Current Events

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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July 31st, 2014

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

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!

MFVA 27th Anniversary

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.

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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

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

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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.

Starred Photos

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.

MFVA Brothers

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.

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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

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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

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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.

December 25th, 2012

Los Franciscanos Missioneros de la Palabra Eterna les decean una Feliz y Santa Navidad

!The Friars of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal wish you and your loved ones a Holy & Merry Christmas.

Below are photos of the friars preparing for Christmas:

December 20th, 2012

With the simplicity and charity of Christ, Br. Leo Mary explains his purpose for writing, “Hey Br. Leo 2!”

Br. Leo was recently interviewed by Doug Keck on the EWTN show “Bookmark.”  Watch as Brother reveals his motives for writing another Children’s book.  His humble and insightful answers will enliven your faith and strengthen your love for the Lord…

[youtube]http://youtu.be/fGoxe03Ecag[/youtube]

December 14th, 2012

He’s back, with more faith than ever and in time for Christmas.  Br. Leo Mary has completed another children’s book!

Intensify and fortify your faith, in the Year of Faith with “Hey Br. Leo 2.” This second volume is filled with new and energetic lessons that will strengthen your relationship with Christ and increase your knowledge of Catholic teaching.

Purchase your copy at the EWTN Religious Catalogue today by calling toll free, 1-800-854-6316 or buy online by clicking here:  “Hey Br. Leo 2!”.  Thank you.

November 23rd, 2012

The Friars spent their Thanksgiving hanging out at the Rock House.

Watch as the priests and brothers give thanks and praise to God for their vocations and call to live in community.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhYNH3ofJIk&feature=share&list=UUijDos-LUTh9RQvSCMQqN6Q[/youtube]

November 22nd, 2012

“We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks; we call on your name and recount you wondrous deeds.” – Psalm 75:1

We also thank you, all you who support us with your prayers and generous donations.  May God reward you in this life and in the next.

Peace,

MFVA Friars

November 21st, 2012

Hundreds of devout Catholics stepped up to plate at Dodger Stadium and hit a homerun for life.

Fr. Mark and Br. Pio joined Los Angeles Catholics on November 18, 2012 for “Go2Bat4LIFE” at Dodger Stadium. Archbishop Jose Gomez and several archdiocesan clergy were present leading prayers and offering encouraging words. The event commenced with a prayerful walk around the stadium parking lot. While walking, attendees lifted their hearts and voices to the Lord, praying for an end to abortion and for the sanctity and dignity of all human life.

After the walk, participants entered the stadium field, and listened to pro-life speakers and contemporary Christian music. Catholic organizations held exhibits, sponsored games and sold food. Celebrities Catholics prayed with the crowd and later greeted attendees and signed autographs. It was a joyous and harmonious prayer and social gathering for people of all ages.

For more information about this prayerful and fruitful event click here: Go2Bat4Life

November 4th, 2012

Election Prayer

by Servant of God – Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Lord Jesus Christ, You told us to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God. Enlighten the minds of people in America. May we choose a President of the United States, and other government officials according to Your Divine Will. Give our citizens the courage to choose leaders of our nation who respect the sanctity of unborn human life, the sanctity of marriage, the sanctity of marital relations, the sanctity of the family, and the sanctity of the aging. Grant us the wisdom to give You, what belongs to You, our God. If we do this, as a nation, we are confident You will give us an abundance of Your blessings through our elected leaders. Amen.

November 1st, 2012

Is Jesus calling you to “follow Him” as a priest or brother in the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word?  Come and find out by attending our next San Damiano Vocation Retreat on December 13-16, 2012.  If you are interested in joining a Franciscan brotherhood that is dedicated to Eucharist Adoration, Marian Devotion and Evangelization through the mass media then contact us today by clicking here: Vocation Inquiry Form.

October 31st, 2012

He’s back, with more faith than ever.  Br. Leo Mary has completed another children’s book!

Intensify and fortify your faith, in the Year of Faith with “Hey Br. Leo 2.” This second volume is filled with new and energetic lessons that will strengthen your relationship with Christ and increase your knowledge of Catholic teachings.

