Skip to comments.Mother Angelica awarded top honor by Pope Benedict XVI
Posted on 10/05/2009 4:10:15 PM PDT by NYer
.- Pope Benedict XVI has awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal to Mother Angelica, founder of the Eternal Word Television Network and also EWTN executive Deacon Bill Steltemeier. The medal is the highest honor the Pope can bestow upon laity and religious.
Bishop of Birmingham Robert J. Baker conferred the awards in a brief ceremony following Sunday benediction at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama.
Noting that yesterday was the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, Bishop Baker recalled the lasting impact that the Italian saint made on the renewal of the Church. He then remarked that We also have the privilege of acknowledging the contributions to our Church of another person in the great Franciscan tradition, whose link to St. Francis is through St. Clare Mother Angelica.
Mother Mary Angelica, 86, is a Poor Clare Nun of Perpetual Adoration who founded Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Irondale, Alabama in 1961. She began EWTN in a garage on the monastery property in 1981. In 1999 she relocated the monastery to the grounds of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville.
Deacon R. William Steltemeier, 80, is a former Nashville, Tenn. attorney who left his law practice to join Mother Angelicas fledgling television network. He served as EWTNs president and now serves as chairman of the networks Board of Governors.
Commenting in his homily at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery on Sunday, Bishop Baker said that the medal is a significant acknowledgement by our Holy Father, of Mother's labors of love in support of our Church.
By giving awards the Church is not saying people or institutions are perfect, but we are saying that Mother Angelica, through this network, has made a significant contribution to the new evangelization heralded and promoted by recent Popes, the Bishop of Birmingham said.
The Holy Fathers recognition of Mother Angelica and Deacon Bill Steltemeier is a much-deserved honor, Michael P. Warsaw, EWTN President and CEO said in a statement. It acknowledges the tremendous faith, hard work and incredible sacrifices that each of them have made throughout the years in founding and building up the Network.
Their recognition is also a great honor for EWTN and is a clear sign of the importance of the Networks mission for the Church and the Pope. We are grateful to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and to Bishop Baker for this honor, Warsaw continued.
EWTN is available in over 150 million television households in more than 140 countries and territories. In its mission it uses direct broadcast satellite television and radio services, AM & FM radio networks, worldwide short-wave radio, an internet website and a publishing arm. EWTN says it is the largest religious media network in the world.
March 8, 1981
Just before the first satellite dish arrived, Sr. Regina had a vision in which she saw a black sky, a white satellite dish, and a flame emerging from the center. She heard God say, "This is my network, and it will glorify my Son." After the dish arrived a few weeks later, a photograph taken while it was installed reproduced Sr. Regina's vision: a black sky, the white dish, and a red flame emerging from its center. Professional photographs could not account for the red flame. Mother Angelica called it a miracle.
.- After Mother Angelica and Deacon Bill Steltemeier were given an award by Pope Benedict, Mike Warsaw, the CEO of EWTN, and Raymond Arroyo told CNA that they are overjoyed and grateful that Mother's work is being recognized.
Speaking to CNA, Mike Warsaw said, "I am very happy and excited for both Mother Angelica and Deacon Bill Steltemeier. This honor from the Holy Father is a recognition of the blood, sweat and tears that each of them have shed throughout the years in starting and building up EWTN."
Although Mother Angelica has encountered opposition in launching her television network, Warsaw stated, "Mother has always been a faithful daughter of the Church, and for her to be acknowledged for her tremendous faith and perseverance in the face of so many obstacles is certainly fitting."
Raymond Arroyo shared Warsaw's assessment, telling CNA, "This long deserved papal honor is truly validation of Mother Angelica's incredible work. The media empire that she founded has changed hearts and minds all over the world.
"Those who have attempted to marginalize Mother Angelica or minimize her enormous contribution to the Church and broadcasting must pause and acknowledge what the Holy Father has: that there is no other Catholic in the last 40 years who has done more to further that cause of evangelization or reach the common man than Mother Angelica," Arroyo said.
Warsaw also had words of praise for Deacon Bill, remarking, he "has sacrificed so much for the Network throughout the past three decades. He gave up an incredibly successful law practice to stand at Mothers side and help her build EWTN. His devotion to Mother Angelica and her mission is an inspiration. I think the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award is a wonderful expression of gratitude to both of them for their service to the Church."
Both men agreed that the award is a validation of the importance of the network's mission.
"By recognizing the service of Mother Angelica and Deacon Bill, I believe our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI is also affirming the work and the mission of EWTN on behalf of the Church. That is a tremendous support and encouragement," Warsaw said.
As Raymond Arroyo put it, "I feel privileged to be a part of that legacy and to a part of continuing her mission of Truth in joy."
God bless Pope Benedict and God bless Mother Angelica. Love them both!
Excellent. She has done more than perhaps anyone else in America to defend the Church against the dissidents who have tried so hard to tear it apart.
Raymond Arroyo’s wonderful biography of Mother Angelica details the string of miracles that went into making EWTN a success. The book is a great read and sure makes you want to “put EWTN between your gas and electric bill”.
Thanks for the post. Mother Angelica truly deserves the honor given her by the Church. The Bishop was right too!
