Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas - Our Lady and Sheen

The date is December twenty-fifth, but to the humble man, it is Christmas; the manger is a throne; the straw is royal plumage; the stable is a castle; and the Babe is God.  He found Wisdom because he was foolish, Power because he was weakness, and the Infinite, Immense and Eternal God, because he was little – for it is only by being little that we ever discover anything big.

He lies upon straw on earth and yet sustains the universe and reigns in Heaven; He is born in time, and yet He existed before all time; Maker of the stars under the stars; Ruler of the earth an outcast of earth; filling the world, lying in a manger.  And yet the proud man sees only a Babe.  The humble, simple souls, who are little enough to see the bigness of God in the littleness of a Babe, are therefore the only ones who will ever understand the reason of His visitation.  He came to the poor earth of ours to carry on an exchange; to say to us, as only the Good God could say: You give me your humanity, and I will give you my Divinity; you give me your time, and I will give you my eternity, you give me your weary body, and I will give you Redemption; you give me your broken heart, and I will give you Love; you give me your nothingness, and I will give you My all.

The world misses the lesson because it confuses littleness with weakness, child-likeness with childishness, and humility with an inferiority complex.  It forgets that great moral strength may be hidden in physical weakness, as Omnipotence was wrapped in swaddling bands; and that great Wisdom may be found in simple faith as the Eternal Mind was found in the form of a Babe.  There is strength – strength before which the angels trembled, strength before which the stars prostrated, and strength before which the very throne of Herod shook in fear.

Thus the birthday of the God-Man is the children’s day, in which the proud become children, and the big become little, and all find God.
-Archbishop Fulton Sheen, The Eternal Galilean


(ABOVE PICTURES) In 1913 sculptor and designer Joseph G. Cowell sculpted this marble statue for a side altar in the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria, IL.  Fulton Sheen was ordained, September 20, 1919 and on that day in the presence of this very same statue, Sheen promised to offer Mass to the Blessed Mother every Saturday.  The statue is currently in the ladies chapel of the Peoria Cathedral. 

“When I was baptized as an infant, my mother laid me on the altar of the Blessed Mother and consecrated me to her.  As an infant may be unconscious of a birthmark, so I was unconscious of the dedication-but the mark was always there.  When I received my first Holy Communion at the age of twelve, I made the conscious dedication of myself to Mary.  Though I cannot recall the exact words of my prayer, it was certainly to the motto which I chose for my coat of arms as bishop: Da per matrem me venire (Grant that I may come to Thee through Mary).  When I was ordained, I took a resolution to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist every Saturday to the Blessed Mother, renewing my feeble love of her and invoking her intercession.  All this makes me very certain that when I go before the Judgment Seat of Christ, He will say to me in His Mercy: “I heard My Mother speak of you.”
-Archbishop Fulton Sheen, Treasure in Clay

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fulton Sheen Novena December 1-9th

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Monotony of Life

“St. John tells us that if he recorded all the miracles Our Blessed Lord had worked, the world would not be large enough to contain the books thereof.  There was only one time in His life that He ever cursed a thing, and that was the day He saw the barren fig-tree which was not producing its fruit in due season, and therefore was not enjoying the thrill of monotony.  There is necessarily bound to be a thrill in working toward any goal or fixed purpose, and therein is the final reason for the romance of repetition.  There, too, is the line of division between genuine Christianity and modern paganism.  The Christian finds a thrill in repetition because he has a fixed goal; the modern pagan finds repetition monotonous because he never decided for himself the purpose of living.  Instead of passing the test, the modern mind changes the test;  instead of working toward an ideal, it changes the ideal;  it is not marvel that existence is drab, if one has never discussed the reason for existence.    How dull, for example, golf would be if there were never a green; how monotonous would be a sea voyage, if there were never a port; or a journey if there were never a destination.  Since the modern mind has never decided the goal of life, nor the purpose of living, nor the reason of existing, but like a weathercock has changed with every wind of doctrine and suggestion, it is necessarily bound to find life dull, drab, and monotonous.” 
Archbishop Fulton Sheen - Moods and Truths

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Rosary

“You have sometimes heard a radio program in which a voice spoke, while at the same time music was playing in the background.  When we say the Rosary, something like that occurs.  Our lips say the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father, but our mind, thinking about the life of our Lord, creates a soundless background symphony of thoughts.

