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.