Current Events

June 21st, 2016

The friars held their General Chapter Tuesday, June 21, 2016.  A “General Chapter” is conducted every three years and one of the primary points of business is to elect friars to fill various positions in service of the community.  In the presence of the diocesan bishop’s representatives, Fr. Michael Deering and Fr. Bryan Jerabek, the following were elected to serve the community for the next three years:

· Fr. Mark Mary, Community Servant (Superior)
· Fr. Anthony, Community Vicar
· Fr. Miguel Marie, First Councilor
· Fr. Dominic Mary, Second Councilor
· Br. Leo Mary, Third Councilor

We are very grateful for all of the love, support and prayers that so many of you show for the friars.

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May 16th, 2016

On May 11th Father Paschal attended a banquet in appreciation for all the service personnel who planned and worked the funeral of Mother M Angelica. The luncheon was hosted by EWTN at Wallace State in Hanceville, AL. Over 200 civic leaders, emergency medical personnel, firefighters and policemen were involved the day of the funeral. Many thanks go out to them and all those who serve and protect us.

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May 12th, 2016

Fr. Leonard, Br. Leo, and a large group of young EWTN employees spent this past Saturday (May 7) enjoying the great outdoors on a 5 mile hike at nearby Oak Mountain State Park. Preceding the hike they gathered to begin the day with Holy Mass.

(Mass Photos courtesy of Lauren Franklin Photography, Hike Photos courtesy of Stephen Lunsford)

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April 22nd, 2016

Fr. John Paul was recently at Birmingham Awakening, a dynamic three-day retreat for college students and young adults sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Birmingham. Awakening was held Friday, April 10th through Sunday April 12th at Springville Camp and Conference Center in Odenville, Alabama.

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April 22nd, 2016

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(The following article is a copy of Fr. Joseph’s homily for Mother M. Angelica’s Mass of Christian Burial on April 1, 2016.)

You know that we had many plans at EWTN for when this day would come, but God was always full of surprises when it came to Mother Angelica. And so, for example, we had spent hours preparing booklets for the Solemn Vespers of the Dead, but during the Easter Octave, you are not permitted to pray the Office of the Dead, (the Lord wanted us to sing Alleluias instead) and so we had to quickly prepare different texts for our beautiful Easter Octave Vespers last evening. We also had to change the first Reading for the Mass today, because of the Easter Season. And our First Reading was taken from the Book of Revelation, a vision of John, where he sees something new – a new heaven – a new earth – a new Jerusalem, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

You cannot understand Mother Angelica without reference to the One she loved with the passion of the Bride: Jesus, the Eternal Word, who became man and dwelt among us.

1-IMG_0447Mother, speaking of her healing as a teenager said: When the Lord came in and healed me through the Little Flower, I had a whole different attitude. I knew there was a God; I knew that God knew me and loved me and was interested in me. I didn’t know that before. All I wanted to do after my healing was give myself to Jesus.

In one of her letters from that time she wrote: … before I was cured I was a lukewarm Catholic … now I love our Lord so that there are times when I think I will die. When I think of all that He has done for me and how little I have done for Him, I could cry.

I remember the love with which she would kiss the Cross on Good Friday. On the Last Good Friday of her life, I held that cross (Crucifix on coffin placed at Mother’s head) up to her lips to kiss for the last time.

You cannot understand Mother Angelica without reference to the One she loved with the 1-IMG_0462passion of the Bride: Jesus, the Eternal Word, who became man and dwelt among us.

What was it that prompted the transformation of a garage into a television studio? It was that the Divinity of Jesus must be upheld. He IS the Eternal Word, the Divine Son of God. He is the Bridegroom of the Church and thus hers – since contemplative women religious especially manifest the bridal nature of the Church. And as a faithful bride, she would defend the One she was wed to.

She sometimes joked about the fact that on the day of her Solemn Profession, the ceremony wasn’t very edifying. The bishop, I think was late, and when he put the ring on her finger espousing her to Christ, he only put it on half way. But there was something deeper going on inside of her. She knew Whom she loved and to Whom she was giving herself. And that was all that mattered. (We’re making up for that lack of ceremony then – today, dear Mother).

1-IMG_0470When I was in seminary, some people thought Mother went overboard in speaking out against a movie portraying Jesus being tempted on the Cross. I remember the comments made in one of my theology classes in Rome. But it was love for Jesus that impelled her and I think a larger question for each of us is, do we love Jesus enough to defend Him, even if we may be ridiculed for doing so?

When she was on Larry King Live show, to talk about the movie debating the head of the Motion Picture Association of America, who was Catholic, at one point she said, “Look sweetheart …” (and if you ever heard those words, you knew you were in trouble) … “Look sweetheart, you are first of all a Child of God.”

You cannot understand Mother Angelica without reference to the One she loved with the passion of the Bride: Jesus, the Eternal Word, who became man and dwelt among us.

1-IMG_3031She wanted each one of us to love Jesus more. And she has helped us all and so many throughout the years and throughout the world to do that. Often, I will ask people who tell me they watch EWTN, what are their favorite programs. Usually Mother’s programs are on top of the list.

Jesus, in the Gospel today, said that He is the living bread – that came down – from heaven – and that just as He has life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on Him will have life because of Him. That is the secret of Mother Angelica’s legacy, it is HIS legacy – yes, the One she loved, but the One who loved her even more – with the passion of a Bridegroom. She had life and was able to give life, because He gave life to her. She was fed, not with dead wheat, but with a living bread from Heaven. EVERY DAY! She was united to Him in a Holy Communion EVERY DAY! Her legacy is a legacy of HIS work in her. To Him be praised forever! For He has reached out with His mercy to the world through her and the works He brought about through her.

1-IMG_0964A second point I would like to make today is the Scripture passage which is engraved on Mother’s tomb. It is also the passage to which the bible on Mother’s coffin is opened (Placed at Mother’s heart). It is one of her favorite passages that she often quoted in speaking about the call to holiness being attainable for everyone, not just for a select few. No one was born a Saint – but working daily on it, the grace of God will bring them there: The Scripture passage is taken from 2 Cor 3:18:

And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; This is the work of the Lord Who is Spirit.

Yes, We are all called to be Saints. Don’t miss the opportunity.

1-IMG_0743You know, I think everyone here today wants to be a saint – and that many of those with us through the media want to be saints, too. Mother helped us to believe that it is attainable. That even if we were impetuous like St. Peter, or gruff like St. Jerome, with a past like St. Mary Magdalene or tempted like St. Francis, we could advance and grow with our particular temperament, weaknesses, strengths and circumstances. Yes, Mother said, the biographers of the Saints should spend 40 years in Purgatory because they made holiness seem impossible to attain. Hers was a practical spirituality for the man in the pew.

I believe that deep down we all want holiness, because it is the only thing that is really satisfying in life. The Saints are those who reached their potential, and even beyond, because of the grace of God at work in them, transforming them as they grow brighter and brighter through the work of the Spirit.

Finally, the last item on Mother’s coffin are the roses at her feet, representative of her spiritual daughters loving devotion.

1-IMG_1197I especially want to offer thanks to Sr. Gabriel, Sr. Regina and Sr. Michael for showing us the value of life in your sacrificial love in caring for Mother over the years she required so much care. St. Francis spoke of the primacy of our example. And you have all taught me and so many others by your example that to love is to serve. I also want to thank especially Mother’s many care-givers over the years for the same loving example.

You know, I have thought and worked for some time on what I would say when this day came, and I have shared some of that with you today. But last night, when I read what someone who truly knew Mother wrote, I felt like St. Bonaventure who, after reading St. Thomas’ texts for the new Feast of Corpus Christi, quietly tore up his own. After all, how could my reflections compare with those of one who spent nearly 65 years of Religious Life with her? With one who entered the monastery 7 years after Mother did in Ohio, became part of the new adventure to Alabama, learned from her and cared for her in the last years of Mother’s life.

1-IMG_1220Sr. Mary Michael, the Mother Vicar of the Community here in Hanceville wrote this about Mother Angelica:

Being a spiritual daughter of Mother Angelica was a unique, privileged experience. Mother had a wealth of spiritual knowledge, experience and commonsense, plus an exceptional gift for seeing the root of a problem and being able to give sound, practical advice on what to do. She could correct and sometimes had to use what she called her “yelling theology” if we were in a bad state of mind and were not listening. She used it on me once and later explained to me that she had to do it to get me to listen, sort of like throwing cold water at someone to get them to wake up. She never crushed you and often after such corrections you might feel the warmth of a hand on your shoulder and knew she was standing behind you – her way of letting you know you were loved and, so to speak, still in her “good graces” because I think there were a lot of people both lay and religious who felt Mother Angelica was not upset with you that you were also in God’s good graces.

1-IMG_1301Yes, Mother Angelica’s life has blessed us all and your presence here is a testimony to that. On a Live Show one time, she said to someone who felt motherless, that she would be their mother. Those of us who were privileged to know her, truly felt that to her, we were a beloved son or a beloved daughter.

Sr. Michael continued, “Instilling a family spirit in the Community was very important in making us all feel united and loved and caring for each other. Mother cared deeply about the ordinary person and wanted to make the gospels appealing to them and reach to the masses with the Word of God, hence the TV Network, another story in itself.

On a personal, individual level Mother counseled many people, both Catholic and non-Catholic. Many of these were professional people and the problems woulc be quite varied, from family problems to spiritual, and she obviously gave great advice as these people remained friends for life.”

1-IMG_1322Of how Mother overcame problems, Sr. Michael wrote:

Problems and challenges did not discourage Mother. They were opportunites to look for a solution. No pity parties allowed. If one door closes go through another, follow the leading of Our Lord and be on with it. What seemed to be setbacks often turned out to be an opening to something bigger and better. When we could no longer roast peanuts because buyers wanted kickbacks (Mother said she was not going to lose her soul over a peanut) we closed that phase of our life and went on to copying spiritual tapes, a far better work. When Mother was no longer able to tape her TV programs at a local TV Station she went on to found her own Television Network. Mother was not afraid to do what seemed ridiculous and God certainly performed miracles for her. Her only fear was not to do God’s will.

1-IMG_1337Life without Mother will never be the same – there will always be a hole in our hearts.

Sister M. Michael

But for all of us, let us be consoled by listening to some of the words of Stanislaw Cardinal Dziwisz, Pope St. John Paul’s personal secretary for 40 years, who sent a letter of condolence to the nuns and those who collaborated with her. He wrote:

I received the sad information regarding Mother Angelica the Foundress of EWTN, whom the Lord called to the heaven on Easter Sunday March 27, 2016. It is only fitting that the Lord chose this day to call home one of his humble servants.

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I met her personally, when she was visiting the Holy Father John Paul II in Vatican and I have to give witness, that she was a wonderful women dedicated to Jesus and to the Church. She devoted her life to ministry, converting untold numbers of people to the Church. She left an indelible mark on the Catholic Church and the world as a whole. She will be always 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.

Mother Angelica was a great Apostle of Jesus and gave a wonderful witness to the Love of God in The Eternal Word Television Network. I am convinced She is enjoying eternal life with our Lord in Heaven.

Stanislaw Cardinal Dziwisz

Eternal Rest grant unto her, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Amen.

 

 

March 30th, 2016

MFVA_Mother-HandsIn his Infinite Goodness, the Eternal Father has granted you the grace and opportunity to imitate his Divine Son in bringing back the stray sheep and in serving them in every spiritual need, by direction, teaching, retreats, radio, television and the printed word. Through the power of the Spirit, prayer and the contemplation of the Scriptures you will find the necessary grace and gifts to fulfill your mission of ever looking for the stray sheep, whose needs you will lovingly fulfill with great solicitude. You will look after the faithful sheep in the fold, who will be most dear to your hearts because, through the power of the Spirit, you will mold them into the image of Jesus. You will direct their souls as  the Spirit leads them to that degree of holiness destined for them from all eternity, ever keeping in mind the statement: What gain, then, is it for a man to have won the whole world and to have lost or ruined his very self (Luke 9:25)?

Prayer, contemplation, virtue and  high morals must be more than just a direction for others to pursue. These qualities must be deeply rooted in your own hearts for you cannot give what you do not possess. The adoration of the Holy Eucharist and devotion to Our Lady, St. Francis and St. Louis De Montfort are very special trademarks of this Community. It is necessary, therefore, to seek always humility of heart, knowing that although we labor, God alone bears the fruit. Because of your deep awareness of the vast difference between creature and Creator and how His mercy drew you from nothingness into the bosom of the Father, you must have indefatigable zeal that His Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.

It is every brother’s goal to reach that transformation of the soul into Jesus as described so beautifully in 2 Cor. 3:18, And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord Who is Spirit. Knowing that in this valley of tears we are in need of friends in heaven and on earth to encourage us on our way, let the Holy Angels, these first defenders of truth, be your special companions on your journey home. May their love encourage you, their power protect you and their zeal be a source of edification when your will falters and your faith weakens.

I ask that Mary, Help of Christians, ever be your guide as you strive to bring the stray sheep back home  and encourage the faithful ones ever onward to the heights of holiness. In order for you to be imbued with the Spirit of St. Francis it is well for you to read his Rule. Though it is not binding and the words seem strange, remember, we also have Saracens in our age — those who wish to destroy the faith by teaching error of every kind. Look for the Spirit of this humble and holy man and your own Constitutions will become alive with that spirit.

March 28th, 2016

The Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word are deeply saddened by the death of our foundress, Mother Mary Angelica, PCPA. Mother was an inspiration for all of us in her contemplative life of adoration before the Most Blessed Sacrament and in the deep, personal relationship that she had with the Lord. Her friendly manner, pleasant wit, vision and enthusiastic zeal for evangelization so animated her mission at EWTN and inspired all who had the privilege of getting to know her in person or through the Network. In founding our community Mother Angelica imbued our manner of life with her own profound love for the Real Presence, devotion to Our Lady and the spirituality of St. Francis. She shared with us her special charism of evangelization through the modern means of social communication, most especially through service to the apostolate of EWTN. The friars will always treasure the unique relationship we had with Mother Angelica and the way of life that she inspired for us.

Eternal rest, grant unto Mother Angelica O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon her.
May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Amen.