The Rosary is psychologically one of the greatest prayers, because it draws all our scattered human energies, mind, lips, and fingertips, into a single, unifying purpose.  To those who find prayer difficult, the rhythmic movement of the fingers induces spiritual thoughts.  To those who are used to mental prayer, the spiritual gains a new dimension when it spills over into the body and comes out on the tips of the fingers.

Ours is not an age in which the heavenly therapy of prayer-by-beads is generally used.  One of the reasons why people today are so frequently worried and fearful is that they keep their minds too busy and their fingers too idle, or else tap a jerking syncopations to the noises of a nervous world.  The Rosary, by contrast, gathers together our dispersed forces and fixes our minds on holy, simple thoughts, while the fingers, too are drawn into the magnetic field of worship.  Because it focuses the whole man towards a single, uplifting purpose, the Rosary can be the greatest of all therapies for troubled modern men.  A faint suspicion of this fact has begun to penetrate into some hospitals.  Nervous and combat-fatigued patients are taught to knit or weave, to relax their nervous tension.  The disadvantage of this treatment is that it is only partial; the patient’s mind is not involved.  But in the Rosary, all faculties, mind, will, imagination, memory, desires, hopes and muscles, are directed to the Divine.”  Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (The Fifteen Mysteries)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Happy Anniversary Venerable Fulton Sheen

“On Saturday, September 20, 1919, I was ordained a priest, by the grace of God, in the cathedral at Peoria.  The stirrings which the Holy Spirit put in my soul in the early days were now fulfilled-or were they?  I was now a priest.  Yes. But is not that just half the story?  I never asked myself that question the day I was ordained.  In due time, and not in an easy way, I was to learn that a priest is also a victim.”  Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (Treasure in Clay)

Fr. Fulton Sheen newly ordained

Today Masses were celebrated in Peoria, New York and Rome for all of the Bishops, Priests, Deacons and Seminarians enrolled in the Masses of the Sheen Foundation.  This is the homily September 20, 2013 delivered at the Cathedral Convent of the Missionaries of Charity in Peoria, IL by Msgr. Stanley Deptula, Executive Director of the Archbishop Fulton Sheen Foundation:

On this day in 1919 -- here in our beautiful Cathedral -- the young Fulton Sheen was ordained a priest.  I am very grateful that Julie brought from the museum Fulton Sheen’s Chalice.  It is a very great honor to use his chalice at Mass today.  It’s also I think, a very nice connection as the universal Church today celebrates the martyrdom of Fr. Andrew Kim and the seminarian Paul along with over 100 other Korean’s who gave their life in witness to Jesus Christ.  For, although Fulton Sheen was not a martyr in blood, he certainly was a man who gave his life through his priesthood as a witness to Jesus Christ, and it was a witness and ministry he exercised throughout the world. 

Fulton Sheen loved being a priest.  He often reflected there was never a time in his life he did not want to be a priest.  He loved priests. Especially in those last few years of his life when he was so physically ill he really gave himself to the ministry of preaching to priests, preaching to seminarians.  He believed that one of the keys for the renewal of the modern church was first the spiritual renewal of the Church's priests.

I think here at the Cathedral parish, maybe especially with the work you sisters do with our Cathedral families, the focus upon meditation today could be really that first seedbed -- that first seminary -- for Fulton Sheen which was his family.  His family moved here when he was a very young boy, it was here in our Cathedral parish that as a young man this community, his family,  fostered his vocation,  taught him how to pray, and helped him to fall in love with our Lord in the Eucharist and with our Lord’s Blessed Mother.  Here at the Cathedral parish on this special anniversary let us pray for our families. Let us pray for our young men, that God may raise up in our own generation another faithful, holy, heroic priest that will give his life as a witness to the Gospel.  

Msgr. Deptula holds up Archbishop Fulton Sheen's Chalice at Mass

Archbishop Fulton Sheen's holy card in remembrance of his first Solemn High Mass offered on September 21, 1919 at St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria, Illinois.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Sheen's Homily at Consecration of Glennon Flavin as Bishop

Bishop Flavin began serving on the Committee on Missions for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) in 1970.  On November 17 of 1971, Bishop Flavin was elected chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Missions.  Committee members included John Cardinal Carberry (Saint Louis), Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (Rochester), Bishop Richard H. Ackerman (Covington), Bishop William G. Connare (Greensburg), Bishop Frederick W. Freking (LaCrosse) and Bishop Harold H. Perry (New Orleans).

