Sheen birthday broadcast carries on despite power outage at pastoral center

Bishop Louis Tylka is interviewed by Covenant Radio host Adam Wright, who broadcast live from the Fulton J. Sheen Museum May 8 in honor of Venerable Fulton Sheen's birthday. (The Catholic Post/Paul Thomas Moore)

By Paul Thomas Moore

Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen would have been right at home on Monday, May 8, when an hour of live radio was broadcast in honor of his birthday from the Fulton J. Sheen Museum in the Spalding Pastoral Center in Peoria.

A little drama transpired the night before when a storm knocked out the electricity at the pastoral center and museum, with the power remaining out through much of the day Monday. Regardless, with God’s grace, a “show must go on” spirit, and the help of diocesan staff, Covenant Radio of St. Louis managed to deliver the live broadcast on schedule from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Adam Wright, host of Covenant’s “Road Map to Heaven” program, said, “I was in the car (from St. Louis) when I heard the power was off. I said to myself, ‘God will find a way for us to do a broadcast.’ It was just a question of the details.”

Details ironed out, Wright interviewed Bishop Louis Tylka, who touched on the legacy of Archbishop Sheen.

“Here was a man who devoted himself to the Lord and his church,” the bishop said. Going on to describe the faith experience Sheen proposed for people, Bishop Tylka said, “We might use the term ‘encounter’ today. He wanted people to encounter the love of Jesus in a very powerful way.”

Wright also spoke to Msgr. Jason Gray, newly appointed executive director of the Archbishop Fulton John Sheen Foundation, and Sister Lea Stefancova, FSJB, vice postulator of Sheen’s cause for beatification and canonization.

Msgr. Gray emphasized that Sheen was “just as effective serving in a parish as he was in a classroom or in front of a television camera.”

Sister Lea shared how listeners can make a pilgrimage to Peoria to visit the museum, as well as St. Mary’s Cathedral, where Sheen was ordained and is entombed.

Earlier in the day, Mass was celebrated at the cathedral to mark the 128th anniversary of Sheen’s birth in 1895.

Sheen began his broadcasting apostolate with “The Catholic Hour” on radio from 1930 to 1950. He moved to television with “Life is Worth Living” from 1952 to 1957, for which he won an Emmy Award.

Covenant Radio is affiliated with several radio stations in Illinois. The Fulton Sheen birthday podcast is available at

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