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March 28th, 2016

The Friars commemorate and celebrate the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ devoutly and zealously.

This year’s celebration of the triduum began in solemn fashion with Holy Thursday celebrations in Irondale and Hanceville, Alabama. For the Mass of the Lord’s Supper Fr. Anthony was the main celebrant at the EWTN Chapel and Fr. Paschal at the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament.

On Good Friday, Stations of the Cross devotions were held at both places. At 3:00 PM, the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord was celebrated by Fr. Miguel at the Shrine and Fr. Patrick at EWTN.

Fr. Joseph was the main celebrant for the Easter Vigil in Hanceville and Fr. Miguel was the celebrant there on Easter morning. In Irondale Fr. Leonard celebrated the Easter Vigil and Fr. Anthony celebrated on Easter Morning.

The Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word wish you and your family a happy and holy Easter Season.

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March 1st, 2016

Ever wondered what it would be like to serve at the largest Catholic media outlet in the world, as a Franciscan Brother or a Priest?

If you are discerning a vocation to the consecrated life, here is your chance to discover the life of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word. Our Come and See Discernment Retreats will take place May 19-22 & July 14-17.

If you are interested in attending either of these and are between the ages of 18 – 35, please fill out the inquiry form on our website:

www.franciscanmissionaries.com/vocations/vocations-inquiry

Please tell any family members, friends, or fellow parishioners that may be interested! Please print out or share online the attached flyer.

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February 15th, 2016

During Ash Wednesday Holy Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, Fr. John Paul along with hundreds of other priest from around the world selected by their Bishop, were installed by Pope Francis as a Missionaries of Mercy. These Missionaries of Mercy are priests who, during the Jubilee of Mercy, will be given the faculties to pardon sins in cases otherwise reserved to the Holy See including:

1.) Desecration of the Holy Eucharist
2.) Abortion
3.) Physical violence against the Holy Father
4.) Bishop who consecrates another bishop without a mandate from the Holy Father
5.) Absolving an accomplice of the Sixth Commandment (adultery)
6.) Violating the seal of confession

According to the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, the Missionaries are to be:

1.) a living sign of the Father’s welcome to all those in search of his forgiveness;
2.) facilitators for all, with no one excluded, of a truly human encounter, a source of liberation, rich with responsibility for overcoming obstacles and taking up the new life of Baptism again;
3.) guided by the words, “For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all;
4.) inspiring preachers of Mercy;
5.) heralds of the joy of forgiveness;
6.) welcoming, loving, and compassionate Confessors, who are most especially attentive to the difficult situations of each person.

Pope Francis expressed his keen desire for the relics of St. Padre Pio and St. Leopold Mandic to be exposed during the Feb. 10 Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Holy Father addressed the Missionaries of Mercy directly, telling them that their mandate is to be a sign and instrument of God’s forgiveness.

Congratulations Fr. John Paul!

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February 15th, 2016

Lent is a wonderful time to experience Christ’s love and deepen our love for Him.  EWTN’s Lenten Retreat at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, AL provided the friars and EWTN employees a wonderful opportunity to rejuvenate their prayer life and strengthen their relationship with the Lord.

This year’s Retreat Director was Fr. Brett Brannen from    the Diocese of Savannah, Georgia.  He was an excellent speaker with many years of experience in pastoral ministry and seminary formation.

Fr. Brett Brannen was ordained a priest in 1991 for the Diocese of Savannah, Georgia.  He graduated from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary with an M.Div and an MA-Theology; Sacred Scripture.  He has served as pastor of five different parishes and was diocesan vocation director for 10 years.  From 2005-2011, he was the vice rector of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD.  Fr. Brannen has preached many diocesan priest retreats around the U.S., as well as retreats for seminaries, discernment retreats for men and parish missions.  He has taught a course on the Identity of the Diocesan Priest at The Institute for Priestly Formation in Omaha, NE for the last 10 years and he preaches an annual retreat for priests with the Theology of the Body Institute.  He is the author of “To Save a Thousand Souls: A Guide for Discerning a Vocation to Diocesan Priesthood” and “A Priest in the Family: A Guide for Parents Whose Sons are Considering Priesthood.”  Fr. Brannen is currently the pastor of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Savannah, Georgia.

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February 3rd, 2016

IRONDALE, AL – Snow, rain, wind and freezing temperatures could not stop the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word and thousands of people from marching and walking to support of life.

Friars took the pro-life message to the streets of Birmingham, Alabama, Washington D.C., and San Francisco, California.  Br. Bernard, Fr. Paschal, Br. John Therese and Br. James Francis attended the Birmingham march on Saturday January 16, 2016.
The threat of severe northern snowstorms did not intimidate Fr. Patrick, Br. Leo, and Br. John Therese from attending the March for Life in Washington, D.C.  As in past years the friars assisted EWTN with their multi-media productions while praying with the crowd.

Fr. Mark and Br. James Francis represented the MFVA Community at the Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco.  Weather reports of wind, rain, snow, and freezing temperatures did not disturb or distract the Friars from serving the Lord. Father conducted live EWTN interviews during the walk.  Brother assisted with television production and other support duties.

All Friars returned home from their pro-life travels safe and dry. Like all community members they continue promoting the pro-life message with courage and love in their manner of living, and in their preaching and teaching.

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February 3rd, 2016

IRONDALE, Ala. – Friars solemnly and prayerfully processed throughout their Friary motherhouse blessing it with prayer, water, chalk and incense.

Every year on the solemn feast of Epiphany, all Friars assigned to the Annunciation Friary gather in the chapel for the annual Epiphany blessing.  The event began with introductory prayers.  From there they took up holy water, chalk, incense and hymnals.  From the start of the pious procession to the finish, the fathers and brothers sang hymns of adoration and appreciation to the Infant Jesus.  Fr. Anthony, the Community Servant led the ceremony.

During this year’s procession, the friars paused so Fr. Anthony could bless a large beautiful new icon of Christ the Good Shepard.  The image was a Christmas gift.

The joyous Epiphany celebration ended with night prayer in the Friary chapel.  God always nourishes the Community’s fraternal loyalty and fidelity with these types of prayerful events.

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February 3rd, 2016

CULLMAN, Ala. – The entire MFVA community departed from their labors for their annual five-day canonical retreat on January 3, 2016.

At the start of every year the Friars head north to St. Bernard’s Abbey Retreat House in Cullman, Alabama.  There they enjoyed the peaceful and prayerful atmosphere enclosed within the monastery property.  The retreat provided the friars with extra time for prayer, rest, recollection and some recreation.  They had daily Mass, attended two conferences a day and ate their meals in silence.  A retreat master gave the talks.  This year’s director was Fr. Frederick Miller, a priest from the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey who currently teaches at Seton Hall Seminary.  On the final evening of the retreat, the MFVA Friars and Monks of St. Bernard’s Abbey pray vespers and have a dinner together.  Like in past years it was a time of blessed worship and brotherly fellowship.

The five-day prayerful respite rejuvenated and refreshed the friars.  Expect God to work powerfully and wonderfully through them.

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February 3rd, 2016

ST. AUGSTINE, Fla. –  The New Year for Fr. Patrick and Fr. Leonard began with service to Cenacolo Community, and Secular Franciscans and Carmelites.

While many people spend New Year’s Eve day preparing for evening celebrations, Fr. Leonard and Fr. Patrick spent part of their day at airports en route to St. Augustine, FL.  For several years MFVA priests have opened the New Year by giving retreats to Secular Franciscans and Carmelites from various congregations in Florida.  The one-day event is always held at the Our Lady of La Leche Shrine.  Activities included confessions, Mass, a conference, and a holy hour.  This year’s them was on “The Year of Mercy.”

The fathers also visited the Cenacolo Community houses in St. Augustine.  Cenacolo is a Community that helps young men and women suffering from addictions.  Mother Elvira Petrozzi, an Italian nun, founded the organization in 1983.  This year, Fathers Leonard and Patrick celebrated the beginning of 2016 with the men of Our Lady of Hope and Mary Immaculate houses.  Fr. Patrick also celebrated Mass on New Years Day for the young women at St. Maria Goretti House.

Both priests had a blessed time celebrating and ministering with Cenacolo, the Secular Franciscans and Carmelites.  God did great work through our friars.

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December 23rd, 2015

IRONDALE, AL – Employees of the Eternal Word Television Network and the Friars exchange Christmas greetings and receive blessings.

The Friars decked the halls through the halls of EWTN’s main campus with a large basket and bag full of candy.  Br. Leo and Br. John carried the treats while Br. Matthew helped distribute them.  Fr. Leonard and Fr. Patrick gave early Christmas blessings.

Every year before Christmas the priests and brothers walk through the Network with candy, good tidings and cheer.  In past years friars sang Christmas carols. This time they were without their power singers.

The dedication and devotion employees have for EWTN’s mission is inspiring and encouraging.  Many of them make great sacrifices by leaving higher paying jobs and moving from long distances to work at the Network.

The Friars take pleasure in serving them and expressing appreciation for their service to God and the Church.  Please join the MFVA Community in praying our beloved employees have a blessed Christmas, and a happy and healthy New Year.

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December 21st, 2015

IRONDALE, AL – Our Friars show appreciation to EWTN altar servers with Christmas party and gifts.

The EWTN altar servers and their families gathered with the Friars for the first annual server appreciation party Sunday afternoon.  They enjoyed pizza, holiday sweets and received gifts.  Br. James Francis entertained the crowd with playing his guitar.

A few young men and Boys from the community piously assist the brothers at the 7:00AM televised and Sunday 11:30AM Masses. Br. John Therese coordinates the server training and scheduling.  He also organized the party.

The Friars are truly grateful for the service of our young friends.  May God reward them abundantly.

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December 20th, 2015

HANCEVILLE, AL – God’s merciful grace touches the hearts of hundreds of people at the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament as Bishop Robert Baker opens its holy door for the Year of Mercy.

The hour long ceremony commenced with the Bishop and the crowd at the statue of the Divine Child Jesus in the piazza. Litanies of Saints were chanted while they solemnly procession to the holy door.  Prayers were recited by Fr. John Paul, Fr. Miguel and the Bishop before the opening.  He was first to walk through the door.  Priests and lay people piously followed him in.

At the pulpit Baker preached on the meaning of a Plenary Indulgence and the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.  Fr Joseph, Fr Miguel and Fr John Paul assisted in the ceremony and heard Confessions after.  Over 500 people were in attendance.  It was standing room only in the Shrine.

The Friars will be involved in more Year of Mercy events throughout the coming months.  We’ll keep you updated.

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December 15th, 2015

Walk in the footsteps of Saints Faustina, Maxmillian Kolbe and St. John Paul II. Join Fr. Miguel Mary, MFVA on a Jubilee Year of Mercy pilgrimage to Poland & Prague, April 21-May 1, 2016. Visit the church where St. Faustina prayed before entering the convent, the Franciscan Monastery founded by St. Maximillian Kolbe, and the “Have No Fear” that carries the relics of St. John Paul II. For more information, contact Visitation Pilgrimage & Tours at 1-800-535-9803, or visit their website at:

http://visitationpilgrimages.com/Page_2.html.

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December 7th, 2015

This past Friday, EWTN’s employees and friars gathered at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, AL for their annual ‪‎Advent‬ retreat. The retreat presented an opportunity for employees of the network to prepare for the coming of Our Lord at Christmas.

This year’s retreat master was Fr. Paschal Morlino, OSB, a ‪‎Benedictine‬ from St. Vincent’s Abbey in Latrobe, PA. He has led Saint Benedict Church in Baltimore‬, MD as pastor for the past 30 years. He is also the founder of Adelphoi Village, a non-profit child care agency that provides a continuum of care to over 2,500 youth per year through group homes, foster care/adoptive services, education, mental health services, in-home services and aftercare. Fr. Paschal carries the honorary title of Archimandrite of Akka. This title, bestowed by the Melkite‬ Catholic‬ Church, recognizes Fr. Paschal’s support of the work by the Archdiocese of Galilee, Israel.

It was a grace-filled time for all participants including those friars who attended.

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August 3rd, 2015

On August 2nd, the Solemnity of Our Lady of the Angels, our community held its annual ‪Profession‬ and ‪Investiture‬ ceremonies. Clark, our former postulant, now Br. James Francis of Mary, Our Tainted Nature’s Solitary Boast was invested with the ‪Franciscan‬ Habit and was received into the Novitiate. He will be under the direction of Fr. Miguel. Br. John Therese renewed his vows of ‪poverty‬, ‪chastity‬, and ‪obedience‬ for another year.

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July 20th, 2015

With praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God and in gratitude for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Fr. Joseph Mary of the Eternal Father celebrated his Silver Jubilee of Religious Profession on Monday, July 20, 2015 at Our Lady of the Angels Chapel in Irondale, AL.

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June 26th, 2015

WASHINGTON – Viewers of the Eternal Word Television Network are staying informed with up to date national and international news by watching EWTN News Nightly. The Network opened its news department in Washington, DC a few years ago. This news broadcast provides current and accurate news with a fresh Catholic perspective. The Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word spiritually support this holy endeavor.

Last November Fr. Patrick Mary became the first friar priest to serve as chaplain at the Washington, DC studio. Br. Tarcisius Maria helped with preparing the chapel and sacristy for use. Mass, confessions and holy hours are now available to the employees three times a week. Chapel events are always well-attended. The Nightly News Staff appreaciates Fr. Patrick’s ministry to them. Fr. Paschal and Fr. Miguel are covering chaplain duties in DC during the summer while Fr. Patrick is in Irondale, Alabama.

The Friars are grateful to God for calling them to serve at EWTN. Their favorite part of service, is serving the Network’s wonderful employees who love God and are committed to preserving and advancing the mission of EWTN.

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June 12th, 2015

IRONDALE, Ala. — Since the Feast of Saint Anthony of Padua fell on a Saturday this year, the friars decided to have their traditional devotions and the Blessing of Saint Anthony’s Bread Friday morning, making it possible for EWTN employees to attend. The short ceremony took place in the EWTN Chapel early this morning which included the blessing of St. Anthony’s Bread and the Veneration of his relic.

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.  