Taken from the book “Bishop Flavin – Loyal Servant of the King” by School Sisters of Christ the King in collaboration with Peter E. Mayeux and Monsignor Myron J. Pleskac.

You may obtain a copy of this book here:  Sisters of Christ the King

Homily given by Bishop Fulton Sheen on the Occasion
of Bishop Glennon P. Flavin’s Consecration as Bishop
Basilica Cathedral of St. Louis, Missouri

May 30, 1957

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.   Amen.

May it please Your Excellency Most Reverend Archbishop Ritter, Your Excellencies Most Reverend Archbishops and Bishops, Right Reverend, Very Reverend, Reverend Fathers, beloved religious, family and relatives of His Excellency Bishop Flavin, my good friend Your Excellency Bishop Flavin, and all friends in Christ . . .

On this beautiful day, forty days after Easter, Our Lord took leave of His Apostles and as He ascended into Heaven, two angels standing nearby said to the Apostles, “Why stand ye here gazing into the Heavens?”  That seemed to be the normal thing to do.  This was their Lord and their Master?  If He was taking leave of them, why should they not look into the Heavens?  And yet there was the reprimand and the reason was the world is worth a look!  Heaven is only for those who have completed their tasks and fulfilled their duties.  Our Lord was practically saying, “I have sent you into the world; therefore finish your work.” And because we are taking the world seriously, there is being consecrated today the Archdiocesan Director of one who is aiding the world.  Now let us meditate on the meaning of this ceremony. . . .

Our Blessed Lord (after), as He prepared to ascend into Heaven, said to His Apostles that they were to remain in Jerusalem for ten days and to wait for power on high.  Why should they not go into the world immediately?  Why wait for ten days?  Had they not received all the powers?  In the Gospel, which you just heard, before the Ascension, our Blessed Lord had given them the power to forgive sins.  He gave them the power to preach in His Name, to heal the sick, to baptize.  He had already given them the power and the authority to offer the sacrifice of the Mass and the memorial of His death.  Why should they wait for power on high?  Because the Apostles, up to that point, were only priests.  They had to wait for ten days until the Holy Spirit would come to make them bishops.  Notice that in the conferring of the priesthood our Blessed Lord, as it was said, “breathed on them.”  The breath is the only symbol that we have of the Holy Spirit.  First of all because it’s the soul, life, it’s invisible, and it’s something that lies too deep for words.  The Son can express Himself by words.  Now the breathing on them was the giving of the measure of the Spirit.  But notice that on Pentecost, it was a wind not a breath!  We make a distinction between a breeze and a gale and a wind.   So too, Sacred Scripture makes that distinction.  Up to this time they had been given the truth, but they had not been given the Spirit of truth!  So our Lord said “It is fitting for you that I go.  If I go not, the Spirit of Truth will not come unto you.”  In the greatest mind of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas, makes this distinction that I have just made for you.  He said that the priests receive the power to offer sacrifice, and to administer sacraments and to preach but to the Bishops was given the authority, ad ostendendam doctrinam, for the manifestation of truth and of the doctrine of the Church.

So on this blessed day, we are witnessing a greater measure of the Holy Spirit poured out upon a truly great and apostolic priest.  Now this distinction that I have made, between the priest and the bishop, is even in the life of Our Lord in an analogical way.  Suppose we put it in a catechetical form to make it interesting.  When did the Son of God become a priest or was He always a priest?  And when did He become a bishop?  Our Lord is called the Bishop of our souls in the Scriptures.  Was the Son of God a priest in Heaven?  No.  He became a priest when the oil of divinity anointed His humanity.  He became a priest in His Incarnation.  For that moment, He was given a body.  He was given the raw material of a sacrifice.  It was now possible for Him to be both priest and victim on the cross.  So, on the cross He would be upright as the priest.  He would be prostrate as the victim. “Corpus optisti mihi.”  “A body thou hast fitted to me” (Hebrews 10:5).

