life celebrated in a program at Meherabode this Sunday. Ed was part of our Meherabode community over a period of many years. Please join in prayers for the onward journey of this Baba-brother.
5 still images that Fred Stankus sent me , all from The Meher Baba Program (2008)
The following was contributed by Charmaine Foley.
Hi Charmaine -- I was a Maryknoll missionary in Korea mid-late '60s, but I had quite a fascinating discussion with the Jesuits in Goa about
Baba. Of course they were totally unreceptive. It's part of a Baba book I spent the last 10 years writing for future Catholics who are going to be anxious to hear when he finally manifests
publically. Now, the unanswered question: Can you open a Microsoft Word doc? If so, I'll send that chapter on Goa.
- As a former priest I have some fascinating info on my interactions with the Jesuits in Goa back in '82.
Baba in Goa
Baba brought a few of his Eastern and Western disciples to the Portuguese area of Goa on India’s west coast to bow down to St. Francis Xavier’s tomb at the Basilica of Good Jesus in Old Goa. Francis was a missionary who with St. Ignatius Loyola co-founded the Society of Jesus. The Jesuits were also Baba’s teachers at St. Vincent’s High School.
He had made a pilgrimage alone twice before and later in 1924 with his men. I retraced his steps decades later in 1982 to also bow down to St. Francis who Baba said was spiritually advanced and also my patron saint during my 1960s Far East missionary years.
Baba now brought a few of his Eastern and Western disciples to the Portuguese area of Goa on India’s west coast to bow down to St. Francis Xavier’s tomb at the Basilica of Good Jesus in Old Goa. Francis was a missionary who with St. Ignatius Loyola co-founded the Society of Jesus. The Jesuits were also Baba’s high school teachers.§
He made this pilgrimage alone twice before and later in 1924 with his men. I retraced his steps decades later in 1982 to also bow down to St. Francis who Baba said was spiritually advanced. He was also my patron saint during my 1960s Far East missionary years.
Meeting 2 Secret Agents in Goa
Baba indicated he loved Goa’s spiritual atmosphere and Portuguese customs as “such a pleasant change from British India.” That afternoon, Elizabeth Patterson stopped the car to enter a restaurant next to the Basilica built in 1594 exactly 300 years before Baba’s birth.
A white-bearded old man in a safari hat emerged looking like Moses dressed in an old suit. She asked him when the Basilica would be open. He was Catholic and said it was always open. He and Baba stared at each other for a moment before the man left. MM 2: 47
Emerging from the Basilica after paying their respects, they ran into the old man again. He explained to Elizabeth he had just arrived from Karachi and wrote plays, but till now none were published. He had come to Goa to continue writing, mentioning modern dramas and the works of George Bernard Shaw. Baba signaled his young brother Jal to ask the old man if he needed anything – especially money.
“No, Thanks,” he said, firing a serious glance at Baba. Back at the hotel Baba said, “You’re all blind. He’s spiritually advanced – a conscious agent. All this talk about plays had a hidden meaning only for me. I gave him internal instructions; now he’ll leave Goa.” The next day Elizabeth oddly encountered the man a 3rd time. He said cryptically, “I don’t know why, but I feel all on fire. I planned to be in Goa some months.
“But now I
must leave for a colder country up north.” Elizabeth related the strange meeting to Baba. He explained,
“As Elizabeth was 1st to meet him, so she must be the last.” Later that day, they heard on the radio that Germany invaded
Denmark and Norway without prior warning.
– B oth were “cold countries in the north.”
Another of Baba’s agents was a female Christian mastani contacted in Goa striding along the highway, not in rags but in a fancy black chiffon blouse and long pleated skirt. She walked past Baba’s hotel. Norina tried to coax her to meet
him. She refused, but looked up at him on the hotel balcony before continuing on her way. She was known as Mastani Mai. Baba said she held the key to the spiritual affairs of
§St. Francis Xavier (b.1506-d.1552) was a friend of St. Ignatius of Loyola. They and 5 other former war veterans underwent a spiritual conversion to form the Catholic order in France known as the Society of Jesus – the Jesuits (meaning Soldiers of Christ) – to become apostolic educators and missionaries. Xavier, known as the “Apostle to the Indies.” spent the last 11 years of his life as a missionary in Southeast Asia, Japan and India. He died in Goa, now rich in Christian tradition.
Printed Lord Meher, p.2546 Footnote: www.lordmeher.org/v1/index.jsp
I Head for Goa
From Poona I went to Bombay to catch a ferry to visit the island of Goa and St. Francis Xavier’s tomb. Xavier served the poor and lepers. He was one of my patron saints during my missionary years in the Far East. With St. Ignatius Loyola they co-founded the Jesuit order in 1540. I was now going there to bow down to him as Baba had decades earlier.
He visited there 3 times. Xavier’s uncorrupt body has lain for 500 years in a glass case in the crypt of the Basilica of Good Jesus, as simply a vivid sign of his inner honesty before God. When opened every 12 years, great crowds come to pay homage.