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April 15th, 2015

Ever wondered what it would be like to serve at the largest Catholic media outlet in the world, as a Franciscan Brother or a Priest?

If you are discerning a vocation to the consecrated life, here is your chance to discover the life of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word. Our Come and See Discernment Retreats will take place June 5-7 & July 3-5.

If you are interested in attending either of these and are between the ages of 18 – 35, please fill out the inquiry form on our website:

www.franciscanmissionaries.com/vocations/vocations-inquiry

Please tell any family members, friends, or fellow parishioners that may be interested! Please print out or share online the attached flyer.

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March 26th, 2015

IRONDALE, Ala. — Our Friar Priests are offering Mass on a new altar, a replica of one near the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi.

On the vigil of the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, the friars blessed a new altar built for their friary chapel. To remind them of their roots during times of prayer, it was inspired by the altar above the body of Saint Francis in Assisi, Italy.

Francis was a great lover of Christ Crucified and marveled at the humility of God who would come to us each day in the most holy Body and Blood of the Lord. He wanted great care to be taken in all things pertaining to the Eucharist, to the altar and the books that contain the powerful words of the Lord.

We pray that this altar dedicated to God would be a source of grace for so many people throughout the world.

The friars have used different altars in their chapel over the years, but this was made specifically for this sacred place. Father Paschal drew up the plans based on the basilica altar and worked closely with Birmingham artisans to craft this beautiful testament to faith. Bobby Michelson of Ramwood Furniture and Brian Maloy of Fusoform put all their talents into play.

Soon there will also be lamps made by Robert Taylor, a local coppersmith. It has been a pleasure working with these men.

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March 26th, 2015

Fr. Patrick and Br. Tarcisius provide a Franciscan presence at Mount St. Mary’s University.  Since the start of the academic year Fr. Patrick has assisted with campus ministry by offering Masses, and providing the Sacrament of Penance and Spiritual Direction.  Brother is currently completing a degree in Philosophy.  Several students, faculty and staff members enjoy his lively demeanor and humor.

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March 23rd, 2015

Fr. Joseph gave a talk at St Catherine of Siena ‪‎Catholic‬ church in Fort Thomas, ‪‎Kentucky‬ this past Sunday, March 15th at 7pm. 400-500 attended.

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March 23rd, 2015

EDMONTON, Alberta – Fr. Leonard spoke at the Western Canadian Catholic Home School Conference in Edmonton. During the three day conference he also offered Masses and assisted with confessions. While in Edmonton, Fr. Leonard also had the opportunity to visit the local Edmonton Fire Station. The Catholic Canadian community and the firefighters extended their warm hospitality.

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March 23rd, 2015

BIRMINGHAM, AL – On March, 7th, Fr. Paschal, Br. Leo, Br. John Therese, and our postulant, Clark, attended Family Vocations day at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church. Religious from the Diocese of Birmingham gave presentations and talks to kids of all ages. Br. Leo explained the faith to young children while Fr. Paschal talked to the young men about discernment. The vocations director of the Diocese of Birmingham Fr. Rick Chenault gave a wonderful homily while our very own Most Rev. Bishop Baker celebrated the Holy Mass. The days events even included some fun and games as Fr. Paschal and Br. John Therese competed in a religious competition that involved catching tortillas on their head.

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March 23rd, 2015

TEMPE, AZ – On March 7th, the crew of Life on the Rock flew out to Kiwanis Park in Tempe, Arizona to cover the 6th Annual Nun Run. The Nun Run is a fundraiser where families, students and parishes compete in running events such as a 10km, 5km, 1 mile walk to help the sisters build a new cloistered monastery. Fr. Mark and Doug Barry, hosts of Life on the Rock, interviewed St. John Mark Marie P.C.P.A.

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March 23rd, 2015

IRONDALE, AL – On March 3rd, the Friars held a convocation day with Fr. Chad Ripperger Ph.D. who is a member of the priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP). Fr. Ripperger is a Theologian, Thomistic Psychologist, Philosopher, and Author. He has served as professor of Dogmatic and Moral Theology and Philosophy at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska. Fr. Ripperger

is also a trained exorcist priest. The theme of the convocation was spiritual warfare. The friars learned the details about how demonic possessions take place and how they are depicted in the mainstream media. Fr. Chad is well experienced having worked on over 150 cases and pointed out the signs of a true demonic possession. He asked for prayers for his ministry.

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March 23rd, 2015

HANCEVILLE, AL – On March 20th, EWTN held its Lenten retreat for its employees at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament. The retreat was lead by His Excellency Bishop Edward Rice of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. During the retreat the employees had time to reflect and pray, go to confession and attend Mass with Auxiliary Bishop Rice.

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January 29th, 2015

San Francisco – “We are the Pro – Life Generation!!!” could be heard down Market Street as over 50,000 people from different backgrounds came together to stand up for life. On Saturday, January 24th, the 11th West Coast Walk for Life was kicked off as the largest Pro – life gathering and event in the Western United States. The event began with a rally and pro-life speakers such as Julia Holcomb, Jim and Joy Pinto, Rev. Clenard Childress Jr. and Rebekah Buell. Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco, and Oakland’s Bishop, Most. Rev. Michael Barber, also made an appearance.

The walk began at the Civic Center followed by a 1.8 mile walk down Market Street to Justin Herman Plaza. Prayers, Rosaries, praise and worship songs could be heard all around as the pro-lifer’s peacefully protested against Abortion and the war waged against women. “There is a war on women, but we are not declaring a war, we have come to set women free!!!” said the pro-life speaker Joy Pinto at the rally.

The mission of the west coast walk for life is to change the minds and hearts of a culture and society that thinks abortion is the answer. Abortion does both violence and harm to woman, child and men both physically and emotionally. The goal of the walk is to respect all life no matter how small and unwanted and all of humanity from conception to a natural death. Fr. Mark Mary and Doug Barry hosts of the EWTN show Life on the Rock lead interviews during the Walk for Life giving an inside perspective of the walk itself.  Life, energy and a excitement was all around to celebrate and glorify the great dignity and precious gift of life in San Francisco.

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January 20th, 2015

The friars attended the annual Birmingham March for Life on January 17th at Brother Bryan Park to celebrate life as a precious gift from God. People from all walks of life joined together to praise God for the gift of life and to reestablish a community of love and service towards those who are in a pregnancy crisis. The month of January has been a historical month as our American civil laws legalized abortion. Since 1973 with the court decision of Roe vs. Wade, over 57 million abortions have occurred. “These our are brothers and sisters in Christ” as Jim and Joy Pinto reminded the crowd. Bishop Baker who as been an active participant in the Pro-life movement in Birmingham lead the walk with a prayer to end abortion. As hymns, prayers, and rosaries were all being prayed down the streets, God’s presence was in the midst of a peaceful and joyous union of Christians celebrating and supporting life.

For more information on the Birmingham Pro-life Movement go to www.birminghammarchforlife.com

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January 12th, 2015

After a busy year of service to God and man, the Friars began 2015 with resting, reflecting and recollecting in the Lord.  The Friars departed their residences on Sunday January 4, 2015, for the peaceful and prayerful atmosphere of St. Bernard’s Abbey in Cullman, Alabama.  This year’s retreat director was Fr. Robert McCreary, O.F.M., Capuchin.  He is a Franciscans Franciscan.  Father strongly and wonderfully possesses the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi.   He provided our men with an authentic Franciscan Retreat.  His conferences were enlightening and encouraging.  The counsel he provided was fatherly and brotherly.  God worked powerfully and marvelously through Fr. McCreary.  All Friars were blessed and returned to their residences rested and refreshed in the Lord.

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January 12th, 2015

Residents of a local nursing home received some Christmas cheer from the Friars. Br. Tarcisius, Br. Gabriel and our Postulant Clark brought their Franciscan joy, humor, and chocolate to several elderly tenants and their families.

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January 12th, 2015

You have seen our priests and brothers on EWTN offering and serving Mass, and on TV series and live shows.  We are now preparing to give you a closer look at how we pray, work and recreate with our new web series, “Inside the Friary.”  Our pilot episode premiered on December 23, 2014.  In this first show, viewers ventured into inside the friary kitchen.  There Fr. Paschal Mary introduced our cook Mr. Paul Pallotto, SFO.  Paul showed us how to bake St. Francis’ favorite almond cookies.  View “Inside the Friary” and other MFVA Media productions at the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word YouTube page.

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January 12th, 2015

Christmas Celebrations begin early at the Eternal Word Television Network.  Every year the Friars celebrate Christmas with EWTN Employees at their annual Christmas luncheon.

At the event, a delicious meal is served, awards are given, door prizes are handed out and messages of gratitude are spoken. Fr. John Paul opened the festivities with a blessing over the food and gifts.  As the meal concluded, Michael Warsaw, CEO of EWTN and Fr. Joseph gave awards to employees who celebrated employment anniversaries.

Several employees took home door prizes provided by EWTN’s vendors and contractors.  Fr. Anthony was present to pick the winners names from a bowl.  Afterward Warsaw expressed his appreciation to the employees for their dedication and service to the Network.  Fr. Leonard closed the luncheon with a brief exhortation and blessing.

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January 12th, 2015

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist hosted a Mother Daughter Retreat December 4 -6, 2014.  Fr. John Paul offered Masses, led Holy Hours and was available throughout the weekend for confessions and spiritual counsel.  The retreat strengthened mother daughter relationships.  It was also a joyous event for Fr. John Paul as watched God bring comfort and healing.

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January 12th, 2015

Employees of the Eternal Word Television Network gathered at the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama for their annual retreat Friday December 4, 2014.  Fr. Mark Spruill, a priest of the Diocese of Birmingham, AL. served as the retreat director.  Our Fr. Leonard and the EWTN Theology Department coordinated the event.  Fr. Joseph and Fr. Miguel were also present for confessions.

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November 26th, 2014

The faith playbook is an aid to help us grow in our Catholic faith using football as our guide. The series is a way to help us understand why we practice certain virtues and disciplines in the first place using the same virtues and disciplines that relate to football.

November 3rd, 2014

Birmingham, AL – Father John Paul gave a Recollection to the staff and volunteers at Her Choice Birmingham Woman’s Center.  It is a Pro-Life Pregnancy resource center than provides counseling, ultrasound testing, post-abortive healing counseling and many other services.  They are on the front lines of the Pro-Life movement right in the city of Birmingham.  The pictures are of Father John Paul going around the Her Choice center and doing a Eucharistic blessing.  It was powerful to bring the Lord’s Real Presence in the midst of a place that is ushering in a culture of Life and Love!

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October 9th, 2014

Please join the Friars in welcoming a new man to share our way of life: Clark, age 25, from Brooks, Alberta (Canada). Clark graduated from the University of Saskatchewan and spent time as a missionary throughout Canada. He has a passion for sharing God’s voice of beauty through modern technology.

On Monday, October 6, the Friars officially welcomed Clark as their new postulant after a brief ceremony in the EWTN Chapel. The ceremony, following Vespers, began with a few prayers and responses. After, Fr. Anthony Mary placed the San Damiano Cross over Clark. He was them welcomed by his new Franciscan brothers.

Postulancy is that period of time set aside as the “first step” in Religious Life. As a man makes the move from living in the world to living his life more perfectly for God, this first year of formation is ultimately focused on helping him better understand and listen more attentively to the call of Jesus in his life: “Come, follow me.” In addition to living our daily schedule by praying, working and recreating side-by-side with the friars, Clark will take part in formation classes which instruct him in the spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi and the charism of Mother Angelica, and familiarize him with the mission of our apostolate here at EWTN and with the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration. He will also spend time each day focusing on the basic elements of the spiritual life, the fundamentals of the Catholic Faith and the disciplines of Religious Life in general. Please remember Clark in your prayers.
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October 8th, 2014

Mother Angelica said on one of her classic EWTN Live talks “God needs every means of communication so that the eternal word can get to every man, woman, and child.” On October 1st through the 3rd, the Friars attended the 2014 EWTN Radio Conference that was held at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover Alabama.

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The conference began as the EWTN Radio affiliates spent a day retreat at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament as Bishop Baker of the Diocese of Birmingham welcomed all that attended. The retreat was followed with tours through the EWTN network and also an attendance for EWTN Live where Fr. Mitch Pawca interviewed Dave Vacheresse who is the General Manager for the global EWTN Radio and Archbishop Wenski of Miami.

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Archbishop Wenski was a keynote speaker at the event along side Steve Gajdosik, the President of Catholic Radio Association, Kate Sell, Founder of KLS Strategies and Sherry Brownrigg, the President of the Kennedy Brownrigg Group. The event was followed up by an appreciation banquet for all who attended.

 

Br. Leo, Br. James, Br. Gabriel, and our Postulants Clark Jaman attended the event. Br. James coordinated the liturgical functions and decorations for the Masses held at the Hotel.

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Mother Angelica also said on her classic EWTN Live show: “Don’t forget to pray to the poor souls…they’ll get you a radio station.

October 6th, 2014

On the solemn eve of the Feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, Franciscan friars all around the world and in every order commemorate the transitus of St. Francis. The transitus is St. Francis’s passing from this life into heaven. The Friars of the eternal word gathered at the Our Lady of the Angels chapel in prayer and devotions as the night began. The event consisted of Br. Gabriel reading from the life of St. Francis according to St. Bonaventure over the death of St. Francis.


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Our life is a pilgrimage and a journey towards God and St. Francis of Assisi lived this out to the fullest by his imitation of simplicity and poverty, chastity and obedience and above all charity to be all things in Christ.

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Surely he was the most Christ-like of men!! His only desire was to be like Christ and imitate him perfectly, and he was found worthy to be adorned with the marks of his likeness; in his life he imitated the lie of Christ and his death he imitated his death, and he wished to be like him still when he was dead.” (The Life of St. Francis, Bonaventure, Omnibus p. 739-740

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The event also consisted of benediction and a blessing from a first class relic of St. Francis and a closing hymn written by St. Francis call “All creature of our God and King.” St. Francis of Assisi, Pray for us!!!

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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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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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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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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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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.

August 5th, 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.

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)

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.

 

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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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 www.livingwatercollege.com

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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 www.igniteyourtorch.com

“Ignite your torch and conquer for Christ!!”

