Archive for the ‘Current Event’ Category

An Explanation of Our Upcoming Investiture & Renewal of Vows

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

A vocation to the religious life is a special calling from God. Mother Angelica stated, “The religious life is an encounter with the living God. Sometimes that encounter is preceded by a kind of soul searching agony that tries desperately not to hear, runs in the opposite direction and frantically tries to reason itself out of answering the invitation. This is so because the world has conditioned our minds to believe only what we see and never to venture into the unknown unless success is guaranteed.” (Mother Angelica, Come Follow Me: Essence of Religious Life, p.1)

Our Blessed Lord said “You did not choose me, no, I chose you” (John 15:16) On August 2, 2014, our postulant Paul Rahn will respond to that invitation to follow our Blessed Lord more intimately and will be invested with the religious habit and given a religious name as he enters into the novitiate year.

According to Can. 646 “the novitiate, through which life in an institute is begun, is arranged so that the novices better understand their divine vocation, and indeed one which is proper to the institute, experience the manner of living of the institute, and form their mind and heart in its spirit, and so that their intention and suitability are tested.” (Code of Canon Law, Latin-English Edition: New English Translation, c. 646)


Join us on EWTN on Saturday, August 2nd at 8AM ET as Paul our postulant is invested in the holy habit and enters the novitiate and Brs. Paul, James and John Therese renew their vows of poverty, chastity, & obedience for another year. On August 11th Br. Matthew will be making his final profession of vows. Please keep them in your prayers!

The novitiate is a minimum of a 12 months period. It is during this time that a novice master guides and prepares the novice to profess the three evangelical counsels: poverty, chastity, and obedience according to the constitutions of the religious institute. It is also during this time in which the novice further develops and strengthens his or her prayer life and the practice of virtue to become more intimately united to Christ.

The formation during the novitiate year may be summarized as “an initiation into the consecrated life in an institute to be done in a systematic and practical way through knowledge and experience so as to test a vocation and gradually prepare one for the life of perfection proper to the institute, developing and maturing a true religious personality that will be the interior principle and driving force for this form of life.” (Elio Gambari, Religious Life according to Vatican II and the New Code of Canon Law, p. 242)

After the novice has completed the novitiate year, he professes the three evangelical counsels: poverty, chastity, and obedience and vow for one year to live accordingly to the rule and constitutions of the religious institute. On August 2, Br. Paul, Br. James, and Br. John Therese will be renewing their vows.

“The period of temporary vows (begun with first profession) is intended to consolidate and perfect the formation begun in the novitiate, and to complete the candidate’s and the Community’s experience of each other.” (Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word, Constitutions, p. 85) “Temporary vows, by their nature, are already oriented toward perpetual profession, for which it must be, as it were, an apprenticeship and a preparation.” (Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word, Constitutions, p. 87; Renovationis Causam, no. 7)

To conclude with a final thought by Mother Angelica: “A vocation is a gift from beginning to end – a call to rise above the things of this world and prove by a living witness that there is something more and better to come. Those who have been called to this witnessing role are not deprived of love, comfort or joy. They merely find these gifts on a more spiritual and lasting level. Their personalities are not destroyed in some sacrificial act of piety, but developed and made beautiful by the grace of God constantly being poured into their emptying vessels.” (Mother Angelica, Come Follow Me: Essence of Religious Life, p.2)

Br. James: Our New Friar Sacristan

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

IMG_2478Br. James has been appointed to be our new friar sacristan after Br. Paul, who has done a wonderful job these past couple of years. We also want to give many thanks to our other sacristan James Deering, who continues to do a superb job of maintaining the EWTN sacristy, the EWTN chapel and St. Michaels hall.

A sacristan is one who is put in charge over the sacred vessels and vestments that are used for any liturgical ceremony or function that are contained in what is called a sacristy.  The word sacristy derives from the Latin word sacristia, which means vestry. A vestry is a room where the liturgical garments are kept safe for any liturgical event and where the clergy vest. The word sacristy also derives from the word sacer, which means sacred. In short, a sacristy is a room designated to keep all the sacred vessels and vestments. A sacristy is normally located behind or to the side of the main altar. In some Churches you will find the sacristy and vestry in the same room and in other churches they may be in different rooms, it depends on the Church.

