Peoria: With joy and thanksgiving, officials and faithful throughout the Diocese of Peoria and around the globe welcomed the announcement Nov. 18 that Pope Francis has called for the beatification of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen in Peoria on December 21, 2019.

“It was a surprise, an early Christmas present from the pope, and it is truly a great blessing for our diocese, for so many people who have worked and sacrificed and prayed,” said Msgr. Stanley Deptula, executive director of the Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Foundation. “I’ve believed for a long time that Fulton Sheen is a gift to the Church, a hero that we Catholics need in our day.”

The beatification ceremony will take place during Mass at 10 am (local time) at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria, where the famed media evangelist and author was ordained to the priesthood 100 years ago.

Peoria Bishop Daniel R. Jenky announced the beatification date the afternoon of Nov. 18 after the diocese received a document sent by email from the office of the Vatican secretary of state confirming Pope Francis’ directive.

In an interview the following day with The Catholic Post, Peoria’s diocesan newspaper, Bishop Jenky described Archbishop Sheen, who died on December 9, 1979, at age 84, as a kind of “American St. Paul the Apostle” because of his “endless zeal” for evangelization. “It’s hard to think of anyone, except among the saints, so involved in bringing the world to Christ,” said Bishop Jenky.

Calling Archbishop Sheen “a model for all of God’s people,” Bishop Jenky — who petitioned the Vatican on behalf of the Diocese of Peoria to open the canonization cause 17 years ago — said he was “happy to see this step finally arrive.” The archbishop was declared “venerable” by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012. When he learned of the December 21 date, less than five weeks away, “I simply said ‘yes’ and we’re going to make it happen,” the bishop said.



Inputs from The Catholic Post


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