Buy “Hey Br. Leo” at the EWTN Religious Catalogue.  “Hey Br. Leo 2” goes on sale at the end of November.  More information will follow in the next few weeks.

October 16th, 2012

Improving and maintaining physical fitness makes us healthier and stronger.  Regular exercise also increases our life spans and decreases the likelihood of developing a serious illness or aliment.  As we progress in our workout programs, we should evaluate our spiritual workout program.  St. Paul says, “for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1Timothy 4:8).

Christ our Lord calls us to unite ourselves with Him.  Union with God requires faith.  The “Year of Faith” offers us many excellent opportunities for buidling faith.  Several Catholic organizations and institutions have developed campaigns for catechizing and evangelizing in the “Year of Faith.”  Fr. Miguel Marie offers us two spiritual reading lists with selections from the Catechism and the Vatican II documents to help us build and strengthen our faith muscles.  Click the links below to download the PDF reading lists.  The Catechism can be found here: Catechism Table of Contents

CCC During the Year of Faith 2012 (weekday)-1

CCC During the Year of Faith 2013 (weekday)-2

VII Documents – List

CCC During the Year of Faith 2012 (weekday)-1

CCC During the Year of Faith 2013 (weekday)-2

October 10th, 2012

This evening the friars crowded into their tiny friary chapel to witness the admission of their newest postulant.

Presiding with charity and piety, Fr. Anthony Mary officially admitted Arnaldo into the postulancy of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word.  The brief ceremony began with a few prayers and responses.  After Fr. Anthony placed the San Damiano Cross over Arnaldo .  He was then welcomed by his new Franciscan Brothers with much appreciation and affirmation.

Arnaldo comes from New York and is the youngest of three children.  He brings many talents to the Community.  Following the completion of his BS degree in graphic design, he used his gifts as a volunteer at various Catholic organizations.

The friars are thankful to God for their newest member.  They are all looking forward to praying, recreating and serving with their new recruit.  Please pray for Arnaldo as he settles into religious life.

October 5th, 2012

Celebrating St. Francis of Assisi

As devoted sons of St. Francis of Assisi, the friars enjoy his feast day with sincere admiration, solemn devotion, pious reflection and festive celebration.

On the evening before St. Francis’ feast day, Franciscans from all over the world traditionally begin their commemoration of his life with the Transitus.  The Transitus commemorates the passing of St. Francis from this life to the next.  Yesterday the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word observed the Transitus devoutly and charitably.  Joining the friars was a group of visiting lay faithful.  Fr. Anthony Mary presided over the ceremony and provided an eloquent reflection on the life St. Francis.

This morning the friars held a brief prayer service to show their admiration for St. Francis.   Rev. Br. John Paul presided and Br. Tarciscio served the event. The chapel was filled with EWTN employees who piously prayed with the friars.  Everyone in attendance received a special blessing with a first class relic of St. Francis.

After vespers the friars celebrated the feast day of their father with a hearty feast.

September 10th, 2012

The light of Jesus Christ once again outshined the Phoenix sun. Crowds from all over Arizona and surrounding states filled the Phoenix Convention Center for the last day of the celebration.

The day opened with Fr. Anthony Mary leading prayer followed by Morning Mass celebrated by Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona.

Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God and Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. captivated the audience with insightful and powerful messages.   Like yesterday celebration attendees had the opportunity to attend Eucharist adoration, confession, shop and met their favorite EWTN personalities.

Celebration attendees exited the conference center glowing and rejoicing in the Lord.

September 9th, 2012

The fiery hot sun was not the only thing burning today in Phoenix, Arizona.  God’s love burned in the hearts of Catholics from all over Arizona and nearby states at this weekend’s EWTN Phoenix Family Celebration.

As studio lights beamed and film cameras recorded, faithful viewers experienced life at the Eternal Word Television Network.   The day’s festivities began with Mass celebrated by Fr. Joseph Mary, MFVA.   After Raymond Arroyo enlightened the crowd with pious thoughts and the latest news in the world of Catholicism.  A special “Round Table Discussion” on religious liberty followed that featured the Most Reverend, Thomas Olmstead, Bishop of Phoenix.

