WASHINGTON (CNS) – A grass-roots effort calling on Catholic churches around the world to celebrate a special Mass on the May 8 birthday of the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen could see its goal of 1,000 Masses soon reached.
As of April 13, close to 900 churches had pledged to celebrate a Mass in memory of the prelate, who was an Emmy-winning televangelist and who spread the Gospel message far and wide as head of the Propagation of the Faith from 1950 to 1966.
Lo Anne Mayer, a New Jersey Catholic, is one of those who launched the Mass effort in January. She also knew and greatly admired Archbishop Sheen, who is a candidate for sainthood.
Praying for Canonization
Mayer told Catholic News Service the idea for the Masses is to not only celebrate the archbishop’s life, ministry and legacy, but also to “storm heaven” with prayers for his canonization.
She felt he was a saint the first time she met him. When he spent time with her and her husband and their six children, she observed his gentle manner with the children and how he spoke to them about Jesus and His sacrificial love – all of which convinced her even more he was a saint.
He was “so clear about God’s love for us,” said Mayer, now 76, who first met him when she accompanied her mother to her parish church, where Archbishop Sheen was asked to speak on Ash Wednesday.
“My mother knew everyone in the church. She was the first one in and the last one out,” recalled Mayer. “I was following her around with a coat and as I got to the altar Bishop Sheen came up and as I looked at him, (I saw) something very special.”
“I would like your name and address and I want to send you something,” he told her. A few days later, she received a package from him with a Bible and other books for her children. “(It was) like a Christmas box,” she said.