A GOLD MEDAL OLYMPIAN AND MOTHER ANGELICA

A GOLD MEDAL OLYMPIAN AND MOTHER ANGELICA

The 2016 Rio Olympics are over but the memories of our favorite sports and favorite athletes are undoubtedly very strong. Many moments and athletes stood out for me as I love so very many sports but I was especially happy about the coverage given to those young guys and gals on the Olympic stage for whom faith – not sports – is Number One in their lives.

Perhaps you even saw my Facebook post on August 17 entitled “This Catholic Network of Schools Produced Nine Rio Olympians.”

Now, here’s a very interesting August 20 story by my CNA/EWTN colleagues in New York about a retired Olympian and Mother Angelica. Enjoy!

(CNA/EWTN News).- When the New York Times interviewed retired Olympian Dominique Dawes, she was asked a peculiar question: if you could have dinner with one person who is no longer living, and whose obituary was published in the New York Times, who would it be?

The three-time Olympian responded by saying, “I would choose to dine with Mother Angelica.” “I’d invite Mother Angelica to my home and have her sit at the head of our table, alongside my husband and two baby girls,” Dawes told the New York Times in an Aug. 17 interview. “I’d ask her to say the blessing, then proceed to ask her a few things about her life and about fortitude.”

MOTHER A and DAWES

Dawes, who made Olympic history by becoming the first African-American female gymnast to win an individual medal in 1996, grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland and started taking gymnastic lessons at age six. Also known as “Awesome Dawesome,” she was part of the “Magnificent Seven” at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, where the U.S. women’s gymnastic team won gold for the first time in history.

After retiring from gymnastics in 2000, Dawes converted to Catholicism on Easter Vigil in 2013, and soon after married Jeff Thomson, a Catholic high school teacher. Dawes was originally drawn to EWTN foundress Mother Angelica because of her faith, resilience and perseverance.

“She knew resilience most of all, raised by a single mother from an early age after her father had abandoned them,” Dawes said, asking “I often wondered how she overcame this abandonment, learned to forgive her father and ultimately trust in God?” Noting Mother Angelica’s humble beginnings, Dawes said that she would cook Mother Angelica some “soul food” for dinner – a meal that would include chitlins, collard greens, cheese grits and candied yams.

“Mother Angelica would understand this meal: She was raised around blacks and poor Italians in a tough Canton, Ohio, neighborhood. She knew people, she understood their plights, she was one of them!” Dawes said.

Impressed by Mother Angelica’s ability to start the largest religious television network with only $200, Dawes mentioned many questions she would ask the beloved nun. “She was a cloistered nun, in a convent, yet she was seen by hundreds of millions of people worldwide as the host of a series on EWTN. How was she able to embrace both of these so very opposite vocations?” Dawes asked.

The retired Olympian particularly related to the contradictory aspect of Mother Angelica’s vocation and admired how she balanced a quiet life with a public one. Dawes said that because of her own introverted nature, performing at the Olympics always gave her anxiety. Dawes was also struck by Mother Angelica’s ability to take her own painful, personal experiences and turn them into fuel for the greater good.

The gymnast said she would ask Mother Angelica how she could help others in her own life, “whether they suffer from anxiety, depression, addiction, physical ailments or the pain of abandonment or divorce.” Dawes also noted her desire to learn from Mother Angelica’s lasting example. “Mother Angelica…how can we here on earth emulate what you did, even in a smaller way, offering help to others in a world that so desperately needs it?”

 

MASS IN VATICAN PARISH COMMEMORATES MOTHER ANGELICA

Today is the 11th anniversary of the death of St. John Paul, a day that no one who was in Rome at the time will ever forget. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to overhear a conversation between St. John Paul and Mother Angelica!

Mass last night at Sant’Anna was just lovely, as I hope you can glean from my photos. I was very blessed to be a lector at that Mass. I have not actually checked but I am sure that video is now or will be soon be posted on Youtube.

As you pray today, include members of the large pilgrimage organized by New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan whose flight to Rome yesterday was cancelled by Delta! I was to have joined them today for a walk together with Cardinal Dolan to St. Peter’s Basilica to mark the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy by entering the Holy Door to receive a plenary indulgence. Afterwards, at 4 pm, he was scheduled to celebrate Mass at the Tomb of St. Peter: Hopefully those events can be rescheduled!  Tonight was to feature dinner and a book-signing event with the pilgrims, many of whom I know!

MASS IN VATICAN PARISH COMMEMORATES MOTHER ANGELICA

At the same time that the funeral for Mother Angelica was being held at the Shrine of the Angels in Hanceville, Alabama, yesterday morning, the Rome EWTN family and friends attended a Mass in the Vatican parish of Sant’Anna that was celebrated by Cardinal George Pell.

