The famous Catholic evangelist Archbishop Fulton Sheen's reputation for holiness and his impact on Catholics and non-Catholics alike has led to his cause for beatification being opened. Bill Engelbrecht, a member of the Archbishop Sheen Foundation’s board of directors, told CNA recently that the cause is progressing “quite well.”
The foundation, Engelbrecht explained, is kept informed of the beatification cause’s progress in Rome, and it is “on track.”
“The process is lengthy and it is undetermined. It can take from a few years to a few hundred years. It’s very difficult to actually assess one’s progress,” he said.
Engelbrecht related that several “significant” events had taken place in New Jersey, Texas, and other states. Upcoming events are planned for Georgia, Oklahoma City, and in Peoria, Illinois, Sheen’s birthplace.
“Everything has been moving in the right direction,” he said, adding that the foundation is promoting ways to make Archbishop Sheen better known to clergy and to younger generations, such as mp3 audio files, Facebook, the micro-blogging site Twitter and other new media.
“If you read Archbishop Sheen, he was able to strike a chord with almost every generation from the very young to the very old,” Engelbrecht said. “He was eminently accessible, he was charismatic, people liked him, people listened to him.”
One of his great lessons was about “how to live your life.”
“Obviously that was captured in his program “Life is Worth Living.” That’s a perfect title for what he had to say to us.”
He said that people touched by Archbishop Sheen exist everywhere.
“Go anywhere a large group of Catholics are assembled and bring up Archbishop Sheen. You’ll have somebody say how he affected them, or somebody close to them. He just touched so many people that it’s just amazing. It just repeats itself everywhere you go.”
He noted how one man, a recovering addict and alcoholic, drove nine hours to an Archbishop Sheen Foundation event to tell how one of the archbishop’s books affected him.
“He never met him. Someone by accident asked him to read a book of [Sheen’s]. He believes this man changed his life.”
Asked how Catholics might participate in advancing Archbishop Sheen’s cause, Engelbrecht said there would be a significant event at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City in December.
He encouraged people to expose themselves to Archbishop Sheen’s books and to his writings.
“Simply go to the Archbishop Sheen Foundation website,” he said, explaining that there were opportunities to receive prayer cards, relic cards, information about the beatification process and information about how to support his cause.
The Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Foundation’s web site is located at http://www.archbishopsheencause.org/