Catholic World Report/CNS
Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - Pope Francis on July 5 authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate several Decrees, and also authorized a decree recognizing a miracle through the intercession of Venerable Servant of God Fulton Sheen Titular Archbishop of Newport and former Bishop of Rochester, was born to an Irish family in El Paso, Illinois, on 8 May 1895 and died on December 9, 1979 in New York (United States of America).
Shortly before his death he declared: "My greatest love has always been the missions of the Church" and Mgr. Sheen showed this missionary commitment in various ways throughout his life. From 1930 to 1950 he led the evening radio program "The Catholic Hour" on NBC.
In 1950 he was appointed National Director of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith in the United States of America, a position he held until 1966. At that time he became very famous for his television program "Life is Worth Living", that attracted some 30 million viewers and was awarded two Emmy Awards for his exceptional communication skills. From 1961 to 1967 he conducted "The Fulton Sheen Show".
In a radio intervention, in February 1951, he launched the Worldwide Missionary Rosary. On May 28, 1951 Pope Pius XII appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of New York. He participated in the Second Vatican Council, and on 21 October 1966 Pope Paul VI appointed him Bishop of Rochester. Professor of Philosophy at the Catholic University of Washington, Mgr. Sheen was also the initiator of the magazine "Christ in the World" and wrote about 300 books and articles. He was given an important role in the conversion to the Catholic faith of some important personalities, such as writers, politicians and entrepreneurs. He was also known for his humorous spirit. He died on December 9th 1979, while he was praying before the Blessed Sacrament in his private chapel, in New York, after having undergone a delicate surgical operation. On 2 October, two months before his death, Pope John Paul II visited the Cathedral of St. Patrick and New York where he embraced mgr. Sheen, saying: "You have written and spoken well of the Lord Jesus Christ, of the Church" (see Fides 19 /12/2002; 5/12/2009; 06/30/2012).
Mgr. Sheen is currently buried in the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria, where the family had moved when he was a child. In this church Fulton Sheen had received his First Communion and Confirmation, served as minister, and was ordained a priest on 20 September 1919.
The cause for his beatification and canonization was opened at a diocesan level in 2002. On June 28, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI recognized his heroic virtues. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 8/7/2019)