20160401_175214

EWTN staff were lectors and readers of prayer intentions during Mass, including intentions read in various languages by the multi-lingual Rome members.

20160401_175225

Cardinal Pell was the principal celebrant and concelebrants for the Mass were: Msgr. Dario Eduardo Vigano, president of the Secretariat for Communications, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., spokesman for the Vatican and director of the Holy See Press Office, and Fr. Jeff Kirby, who is studying for his doctorate in moral theology in Rome

20160401_182932

Present at the Sant’Anna Mass were Ambassadors to the Holy See Ken Hackett of the U,S. Esteban Kriskovich of Paraguay, as well as representatives from Opus Dei, Cor Unum, the Foreign Press Office, FAO, L’Osservatore Romano, Order of the Holy Sepulcher, Catholic-Link, the Pontifical North American College (NAC), the Vatican Post Office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Christian Life Movement, the European Parliament, the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate and Greg Burke, vice director of the Holy See Press Office.

20160401_183813

20160401_183013

Numerous media representatives were present as well.

Following is Cardinal Pell’s homily for Mother Angelica memorial Mass:

20160401_181712

April 1, 2016 –  St. Anne’s Church, Vatican City

Easter Sunday is a good day for dying, a good day for being born into eternal life. Mother Angelica died on last Easter Sunday, and we should be consoled by the time of her passing as we gather to pray for the repose of her soul as she awaits the Resurrection of the body.

Today’s Easter Gospel passage and the reading from Acts both speak of spectacular miracles. In the Gospel the apostles had been fishing all through the night without catching anything. And they did not recognize Jesus as he stood on the bank and invited them to try once more. I suspect the fisherman complied with the request out of politeness rather than conviction. But they took in a great catch of 153 fish, which strained their nets, and Jesus then gave them breakfast. In the passage from Acts we have Peter and John curing the crippled man through the power of Jesus Christ, and so disturbing the high priests and the leaders with their teachings and their miracles. It was after the first Pentecost, and Peter was no longer afraid as he defended his good deed done to a cripple. Mother Angelica would have been proud of him. ‘The man who stands before you was healed,’ he proclaimed, ‘in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. He is the stone rejected by you builders which has become the corner stone. And there is no salvation through anyone else.’ As the cross was proclaimed as a sign of contradiction with such faith and courage, it’s not surprising that by then the early Christian community numbered 5,000 men.

Some parallels quickly come to mind. The spread and effectiveness of Mother Angelica’s Eternal Word Television Network, EWTN, founded in 1981 with an investment of $200 was as unexpected as the apostles’ huge catch of fish. So too we should draw strength from the fact that Peter’s salvation message was exactly the same as Mother Angelica’s, unbroken and substantially unchanged across 2,000 years. This kerygma, the basic Good News, doesn’t need improvement or pruning, and doesn’t need corrections or additions. And part of Mother Angelica’s effectiveness came from her acceptance of this truth.

Mother Angelica’s public personality was so boisterous that we can be tempted to forget that she was a contemplative Franciscan nun, a Poor Clare from the age of 21. I still feel her religious name is somewhat incongruous, as she was not angelic in any conventional sense. The Little Flower’s parents were both canonized, but Mother Angelica had no such blessing. Born into a poor family in the Rust Belt, Ohio, Rita Rizzo’s father abandoned her when she was five, and she was brought up by her mother, who suffered from depression. She did poorly at school – at the McKinley High School ­– although she was the drum majorette in the school band. Her life story brings a message of encouragement for all those who were or are children from broken homes. Some, perhaps many, from such backgrounds are tempted to be resentful, short of self-confidence, uncertain of their ability to contribute or build a good family. Mother Angelica is one more example of what can be achieved from difficult beginnings. She knew what it was to struggle. She wasn’t a ‘milk and water’ character, but a triumph of God’s grace through, and perhaps despite, her nature. She truly cast fire upon the earth.

God works in unexpected ways, as Mother Angelica promised him that she would found a monastery deep in the Protestant south, at Irondale in Alabama. With four companions she came there in 1962. An unlikely launching pad for an international television network, although probably not quite as unpromising a spot as Bethlehem and Nazareth. Mother began in a small way by recording video tapes of her homilies in the 1970s until she founded EWTN with Deacon Bill Steltemeier. Eventually EWTN pioneered the digital revolution in broadcasting, and many experts visited to examine just what they were doing. There was an enormous development and progression.

Mother Angelica was conservative, direct, and in fact somewhat divisive. She spoke truth to authority, as strong women have ever done to their families, their priests and bishops, and sometimes to the public; just think of Catherine of Siena. She didn’t found another church, and while she spoke bluntly to a number of the Church’s officials, she recognized the office of Pope and bishops and priests.