Baba came here alone and later with disciples in the 1920s and again during WWII with a few Western ones. Entering the Basilica, Baba imparted his Divine Presence for the benefit of those coming in later times, saying “Xavier was spiritually advanced.”
MM 2: p. 47
I had planned to visit Goa after my planned “several days work” with brother Jal. I just ended up going a few days earlier than expected. My interactions with the Jesuits on this trip were dealt with in Book I – Introduction. But here it is again in case you missed it:
I arrived in Goa’s coastal town of Panjim the next morning on the overnight ferry from Bombay, the same old iron ship Baba had taken on earlier trips, remarkably still in service. I had 3 delightful young Muslim Pakistani co-passengers sharing their goodwill with me. We’d later meet up on Goa’s beach which attracts many tourists.
I then took a local bus to the town of Old Goa, where on a street corner I happened to spot a priest in a white cassock. I was looking for the Basilica and St. Francis’ tomb, and knew he could give me directions. Well, that may have been a mistake, for I soon discovered Fr. Coutinho also knew some of my fellow-Maryknoll priests in Africa.
One thing led to another and I ended up saying much more than I’d intended about Meher Baba. He insisted I join him for lunch after visiting St. Francis’s tomb. I graciously declined, saying I was on a very tight schedule and had to return to Bombay that afternoon. So we left it at that; or so I thought. Now, just see how Baba works.
After visiting the tomb, I was surprised by a tap on the shoulder with my Jesuit priest friend again insisting I join him for lunch at the rectory. Well, expecting it would just be just 2 of us, without a fuss I agreed. Instead, the lunch was with several eminent Jesuit priest-theologians at a long table in their refectory dining room.
I almost ended up getting thrown out of that luncheon, for when pressed on the issue of Meher Baba – a subject my new friend agreed not to bring up at my request – I defended the possibility that the same Ancient One, Our Lord, whom we love and know as Jesus, was on earth officially as the Christ several times before he was known as Jesus, and most likely 2 more times since then, as Prophet Mohammed and now in the 20th century as Meher Baba.
Well, it doesn’t take much imagination to visualize what ensued – panic buttons, whistles, bells and alarms. Quite a discussion started heating up on the Jesuit’s prefect’s side as he defended the archaic false dogma that Christ could only come once to earth, with me citing un-nerving possibilities and modern, cutting-edge theology and scripture exegesis totally rethinking that; and we just may have to change our views on it.
Well, it’s good almost everyone had finished eating when the subject came up, as there was a near uproar. After practically choking on his post-lunch biscotti and exchanging a few of his own adamant doctrinal ideas trying to contradict me, the somewhat chagrined Jesuit prefect neatly folded his napkin to end the meal. He then stood up with the reluctant observation, “Well if that were the case, then I would have to change my theological beliefs,” as if that were the last thing he’d ever do.
When he abruptly left the dining room, I had all I could do not to mutter, “Gotcha!” Ok, maybe it was an upstart move on my part, but as soon as I’d seen it was a formal lunch and a much bigger group than I’d expected, I again quietly whispered to my Jesuit friend, “Don’t put me on the spot and ask me to talk about the research I’m doing here in India.”
But he was so intrigued by what I’d shared with him earlier on that street corner about Meher Baba as the Avatar, he did just that. Any 5 year old could have foreseen that the result was worse than stirring a doctrinal hornet’s nest.
I must say, though, just like at the Vatican, I left with a secret glee and satisfaction that something happened that day far beyond anything I’d have ever dreamed of attempting on my own. Clearly, I had just shaken loose some pretty old tiles on the venerable roof of the Basilica of Good Jesus under which we gathered for that noontime meal.
My visit was simply to retrace Meher Baba’s footsteps. And who knows that he wasn’t looking over my shoulder – and maybe Xavier, too – urging me on during that luncheon to speak the truth as I knew and felt it. As said, it was uncannily similar to my Vatican experience with the Indian nuns high above St. Peter’s Basilica.
Theological times haven’t changed much since then, and undoubtedly this is going to be a dizzying jump for many traditional Christians, to say nothing of the clergy. The final irony is several of the Jesuits who had given young Baba – then Merwan Irani – his high school education, were assigned to St. Vincent’s High School in Poona directly from this very Jesuit province and basilica in Goa – the irony of ironies.
Click on the following web links to view the works and life of Ed Flanagan
SEXUALITY ON THE SPIRITUAL PATH
Don Stevens & Others
Published by : Caompanion Books
A collection of essays from Don Stevens and contributors Charles Haynes, Marlena Applebaum, Laurent Weichberger, David Carter, Ed Flanagan, and Elias Petrides, on the topic of the deep desires and habits common to humanity in its expression of sexuality, and the relationship of this expression to fundamental spiritual values. The full range of human sexual expression - whether hetero, bisexual, or homosexual - is given consideration in this thoughtful, ground-breaking book.
Carpet Art : "The Mystic Rose" by Ed Flanagan