The diocesan phase of the cause of canonization for Fulton Sheen – the phase in which officials his home diocese meet with people who knew him or were touched by his work and gather evidence to show he lived a life of heroic virtues – was closed in 2008 and the related documents were sent to the Vatican.
December 11, 2011 marked the official closing of the tribunal into an alleged miracle through the intercession of Archbishop Fulton Sheen. On June 28, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI declared Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen ‘VENERABLE.” The recognition of his heroic virtues means Fulton Sheen is just “Venerable” for now, but this is the first step towards sainthood. Church officials are now examining a case of extraordinary healing which took place thanks to his intercession. This could soon lead to his beatification.
Born in El Paso, Illinois, in the Diocese of Peoria, John Fulton Sheen was ordained a priest of that diocese in 1919. He eventually left his central Illinois roots and became known nationwide as the host of pioneering radio and television programs, including "The Catholic Hour" and "Life Is Worth Living." The latter was a television series that aired from 1951 to 1957 and attracted an estimated 30 million weekly viewers.
Archbishop Sheen taught philosophy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, 1926-50, and was national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, 1950-66. In 1966 Sheen was appointed Bishop of Rochester, New York.
He died in 1979 just a few months after Pope John Paul II praised him during his historic visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City for Sheen’s commitment to the announcement of the Gospel.
A relatively unknown fact is that during the Second Vatican Council, Bishop Sheen, who attended the Council, worked closely with then Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, a theological expert, on the commission for mission.
The late Archbishop Fulton Sheen is a not only a regular fixture on the S+L broadcast schedule, but an inspiration to our entire team as well. Archbishop Sheen was ahead of his time when he took to the airways to teach the faith in a way that viewers of his day could connect to.
Archbishop Sheen "wanted to get to heaven ... wanted to bring all of us with him ... wanted to be a saint. ... wanted us to be saints, too," Cardinal Timothy Dolan said in a homily during an anniversary mass marking Sheen’s death.
"With his voice Fulton J. Sheen gave us the story of Jesus, the 'greatest story ever told,' the way the stained-glass windows of the medieval cathedrals, or the brush strokes of a Raphael, a Fra Angelico, a Giotto once did," Dolan said.
"For him, this Jesus was alive, still active, still powerful, still teaching, still healing, still leading us to heaven, because, you see, the incarnation was still going on: The word was still taking flesh; God was still becoming man."
Join us at Salt and Light Television in praying for the cause of canonization of Fulton Sheen, a loyal son of the Church and an apostle of the New Evangelization through media.
(CNS file photo)