1963 my brother Tim and I illustrated a manuscript based on the
last week of Christ's life. The book was never published.
By Fate, Destiny or the
will of God, the manuscript and pictures found their way to a
Franciscan publishing company in Paterson NJ. The head of the
publishing company was a friend of Bishop Sheen. He showed the
artwork to Bishop Sheen. And a week later Tim and I were in New
York City meeting with the Bishop and his staff.
I had watched the Bishop
on TV many times in the 1950's. Standing in his presence I was
in awe. The thought that I would ever meet him had never occurred
to me. Yet there I was, 24 years old, a babe in the woods, wet
behind the ears standing in front of Bishop Sheen.
During our conversation
about the artwork we explained to the Bishop that we were involved
in film making in Detroit. He had been planning on creating a
series films that would show Americans how most of the world lived
in abject poverty. He asked us if we would like to make those
films for him. We saw it as an opportunity of a lifetime. So of
course we said yes. He smiled and hired us. I suppose you could
say that the rest is history.
The Bishop's passion for
helping the poor and underprivileged was legendary. Tim and I
were swept up by his passion. And we made several films on this
subject. It was truly a rare honor and privilege not only to have
known Bishop Sheen but also to have worked closely with him in
his offices for three years. We met with the Bishop weekly and
saw him daily. We affectionately called him "Boss". He affectionately
called us "Boys".
I have many wonderful memories
of him. His inspiration, generosity, kindness, humor, passion,
love of life and love of people was immense. He has been a source
of light for me for the last 25 years. And will continue to be
in my future.
I have many great quotes
pinned up on the walls of my studio. One of them is from the Bishop.
"Old men dream dreams, Young men see visions." To me the bishop
was eternally young.
When the opportunity arose
to paint his portrait for the 25th anniversary of his death, I
was lit up like a bon fire. I only hope the Bishop likes it.
I remember him with much
love. He was a magnificent human being. I was honored to have