Legates love their priests — and there’s no better time to honor them . . .
One of the most frequent comments I hear from our chaplains when I interview them for this magazine is, “Legatus members sure love their priests.” And for good reason. Chaplains have become friends with Legates, and they bring Christ to them through the sacraments.
So to honor them and to mark the Church’s Year of the Priest, this issue focuses on those who serve us in the priesthood and religious life. Our article on religious vocations focuses on the uptick in vocations over the past decade, while our cover story celebrates the life and legacy of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, one of the most prominent American Catholics in history. He died 30 years ago this month.
You probably won’t hear much about Archbishop Sheen’s life and legacy in the secular media — even with the anniversary of his death and his canonization cause moving forward. You won’t hear how he captivated a nation with a blackboard and piece of chalk, stealing the top spot in the ratings during the early 1950s from Milton Berle, Mr. Television himself.
And if they do mention Sheen’s legacy, it will only be in passing. They won’t tell you how he inspired a generation of Catholics — young and old — to embrace their faith. Members of today’s clergy — New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Fox News Channel commentator Fr. Jonathan Morris, to name a few — credit Sheen as one of their greatest inspirations. Legatus members, too, continue to be inspired by Sheen’s timeless message and pioneering work in the media.
Just as Archbishop Sheen made an impact on the nation, all of our priests make a significant difference in the lives of everyone in their circle of influence. They not only baptize and confirm our children, act in persona Christi at Mass and in the confessional, and comfort us when we lose a loved one, but they are our friends on our pilgrimage to the Father. If you’re like me, you love inviting a priest into your home for a meal and fellowship. You make sure to remember their birthdays and to congratulate them on their anniversary of ordination.
When we make a difference in the life of a priest, when we affirm them in their ministry, we also affect the lives of thousands that the priest ministers to. When we make our New Year’s resolutions, we should make sure that encouraging priests is near the top of the list.
Pope John Paul II visited New York City in 1979, just two months before Archbishop Sheen’s death. The Holy Father broke protocol and embraced the ailing bishop saying, “You have written and spoken well of the Lord Jesus Christ. You are a loyal son of the Church.” Nothing could have affirmed him more. Let’s pledge to do our part to honor those who bring Christ to us.
Patrick Novecosky is Legatus Magazine’s editor.