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Fulton Sheen was a not-to-be-missed radio and television evangelist during the mid-twentieth century, but his broadcasting career got off to a rocky start. "I don't know why I invited that man," the host remarked quietly as Sheen failed to ignite the airwaves during his first radio address. By the 1950s, however, Bishop Sheen was preaching to millions on his weekly TV show, "Life Is Worth Living," had won an Emmy and appeared on the cover of Time magazine.
Far more than a media personality, Bishop Sheen was above all a priest with a single-minded determination to bring people to Christ. Although he counted the rich and famous among his converts, he was friend and benefactor to many poor, sick or lonely people and not a few hardened sinners. He introduced Catholics to the "hour of power," an hour of prayer daily before the Blessed Sacrament; his own life as an evangelist, writer, scholar, bishop and fundraiser flowed from this practice. Bishop Sheen was a "loyal son of the church," John Paul II told him, and his story is especially relevant in this time of renewed evangelization.
JANEL RODRIGUEZ is a freelance writer living and working in her native city of New York. Like Fulton Sheen, she is a Third Order Carmelite. Her books for children include the biographies Gloria Estefan and Nely Galan.
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