Now, there came a greater measure of the Spirit to His humanity on the day when He was baptized in the Jordan by John the Baptist.  Then it was the Heavens were opened.  God the Father spoke and said, “This is my beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.”  And the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove.  Men receive the Spirit under the symbols of water, of oil, as His Excellency has just received it, water, fire, wind.  But, the Son of God received the Spirit under the symbol of a complete organic form, namely that of a dove, to indicate the very fullness of the Spirit and notice that, that was the moment when our Blessed Lord began teaching.  See how it is related to what St. Thomas says about the, the manifestation of the truth and the witnessing to the doctrine?  That is why we always speak of the episcopacy as the fullness of the priesthood.

Now St. Paul says it is a good work to desire the episcopacy.   But the reason St. Paul said it was a good work to desire the episcopacy was because in those days everyone who became a bishop was martyred.  And today many are martyred.

Now there are three practical conclusions that follow from this meditation.  The first is this: that a Bishop is consecrated for the world not for a diocese.  A diocese is a sign for jurisdictional reasons for the purpose of government, but the consecration itself commits a bishop to the world.  It is therefore very fitting that the one who was consecrated today has already world interests.  And though you good people of the Archdiocese of St. Louis are to take pride in the fact that one of your sons has been raised to the burden of the episcopacy, nevertheless, the very presence of other bishops from other diocese manifest the fact that the whole world is rejoicing.  His Excellency Bishop Flavin today becomes, for example, part of the bishops whom he serves, like, like the Bishop of Shanghai who’s a kind of a “Mindzenty” of China, of the bishops behind the Iron Curtain.  This is a world event!  And not only does it bind him to the world, but in virtue of this consecration, he also is given a very exceptional and extraordinary power.  A priest cannot beget priests.  The priesthood would die without the episcopacy.  Therefore when a bishop is consecrated, the Church assures the propagation of the priesthood.  This is a very fitting day for His Excellency, Archbishop Ritter, to have a spiritual son.  For His Excellency was ordained forty years ago today.  This is therefore a double reason for rejoicing.  And, when I was in Rome just a few weeks ago, a couple of Cardinals told me that one of the outstanding Archbishops in the United States, for an unmeasured love of the Church throughout the world, is the Archbishop of St. Louis.  And I know that His Excellency Bishop Flavin is very happy to receive the spirit of Archbishop Ritter.  And those of us who know His Excellency Bishop Flavin well, also know that those who are ordained by him, in years to come, will be as proud of their father as he is proud of his spiritual father today.

And this last and final reflection, about the Bishop, we said that the Bishop is the sign of the preservation and the continuation and the manifestation of truth.  Perhaps, in order to understand that well, let us seemingly digress.  You remember reading the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew there is a tremendously long genealogy there of forty-two names broken into three distinct groups of fourteen each in which there is a genealogy of our Lord carried back to Abraham.  Luke carries it back, of course, farther.  Now in this genealogy of both of these evangelists, there are names mentioned that do not seem to mean very much for example: Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, Nahshon begot Salmon.  Will, why should Sacred Scripture give us this pedigree at the very beginning of the Gospel of Our Lord?  In order to show that our Blessed Lord was tied up with all humanity!  Why, like a great river this pedigree of humanity runs through the course of history!  Some of the names indeed are important like a David, like a Jesse, like a Solomon and others are unimportant like Ram, like an Amminadab, like a Nahshon.   But it makes no difference when they all are mentioned!   It means that our Blessed Lord comes full-blown into history with this tremendous genealogy and attachment to the whole human race!  Some are good, some are bad but He is bound to the world and to men, whom He is to save.  Now the Bishop is in relationship to the truth of Christ as the genealogy in Matthew is related to humanity.  In other words, if we wish to know, today, the truth of the Church, how it has come down to us, it has come down to us through the Apostles, through their successors under the leadership of Peter and His successors.  How do we know the Resurrection took place?  Not just because it is written in the Gospels, but because we have had some of our ancestors present there!  The Apostles were there!  They bear witness to the Resurrection.  That’s how we know that the Resurrection took place!  And so here we’re just adding one name, not a minor name like Ram and Amminadab and Nahshon but a great name, that will assure this continuity of truth from Christ on until His second coming as the genealogies attach Christ back to Adam and to Abraham.  And in the glory of this day, since he is attached to the truth of Christ now by consecration, we cannot at the same time forget that he has been attached to Christ by the sanctity of his life.  And if there was any way of describing the apostolic labors of Bishop Flavin, it would be to say, as it was said of Our Lord, “He went about doing good.” And may his good father and mother, since they have begotten one so Christ-like, find special joy in the words that were spoken by Christ Himself from the cross; this time words of joy and rightful praise:  “Behold thy Son a Bishop of the Church.”  God love you.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

