In grade school, I thought “Venerable” was a name—the Venerable Bede’s name, to be precise. As it happens, “venerable” is the first step on the path to canonization. (Bede was apparently venerable long enough for the term to stick; he’s a saint now.) One of our latest venerables is bishop and television rock star Fulton Sheen.
Sheen’s broadcasting career spanned nearly 40 years—almost all of them, sadly, before my time. I grew up knowing about him, though, because he was a larger-than-life character that defined for a lot of people what the ideal bishop should be. He was brilliant, charismatic, and practical. He combined a steely gaze with a kind smile. Dressed in his bishop’s cope, he commanded attention like a skilled magician. And his long-running Life Is Worth Living program convinced a lot of Americans that the Catholic Church had some useful things to say.
Sheen’s cause for canonization started in his hometown of Peoria, Illinois, just 10 years ago. He’s one miracle short of being declared “blessed” and two shy of full-blown sainthood (it’s quite an exclusive club!). Next time you need a miracle, keep the good bishop in mind!
Photo courtesy of Catholic News Service.