Archive for the ‘Current Event’ Category

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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Family Vocation Day Attracts Large Crowd

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Priests and consecrated religious shared vocations stories, explained their missions, and played games at last Saturday’s Family Vocation Day.

With over 400 people in attendance, the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word, priests and seminarians of the Diocese of Birmingham, AL., and several orders of religious sisters gathered at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church on Saturday May 17, 2014 to educate families about vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. “Open to God’s Grace” was the theme for the day that included prayer sessions, speaker workshops, Mass, confessions, and games for children.

Fr. Joseph Aytona of the Fathers of Mercy, and Fr. Rick Chenault, Vocation Director of the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama organized the event. Family vocation days began with the inspiration of Father Aytona several years ago. Since their beginnings, Family Vocation Days have strengthened faith and inspired many young men and women to consider a vocation as a priest and or consecrated brother or sister.

Though they are fun and informative, these events allow attendees to speak one on one with priests and consecrated religious. Not only do participants learn about their prayer, mission and work, they also discover that they are normal people who have fun and enjoy games.

Bishop Robert Baker celebrated Mass and greeted attendees at the event. Our Friars were also present. Representing the Franciscan Missionaries were Fr. Patrick, Br. Leo, Br. Paul, Br. John Therese, Br. James and Postulant Paul. Our Vocation Director, Fr. Patrick and Br. Paul were workshop speakers. Children of all ages were captivated and amazed while Br. Leo explained the faith using science experiments and toy amusements. Br. John Therese played guitar music and helped facilitate children’s games. Br. James captured momentous moments as our photograph and Postulant Paul provided moral and spiritual support.

Lively talks and fun games made the day enjoyable for those in attendance. Most importantly, the day provided several young people with an encounter with Jesus Christ through the sacraments, and the cheerful examples of priests, and consecrated brothers and sisters.

Celebrating Our Community’s 27th Anniversary!

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Today is the 27th Anniversary of our community!

Mother Angelica started EWTN to defend Jesus Christ, and we were founded on the feast of St. Athanasius, doctor of the Church, defender of the divinity of Jesus Christ and the “Father of Orthodoxy.”

Please keep us in your prayers. God bless!

MFVA 27th Anniversary