Parma plays part in possible sainthood for Fulton J. Sheen

11:31 AM, Feb 2, 2010   |    comments
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Sheen's cause is being promoted during the month of February by the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy (Diocese) of Parma, which is putting the finishing touches on a Sheen exhibit and will host a special meeting of Bishops and clergy this week.

"We're hoping that people will realize that sainthood is not just for people of the early centuries," says Bishop John Kudrick, of the Eparch of Parma, "but, indeed, each of us is called to that as well."

The Most Rev. Kudrick will host dozens of clergy and bishops from around the country on Wednesday, just prior to the public opening of an exhibit that chronicles the life and groundbreaking media evangelism of Fulton J. Sheen.

"We realize that we must bring the message of the gospel to the 21st century, using the media that is available to us," Bishop Kudrick told WKYC. "Bishop Sheen's ability to take what God had given him and use it in his own way, should inspire all of us to use what we have, to carry the message."

Bishops who will meet on Wednesday at the Byzantine Catholic Cultural Center in Parma will be updated on the cause of canonization of Bishop Sheen, and encouraged to promote the cause for his sainthood.

Fulton J. Sheen has a special connection to the Eparchy of Parma.

In 1955, the local bishop invited him to celebrate the Byzantine Divine Liturgy in English. Vestments worn by Bishop Sheen and the sacred objects he used at such liturgies are part of the exhibit.

A second Eastern Rite Catholic Church in Parma also has ties to efforts to recognize Fulton J. Sheen as a saint.

The Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma was informed that a miracle attributed to Bishop Sheen had taken place in a parish under its jurisdiction.

The purported miracle occurred several years ago. A Pittsburgh-area family with a critically ill baby prayed for the intercession of Bishop Sheen. The infant was said to have been miraculously cured.

St. Josaphat in Parma did not have the manpower to conduct the extensive investigation required to verify the miracle, and the task was undertaken by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.

One thousand pages of documentation of the possible miracle were sent to the Vatican's Congregation for Causes of Canonization.

The postulator for Sheen's cause at the time said a "force superior to medical science intervened" in curing the baby.

Enthusiasm for Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen's sainthood is shared by young members of the clergy, who admire the way Sheen was able to use the technology of his day, just as they strive to use today's modern tools, such as Facebook, blogs, and Twitter.

"I think one of the exciting things about Sheen is that he shows us that it's possible to take what's happening in culture and use it in a way that promotes the gospel," says Fr. Richard Plishka, 28, Director of the Bishop Emil J. Mihalik Byzantine Catholic Cultural Center.

"We're trying to do that now," says Fr. Plishka, "to bring our message not only to television and radio, but by blogging and working on websites to really get the message out there."


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