PEORIA, Illinois — The remains of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen have been removed from St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York and are on their way to central Illinois.

The move comes after three years of litigation that ended with a court ruling Sheen’s niece could bury him in Peoria, where he was ordained 100 years ago. She believes that will improve his chances at sainthood.

Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria said Thursday that Sheen’s remains were disinterred from a basement crypt at the Manhattan church where they have been since his 1979 death.

“Early this morning, June 27, 2019, Joan Sheen Cunningham, niece of Venerable Archbishop Sheen, and Patricia Gibson, Chancellor and Attorney for the Diocese of Peoria, along with funeral home and cemetery personnel, gathered at St. Patrick Cathedral in New York. The remains of Sheen were disinterred from the basement crypt under the main altar at St. Patrick Cathedral. Sheen’s remains were immediately taken to LaGuardia airport and flown to O’Hare airport to be transported to the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria,” the diocese said in a statement.

“The remains will be encased into a marble monument inside the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria,” it continued.

Jenky says the process to have Sheen declared a saint has resumed.

“The Congregation of the Causes of Saints in Rome will present the alleged miracle to Pope Francis for his decree authenticating the miracle attributed to Sheen’s intercession. This alleged miracle involved the miraculous healing of a newborn infant who was without vital signs for over sixty minutes,” the statement said.

Crux staff contributed to this report.

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