July 1, 2005

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

July 4th introduction to Wartime Prayer Book

Democracy was born at this time in 1776, so next year will mark the 230th anniversary of the United States’ independence from Britain.

As a country of immigrants, every day more join us in the “American Dream.” Many become naturalized citizens. Because freedom isn’t free, many eventually choose to join the ranks of our country’s Armed Forces. They also believe in protecting, building, and preserving freedom. People of faith are urged to remember these men and women in prayer this weekend.

Actually, prayer is the real focus of this column. When writing about war and peace a couple weeks ago, space restrictions prevented me from also sharing information about Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen’s Wartime Prayer Book.

How many readers remember Archbishop Sheen because of his popular radio program, “The Catholic Hour,” and his even more popular ABC television series, “Life is Worth Living”? With humor and a winning yet forceful personality, he influenced tens of millions of people.

“If you want people to stay as they are,” he said, “tell them what they want to hear. If you want to improve them, tell them what they should know.”

He also did this in homilies, retreats and more than 90 books. (One book, Peace of Soul, was sixth on the New York Times’ list of best-selling books.)

His TV broadcasts and books continue his mission even now through the contact information at the end of this column.

His two greatest loves were the Eucharist and the Blessed Mother. His Wartime Prayer Book, originally published as The Armor of God in the midst of World War II, reflects his love for both. The book is dedicated with a prayer to “Mother Immaculate, gracious patroness of the United States…” and one chapter is an inspiring explanatory meditation on the Eucharist. Basic prayers are included, too.

The introduction declares, “This prayer book is for soldiers, sailors, marines, coast guard, for all fighting forces at home and abroad—on land, on the sea, and in the air—and for civilians at home: for all who live in a world at war…”

Smaller than a 3-inch by 5-inch card and only ½-inch thick, the book is free to Armed Forces personnel through the efforts of the Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Foundation, Catholics in the Military and Sophia Institute Press. Naturally, donations are encouraged so that the prayer book can continue to be available.

For more information, contact www.wartimeprayerbook.org or www.bishopsheen.org. Readers interested in the movement to beatify Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen can find more information at ­ www.bishopsheencause.org. (Those without computers can make donations or receive more information by writing to the Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Office; 111 Ferguson Court, Suite 102, Irving, Texas 75062.)

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)


Local site Links: