URGENT PRAYER REQUEST for a young priest diagnosed with ALS – #padresfight

I have sad news.

Fr.  Dana Christensen, a priest of the Diocese of Sioux Falls, who comments here frequently, has been diagnosed to be in the initial stages of  amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS, or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”.   There is no cure for this degenerative disease that affects motor neurons which control voluntary muscles.

Fr. Christensen wrote to ask me about practicalities of saying Mass when it will eventually become hard to swallow, speak, and use his arms and hands.   My Jesus, mercy!

He wrote to me:

I am personally at peace with this, although I have my moments.  I am convinced that this is a mysterious gift from God through the hands of Our Lady of Fatima to bring me to salvation and entrust me with the mission to live my priesthood in a new way.  The way of the cross that Jesus is inviting me to walk will not be easy, but He and His holy Mother Mary will uphold me.  I continue to do my best to surrender myself to Jesus knowing that He will take care of everything.

I ask all of you to pray for a miraculous healing through the intercession of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen using the following prayer.

Eternal Father, You alone grant us every blessing in Heaven and on earth, through the redemptive mission of Your Divine Son, Jesus Christ, and by the working of the Holy Spirit. If it be according to Your Will, glorify Your servant, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, by granting the favor I now request through his prayerful intercession (mention your request here – [the swift, complete and lasting healing of Fr. Christensen’s ALS]).  I make this prayer confidently through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Dear readers, Fr. Christensen has asked that you pray for miraculous healing through the intercession of Fulton Sheen.

What inevitably happens next is that people, well-meaning of course, then post comments like: “I’ll pray for you especially to St. Ugthred and St. Wilibrod, my favorite saints.”  To which I respond, “Thanks!  But would you please pray to Fulton Sheen, like Fr. C asked?”  And then get back, “Okay! And St. Joan the Astonishing, too!”   Which brings the next volley: “Please just ask Fulton Sheen?”  Which results in, “Okay, and Jesus and Mary and all the Saints!”

At which point I pound my head against the desk.

For a miracle to be useful for a cause, there must be a way to substantiate that prayers for intercession were raised that THAT PARTICULAR Venerable or Blessed.   If the cause hears that virtually everyone is being evoked, it becomes less likely that the miracle will be helpful for the cause.

Get it?

Fulton Sheen.

Finally, have a look


He has a goal posted of 500.  Be sure to look at the back when you go there.




About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, PRAYER REQUEST, Urgent Prayer Requests and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Gab says:

    Fr Christensen’s faith and conviction during this time is astonishing. Praise be to God for the Grace He has given to the good padre. What an example he has set for us! God bless him in time and eternity.

  2. Liz says:

    Archbishop Sheen, please heal Fr. Christensen. I have added him to a list of priests we pray for and we will add him to our rosary intentions. I said the prayer you posted, Father. God bless you, Fr. Z.

  3. Andrew says:

    I have added him to a list of priests we pray for and we will add him to our rosary intentions.

    A long time ago, as a young man, serving in the US Army, I learned that crystal clear instructions given to a large group will, as a rule, result in a good number of the participants completely miss the point, as if they hadn’t heard what was said. Even when there was a penalty attached to missing the instruction. It surprised me at first, but over the years I have gotten used to it. Now I am surprised when someone actually listens.


  4. I have said the explicitly requested prayer. I have also taken a screenshot of it so I can continue to say it again.

  5. veritas vincit says:

    I have prayed and will pray for the intercession of Fulton Sheen for Fr Christensen.

  6. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Whether or not he is the Dana Christensen who was a schoolmate of mine in Denver in the 1970s (and a great guy btw), i’m glad to pray for him.

  7. I asked the intercession of Apb Sheen. My aunt had this illness.

  8. ajf1984 says:

    Fr. C is a dear friend of our family who has baptized all 5 of my boys. Our family is praying for his healing through Abp. Sheen’s intercession!

  9. APX says:

    There was a very pious lady at our Latin Mass Community who was diagnosed with ALS. She didn’t seek treatment to drag out the inevitable, and as such, didn’t go through the severe paralysis that is commonly associated with ALS.

  10. dahveed says:

    I’ve prayed exactly as you’ve asked it, Father. Is it possible to pin it, in some fashion, so we continue to see it, as a reminder to do this daily?