St. Walter Parish in Roselle, IL shows Archbishop Sheen movie for fundraiser

Thanks to "friend of Sheen" Anita Buonincontro and others the Archbishop Fulton Sheen - Servant of All movie was shown at St. Walter's Parish in Roselle, IL on August 23, 2013.  The parish collected over 5 bins full of school supplies for a Catholic school on the west side of Chicago. Thank you Jean for taking pictures for this "SAM" event.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Assumption

Dear friends,
The idea of a “Holy Day of Obligation” reflects a Christian Culture in which certain religious festivals were so significant that people would take the day off, rest, pray, gather with family and friends. Businesses and shops would close.  Everyone would enjoy a “Sabbath-like” rest during the week.  We still see some of this attitude to celebrate a national day of Thanksgiving and the Birth of Our Lord.
Sadly, in our secularist society, holy days are replaced by state holidays.  Most of us get the day off to celebrate Labor Day – it is often not so easy to celebrate the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven.  This Thursday is a Holy day of obligation.  It is a grave sin to consciously decide to skip Mass.  However, rather than focus on simply “not sinning,” perhaps Assumption day can be reclaimed as a blessed excuse to celebrate the “end of summer” with family and friends.  Maybe you can’t take the whole day off, but go out to lunch with friends, take your children or grandchildren to get ice cream.  Have a mid-week cookout. 
I am leaving you with some of Sheen’s thoughts on the Assumption and maybe you can share them with your friends and family.  The Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady is a great feast, worthy of a day of rest, prayer and celebration.  Let’s take back a sense of the sacred-party in our busy world. 
Msgr. Stanley Deptula
Executive Director, Archbishop Sheen Foundation

“Now in definition of the Assumption, it has to give hope to the creature of despair.  Modern despair is the effect of a disappointed hedonism and centers principally around sex and death.   The Assumption affirms not sex but Love.  Love, like fire, burns upward, since it is basically desire.  It seeks to become more and more united with the object that is loved.  This ‘pull’ on our hearts by the Spirit of God is always present, and it is only our refusing wills and the weakness of our bodies as a result of sin which keep us earth-bound.  If God exerts a gravitational pull on all souls, given the intense love of Our Lord for His Blessed Mother which descended, and the intense love of Mary for Her Lord which ascended, there is created a suspicion that love at this stage would be so great as ‘to pull the body with it.’  Given further an immunity from original sin, there would not be in the Body of Our Lady the dichotomy, tension, and opposition that exists in us between body and soul.  If the distant moon moves all the surging tides of earth, then the love of Mary for Jesus and the love of Jesus for Mary should result in such an ecstasy as ‘to lift her out of this world.’  One thing is certain: the Assumption is easy to understand if one loves God deeply, but it is hard to understand if one loves not.

With one stroke of an infallible dogmatic pen, the Church lifts the sacredness of love out of sex without denying the role of the body in love.  Here is one body that reflects in its uncounted hues the creative love of God.  To a world that worships the body, the Church now says: ‘There are two bodies in heaven, one the glorified human nature of Jesus, the other the assumed human nature of Mary.  Love is the secret of the Ascension of one and the Assumption of the other, for Love craves unity with its Beloved.  The Son returns to the Father in the unity of Divine Nature; and Mary returns to Jesus in the unity of human nature.  Her nuptial flight is the event to which our whole generation moves.’ 
Shall she, as the garden in which grew the lily of divine sinlessness and the red rose of the passion of redemption, be delivered over to the weeds and be forgotten by the Heavenly Gardener?  Would not one communion preserved in grace through life ensure a heavenly immortality?  No grown men and women would like to see the home in which they were reared subjected to the violent destruction of a bomb, even though they no longer lived in it.  Neither would Omnipotence, Who tabernacle Himself within Mary, consent to see His fleshly home subjected to the dissolution of the tomb.  Shall not the Divine Life go back in search of His living cradle and take that ‘flesh-girt paradise’ to Heaven with Him.  She who is the mother of the Eucharist, escapes the decomposition of death. 

