Remains of Venerable Archbishop Sheen transferred; beatification cause resumes

The Diocese of Peoria has announced that, early this morning (June 27), the mortal remains of Archbishop Fulton Sheen were disinterred from St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York and are being transferred to St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria. Special weekend hours have been established at St. Mary's for the public to visit the new tomb of Archbishop Sheen. (Sheen image from the cover of his book, "Your Life is Worth Living: the Christian Philosophy of Life.")

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following press release was issued this morning (June 27, 2019) by the Diocese of Peoria.

Most Rev. Daniel Jenky, Bishop of Peoria, is happy to announce that the remains of Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen have been transferred from St. Patrick Cathedral, New York, to the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Peoria. Bishop Jenky is also happy to announce that the Cause for Beatification has resumed.

Earlier this month, on June 7, 2019, the three-year long legal litigation concerning the transfer of Sheen’s remains ended when the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, rejected the final appeal of the Archdiocese of New York. Shortly after this ruling, the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Peoria cooperated in arranging for the transfer. This transfer followed civil law and Church law. The proper civil permits for the transfer were secured. Church law requires that the transfer of the remains of one considered for beatification must to be done without any solemnity. As a result, the transfer could not be publicized in advance. Also, no liturgical ceremony or public gathering could be held during the transfer. Therefore, the transfer of the remains was done without prior public notice.

Early this morning, June 27, 2019, Joan Sheen Cunningham, niece of Venerable Archbishop Sheen, and Patricia Gibson, Chancellor and Attorney for the Diocese of Peoria, along with funeral home and cemetery personnel, gathered at St. Patrick Cathedral in New York. The remains of Sheen were disinterred from the basement crypt under the main altar at St. Patrick Cathedral. Sheen’s remains were immediately taken to LaGuardia airport and flown to O’Hare airport to be transported to the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria.

The remains will be encased into a marble monument inside the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria. Venerable Archbishop Sheen’s new tomb is located at the side altar dedicated to the Blessed Mother Mary, Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Patricia Gibson was appointed as the official witness of the disinterment and transfer of the remains as required by the Vatican and Church law. Patricia Gibson stated:

“After working 18 years with Bishop Jenky on the Cause for Beatification, it was a great privilege and honor to be present and witness the transfer of Archbishop Sheen’s remains to his home cathedral in Peoria where he served Mass as a youth and was ordained priest 100 years ago. Now that the three years of legal litigation has ended, I am grateful that the Archdiocese of New York cooperated with this transfer. I am excited for the next steps in the Cause and pray that a beatification will happen very soon.”

Now that the remains have been transferred to Peoria, the Cause for his Beatification has resumed. Bishop Jenky has notified the Vatican indicating that civil litigation has ended and that Sheen’s remains have been transferred. The Vatican has confirmed that the Cause for Beatification has now resumed.

The Congregation of the Causes of Saints in Rome will present the alleged miracle to Pope Francis for his decree authenticating the miracle attributed to Sheen’s intercession. This alleged miracle involved the miraculous healing of a newborn infant who was without vital signs for over 60 minutes.

Following the decree of the miracle from Pope Francis, an additional decree from Pope Francis will call for the Beatification of Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen. After the Holy Father calls for the Beatification, the Diocese of Peoria will work with the Congregation of the Causes of Saints to organize the Beatification celebration, which would take place in Peoria. According to the current practice of the Vatican, a Beatification is celebrated in the local diocese where the Cause was instructed. Once the date for the Beatification is granted by Pope Francis, Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, Prefect for the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, would come to Peoria to preside at the ceremony.

Although the date of Beatification is not known at this time, Bishop Jenky hopes and prays that these decrees from Rome will be issued in the coming weeks. Bishop Jenky continues to be hopeful that Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen will be Beatified during this 100th anniversary year of his ordination to the priesthood in Peoria. Everyone is encouraged to continue offering prayers for the Beatification of Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

Bishop Jenky invites everyone to visit the new tomb of Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen in the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria. Soon a permanent schedule of Cathedral hours will be published. But, for this weekend, the Cathedral will be open at these times:

  • Friday, June 28: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 29: 10 a.m.to 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 30: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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