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Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Advances on Path to Sainthood!

6/28/2012 - 1:05 PM PST

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Cause of Canonization moves forward with papal decree of Venerable

PEORIA, Il (June 28, 2012) - During a private audience today with Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Benedict XVI promulgated a decree affirming the heroic virtues of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. This declaration carries with it the title of "Venerable" for one of America's most celebrated and impactful evangelists in the history of the Catholic Church.

This is a monumental second step in the process of the advancement of Sheen's Cause of Canonization for sainthood. Blessed Pope John Paul II declared him Servant of God following initiation of the Cause for Canonization in 2002.

"This is a great day for the Catholic Diocese of Peoria and the Catholic Church in America," said Most Rev. Daniel R. Jenky, Bishop of Peoria, Ill. "I give thanks to God that the heroic virtues of a son from central Illinois and a priest of Peoria have been recognized by the Catholic Church and he has now been raised to the rank of Venerable. Fulton Sheen's zeal, wisdom, and holiness should help us build our faith."

"Of course, in the timelessness of heaven, it is not a coincidence that the Church would render its decision on the heroic virtue of Archbishop Sheen on the same day as the Supreme Court issues its decision on the health care plan," said Msgr. Stanley Deptula, executive director of the Archbishop Fulton John Sheen Foundation in Peoria. "Today, more than ever, the Church in America needs heroes to inspire us to stand up and to fall to our knees. I think in a special way, Venerable Fulton Sheen can be an inspiration and a consolation to our bishops and other Church leaders. He was a man of courage, and priest of prayer."

Following conclusion of the Diocesan phase of investigation in support of Archbishop Sheen's Cause for Canonization, Bishop Jenky presented all the documents generated to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. Today's declaration of venerability is the second of four official steps on the way to Canonization.

"We are all living through this wonderful moment," said Dr. Andrea Ambrosi, the Postulator of the Cause for Canonization of Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, from Rome. "As you can tell, the cause is taking a special road - and quite quickly thus far. This is due to the importance of this cause for Fulton Sheen's sainthood to the American Church and all the faithful. We hope to go on with continued momentum."

"I am certainly excited by this news," said Fr. Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R., Vice-Postulator of the Cause for Canonization. "Venerable Fulton Sheen has certainly been a great leader of the faith, a defender of the freedom of religion and of our rights as Americans. It is truly remarkable that he was declared venerable on the day that the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate in its decision on health care by declaring as a tax its proposed penalties. Fulton Sheen certainly had much to say in defending religious freedom - not just in our country but around the world."

"As head of the Propagation of the Faith from 1950 to 1966, the Venerable Fulton Sheen was heroic in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ far and wide - from Peoria to Pretoria; New York to New Delhi. He teaches us still that the Church is missionary by her very nature," said Very Rev. Andrew Small, O.M.I., National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies.

The Diocesan investigation included research and evidence gathering related to his life of holiness and claims of miracles attributed to Archbishop Sheen in order to advance the cause thus declaring him Venerable. Verification of one miracle is a requirement for Beatification, the next step in the Canonization process. Verification of a second miracle is necessary for Sainthood.

Mass of Thanksgiving set for Sept. 9

Bishop Jenky announced today that he will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving to honor Venerable Archbishop Sheen at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 9 in Peoria's Cathedral of Saint Mary - the same cathedral in which Venerable Fulton grew up, received his vocation to the priesthood and was ordained. The Mass will be open to the public.

About Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Venerable Archbishop Sheen was born May 8, 1895, in El Paso, Ill., in the Diocese of Peoria. He was ordained to the priesthood in Peoria in 1919. At his ordination, he promised to offer Mass for the Virgin Mary every Saturday, and promised to spend at least one hour daily in Eucharistic Adoration - which he did for more than 60 years.

He began a radio ministry in New York City ...

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