A sacristan spends much of their time in prayer and tedious work focusing on many details such as dusting the altar, purifying and polishing the chalices and ciborium’s, removing stains, cleaning holy water founts, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, ironing or steaming vestments, changing candles or arranging flower decorations. The sacristan makes sure that everything is set before any liturgical event begins such as the Missal that is used for the Mass. There is a lot of work that goes in before and after any liturgical event.

Our Blessed Lord asked St. Peter and St. John in the gospel to “Go, prepare the Pasch, that we may eat.” (Luke 22:8) This was a foreshadowing of the preparation that goes into each Sacrifice of the Mass that is celebrated. There have been many saints, both clergy and lay throughout the years that were sacristans. St. Guy of Anderlecht (a. 950 to 1012) and St. Theodore the Sacristan (6th Century) are both recognized by the Church as the patron saints of sacristans. Many saints have been sacristans including St. Therese of Lisieux, who served as the sacristan of her convent.

As Catholics, we adore what is most holy to us and that is adoring Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist. It was desired and taught by St. Francis of Assisi in his first letter to the custodians, he admonished that the clergy of his order was to “revere above everything else the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and His holy written words which consecrate His Body. The chalices, corporals, appointments of the altar, and everything, which pertains to, the sacrifice must be of precious material. And if the most holy Body of the Lord is very poorly reserved in any place, it should be placed in a precious location under lock and kept according to the mandate of the Church and carried about with great reverence and administered to others with discretion.”

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Whenever we walk into any Catholic Church we are physically in the presence of God. This is what makes a Catholic Church special. How we treat and revere what is sacred is an external reflection of how we treat and revere God interiorly.


Fr. Joseph Blesses New St. Gabriel Chapel at EWTN Religious Catalogue

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

IRONDALE, AL – On July 16th, on the feast day of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Fr. Joseph blessed the new St. Gabriel Chapel at EWTN Religious Catalogue after months of planning. The chapel is in honor of the archangel St. Gabriel who is the patron saint of telecommunications.  The offices of EWTN’s Religious Catalogue, marketing department, and the National Catholic Register are located in the Religious Catalogue facility just a few miles down the road from EWTN’s main campus. Each of these departments help spread the salvific gospel message and foster a greater love for our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ.

The Annunciation is a very special devotion that is held by not only the Friars who live at the Annunciation Friary, but by EWTN as well. The Annunciation is also Mother Angelica’s religious title who founded EWTN 33 years ago this August 15th on the feast of Our Lady of the Assumption, and the first satellite installed at EWTN was named Gabriel after the archangel St. Gabriel who announced the coming of our Blessed Savior to our Lady.

The event began with a song called “Gabriel’s Message” written back in the 19th Century by Basque Carol that was lead by Fr. Joseph, Fr. Patrick, Br. John Therese, and Paul Rahn. Fr. Joseph, Fr. Anthony, and Fr. Patrick blessed the altar and celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in honor of Our Lady and St. Gabriel.

The event was followed up with a reception of thanksgiving for all those who contributed in making this chapel possible.






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Fr. Leonard Enjoying His Role as Chaplain of the “Truth in Motion” Film Program

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

ALBERTA, Canada – Within the peaceful and beautiful landscape of Alberta, Canada Fr. Leonard is enjoying his role as Chaplain of the Truth in Motion film program at Living Water College of the Arts.

There is much excitement at Living Water as students learn the fundamentals of movie making.  Daily, they receive classroom and technical instruction in a prayerful and peaceful Catholic environment. Each student is required to make their own short film.  Their schedule is long, busy and fun.

- 7:30 Breakfast
- 8:00 Morning Prayer
- 8:30 Class
- 10:00 Mass
- 11:00 Class
- 12:00 Lunch
- 1:30 Class
- 2:45 Break
- 3:00 Class
- 4:30 Break
- 4:45 Scripture Study
- 5:45 Dinner
- 7:00 Homework Projects
- 9:00 Evening Prayer
- 9:20 Recreation

As Chaplain Fr. Leonard leads a holy hour, morning and evening prayers, celebrates Mass, teaches a daily scripture study, and is available for confessions and spiritual direction.

The staff and faculty are devout Catholics who generously share their time, talents and experiences with the students.  “It’s been a pleasure working with a staff and faculty who are faithful Catholics and are committed to using their talents to glorify God and help students.  It is very encouraging to serve students who are eager to grow in holiness and who desire to use their filmmaking skills for the Lord,” said Fr. Leonard.

This week the students are working on working on an actual Canadian motion picture.  Checkin with us later this week as Fr. Leonard updates us from Alberta, Canada.