The Catholic world was very different back when she unleashed her withering attack on those who presented a female Christ figure at the 1993 Denver World Youth Day. There were not, then, as there are now, so many signs of hope; not so many young, orthodox and vital priests and religious. And this para-liturgical abuse provoked her to unleash the pent-up frustrations of many years. It was powerful and eloquent, something of a diatribe, certainly over-the-top in some ways. But thank God she spoke that way. When I read it, I remember thinking ‘yes, she’s right.’ And one Australian activist had written to me just recently, and told me that he changed his life’s direction after hearing it. It wasn’t discreet – in fact it was massively imprudent. But it was great copy for the journalists, and a great witness to the Christ that we follow.

She slowed down the drift toward destruction, turned away many from damaging themselves. We pray for her soul, despite the long years of penance through suffering which occurred after her strokes in 2001. May she be liberated from the effects of her weakness and sins.

Above all we thank God for her message, her courage and her faith. And we pray that the Church in the United States will throw up other giants equally unexpectedly to help strengthen our faith and lead us to Christ. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

George Card. Pell

Prefect

Secretariat for the Economy

VATICAN INSIDER ASKS: WHO IS THE MAN OF THE SHROUD? – CARDINAL DZIWISZ REMEMBERS MOTHER ANGELICA

This is a brief column today as I will shortly be leaving for a Mass at the Vatican parish of Sant’Anna for the repose of the soul of Mother Angelica. Cardinal George Pell will preside at the Eucharist, which takes place at the same time has her funeral in Alabama.

A note about a special that EWTN will air at 9 pm ET on Divine Mercy Sunday: Divine Mercy – The Canonization Of John Paul II: Join Newt and Callista Gingrich, along with a cast of scholars, witnesses, and pilgrims, as they share their experiences of the canonization of Pope John Paul II and reflect on his legacy. This is a sequel to their celebrated film, “Nine Days that Changed the World.” I have a very small part in this fascinating video.

GINGRICH

VATICAN INSIDER ASKS: WHO IS THE MAN OF THE SHROUD?

In lieu of an interview segment on “Vatican Insider” this Divine Mercy Sunday weekend is Part II of the Special I have prepared on the Shroud of Turin. This week and next I ask the question – and attempt to answer – Who is the Man of the Shroud?

20150520_232016

As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:30 am (Eastern time) and re-airs Sundays at 4:30 pm (ET). Check for your time zone. Past shows are found in Vatican Insider archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

CARDINAL DZIWISZ REMEMBERS MOTHER ANGELICA

Following is the letter sent by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, Poland, upon learning of the death of Mother Angelica.

Reverend Mother Dolores Marie,

Superior of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Irondale, Alabama

Dear Mr. Michael Warsaw,

EWTN Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,

I received the sad information regarding Mother Angelica the Founders of EWTN, who the Lord called to the heaven on Easter Sunday March 27, 2016. It is only fitting that the Lord chose this day to call home one of his humble servants.

I met her personally, when she was visiting the Holy Father John Paul II in Vatican and I have to give the witness, She was a wonderful women dedicated to Jesus and to the Church. She devoted her life to ministry, converting untold numbers of people to the church. She left an indelible mark on the Catholic Church and the world as a whole. She will be always remembered for her personal sermons and she will live on forever in the hearts of all those that her sermons have touched through her gift to the world, the Eternal Word Television Network.”

other Angelica was a great Apostle of Jesus and gave a wonderful witness to the Love of God in The Eternal Word Television Network. I am convinced She is enjoying the eternal life with our Lord in Heaven.

I would like to express my compassion to the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in the Convent of Hanceville and to the all Collaborators of EWTN Irondale, Alabama and to assure you, who are mourning after Your Mother, of my prayers.

May Jesus, who conquered death, be the source of hope for you all.

With my prayers,

 

MOTHER ANGELICA: TRIBUTES FROM CATHOLICS IN MEDIA

MOTHER ANGELICA: TRIBUTES FROM CATHOLICS IN MEDIA

News of the death on Easter Sunday of Mother Angelica, PCPA, foundress of EWTN and a paradoxically innovative “traditional” nun, brought swift tributes from religious and secular Catholics who work in media and were eager to share their memories and appreciations: (From National Catholic Register)

Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB: CEO, Salt and Light Catholic Television Network How fitting that Mother Angelica would be called home on Easter Sunday 2016. This great woman of faith, evangelical boldness and joyful courage was one of the Church’s great instruments of the First Evangelization and the New Evangelization. She did in her lifetime what Church leaders in the USA had attempted for many years and never succeeded: founding a Catholic television network and media outlet that would serve the world. I shall never forget my first meeting with her in 2001 as I prepared to lead World Youth Day 2002 in Canada. Her sage advice, encouragement and promise of prayers at that time, shortly before her debilitating stroke, revealed a woman of great faith and creativity. She remained steadfast and joyful in the midst of her own personal suffering in her early years and her long suffering at the end of her life. Now that the torch is passed to another generation of staff and colleagues, may we all learn from her zeal, loyal witness, ingenuity and deep faith in God and her trust in good people around her. May the Risen Lord and Eternal Word welcome her into the peace of God’s kingdom.

