Monday, October 23, 2006

Archbishop Fulton Sheen


Personal Data

(May 8, 1895 – December 9, 1979)
Was television's first preacher of note, hosting Life Is Worth Living in the early 1950s on the DuMont Television Network.

Sheen was born in El Paso, Illinois, the oldest of four sons of a farmer. Though he was known as Fulton, his mother's maiden name, he was baptized Peter John Sheen. As an infant, Sheen contracted tuberculosis. After the family moved to nearby Peoria, Illinois, Sheen's first role in the Catholic church was as an altar boy at St. Mary's Cathedral.


After earning high school valedictorian honors at Spalding Insititute in Peoria in 1913, Sheen was educated at St. Viator College, Bourbonnais, Illinois. Making the debating team in his freshman year, his coach called him aside the night before a major debate with the University of Notre Dame, and told him bluntly: "Sheen, you're absolutely the worst speaker I ever heard."
Sheen attended St. Paul's Seminary in Minnesota before his ordination on September 20, 1919, then followed that with further studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C..

Sheen earned a doctorate in philosophy at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium in 1923. While there, he became the first American ever to win the Cardinal Mercier award for the best philosophical treatise.

Sheen then taught theology at St. Edmund's College, Ware in England, In 1926, the Bishop of his hometown in Peoria asked him to take over St. Patrick's Parish. After eight months, Sheen returned to Catholic University to teach philosophy.


Sheen wrote the first of some 90 books in 1925, and in 1930 began a weekly Sunday night radio broadcast, The Catholic Hour

Sheen served as Auxiliary Bishop of New York from 1951 to 1965. In 1951 he also began a weekly television program on the DuMont network, Life is Worth Living. The show, scheduled for Tuesday nights at 8:00 p.m., was not expected to offer much of a challenge against ratings giants Milton Berle and Frank Sinatra, but surprisingly held its own, causing Berle to joke, "He uses old material, too". In 1952, Bishop Sheen won an Emmy Award for his efforts, accepting the acknowledgement by saying, "I feel it is time I pay tribute to my four writers. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John."

On October 2, 1979, two months before Sheen's death, Pope John Paul II visited St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City and embraced Sheen, saying, "You have written and spoken well of the Lord Jesus Christ. You are a loyal son of the Church."

In 2002 Sheen's Cause for Canonization was officially opened, and so he is now referred to as a Servant of God.

Reruns of Sheen's various programs continue to air on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) and the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN).


1. Ascension
2. Authority and Infallibility
3. Baptism
4. Birth Control
5. Body of Christ
6. Christ in the Creed
7. Communism and the Church
8. Confirmation
9. Conscience
10. Death and judgment
11. Divinity of Christ
12. Good & Evil #1
13. Good & Evil #2
14. Heaven Is Not So Far Away
15. Holy Orders
16. Holy Sacrament
17. Humanity of Christ
18. Law of Love - Total Commitment
19. Marriage Problems
20. Marriage Sacrament
21. Marriage
22. New Testament Revelation
23. Old Testament Revelation
24. Original Sin and the Angels
25. Original Sin
26. Penance
27. Peter - Vicar of Christ
28. Philosophy of Life
29. Prayer is a Dialogue
30. Purgatory
31. Revealed Truth
32. Sacrament of the Sick
33. Sanctifying Grace
34. Sex is a Mystery
35. Sin and Penance
36. Sin
37. Suffering, Death, Ressurrection
38. The Blessed Trinity
39. The Commandments - part 1
40. The Commandments - part 2
41. The Effects of Original Sin
42. The Eucharist Sacrifice
43. The Hell there is
44. The Holy Spirit
45. The Mass
46. The Mother of Jesus
47. The Sacraments
48. The World the Soul and Things


If you don't behave as you believe, you will end by believing as you behave."

"Bye now, and God love you!" - Sheen's traditional closing to the program.

"Too many people get credit for being good, when they are only being passive. They are too often praised for being broadminded when they are so broadminded they can never make up their minds about anything." -Seven Words to the Cross, page 93.

