In this behind-the-scenes update captured during the recent "Pivotal Players" filming trip, Bishop Barron visits St. Mary's Cathedral (Peoria, Illinois), where Fulton Sheen served as an altar boy. (1:26)
Two altar boys
One Sunday morning years ago, a young altar boy was assisting the priest in the celebration of Holy Communion at the small church in their European village.Nervously carrying out his new duties, he accidentally dropped the cruet of wine. The village priest immediately struck the boy sharply on his cheek and in stentorian fashion commanded, “Leave the altar, and don’t come back!” The boy grew up to become Tito, the atheistic Communist leader who ruled Yugoslavia for several decades.
One Sunday morning not long thereafter, another young altar boy was assisting in the celebration of Holy Communion at the cathedral in a large American city. He also accidentally dropped the cruet of wine.The bishop turned and looked at him. But instead of replying in anger, he gently smiled and whispered, “Someday you will be a priest.” That boy also grew up and eventually came to be known as Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen – famous, at least in part, for his television series in the 1950s, “Life Is Worth Living.”
What made the difference in the outcome of the two boys? Truth be known, probably much more than just these incidents in their lives. But this much we do know. One was driven away from that which is sacred – or literally, “according to the sanctuary” – while the other was encouraged to stay near that which is sacred. One adopted the humanistic world-and-life view and carried it to its conclusion. The other adopted the Christian world-and-life view and carried it to its conclusion. One died a harsh dictator, while the other died a servant of God and man, with the message of hope on his lips: “Life is worth living.”