Mary becomes the first human person to realize the historical destiny of the faithful as members of Christ’s mystical Body, beyond time, beyond death, and beyond judgment. By her Assumption she goes ahead like her Son to prepare a place for us.  Mary always seems to be the Advent of what is in store for man. She anticipates Christ for nine months, as she bears Heaven within her; she anticipates His Passion at Cana and His Church at Pentecost. Now in the last great Doctrine of the Assumption, she anticipates heavenly glory, and the definition comes at a time when men think of it least.”

Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (The World’s First Love)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Enroll a Priest or Seminarian in Prayer!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Fulton Sheen Visits Orphanage in Peoria, IL

Fr. Fulton Sheen returned home on May 8, 1932 from his work at the Catholic University of America.  He received a warm welcome as featured guest speaker in celebrations at the Guardian Angel Home (orphanage), Peoria, IL, USA.  Mass was celebrated by Bishop Schlarman, with Fr. Sheen attending.  This rare footage was an amazing find!
“…The Diocese of Peoria is profoundly grateful to Dr. Fulton Sheen, a priest of this diocese and known all over the world, for leaving his pressing duties at the Catholic University at Washington and coming here to be with us on Orphans’ and Mother’s day.   Dr. Sheen will speak from this platform this afternoon at four o’clock.  My deepest appreciation to you, Dr. Sheen.”
(From the sermon of Bishop of Peoria Joseph H. Schlarman)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Anniversary of Venerable

Exactly one year today on June 28, 2012 Pope Benedict XVI declared Archbishop Fulton Sheen “VENERABLE”.  It has been an exciting year!  The Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky celebrated the Mass of Thanksgiving on September 9th in the very Cathedral Venerable Sheen served as an altar boy, received his first communion, was ordained a priest and celebrated his first Mass.  Last weekend we had a special retreat for our ‘Sheen leaders’, we were all challenged to find a way in which we can help to spread the word about this great Cause for Beatification and Canonization. 

As we try to bring people closer to Christ through Archbishop Fulton Sheen and move this Cause forward, I also wish to ask you to reflect upon simple ways you can get more people involved. Forwarding this note to friends and let them know about our daily quotes on Facebook and Twitter. Introduce them to our web site so they can view our prayers for Canonization and to request a favor through the intercession of Fulton Sheen. I ask that you consider making a pledge to share Archbishop Sheen and this Cause with someone this week.

Today we celebrate the Memorial of St. Irenaeus. This Bishop’s writings entitled him to a high place among the fathers of the Church who laid the foundations for Christian theology and refuted the errors of Gnostics. Tomorrow we celebrate the Solemnity of Peter and Paul. Our beloved Archbishop Sheen had much to say about Bishops and Popes but the quote I wish to share with you is from the book ‘This is Rome’ where Sheen talks about Peter, our first Pope.

“He who called Himself the Good Shepherd now confers His shepherding powers on the man called Peter. He named a new Pontiff; in those very towns which represented the sovereignty of the Caesars, He created a new sovereignty, based not on armies of screaming legions, but on Divine authority communicated only after Peter had three times pledged his love of the Divine Master. Rome would indeed remain the center of the world’s unity and all roads would continue to lead to Rome, but the dynasty of Caesar who made himself a god would give place to the dynasty of a Peter who called himself the servant of the servants of God…an unbroken succession of life truth and love.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Msgr. Stanley Deptula
Executive Director

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Happy Anniversary Venerable Fulton Sheen

Today is the anniversary of Fulton J. Sheen he was consecrated a Bishop in Rome by Adeodato Giovanni Cardinal Piazza in the Church of Sts. John & Paul on June 11, 1951. Sheen was named by Pope Pius XII as titular Bishop of Caeseropolis.

Saint Paul wrote: “It is an honorable ambition to aspire to be a Bishop.” Sheen reflected that in the early day’s many bishops became martyrs and it was a much more uncomfortable post of leadership than it is today. Bishop Kelly of Oklahoma City asked Msgr. Fulton Sheen for permission to submit his name to Rome as a bishop. Sheen asked for a few days to think it over then wrote: “There are two ways in which one advances in the Church. One is by a push from below, the other is by a gift from above.” He explained by a push from below he meant influence or intercession by another. By a gift from above he meant an appointment by the Holy See under inspiration of the Holy Spirit and without the influence of men. He wrote in his letter to Bishop Kelly that since his invitation was a push from below and not a gift from above I would have to refuse. Archbishop Quinn of San Francisco who was formerly the Bishop of Oklahoma told Sheen that he saw that letter in the files of the diocese. Sheen later learned that his being named Bishop was through the good graces of Cardinal Spellman.

