Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Archbishop Fulton Sheen. 

A new saint for the Church and Fulton Sheen soon to be Blessed

Pope Francis on July 5 declared a new saint and approved 8 decrees, taking a woman and 7 men a step closer to sainthood. Among them, a miracle has been recognized through the intercession of Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

By Robin Gomes

Pope Francis on Friday enrolled a Portuguese archbishop as a new saint of the Catholic Church and approved decrees bringing a woman and 7 men closer to sainthood.  

New Portuguese saint 

The Pope received in audience Cardinal Angelo Becciu, Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints and approved the favourable votes of the members of the Congregation and extended to the Universal Church the liturgical cult in honour of Blessed Bartholomew of the Martyrs (born Bartholomew Fernandes), the Dominican Archbishop of Braga, Portugal. 

Born in Lisbon (Portugal) on 3 May 1514 and died in Viana do Castelo (Portugal) on 16 July 1590.  Blessed Bartholomew The Holy Father has now enrolled him in the catalogue of Saints (equivalent to canonization).

Fulton Sheen

Pope Francis also authorized a decree recognizing a miracle through the intercession of Venerable Servant of God Fulton Sheen of the United States, known for his preaching, especially on television and radio. 

The Titular Archbishop of Newport and former Bishop of Rochester was born to an Irish family in El Paso, Illinois, on 8 May 1895.  He discovered his call to the priesthood at the age of 24 and was ordained a priest in 1919.  He pursued higher studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington (US),  the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. 

He returned to the US in 1926 and began teaching at the Catholic University of America until 1950. 

A gifted teacher and speaker, Sheen’s homilies were much appreciated.  In 1930, he began participating in the Sunday radio programme entitled “The Catholic Hour”, which reached an estimated four million listeners at the height of its popularity.

In 1951, he began hosting a weekly television series, “Life is Worth Living”, on matters of faith that attracted some 30 million viewers.    

He died in New York at the age of 84, on 9 December 1979.

With the recognition of a miracle through his intercession, Archbishop Sheen has now been cleared for beatification, following which he will have the title, Blessed.

Pope Francis also authorized the promulgation of decrees on the heroic virtues of a woman and 6 men who hail from 6 countries: 

-        The heroic virtues of the Lebanese Servant of God  Elias Hoyek, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Founder of the Congregation of the Maronite Sisters of the Holy Family.  He was born in Helta (Lebanon) on 4 December 1843 and died in Bkerké (Lebanon) on 24 December 1931.

-        The heroic virtues of the Italian Servant of God Giovanni Vittorio Ferro, of the Order of the Clerics Regular of Somasca, Archbishop of Reggio Calabria-Bova.  He was born in Costigliole d'Asti (Italy) on 13 November 1901 and died in Reggio Calabria (Italy) on 18 April 1992;

-        the heroic virtues of the Spanish Servant of God Angel Riesco Carbajo, titular Bishop of Limisa, Auxiliary Bishop of Tudela, founder of the Institute of the Missionaries of Charity.  He was born in Bercianos de Vidriales (Spain) on 9 July 1902 and died in La Bañeza (Spain) on 2 July 1972.

-        The heroic virtues of the Polish Servant of God Władysław Korniłowicz, a diocesan priest. Born in Warsaw (Poland) on August 5, 1884, and died in Laski (Poland) on September 26, 1946;

-        The heroic virtues of the Italian Servant of God Angelico Lipani (born Vincenzo), a professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, founder of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Lord. He was born in Caltanissetta (Italy) on 28 December 1842 and died there on 9 July 1920.

-        The heroic virtues of the Servant of God Francisca of the Holy Spirit (born: Francisca de Fuentes), Foundress of the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine of Siena.  She was born in Intramuros (Philippines) in 1647 and died in Manila (Philippines) on 24 August 1711.

-        The heroic virtues of the Servant of God Étienne Pierre Morlanne, layman, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Maternal Charity. He was born in Metz (France) on May 22, 1772, and died there on January 7, 1862.

What the sainthood process is

The process of beatification and canonization in the Catholic Church is a lengthy and rigid procedure of documenting and examining the life, virtues and the writings of a holy man or woman. It begins at the level of the diocese where the candidate lived.  At this stage, he/she is called the Servant of God

With the diocesan process over, the matter passes on to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints in the Vatican, for further examination.  When the heroic virtues of a person is recognized, he/she is called Venerable Servant of God, or simply Venerable, like the 7 candidates above.    

After this stage, a miracle through the intercession of the person is required to clear him/her for beatification, like Archbishop Sheen.   A beatification ceremony is held where the person is declared a Blessed.

Another such miracle is required after beatification to clear the person for canonization, declaring him/her a saint.

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06 July 2019, 14:19