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Catholic Courier. (Rochester, N.Y.) 1989-current, December 01, 2004, Image 12

Image and text provided by Rochester Regional Library Council

Persistent link: http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/np00020006/2004-12-01/ed-1/seq-12/

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A12 M ass set for Bishop Sheen Tracy Early/CNS W I NEW YORK — One person who is following-the sainthood cause of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen with special interest and extraordinary l personal knowledge about his life is a niece, Joan Sheen Cunningham of Yunkers. \1 always thought of him as a saintly man,\ she said in an inter- view Nov. 16. In this case, \always\ includes from age 6, when she received her first Communion from him, until a visit the Friday before he died on Sunday, Dec. 9, 1979. In between, their lives were interwoven through visits, travel together and his help with everything from choosing 'her schools and clothes to finding her places to live, she reported. \1 didn't feel he was running my life, but he was picking out the things he knew I needed,\ she said. Today, while she believes Arch- bishop Sheen was a saint, she thinks of him primarily as \a good, good priest\ and '*a good uncle,\ she said. Cunningham, 77, was interviewed at the Manhattan offices of the Soci- ety for the Propagation of the Faith, a familiar spot for her because the agericy was in the same Fifth Av- enue building when v Archbishop Sheen headed it from 1950 to 1966. She was in New York to work on arrangements for a Mass to mark the 25th anniversary of his death. It will be celebrated Dec. ^ at St. Patrick's Cathedral, where the arch- bishop is buried in the crypt. Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria, 111., will be the principal celebrant; the homilist will be Archbishop Sheen's current successor at the Propagation of the Faith, Msgr. John E. Kozar, and the lector will be nov- elist Mary Higgins Clark. Cardinal Edward M, Egan of New York will preside. Although a sainthood cause nor- mally originates in the diocese where the individual died, Cardinal Egan gave approval for Bishop Jenky to open this one because Archbishop Sheen was born and or- dained in the Diocese of Peoria. Cunningham said there was a study under way of reports of a mir- acle attributed to the archbishop's intercession, the unexplained heal- ing of a boy named Fulton. A principal goal how of the Sheen Foundation, which she, serves as a board member, is raising money to pay for all the things canonization i equtres Cunningham said Despite their closeness, she noted, she always called her uncle Father Sheen or later Bishop Sheen, if oth- ers) were around. when Archbishop Sheen had his popular television show, \Life Is Worth Living,\ in the 1950s, he was scheduled opposite Milton Berle, and some joked about whether peo- ple would watch \Uncle Miltie\ or \Uncle Fultie.\ Although Archbishop Sheen achieved success and popularity, beating Berle in viewer ratings, he also inspired \a lot of jealousy,\ his niece reported. It was\ one of the tri- als that made his life harder than people who saw only his public ac- tivities could have known. She: also said that Archbishop Sheen most enjoyed his work with the Propagation of the Faith. After Archbishop Sheen had spent so many years operating as a na- tional and international figure, he was named in 1966 to head the Dio- cese of Rochester. Some might have called it a questionable decision. Cunningham said she thought Rochester was not ready for a per- sonality like her uncle. \What in heaven's name are they sending you there for?\ she said she Chris Sheridan/CNS Joan Sheen Cunningham, niece of the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, poses next to a portrait of her uncle in New York Nov. 16. asked him. But he told her priests were supposed to go where they were sent, and he would not try to refuse the assignment, she said. The time in Rochester did turn out to have its stormy moments, she in- dicated, and wheahe retired in 1969 he decided to return to Manhattan. He received the title of archbishop upon his retirement. X canie Aer& to Aetat cancer*. X came Aere Aecause X wanted acdess to tAe lest </©et©As , t i tAe latest researcA and tteatntent options. And Aecause X wanted to stay closet to my family* Michael Couldrick, Meteorologist, 3?. Husband, father of two children. In remission for non Hodgkin's lymphoma. I lie W 11 mut C.ineer I'eilU'i' IKIS over Ho^ patients cur re nth enrolled m n\ er i3o eltnie;il trials. ,« learn urn re e.lll 2 7 5 5830. or 1 -866-4-\\ I I VI O I <494-5668> ,1-n.I \i.-it urf online at SiKONGlinVl.i'H ('l)M. TAMES E J CANQER CENTER AT STRONG ' 8

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