From the Maximus Group...
During a private audience on June 28 with Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Benedict XVI promulgated a decree affirming the heroic virtues of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. This declaration carries with it the title of "Venerable" for one of America's most celebrated and impactful evangelists in the history of the Catholic Church.
This is a monumental second step in the process of the advancement of Sheen's Cause of Canonization for sainthood. Blessed Pope John Paul II declared him Servant of God following initiation of the Cause for Canonization in 2002.
"This is a great day for the Catholic Diocese of Peoria and the Catholic Church in America," said Most Rev. Daniel R. Jenky, Bishop of Peoria, Ill."
"Of course, in the timelessness of heaven, it is not a coincidence that the Church would render its decision on the heroic virtue of Archbishop Sheen on the same day as the Supreme Court issues its decision on the health care plan," said Msgr. Stanley Deptula, executive director of the Archbishop Fulton John Sheen Foundation in Peoria. "Today, more than ever, the Church in America needs heroes to inspire us to stand up and to fall to our knees."
"We are all living through this wonderful moment," said Dr. Andrea Ambrosi, the Postulator of the Cause for Canonization of Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, from Rome. "As you can tell, the cause is taking a special road - and quite quickly thus far. This is due to the importance of this cause for Fulton Sheen's sainthood to the American Church and all the faithful. We hope to go on with continued momentum."
"I am certainly excited by this news," said Fr. Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R., Vice-Postulator of the Cause for Canonization. "Venerable Fulton Sheen has certainly been a great leader of the faith, a defender of the freedom of religion and of our rights as Americans."
"As head of the Propagation of the Faith from 1950 to 1966, the Venerable Fulton Sheen was heroic in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ far and wide - from Peoria to Pretoria; New York to New Delhi. He teaches us still that the Church is missionary by her very nature," said Very Rev. Andrew Small, O.M.I., National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies.
Blessed Pope John Paul II declared Archbishop Sheen a Servant of God in 2002 when the Diocese of Peoria opened the Cause for his Canonization. Following conclusion of the Diocesan phase of investigation in support of the Cause, Bishop Jenky presented all the documents generated to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. Today’s declaration of venerability is the second of four official steps on the way to Canonization.
The Diocesan investigation included research and evidence gathering related to his life of holiness and claims of miracles attributed to Archbishop Sheen in order to advance the cause thus declaring him Venerable. Verification of one miracle is a requirement for Beatification, the next step in the Canonization process. Verification of a second miracle is necessary for Sainthood.
The Archbishop Fulton John Sheen Foundation works to make known the life, works and teachings of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, to bring people to Christ through Archbishop Sheen, and to advance the Cause for the Canonization of Archbishop Sheen in the Catholic Church, according to the process prescribed in the Code of Canon Law under the supervision of the bishop of the Diocese of Peoria, Ill.
Venerable Fulton J. Sheen left a treasure trove of knowledge and wisdom in his writings, and his radio and television broadcasts. The latter span more than 40 years. Here are just a few of his memorable quotes:
As he accepted the 1952 Emmy Award for “Most Outstanding Television Personality,” he noted that he “wanted to thank my four writers … Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.:
‘But there was no room at the inn;’ the inn is the gathering place of public opinion; so often public opinion locks its doors to the King.”
“When the will loves anything that is below it in dignity, it degrades itself.”
“Nothing ever happens in the world that does not happen first inside human hearts.”
“You must remember to love people and use things, rather than to love things and use people.”
Mass of Thanksgiving set for Sept. 9
Bishop Jenky announced today that he will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving to honor Venerable Archbishop Sheen at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 9 in Peoria’s Cathedral of Saint Mary – the same cathedral in which Venerable Fulton grew up, received his vocation to the priesthood and was ordained. The Mass will be open to the public.
Prayer for the Canonization of Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Following is the prayer for the Canonization of Venerable Archbishop Sheen:
Heavenly Father, source of all holiness, You raise up within the Church in every age men and women who serve with heroic love and dedication. You have blessed Your Church through the life and ministry of Your faithful servant, Archbishop Fulton J Sheen. He has written and spoken well of Your Divine Son, Jesus Christ, and was a true instrument of the Holy Spirit in touching the hearts of countless people.
If it be according to Your Will, for the honor and glory of the Most Holy Trinity and for the salvation of souls, we ask You to move the Church to proclaim him a saint. We ask this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
For more information about the Mass of Thanksgiving visit www.CelebrateSheen.com.
Next step… Beatification
As noted above, Beatification is the next step in the Cause for Canonization of Venerable Archbishop Sheen. It requires the verification of one miracle attributable to Archbishop Sheen. Documents related to the investigations of two claims of miracles are on file with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
When at least one of those miracles is verified, Venerable Fulton Sheen will be beatified on American soil. Please join us now in supporting the cause and praying for God’s continued graces and blessings on one of the greatest evangelists and communicators in Church history – certainly the greatest in modern times.