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Evansville, Indiana
September 2, 1994     The Message
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September 2, 1994

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Bishop Francis R. Shea: Third bishop of di By MARY ANN HUGHES, Message staff writer Information for this story was obtained from a 1989 Message inter-" view with Bishop Shea. Bishop Francis R. Shea once said he favored "letting people demon- strate their innate goodness" instead of "forcing everybody to do what think is right." He said he had learned that when he let people make their own decisions "very, very often, it will be the right decision -- if you trust them with it." His philos- ophy served him well.., as a pastor, as a school adminis- trator, and as the third bishop of the Evansville. Bishop Shea died Au- gust 18 and as his diocese said good-bye to hir last week, he was being re- membered for his philosophy as well as his courage, his humor and his kindness. Francis R. Shea was born Dec. 4, 1913, in Knoxville, Tenn., the youngest of the seven children of John F. and Harriet (Hol- ford) Shea. His Irish Catholic father, a man with "great courage and imagination," if remembered for founding a pri: vate school and hiring Catholic teachers. His mother was a convert to Catholicism and as a young boy he re- members her quietly reading her Bible. The Shea family was a "normal family, with a lot of good famil ing, good neighbors and good friends." U! lu a )r c OI Y ,r r d] all( frJn nle t re SE lIE mte w] la siq *nJ if y( ce )ti in, ',k pr )g he b ne d Dec. 2e e ] Azll eE ai  1 tis :u,, l la([ t IUl [1[ ,v n', comin H, Hq ville BJ, TF dral w vices b, U Sch ,ol ficea As a young boy, Frank Shea enjoyed serving at Mass and "playing a " " aJ Church. He had an older brother m the seminary and one of hm 't tellil lg pastimes was to wear his brother's cassocks around the house. "I wasn all that holy. I just played church!" ! One wh When he was 14 years old he began attending prep seminary at St. Bfi Charles College in Baltimore, Md. Being 500 miles from home was diffi" on Mar cult and he had a "lump in my throat until Thanksgiving." After high school and two years of college at St. Charles, he at- tended St. Mary's Sem- inary in Baltimore for two years. When the bishop of the Diocese of Nashville asked him if he wanted to continue his theology studies in Rome, he replied, "I will, if you'll tell my mother." In 1935, he em- barked on a 12-day boat trip to Rome, where he studied theol- ogy at the Gregorian University. Four years later, his mother and his brother, Father Harold Shea, and several fam- ily friends traveled to Rome to see him or- dained in the Chapel at the North American College. Father Shea re- Bishop Francis R. Shea: 19'