Posts Tagged ‘Archbishop Fulton Sheen’

Life Is Worth Living

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Thought you might like to see the letter our chancellor wrote to the Diocese of Peoria regarding their decision to resume the promotion of the cause for Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen:

Dear Ms. Gibson:

Congratulations on the decision of the Diocese of Peoria to resume its promotion of the cause for its native son, Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

As you are aware, the Archdiocese of New York was surprised when the Diocese of Peoria issued a press release last October announcing that it had dropped the cause.  Although the same release quoted the Bishop of Peoria as having stated that the Archdiocese of New York might take-up the cause, and although the Archdiocese received volumes of mail urging it to do so from cardinals, bishops, faithful around the world, members of the Sheen Foundation and even the archbishop’s family, it took no explicit action in the hope that the Diocese of Peoria might reconsider its decision to resume the cause.  Hence our satisfaction and joy over the current announcement.

It is my understanding that Archbishop Timothy Dolan—presently in Ireland on the apostolic visitation of seminaries by appointment of the Holy Father—has already written to express his congratulations and gratitude for the good news to Bishop Daniel Jenky.

Might I ask that you help clarify an unfortunate statement by the Sheen Foundation in a CAN/EWTN press release of January 29, 2011, indicating that the Archdiocese of New York had failed “to fulfill a verbal promise to transfer Sheen’s remains” to Peoria?

Perhaps the Foundation could be made aware of correspondence from Archbishop Dolan to Bishop Jenky of October 23, 2010, which would clarify this regrettable and inaccurate charge by the Foundation.  In the aforementioned letter, the archbishop assured the bishop that he was more than happy to continue his research into the question of the transfer of the remains, but that his study on the matter had already revealed that there was in fact no evidence of such a verbal promise; that Archbishop Sheen’s Last Will and Testament expressed a desire for burial in New York; that Archbishop Sheen had gratefully accepted Cardinal Terence Cooke’s invitation for interment in the crypt beneath the main altar of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral traditionally reserved for its archbishops; that the Congregation for Saints had, in 2005, explicitly instructed Cardinal Edward Egan, then-Archbishop of New York, not to transfer the remains; and that Archbishop Sheen’s family was strong in its preference that his remains stay in place at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.

Thank you for whatever assistance you can give to clarify this unfortunate statement by the Foundation. Lord knows, everyone wants this noble cause to progress in charity and full vigor without any clouds hanging over it.  The Archdiocese of New York remains grateful to the Diocese of Peoria for having shared its son with the Church Universal, and remains eager to be of any service to the Diocese that it can possibly be.

With prayerful best wishes, I am,

Reverend Monsignor Gregory Mustaciuolo
Chancellor/Moderator of the Curia

Preacher to the World

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Today marks the 30th Anniversary of the death of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, and I am honored to be the principal celebrant and homilist at the Mass to commemorate his life.  A large gathering of priests, bishops, and cardinals are expected to attend.  What a marvelous tribute to this devoted, tireless, holy son of the church whom Pope John Paul II called “Preacher to the World” in the Sanctuary of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, the very place I will be preaching tonight.

Earlier today I recorded my weekly radio program for the Catholic Channel on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, and had as my guests Bishop Daniel Jenky, Bishop of Peoria, which was Archbishop Sheen’s home diocese, Monsignor John Kozar, national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith which Archbishop Sheen headed for years, and Monsignor Hillary Franco, one of Archbishop Sheen’s close collaborators and friends, and currently pastor of one of the great parishes of the Archdiocese, Saint Augustine’s, in Ossining, New York.  The program will air Thursday, December 10 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, and then various times throughout the weekend.

In my homily, I relate this story of a chance encounter I once had with Archbishop Sheen.


It was a damp winter day in 1973 when I was walking through St. Peter’s Square, then a seminarian at the North American College, only to see a small but excited crowd near the obelisk.  Over I went only to see in the middle of the dozens of excited people himself, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.  Among the handshakes, flashbulbs, and autographs, someone shouted,

“What are you doing in Rome, Archbishop Sheen?”

“I just came from an audience with Pope Paul VI,” he replied.

“What did the Holy Father say to you?” inquired another in the crowd.

Archbishop Sheen blushed a bit and replied, “The Holy Father looked at me, took my hand, and said, ‘Fulton Sheen, you will have a high place in heaven’.”

“What did you say back?” pestered another.

“Well” responded our man with that familiar sparkle and grin,” I replied, ‘Your Holiness, would you mind making that an infallible statement?’”

Which I propose to you is the key message of Fulton J. Sheen: He wanted to get to heaven; he wanted to bring the world with him.

You can read the full text of my homily here.

UPDATE: Emily Marlow, producer of “A Conversation with the Archbishop,” forwarded me some photos from yesterday’s taping.


With Rob Astorino and Monsignor Hillary Franco of Saint Augustine’s in Ossining, NY

Bishop Daniel Jenky, Bishop of Peoria

Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria

Monsignor John Kozar

Monsignor John Kozar, National Director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith


Msgr. Franco, Msgr. Kozar, Bishop Jenky, me, and Rob Astorino