When Auxiliary Bishop Bernard Sheil was a young priest working as a chaplain at the Cook County Jail, he saw a great need to provide an outlet for at-risk youth that was positive but also channeled their energy. As a star football and baseball player in high school and college, Sheil turned to sports and founded the Catholic Youth Organization in 1930 with the support of Cardinal George Mundelein. He began by first offering a boxing league because, next to gangsters like Al Capone, boxers were the most idolized figures at the time. The league quickly took off and annual CYO boxing tournaments saw more than 15,000 spectators filling the seats at Chicago Stadium. But Sheil offered more than sports through the CYO. He stressed Christian morality, civic mindedness and “clean living,” according to Timothy B. Neary, author of “Crossing Parish Boundaries: Race, Sports and Catholic Youth in Chicago, 1914-1954.” Soon after founding the CYO, Sheil added basketball leagues for both boys and girls. A man ahead of his time, Sheil mandated that the CYO accept children of all races. By 1935, dioceses around the country picked up the CYO model and many still offer it today. The Archdiocese of Chicago didn’t fund CYO. Sheil relied on donations from civic and business leaders to support the league. Today, the CYO in the archdiocese is run by Maryville. The CYO wasn’t Sheil’s only addition to society. He opened the Sheil School of Social Studies for adult education, started the flying program at Lewis University and founded the Sheil Center at Northwestern University, to name just a few. He was also heavily involved in the Pilot Dog Foundation, which trained and provided guide dogs for the blind. In 1954, despite being an auxiliary bishop, the “Apostle of Youth” was elevated to archbishop by Pope Pius XII for his many charitable works. At this death in 1969, his life of ministry was hailed from all corners of the county. That ministry is still bearing fruit today.