The second annual Fulton Sheen Family Day was held this past weekend in El Paso, Illinois.
Why El Paso? Well, while New York is where Sheen is currently entombed, D.C. is where he spent the majority of his life, and Peoria is where he was raised and first served as a priest, it was in the small town of El Paso where Fulton Sheen was born, baptized, and spent his earliest years.
St. Mary's Parish and Fr. Don hosted the event and while numbers were low it was a really wonderful day.
At registration kids grabbed a bag, filled it with a Sheen holy card, coloring book, and comic book. We ask for a $1 per person donation, which helps us offset the cost of supplies but also keeps the event family (and budget) friendly. Everyone was also able to enter for a one of our door prizes.
Ignatius Press, Sophia Press Institute, the Sheen Foundation, and musician Matt Faley all made donations for the door prizes.
We also gave away Sheen's World Mission Rosaries, dvd's, holy cards, and more.
The sisters who run the Sheen Museum in Peoria (a really great visit if you ever get the chance!) brought some relics and other interesting items to display.
We even got a picture of St. Mary's priest, Fr. Don, wearing Sheen's chasibule.
The sisters also brought this great timeline of Sheen's life.
Here's one of my favorite facts:
Fr. Don brought a collection of photographs from all the times Bishop Sheen returned to El Paso. He came back several times throughout the years to preside at the wedding of family members and to be present for other special events.
There were four activity stations and each one had a simple version for younger kids and a more detailed version for older kids. All the stations taught about the faith but also related to Fulton Sheen's life. There were adults and teens at every station to explain the craft and how it related to Sheen. Our hope is that children and parents alike will find the Sheen Family Day to be a fun, interesting mini pilgrimage. We hope they will walk away having learned something new that will lead them to know and love Christ more, and having enjoyed being Catholic.
Spiritual Adoption of Unborn Babies & Fetal Models:
A priest is not his own:
World Mission Rosary:
Katie's mom made the cookie cakes with the Sheen chalkboard frosting.
Lots of fruits and veggies, too!
And cute plates and napkins.
The extra tables had coloring sheets so families could snack and color, or even grab some of these and take them home in their goody bags.
Following the activity and snack time, we headed over to St. Mary's Church for a holy hour. If you ever get to St. Mary's make sure you check out the Baptismal register, where Sheen signed his name at his entry during one of the visits
Fr. Don sat on the steps and talked to the kids about Christ in the Eucharist and led the kids in prayers. As runaway toddlers brisked past him, he didn't bat an eye, and a musician led songs throughout the hour, too.
Katie even created a special booklet for kids to use while they prayed. L told me it was the best holy hour she'd ever been to.
The whole day afternoon was really wonderful, and it wouldn't have been possible without the generosity of the following:
The Sheen Foundation, for their donation of various books, printed materials, and for bringing special relics and Sheen Museum items.
Sophia Press Institute, for their donation of God's World and Our Place in It, Wartime Prayer Book, and Angel in the Waters
Ignatius Press, for their donation of Remade for Happiness
Matt Faley, for the donation of his album The Only Light
Katie Bogner, who put a great deal of time, talent, and treasure into developing the day, recruiting volunteers, planning and preparing for the crafts.
Sr. Lea, Sr. Anne, Fr. Don, and all the folks who volunteered - this really couldn't have happened without them.
Next year we plan on being back in Peoria. I hope to see you then and there!