Video of my mentor on Bishop Fulton Sheen
I mentioned before that my parish recently hosted a "Celebration of Fulton Sheen", which was attended by roughly 500-600 people. I co-hosted the celebration with my mentor and spiritual director, Monsignor Ed Thompson, one of our parish priests. The celebration included two identical events, each composed of two separate parts.
In the first part, we listened to Monsignor Ed Thompson reflect on his interactions with his hero, Bishop Sheen. Monsignor Ed is not just an apprentice of Bishop Sheen, but someone who actually met the Saint-to-be on multiple occasions. Following the talk, we were treated to an advanced screening of "Servant of All", a film produced by the group behind Sheen's cause for canonization.
The film chronicles the life of Bishop Sheen, from his early days on a farm, to his dynamic preaching, from his missionary work around the world, to meetings with multiple popes. I highly recommend hosting a screening of this film at your parish--go to SheenFilm.org for more information.
While the film was moving and well-made, Monsignor Ed really stole the show. This wise, 87-year old sage moved the crowd as he recounted his many experiences with Bishop Sheen, all from memory and without notes. He described the devotion him and his twin brother, now a Bishop in the Catholic Church, shared for Sheen--as seminarians, they took a trip together to visit their hero in his NBC radio studio.
Monsignor Ed also shared how he snuck his chalice into a Mass that Sheen celebrated, and described the conversation he had while driving Bishop Sheen for an hour around Philadelphia. Sprinkled throughout his reflections, Monsignor Ed also highlighted his encounters with Mother Teresa, Babe Ruth, and Billy Graham.
Monsignor Ed is a mentor to me, and a saint to many more. His reflections on Fulton Sheen dripped with holiness, a sanctity that came both from the speaker and the subject. Rare is it that you hear a saint share the interactions he had with other saints. Please, watch Monsignor Ed's talk below, and be drawn into the stories of one of the wisest, holiest men I know:
(After hitting 'play', the video may take a few seconds to load.)
In his talk, Monsignor Ed neglected to mention an amazing fact. Bishop Sheen prayed that he would die on a feast day of Our Blessed Mother, but he died while praying in front of the Eucharist on December 9, 1979, one day after the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
While many believe Sheen's prayer went unanswered by a day, Monsignor Ed disagrees. As a clear symbol of the divine connection shared by these two holy men, Sheen died not on the feast day of Our Blessed Mother, but on the feast day of Monsignor Ed's blessed mother, who shared her earthly birthday with the heavenly birthday of her son's hero.