Beatification of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Set for Dec. 21, 2019
Pope Francis has called for the beatification of Catholic University alumnus and former professor Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen to be held on Dec. 21, 2019. The beatification ceremony will be held at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria, Illinois, where Sheen was ordained a priest 100 years ago on September 20, 1919, and where his body is entombed in a marble vault next to the altar.
Catholic University's Great Communicator
Since its founding in 1887, no one associated with The Catholic University of America has had a greater impact on the world than Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. A formidable scholar, prolific author, and Catholic University professor for 23 years, Archbishop Sheen was also a pioneer of the new evangelization. A charismatic radio and television personality and a zealous preacher of the Gospel, his whole-hearted embrace of modern means of communication gave him access to millions of American homes and, arguably, made him the most influential American Catholic of the 20th century.
In June 2012, Pope Benedict XVI declared Sheen "venerable." In March 2014, the board of medical experts who advise the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints unanimously approved a reported miracle attributed to his intercession. On June 17, 2014, the congregation's seven-member theological commission unanimously agreed with the medical team's finding.
While it seemed inevitable that Sheen would be beatified in 2014, on Sept. 3 of that year Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria announced that the canonization cause of Archbishop Fulton Sheen would be suspended because of a dispute between the Diocese of Peoria and the Archdiocese of New York over the location of Sheens mortal remains. The dispute centered on a tension between the desire of Sheen’s closest living relative, Joan Sheen Cunningham, to have Sheen interred at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria and a statement in Sheen’s will asking for interment in a New York cemetery. This was finally resolved in June of 2019 when the New York State Court of Appeals refused to hear any further appeals in the case, definitively granting Joan Sheen Cunningham’s request. Sheen's body was moved to St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria on June 27, 2019 and his cause was officially re-opened.
On July 6, 2019, Pope Francis formally approved the miracle attributed to the intercession of Sheen, paving the way for Sheen to be beatified. The beatification ceremony has been scheduled for Dec. 21, 2019, in Peoria. A second miracle would need to be validated before he would be declared a saint.
The University invites the Catholic University community and all those who honor Archbishop Sheen's memory to join us in celebrating his exemplary life and praying for his cause for canonization.