The Diocese of Peoria has resumed its promotion of Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s cause for beatification despite its dispute with the Archdiocese of New York over the final resting place of the great evangelist’s remains.
In November 2010 the diocese said it was no longer in a position to continue its nine years of work on Archbishop Sheen’s beatification and canonization. The Archdiocese of New York’s failure to transfer Sheen’s body to a cathedral tomb in his hometown of Peoria had upset the diocese and stalled plans to create a national shrine for him there.
Now Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria has announced that the Archbishop Fulton John Sheen Foundation has resumed its efforts to advance Sheen’s cause.
“After further consultation, and having heard the desire of the faithful to see the cause advance, Bishop Jenky, as president of the Sheen Foundation, is happy to work with the postulator in Rome and is hopeful that the cause will advance quickly,” the foundation said in a Jan. 27 statement.
The foundation added that the Archdiocese of New York’s failure to fulfill a verbal promise to transfer Sheen’s remains caused “great upset and even scandal among those who had so long supported the cause.” The people and clergy of the Diocese of Peoria were “particularly distressed,” it said.
Patricia Gibson, chancellor of the Diocese of Peoria and an officer of the Sheen Foundation, explained that Bishop Jenky felt compelled at the time to pause the beatification effort “in light of the months of unresolved questions regarding the transfer of the remains.”
“Even though this issue remains unsettled, Bishop Jenky received encouragement from cardinals, bishops and the faithful from around the world, and especially from within his own diocese,” she said. Bishop Jenky has asked the Vatican congregation for saints to help resolve the question of the tomb, while also definitively deciding to continue the foundation’s work to advance Archbishop Sheen’s cause.
Msgr. Stanley Deptula, executive director of the Sheen Foundation, said he was “so happy” to see the foundation’s work continue in Peoria.
“Sheen was born in Peoria. His cause for sainthood was begun in Peoria. And I look forward to seeing this good work completed in Peoria,” he commented.
Sheen has a significant history in both Peoria and New York City. He first served as an altar boy in Peoria’s cathedral and was ordained a priest for the diocese in 1919. After international studies, he briefly served as a pastor there in 1926.
He was ordained as an auxiliary bishop in New York City in 1951 and broadcast his famous television program “Life is Worth Living” from there. He was Bishop of Rochester from 1966 until his 1969 retirement and he was buried in the crypt of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City after his death in 1979.
Sheen was one of the first national television personalities and an author of bestselling works on Christianity and Jesus Christ.
More information about his life is available at the Sheen Foundation website: http://www.ArchbishopSheenCause.org