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About Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Born on May 8, 1895 in El Paso, Illinois, Fulton John Sheen was raised and educated in the Catholic faith. At the age of 24 he was ordained a priest at St. Paul's Seminary in Minnesota. Following his ordination, Sheen earned a doctorate in Philosophy from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium in 1923. That same year, he received the Cardinal Mercier Prize for International Philosophy, the first American to ever earn this distinction. Sheen preached in Peoria, Illinois at St. Patrick's Parish and taught theology and philosophy at the Catholic University of America.
Starting in 1930, Bishop Fulton Sheen began and hosted a weekly Sunday night radio broadcast called The Catholic Hour. This broadcast captured many devoted listeners, reportedly drawing an audience of four million people weekly for two decades until Bishop Sheen was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New York in 1951. Additionally, in 1951, Sheen hosted a Catholic television program entitled Life is Worth Living. Broadcast every Tuesday evening at eight p.m., Life is Worth Living competed for airtime with popular television stars such as Frank Sinatra and Milton Berle. Sheen's show held its own, and in 1952 he won an Emmy Award for "Most Outstanding Television Personality." Fulton Sheen credited the Gospel writers - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John - for their valuable contribution to his success. This television show ran until 1957, boasting as many as 30 million weekly viewers.
On September 26, 1966, he was appointed bishop of Rochester, New York. During this time, Bishop Sheen hosted another television series, The Fulton Sheen Program, running from 1961 to 1968. This television show was closely modeled after the Life is Worth Living series. After nearly three years as Bishop of Rochester, Fulton Sheen resigned and was appointed the Archbishop of Titular See of Newport Wales by Pope Paul VI. This new appointment allowed Sheen the flexibility to continue preaching.
In 1979 Fulton John Sheen received his greatest accolade when Pope John Paul II embraced him at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. The Holy Father said to him, "You have written and spoken well of the Lord Jesus. You are a loyal son of the Church." With that last acknowledgment, Fulton Sheen passed into eternal life just two months later on December 9, 1979. His contributions to the Catholic Church are numerous by educating in classrooms, churches, and homes, with a radio show, two television programs, and over 50 written works. Bishop Fulton J. Sheen had a gift for communicating the Word of God in the most pure, simple way. His strong background in philosophy helps him relate to each of us in a highly personalized manner. His timeless messages continue to have great relevance today. He inspires each of us to live a God-centered life with the joy and love that God intended.
On September 14, 2002, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints officially opened the Cause of Archbishop Sheen and granted him the title "Servant of God." An effort is underway to have the Archbishop canonized.