Bishop Christopher Coyne, Bishop of Burlington, VT One cannot help but admire Mother Angelica for her tenacity and her single-mindedness in creating EWTN. To think that this woman religious founded a small broadcast station in a garage of her monastery and was able to grow it into the broadcast and digital giant that EWTN is today is amazing. She certainly was a person of strong personality and opinions and even stronger faith. May the angels lead her into paradise and my the martyrs welcome her into eternal life.

Father Francis Hoffman (“Fr. Rocky”), Executive Director of Relevant Radio I remember the first time I saw Mother Angelica on TV. It was late night on the Joan Rivers Show in the ’80s. I thought she would be eaten alive, but within minutes she had Joan and the entire audience eating right out of her hand. Mother Angelica’s profound charity and faith, common sense and wit, her piety of a child balanced by her doctrine of a theologian — all of that — brought St. John Paul II’s New Evangelization to the airwaves at a moment when the Church in America needed a “W” in the witness column. Like Joan of Arc and Catherine of Siena, Mother Angelica once again showed that women are not second rate in the Church. May she rest in peace!

Janet E. Smith, moral theologian It was fun how quickly Mother Angelica and I hit it off in the few interviews I had with her.  During one interview, we were making jokes to the point that I teased her about there possibly being something stronger in her coffee cup than coffee. Luckily she seemed to enjoy that …

She had no time or inclination to put on airs, or to have any kind of false or formulaic piety. She met life head-on and resolutely moved forward in a complete no-nonsense fashion. Undoubtedly, others will speak of her ability to get an international Catholic TV station going when powerful bishops and their organizations could not do so.  She was a simple nun, with a profound faith, and one courageously dependent upon God’s grace to supply what was needed.  Her life and deeds were miraculous. I have great confidence that some day she will be declared to be a saint.

Father Robert Reed, president/CEO the Catholic TV Network Mother Mary Angelica once served on our board, so I’m proud to say she remains part of the history of both the CatholicTV Network and EWTN. When I was studying Television Management at Boston University I was moved to write on Mother’s savvy and inspired contribution to Catholic Media. Who among us, including Mother, could have predicted the exponential growth of that media so far beyond the TV screen or the the desperate need in these days to catechize and inspire. Thank you for your faithful leadership and strength, Mother Angelica!

Mother Mary Assumpta Long, OP, Prioress General, Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist I had the privilege of knowing Mother Angelica over many years and the unique experience of being with her on her live TV programs. She was tremendously generous in offering free time on EWTN to those who wanted to promote the truths of the Catholic Church she so loved.

Father Mitch Pacwa, SJ, EWTN television host One of the most important things about her is that she was not an actress. When you saw her at the show, there was no difference from what she was like off the air. She and I played off one another very well because I could tease her where others couldn’t. I remember there was another priest who would come on and started teasing her, and she said to him — on live TV — “Who do you think you are, Father Mitch Pacwa? Settle down.”

Her love of Christ was the most important component of her life. Nothing else mattered to her, and she didn’t worry about a thing except being faithful to Christ. It was the number one issue for her, hands down. She didn’t care who you were or what you said — if it contradicted the faith, she’d shut you down, even if you were ordained clergy …

She was someone with a high school education and came from a contemplative background, which points out that for her prayer was listening to Jesus. She had something to say because she listened to him.

She was still able to speak a little bit until about 2002 or 2003, and she said, “This is my purgatory.” The sisters had told me that for recreation she liked to watch DVDs of I Love Lucy.  So I brought her some DVDs of The Jack Benny Show. They had to cut it off because she was laughing so hard she was having trouble breathing.

Alice von Hildebrand, philosopher When one meets a person whose one concern is to serve God and his Church, fearing neither difficulty nor suffering, persecution nor ridicule, it marks one for life. I dedicated my recent book, Memoirs of a Happy Failure, to her. She started from nothing. Everything was against her. But she trusted that with his help, she could spread the Gospel to the world through EWTN. It edges on the miraculous.

