Bishop Fulton J. Sheen was born May 8, 1895, in El Passo, Illinois. Sheen was ordained on September 20, 1919. From 1930 to 1950 Monsignor Sheen gave weekly talks on the Catholic Hour on the radio while maintaining a full-time teaching schedule.
He has consecrated a bishop on June 11, 1951. In the Fall of that year, he began his famous television series, Life is Worth Living. It was a tremendous success, eventually reaching an estimated 30 million viewers each week, which would make it the most widely-viewed religious series in the history of television. He won an Emmy Award for Most Outstanding Television Personality, was featured on the cover of Time Magazine, and became one of the most influential Catholics of the 20th century.
Bishop Sheen wrote and published 69 books in his lifetime.. It is noted in his biography, that he spent 35 hours on each of his talks, giving them twice before presenting them on television without notes are q-cards. He worked 19 hours days and was noted for giving away money acquired from the vast donations he received.
Between 1962 and 1965, Bishop Sheen attended all the sessions of the Second Vatican Council. He worked closely with then-Father Joseph Ratzinger, who was a theological expert on the commission for the mission, and who later became Pope Benedict XVI. In a 2012 interview with Vatican Radio, the Pope recalled how “Fulton Sheen … would fascinate us in the evenings with his talks.”
A consistent theme in Archbishop Sheen’s preaching throughout his life, especially in his later years, was the benefits of making a holy hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Author Michael Dubruiel said, “There is no one in the modern church who has done more to popularize the practice of praying in the presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.”
This was not advice that Archbishop Sheen gave without practicing it himself. Throughout his years at Catholic University, he maintained his daily holy hour, praying in Caldwell Chapel and in the private chapel in his residence. Many people who worked closely with him over the years attest that he never failed to keep his holy hour from the day of his priestly ordination until his death on the floor of his private chapel in Our Lord’s presence on Dec. 9, 1979.
Now, I invite you to listen to Bishop Fulton J. Sheen as he explains the Catholic Mass…
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Think about it. When we are full of our humanity, how is God able to fill us with His Godliness.
So at the Offertory, we offer ourselves to Christ, as we say This is my body… This is my Blood… At the consecration, we die and are mentally drained of our humanity. At Communion, we are Resurrected as We Receive the Body and Blood of Christ… we are filled with His Godliness. Now we can truly say with Saint Paul, “I live, now not I: but Christ lives in me. And that I live now in the flesh: I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and delivered himself for me”. Galatians 2:20
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