“What does it mean to be a bishop? When Our Blessed Lord first called Peter and the other Apostles to Himself, He said that from now on they would catch souls instead of fish. Whether or not a promotion in the Church increases the ability to fill nets is another matter. Statistics do not prove that one can catch more fish seated on the bank dressed in purple than when dressed in black. Rather, it would seem that the responsibility increases because a fisherman uses only a hook, but a bishop uses a crosier, or a crook. That means that he is to increase Christ’s fold whether they be fish or lambs, ‘by hook and by crook.’” Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Solemnity of Corpus Christi

In honor of the ‘Year of Faith’ on this day, the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Holy Father will preside over a special Eucharistic adoration that will extend at the same time all over the world involving the cathedrals and parishes in each diocese. For an hour at 5PM (Rome time), the whole world will be united in prayer and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. What a true blessing. I am sending out this note to make sure that wherever you are on this great Solemnity, you join the WORLD in prayer. This will happen at 10am Central. We are having a special adoration at 10am here in Peoria at the Cathedral where Fulton Sheen was ordained and Mass will then start at 10:30am for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. I wish to share with you Venerable Fulton Sheen’s thoughts on how the Eucharist is both a sacrifice and a sacrament.
May the Body of Christ dwell within you,

Msgr. Stanley Deptula
Executive Director

“The Sacrament of the Eucharist has two sides: it is both a sacrifice and a sacrament. Inasmuch as biological life is nothing but a reflection, a dim echo, and a shadow of the divine life, one can find analogies in the natural order for the beauties of the divine. Does not nature itself have a double aspect: a sacrifice and a sacrament? The vegetables which are served at table, the meat which is presented on the platter, are the natural sacraments of the body of man. By them he lives. If they were endowed with speech, they would say: ‘Unless you have communion with me, you will not live.’

But if one inquires as to how the lower creation of chemicals, vegetables or meats came to be the sacrament or the communion of man, one is immediately introduced to the idea of sacrifice. Did not the vegetables have to be pulled up by their roots from the earth, submitted to the law of death, and then pass through the ordeal of fire before they could become the sacrament of physical life, or have communion with the body? Was not the meat on the platter once a living thing, and was it not submitted to the knife, its blood shed on the soil of a natural Gethsemane and Calvary before it was fit to be presented to man?

Nature, therefore suggests that a sacrifice must precede a sacrament; death is the prelude to a communion. In some way, unless the thing dies, it does not begin to live in a higher kingdom. To have, for example, a communion service without a sacrifice would be, in the natural order, like eating our vegetables uncooked, and our meat in the raw. When we come face to face with the realities of life, we see that we live by what we slay. It was our sins that slew Christ on Calvary, and yet by the power of God risen from the dead and reigning gloriously in Heaven, He now becomes our life and has communion with us and we with Him. In the divine order, there must be the Sacrifice or the Consecration of the Mass before there can be the sacrament or the Communion of the soul and God.” Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen (These are the Sacraments)

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Visitation

The Gospel tells us, “In the days that followed, Mary rose up and went with all haste to a city of Judea, in the hill country, where Zachary dwelt; and there entering in she gave Elizabeth greeting. No sooner had Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, than the child leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth herself was filled with the Holy Ghost; so that she cried out with a loud voice, ‘Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb’ (Luke 1:39-42).

The first miracle worked by our Lord on earth was performed while He was still in His Mother’s womb. He stirred the unborn John and brought consciousness of His presence to Elizabeth, the cousin of His Mother. Thus, long before Cana, our Lord shows that it is through His Mother that He works His unseen wonders in the heart and through her that He is brought into the souls of men.

The joy of the second Joyful Mystery is that of the Old Testament meeting the New, and of the young maiden greeting the old woman, as Mary burst into the most revolutionary song that was ever sung, the Magnificat, foretelling the day when the mighty would be unseated from their thrones, and the poor would be exalted.