THE SPIRITUAL LEGACY OF MOTHER ANGELICA – 12 SAYINGS OF MOTHER ANGELICA THAT MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD

Here are two wonderful pieces about Mother Angelic by two very dear friends – Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles and Fr. Jeffery Keyes of Santa Rosa (Pater Jeffrey Keyes on his FB page). Enjoy!  May the Lord continue to bless us in this Easter season!

THE SPIRITUAL LEGACY OF MOTHER ANGELICA

(By Bishop Robert Barron – from The Pilot online):

Mother Angelica, one of the most significant figures in the post-conciliar Catholic Church in America, has died after a fourteen-year struggle with the after effects of a stroke. I can attest that, in “fashionable” Catholic circles during the eighties and nineties of the last century, it was almost de rigueur to make fun of Mother Angelica. She was a crude popularizer, an opponent of Vatican II, an arch-conservative, a culture-warrior, etc., etc. And yet while her critics have largely faded away, her impact and influence are uncontestable.

Against all odds and expectations, she created an evangelical vehicle without equal in the history of the Catholic Church. Starting from, quite literally, a garage in Alabama, EWTN now reaches 230 million homes in over 140 countries around the world. With the possible exception of John Paul II himself, she was the most watched and most effective Catholic evangelizer of the last fifty years.

Read Raymond Arroyo’s splendid biography in order to get the full story of how Rita Rizzo, born and raised in a tough neighborhood in Canton, Ohio, came in time to be a nun, a foundress, and a television personality. For the purposes of this brief article, I would like simply to draw attention to three areas of particular spiritual importance in the life of Mother Angelica: her trust in God’s providence, her keen sense of the supernatural quality of religion, and her conviction that suffering is of salvific value.

The accounts of the beginning of EWTN read like the stories of some of the great saintly founders of movements and orders within the Church. Mother had a blithe confidence that if God called her to do something, he would provide what was needed. Her right hand man, Deacon Bill Steltemeier, a lawyer and businessman who would prove indispensable in getting the operation of EWTN off the ground, came to her in the most remarkable way.

While in Chicago for a convention, he saw a flyer advertising a speech at a local parish by a nun whom he did not know. For some reason, he felt compelled to attend. Despite typically horrific Chicago winter weather and though he had no real idea where he was going, he made it to the parish and caught the second half of the nun’s presentation. Just as she was finishing up, he heard a voice saying quietly but insistently, “until the day you die.”

The nun, of course, was Mother Angelica. Deacon Bill interrupted his prosperous legal career, drove to Alabama, and presented himself to Mother, who calmly said, “I’ve been expecting you!” The voice, by the way, proved prophetic, for Deacon Bill died just a few years ago, having indeed served EWTN literally until his last day.

Some years later, Mother ordered a giant satellite dish in order dramatically to increase the reach of her network. When the device arrived, the driver of the truck demanded the money on the spot. Mother asked to be excused for a few minutes and went to her chapel to pray: “Lord, I thought you wanted this satellite thing; now give me the money I need!” As she went out to speak to the driver, one of her sisters ran up announcing, “There is a man on the phone who says he wants to give you a donation.” It was a gentlemen calling from a yacht in the Bahamas who said he suddenly had the inspiration to send Mother Angelica $600,000!

The second theme upon which I’d like to focus is her instinct for the supernatural dimension of Christianity. Now I realize that such an instinct might seem rather obvious, but in the immediately post-conciliar years there was indeed a tendency to naturalize the supernatural, to reduce Christianity to the works of social justice and the cultivation of psychological well-being.

Mother knew that a de-supernaturalized Christianity would in short order lose its soul and, paradoxically, its relevance to the world. Accordingly, she brought to the fore prayer, liturgy, the sacraments, sacramentals, the saints, adoration of the Eucharist, spiritual warfare, etc. And as someone who worked in the seminary world for twenty years, I can testify that this is precisely what made her talks and programs attractive to a younger generation of Catholics, who found much of liberal Catholicism indistinguishable from secular political and self-help programs.

The third and final motif I would stress is Mother Angelica’s penetrating understanding of the value of suffering. As Arroyo’s biography makes eminently clear, Mother endured tremendous suffering, both physical and psychological, most of her life, and she appreciated these trials as opportunities for spiritual growth. Nowhere was this clearer for her than in the last fourteen years of her life, as this once very vocal and active and woman accepted silence and immobility.

She told one of her sisters some years ago that if she got much sicker, she wanted every possible means employed to keep her alive, not because she was clinging to life, but “because I will have suffered one more day for the love of God.”

