By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Politcal Reporter
On Sunday, March 27, Foundress of EWTN, Mother Angelica, who was 92, died on Easter Sunday. She founded the Irondale based Eternal World Television Network (EWTN) which broadcasts via cable TV, satellite, and radio across much of the US and in many nations across the globe to 144 countries. EWTN reaches over 244 million homes.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) said in a statement, “On this Easter Sunday, it is only fitting that the Lord chose today to call home one of his humble servants, Mother Angelica. She devoted her life to ministry, converting untold numbers of people to the church. She left an indelible mark on Alabama, the Catholic Church and the world as a whole. She will always be 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.”
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops praised Mother Mary Angelica in a statement, “Mother Angelica reflected the Gospel commission to go forth and make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19), and like the best evangelists, she used the communications tools of her time to make this happen. She displayed a unique capacity for mission and showed the world once again the vital contribution of women religious.”
Archbishop Kurtz continued, “In addition to founding the Eternal World Television Network, Mother Angelica was the foundress of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word, the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, and the Knights of the Holy Eucharist. Her work, begun in the cloister, reached across the globe. She was a convincing sign as to how even the humblest of beginnings can yield abundant fruit. I join those who lived and worked with her, as well as her many viewers, in thanking God for this extraordinary woman, devout believer and media pioneer.”
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said in a statement, “Yesterday, Mother Angelica was called home to the Lord. She was one of the great American Catholics of the past half-century, a woman of extraordinary faith, intelligence, energy and determination.” “In founding and growing EWTN into a major media resource for the global Church, she achieved things almost everyone thought impossible. I had the privilege of knowing her and serving on the EWTN board for many years, and therefore saw firsthand the tremendously positive impact her work for Jesus Christ had on many millions of people.”
The Archbishop continued, “She will be sorely missed, but she has left us an on-going gift in the men and women who continue the great service of the EWTN apostolate.”
State Representative Jack Williams (R-Vestavia) said in a statement, “She was an amazing woman. A woman of God and a woman of faith. Her legacy is beyond what the human mind could comprehend. She was an example of faith in action. She just didn’t know any better than to trust God and leave worry to him.”
Rep. Williams continued, “From starting a monastery in the buckle of the Bible belt to starting a television network with absolutely no knowledge of how, or how one worked. She just stepped out and did what God called her to do. Her health had been in decline for several years. But she spent a life faithfully looking through a glass that was darkened. Today she sees face to face the man she trusted with all of her life. Enjoy Heaven Mother and thanks for the millions of others you pointed that way.”
EWTN Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Warsaw told the National Catholic Register, “Mother has always and will always personify EWTN, the network that God asked her to found. Her accomplishments and legacies in evangelization throughout the world are nothing short of miraculous and can only be attributed to divine Providence and her unwavering faithfulness to Our Lord.”
Father Sean O. Sheridan, TOR, president of Franciscan University of Steubenville said, “Mother Angelica was a true media giant. She proved that the Church belonged in the popular media alongside the news, sports, and talk shows, and she welcomed Franciscan University Presents, the roundtable theology discussion produced by the University for EWTN since 1993.”
Father Sheridan continued, “She heeded the call of the Second Vatican Council to bring the Gospel message into contemporary society. With humor and the occasional stern word, but always moved by a deep love of people, Mother Angelica faithfully conveyed the knowledge and love of God to Catholics, Christians, and non-believers alike. What started in a garage with a few used cameras has today become a global television, radio, print, Internet, and social media apostolate.”
Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus Carl Anderson said to the National Catholic Register, “In passing to eternal life, Mother Angelica leaves behind a legacy of holiness and commitment to the New Evangelization that should inspire us all. I was honored to know and be able to assist Mother Angelica during the early days of EWTN. Over the years, that relationship grew, and today the Knights of Columbus and EWTN partner regularly on important projects.”
Anderson continued, “Mother Angelica was fearless because she had God on her side,” Anderson added. “She saw what he needed her to do, and she did it! She transformed the world of Catholic broadcasting and brought the Gospel to far corners of our world. That witness of faith was unmistakable to anyone who met and worked with her, and generations of Catholics have and will continue to be formed by her vision and her ‘Yes’ to God’s will.”
Bishop Robert Barron wrote, “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.”
Mother Angelica retired from her leadership of EWTN in 2000. She suffered a stroke the following Christmas Eve. As a consequence, she spent the last years of her life mostly without the capacity for speech.
According to the Catholic News Agency (CNA) the arrangements are as follows:
Tuesday, March 29 at 3:00 p.m. – Rite of Reception of Mother Angelica’s Body. Mother Angelica’s body will be received in a ceremony and escorted through the Piazza of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Upon conclusion of the Procession, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy will be prayed in the Shrine’s Upper Church and the body will be transferred to the Monastery Cloister for private visitation with the Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration.
On Wednesday, March 30 at 10:00 a.m. – Rosary in Memoriam and Public Visitation. A public rosary will be led by Fr. Miguel Marie Soeherman, MFVA in the Upper Church of the Shrine. Upon conclusion of the Rosary, a public visitation will begin.
At 7:00 p.m. – Rosary in Memoriam and Conclusion of Public Visitation. Fr. Joseph Mary Wolfe, MFVA will lead a Rosary in the Upper Church of the Shrine to conclude Public Visitation for the day.
On Thursday, March 31 10:00 a.m. – Rosary in Memoriam and Public Visitation. A public rosary will be led by Fr. Miguel Marie Soeherman, MFVA in the Upper Church of the Shrine. Upon conclusion of the Rosary, a public visitation will begin.
At 5:00 p.m. – Solemn Vespers. Evening Prayer will be chanted by the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word, the Community of Religious Men founded by Mother Angelica.
At 7:00 p.m. – Vigil Service and Rosary at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament will be led by Bishop Robert J. Baker of Birmingham. Music will be performed by a Schola composed of the Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius in Chicago. The Homilist will be Fr. Miguel Marie Soeherman, MFVA.
On Friday, April 1 at 11:00 a.m. – Mass of Christian Burial and Rite of Committal. The funeral Mass will be celebrated in the Shrine’s Upper Church by bishops and clergy from around the world. The homilist will be Fr. Joseph Mary Wolfe, MFVA. The Mass will conclude with a Procession carrying Mother Angelica’s body through the Shrine’s Piazza and into the Crypt. The procession will be followed by the Rite of Committal and interment in the Crypt Chapel.
Original reporting by the National Catholic Register and the Catholic News Agency contributed to this report.