Archive for the ‘Current Event’ Category

Friars Attend XLT: Birmingham

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Homewood, AL – On Sunday night (August 24) Fr. Mark, Fr. John Paul, Fr. Paschal, Brs. James and John Therese attended XLT: Birmimgham, a night of worship, speakers, and adoration hosted by nearby Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Homewood, AL. Youth leaders and members, both teens and adults of St. Peters Catholic Church in Hoover and Our Lady of Sorrows came together for the two-hour event.

Greg and Lizzy Boudreaux  lead the event in prayer, music and a spiritual talk on the topic “love begs a response.” Both Greg and Lizzy where guests on “Life on the Rock” this past year. The night was filled with many confessions, as six priests during the event were available to hear confessions including our own friar priests. Monsignor Muller led the youth in Eucharistic Adoration, meditations, and Benediction.

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MFVA Friars at EWTN Family Celebration

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

On the weekend of August 16th and 17th, the Friars attended the 2014 EWTN Family Celebration in Birmingham Alabama. The event was filled as families from all across the nation came to meet and greet the employees, show hosts, and religious of EWTN.

The events keynote speakers included Fr. Robert Barron, Fr. Timothy Gallagher O.M.V, Fr. Larry Richards, and Joanne Bogle who all have appeared on the EWTN. As Fr. Leonard Revilla said in his homily on Saturday “this is our chance to meet you as the viewer.” The EWTN Family celebration is always an exciting time as we get to grow in our faith and grow as an EWTN family.

The friars were busy with several assignments. The friar priests heard many confessions during the event and also had the opportunity to meet and greet those who traveled great distances. The priests also participated in radio interviews and a live taping events. Br. James and Br. Tarcisius worked diligently in organizing the vestry, sacristy, and liturgical functions during the event. The brothers helped serve the Mass  and also helped organize the confession lines. Br. John Therese worked in the EWTN Kid’s Faith Factory area.

Fr. Anthony, Fr. Joseph, participated in a “Family Talk” live taping with Michael Warsaw. The friars also had Mass for the employees, and Evening prayer and Benediction. Throughout the days the Friars also participated in Eucharistic Adoration.

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From Conversion to Perpetual Profession: Br. Matthew

Monday, August 18th, 2014

In the presence of the Bishop of Birmingham, the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word, his family and friends, and with thousands of EWTN viewers watching, Br. Matthew Mary of the Exaltation of the Cross, reverently and sincerely professed perpetual vows on Monday August 11, 2014.

Perpetual professions are always celebrated with much praise and thanksgiving to God.   It is blessed occasion for a man to vow to live in poverty, chastity and obedience in accordance of the Rule St. Francis of Assisi for the rest of his life.   In other words, the Friar vows to live radically and literally like Jesus Christ as taught by his Holy Father St. Francis of Assisi.  Br. Matthew wholeheartedly embraced this way of life as he professed perpetual vows.  However, there was a time when he knew very little about consecrated life and about the Catholic faith.

As a child living in Wilmington, Delaware, Jason (Br. Matthew) learned about the Christian faith from his parents.  They taught him and his siblings how to pray, introduced them to Bible stories, and instructed them in morals and virtues.  Holidays such as Christmas and Easter were celebrated joyfully and festively in the home but rarely did these celebrations begin with church services.   Though his family called themselves Christians, they did not belong to a denomination or church community.  In fact Jason and his siblings were not baptized.

In his youth religion was not among Jason’s favorite interests.  “At times, my father would discuss certain accounts or readings from scripture with me and I would ask him questions… The fact that I never went as far as to do my own research shows that my interest level was not that high; at least not as high as my interest in video games,” said Br. Matthew.

Nonetheless, he had an interest in learning and excelled in academics.  While in the sixth grade a teacher recognized his potential and gave him the inspiration to excel.  “My performance at school greatly improved in sixth grade thanks to the kindness and loving support of my teacher Mrs. Hughes,” said Brother.  This influence remains with him today and has resulted in above average academic performances in college and at the seminary.   “She helped me to accomplish more than I ever thought I could…  Beginning in sixth grade, my performance improved to above average.  I indeed owe her a huge debt of gratitude.”

Jason also excelled and continues to excel in music.  In high school he played the alto saxophone in concert band and tuba or saxophone in marching band.  He was awarded, the “Unsung Hero” award, one of the marching bands highest honors for work ethic and performance.  “I had no expectation of winning that award whatsoever.  The most impressive part is that the classmates themselves had chosen the recipient of the award, which deeply moved me,” he said.

After graduating in 1999, as member of the National Honors Society, he continued working part-time at Burger King.  In the fall he began working full-time at Neurology Associates while attending part-time classes at Delaware Technical and Community College (DTCC).   Four years later was hired by Delaware Curative Workshop.  He graduated from DTCC summa cum laude in May 2007.

He had many academic and employment achievements but nothing can compare to the gift he received on April 19, 2003.