Wow! She’s a saint in our own time, it’s hard to think of one as deserving as Mother Angelica. And like the Blessed Mother, Mother Angelica always leads us to Jesus. I remember hearing that about the photo and Sr Regina at the anniversary. Amazing.
You beat me to it.
Well done! She is a treasure!
It’s worth repeating.
The acknowledgement of Mother Angelica's work by the Pope is highly significant in light of high profile criticism that the EWTN foundress has sustained over her unwavering fidelity to the faith. Mother Angelica had to endure crushing criticism and even attempts to take over her station by various left-leaning Catholic bishops in the United States.
As Catholic League President Bill Donohue wrote in a 2005 review of Raymond Arroyos nationally best-selling book on Mother Angelica, some bishops actively fought EWTN at its inception. Indeed, the bishops tried to outdo her by launching their own effort, the Catholic Telecommunications Network of America (CTNA). It was clear from the beginning that Mother Angelica was seen as a threat: EWTN had a traditional orientation and CTNA took a modernist stance. EWTN won. CTNA collapsed.
Donohue added: Mother Angelica did not take kindly to those clerics who questioned her authority to showcase some bishops, but not others. I happen to own the network, she instructed. When told that this would not be forever, she let loose: I'll blow the damn thing up before you get your hands on it.
From its beginning the station has placed a strong emphasis on explaining and defending Catholic moral principles related to the life and family issues. It has extensively covered the annual Washington March for Life, featured numerous pro-life leaders and broadcasted exceptionally hard-hitting talks by EWTN regulars such as Fr. John Corapi, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Fr. Mitch Pacwa, Fr. Thomas Euteneuer of HLI and Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life. EWTN also often gives special attention in programming to news and interviews with the most faithful and outspokenly pro-life leaders and US bishops.
During elections EWTN has followed the direction of the Popes and faithful bishops and emphasized that the top priority for Catholics during elections must be the candidates' stands on abortion and marriage and the family and that candidates who are strongly pro-abortion or who support same-sex 'marriage' cannot be supported regardless of their stands on other issues. This is another one of many reasons which has caused the station to be disliked by the liberal Catholic establishment that has for many years pushed a more liberal 'social justice' priority list of voting issues. The current award from the Pope is especially significant given the intense opposition to EWTN from some US and Canadian bishops, clergy and religious over these issues.
Bishop Robert J. Baker of Birmingham conferred the awards in a brief ceremony following Sunday benediction at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama.
"The Holy Father's recognition of Mother Angelica and Deacon Bill Steltemeier is a much-deserved honor. It acknowledges the tremendous faith, hard work and incredible sacrifices that each of them have made throughout the years in founding and building up the Network," said EWTN President and CEO Michael P. Warsaw. "Their recognition is also a great honor for EWTN and is a clear sign of the importance of the Network's mission for the Church and the Pope. We are grateful to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and to Bishop Baker for this honor."
Mother Mary Angelica, 86, is a Poor Clare Nun of Perpetual Adoration. She came to Alabama in 1961 to found Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Irondale. In 1981, she began Eternal Word Television Network in a garage on the monastery property. In 1999, Mother Angelica relocated the Monastery to the grounds of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama. She continues to reside there with her community of Nuns.
Deacon R. William Steltemeier, 80, was a successful Nashville attorney who left his law practice to join Mother Angelica with her fledgling television network. He served as EWTN's President for many years and continues to serve as Chairman of the Network's Board of Governors.
EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 28th year, is available in over 150 million television households in more than 140 countries and territories. With its direct broadcast satellite television and radio services, AM & FM radio networks, worldwide short-wave radio station, Internet website http://www.ewtn.com/ and publishing arm, EWTN, is the largest religious media network in the world."""
I first became interested in Catholicism when I saw Mother Angelica on the Today Show. I actively sought her channel on my cable system. I watched the coverage of Pope John Paul’s death and the conclave in which Pope Benedict was selected, and Pope Benedict’s face glowing with the love of Christ caused me to sign up for RCIA.
I converted, and a year later my husband joined the Church.
In a way, I owe her. Without her network, I probably wouldn’t have been so interested in the papal selection, and I would still be wandering in my search for a church.
I am so very pleased she was given this award!
This Protestant wants to say how I have enjoyed the times I have heard Mother Angelica speak on the EWTN network programs. I love her sense of humor and her sense of God’s grace and mercy. Plus, of course, her vision for EWTN has blessed many Christians throughout this country and the world by allowing us to see the last years and then the services surrounding the death of Pope John Paul II and the selection of Pope Benedict XVI, both such wonderful men of God!
So, thank God for Mother Angelica and for her inspiration, hard work, good humor, and vision.
How wonderful! I love Mother Angelica and EWTN, and I recommend that anyone who can, visit her shrine in Hanceville, AL. It is incredible and unforgettable. I’ve been there 3 times now and can’t wait to go back.
>>This Protestant wants to say...<<
Thank you so much!
It’s refreshing to see our differences mean nothing when it comes to a great Lady.
You are welcome - and yes it is!
God has blessed us all. Mother Angelica is an angel sent to us by God.
"Never apologize for the Blessed Virgin Mary!"
I learned the rosary from Mother Angelica and EWTN. I also regularly watch The Journey Home.
EWTN was a great help to me as I was going through RCIA in 2008.
Mother Angelica is one of a kind. She won’t be forgoten.