Sheen attributed everything to his consecration to Mary: Institute speaker

A ruling on the requested transfer of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen's remains to Peoria is expected in the coming weeks.

The Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was the focal point of Dr. Peter Howard’s keynote talk and a breakout session on Mary June 4 at the Diocesan Summer Institute at the Peoria Civic Center. The scholar called the El Paso native his hero and spiritual mentor.

“He attributed all of his success to his consecration to our Blessed Mother,” said Howard, the author of “The Woman: The Mystery of Mary as Mediatrix in the Teaching of Fulton J. Sheen.”

That consecration took place when Sheen was an infant. He would make his own consecration to Mary around the time of his First Communion, Howard said, noting that the Sheen family prayed the rosary every day.

After his ordination, Sheen also promised Mary he would make a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament every day and offer his Mass on Saturday for the protection of his priesthood — two promises that went unbroken.

“He said the key to understanding Mary is this: We do not start with Mary. We start with Christ, the Son of the living God. The less we think of him, the less we think of her. The more we think of him, the more we think of her. The more we adore his divinity, the more we venerate her motherhood. The less we adore his divinity, the less we respect her,” Howard said.

There is never any danger that people will think too much of Mary, according to Sheen, but that they will think too little of Christ.

“Without him, she is nothing. With him, she is the mother of men,” Sheen wrote. “On dark nights, we are grateful for the moon. When we see it shining, we know there must be a sun. So in the dark night of the world, when men turn their backs on him, we look to Mary to guide their feet while we await the sunrise.”

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