For more information about Living Water College of the Arts go to






Friars Attend 10th Annual “Ignite Your Torch” Youth Conference in Springfield, KY

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Fr. John Paul and Br. John Therese attended the 10th annual “Ignite Your Torch” Youth Conference from July 10th to the 13th at St. Catherine’s College in Springfield, Kentucky. More than 200 hundred youth showed up for the conference.

The youth who attended the conference came from all parts of the country including Louisiana, Tennessee, Florida, and Indiana.

During the retreat, the youth participated in fellowship and listening to key note speakers and attending several workshops of their choosing about different aspects of the Catholic faith. The youth were engaged in learning about the Scriptures, morality, vocations and the pro-life ministry. The leaders of the conference also organized a trip to the downtown abortion clinic in Louisville, Kentucky to reach out to those in the pro-choice movement in which the auxiliary bishop of St. Louis, Missouri, Bishop Edward Rice, lead the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary and the chaplet of Divine Mercy.

The conference also greatly emphasized the Angelic Warfare Confraternity in which both men and women are enrolled into a confraternity to live a more chaste and pure life under the patronage of Our Lady and St. Thomas Aquinas. Both Fr. John Paul and Br. John Therese were enrolled in the ceremony that took place on Sunday. Over 100 of the youth were already enrolled into the confraternity while an additional 100 or so enrolled during the conference.

The conference also held discussions in which the youth were divided up into groups and directed by religious brothers and sisters. The religious as well as the youth participated in a talent show and competitive games. During the retreat Fr. James Brent O.P. lead a powerful Holy Hour in which all present were blessed individually with the Most Blessed Sacrament while the other priests including Fr. John Paul heard confessions.  The conference was also lead by the Catholic musical group the Hinges who lead the praise and worship. For more information about the conference visit the Ignite your torch website at

“Ignite your torch and conquer for Christ!!”




Happy Independence Day!

Friday, July 4th, 2014

The summer heat, the sound of children running around, the smell of bbq on the grill, a family trip to the lake, a relaxing night of watching fireworks explode, Independence Day is a time to give thanks to God for the many blessings that have come upon our nation, especially to give thanks for our freedom. We also give thanks those men and women who have made great sacrifices on behalf of this great nation to protect those freedoms.

We pray that all people be united under God and stand up for true peace, true liberty, especially for those who are discriminated, marginalized, persecuted and oppressed. Let us take the time to recognize all the men and women, especially those in the military, law enforcement, fire and rescue departments, and government officials who strive daily to protect this nation. May we as a nation put God back into every facet of our lives, and grow virtuous and prosperous in the areas that matter most in life, especially defending life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We also must never take for granted the freedom we have to practice our Catholic faith. We pray that our nation respect and protect this God-given right.

Freedom comes at a high price and we should never forget and take for granted all those who have served and fallen for this country so we can celebrate days like today. May all the families of those who have had a lost one fall in the line of duty, be recognized for their heroic acts and may many blessings and consolations come upon their families to heal them of their sorrow and grief that has befallen them.

We also pray for all the countries that do not have the same freedoms as we do, those nations that experience religious and political turmoil, that true peace and justice may be established and flourish in their countries. May the people of those nations live in true peace, harmony, and charity under God.

May God bless America!



Two MFVA Padres Complete Intensive Pastoral Spanish Program

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

San Antonio – Padre Leonardo and Padre Pascual completed a month long intensive pastoral Spanish program at the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio, Texas yesterday afternoon.

In response to a need for more Spanish speaking priests in the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama, the Fathers volunteered for the month long training.  They arrived at the Mexican American Catholic College (MACC) on June 8, 2014 and began classes the following day.  For 4 weeks they attended courses in Spanish grammar, conversation, music, and pastoral and liturgical services.  The program also provided an immersion into Hispanic culture.

“I enjoyed learning and becoming more engaged in Hispanic Culture and now have a deeper appreciation and respect for it,” said Fr. Paschal.

Mexican American priests and sisters founded MACC in 1972 to provide Catholic pastoral resources in Spanish.  Originally called the Mexican American Cultural Center, this vital organization also worked to preserve and reintroduce Hispanic religious cultural traditions and celebrations.  For 36 years MACC translated Church documents and prepared clergy and laity to evangelize and catechize in Spanish while revitalizing Hispanic Catholic customs.

