For a complete explanation of the steps to sainthood see the following
From the Pantagraph -- Bloomington, IL reprinted with permission
Diocese takes next step for sainthood for Sheen
By Sharon K. Wolfe -- February 1, 2008
EL PASO -- A milestone in the cause for sainthood of El Paso native Archbishop Fulton Sheen comes Sunday, with a special mass of thanksgiving at 10:30 a.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Peoria.
It is part the “postrema session,” which ends the Peoria Diocese’s role in Sheen’s path to sainthood. During the mass, documents collected over the past few years will be officially packed, sealed and notarized.
Sheen was a diocesan priest who later became famous worldwide as a radio and television personality, author and orator. He died in 1979.
The documentation for sainthood includes about 100 testimonies of 15- to 30 pages each; reviews of each of Sheen’s nearly 70 books from the diocese’s Theological Commission; and about 1,500 pages of historical/archival materials, said Monsignor Richard Soseman, the diocese’s judicial vicar.
There is some open seating for the public, but any reserved seats that remain unoccupied by 10:15 a.m. will be opened to the public. Bishop Daniel R. Jenky will lead the mass, which will be broadcast internationally through the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) starting at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. The broadcast will include interviews with Sheen experts.
The ceremony is the culmination of thousands of hours of gathering documents, books and personal testimonies. Dr. Andrea Ambrosi, a specially trained theologian, will carry them to the Vatican, said Soseman.
The items will be examined by the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, which will review the documents as well as those describing a reported miraculous healing of a Champaign woman, said the diocese in a statement.
If the congregation concurs a miracle occurred, the group will recommend the Pope declare Sheen as
“blessed.” More review and the possible response of the Holy Father could take another two to five years or more.
Another process follows beatification, including evidence of another miracle, before Sheen could be canonized as a saint, the diocese statement said.
Part of the early materials came from the El-Paso based Archbishop Fulton John Sheen Foundation, a museum inside the Freight House Exchange. The foundation donated a set of his books along with personal testimonies, said Karen Fulte, a key volunteer. Sheen was born in El Paso on May 8, 1895.
The foundation received hundreds of letters attesting to Sheen’s virtues, along with communications crediting him with miraculous intervention in people’s lives.
“We’re vessels of clay — an instrument,” said Fulte, who said the experience has been “overwhelming and awesome.”
Thomas C. Reeves, while writing “America’s Bishop: The Life and Times of Fulton J. Sheen (Encounter Books 2001),” said, “I discovered a brilliant, charismatic and holy man who has been underestimated by historians, largely overlooked by the contemporary mass media, and forgotten by too many Catholics. Indeed, I came to the conclusion that Fulton J. Sheen was the most important Catholic of twentieth century America.”
The Freight House Exchange museum is open by advance appointment by calling (309) 527-4062 or (309) 750-0849.
Mass ends diocesan stage of Sheen's path to sainthood
By Bridget Flynn -- February 4, 2008
PEORIA -- Father Andrew Apostoli wryly mentioned an old saying in his homily Sunday that if your are going to be canonized you should not write too much. He was speaking during a Mass of thanksgiving for Archbishop Fulton Sheen, a native of El Paso who became famous as a television and radio personality and writer.
Now Sheen, who died in 1979, is undergoing the steps toward being canonized a saint, but he obviously paid no attention to that old saying mentioned by Apostoli.
Sheen wrote more than 70 books, and during the procession before the Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, altar servers carried numerous file boxes full of reviews of Sheen’s voluminous writings.
Apostoli offered his own review of Sheen, lauding him for his outspoken stand against communism during the Cold War and calling him, “a solitary voice warning the nation against the dangers of communism.”
The boxes also included about 100 testimonies regarding alleged miracles that some say occurred through Sheen’s intercession.
The documents have been collected over the past five years by the Catholic Diocese of Peoria’s Theological Commission.
The Mass, held in the cathedral where Sheen was ordained a priest in 1919, was part of the “postrema session,” which means the next stage and that concludes the diocesan phase of the path toward sainthood.
After the Mass, Bishop Daniel Jenky commissioned Andrea Ambrosi, a theologian, to present the packages to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican.
Sheen, whom Pope John Paul II declared a “servant of God,” has reputedly interceded in the healing of an ailing Champaign woman.
The Congregation for the Causes will, after reviewing the documents gathered Sunday, determine whether there is sufficient evidence that Sheen has interceded in a second miracle.
If they decide that he has, they will recommend that the pope declare Sheen “blessed.” After the beatification, another process is necessary, including uncovering evidence of another miracle, before one who is blessed is declared a saint.
One of the testimonies gathered Sunday involves the healing of a Philadelphia woman, Francis Pelosi. Pelosi’s daughter, Karen Fulte, who was attending the mass, said that after Pelosi’s doctors diagnosed her with inoperable cancer and estimated that she had six months to live, Pelosi and her doctors made a novena, a nine-day prayer, to Sheen. Pelosi is now 84, and is called a “survivor” by her daughter.
In his homily, Apostoli told of Fulton’s sense of humor, as expressed in his acceptance speech after winning the Emmy for outstanding television personality in 1952. Sheen thanked his script writers: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Apostoli also praised Sheen for having spoken against contraception, abortion and euthanasia. He said that Sheen is “still very much the voice of the church.”
After the Mass, the Monsignor. Richard Soseman discussed the Bishop Sheen Ecumenical Housing Foundation, which provides low-income housing in the Rochester, N.Y., area, where Sheen was bishop. Soseman said that in addition to overseeing the foundation, Sheen spoke in support of the idea of the equality of the races in the 1920s and that he was frequently witnessed giving his coats to needy strangers.
Sheen was a major figure in the childhood memories of those who attended the Mass and who had grown up in the Roman Catholic church. Dolores Sheen, who married Fulton Sheen’s nephew and served as a gift-bearer at the Mass, said the she recalled writing reviews of Sheen’s show every week for classes at her Catholic school. Father Stanley Deptula, the master of ceremonies, said he was taught in his Catholic school in Newark a prayer written by Sheen about the Virgin Mary called “The Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue.”
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