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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!

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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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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.

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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.

 

June 5th, 2014

HAPPY 10th ANNIVERSARY OF ORDINATION TO THE PRIESTHOOD TO FR. MIGUEL AND TO FR. DOMINIC!!

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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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.

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!

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April 28th, 2014

For the first time EWTN filmed exclusive social media content for the recent Canonizations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. The Friars took part in several videos. Check it out

April 28th, 2014

The Day of the Four Popes

An blog by FATHER JOHN PAUL MARY posted in the National Catholic Register

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On the Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, in the Year of our Lord 2014, two great men were raised to the honor of the Altar and were canonized saints. There is no Catholic Christian alive that has not been directly affected by the decisions, teaching or holiness of St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II. Perhaps we can say that these two men influenced the Church far more than anyone in our times.

John XXIII called for the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and John Paul II had much influence in provoking discussion and lending a hand in drafting one of the most important documents that came out of the Second Vatican Council — Gaudium et Spes, the pastoral constitution on the Church in the Modern World. Gaudium et  Spes (Joy and Hope). These two words say it all. They are precisely what the world needs to hear in our troubled times.

I cannot think of a better way to have celebrated the last day in the Octave of Easter. Easter joy was tangible throughout the whole city of Rome throughout the day and perhaps  throughout the entire Universal Church. These two new saints would be quick to tell us that everything that they accomplished was never about them. It is all about Jesus Christ.

I heard a story a few days ago that after St. John XXIII was elected Pope, he often worried much about the Church and the way he was governing the Church. The story goes that an angel said to him in a moment of distress — “Don’t take yourself so seriously!” Maybe this is what led him say what he often said before retiring to bed at night — Lord, this is your Church, You take care of her!”

How true! Jesus Christ does take care of his Church. The day we think we have accomplished anything without God’s gracious assistance is the day we take our eyes off the Risen Christ.

St. John Paul II has provided the Church with a clear vision of interpreting the teaching of Vatican II. A phrase from Gaudium et Spes became his motto. Perhaps he may have even penned it himself: “The truth is that only in the mystery of the Incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on new light. For Adam, the first man, was a figure of him who was to come, namely Christ the Lord. Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His Love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear” (22).

Read that again and again and then again. If you want to understand St. John Paul II, pray and meditate on these words.

In his first encyclical, Redemptor Hominis (The Redeemer of Man), St. John Paul II asserts that Jesus Christ is the answer to every question that the human heart asks. Whether it be the meaning of life, why am I here, where am I going, why do people have to suffer and does suffering have any human value, St. John Paul II would unceasingly point to Jesus Christ as the definitive answer. History cannot be understood properly without Christ. Our new saint grew up and lived in the midst of a culture that attempted to erase Christ from history. It simply cannot be done.

This day will always be remembered as the day of the four popes — Francis, Benedict XVI, John Paul II and John XXIII. All four of these men were alive together at a particular moment in history. It is the first time ever in Church history that two popes were canonized together. It is also the first time in Church history where a current pope and his predecessor celebrated Mass publically together.

St. Paul’s saying proves to be absolutely true: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26).

April 10th, 2014

There always seems to be beautiful things when you go somewhere new; Vancouver was no different. EWTN hosted a Family Celebration in thanksgiving for the long support we have received from the people there.  Years ago when EWTN sought approval for air in Canada from the Communications Commission, the local bishop and Knights of Columbus stepped in and actively supported the Networks campaign. Now, there is a large fan base in that beautiful city and its surroundings.

Over 800 people attended the one day event in Vancouver titled “Evangelization: The Journey begins at Home.” None of the children seemed to mind that Brother Leo only brought 800 balloons (that’s one each), or that the rain couldn’t quite hold off until tomorrow. There was plenty of time to meet the other friars – Fathers Joseph, Mark, Miguel and Paschal, and Brother Paul too – and some of the EWTN personalities and staff.

As we set-up on Friday we hoped that we would be able to take some time to head out into the city. We heard about the natural beauty of Stanley Park – God does not disappoint. After walking around for a couple hours along the bay and into the woods, we walked into the Cathedral just as they were having Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It was a beautiful gift.
Saturday was the event. It was a little busy, but by no means overwhelming. The people were so happy that this time we came to see them and that they could find in person what they are so often seeing on television or radio. Faith remains a powerful force for good in this part of the world. Simple beauty showed forth in the lives of so many who continue to be reached in the place where they need it most – in their home, wherever that happens to be.
If you would like to attend a family celebration, consider joining us for the 2014 EWTN Birmingham, Family Celebration August 16 – 17.  For more information, click here: 2014 EWTN Family Celebration   
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April 2nd, 2014

Today is the 9th Anniversary of the passing of Blessed Pope John Paul II into eternity.

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Remembering Blessed John Paul II

We thank God, especially this day in his rich blessings over the Church, and for sending us such an exemplary Holy Father, who by his words and life dedicated himself in the spread of the gospel message to all the corner of the world. His profound love for the most Holy Eucharist and Our Lady, the poor and the oppressed illuminated the world by his healing ministry by reconciling world conflicts and his untiring efforts to raise the dignity of life.

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EWTN Chapel Entrance During 2005 Papal Interregnum

He illuminated the Church with his wisdom and charity, he touched hearts, converted sinners, brought peace where there was hatred, and always retained a most compassionate and humble heart.  May his love for humanity inspire in our hearts to all live a life worthy of our Christian calling.

Fr. Joseph, Fr. Mark, and Fr. John Paul will be traveling to St. Peters Square to attended the canonization of both Blessed Pope John Paul the Great and Bl. Pope John XXIII on April 27, 2014, Divine Mercy Sunday. This is an exciting moment in Church history as two of our past beloved popes will be canonized by our current Holy Father, Pope Francis. Fr. Joseph in the past had several occasions to meet Bl. Pope John II and concelebrated a Mass with our Holy Father. Our very own Fr. John Paul was named after Bl. John Paul. Pope John Paul has always been an inspiring factor in vocations to our community. All praise and thanksgiving to God.

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Fr. Joseph Concelebrating Mass with John Paul II

 

 

March 26th, 2014

This past weekend Fr. Joseph traveled south to Fairhope, AL (on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay) to give a retreat to a group of Secular Franciscans (SFO).

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Focusing on Franciscan spirituality, the retreat was divided into three presentations:

Presentation 1:  Union with God, the Heart’s Deepest Longing
Synopsis: St. Francis is called our Seraphic Father because he loved Christ with an intensity like that of a Seraph (Angels closest to God).  What hinders our love from a fiery intensity?

Presentation 2: Beautiful Suffering
Synopsis: St. Francis suffered greatly and had a unique share in the Passion of Christ, yet he is remembered for his joy.  How can we suffer beautifully?  What are sufferings we bring on ourselves?

Presentation 3: The Holy Eucharist, Food of the Saints
Synopsis: St. Francis speaks of the Eucharist in almost all of his writings.  The Eucharist is the greatest means of sanctification we have.  How can we most benefit from It?

Fr. Joseph also visited WNGL 1410 AM, Archangel Radio, (an EWTN affiliate) in Mobile.

Archangel Radio

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March 25th, 2014

Happy 20th Anniversary of Religious Profession, Br. Bernard & Br. Leo!

We are grateful for your eloquent witness of fidelity and perseverance, and for all that you have done to strengthen our bonds of fraternity and to build up our way of life through your silent yet faithful commitment all of these years.  On this great Solemnity of the Annunciation may our Blessed Mother show you special favor for your own “Fiat” to the invitation of God in your lives.  Your response to His call has proven to be a true blessing to each one of us in our own vocations.

Blessings to each of you in your Religious Life this day and for many, many years to come!!

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March 20th, 2014

Parishioners from Our Lady of the Lake in Pell City, Alabama devoutly and attentively listen to Fr. Leonard’s preaching.

At the invitation of Monsignor Michael Sexton, Pastor of Our Lady of the Lake, Fr. Leonard began the mission activities by promoting it at the Sunday Masses. The mission officially began on Monday March 17th and continued through the 19th.

The parish mission theme was, “Our Life of Sacramental Grace: A Journey with Jesus.” During the mission Fr. Leonard briefly explained the meaning of each Sacrament and how they bring us into the mysteries of Christ’s life. He also emphasized how the particular graces of every Sacrament transform us into an image of Jesus. Lastly, he informed the crowd on how God’s generous outpouring of sanctifying grace and actual grace from the Sacraments help us through life’s trials and tribulations.

For three days parishioners listened attentively and wholeheartedly to Fathers preaching. After the mission they expressed heartfelt sentiments of gratitude at the St. Joseph’s celebration in the Parish Hall.

For more information about Masses, activities and events at Our Lady of the Lake go to ollpellcity.com

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March 17th, 2014

Saint Joseph is one of the most beloved saints among Italian-Americans. As the patron of workers and the protector of the family, he is honored with a feast on March 19.

The custom of building an altar to Joseph goes back centuries in Italy. Long ago the people of Sicily were delivered from drought and famine through the intercession of St. Joseph. In thanksgiving for the good harvest, they prepared the first St. Joseph’s Altar, also called a St. Joseph’s Table. In front of the altar, tables were filled with traditional homemade Italian dishes, pastas, eggplant parmesan, cannoli, fig cookies, meatless lasagna and casseroles. There is fish, but no beef, pork, chicken or lamb. Those who survived the famine had little meat to put on their altar of thanksgiving.

Fr. Anthony blessed the St. Joseph’s Altar this year in Pelham, AL for the Italian American Heritage Society of Birmingham. St. Joseph, pray for us!

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March 10th, 2014

Start saving now!

Experience the Gospels ● Walk where Jesus walked ● Bring the Bible to life

FrMiguel_HolyLand

Fr. Miguel Marie, MFVA – Spiritual Director
$4,895 (pp double occupancy)
Departing from Philadelphia, PA (connecting air available)

 

Visitation Pilgrimages & Tours, Inc.
800-535-9803 or visit http://visitationpilgrimages.com

 

Price Includes:

R/T Air from Philadelphia, PA

  • 4* Religious Houses
  • Breakfast & Dinner Daily, 1 Lunch
  • R/T Airport Transfers in Tel Aviv
  • Private Deluxe Motor Coach
  • Sightseeing/Entrance Fees per Itinerary
  • Tips to Hotel Staff, Guide & Driver
  • Licensed English Speaking Guide
  • Daily Mass
  • Holy Hours (optional but highly recommended)
  • Retreat Talks in Galilee
  • Pilgrim Booklet
  • Travel Bag
  • Luggage Tags
  • Ticket Case
  • Map of Holy Land

 

Day 1 ~ October 24, 2014 ~  Depart USA

Today depart Philadelphia, PA for our transatlantic flight to Tel Aviv.  Enjoy dinner, movie, and breakfast during the flight.

Day 2 ~ October 25 ~ Tel Aviv ~ Galilee

Shalom! Arrive Ben-Gurion Airport and meet our tour escort.   Enjoy a scenic drive to Galilee and arrive Mt. Beatitude where Mass will be celebrate. Dinner and overnight at the guest house on Mt. Beatitude.

Day 3 ~ October 26 ~ Cana ~ Nazareth

After breakfast depart for Cana and visit the Church built over the wedding house. Celebrate Mass followed by renewal of vows for married couples. Continue to Nazareth to visit the Basilica of the Annunciation and the Grotto where the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary. Visit St. Joseph’s Church built over the house of the Holy Family. We’ll also visit the synagogue church where Jesus preached. After lunch we will visit the Mt. of Precipitation and the village of Nain. Dinner, Holy Hour, and overnight on Mt. Beatitude.

Day 4 ~ October 27 ~ Mt. Tabor ~ Galilee

This morning we’ll visit Mt. Tabor and take a scenic drive to the top via taxi.  Visit the beautiful Basilica of the Transfiguration and celebrate Mass. We’ll then proceed to Kursi before we stop for a St. Peter’s fish lunch by the Sea of Galilee. After lunch we’ll take a relaxing boat ride across the Sea of Galilee.  Return to Mt. Beatitude for dinner, Holy Hour, and overnight.

Day 5 ~ October 28 ~ Galilee

After breakfast walk down Mt. Beatitude or ride the bus to Tabgha, the site of the multiplication of the loaves and fish. Walk to the Church of Peter’s Primacy where Jesus met His disciples after the resurrection and celebrate Mass.  We continue onto Capernaum, Jesus’ home city during His ministry, and visit the ancient synagogue and St. Peter’s house. Proceed to Bethsaida, one of the towns where Jesus preached, and enjoy a picnic lunch. End the afternoon with an optional walk along the Millennium path by the Sea of Galilee. Dinner, Holy Hour, and overnight on Mt. Beatitude.

Day 6 ~ October 29 ~ Jordan: Mt. Nebo ~ Madaba ~ Petra

Today we depart for Jordan. Our first stop is Mt. Nebo, where Moses was laid to rest. We’ll celebrate Mass on Mt. Nebo. After lunch we’ll visit Madaba to view the ancient 6th century Byzantine mosaic of the Holy Land. We continue onto Petra for dinner and overnight.

Day 7 ~ October 30 ~ Jordan: Petra ~ Israel: Dead Sea

This morning we’ll visit the spectacular site of Petra and see the massive structures of natural red sandstone carved out by the Nabateans. Take an optional chariot ride or horse ride through the streets. Enjoy lunch before we depart for the Israeli border and continue to the Dead Sea. Dinner and overnight by the Dead Sea.

Day 8 ~ October 31 ~ Masada ~ Ein Gedi ~ Jerusalem

After breakfast enjoy the experience of floating in the Dead Sea. We then depart our hotel for Masada, the palace of Herod, which became famous by the Jewish Zealots. Take a cable car ride to the top and visit the ruins. After lunch we depart for Ein Gedi National Park and take a walk to the place where David confronted King Saul. As we continue onto Jerusalem, we’ll pass by Qumran, the site of where the Dead Sea scrolls were found. Mass, dinner, overnight at Notre Dame in Jerusalem.

