Who was Fulton Sheen?
Born in 1895 in El Paso, IL Fulton Sheen was ordained a Catholic priest on September 20, 1919. His talents as a preacher were first seen during his time teaching at The Catholic University of America. In 1926 he began broadcasting Lenten talks on radio stations in New York. He soon began a weekly talk on The Catholic Hour radio program, where he spoke on a range of topics including Mary, the Eucharist, communism, and more. He discussed the relevance of the Gospel in day-to-day Catholic life. He became a Bishop on June 11, 1951. He also began his television series Life is Worth Living that year - the most widely-viewed religious show in the history of television. It was for this show that he won an Emmy Award for Most Outstanding Television Personality in 1953. He was nominated for the same award again in 1954 and for the Best Male Personality-Continuing Performance in 1957. He appeared on the cover of Time Magazine on April 14, 1952. His influence led to countless conversions to Catholicism. In 1966 he became the Bishop of Rochester, a position he resigned in 1969. He spent the remainder of his life preaching and writing. He died on December 9, 1979.
The Best Fulton Sheen Quotes
“Unless there is a Good Friday in your life, there can be no Easter Sunday.”
"No matter who says what, you should accept it with a smile and do your own work."
“We become like that which we love. If we love what is base, we become base; but if we love what is noble, we become noble.”
“There are two ways of waking up in the morning. One is to say, 'Good morning, God,' and the other is to say, 'Good God, morning'!”
“Moral principles do not depend on a majority vote. Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is wrong. Right is right, even if nobody is right.”
“Love burdens itself with the wants and woes and losses and even the wrongs of others.”
“God has given different gifts for different people. There is no basis for feeling inferior to another who has a different gift. Once it is realized that we shall be judged by the gift we have received, rather than the gift we have not, one is completely delivered from a false sense of inferiority.”
“The proud man counts his newspaper clippings; the humble, his blessings.”
“You are infinitely precious because you are loved by God.”
“No man is good unless he is humble; and humility is a recognition of truth concerning oneself. A man who thinks he is greater than he actually is is not humble, but a vain and boastful fool.”
“The greatest love story of all time is contained in a tiny white Host.”
Fulton Sheen’s Cause for Canonization
A saint is someone recognized by the Catholic Church as having lived a life of holiness and virtue and who now resides in Heaven. There are four steps in the process of canonization, or being officially recognized as a saint.
- An individual can be named a “Servant of God”beginning five years after his or her death. This process is begun by the Bishop of the diocese where the individual died. As long as Rome and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have no objection, the Cause for Beatification and Canonization is opened.
- The next step involves significant research into the life of the Servant of God. The Catholic Church seeks to understand the life and virtues of the individual through testimonials and public or personal writings. The Diocesan tribunal and Bishop seek to determine if the individual did, in fact, live a life of holiness and virtue. All findings are presented to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. They vote affirmatively or negatively on the cause. Ultimately the Pope makes the final decision. This individual is now known as a “Venerable Servant, or simply Venerable.”
- The third step in the path of canonization involves a miracle. This shows the Venerable individual’s union and cooperation with God. The miracle can take place in any diocese - not just the diocese that initially opened the cause for canonization. If a miracle appears to have occurred, then significant research and investigation ensues to make sure there is not a natural, scientific reason this could have occurred. The vast majority of miracles are medical because these cases are typically well-documented in terms of disease, treatment, and healing. The Congregation for the Causes of the Saints again thoroughly reviews the reported miracle, votes, and passes it along to the Pope who makes the ultimate decision. Upon approval, the individual is now known as “Blessed.”, A public beautification through veneration typically occurs in the diocese closely affiliated with that individual’s life. Catholics are now able to privately venerate this individual.
- The fourth and final step in the process of canonization is essentially a repeat of the third, just with a second miracle. It’s important that the papal declaration of sainthood is not what makes an individual a saint. The Pope simply declares that there is sufficient evidence that the individual is in Heaven with God and lived a life worthy of imitation by Catholics.
Fulton Sheen’s cause for canonization was opened in the Diocese of Peoria, IL in 2002.
Pope Benedict XVI determined that Archbishop Fulton Sheen is Venerable on June 28, 2012.
What Miracle is Attributed to Fulton Sheen? On September 16, 2010 James Fulton Engstrom was declared stillborn. His mother, Bonnie Engstrom, immediately began praying for the intercession of Fulton Sheen, to whom she had been praying the entirety of her pregnancy. Born at home, the young James was rushed to the hospital and doctors determined he could not be revived. 61 minutes after birth his heart began to beat. Despite all the odds, the baby made a full recovery and continues to thrive today. There is no medical explanation for his survival.
Medical experts who advise the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints approved this miracle and attributed it to Venerable Fulton Sheen on March 6, 2014. The Congregation approved it on June 17, 2014.
Unfortunately due to a legal dispute between the Diocese of Peoria and the Archdiocese of New York regarding Sheen’s final resting place, the cause was stalled for several years. This was resolved in 2019 and his cause officially reopened. Pope Francis officially attributed the miraculous life of James Fulton Engstrom to Sheen’s intercession on July 6, 2019. He is currently Venerable Fulton Sheen.
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