In the evening attendees were treated to a special hour & a half episode of “Life on the Rock,” hosted by Fr. Mark Mary, MFVA, and Doug Berry.   Today’s guests were the Phoenix foundation of the Poor Clare’s of Perpetual Adoration.

Nothing hindered children from coming to Christ at “The Faith Factory” hosted by Br. Leo Mary & the Brothers of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word.  Kids listened to Brother Leo and played with a variety of toys and games.

Throughout the day, viewers attended Eucharistic Adoration, Confession, shopped at religious catalog, and met their favorite EWTN personalities.  Friars hosted guests, ushered crowds, served Mass, and met and greeted viewers.

Tomorrow is the final day of the Family Celebration.  Those in attendance look forward to another day of God’s blessings.

September 8th, 2012

The studio lights of EWTN are shining alongside the desert sun rays of Phoenix, Arizona this weekend.


EWTN in is Phoenix September 8th – 9th for its annual Family Celebration. Staff members arrived early this week to begin preparations. Friars flew in on Thursday to provide assistance. Brothers worked with employees all day Friday setting religious catalog and the sacristy for this weekends liturgical celebrations.


In the evening Fr. Joseph Mary led a holy hour for the EWTN Media Missionaries.

For more information on this weekends events go to:
http://www.ewtn.com/familycelebration
or visit our website for event photos.

August 24th, 2012

The midnight oil will soon burn for our scholar Friars.  For Fr. Dominic, the oil is still warm.   A few weeks ago he finished a three year Canon Law degree program from the Catholic University of America in Washington DC.  He is now a Canon Lawyer and ready to resolve matters related to the laws of the Church.  Though we are anxious to see his new skills, we will have to wait another three years.  Fr. Dominic leaves on August 28th to pursue a doctorate in Canon Law at the Pontifical Santa Croce University in Rome, Italy.

School is now in session for our seminarians at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary.  Rev. Br. Paschal returns for his fourth and final year of theology.  In order to gain pastoral experience, the seminary recently assigned him to diaconal service at Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  He completes seminary formation next May.

Br. Matthew also returns to the seminary for his final year of pre-theology.  His academic curriculum consists of courses in philosophy, Latin and music.  In May Brother will complete pre-theology and receive an undergraduate degree in philosophy.   At that time he will have completed all the pre-requisites for entering the four-year theology graduate degree program at the seminary.

Philosophy classes are now in session at our St. Joseph House of Studies in Irondale, Alabama.  Br. Tarcisius and Br. Paul are expanding their minds as they learn and explore the mind-boggling notions and thought processes of ancient, medieval and modern thinkers.  Taught by our professor of philosophy, Dr. Richard Geraghty the brothers are certain to grasp complexities and realities of wisdom and knowledge.

Pray for our scholar friars as they embrace the rigors of academia.  If you would like to make a donation toward the tuition of our students please click here: http://www.franciscanmissionaries.com/become-part-of-our-mission/

August 24th, 2012

For ten months postulants Randon and John were decked out in Khaki pants, white polo shirts and wore silver San Damiano crosses around their necks.   Now they can be seen sporting the poor habit of St. Francis of Assisi.  On August 2, 2012, the solemn Franciscan feast of Our Lady of the Angeles of Portiuncula, both men dawned the sacred Franciscan habit for the first time.  Following the investiture, they were given religious names.  Randon became Br. John Therese Marie of Our Eucharistic King and John Br. James Mary of the Cross.

For the next 12 months our novice brothers will spend their novitiate year at the Ephesus House in Hanceville, Alabama near the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament.   Directed by their novice master Fr. Miguel Marie and his assistant Br. Bernard Mary, our new brothers will receive intense spiritual and human formation.   Throughout this year both brothers and the Community will discern if they should advance toward temporary profession of vows.  Pray for our novice brothers.

August 24th, 2012

Filled with joyful hope the Comunita Cenacolo and the MFVA Friars enjoyed a day of worship and fellowship in the Lord. The festivities began with an outdoor Mass celebrated by Fr. Leonard. After the men prayed the rosary and then went to a local park to play soccer. Afternoon activities included lunch, games, another rosary, and a network tour. Evening events began with a holy hour, followed by vespers, dinner and a movie.