Day 9 ~ November 1 (All Saints Day) ~ Bethlehem ~ Abu Gosh

Enjoy breakfast before we depart to Bethlehem and visit the Milk Grotto, Manger Square, and the Grotto of the Nativity and touch the birthplace of Jesus.  Then visit the Grotto of St. Joseph, the Grotto of St. Jerome, the Basilica of St. Catherine, and Shepherd’s Field. Time for lunch

before we depart for Abu Gosh, where Jesus met the disciples on their way to Emmaus. Return to Notre Dame for dinner, Holy Hour, and overnight.

Day 10 ~ November 2 ~ (All Souls Day) ~ Mt. of Olives ~ Ein Karem

Morning departure to the Mt. of Olives and enjoy a panoramic view of the old city of Jerusalem. Walk the Palm Sunday Path from the Chapel of the Ascension down to Gethsemane. Along the way we’ll stop and visit  Dominos Flevit, where Jesus wept over Jerusalem, and celebrate Mass. After Mass visit the beautiful Russian Orthodox Church of Mary Magdalene with its golden domes. Take a lunch break before we visit the Cave of the Betrayal where Judas betrayed Jesus. Then we depart for Ein Karem and visit the place where Mary met Elizabeth and proclaimed the Magnificat. Walk to the Church of St. John the Baptist and visit the grotto of his birth. Return to Notre Dame for dinner, Holy Hour, and overnight.

Day 11 ~ November 3 ~ Old City of Jerusalem

This morning we begin by visiting the Pretorium site and the Flagellation Chapel where we’ll celebrate Mass. We then begin to walk the Via Dolorosa and carry the cross in the footsteps of Jesus. We arrive at Calvary in the Holy Sepulchre.  After a lunch break we’ll visit the Wailing Wall before we go to Mt. Zion and the Room of the Last Supper and the Abbey or Dormition. Our final visit for the day is St. Peter in Galicantu, the site where Peter denied Jesus three times and where Jesus was imprisoned. Return to Notre Dame for dinner, Holy Hour, and overnight.

Day 12 ~ November 4 ~ Jericho ~ Jerusalem

Early Mass in the Holy Sepulchre and then return to Notre Dame for breakfast. Depart for the traditional site of Jesus’ Baptism by John the Baptist. Renew our Baptismal Promises. Continue to Jericho, the world’s old inhabited city. Take a cable car to the Mt. of Temptation and visit the cave where Jesus fasted for forty days. After lunch visit a Sycamore tree, like the one Zacheaus climbed. Return to Jerusalem and visit the Pater Noster Church where Jesus gave the Our Father prayer. Our final stop is St. Ann’s Church, the birthplace of Mary, and the pools of Bethseda. Retun to Notre Dame for dinner, Holy Hour, overnight.

Day 13 ~ November 5 ~ Jerusalem

Today is free for personal devotions, exploring the old city and shopping, packing, etc. Mass T.B.A. After dinner depart to Tel Aviv for our flight home.

Day 14 ~ November 6 ~ USA

A fond farewell to our pilgrim family.

March 7th, 2014

Young men, are you called to evangelize the digital world?!! The Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word invite you to their San Damiano Vocation Discernment Retreat from April 11-13th at the Annunciation Friary in Irondale, AL. Experience Franciscan contemplation and evangelization. Click the picture to contact Fr. Patrick, our vocations director, more information:

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February 26th, 2014

On Tuesday, February 25th, Br. Joseph Wood, O.F.M., Conv. gave the friars a Francsican reflection on the frescoes of Giotto di Bondone in the Basilica of St. Francis. Br. Joseph Wood lived for some time in Assisi. He currently resides in Chicago, IL and is the vocations director for the Conventional Franciscans of the St. Bonaventure Province.

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February 25th, 2014

Holy Land Pilgrimage May 15 – 27, 2014

Holy Land 2014 Trip

Fr. John Paul Mary, MFVA – Spiritual Director

$4,550 (pp double occupancy)

Departing from Newark, NJ (connecting air available)

Visitation Pilgrimages & Tours, Inc.

800-535-9803 or visit http://visitationpilgrimages.com

Price Includes:

 R/T Air from Newark, NJ
  • 4* Religious Houses
  • Breakfast & Dinner Daily, 1 Lunch
  • R/T Airport Transfers in Tel Aviv
  • Private Deluxe Motor Coach
  • Sightseeing/Entrance Fees per Itinerary
  • Tips to Hotel Staff, Guide & Driver
  • Licensed English Speaking Guide
  • Daily Mass
  • Holy Hours (optional but highly recommended)
  • Retreat Talks in Galilee
  • Pilgrim Booklet
  • Travel Bag
  • Luggage Tags
  • Ticket Case
  • Map of Holy Land

Day 1 ~ May 15, 2014 ~  Depart USA

Today depart Newark, NJ for our transatlantic flight to Tel Aviv.  Enjoy dinner, movie, and breakfast during the flight.

Day 2 ~ May 16 ~ Tel Aviv ~ Jaffa ~ Mt. Carmel ~ Galilee

Shalom! Arrive Ben-Gurion Airport and meet our tour escort.   On our drive to Galilee we’ll have Mass on Mt. Carmel and visit Stella Maris, a Carmelite Monastery which is home to the beautiful statue of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Dinner and overnight at the retreat house on Mt. Beatitude.

 Day 3 ~ May 17 ~ Cana ~ Nazareth

After breakfast depart for Cana and visit the Church built over the wedding house and celebrate Mass. Couples can renew their wedding vows.  Continue to Nazareth to visit the Basilica of the Annunciation and the Grotto where the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary.  Visit St. Joseph’s Church built over the house of the Holy Family. We’ll also visit the Synagogue Church where Jesus preached. After lunch we will depart Nazareth and visit the Mt. of Precipitation.  Dinner, Holy Hour, and overnight on Mt. Beatitude.

 Day 4 ~ May 18 ~ Galilee

After breakfast depart for Tabgha, the site of the multiplication of the loaves and fish. Walk to the Church of Peter’s Primacy where Jesus met His disciples after the resurrection.  We then walk the Millennium path along the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum. Mass celebrated in Capernaum, Jesus’ home city during His ministry. Visit the ancient synagogue and St. Peter’s house.  End the afternoon with a visit to Bethseida, one of the towns where Jesus preached.  Dinner, Holy Hour, and overnight on Mt. Beatitude.

Day 5 ~ May 19 ~ Mt. Tabor ~ Sea of Galilee

This morning visit Mt. Tabor and celebrate Mass in this beautiful Basilica of the Transfiguration. Enjoy the spectacular view of the lower Galilee and beyond. We’ll then proceed to the Sea of Galilee and for a fish lunch by the water.  After lunch we’ll take a relaxing boat ride across the Sea of Galilee. We’ll then make a visit to the Domos, a beautiful theology center built by the Vatican. Return to Mt. Beatitude for dinner, Holy Hour, and overnight.

Day 6 ~ May 20 ~ Jericho ~ Jerusalem

Today, after Mass on Mt. Beatitude, we depart for Jericho, the oldest inhabited city in the world. Then we’ll take a cable car to the Mt. of Temptation and visit the Monastery and the site of the cave where Jesus fasted for 40 days.  After a lunch break make a stop at the Sycamore tree like the one Zaccheus climbed. Proceed to the Jordan River and renew our Baptismal Promises. Continue on and enjoy the drive as we ascend up to Jerusalem.   Dinner, Holy Hour, and overnight at the famous Notre Dame Pontifical Institute in Jerusalem.

Day 7 ~ May 21 ~ Bethany ~ Qumran ~ Dead Sea

After breakfast depart for Bethany and visit the Church built over the house of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Celebrate Mass before we take a walk to the tomb of Lazarus.  Depart Bethany and enjoy the drive to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, and visit Qumran, the site where the first Dead Sea Scrolls were found.  Time for lunch before we take a relaxing float in the Dead Sea.  Dinner, Holy Hour, and overnight in Notre Dame.

Day 8 ~ May 22 ~ Bethlehem ~ Ein Karem

Enjoy breakfast before we depart to Bethlehem and visit the Milk Grotto, Manger Square, and the Grotto of the Nativity and touch the birthplace of Jesus.  Celebrate Mass and then visit the Grotto of St. Joseph, the Grotto of St. Jerome, the Basilica of St. Catherine, and Shepherd’s Field. Take a lunch break before we drive to Ein Karem and visit the beautiful Church of the Visitation where The Blessed Virgin Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth and proclaimed the Magnificat. We’ll then walk to the Church of St. John the Baptist and visit the place of his birth.  Dinner, Holy Hour, and overnight in Notre Dame  (Mass T.B.A.)

Day 9 ~ May 23 ~ Jerusalem

Morning departure to the Mt. of Olives and enjoy a panoramic view of the old city of Jerusalem. Walk the Palm Sunday Path from the Chapel of the Ascension down to Gethsemane.  Visit the Church of the Pater Noster and celebrate Mass at Dominos Flevit, where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. We continue the walk to The Church of All Nations with the Rock of Agony. Take a lunch break before we have quiet time in the Garden of Gethsemane for prayer and meditation. Return to Notre Dame for dinner, Holy Hour, and overnight.

Day 10 ~ May 24 ~ Jerusalem

This morning we’ll spend an hour of adoration in the Flagellation Chapel as we prepare ourselves to carry the cross in the footsteps of Jesus along the Via Dolorosa. We arrive at the Holy Sepulchre where Mass will be celebrated. After a lunch break we’ll visit Mount Zion, the room of the Last Supper, and the Church of Dormition.  Proceed to St. Peter in Gallicantu, the site where St. Peter denied Jesus three times and where Jesus was imprisoned.  Return to Notre Dame for dinner and overnight.

Day 11 ~ May 25 ~ Jerusalem

After breakfast we’ll visit the pools of Bethesda and celebrate Mass in the Church of St. Ann, the birthplace of the Blessed Mother. Proceed to the Western Wall for a time of prayer.  Enjoy the afternoon free for personal devotions or shopping. Dinner, Holy Hour, and overnight in Notre Dame.

Day 12 ~ May 26 ~ Jerusalem

Morning Mass followed by a visit to the Temple Mount and visit the site where Abraham prepared to offer his son Isaac. The rest of the day is free for person devotions, shopping, or packing.  Enjoy a farewell dinner before we depart for the airport and our flight back to the USA.

Day 13 ~ May 27 ~ USA

A fond farewell to our pilgrim family.

January 23rd, 2014

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM OUR FRIENDS FROM THE WALK FOR LIFE:

“Since the media is consistently ignoring us, we are going to make it hard for them to do so this year. Whether you are at the Walk or following at home, everyone take out their cell phones and tweet that they are at or following the Walk for Life with 50,000 people. In the tweet, beside including our own hash tag #WalkForLife, you will include @CNN @FoxNews @ USAToday, etc. We will have thousands of people showing these media outlets that they can’t ignore us! So get ready by downloading Twitter to your phones and learn how to send those tweets! It will be great fun.”

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January 22nd, 2014

The snowy weather may have shut down schools, government offices, and businesses throughout the northeast, but it did not stop tens of thousands from marching in Washington, DC to defend the sanctity of life.

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Fr. Patrick, Br. Matthew, Br. Leo, and Br. Paul assisted EWTN on the ground with their coverage of the march while Fr. Joseph covered the event live from EWTN’s studios in Birmingham, Alabama. Fr. John Paul helped lead a large group of students from Birmingham’s John Carroll Catholic High School.

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Back on the homefront, those friars that couldn’t attend united their prayers with those marching while the MFVA Media office worked to keep our social media pages up to date with behind the scenes pictures and videos.

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The March for Life has become one of the most poignant proclamations of faith in the United States today. We see not only Christians marching, but men and women of all faiths.  In their hearts all people are able to recognize the inalienable sense of the dignity and worth of the human person from conception to natural death.

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The fight for life, however, does not end after the march. Mother Teresa said, “The greatest destroyer of peace is abortion because if a mother can kill her own child, what is left for me to kill you and you to kill me? There is nothing between.” Until we can turn the tide to end abortion and the contraceptive mentality, our society will continue on its downward spiral. We must commit ourselves daily to pray that life must be respected from conception to natural death. We must pray that our government officials have a conversion of heart to reverse the verdict of Roe vs. Wade. Even the smallest sacrifices we offer can help to make a difference. Remember that God can do so much with so little, but we have to do our part. Thanks be to God for the strength of the pro-life movement!

January 18th, 2014

Birmingham, Alabama Christians unite in prayer and march for life…

Praying and cheering was heard throughout the streets of Birmingham today. Christians rallied this morning at Brother Bryant Park to pray for an end abortion. Speakers, such as Jim Pinto updated the crowd on the latest pro life achievements in Alabama. He and others motivated attendees to continue praying and supporting life.

Bishop Robert Baker ended the rally with prayer. The zealous crowd then Marched through the streets of Birmingham cheering for life, praying rosaries, and singing hymns.

The March ended at Brother Bryant Park. Like other previous rallies and marches, God presence was clearly seen and felt though the prayerful, joyful and peaceful union of Christians supporting life.

For more information on the Birmingham Pro Life Movement go to www.birminghammarchforlife.com

January 7th, 2014

Please remember the friars in your prayers this week. We begin our Annual Retreat to be alone with God at St. Bernard’s Abbey in Cullman, AL until this Friday, January 10th. We pray that it be a blessed time of solitude, spiritual renewal and growth in our union with God. All of you will be in our prayers during this special time away.

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January 5th, 2014

Every year the friars gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing upon the friary through the intercession of the three kings (or magi) who followed the star to greet the newborn King, Jesus Christ. Joining in the chapel, the friars pray that we too may have the courage to always seek out the Lord, to follow Him even in the midst of opposition, and always to be faithful to grace.

December 26th, 2013

Like their Holy Father St. Francis, the Friars celebrated the birth of Christ our Lord with joyous, glorious and delicious celebrations.

Before celebrating the birth of Christ our Savior, the Friars rolled up their sleeves to decorate the EWTN & Friary Chapels.  After breakfast the brothers banded together to clean, hang decorations, and prepare for the Christmas season Masses.