  11. AQ says:

    I have prayed as you asked, Father.

  12. scoot says:

    I have prayed as you asked, and will continue to pray.

  13. Ms. M-S says:

    I’ve printed out copies of the request and the prayer for Fr. Christensen’s healing through the intercession of Archbishop Sheen and will hand them out to people.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  14. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Dahveed – you could do as i have done and bookmark this item in your browser

  15. robtbrown says:

    My first year in Rome, 1986, I met the poster boy of ALS. Stephen Hawking, wife Jane, and his daughter in front of the Trevi Fountain. They were there for his induction into the Pontifical Academy of Science.

    He was not yet a cultural icon–I was the only one who recognized him. I was aware of his work with Roger Penrose because of my interest in Cosmology. Later, in my dissertation I cited him and JRatzinger because of their similar concepts of the nature of Time. (In other matters, Hawking does a philosophical face plant.)

    Anyway, trying to communicate with someone who could not talk and used an LCD was an adventure.

  16. Kathleen10 says:

    Oh please, please won’t everybody purchase a shirt? The shirts do not seem to be selling as quickly as they may hope, what a sad thought! For 25 or 30 dollars, we can give a tiny ray of sunshine to a young man, a Catholic priest and his family. It must feel great to think people care, in such tough moments. Imagine if sales are slow. :(

  17. Imrahil says:

    Done so.

  18. Cafea Fruor says:

    Done as requested and instructed!

  19. Pingback: Fr. Z’s Kitchen – Of the Bard, Crow and Fishy Noodles | Fr. Z's Blog

  20. My family printed a few copies of the prayer and I went and bought a shirt, as well. I will say the prayer daily, at least.

  21. KateD says:


  22. moosix1974 says:

    I was FB friends with Father, before I got off and we interacted fairly frequently, so I consider him a friend. I am heartbroken to hear this! I just ordered a shirt and I have been sharing with our parish “communications” person to share on our FB and Flocknotes. I will also do like Ms. M-S and print the prayers out and distribute them. I am so glad he is asking for the intercession of Archbishop Sheen. The Church may not recognize him, but the people will!

  23. Mariana2 says:

    On it. And as per instruction, Father.

  24. exNOAAman says:

    On the new calendar at least, I see that 40 days from Jan 3 is the feast of OL of Lourdes.
    Will be praying 40 here for sure.

  25. Fr. Kelly says:

    I offered this prayer to Archbishop Sheen for Fr. Dana’s speedy, complete and permanent healing from ALS. I will continue to do so.

  26. poohbear says:

    I will pray the posted prayer daily

  27. Kathleen10 says:

    Fr. Z they have sold 150 out of 500 they hoped for. Not even half.

  28. codycarver says:

    Done in spades. I was so touched by Fr. Christensen’s note to you, I printed it, along with his prayer and distributed it at Mass today. Many prayers offered from our EF community in Wyoming.

  29. beelady says:

    Praying just as you requested, will continue to pray.

  30. PMK says:

    Dear Fr Z, I have ordered a t-shirt and am saying the prayer daily. I hope you don’t mind, since it is going against your instructions, I have added my husband as well in the intention. He was diagnosed with ALS 2 days before Thanksgiving.

  31. Adelle Cecilia says:

    I’ve ordered a shirt, and we’ve added the prayer (as typed) to the order of prayers at night. My oldest 2 already know it by heart, just from having been praying it this long.

  32. bartlep says:

    I’m praying for Fr. Christensen every day. May he be cured forever and be a cause for Bishop Sheen’s sainthood.

  33. Clinton R. says:

    Through the Intercession of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, may Fr. Christensen be healed in Our Lord’s Holy Name.

  34. Missouri Knight says:

    Amen, and purchased! Thank you for the awareness, Fr. Z!

  35. pray4truth says:

    Printed/copied and pasted the prayer so I can say it every day, bought a tee shirt for hubby and hoodie for me, and shared on FB!

  36. mo7 says:

    Our nightly, online rosary group will pray to Ven. Fulton Sheen for this intention.

  37. mo7 says:

    That is, pray to Ven. Fulton Sheen for his intercession for Father C.

  38. Adelle Cecilia says:

    The shirts have arrived!

Comments are closed.