In 2008 MACC became the Mexican American Catholic College.  It now offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in pastoral ministry with various concentrations.  The Intensive Pastoral Spanish (IPS) program Fr. Paschal and Fr. Leonard attended provides clergy and laity with a proficiency in language and culture.  A similar curriculum is available to non-English speakers, Intensive Pastoral English.  IPS and IPE are offered throughout the year.

MACC is committed to providing their students with a high quality educational experience.  Its facilities give the student a peaceful environment that is conducive to prayer and study.  The faculty are experienced and well-educated professionals.  They care about their students and the mission of MACC.

“The MACC staff and faculty are devout Catholics who love Christ and the Church.  This is visible in the self-less assistance they provide to their students,” said Fr. Leonard.

Padres Pascual and Leonardo improved their Spanish and learned more about the language.  Both also had the privilege of making new friends who helped make their time at MACC more rich.  Although the padres need more practice and study, they are now equipped to confidently provide the Sacraments en español.

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Celebrating the Feast of St. Anthony with the Blessing of St. Anthony’s Bread

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Last Friday was a special day for the Franciscan Family. The friars celebrated the feast of St. Anthony with a short ceremony with the EWTN employees, which included the blessing of St. Anthony’s Bread and the Veneration of his relic. What is St. Anthony’s bread you may ask? Below is an explanation of the long standing tradition:

“ST. ANTHONY BREAD is a term used for offerings made in thanksgiving to God for blessings received through the prayers of St. Anthony. In some places parents also make a gift for the poor after placing a newborn child under the protection of St. Anthony. It is a practice in some churches to bless small loaves of bread on the feast of St. Anthony and give them to those who want them.

Different legends or stories account for the donation of what is called St. Anthony Bread. By at least one account it goes back to 1263, when it is said a child drowned near the Basilica of St. Anthony which was still being built. His mother promised that if the child was restored to her she would give for the poor an amount of corn equal to the child’s weight. Her prayer and promise were rewarded with the boy’s return to life.

Another reason for the practice is traced back to Louise Bouffier, a shopkeeper in Toulon, France. A locksmith was prepared to break open her shop door after no key would open it. Bouffier asked the locksmith to try his keys one more time after she prayed and promised to give bread to the poor in honor of St. Anthony if the door would open without force. The door then opened. After others received favors through the intercession of St. Anthony, they joined Louise Bouffier in founding the charity of St. Anthony Bread.













Bishop Robert Baker Celebrates 70th Birthday

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Hanceville, Ala.– The Most Rev. Robert Baker of Birmingham, Alabama celebrated his 70th birthday on June 4, 2014.

Over 150 people, including 5 Friars from the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word gathered at the Cenacolo Community Our Lady of Joyful Hope House in Hanceville, Alabama to celebrate Bishop Robert Baker’s birthday.

Cenacolo was founded in 1983 by Mother Elvira Petrozzi.  She started the Community for men and women who suffer from despair and addiction.  This Catholic international organization helps them find God, discover value and meaning in their lives through prayer, study, intense manual labor, and fraternal camaraderie.  Bishop Baker is a strong supporter of Cenacolo.  He helped them found a house in Hanceville, AL. within a few years after his installation as Bishop of Birmingham.  Baker continues to assist them with their spiritual and temporal needs.  He often visits the group, celebrates Mass for them, and supplies them with food and other necessities.

The Cenacolo Community expressed its appreciation and affection for the Bishop by hosting his 70th birthday party.  This pious and joyous event began with Mass, which included 10 concelebrating priests, and 3 deacons.  A delicious Italian dinner cooked by the Cenacolo men was served after the liturgy.  All in attendance gave him birthday greetings and expressed their gratitude for his loyal service to the Birmingham Diocese and the Church.  Baker was moved by the kind gestures. He also conveyed warm sentiments of appreciation and affirmation.

May God grant Bishop Robert Baker with many more healthy, holy and happy years.


Happy 10th Anniversary of Ordination to Fr. Miguel & Fr. Dominic!

Thursday, June 5th, 2014


Thank you for your witness of fidelity and for your years of beautiful service in the vineyard. We are grateful for your dedication to our life.  Both of you have brought and continue to bring great gifts to our community.  We have been blessed by your selfless service as our Community Vicar & Novice Director and as our very own Canon Lawyer.  May Our Lord and His Holy Mother grant you many, many more years of joy and happiness in your vocations as friars and priests!

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