Christmas celebrations began with Fr. Joseph offering a Solemn High Mass at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Birmingham.  Fr. Paschal offered Midnight Mass in Irondale and Fr. John Paul in Hanceville, AL at the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament.  After both Masses, the Friars returned to their residence for a late night celebration of traditional Christmas fare.  Br. Tarcisius and Fr. Patrick traveled to Marbury, AL to celebrate midnight and morning Mass for the Dominican Sisters at St. Jude Monastery.  Fr. Leonard offered noon Mass for the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word.

In the evening all gathered for the blessing of the Nativity, a tradition St. Francis of Assisi began 800 years ago.  The event was followed by Christmas carols, solemn vespers and benediction.  After enjoying a delicious Christmas dinner, the friars recreated with gift opening from family and friends while having a few laughs.

The Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word wish you and your families a blessed Christmas season.  Thank you for your many prayers and gifts.  May our Infant Savior bless you abundantly now and throughout the New Year.

Click to view… Stop Motion Christmas Crèche Set-up 

December 13th, 2013

Like posting videos online? Learn how to create professional video productions at the Living Water College of the Arts Summer Film Program.

Our Fr. Leonard will serve as chaplain for the summer 2014 film school.  The first session in preproduction and production begin July 6 – August 2. It is followed by a postproduction session starting August 3 – 16. For more information go to www.livingwatercollege.com.

Film Program Brochure: Film Program 2014 – Living Water College


Poster.Film Program 2014

December 10th, 2013

With Father Patrick our Vocation DirectorPlease join the Friars in welcoming a new man to share our way of life: Paul, age 24, from Geneseo, New York. Paul is a 2012 graduate of DeSales University (Center Valley, Pennsylvania) and has spent the past year as a missionary with Generation Life (www.generationlife.org/).

Paul is a postulant with our community. Postulancy is that period of time set aside as the “first step” in Religious Life. As a man makes the move from living in the world to living his life more perfectly for God, this first year of formation is ultimately focused on helping him better understand and listen more attentively to the call of Jesus in his life: “Come, follow me.” In addition to living our daily schedule by praying, working and recreating side-by-side with the friars, the postulant takes part in formation classes which instruct him in the spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi and the charism of Mother Angelica, and familiarize him with the mission of our apostolate here at EWTN and with the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration. He will also spend time each day focusing on the basic elements of the spiritual life, the fundamentals of the Catholic Faith and the disciplines of Religious Life in general.

Please remember Paul in your prayers.

Peace,
Fr. Anthony & the Friars

November 30th, 2013

Four Friars go on board the USS Alabama.

As they beheld and walked aboard the massive and impressive Battleship USS Alabama, the Friars were immediately overcome with sentiments of appreciation and admiration for the heroic actions of the sailors and marines who served on the ship.

Br. Paul, Br. James, Br. John recently visited the USS Alabama Battleship Museum Park as part of their cultural, historical and pastoral formation. Accompanied by Fr. Leonard the Brothers and him toured the entire ship, walked through the USS DRUM submarine and admired the collection of retired past and present war planes and vehicles.

As member of the WWII US Pacific Fleet, this South Dakota Class battleship and her crew overcame rough seas, air attacks, demolished enemy ships, and obliterated land targets.

Commissioned on February 16, 1942, and after months of intense training and sea trials, the now battle ready USS Alabama joined the Pacific THIRD Fleet in September 1943. She fought her first fight in November and December 1943 in the Gilbert Islands. Following several fierce and grueling contests against Imperial Japanese forces, the USS Alabama helped lead the United States to victory in the Pacific. The ship was decommissioned in January 1947.

The most moving of all exhibits are the monuments dedicated to the Alabama war veterans who sacrificed their lives for love of country. There the friars stopped and prayed for them and their families. Click for more information on the Battleship USS Alabama Museum.

November 21st, 2013

Fr. John Paul and Br. John Therese traveled to Nashville, TN to attend the Vanderbilt Awakening Retreat…

The retreat was hosted by University Catholic, formerly known as Vanderbilt Catholic, as they are no longer recognized as an official student organization of the university. You may remember, last year, the Vanderbilt University administration said that any group could not have faith or belief-based requirements for leadership. That meant that an atheist could run for leadership of a Christian group, a Jew for leadership of a Muslim group, a Pagan for leadership of a Catholic group, and on and on. To read more click here: http://universitycatholic.org/index.cfm?load=page&page=274

Even without the support of the university, the Catholic students at Vanderbilt continue to push forward. The 3 day Awakening Retreat was led by students, and offered fun, fellowship and a wake-up call to God’s goodness. Please keep University Catholic and their fight for Religious Freedom in your prayers!

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November 20th, 2013

The Friars celebrated an early Thanksgiving with the EWTN employees, giving thanks for all the graces God has bestowed on us this year. We also give thanks for  the dedication and hard work of the EWTN employees. By they way, the food was delicious!

2013 has has been a big year for the Friars. We now have 2 new MFVA Priests, 2 newly professed brothers, and much more! Don’t miss this year’s Thanksgiving Edition of Life on the Rock recapping the most important moments of this past year. You’ll hear from almost all the Friars. The program airs on Thanksgiving, November 28th at 10PM ET on EWTN. Be sure to tune in with your families!

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October 23rd, 2013

Young men!  The Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word invites you to their San Damiano Vocation Discernment Retreat. Experience Franciscan contemplation and evangelization.

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October 3rd, 2013

Fr. Joseph was the Keynote speaker at the “Day of Reflection for Priests” in Ottawa, Canada and for “The Spiritual Motherhood for Priests” prayer group the following day. About 300 attended the conference. The event was hosted by the Spiritual Motherhood for Priests who are an apostolate of Catholic women, inspired by love for the Church, that make a total self-offering of their lives for the sanctification of priests. They emphasize Eucharistic Adoration as a preeminent way to unite priests to the Priestly Heart of Jesus.

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Fr Joseph, Archbishop Prendergast of Ottawa, Queenship of Mary sisters!

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Fr Joseph and Queenship of Mary Sisters

September 16th, 2013

Thousands of faithful and joyful Catholics fill the Charlotte, North Carolina Convention Center for the 9th annual Eucharistic Congress.

The people of God attending this year’s Eucharistic Congress entered into a deeper relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.  This year’s theme was, “The Mystery of Faith: Open the Door to Christ.”  With a variety of congress events, one could not help become immersed into the great mystery of faith, Jesus present in the Eucharist.  Activities began Friday September 13, 2013 with a special welcome address from the Most Rev. Peter Jugis, Bishop of the Diocese of Charlotte, and a magnificent sacred music concert.  The night continued with youth and adult sessions.

Highlighting the congress was the Eucharistic procession on Saturday morning.  Crowds feel to their knees in adoration and devotion as Bishop Jugis triumphantly processed with the Blessed Sacrament through the streets of downtown Charlotte.

On hand were several vendors selling merchandise and providing information. Among them were your MFVA Friars.  Br. Leo sold books, while Br. Mathew, Br. James, Br. John, and Fr. Leonard informed crowds and looked for new recruits.

Attendees attended several Eucharistic themed workshops from renowned theologians.  The congress concluded with a solemn Mass offered by Bishop Peter Jugis.

For more information on this year’s and future congresses go to www.goeucharist.com

 

September 13th, 2013

Frs. Patrick and Paschal traveled to Marytown to attend the Franciscan Mega-Conference. Bi-yearly, vocation directors of the men’s communities are invited to join in this forum of fraternity, enrichment, sharing and encouragement.  Our common pursuit of love of Christ, the Church and religious life was exemplified in our time together.

We were honored to be invited and blessed to be there. Members of the OFM, the Conventuals and Capuchins and a friar of the atonement shared their experience and wisdom with our two young MFVA. More than that, we truly made friends – and had some good old Franciscan fun.

Continue to pray for an increase in vocations to the religious life. Support the work of vocation directors by your willingness to ask young men and women if they have ever considered a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. If one person encourages an individual to consider a religious vocation, that doubles the likelihood that they will do so. If three offer encouragement, they are five times more likely to consider a religious vocation. Wow.

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September 11th, 2013

The EWTN News Staff welcomed our MFVA Friars this afternoon.

As journalists completed their reports and video editors finalized news clips, Fr. Leonard, Br. James and Br. John toured the EWTN News Studio in Washington DC.  As the Friars walked through the facility, they had the opportunity to meet the news staff.  They welcomed our Friars with generosity and kind hospitality.

Though the studio space is small, God is working powerfully through the news crew.  Please continue supporting and praying for the EWTN News Reporting Staff.

Tune in to EWTN News Nightly tonight at 6:00 PM EST with Coleen Carroll Campbell for a special 9/11 tribute.

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September 6th, 2013

Pope Francis is calling us to observe September 7, 2013 as a Day of Prayer and Fasting for peace in Syria, the Middle East and throughout the world.

“All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace. I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs to all of humanity!” (Pope Francis, Sept. 1st Angelus)  

Tomorrow the Friars are hosting a Day of Prayer before the Blessed Sacrament beginning at 8:30 AM and concluding with Solemn Vespers and Benediction at 4:45 PM.  What are you doing?

 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).

Pray & Fast

August 19th, 2013

Br. Tarcisius will begin classes at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, MD this week. He will not be studying for the priesthood, but rather completing his undergraduate degree. Since he is our only student at the Mount this academic year and in order to maintain community life, Friars will rotate staying him. Please keep Br. Tarcisius and his studies in your prayers.

Campus views, Mt St Mary University, Emmitsburg, MD

August 2nd, 2013

Franciscan joy filled and illuminated Our Lady of the Angels EWTN Chapel as we witnessed our friars profess vows, and saw the investiture of our former Postulant, Arnaldo, today, August 2, when Franciscans from all over the world celebrate the solemn feast of Our Lady of the Angels of Portiuncula.

In the presence of the Bishop Robert Baker, their fellow friars, and a crowd of the faithful, Br. Matthew and Br. Paul renewed their vows and entered another year of temporary profession.

After a year of intense novitiate formation in Hanceville, Alabama, Br. James and Br. John returned to Annunciation Friary to profess the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for the first time.

Friars in this stage of consecrated life are known as temporary professed friars.  As the brother in temporary profession follows the Lord, he strives to radically and literally live the way Christ lived in the Gospels.  Before making perpetual vows, brothers renew their vows for 3 to 5 years.

Within these formative years, they receive continued teaching in living the Gospel life, are provided technical training and education, and given the hands on experience necessary to prepare them for life long service as Friars of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word.

Abandoning his white shirt and khaki trousers, our one-time Postulant Arnaldo, dawned the rustic and poor the habit of St. Francis of Assisi this morning.  A few moments later, as an attentive crowd listened in suspense, Fr. Anthony Mary announced Arnaldo’s new name in religion, Br. Andreas Mary of the Immaculate Conception.

Today marks the completion of Arnaldo’s postulancy and the beginning Br. Andreas Mary’s novitiate.  He will soon reside in Hanceville, Alabama.  He will be under the direction of our Novice Master, Fr. Miguel Marie for one year.

Join us in congratulating and praying for our newly professed brothers, our brother renewing vows and in reception of our newest friar, Br. Andreas Mary.

Starred Photos

Homily – Investiture & First Profession

August 1st, 2013

The friars just finished hosting a San Damiano Discernment Retreat this past week. Ten young men from around the country, including Canada, joined us for the four day retreat. Our visitors joined us for prayer,work and recreation and got a tour of EWTN and the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament. They also found out more about the life of our community, our apostolate and our involvement in evangelization through the media. Any young man between the age of 18-35 who is interested in visiting our community or attending our next retreat in December is invited to contact us by filling out the vocation inquiry form on our website. The specific dates for the next retreat will be posted in the future.

“Do not be afraid of what God asks of you! It is worth saying ‘yes’ to God. In Him we find joy!” – Pope Francis at WYD 2013

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July 30th, 2013

Frs. Mark, Miguel, and John Paul traveled with a crew from EWTN to join nearly 3 million young people in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for World Youth Day.  The friars were amidst the excited crowds as they welcomed Pope Francis to his first WYD after his election to the papacy.  Frs. Mark, Miguel, and John Paul contributed to the coverage of the WYD events and they also taped a special episode of Life on the Rock.  Fr. Mark was joined by Doug Barry from Radix, who also assisted with WYD coverage.  They conducted interviews with several event participants which really showed the diversity and unity of the Church around the world.  Fr. John Paul interviewed many energetic and vibrant WYD participants on Copacabana beach.  He also wrote an inspiring article for the National Catholic Register!  Finally, our traveling priests celebrated and concelebrated Masses, heard confessions, and tended to the spiritual needs of people from around the globe.

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July 29th, 2013

With praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God
and in gratitude for the
intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word
announce the
Rite of First Profession of

Br. James Mary of the Cross
and
Br. John Therese Marie of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus

and the
Rite of Investiture and Admission to Novitiate of

Arnaldo Joel Mateo

The Solemnity of
Our Lady of the Angels of Portiuncula
Friday, the second of August
Two thousand and thirteen
at seven o’clock in the morning

Our Lady of the Angels Chapel
Irondale, Alabama

Reception following
Guadalupe Hall

Starred Photos2

July 18th, 2013

World Youth Day Rio starts in just a few days!!!

Fr. Mark, Fr. Miguel and Fr. John Paul will be traveling to Brazil and filling you in with all the latest World Youth Day news and information. Not only will they be covering the events live on EWTN, but they will be posting pictures, videos, and keeping you up to date with all the “behind the scenes” action from Brazil. Fr. John Paul will also be tweeting live!

Get the latest Friars updates from Brazil by following us on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter!

July 17th, 2013

The friars held their General Chapter earlier today.  A “General Chapter” is conducted every three years and one of the primary points of business is to elect friars to fill various positions in service of the community.  The following were elected to serve the community for the next three years:

·         Fr. Anthony Mary, Community Servant (third consecutive and final term)

·         Fr. Miguel Marie, Community Vicar

·         Br. Bernard Mary, First Councilor (third consecutive and final term)

·         Fr. Mark Mary, Second Councilor

·         Fr. Joseph Mary, Third Councilor

·         Fr. Leonard Mary, Fourth Councilor

We are very grateful for all of the love, support and prayers that so many of you show for the friars.

God’s blessing to each of you and to your families!

