Stunned. Waiting. Praying.

A statue of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen welcomes visitors to the Sheen Museum at the Spalding Pastoral Center in Peoria. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

This is not the issue of The Catholic Post we had anticipated delivering to your home. It’s not the first time that planned coverage changed on deadline day and it won’t be the last — that’s life in a newsroom — but as this is written our staff is still coming to grips with Tuesday afternoon’s announced postponement of the Dec. 21 beatification of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. (See press release.)

This edition of your diocesan newspaper was primed and ready to bring you details of planned celebrations that so many of our Curia colleagues at the Spalding Pastoral Center and beyond have been working long and hard to make memorable for the throngs of pilgrims already making plans to come. We had related stories from Archbishop Sheen’s hometown of El Paso and other coverage. Further, we were going to announce that our Dec. 22 issue would include a surprise Christmas gift for our subscribers — a 60-page commemorative booklet our staff is producing to mark the historic occasion.

Instead, the announcement from the Holy See means that we, and all who love and are inspired by Archbishop Sheen, have an Advent lesson in waiting. We share the sadness expressed by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, at this turn of events. But we trust that God, whose perfect timing brought a Savior to us in a surprising way more than 2,000 years ago, has marvelous days ahead for those devoted to the cause of our diocese’s beloved native son who proclaimed and served that Savior so remarkably well.

Meanwhile, we will print here one part of the booklet we were preparing. It is the prayer for the canonization of Archbishop Sheen, and we invite you to pray it with us:

“Heavenly Father, source of all holiness, You raise up within the Church in every age men and women who serve with heroic love and dedication. You have blessed Your Church through the life and ministry of Your faithful servant, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. He has written and spoken well of Your Divine Son, Jesus Christ, and was a true instrument of the Holy Spirit in touching the hearts of countless people.

“If it be according to Your Will, for the honor and glory of the Most Holy Trinity and for the salvation of souls, we ask You to move the Church to proclaim him a saint. We ask this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”

And Amen. — Thomas J. Dermody


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