I often thought of Mother, during the last years of her life, as a kind of Mother Drexel for our time. That great foundress, after suffering a heart attack at 75, spent the last twenty years of her life praying for the order that she had established. Mother Angelica wasn’t perfect–and she would be the first to admit it. Due to her lack of polish and advanced theological education, she sometimes said things that were insufficiently nuanced and balanced. And her hot temper, which gave fire to her evangelization, also at times led her to indulge in ad hominem attacks and unfair characterizations of her opponents’ positions. But these are quibbles. When Church historians write their accounts of the years immediately following Vatican II, Rita Rizzo of Canton, Ohio, Mother Angelica, will find a very honored place.

Bishop Robert Barron is the founder of the global ministry, Word on Fire, and is an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

12 SAYINGS OF MOTHER ANGELICA THAT MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD

Posted on March 28, 2016 on his FB page by Pater Jeffrey Keyes

As many of you probably know by now, Mother Mary Angelica, the founder of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) passed into eternal life yesterday afternoon around 5:00pm. It is fitting that Mother Angelica entered eternal life on the day Our Jesus Christ rose from the dead – Easter Sunday! I found out about her passing as I was sitting on the couch watching the New York Rangers hockey game and looking at Facebook on my iPhone. I knew she had been sick for many years, and although the news is sad, we can also rejoice knowing that she is in the presence of Jesus Christ.

In the book, Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality, which I will draw from more shortly, Mother Angelica, says about “Your Place in Heaven” –

When we get to heaven, there will be many empty seats and many empty mansions, and they’ll stay that way forever because God has destined each of us for our specific degree of glory. My place in heaven is mine. No one else will ever use it or possess it or live in it. If I don’t get there, it will remain empty.”

Last night, after I arrived home from Easter brunch at my Mom’s with family and some new friends that my sister graciously asked to join us, I started thinking if I had any of Mother’s books in my personal library. After searching for only a minute, I came upon the aforementioned book that I referenced above. As I started to thumb through the pages thinking what I could write about, it came to me as I was laughing out loud (you know, LOL) that I could write on some of her funny, yet very truthful sayings.

Why did they make me laugh out loud? Well being in the position I am in as an evangelist (in a parish), sometimes these type of sayings come to mind, but often the filter in my head and mouth does the job a filter is suppose to do. It’s great to see that Mother Angelica not only thought about them, but also said or wrote them “out loud.”

The “little book” was published in 2007 and was edited and has some additional material in it by Raymond Arroyo. The link above will take you to the EWTN catalogue website where you can purchase the book if you so desire.

As I said above, these 12 sayings that I am about to list for you made me laugh out loud. One of them made me laugh so hard, I had to get up and get a drink of water. Although they might make you laugh, as they did me, there is a truth in these sayings that really should make one think. I hope you enjoy them as I did.

  1. “The apostles were dodos, dummies. But all the smart people in the world at the time wouldn’t take chances. That is the same problem we have today. The world is looking for intellectuals and the Lord is looking for dummies. That’s why I’m here.”
  2. “If you’re not a thorn in somebody’s side, you’re not doing Christianity right.”
  3. “If you’re breathing and you’ve got two legs, you’re called to holiness.”
  4. “Don’t be afraid to get frustrated. Look at me, I take a lot of Maalox. Somebody said to me not long ago, ‘I’m surprised that a woman of such great faith would have to take Maalox.’ I said, ‘My friend, my stomach doesn’t know about my great faith.’”
  5. “I’m not here to win friends and influence people. I’m here to do God’s Will. Now, if the accomplishment of that will bugs a lot of people, well, that’s their problem. I can’t help that.”
  6. “The apostles wouldn’t pass the seminary today. Heck, I doubt if they’d make it past the psychological screening.”
  7. “The sisters say I have the eighth gift of the Holy Spirit: guts!”
  8. “When I was a young novice I used to pray in the early morning, ‘Dear Lord, today I am going to be patient come hell or high water.’ And by nine o’clock came hell and high water! I blew it!”
  9. “St. Jerome had a terrible temper. He would hit himself with a rock every time he lost his temper. I’d be dead as a doornail, with no ribs, if I did that.”
  10. “I went to Confession one time and I told the priest, ‘I lost my temper.’ He said, ‘Keep it, nobody wants it.’ Well, I never said “lost” again because I was afraid I’d get another smart-aleck comment.”
  11. “After Mass one day a woman came to me complaining about a priest’s homily. His preaching ability left something to be desired, but then it’s not the Word you listen to, not the way it’s presented. So this woman was complaining and I asked her, ‘How much did you put in the collection?’ She said, ‘A quarter.’ I said, ‘What do you want for a quarter, Bishop Sheen?’”

Lastly, this is the one that forced me to get a drink of water and made me laugh for 3 minutes straight –

  1. “If you’re experiencing stress or tension give it to Jesus. Tell Him, ‘I feel like crawling the wall, but I love You and I want to give this to You.’ Do you think our Lord wasn’t tense living with those twelve screwball apostles?”