Peace,
The Friars

June 26th, 2013

The call that St. Francis received at the beginning of his conversion is OUR CALL, as well.  In Francis’ day, society and the Church were in great turmoil, yet Francis and his followers brought the Gospel life and conversion to the world, first of all, by being deeply converted to Christ themselves.  It was, for them, a labor of love for the Beloved, Jesus.

Whatever our courts may decide, or whatever laws may be enacted, we (like Francis) are called to go forward with hope in the providence of God and to joyfully proclaim the Good News.  There will always be those who respond to it.  There will always be those who don’t.  God has given us a great opportunity to make a difference.

GO! REBUILD THE CHURCH!  REBUILD WESTERN SOCIETY WHICH IS FALLING INTO RUIN!
“I will be with you, all days, until the end of the world”

PLEASE JOIN THE FRIARS ON EWTN TO PRAY A NOVENA FOR THE NATION:
June 26 – July 4
, www.religiousliberties.org/novena

For more information on the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, CLICK HERE.

June 26th, 2013

Holy Land Pilgrimage: Oct. 23 – Nov. 4, 2013

Fr. Patrick Mary, MFVA (Spiritual Director)

$4,050 (pp double occupancy)

Departing from Newark, NJ (connecting air available)

For More information go to www.visitationpilgrimages.com

Day 1 ~ October 23, 2013 ~  Depart USA

Today depart Newark, NJ for our transatlantic flight to Tel Aviv.  Enjoy dinner, movie, and breakfast during the flight.

Day 2 ~ October 24 ~ Tel Aviv ~ Jaffa ~ Mt. Carmel ~ Galilee

Shalom! Arrive Ben-Gurion Airport and meet our tour escort.   On our drive to Galilee we’ll stop in Jaffa for Mass and continue to Haifa and visit Stella Maris, a Carmelite Monastery and the beautiful statue of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.  Dinner and overnight at the retreat house on Mt. Beatitude.

Day 3 ~ October 25 ~ Cana ~ Nazareth

After breakfast depart for Cana and visit the Church built over the wedding house.  Couples can renew their wedding vows.  Continue to Nazareth to visit the Basilica of the Annunciation and the Grotto where the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary.  Visit St. Joseph’s Church built over the house of the Holy Family where we’ll celebrate Mass. We’ll also visit the Synagogue Church where Jesus preached. After lunch we will depart Nazareth and visit the Mt. of Precipitation.  Then visit the Domos in Galilee, the beautiful theology center for priests built by the Vatican.  Dinner, Holy Hour, and overnight on Mt. Beatitude.

Day 4 ~ October 26 ~ Galilee

After breakfast depart for Tabgha, the site of the multiplication of the loaves and fish. Celebrate Mass before we visit the Church of Peter’s Primacy where Jesus met His disciples after the resurrection.  We then walk the Millennium path along the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum.  Enjoy a picnic lunch and visit Capernaum, Jesus’ home city during His ministry and visit the ancient synagogue and St. Peter’s house.  End the afternoon with a visit to Bethseida, the town where Jesus preached.  Dinner, Holy Hour, and overnight on Mt. Beatitude.

Day 5 ~ October 27 ~ Mt. Tabor ~ Sea of Galilee

This morning we’ll visit Mt. Tabor and have the opportunity to take a scenic walk to the top or travel via taxi.  Visit the beautiful Basilica of the Transfiguration and celebrate Mass. We’ll then proceed to the Sea of Galilee and for a fish lunch by the water.  After lunch we’ll take a relaxing boat ride across the Sea of Galilee.  Return to Mt. Beatitude for dinner, Holy Hour, and overnight.

Day 6 ~ October 28 ~ Jericho ~ Jerusalem

Today, after Mass on Mt. Beatitude, we depart for Jericho, the oldest inhabited city in the world. Then we’ll take a cable car to the Mt. of Temptation and visit the Monastery and the site of the cave where Jesus fasted for 40 days.  After a lunch break make a stop at the Sycamore tree like the one Zaccheus climbed. Proceed to the Jordan River and renew our Baptismal Promises. Continue on and enjoy the drive as we ascend up to Jerusalem.   Dinner, Holy Hour, and overnight at the famous Notre Dame Pontifical Institute in Jerusalem.

Day 7 ~ October 29 ~ Bethany ~ Qumran ~ Dead Sea

After breakfast depart for Bethany and visit the Church built over the house of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. We then take a walk to the tomb of Lazarus.  Depart Bethany and enjoy the drive to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, and visit Qumran, the site where the first Dead Sea Scrolls were found.  Time for lunch before we take a relaxing float in the Dead Sea.  Dinner, Holy Hour, and overnight in Notre Dame.

Day 8 ~ October 30 ~ Bethlehem ~ Ein Karem

Enjoy breakfast before we depart to Bethlehem and visit the Milk Grotto, Manger Square, and the Grotto of the Nativity and touch the birthplace of Jesus.  Then visit the Grotto of St. Joseph, the Grotto of St. Jerome, the Basilica of St. Catherine, and Shepherd’s Field. Take a lunch break before we drive to Ein Karem and visit the beautiful Church of the Visitation where The Blessed Virgin Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth and proclaimed the Magnificat. We’ll then walk to the Church of St. John the Baptist and visit the place of his birth.  Dinner, Holy Hour, and overnight in Notre Dame  (Mass T.B.A.)

Day 9 ~ October 31 ~ Jerusalem

Morning departure to the Mt. of Olives and enjoy a panoramic view of the old city of Jerusalem. Walk the Palm Sunday Path from the Chapel of the Ascension down to Gethsemane.  Visit the Church of the Pater Noster, Dominos Flevit, where Jesus wept over Jerusalem, and The Church of All Nations with the Rock of Agony. Take a lunch break before we have quiet time in the Garden of Gethsemane for prayer and meditation. Celebrate Holy Mass before we return to Notre Dame for dinner, Holy Hour, and overnight.

Day 10 ~ November 1 ~ All Saints Day ~ Jerusalem

This morning we’ll spend an hour of adoration in the Flagellation Chapel as we prepare ourselves to carry the cross in the footsteps of Jesus along the Via Dolorosa. We arrive at the Holy Sepulchre where Mass will be celebrated. After a lunch break we’ll visit Mount Zion, the room of the Last Supper, and the Church of Dormition.  Proceed to St. Peter in Gallicantu, the site where St. Peter denied Jesus three times and where Jesus was imprisoned.  Return to Notre Dame for dinner and overnight.

Day 11 ~ November 2 ~ All Souls Day ~ Jerusalem

A special early morning Mass in the Holy Sepulchre followed by a visit to the Western Wall.  Return to Notre Dame for breakfast.  Depart and visit the Church of St. Ann, the birthplace of the Blessed Mother, and the pools of Bethseda.  We’ll then enjoy a ride through the wilderness of Judea and visit the Monastery of St. George with its beautiful icons.  Afternoon free for personal devotions or shopping. Dinner, Holy Hour, and overnight in Notre Dame.

Day 12 ~ November 3 ~ Jerusalem

After Mass depart for the Dome of the Rock and visit the site of Abraham’s offering to God of his son Isaac.  The rest of the day is free for person devotions, shopping, or packing.  Enjoy a farewell dinner before we depart for the airport and our flight back to the USA.

Day 13 ~ November 4 ~ USA

A fond farewell to our pilgrim family.

June 23rd, 2013

The Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word would like to give thanks and praise to Almighty God for the recent priestly ordinations of Fr. John Paul Mary of Divine Mercy and Fr. Paschal Mary of the Nativity.

From the Cathedral of St. Paul in Birmingham, AL, priests and the faithful gathered, along with the viewing audience of the Eternal Word Television Network to witness the ordinations of Rev. Br. John Paul Mary, Rev. Br. Paschal Mary, and Rev. Mr. Charles Merrill. The local ordinary, Bishop Robert Baker presided over the June 22nd ordination.

After the ordination Mass, Fr. John Paul Mary, Fr. Paschal Mary, and Fr. Charles Merrill blessed the attendees in the Cathedral social hall.  In the evening friars of the Friars along with their families gathered for a reception and celebration at John Carroll Catholic High School in Birmingham, Alabama.

Know that our newly ordained Friars pray for you and look forward to serving you with charity and humility.  Please pray for them.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQf5FH0RWto&feature=share&list=UUz2aMHpaaAisMNmHJeLHGLg[/youtube]

Relive the experience by watching the entire Ordination Mass…

[youtube]http://youtu.be/6YDwhVn1K8E[/youtube]

June 20th, 2013

This July 25-28 vocation visitors are invited to attend our “San Damiano Vocations Retreat” and experience the life of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word.

During the retreat, our vocation visitors have the opportunity to join us in our regular schedule of prayer which includes Mass, the Rosary, Holy Hour, and the Liturgy of the Hours.  In addition, they will be able to experience the work and mission of our community in proclaiming the Gospel to the ends of the world, with a particular aim of bringing back the lost sheep into the heart of the Church by using the modern means of social communication.

Visitors often have the benefit of receiving individual direction and guidance from our Community Servant Fr. Anthony and from and our Vocations Director Fr. Patrick.

Lastly, those on retreat will have an opportunity to participate in a little fraternal recreation with the friars.

June 20th, 2013

Steve and Janet Ray, Mark Brumley and Fr. Mark are leading a “footprints of St. Paul” pilgrimage cruise this October.  For more information: Call Corporate Travel Service at 313-565-8888 x 158

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYrZ8uARjdw&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]

June 18th, 2013

With praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God
and in gratitude for the
intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word
announce the Ordination of

Br. John Paul Mary of Divine Mercy
and
Br. Paschal Mary of the Nativity

to the Sacred Priesthood of Jesus Christ
through the Imposition of Hands
and
the Invocation of the Holy Spirit
conferred by His Excellency

The Most Reverend Robert J. Baker
Bishop of Birmingham in Alabama

Saturday, the twenty-second of June
Two thousand and thirteen
at eleven o’clock in the morning

Cathedral of St. Paul
Birmingham, Alabama

———————————————————–

As you have shared in their preparation for
the Sacred Priesthood of Jesus Christ
by your prayers, friendship and support
you are cordially invited to join
with each of them in offering a

First Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving

Fr. Paschal Mary
Sunday, the twenty-third of June
Two thousand and thirteen
at seven o’clock in the morning
Our Lady of the Angels Chapel
Irondale, Alabama

Fr. John Paul Mary
Sunday, the twenty-third of June
Two thousand and thirteen
at ten-thirty in the morning
Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament
Hanceville, Alabama

June 18th, 2013

Among his brother friars and a small crowd of lay faithful, Br. John Paul made his profession of faith and oath of Fidelity completing his final step toward ordination to the priesthood. Br. Paschal who will be ordained with him on Saturday did his profession and oath at the Seminary in February.

By making a public profession of faith the brothers publicly profess that they believe all the truths of the Catholic Church both in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.  In their oath of fidelity they promised to teach and preach those truths faithfully and charitably as priests and never to teach anything contrary to Divine Revelation and the moral teachings of the Church.

Please pray for our brothers as they enter the final countdown toward ordination this Saturday June 22, 2013.  Watch live on EWTN or EWTN.com.

June 17th, 2013

At the request of the City of Irondale Fire Department, Fr. Leonard blessed the city’s 3 newest trucks before they were officially added to the fleet. The department set a great example asking for God’s blessing and protection upon the equipment they use. The blessing was also featured in Birmingham’s local news and AL.com. To see the article click here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhdSh2_Wj8c[/youtube]

June 11th, 2013

In “Building Your Faith”, Brother Leo of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word, continues his work of conducting experiments and using various props to teach the Catholic faith in short, fun-filled lessons. “Building Your Faith” is a web series brought to you by MFVA Media. Please share these videos with your friends & family!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLvJZbWNGwI&noredirect=1[/youtube]

June 4th, 2013

In “Building Your Faith”, Brother Leo continues his work of conducting experiments and using various props to teach the Catholic faith in short, fun-filled lessons. Enjoy the following trailer and stay tuned as episode 1 will be posted online next week on June 11.  “Building Your Faith” is a web series brought to you by MFVA Media.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kn0s0pg4Jkw[/youtube]

May 22nd, 2013

Mark your calendars!  Rev. Br. John Paul’s & Rev. Br. Paschal’s ordination to the priesthood is June 22, 2013.  In one month they will be priests of Jesus Christ.  Watch it live on EWTN or to go ewtn.com for live streaming.

Both men were once diocesan seminarians.  Rev. John Paul was a member of the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Rev. Br. Paschal the Diocese of Toledo, Ohio.  Before joining the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word, they met at the Pontifical Josephinum College Seminary.  After John Paul’s life changing visit to the MFVA Community, he invited Paschal to accompany him for his next visitation.  Following his thrillingly profound experience, Paschal knew immediately that he was also called to become a Franciscan Missionary.

Upon completion of college seminary, Br. John Paul entered the Community on October 2, 2004 and Br. Paschal October 2, 2006.  Now as seasoned brothers and refined deacons, they head to the altar of St. Paul’s Cathedral, bound for ordination to the priesthood of Christ.  Pray for our brothers as they make their final preparations for the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

May 21st, 2013

Young men!  The Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word invites you to their San Damiano Vocation Discernment Retreat. Experience Franciscan contemplation and evangelization.  Click the picture for more information:

May 14th, 2013

Br. Matthew Mary graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University. He received a BA in Philosophy with Summa Cum Laude honors.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZRRENiq5Ms&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]

April 23rd, 2013

Fr. Patrick, Br. Bernard, & Br. Tarcisius joined Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR on a pilgrimage to Spain & Portugal. Afterwards, they will travel to Rome & Assisi. Below are some pictures from Br. Bernard.

April 23rd, 2013

Fr. Leonard and Br. Leo spent Holy Week and the Easter Octave in Israel and Turkey.  “Christ in You the Hope of Glory” ministry invited Father to chaplain their annual Holy Land Pilgrimage/Missionary trip.  Br. Leo assisted with serving Mass.

April 8th, 2013

Br. Leo Needs Your help!

MFVA Media will be filming and producing a new web series for Br. Leo early next month. We will be holding a contest to name the show! The winner will receive a signed copy of Br. Leo’s new book. Please e-mail all suggestions to gfederle@ewtn.com by April 30th.

