Venerable Fulton Sheen?

I have a confession to make.

Every Sunday, before I preach, I pray for help and guidance from three heavenly intercessors: the Virgin Mary, St. Stephen and…Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

I know people are looking for miracles to have Fulton Sheen declared a saint; the fact that I am able to do what I do every week should count as a miracle, in my book.  God knows, I’m not able to do it on my own.  The good archbishop has to be involved somehow.  I think he has a vested interest in seeing that I don’t screw up.

Archbishop Sheen was a New Yorker (he’s buried in the crypt of St. Patrick’s in Manhattan) and, like me, toiled long and hard in the vineyards of broadcasting.  Not insignificantly, he also spent some time in the pulpit where I preach; he was friends with Bishop Joseph Denning, who served as pastor at my parish for a number of years, and Archbishop Sheen often came there to preach a mission during Lent.  When I stand in that pulpit, and look out into the pews, I can’t forget that the great Fulton Sheen once had that same view.

So I was pleased the other day to discover this blog, by Bonnie Engstrom.  Her infant son, she believes, was healed by a miracle she attributes to Fulton Sheen.  (The child is named James Fulton, in his honor.)  The baby boy’s case is being studied closely in Rome.  Bonnie herself has been following the Sheen cause for canonization, and last week posted this update:

Earlier this week I received an email from the executive director of the Sheen Foundation with news that the date for the review of the Positio by the “ordinaries” (Cardinals and Bishop who advise the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints) has been set for May 15, 2012.  (The Positio is the official “position paper” explaining why the Catholic Church should declare Sheen a saint.)

The email suggested that from May 7-15 we all pray for the Cause.  May 7 just “happens” to be the vigil of Sheen’s May 8th birthday.  May 15 is the day before my due date, which is neither here nor there but I just wanted to throw that in.

I’m inviting all my bloggity friends to join my family in keeping that novena by praying the prayer for the canonization of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.

You can read more about her son’s alleged miracle here.

And you can support the Fulton Sheen cause by visiting its website, where they have the latest news and updates, as well.  And, of course, pray.  The prayer for his canonization is below:

Father, source of all holiness, You raise up within the Church in every age men and women who serve with heroic love and dedication. You have blessed Your Church through the life and ministry of Your faithful servant, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. He has written and spoken well of Your Divine Son, Jesus Christ, and was a true instrument of the Holy Spirit in touching the hearts of countless people.

If it be according to your Will, for the honor and glory of the Most Holy Trinity and for the salvation of souls, we ask You to move the Church to proclaim him a saint. We ask this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.


  1. Very interesting Dcn. Greg. Maybe that explains why I’ve always been so drawn to your blog. I’m a huge Sheen fan, with my own Sheen miracles, albeit never publically reported. He is also, along with the Blessed Mother, in my “prime line up” of intercessors.

  2. Deacon Larry Smith says:

    Actually, Deacon Greg, Archbishop Sheen was from Illinois; I think El Paso, in the Peoria Diocese. Mrs. Engstrom came to the Cathedral in Springfield and gave a presentation to our Youth Group on the miracle in her life that is James Fulton. They are an amazing, faith-filled family and the presentation was well-received by the youth group and the adults. Pray for us all, Archbishop Sheen!

  3. Gabriel McAuliffe says:

    When I was a teenager, I came upon a collection of Fulton Sheen’s essays, “On Being Human.”. They were some of the most interesting thoughts I had read up until that point. I read some of his other works, most notably, “Those Mysterious Priests,” which encouraged me toward the seminary college. Though I did not enter the priesthood and I had not read his writings for years, I have recently been moved to pick them up again. His thoughts are quite refreshing! I get them on Facebook nearly every day from the Archbishop Fulton Sheen page.

  4. I have a Fulton Sheen app on my iPhone and listen to his sermons frequently. One thing that jumps off the page with Sheen is his use of humor and warmth to draw the audience in.

  5. This 79 year old staunch Catholic recalls our family listening to Fulton Sheen on the radio in the 40s. Let me add: I had the pleasure of having Fr. Patrick Peyton, the “Rosary Priest” visit my HS in the late 40s. Little did I know that he would someday be considered for sainthood.
    When I have an opportunity, I comment or reference your blog to friends and family on my Facebook.