During the Lenten season of 2002, Sue, a friend of Jason’s mother Beverly, informed her about the RCIA program at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish.  She then shared this information with her family.  “When my mother told me about RCIA, I was very excited to give it a try,” said Brother.  About 5 months later, he and his siblings began RCIA and all were baptized and received into the Catholic Church on April 19, 2003.  His newfound faith suddenly became the center of his life.

“I had loved learning about the faith in RCIA and afterwards I continued my faith formation by reading books and watching EWTN.”

Jason still struggled with understanding Church teachings and questioned miracles and God’s presence in history.  He eventually found answers through prayer and research.  “Only after much time in prayer, reflection, reading, and learning did I come to realize that God is really and truly active all throughout history and especially in the present.  This realization further deepened my relationship with God.  At this time I was still trying to figure out what I should be doing with my life” he related.

While he attended a Sunday Mass in 2004, one of the general intercessions was for more laborers to be sent out into the harvest.  This was a prayer for an increase in vocations.  “When I heard this I thought to myself, ‘Maybe this is what God wants me to do.”  After this, he did not think about a vocation again until February 2005 when he met with the vocation director for the Diocese of Wilmington.  “Since I was basically ignorant when it came to a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, he gave me some explanation of the difference between religious life and the diocesan priesthood.  I felt more inclined towards the religious life,” he said.

During his discernment Jason, visited two religious communities, the Capuchins and the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word.  After visiting with the MFVA’s twice in 2007, he joined them in September of the same year.   On August 8, 2008 he entered novitiate and was given the name Brother Matthew Mary of the Exaltation of the Cross.  A year later he made his first profession of vows and started studying philosophy at the St. Joseph House of Studies.  In the fall of 2011, he began a pre-theology degree completion program at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and University.  Brother received his undergraduate degree with summa cum laude honors in May 2013.

Br. Matthew did a pastoral year during the 2013/ 2014 academic year.  Throughout this time, he served as a bookkeeper, mentored his fellow temporary professed brothers, completed a community hymnal, worked in the EWTN studio, and occasionally cantered at the TV Mass and accompanied MFVA priests on parish assignments.  He will soon return to Mount St. Mary’s Seminary to begin studying theology.

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Annual Blessing of EWTN’s Facilities & Campus

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Mother Angelica started broadcasting EWTN from our Irondale, Ala. headquarters on August 15, 1981 — the Feast of the Assumption. Every year since then, the Friars have processed the Blessed Sacrament in and around the campus buildings asking Our Lord to continue to bless the Network and all who so generously support it. Frs. Leonard and John Paul conducted the Eucharistic blessing of the facilities as president of EWTN Michael Warsaw and the vice-presidents followed behind singing hymns and praying various litanies.

Fr. Leonard was recently appointed as the new EWTN Employee Chaplain and Fr. John Paul was appointed as Assistant Employee Chaplain.  Together they will be responsible for the pastoral care of the EWTN employee family.  Fr. Joseph, the former EWTN Chaplain, has been asked to take on the responsibilities of Shrine Administrator at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, AL.  He will continue to serve the Network on a regular basis through his on-air work including his new television series, Church Universal, debuting at the end of August.

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MFVA Summer Update

Friday, August 8th, 2014

IRONDALE, AL – It has been a fast few weeks here with the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word. Just to recap a few events lately and to let you know what is going to happen in the weeks to come:

JULY 26: Fr. Miguel who was the administrator up at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament for several years has moved back down to the Network. Fr. Joseph will be taking his place up at the Shrine.

AUGUST 2: It was an eventful day as three of the brothers, Br. Paul, Br. James, and Br. John Therese renewed their vows. Paul Rahn our former postulant, now Br. Gabriel Mary was invested with the Franciscan Habit and was received into the Novitiate. He will be under the direction of Fr. Miguel.

AUGUST 4: Fr. Leonard came back to the friary after being away this summer in San Antonio Texas for an intensive Spanish course and Derwent, Canada to chaplain a summer film program. Also, Br. James and Br. John Therese started school again. They will continue to study philosophy with Dr. Richard Geraghty.

AUGUST 8:  Br. Bernard will be celebrating his birthday along with Fr. Dominic celebrating his feast day.

AUGUST 11:  On the feast day of St. Clare of Assisi, Br. Matthew will be professing his solemn vows.

AUGUST 14 – 15: The Friars will be participating in the EWTN Facilities Blessing. Also, Br. Matthew and Paul will be heading up to Mt. Saint Mary’s Seminary.

AUGUST 16 -17: We will be participating in the EWTN Family Celebration. Fr. Patrick and Br. Tarcisius will be heading back to the Mt. Saint Mary’s after the EWTN Family Celebration.  Fr. Dominic will be heading back to Rome to work on his doctoral dissertation for Canon Law.

Please join us for the Perpetual Profession of Vows of Br. Matthew on Monday, August 11

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

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Please join us for the Investiture & Admission to Novitiate of Paul Rahn on Saturday, August 2

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

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The Mass and ceremony will also air live on EWTN at 8AM ET. For more information go to www.ewtn.com.

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)

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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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