We at the IRL were privileged to spend 2 days at The Holy Resurrection Monastery in St. Nazianz, Wisconsin, a year or so ago. We were also blessed to have Abbot Nicholas Zachariadis celebrate the Divine Liturgy at the 2013 National Meeting. He has some beautiful and profound insights into the gifts that the Eastern Church can offer the West. For me, the Byzantine awareness of this passing life and our approaching final judgement needs to be reawakened our hearts. There is a mysticism, a profound encounter with heavenly realities that is present in the Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy.
On April 9, Abbot Nicholas joined Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ, on EWTN to discuss the growth of his new community of Byzantine monks. And they are growing, thanks be to God.
Also, an article by Abbot Nicholas and Benjamin Mann recently appeared in The Catholic World Report. They have this to say about the New Evangelization: To re-evangelize the West, the Church must recover its mystical heritage – but this task requires contact with the living monastic tradition. Monasteries are thus essential to the New Evangelization.
And what is mysticism? Mysticism means relating to God on the deepest level of our being. It means knowing and loving him in a transcendent way, in keeping with His infinite and unfathomable nature. This profound communion with the Triune God is the reason for our existence, the true meaning of our lives.
By encountering our Eastern tradition, Western Christians can reconnect with their own mystical and monastic roots – as they must, in order to evangelize the spiritual seekers in their midst.
The monks welcome pilgrims and retreatants. One piece of advice: do not plug a hair dryer into the shaver outlet. You’ll blow the lights out of a good portion of the monastery!
To those who doubt the value of monasticism for the New Evangelization, we say: “Come and see!” (John 1:39). For the witness of our tradition cannot be conveyed by words alone.
On May 20, 2012, the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration marked the 50th anniversary of the foundation of Mother Angelica’s Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Alabama. The monastery was dedicated on May 20, 1962.
By the early 70’s the sisters were duplicating Mother’s talks and printing “mini” books to explain the basics of the Faith. And in 1981, Mother launched Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) in the monastery garage and the rest as they say is history.
I remember visiting EWTN in the late 90’s and attending one of Mother’s Live shows. She wandered around the set before the show began greeting people as if she didn’t have a care in the world and sat down with only seconds to spare. Everything came from a heart prepared by and with prayer. I had a message to give to her from a mutual friend that day and felt somewhat awkward doing it just minutes before she was to go on the air but she gave me her full attention and spent sometime talking with me. I was very impressed.
I thank God for EWTN which gave my housebound relatives a participation in the life of the Church and great consolation in the weeks before their deaths. May EWTN flourish and grow to the ends of the earth in all the languages of the human race.
For the full article in the National Catholic Register and many reflections on the 50 years of history, click here.
I once told a priest from Germany that I thought that EWTN had saved Catholicism in America. He looked surprised and startled at my pronouncement. But where on the TV waves was (and is) authentic Catholicism being taught? How many Catholic and non-Catholic lives have been transformed through the network?
Congratulations to EWTN which celebrated its 25th anniversary on May 2, 2012.
“There is significance that Mother Angelica started EWTN to defend Jesus Christ, and we were founded on the feast of St. Athanasius, a doctor of the Church, defender of the divinity of Jesus Christ and the ‘Father of Orthodoxy,’” said Father Joseph Wolfe, MFVA, the first priest ordained for the new Public Clerical Association of the Faithful in 1993. “Mother Angelica wanted us to be a spiritual support for the television network.” He uses the analogy that their cloistered nuns are to be the heart of the mission and the friars and EWTN are to be the voice of the mission.
Today, there are 17 Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word (MFVA) friars who are priests or brothers. Twelve are in perpetual profession. On June 2, two men will be ordained to the transitional deaconate and two to the priesthood, increasing MFVA priests’ numbers to seven.
May the friars continue to be true to the their motto: The lost I will seek out; the strays I will bring back (Ezekiel 34:16).
Sr. Marie Antoinette, PCPA, was a professional violinist before she entered the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in 1984, one of the early sisters who joined Mother Angelica’s new community in Birmingham, Alabama.
Now she is using her talents to raise money for the restoration of the Monastere Notre Dame des Anges, their cradle monastery, in Troyes, France. Their foundress, Mother Marie of St. Claire Bouillevaux, is buried in the monastery garden.
The chapel was renovated and reopened in 2007. In order to raise funds to repair the roof, Sister Marie Antoinette has recorded a CD of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and a Sonata by Veracini. The sisters hope to sell hundreds of the CDs to pay for part of the expenses. As Sister said, “You could say I was ‘fiddling’ for the roof!”
Read the complete article in the National Catholic Register (2/26/12). To order the CD, visit the EWTN website or call (800)854-6316.
Check out this article from Catholic News Agency entitled, “Encounter with Blessed Mother Teresa transforms woman’s life.”
Susan Conroy is a lay woman whose life was forever changed as a result of time spent with Mother Teresa in Calcutta in the 1980s.
More recently, Susan has worked with the Maine Children’s Cancer program, helping dying children. She has helped out in soup kitchens, homeless shelters and with AIDS patients in the south Bronx. She taught religion to poor children.
Eventually, Susan wrote a book about her time with Mother Teresa and received her blessings on the project. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the book, Mother Teresa’s Lessons of Love and Secrets of Sanctity, go to the Missionaries of Charity’s work in Haiti and to EWTN, the Catholic television station that offers spiritual nourishment to Catholics, especially shut ins.
For the full story, click here.
It’s hard to believe that it’s now been thirty years since Mother Angelica started Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) in her monastery’s garage. How many people have been encouraged in their journey of faith by EWTN’s program? And how many religious and priestly vocations were in some way influenced by this apostolate?
For an uplifting story on EWTN’s development over the past thirty years, check out this post at al.com.
This evening at 6:30 p.m. eastern time, EWTN will premiere its much-anticipated new program called “The Catholic View for Women.”
The hosts for the new program will be Teresa Tomeo, Janet Morana, and Astrid Bennett Gutierrez.
Catholic News Agency reports that the show will address issues relevant to women from a Catholic perspective. The initial shows will focus on key issues such as vocations, spirituality, feminism, and the Church’s teaching on contraception, among others.
For EWTN’s programming schedule for this week, click here.