Yet at that moment, when Elizabeth is the first to call her the Mother of God, even before our Lord is born, Mary answers in her song that her greatness is due to Him, and that she was chosen because she was lowly. It may very well be that Mary was chosen to be the Mother of God after she had in her vow renounced the honor. Though greater than Elizabeth, she visits her in her hour of need. Only as we become little do we ever become great in the eyes of God.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen (The Fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day - The Military

"With the fighting forces no group equally large is so revered. It is their high calling to the defense of justice and freedom that makes them loved. It was a soldier who first uttered the words recalled by the Church at Communion: 'Lord I am not worthy to have Thee come under my roof but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.' (Matt 8:8)" Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen (Wartime Prayer Book)

Dear Friends of Sheen,

Today as we proudly pray for all those men and women who sacrifice themselves to keep us safe and free, you may already know that Venerable Fulton Sheen had a great love for our military. He wrote a book called “The Armor of God” which is now published under the title of “Wartime Prayer Book”. Since the beginning of the Archbishop Sheen Foundation we have had an ongoing project to get these books in the hands of our soldiers. We have sent over 200,000 of these books over-seas to our men and women serving in the military. In fact we just sent another 2500 of these books out a couple of months ago. If you would like to help support this endeavor please know that it will always be an ongoing project of ours to support the military in this way. You may donate on-line through our website:
Or if you wish to donate by check just include a note that you wish to donate towards the Wartime Prayer Book campaign and mail it to us at:

Archbishop Sheen Foundation
419 NE Madison Ave.
Peoria, IL 61603

May Almighty God protect our military as we hold them in prayer!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Msgr. Stanley Deptula,
Executive Director

"There are certain things in life which are too beautiful to be forgotten, such as the love of a mother. Hence we treasure her picture. The love of soldiers who sacrificed themselves for their country is likewise too beautiful to be forgotten, hence we revere their memory on Memorial Day. But the greatest blessing which ever came to this earth was the visitation of the Son of God in the form and habit of man. His life, above all lives, is too beautiful to be forgotten, hence we treasure the divinity of His Words in Sacred Scripture, and the charity of His Deeds in our daily actions." Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen (Calvary and the Mass)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


“Assuming a human nature from the Blessed Mother, the procession of Divine Life moved on the earth in the Person of Jesus Christ and finally wound its way up the hill of Calvary, and on Good Friday a soldier struck a lance into the side of that Sacred Humanity and blood and water poured forth: blood the price of our Redemption, and water the symbol of our regeneration. The Son sent by His Father now returns to the Father, and from the Eternal Godhead the procession of life moves on as the Father and the Son send their Holy Spirit full of Truth and Love to the Mystical Body on the day of Pentecost. Striking that Mystical Body as the brightness of the sun striking a prism splits up into the seven rays of the spectrum. The procession of Divine Life broke up into the seven sacraments to flood the members of that Body with Divine Life for the seven states from the cradle to the grave. The procession of Life moves on as Christ once more walks the earth in His Mystical Body, the Church." Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sheen Get's Lifetime Achievement Award From Alma Mater!

At a Mass celebrated by Msgr. Stanley Deptula, Msgr. Mark Merdian and Fr. Adam Stimpson, Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen received the lifetime achievement award from his Alma Mater, now called Peoria Notre Dame. The award was accepted by Msgr. Deptula who is the Executive Director of the Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Foundation in Peoria, IL.

Sheen was enrolled in Spalding Institute conducted by the Brothers of Mary. He thought the Brothers were excellent teachers, given to discipline, yet much beloved. One of his classmates was Jimmy Jordan, who later on became known on radio as Fibber McGee. Just across the street in the girls Academy of Our Lady was a young girl who later became Fibber’s wife Molly on radio. One block away at Peoria High School was a boy who later became Andy of the famous Amos and Andy team. Thus Peoria produced four famous radio personalities of those times. Sheen was valedictorian of the class his senior year.

After the Mass there was a reception in the school library where special guests could admire the award.  Also in attendance were “friends of Sheen”, Sharon Fulton, Jane Hunt, Michelle Rebello and Grace Sposato.     


  During the Mass was the May Crowning of Mary.  This is the same statue of Mary that would have been at the school when Sheen attended.  Pictured here is the crowning at the Mass and Sheen visiting the school later in life with the same statue in the background.