"The danger today is in believing there are no sick people, there is only a sick society." -Life Is Worth Living(Second Series), page 186

"Communism is the final logic of the dehumanization of man." -Life Is Worth Living(Second Series), page 122

"Some will not look on suffering because it creates responsibility." -Those Mysterious Priests, page 66

"The principle of democracy is a recognition of the sovereign, inalienable rights of man as a gift from God, the Source of law." -Whence Come Wars, page 60

“There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church— which is, of course, quite a different thing.” -foreward to Radio Replies Vol. 1, page ix

Cause for Archbishop Fulton Sheen advancesPeoria, Jul. 25, 2006 (CNA) -

The process of canonization for Archbishop Fulton Sheen is advancing steadily. Copies of a report on an alleged miracle that took place in 1999 through the intercession of the Archbishop were signed Sunday by Roman Catholic Church officials and will be sent to the Vatican for review, reported The Journal Star. The 500-page report and supporting documents will be delivered to Rome by canon lawyer Dr. Andrea Ambrosi, postulator of the cause. The cause was officially begun in 2003. Archbishop Sheen was born in the Woodford County town of El Paso in 1895 and ordained in the Diocese of Peoria in 1919. He became widely known and respected as a teacher of the faith through his television programs in the 1950s and 1960s. He died in 1979.

The alleged miracle involves a Champaign woman, then 72 years old, who was undergoing lung surgery when a tear was discovered in her main pulmonary artery. The woman's husband told investigators he prayed for his wife's recovery invoking the archbishop. The woman is still alive and in good health.


A couple of months before his death Bishop Fulton J. Sheen was interviewed on national television. One of the questions was this:

"Bishop Sheen, you have inspired millions of people all over the world. Who inspired you? Was it a Pope?"

Bishop Sheen responded that it was not a Pope, a cardinal, another bishop, or even a priest or a nun. It was a little Chinese girl of eleven years of age. He explained that when the Communists took over China, they imprisoned a priest in his own rectory near the Church. After they locked him up in his own house, the priest was horrified to look out of his window and see the Communists proceed into the Church, where they went into the sanctuary and broke into the tabernacle. In an act of hateful desecration, they took the ciborium and threw it on the floor with all of the Sacred Hosts spilling out. The priest knew exactly how many Hosts were in the ciborium: thirty-two.

When the Communists left, they either did not notice, or didn't pay any attention to a small girl praying in the back of the Church who saw everything that had happened. That night the little girl came back. Slipping past the guard at the priest's house, she went inside the Church. There she made a holy hour of prayer, an act of love to make up for the act of hatred.

After her holy hour she went into the sanctuary, knelt down, bent over and with her tongue received Jesus in Holy Communion, (since it was not permissible for laymen to touch the Sacred Host with their hands.)

The little girl continued to come back each night to make her holy hour and receive Jesus in Holy Communion on her tongue. On the thirty-second night, after she had consumed the last and thirty-second host, she accidentally made a noise and woke the guard who was sleeping. He ran after her, caught her, and beat her to death with the butt of his rifle. This act of heroic martyrdom was witnessed by the priest as he watched grief-stricken from his bedroom window.

When Bishop Sheen heard the story he was so inspired that he promised God he would make a holy hour of prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament everyday of his life. If this frail, little child could give testimony and witness to the world concerning the real and wonderful Presence of her Savior in the Blessed Sacrament, then the Bishop was absolutely bound by all that was right and true, to do the same. His sole desire from then on was to bring the world to the burning Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

The little girl showed the Bishop what true courage and zeal really is; how faith could overcome all fear, how true love for Jesus in the Eucharist must transcend life itself. What is hidden in the Sacred Host is the glory of His love. The sun in the sky is symbolic of the Son of God in the Blessed Sacrament. This is why most monstrances are in the form of a sunburst. As the sun is the natural source of all energy, the Blessed Sacrament is the supernatural source of all grace and love. The Blessed Sacrament is JESUS, the Light of the world.

Excerpt from an article "Let the SON shine out" by Rev. Martin Lucia

*Note: Communion should never be taken in the hand. (Read more...)
If you wish to make a holy hour before the blessed Sacrament, visit this site that has a listing of all the adoration chapels in the United States:
Links to other sites:The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist Real Presence of the Blessed Sacrament Chapels

O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine!


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