  6. In our parish, we have a special devotion/invocation going for Abp. Sheen, on behalf of a very sick friend, Paul D. We need a miracle. Please remember him in your prayers.

  7. Raymond Suda says:

    My favorite soon to be Saint is Bishop Sheen. He led an exemplary Christocentric life. If you can find it he gave a retreat for priests in the 70′s called Cor Ad Cor Loquitor(Heart Speaks to Heart). It is very rewarding and a refresher for what we as Catholics are supposed to believe. Thanks, Deacon, for sharing this one.

  8. In the mid 60s one of my friends was on a committee that brought Archbishop Sheen to their parish to speak. The was a reception afterwards, and they were chatting. She was about 7 months pregnant at the time, and the archbishop asked her if this was her first child. She said no, it was her fifth. At this point he became very serious, took her hand and leaned in close to say that this child was very special and different “because every fifth child born is Chinese…”

  9. Mark Greta says:

    My wife Greta had a lot of family in German during the Nazi administration and there was several mixed marriages in the family between Jews and Catholics. After the war, we sadly learned that many of Greta’s relatives had been killed in the death camps. Two survivors came to this country and one lived with us for the rest of their life. When she first arrived, she stayed in New York for over a year getting some specialized care from a Jewish doctor that gave his services to survivors of the camps. She was Jewish and had lost her faith. The Jewish doctor was close to converting to the Catholic faith and was working with Bishop Sheen. He got this survivor who had lost faith in God to Bishop Sheen and during the year, he did for her soul what the now Catholic doctor was doing for her body. When she arrived here, she did so as a Catholic on fire for the Catholic Church and Christ. She had taken the name Edith for Edith Stein. She was a blessing to our home and our children and we learned first hand the horror of government passing laws to make grave evils legal. Greta got her fire from this lade when Roe made the American holocaust legal and started burchering children because they, like the Jews in Nazi Germany, were not human. Later, when we lost our under age granddaughter in an abortion mill along with our great grandchild, it sealed our hatred of this type of legal murder and the desperate need to end the legalization of murder of the innocent child. Greta retired from the company she founded to devote more of her time and most of our funds to fighting this grave evil. She never failed to get in the face of Church leaders who were silent or to eager to give the party of death a pass. She of course also got herself banned from some sites including this one for her strong forceful defense of Church teaching and the call for Catholics to abandon the party of death. She was a master of reading a book and being able to quote from them at length. She also loved the poor and we gave heavily to support several children in need in this country and around the world. She also was responsible for saving at least 100 babies and their mothers and today, we are still blessed with their friendship. Most of our funds are gone now and when I am gone, all of them will be gone to fight this battle with everything we have. Our home is to be converted to a place for women who choose to keep their children to have shelter and help with a solid trust to be managed by a nun we have known for years dedicated to this mission.

    So in a way, Bishop Sheen and his conversion of this woman relative, who had survived the death camps and lost faith in God, to find the Catholic faith and then live with us for over 10 years having a profound influence on us and our children. We are blessed. You never know how God will touch you if you are open to his call.

  10. Joyce Stolberg says:

    Bishop Sheen’s tour of duty in Rochester, NY was less than brilliant, was a low point in his career, hurt people, and began a downward turn in church institutions (which, in the late 60s, may have begun under another leader). I don’t want to pray for his beatification. I think it should wait for another 30 years until the memories are no more.

  11. HE WAS NOT A NEW YORKER!! He was born and served in central Illinois. Common mistake since his remains and published works were grabbed up. His miracles were also in Illinois but I am sure there are done who will claim that it all happened in NY.

  12. My sister Gertrude appeared twice after she died to my brother Arthur who studied for the priesthood for five years and became an atheist, I have written books about my experiences in life, Bishop Ambrose Ravasi read some of them and wrote me saying they are a combinarion of Philosophy, Theology, and psychology. He is hoping and praying that i publish the, is there someone who can help me/
    Gustave Verdult


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