Venerable Fulton and Our Families

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Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

On Thursday, July 28th Pope Benedict XVI promulgated the decree recognizing the heroic virtue of Archbishop Fulton John J. Sheen, who is now titled “the Venerable Servant of God.” In terms you and I can understand, this means that the beloved Archbishop Sheen is one step closer to sainthood. The day after this auspicious announcement, I had the opportunity to participate in a wonderful conference call with several notable priests who have played a role in the process of advancing Venerable Fulton’s cause to sainthood. They included:

  • Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria, Illinois
  • Monsignor Stanley Deptula, Executive Director of the Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Foundation in Peoria, Illinois
  • Father Andrew Apostoli, Vice-postulator leader for the cause for the canonization of Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
  • Monsignor Richard Soseman, Coordinator of International Outreach for the Archbishop Fulton John Sheen Foundation
  • Father Andrew Small, Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate, and National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies

Honestly, to have the opportunity to listen to these wonderful priests describe the process toward canonization and recall their personal interactions with and inspiration received from Venerable Fulton was truly amazing. So many of us have rediscovered the body of work left behind by this holy man in recent years. While our telephone conversation was wide ranging and quite informative, I thought it would be helpful to share with our readers the specific recommendations given by each of the call participants relating to terrific resources for our families to better know, love and pray through the intercession of Venerable Fulton. I’ll share each of their recommendations here:

“I believe Fulton Sheen’s book, The Priest is not his Own is going to go down as one of his most enduring books.  It will be a great classic for priestly spirituality particularly for diocesan and parish priests… he goes on at length about the importance of the Eucharistic Holy Hour.  The book from beginning to end is filled with that call to be a victim priest united in prayer with our Eucharistic Lord and has sacrificed the mass; a fantastic book for priests, for seminarians, and for all those who love priests. And of course Fulton Sheen’s own autobiography, Treasure in Clay.  He tells in his own word his own story and his own love for the priesthood.” Monsignor Stanley Deptula

“I recommend Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, A Man for All Media from Ignatius Press which has many photos. Many times, especially younger children, when they see a photo, they realize, ‘Wow, this is a real person that Mama has been talking about.’ And so, those can be good ways especially for the grade school students to learn more about Bishop Sheen. For college students, I use a book called  Old Errors and New Labels.” Monsignor Richard Soseman

“In the upcoming Year of Faith, the Holy Father has asked us to use the World Mission Rosary as an instrument at the heart of this prayer movement to accompany the Year of Faith which starts in October 2012. The World Mission Rosary was invented by Fulton Sheen in Lent of 1951 actually and it has five colors representing the five continents and he would say, ‘When you pray the World Mission Rosary, you have given the world a hug.’ So, this sense of this big world out there that you are connected to spiritually and we are connected to the Body of Christ, the church of course, and that communion… You can get one of those at onefamilyinmission.org and that’s available for children and we have it in sort of a children friendly format to pray the World Mission Rosary to think about those in need and it sort of – it’s appealing aesthetically also. So, that’s another instrument that’s a legacy of his that is now being adapted by the Holy Father and promoted for the entire world joining this Year of Faith.” Father Andrew Small

In addition to the terrific books and resources recommended by the panel of priests, you’ll want to definitely check out the DVD “A Family Retreat with Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen” from Ignatius Press as yet another way of introducing your family to Venerable Fulton.

As we continue to pray through the intercession of Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen , I invite you to visit the terrific website CelebrateSheen.com where you will find official information about his life and a very special celebration being planned to mark this advancement in his cause for canonization. On Sunday, September 9, 2012, at 10:30 am Bishop Jenky will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving to honor Venerable Fulton Sheen in the Cathedral of Saint Mary, Peoria, IL — the same cathedral in which Venerable Fulton grew up, received his vocation to the priesthood and was ordained. You are invited to this historic celebration.

To close, I wanted to share with you one of the many inspirational quotes that share with us the wisdom of Venerable Fulton:

Because God is full of life, I imagine each morning Almighty God says to the sun, “Do it again”; and every evening to the moon and the stars, “Do it again”; and every springtime to the daisies, “Do it again”; and every time a child is born into the world asking for curtain call, that the heart of the God might once more ring out in the heart of the babe. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Life is Worth Living

As new generations of families discover for themselves the passion of this man for our faith, I invite you to celebrate this moment of history for our Church in the United States and indeed our entire world. Venerable Fulton, pray for us!

Copyright 2012 Lisa M. Hendey

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About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa's articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at www.LisaHendey.com for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.

5 Comments

  1. Nick MD '68 on

    This Man, a true servant of God, is already a Saint in my eyes. I will pray that those who matter in such things get this right and that he is raised to “official” Sainthood”

  2. Great article. The time for rediscovering the timeless wisdom of Archbishop Sheen has certainly come at a time we desperately need it.

    For anyone wanting to know more about Venerable Sheen and why he made the Eucharistic Holy Hour, I’ll be speaking at the Midwest Catholic Family Conference the first weekend of August (www.catholicfamilyconference.org). Topics include: “Our Defining Hour” and “Mary, the Advent of Christ, Then and Now.” Both talks are based on the teaching and example of Venerable Sheen — my doctorate was on Sheen’s Mariology, so the Marian talk will draw from that.

    No one person has influenced my intellectual and spiritual formation more than Venerable Sheen, a prophet for our times.

    Venerable Fulton Sheen, pray for us!

  3. Dr. Howard, thank you so much for sharing the information about your talks. Do you know if they will be streaming the conference for those who cannot attend in person. We’ll be keeping your work and all of the families at the Conference in our prayers!

  4. Thank you for your prayers, Lisa. Unfortunately, I don’t believe the talks will be streamed as St. Joseph Communications will have the rights over them and I think only CD versions will be made available. I might get permission to stream my talks on thecatholichour.org website, but I won’t know until the conference.

    God bless you!

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