Thursday, December 9, 2010

Remembering Servant of God Fulton J. Sheen

Bishop Fulton Sheen: In rememberance of the most renown Roman Catholic orator, I have truly admire your work and I have read some of your work also! Remembering you after 31 years today, may you rest in peace!

Fulton John Sheen, born Peter John Sheen (May 8, 1895 – December 9, 1979) was an American archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church known for his preaching and especially his work on television and radio. His cause for canonization for sainthood was officially opened in 2002, and so he is now referred to as a "Servant of God".

Ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria in 1919, Sheen quickly became a renowned theologian, earning the Cardinal Mercier Prize for International Philosophy in 1923. He went on to teach theology and philosophy as well as acting as a parish priest before being appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York in 1951.He held this position until 1966 when he was made the Bishop of Rochester. Sheen held this position for three years before resigning and being made the Archbishop of the Titular See of Newport, Wales.

For 20 years he hosted the night-time radio program The Catholic Hour (1930–1950) before moving to television and presenting Life Is Worth Living (1951–1957). Sheen's final presenting role was on the syndicated The Fulton Sheen Program (1961–1968) with a format very similar to that of the earlier Life is Worth Living show. For this work, Sheen won an Emmy Award for Most Outstanding Television Personality. Starting in 2009, his shows were being re-broadcast on the EWTN and the Trinity Broadcasting Network's Church Channel cable networks. Due to his contribution to televised preaching Sheen is often referred to as one of the first televangelists.

Death and legacy:
Sheen died of heart disease on December 9, 1979. He is buried in the crypt of St. Patrick's Cathedral, near the deceased Archbishops of New York. The official repository of Sheen's papers, television programs, and other materials is at St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry in Rochester, New York.

The Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Foundation was formed in 1998 by Gregory J. Ladd and Lawrence F. Hickey to make known the life of the archbishop. The foundation approached Cardinal John O'Connor of the Archdiocese of New York for permission to commence the process of for cause, which was under the authority of the Diocese of Peoria.

In November 2010, it was announced that it was expected that the Archdiocese of New York would likely take over his cause for canonization upon an unsettled debate concerning the return of Sheen's remains to the Diocese of Peoria. In 2002, Sheen's Cause for Canonization as a saint was officially opened, and so he is now referred to as a "Servant of God".

On February 2, 2008, the archives of Archbishop Sheen were sealed at a ceremony during a special Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria, Illinois, where the diocese is sponsoring his canonization.

In 2009, the diocesan phase of the investigation came to an end, and the records were sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican in Rome for further investigation by a panel of prelates, other members, and consultors of the congregation. They will ultimately give a report and recommendation to the Congregation's Pro-Prefect, Archbishop Angelo Amato, who will forward his recommendations with their report to Pope Benedict XVI for a final decision as to whether he has lived the theological and ecclesiastical virtues. Then, he would be called "Venerable".

If an authentic miracle were then successfully attributed to him through prayer, he would be beatified and another would be needed for his canonization. The Vatican and the Sheen Foundation, as part of their investigation, would like to see and are currently arranging a coordinated world offering of Masses for his cause so as to know that enthusiasm for his cause (and thus, his example) is indeed a global, not just a Western, phenomenon.

A commemorative Mass was held by Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan at St. Patrick's Cathedral on Wednesday, December 9, 2009, to mark the 30th anniversary of his death. Cardinals and bishops from around the world concelebrated the Mass, including Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria.

Joseph Campanella introduces the re-runs of Sheen's various programs that are aired on EWTN. Reruns are also aired on Trinity Broadcasting Network. In addition to his television appearances, Archbishop Sheen can also be heard on Relevant Radio.

Actor Martin Sheen, whose birthname is Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez, adopted his stage name early in his career, in honor of Fulton J. Sheen, a popular religious figure on television during the 1950s, whose radio broadcasts he admired since childhood.

Selected books authored
God and Intelligence in Modern Philosophy (1925, Longmans, Green and Co.)
The Seven Last Words (1933, The Century Co.)
Philosophy of Science (1934, Bruce Publishing Co.)
The Eternal Galilean (1934, Appleton-Century-Crofts)
Calvary and the Mass (1936, P. J. Kenedy & Sons)
The Cross and the Beatitudes (1937, P. J. Kenedy & Sons)
Seven Words of Jesus and Mary (1945, P. J. Kenedy & Sons)
Communism and the Conscience of the West (1948, Bobbs-Merrill)
Peace of Soul (1949, McGraw-Hill)
Three to Get Married (1951, Appleton-Century-Crofts)
Life Is Worth Living Series 1-5 (1953–1957, McGraw-Hill)
Way to Happiness (1953, Maco Magazine)
Way to Inner Peace (1955, Garden City Books)
Life of Christ (1958, McGraw-Hill)
Missions and the World Crisis (1963, Bruce Publishing Co.)
Footprints in a Darkened Forest (1967, Meredith Press)
Lenten and Easter Inspirations (1967, Maco Ecumenical Books)
Treasure in Clay: The Autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen (1980, Doubleday & Co.)

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