Chief Vatican supporters of the Cause of Beatification of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen gathered recently for a Mass celebrated by His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke. Present were Monsignor Jason Gray, the newest member of the Roman Curia from the Diocese of Peoria, who began in October at the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints, as well as organizer of the event and long-time Postulator of the Cause of Venerable Fulton, Dr. Andrea Ambrosi, members of his staff and other supporters.
The November 3 Mass was celebrated at the Church of the Carmelite Monastery in the village of Caprarola, about 40 miles to the north of Rome. Caprarola is the site of what has been called “one of the finest examples of Renaissance Architecture,” the massive pentagon shaped Villa Farnese. The palace is now maintained by the Italian State, with it’s “garden cottage” considered resplendent enough to serve as a Summer residence for the President of Italy and his retinue. Arriving as they did after dark, those travelling to the Mass from Rome were guided along the way by this lighted façade, towering over the village and shining in the darkness.
Soon after arrival at the Carmelite Church, His Eminence Cardinal Burke began the Mass, with the assistance of two chaplains, as called for in the ceremonial of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, Frenchman Fr. Gilles Guitard, of the Institute of Christ the King, His Eminence’s emcee, and Monsignor Richard Soseman, Coordinator of International Outreach for the Sheen Foundation. Friends of the Sheen Cause will recall that Monsignor Soseman began his work at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy in January, 2008, just as the Diocesan Phase of the Cause concluded. Monsignor Gray attended the Mass vested in choro. Cardinal Burke spoke quite movingly of the opportuneness of the advancement of the Sheen Cause, a message taken to heart by all those present. It was perhaps fitting that this international celebration take place with the participation of Cardinal Burke, like Bishop Sheen also proud to be of Irish extraction, and with those present being native speakers of English, French, Italian, and Latin, the languages which Bishop Sheen spoke well and knew best.
After Mass a festive banquet was hosted by Dr. Ambrosi and his wife Rita at their home in Caprarola. At the dinner, as course after course was served, conversation often turned toward stories of Archbishop Sheen, with glowing appreciation of this good and holy Archbishop. At the end of the evening, those who were returning to Rome were sent home by Dr. and Mrs. Ambrosi with bags of toasted hazelnuts, the chief product of the region around Caprarola, having enjoyed an evening of animated conversation of hope for the future of the Cause. Venerable Fulton Sheen, Pray for Us!
Rev. Msgr. Richard Soseman
Congregation for the Clergy