March 28th, 2013

Please join the Friars in praying the Divine Mercy Novena, beginning on Good Friday. Each day of the Novena we will be posting the prayers of the day to our Facebook page as reminders for all to follow along.

Please go to www.facebook.com/franciscanmissionariesmfva to follow us on Facebook.

From EWTN:

The Divine Mercy Novena

Jesus asked that the Feast of the Divine Mercy be preceded by a Novena to the Divine Mercy which would begin on Good Friday.  He gave St. Faustina an intention to pray for on each day of the Novena, saving for the last day the most difficult intention of all, the lukewarm and indifferent of whom He said:

“These souls cause Me more suffering than any others; it was from such souls that My soul felt the most revulsion in the Garden of Olives. It was on their account that I said: ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass Me by.’ The last hope of salvation for them is to flee to My Mercy.”

In her diary, St. Faustina wrote that Jesus told her:

“On each day of the novena you will bring to My heart a different group of souls and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy … On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My passion, for the graces for these souls.”

The different souls prayed for on each day of the novena are:

DAY 1 (Good Friday) – All mankind, especially sinners

DAY  2 (Holy Saturday) – The souls of priests and religious

DAY 3 (Easter Sunday) – All devout and faithful souls

DAY 4 (Easter Monday) – Those who do not believe in Jesus and those who do not yet know Him

DAY  5 (Easter Tuesday) – The souls of separated brethren

DAY  6 (Easter Wednesday) – The meek and humble souls and the souls of children

DAY  7 (Easter Thursday) – The souls who especially venerate and glorify Jesus’ mercy

DAY  8 (Easter Friday) – The souls who are detained in purgatory;

DAY  9 (Easter Saturday) – The souls who have become lukewarm.

During the Solemn Novena leading to Divine Mercy Sunday, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy should be offered each day for the day’s intentions.

March 27th, 2013

On Tuesday of Holy Week, the friars attended the annual Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul in Birmingham.  Our MFVA Priests joined their brother Priests of the Diocese of Birmingham in renewing their priestly promises and commitments to Bishop Baker and the Church. The bishop also blessed three oils — the oil of catechumens, the oil of the infirm, and holy chrism – which will be used in the administration of the sacraments throughout the diocese for the year.

March 27th, 2013

During this sacred time of the year in which we remember the final days of Our Lord’s life prior to his Passion, Death, and Resurrection, the friars enter into the various Masses and services that are offered during Holy Week.

March 13th, 2013

The Friars of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word give thanks and praise to God for our newly elected Holy Father, Pope Francis.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ, a native of Argentina was elected today, March 13, 2013 as the 266th successor of St. Peter, taking the name of our beloved Holy Father, St. Francis of Assisi.

Before his election to the papacy, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, SJ, served as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina and was the Ordinary for Eastern-rite faithful in Argentina who lack an Ordinary of their own.

Jorge Bergoglio was born on December 17 1936 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  After he was ordained a Jesuit priest on December 13 1969, Bergoglio was sent to San Miguel where he became novice master and taught theology.  From 1973 – 1979, he served as the Jesuit Provincial for Argentina.  He was rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel from 1980 – 1986.  Following his completion of doctrinal studies and dissertation in Germany, he served as confessor and spiritual director in Cordoba.

On June 27, 1992, he was consecrated titular Bishop of Auca and Auxiliary of Buenos Aires.  He succeeded Cardinal Antonio Quarracino as Archbishop of Buenos Aires on February 28, 1998  Pope John Paul II made him a cardinal on February 21, 2001.  From November 8, 2005 to November 8, 2011, he served as President of the Bishops’ Conference of Argentina.

Cardinal Bergoglio was a also a member of the Congregations: for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments; for the Clergy; for  Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life ; Pontifical Council for the Family; and Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

Though he served in several high ranking Church positions, our new Holy Father lived with the simplicity and charity of Jesus Christ our Lord.  “He is very close to the people, just like Bishop Baker. People very often saw him using the subway.   He is super solid in theology, a humble man, and has great zeal on pastoral missions, like the good Jesuits,” said Br. Tarcisius Maria MFVA, who is also from Argentina.

Following his election, many people believed he was named after the Jesuit St. Francis Xavier, while few thought St. Francis de Sales.  Though both were great men of evangelization, the new Vicar of Christ, given his reputation of simplicity, humility, and charity, is expected to govern and teach like his patron St. Francis of Assisi.  “He comes from an Italian background and I’m sure that he will put a great emphasis on the new evangelization,” remarked Br. Tarcisius.   Clergy close to him say he can relate to the modern man, is familar with current media, and is a true servant of Christ.  “He is a great supporter of EWTN and did a Spanish series on St. Theresa de Avila for network,” said Br. Tarcisius.

The priest and brothers of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word congratulate Pope Francis.  The Friars will continually pray for our new Holy Father and look forward to obeying and supporting him.

Watch Fr.Mark’s interviews from St. Peter’s Square following the introduction of Pope Francis…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeyDVSqBv9w&feature=share&list=UUz2aMHpaaAisMNmHJeLHGLg[/youtube]

[youtube]http://youtu.be/f9sCmXgoiuw[/youtube]

March 5th, 2013

“In his Infinite Goodness, the Eternal Father has granted you the grace and opportunity to imitate his Divine Son in bringing back the stray sheep and in serving them in every spiritual need, by direction, teaching, retreats, radio, television and the printed word.” – Letter to the Friars by Mother Angelica, June 13, 1991

Building upon their mission to preach the Gospel by means of the mass media, the Friars celebrated the official grand opening of MFVA Media.

MFVA Media is an initiative to use the means of social communication for Roman Catholic evangelization by combining various creative fields such as web design, audio/video production, publishing, and social networking into a single entity.

In addition to its central mission of evangelization, MFVA Media will also look to promote vocations and assist in the formation of the Friars.

“By preparing the Friars to strengthen and master their media skills, we will better serve the needs of EWTN”, stated Fr. Leonard Mary, who will serve as MFVA Media General Manager.  “Our work is one of service, most importantly service to God.”

The Friars also welcome to the team, Mr. Gus Federle, to assist them in this new endeavor. As Manager of MFVA Media Operations, Gus will play a primary role directing various media projects and in the daily operations of the media office.  Soon to be ordained to the priesthood, Rev. Br. Paschal Mary will also play a key role in the development of MFVA Media.

As always, the day began with prayer as Fr. Leonard celebrated Holy Mass and blessed the media room. Afterwards, a small reception took place with the Friars and friends of the community.

Hitting the ground running, Fr. Mark Mary, is in Rome to cover the upcoming Conclave. Posting various interviews and videos to his blog and the MFVA website, Fr. Mark looks to give an insider’s perspective on all the excitement that encompasses a Papal election.

If you would like to become a part of this mission, please consider contributing to us financially. In addition, please keep this important work in your prayers.  In conclusion, said Fr. Leonard, “This is God’s work and we are open to where God leads us.”

March 5th, 2013

The Friars welcomed several young men discerning a vocation to the Franciscan religious life and the priesthood.

Discerning a vocation is difficult.  The journey toward religious life or the priesthood is often met with obstacles of confusion and frustration.  In an effort to assist men on their path of discernment, the Friars periodically open to their doors to young men interested in becoming friars.

Recently, the friars welcomed a young man from Providence Road, Island, Tulsa Oklahoma and a group from John Carol High School.  Vocation retreats are always an exciting time for the friars.  The priests and brothers are always happy to give Franciscan charity and hospitality.  They are also grateful to meet many young and gifted men of God.

For years the friars have held San Damiano Vocation retreats.  These prayerful and joyful events provide an opportunity for young men to engage in the daily life of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word.  Visiting men pray, work, eat and recreate with the priests and brothers.  Throughout the retreat Vocations Director, Fr. Patrick Russell, provides spiritual and practical lessons on Franciscan living and discerning a vocation.  For more information, fill out our vocations inquiry form.

February 8th, 2013

With Fr. Mitch Pacwa out of town, our own Fr. Joseph Mary hosted EWTN Live this past Wednesday evening. Guests, Fr. Brian Mullady and Deacon Harold Burke Sivers, spoke about their newest series, “Priests and Deacons: Ministers of Mercy”.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRhTmOAh4pk[/youtube]

January 29th, 2013

In an effort to leave no stone unturned in their work of promoting a culture of life, the Friars divided their forces between the March for Life in Washington, DC and the increasingly significant Walk for Life: West Coast in San Francisco, CA.

Fr. Mark, Br. Pio, and Br. Paul traveled west along with EWTN’s production crew to cover this years record setting walk on television.

A reported 50,000 were in attendance, a significant increase over past years in the walk’s short 9-year history. The increasing importance of the Walk for Life: West Coast was highlighted by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the apostolic nuncio to the U.S., reading a special message directly from Pope Benedict himself.

After the walk, the Friars toured the San Francisco area including a visit to Mission Dolores, the oldest surviving mission in California, and a scenic trip along Route 1.

Click here to read more about this year’s Walk for Life: West Coast.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tC3P333iptk[/youtube]

January 25th, 2013

Braving the frosty climate of Washington, DC, the Friars victoriously marched for life.

Almost half of our young Community attended the DC March for Life engaging in various assignments.  Br. John and Br. James departed Birmingham Airport early Thursday morning to join the EWTN production crew.  Both served as cable and equipment handlers.

Before and after march, Br. Leo Mary signed copies of his latest book “Hey Br. Leo!2” at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception gift shop.  He also worked behind the scenes for EWTN.

Working in front of the cameras was our very own Fr. Joseph Mary.  He co-hosted the march with Doug Keck.  Their extensive and descriptive commentary was informing and enlightening.

Rev. Br. John Paul along with a group of Birmingham clergy accompanied the students and faculty from John Carol Catholic High School.  Him and the group zealous and valiantly prayed and marched for an end to abortion and the preservation of human life.

Fr. Patrick, however, boldly did what no friar has done before. Serving as chaplain for a devout group from Hanceville, AL, he led them on a 24 hour venture to the March and back.

Among the sea of black clerical garb from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, gleamed two brown Franciscan habits, those of Rev. Br. Paschal Mary and Br. Matthew Mary.  Their day began with Mass at the Verizon Center.  During the March they and their seminarian classmates piously prayed the entire 20 decades of the rosary.

Stay tuned for updates from our Friars attending the “Walk for Life in San Francisco.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/va66HOSKsPQ[/youtube]

January 24th, 2013

Over 70 students go behind the scenes at EWTN.

While in route to the March for Life in Washington DC, students and faculty from the John Paul the Great Academy in Lafayette, LA. visited EWTN on Wednesday January 23, 2013.  Rev. Br. John Paul & Br. Tarcisius led them on a tour of the network facilities.  Their visit also included a guided holy hour officiated by Rev. Br. John Paul.

After witnessing God’s power at EWTN and then receiving the graces of the Blessed Sacrament, the students and faculty of the John Paul the Great Academy headed northbound enlivened and strengthened to march for life.

EWTN, the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament and the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word invite you and your groups to come here on a pilgrimage.  Join the Friars and Nuns for Mass, spend quiet time in prayer, attend a healing service or guided holy hour, and be part of a live show studio audience.  Come and experience the love and providence of God!  For more information click here: EWTN Pilgrimage Department.

January 21st, 2013

The Friars took the Gospel to the streets in this years Birmingham March for Life.

Last Saturday January 20, 2013, the priests and brothers prayerfully and joyfully participated in the Birmingham March for Life. Events for the annual March began with Mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Bishop Robert Baker celebrated the Mass. Him and hundreds of other Catholics gathered with numerous Christian communities and human life advocates at Brother Bryan Park to rally for life. Religious and Right to Life officials offered prayers and encouraged the crowd to continue supporting the rights of human life at every phase.

Following the park rally, the friars joined the crowd in a prayerful and peaceful march for life along the streets of Birmingham, Alabama. The Friars are now preparing to take the Gospel of life to the streets of Washington D.C., and San Francisco. They hope to see you there.

January 15th, 2013

After a year of laboring in the work of the Lord the Friars took time out for a week of contemplation, adoration and relaxation

Following a solemn celebration of Epiphany, the friars headed north to St. Bernard’s Abbey in Cullman, Alabama for their annual canonical community retreat.

The priests and brothers were moved to deeper contemplation and meditation by the inspirational and intellectual, yet simple and charitable words of their retreat master, Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv.  Fr. James McCurry is a respected authority in theology and Franciscan spirituality. He currently serves as a provincial in the Order of Franciscan Conventuals.

Like other retreats the Friars had extra time for prayer and rest.  With the insights of Fr. McCurry and the time off, the priest and brothers of the Franciscan Missionaries are now recharged to serve God in their mission of evangelization.

Also, pictured below are photos from this year’s friary Epiphany blessing.

January 1st, 2013

Its going to be a great year!  New Years celebrations were holy & merry for the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word.

The MFVA priests and brothers ended 2012 with praying all 20 twenty decades of the rosary and 11:00 pm Mass in honor of Mary the Mother of God.  Following Mass the friars celebrated the beginning of 2013 with drinks and snacks.

2012 was a blessed year for the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word.  The Friars are grateful to God for what he accomplished through them.  They are also thankful for you, the people of God who support them faithfully and generously by their prayers and financial assistance.  Be assured of our love and prayers for you and your families throughout 2013 and always.  May the Lord bless you and your families with a healthy, holy and happy New Year!

Below are photographs of our 11:00 pm Mass.  Also pictured are our EWTN employees who sacrificially worked on New Years Eve so that we could broadcast Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God.

January 1st, 2013

Like their Holy Father St. Francis, the Friars celebrated the birth of Christ our Lord with joyous, glorious and delicious celebrations.

Christmas celebrations began in Irondale and Hanceville, Alabama with Midnight Mass followed by refreshments.

On Christmas morning a few MFVA priests offered Masses at local parishes.  In the evening, all gathered for the blessing of the Nativity, a tradition St. Francis began 800 years ago, Christmas carols, vespers and benediction followed.  After Christmas dinner, the friars opened gifts from their families and friends.

The Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word thank you for your many prayers and gifts this past Christmas season.  May our Infant Savior bless you abundantly now and throughout the New Year.