GOD CALLS US
THE FOUNDATIONS OF PRAYER
—CCC, NOS. 2558-2758
THE HOUR THAT MADE HIS DAY
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen believed that his daily hour of prayer before
the Blessed Sacrament was essential for his ministry as a priest. For him it
was like “an oxygen tank that revived the breath of the Holy Spirit.” Sheen
said the idea of having a daily hour of prayer came to him one evening in
1918 while he was a student at St. Paul Seminary in Minnesota. He began
his Holy Hour observance the next day and maintained it for the rest of his
life, usually early in the morning before Mass.
He was born in El Paso, Illinois, in 1895, to a hardware store owner and
his wife. His parents first enrolled Fulton at St. Mary’s grammar school in
1900. Later, he was educated at St. Viator’s College in Bourbonnais, Illinois,
and then at St. Paul’s Seminary in Minnesota, before being ordained in
1919. Later, he pursued graduate studies in philosophy at the Catholic
University of America and at Louvain University in Belgium.
His bishop brought him back to the Diocese of Peoria, where he
served as a parish priest for a year. He was permitted to become a pro-
fessor of philosophy at The Catholic University of America in Washington,
D.C., where he taught for twenty-five years.
God had also given him the gift of preaching, a talent he used for
the Church’s work of evangelization, first on a radio program called the
for twenty-five years, and later on television’s
Life Is Worth
series for five years. He is sometimes credited with inventing the
medium of television evangelism.