Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen is likely to become Blessed Archbishop Fulton Sheen this fall.
A theological commission in Rome is now looking into a miracle attributed to Sheen's intercession. Sheen died in 1979 at the age of 84.
A baby born to Bonnie and Travis Engstrom in their Goodfield home in 2010 was stillborn. The baby was stillborn with no signs of life 61 minutes while emergency personnel were called and the baby was taken to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. The parents prayed Sheen's intercession into their child's health and the baby's heart started beating. The child, named James Fulton Engstrom, turns 4-years-old this September.
Following the review of the theological commission, a recommendation will be forwarded to Cardinals and then Pope Francis.
"The Cardinals will vote on the whole thing and then it should go to the Pope by about October," says Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria. "Anytime after that (the Pope) could announce Sheen can be beatified."
The Catholic Register reports the miracle of the Engstrom baby is one of three the Diocese had before it, but only one could be presented to the Vatican.
The others involved a woman who died on the operating table and revived with no medical explanation. And, a baby born with multiple life-threatening conditions and was cured.
Once the Pope announces Sheen will be beatified, a huge celebration will be planned in the Diocese of Peoria.
"We'll invite every bishop in America," Jenky says, "and bishops throughout the world. We kind of think a lot would come."
Jenky says it's likely a celebration of that size would take place at the Peoria Civic Center. But the Diocese would be looking toward raising money for the celebration. Plus, the timing is important. Jenky says such an event could not be scheduled close to the Pope's visit to the United States expected to take place in September of 2015.
Sheen was ordained a priest in Peoria. He later gained national recognition as a radio and TV evangelist for nearly four decades starting in 1930. Sheen won two Emmys as host of his "Life is Worth Living" program.
Before Sheen can be declared a saint, however, a second miracle will need to be proven. And, Jenky says, the Diocese will not be able to use any of the other miracles it's considered.
"We can't save some in the back," Jenky says. "So the next one has to come in at least after it's announced he's beatified."