Vatican experts OK miracle attributed to Abp. Sheen
A seven-member team of medical experts convoked by the Vatican reported there is no natural explanation for the survival of a child delivered stillborn and whose heart did not start beating until 61 minutes after his birth.
The survival of the child, James Fulton Engstrom of Goodfield, now 3 years old and developing normally, was credited by his parents to a miracle attributable to the intercession of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, a Peoria diocesan priest who gained fame for his 1950s television show “Life Is Worth Living” and his 16 years at the helm of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.
The medical experts’ report was announced March 6 in Peoria by the Archbishop Fulton Sheen Foundation, of which Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, is president.
“Today is a significant step in the cause for the beatification and canonization of our beloved Fulton Sheen, a priest of Peoria and a Son of the Heartland who went on to change the world,” Bishop Jenky said in a statement, available in full here. “There are many more steps ahead and more prayers are needed. But today is a good reason to rejoice.”
The case will next be reviewed by a board of theologians. With their approval, the case could move on to the cardinals and bishops who advise the pope on these matters. Finally, the miracle would be presented to Pope Francis, who would then officially affirm that God performed a miracle through the intercession of Archbishop Sheen. There is no timeline as to when these next steps might take place.
If the Engstrom case is authenticated as a miracle, Archbishop Sheen would be beatified, elevating him from “venerable” to “blessed.” A beatification ceremony could conceivably take place in Peoria, according to the foundation, which promotes his sainthood cause. In general, a second miracle would need to be authenticated for canonization.