Mother Angelica’s wit and humor led many people to look at Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church. I imagine she has her mansion in Heaven and it is suited just for her.

Mother Mary Angelica…Pray For Us.

‘SHE’S IN HEAVEN’ – POPE FRANCIS ON MOTHER ANGELICA

‘SHE’S IN HEAVEN’ – POPE FRANCIS ON MOTHER ANGELICA

(Expanded EWTN news report) – Pope Francis on Wednesday offered a special blessing for Mother Angelica following her death on Easter Sunday, expressing his confidence that she is already in heaven.

“She’s in heaven.” The Pope pointed to the sky as he spoke these words to members of EWTN’s Rome bureau, who brought an image of the late Poor Clare nun to his March 30 general audience as a sign of affection and remembrance.

Francis saw the framed photo in the crowd, and blessed it when asked by EWTN’s Executive TV Producer in Rome, Martha Calderon, for a blessing for Mother Angelica’s soul.

POPE - MOTHER A

Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation founded the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), in 1981, and it has since become the largest religious media network in the world. She passed away March 27 after a lengthy struggle with the aftereffects of a stroke. She was 92 years old.

Pope Francis offered his prayers for Mother Angelica Feb. 12 while on his way to Cuba, and asked for her prayers in return.

But he isn’t the only one who is confident in the nun’s holiness. Several other prelates have voiced their admiration and appreciation for Mother’s contribution to the faith, to the Catholic Church in the U.S., and to the world of Catholic communications, including retired pontiff Benedict XVI and the Vatican’s spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi.

Although Francis has expressed his belief that Mother Angelica is already in heaven, the formal process for declaring her a saint has yet to begin.

Once a cause for her canonization officially opens, the facts and details of her life, as well as the testimonies from those around her, must be obtained and gathered into a lengthy report called a “positio” or “position” and presented to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

The congregation must then study the records to determine Mother’s heroic virtue, and eventually look into miracles attributed to her intercession. Only when one miracle has been officially approved can she be declared a Blessed. A second is then required for her canonization as a saint.

However, the Pope could decide to take the route of what’s called an “equipollent,” or “equivalent” canonization, in which he waives the requirement for one or both of the miracles and canonizes the person without them.

This was the case with St. Pope John XXIII in 2014, for whom the Pope decided to waive the second miracle required for canonization, and proclaim him a saint with just one.

In his general audience speech, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on mercy as understood in scripture, finishing his segment on the Old Testament.

He focused on Psalm 51, also referred to as “the Miserere” and which is traditionally understood as King David’s prayer asking for forgiveness following his sin of adultery with Bathsheba.

Francis pointed to the psalm’s opening words “Have mercy on me, O God in your kindness,” saying they are “a moving confession of sin, repentance and confident hope in God’s merciful pardon.”

Alongside his “heartfelt plea” to be cleansed and purified of his sin, Kind David also praises God’s infinite justice and holiness, the Pope observed.

Not only does he ask to be forgiven “of his great sin,” but he also prays “for the gift of a pure heart and a steadfast spirit, so that, thus renewed, he may draw other sinners back to the way of righteousness.”

“God’s forgiveness is the greatest sign of his infinite mercy,” Francis said, and in off-the-cuff remarks had the pilgrims present at the audience repeat three times that “God’s forgiveness is greater than our sin!”

He closed his audience by praying that Mary, the “Mother of Mercy,” would intercede so that all would become “ever more convincing witnesses to that divine mercy which forgives our sins, creates in us a new heart, and enables us to proclaim God’s reconciling love to the world.”

MOTHER ANGELICA: FROM THE VATICAN – SHE CHANGED THE WAY WE SPEAK ABOUT GOD – FAREWELL TO MOTHER ANGELICA

MOTHER ANGELICA: FROM THE VATICAN

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI knows that Mother Angelica died. We learned through his secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, that he said “it’s a gift” that she passed on Easter Sunday.

Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office was informed Sunday night by Michael Warsaw and Monday morning by our Rome Bureau. He said to our employees in Rome: “Dear ones, thank you for the information. I also received a letter from M. Warsaw inviting me to come to the funeral (of course I can not), along with the press release. Certainly she was a great witness and a missionary apostle. I hope that she prays for us more than we for her. I had the joy of seeing her briefly when I attended a meeting of various Catholic Radio stations several years ago in Birmingham at EWTN and someone had kindly taken me to the shrine to greet Mother. I do not remember exactly what year it was. I think it was the first meeting of Catholic Radio stations organized by EWTN (or second?). For me it was also the proof that faith and love of God are the true engine that drives our communication … (more so than technique and ‘professionalism’).”

