Archbishop Sheen remembered at local Mass - Catholic Courier

Archbishop Sheen remembered at local Mass

ROCHESTER — It was an exciting time when Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen arrived in the Diocese of Rochester in 1966 as its sixth bishop, recalled Father John Mulligan, who was a young priest at the time.
“He was a very dynamic individual who was full of ideas and enthusiasm,” Father Mulligan said. “I think it was contagious.”
Father Mulligan, a senior pastor at the Cathedral Community and one of diocese’s two vicars general, was speaking after celebrating a midday Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral Dec. 9 to mark the 30th anniversary of Archbishop Sheen’s death. The Mass was one of more than 1,000 celebrated across the world that day to honor the archbishop and demonstrate support for his cause for canonization.
Msgr. Stanley Deptula, executive director of the Archbishop Fulton John Sheen Foundation in Peoria, Ill., told the Catholic Courier Monday that the diocesan-level investigation of Archbishop Sheen has ended and information has been sent to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints. This information is being summarized; the summaries could be completed within six to eight months, Msgr. Deptula said.
The summaries would then be used by theologians, cardinals and bishops to determine whether Archbishop Sheen’s cause for sainthood should advance. Additionally, a miracle would need to be verified for Archbishop Sheen to be beatified, receiving the title of Blessed. After that, a second miracle that occurred after beatification would need to be verified for canonization. Information on two alleged miracles that have been attributed to Archbishop Sheen’s intercession were submitted as part of the archbishop’s cause for canonization, Msgr. Deptula said.
The diocesan-level investigation was overseen by the Diocese of Peoria, since Archbishop Sheen was a native of that diocese. He taught at Catholic University of America for more than 20 years, and reached millions of Catholics and non-Catholics through evangelization on the radio and television, winning an Emmy for his television work in 1952.
It would probably have pleased Archbishop Sheen to know that he had received another honor — the title of Servant of God — upon the introduction of his cause for canonization, Father Mulligan said in his homily during the Rochester Mass. The priest called Archbishop Sheen, who was Bishop of Rochester from 1966-69, a prophet of his generation.
“I’ve always felt that he brought with him a real commitment to live out the Second Vatican Council,” Father Mulligan said after the Mass. “What has been wonderful is that Bishop (Joseph L.) Hogan and Bishop (Matthew H.) Clark have had that same commitment.”
During the Mass, Father Mulligan pointed out several items in the cathedral that pay homage to Archbishop Sheen. One is the baldachinno, the ornate wooden framework that today is located over the cathedral’s tabernacle. In Archbishop Sheen’s day, the baldachinno formed a canopy over the archbishop’s chair in the cathedral.
Other items are the pulpit he used, which is still in use today, and his crest, which is displayed along with the crests of all of Rochester’s bishops.
“What’s so important for us to remember is that it’s not so much something that happened 40 years ago,” Father Mulligan said in reference to Archbishop Sheen’s time in Rochester. “But to remember that his spirit lives on, and that he continues to inspire us.”
Mass attendee Ann Denninger of Greece said although she was too young to remember the archbishop’s time in Rochester, her parents often told her what a holy man he was.
“What a wonderful way to celebrate Mass, in a place where he celebrated Mass,” Denninger said.
Randy Dalheim of Greece, who also attended the Mass, said he has become familiar with Archbishop Sheen through modern-day reruns of his radio show.
“He’s got a lot of wisdom and in-depth knowledge, which he mixes with humor and with reverence,” Dalheim remarked.
Helen Stefano, a resident of Honeoye and a parishioner of St. Paul of the Cross in Honeoye Falls, said she was glad to be able to take part in a global celebration of Archbishop Sheen’s memory.
“I think it’s just a privilege to be in attendance at a celebration like this,” Stefano said.
In addition to the Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral, which drew about 40 people, the global slate of Masses included a liturgy the evening of Dec. 9 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. Bishop Matthew H. Clark was scheduled to concelebrate the Mass at St. Patrick’s with Archbishop Timothy Dolan, but he was unable to secure a flight to New York due to severe winds, according to the diocese’s communications office. Bishop Clark has been personally involved in Archbishop Sheen’s sainthood cause as a member of the Episcopal Board of Advisers of the Sheen Foundation.

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