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Thursday, 10 December 2009

Archbishop Fulton Sheen anniversary

Yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of the death of Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Various celebrations were held in Churches associated with him: in New York, Archbishop Dolan celebrated mass at St Patrick's Cathedral. In Louvain, at the American College of the Immaculate Conception, Bishop Shelton Fabre, Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans, celebrated Mass. I am grateful to a correspondent for information about this Mass and the above photo. In his sermon, Bishop Fabre spoke of Archbishop Sheen's use of the media to spread the word of God:
By constructive use of what at the time could still be considered the 'modern' media of television communication, Archbishop Sheen was able both to evangelise Catholics to embrace fully an understanding of their faith and to evangelise non-Catholics, bringing them an appreciation of Catholic teaching and leading many to conversion. We could consider him to be, in every positive sense of the term, the first televangelist. His effective use of television to evangelise in his time should inspire us to 'baptise' the modern technological marvels of mass communication and utilize them to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and pass on the teaching of the Catholic Church. It is significant, during this Year for Priests, that we celebrate this Mass today marking the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Archbishop Sheen here in the university town of Louvain, where he studied, and at the American College of Louvain, which is devoted to the formation of future priests. We recall the great emphasis that Archbishop Sheen placed on calling young men to the priesthood. The joy-filled service of this Servant of God as a priest and a bishop is an enduring call to other young men to come and share the joy of the Lord as a Catholic priest.
Archbishop Sheen lived in Louvain as a graduate priest and once said, "Next to God, on this earth, I owe what I am to the University of Louvain". here is a photo including the young Fr Sheen (left) as a priest at the College:

Currently, there are sixteen seminarians including one from England, Christopher Robertson, seminarian from the Diocese of Salford. The College's current rector is Monsignor Ross Shecterle of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Please pray for the students and staff of the College.
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