SHE CHANGED THE WAY WE SPEAK ABOUT GOD – FAREWELL TO MOTHER ANGELICA

Michael Warsaw – on the website of L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican daily:

A miracle of evangelization: only in this way could one define the legacy left by Mother Angelica, founder of the international Catholic network EWTN. A network whose success is proven by the numbers: launched in a garage in 1981 without caring about the cost, today the network broadcasts 24 hours a day, reaches over 264 million homes in 144 different nations, and publishes in or contributes to major magazines and agencies of religious information in the United States and around the world, in multiple languages.

Mother Angelica returned to the Father’s house at 5p.m. March 27, the Solemnity of Easter. She was 92. In the morning she participated in Mass inside her room, from the bed to which she has been confined since 2001, when a stroke permanently damaged her mobility.

Mother Angelica’s whole life has been marked by dates that follow the liturgical calendar, as if to signify her unconditional “yes” to God and her unshakeable trust in Providence. The stroke came on Christmas Eve 2001. She entered the Order of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration August 15, 1944, a day that was to become the Solemnity of the Assumption. And it was August 15, 1981, that Eternal Word Television first aired. It was the television network God had asked Mother Angelica to found.

Angelica 4

Born April 20, 1923, with the name Rita Rizzo, Mother Angelica experienced poverty and a life of hardship after her parents divorced when she was just six years old. But she didn’t just live with solitude, suffering and distress. She was also tried by physical suffering. When she was a teenager, she had consistent stomach pain. She was cured when Rhonda Wise, a woman from Canton (the town in Ohio where she lived) to whom miraculous cures were attributed to, told her to recite a novena to St. Therese of Lisieux. In 1944, at 21, she entered the Order of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Cleveland and took the name Sister Mary Angelica of the Annunciation. Two years later, she was invited again to the city of her birth, Canton, to found a new monastery. She lived there for several years, until the 50s. While cleaning the floors with an electric scrubbing machine, she lost her balance on the slippery floor, covered in soap, and slammed her back against the wall. The injury lasted for two years, and even worse, she needed a surgical operation. It was risky, and she had a 50 percent chance of being paralyzed. So she promised God that if the operation was successful, she would build a monastery in the South.

The operation succeeded, and Mother kept her promise.

The okay from Rome to found the Monastery of Our Lady of the Angels in Irondale, Alabama came February 3, 1961. A charismatic speaker, Sr. Mary Angelica was asked if her speeches could be recorded and distributed. She did it for the first time in 1969. In 1971, she recorded her first radio program, which was a 10 minute transmission for WBRC. Seven years later, Mother began to record her first television programs, which were half-hour transmissions titled “Our Hermitage.” It was the spark that inspired the idea of a media apostolate faithful to Catholicism. The spark then flared up when she realized that the owner of the studio where she recorded her transmission wanted to broadcast a program she considered to be blasphemous. Mother said that she would go elsewhere to record. Upon receiving threats that she would be out of television forever, she confidently responded: “I will found my own.”

And so it happened. The Eternal Word Television Network was born August 15, 1981, and from there began the work of evangelization through media.

It is a company willed by Providence, just as it was Providence which characterized the foundations of Mother Angelica: the Congregation of the Missionary Franciscans of the Eternal Word, a community of men which consists of 15 friars who are very active in evangelization within EWTN; but also the monastery itself in Irondale, because Mother Angelica’s request to found a new monastery came simultaneously with that of another sister, and the Mother Superior decided to that she would give permission to the first of the two sisters that received a response from the local bishop.

Some observers have said that the network founded by Mother Angelica (EWTN) has helped to protect the Church in the United States. If this is true, it is true because Mother Angelica built the network in His own image and likeness: with an unwavering faith in God, the knowledge of the goodness of the teachings of the Church and the desire to share them with people, truly reaching everyone. And if the network has grown so much in recent years, it is also due to the fact that Mother Angelica – who left leadership in 2000 – has ceaselessly watched over it with her prayers, despite being bedridden for almost 15 years.

She ascended to the Father’s house on Easter day, as often happens with the Saints, after receiving countless awards, even from the Pope. In October 2009, Benedict XVI gave her the “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” award, the highest recognition that a Pope can give to a layperson or religious to honor their work. Upon hearing the news of Mother Angelica’s passing, Benedict XVI commented that “it’s a gift” for her to have gone to heaven on Easter Sunday. And on February 12, 2016, while on his way to Cuba, Pope Francis prayed for her.

Mother’s model of evangelization through media is an example for all to follow.

By Michael Warsaw, Chairman of the Board & Chief Executive Officer, EWTN Global Catholic Network