Bishop Sheen portrait
Just completed by Greg Hildebrandt to commemorate
the 25th Anniversary of Bishop Sheen's death.
Memorial Mass December 9th 2004
St.Patrick's Cathedral


In 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 known him.

Greg Hildebrandt

Prints are available, signed by Greg Hildebrandt.


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