The Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

On June 28, Pope Benedict officially recognized Archbishop Sheen as someone who had lived a life of “heroic virtue,” and declared him “Venerable.” The devout priest from Peoria who became the first televangelist, commanded a weekly audience of 30 million, and appeared on the cover of Time, is now just one step away from beatification, and a second from sainthood, pending two respective miracles. The Vatican is already studying the case of a stillborn child who—having shown no vital signs for 60 minutes—astonishingly came back to life, after his mother prayed for the Archbishop’s intercession.

The advance of Sheen’s cause has elated his many supporters, especially three priests who’ve had a special devotion to it.

Monsignor Hilary Franco, who served as the Archbishop’s assistant when he headed the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in America—and is the only surviving member of his New York household—told me how thankful he was for the announcement: “I am a living witness to Archbishop Sheen’s holiness.”

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