Pope Paul VI died August 6, 1978. I remember listening to a talk by the Venerable Fulton Sheen put out shortly after that on cassette tape by Keep the Faith, Inc. Archbishop Sheen said that when he heard the news of the death of Paul VI, he first said a Hail Mary for the repose of his soul, and then prayed a Hail Mary in his honor asking also for his intercession. That was blazoned in my heart and soul. I then immediately did the same regarding Paul VI. The Archbishop died not long after, on December 9, 1979. I did the same as he had done: I prayed a Hail Mary for the repose of Fulton Sheen’s soul, and then another in his honor asking also for his intercession.
I don’t know how many times – I think eight direct encounters – that I met up with Saint John Paul II. I always felt close to him. When he died – I was there at Saint Peter’s (a story all on its own) – I did the same thing: I prayed a Hail Mary for him, and then offered a Hail Mary in his honor also asking his intercession.
I do feel vindicated against all the haters at the time:
- Paul VI was canonized.
- John Paul II was canonized.
- Fulton Sheen is now venerable, and on his way to being canonized.
When I heard of the recent nay-saying by certain elements of the US Bishops Conference against the Venerable Fulton Sheen being beatified, my very first thought was this:
- Way to go, Fulton! You have the honor also in your death of taking on the abusive, homosexualist lobby. You did all things well. You will be vindicated. You rendered honor to our Lord during your life, and now you continue to do so in your death.
Disclaimer: Paul VI and his teaching in Humanae vitae was extremely formative in my life. I absolutely loved Fulton Sheen’s homilies and retreats and conferences and books; he was extremely formative in my life. John Paul II captured my heart and soul so much that I signed up to and took classes at the JPII Institute for Marriage and the Family.