This gathering of both communities began three years ago. Br. Tarcisius organizes the event every year. For the men of Cenacolo and the MFVA the day is a time to break from their normal activities for a little prayer and fun.

August 24th, 2012

Fr. Miguel and Brs. Matthew and Pio spent July at Christendom College for another summer of the Vita Consecrata Institute. The VCI is a great time to meet other religious and to become more immersed in the principles of religious and spiritual formation. They took classes in Moral Theology, the History of Consecrated Life, the Essential Elements of Religious Life, and on the Holy Spirit.

June 28th, 2012

On Sunday, June 10th EWTN celebrated the Solemnity of Corpus Christi with a televised Eucharistic procession following the 7a.m. Mass.  The beautiful procession around the site of the network involved several of our friars as servers and MC’s as well as altar boys, flower girls, and the Knights of Columbus.  Two outdoor altars were prepared as stops along the procession route.  Fr. Leonard paused at each of the altars for a few minutes of silent adoration, gave a blessing to the participants with the Blessed Sacrament, and continued with the procession.

God even blessed the procession by holding off the rain long enough for it to be concluded!  It was an inspiring occasion for all!  A special word of thanks to those who helped with preparations especially Adele Gilbert, who is always a tremendous help to the friars.

June 27th, 2012

Fr. Joseph, Fr. Miguel, Rev. Br. John Paul, Br. Pio, our postulants John and Randon and some EWTN employees attended a rally in response to the HHS mandate that would force all health care providers to provide contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortifacients to their employees.  As we know, this infringes upon the fundamental right of Religious Liberty and Freedom of Conscience that we enjoy as Americans. The rally was held in Kelly Ingram Park in downtown Birmingham by local representatives of the Catholic faith and other non-Catholic Christians and Luther Strange, Alabama’s 49th Attorney General to stand up for religious liberties that the government is infringing on. The rally was attended by about 300 people from all denominations. The President of EWTN, Michael Warsaw, was one of the main speakers, along with Fr. Kevin Bazzel, a good friend of our Community and Fr. Joseph Mary, MFVA, closed the rally with a prayer and blessing.

From June 21st to July 4th, the Friars and EWTN are participating in scheduled special events for the Fortnight for Freedom. These 14 days are a time for intense prayer for our country for more information visit EWTN’s new website www.religiousliberties.org

June 18th, 2012

All heaven and earth rejoiced in grateful praise to God our Almighty Father as the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word had two friars ordained priests and two friars ordained deacons.

From the Cathedral of St. Paul in Birmingham, Alabama, priests and the faithful gathered, along with the viewing audience of the Eternal Word Television Network to witness the diaconate ordination of Br. John Paul Mary and Br. Paschal Mary and the priesthood ordination of Rev. Br. Leonard Mary, Rev. Br. Patrick Mary, and Rev. Mr. Doug Vu.  The local ordinary, Bishop Robert Baker presided over the June 2nd ordination.

After the ordination Mass, Fr. Doug Vu, Fr. Leonard Mary, and Fr. Patrick Mary blessed the attendees in the Cathedral social hall.  In the evening friars of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word along with their families gathered for a reception and celebration at John Carroll Catholic High School in Birmingham, Alabama.

Deacon John Paul Mary will spend his summer weekends at Our Lady of the Valley Parish while managing the EWTN pilgrimage office.  For eight weekends this summer, Deacon Paschal Mary is assigned to St. Mark’s Parish.  In August he returns to Mount St. Mary’s Seminary for his final year of priesthood formation.  Both Deacons are set to be ordained to the priesthood next June.

Fr. Leonard Mary is assigned to the Annunciation Friary in Irondale, Alabama.  He will serve as Assistant Chaplain to the EWTN employees, manage the friars media and assist at the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament and in local parishes.  As vocation director, Fr. Patrick Mary is assigned to the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama and will assist in Irondale.

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

June 18th, 2012

While all perpetually professed friars of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word traveled hundreds of miles to enter the community from cities within the United States, one man, Br. Tarcisius Maria courageously traveled thousands of miles, crossing cities, states, countries and even an entire continent to become a Franciscan permanent brother.

Residing in Rosario, Argentina, Martin Bucca moved by his love for Christ and St. Francis of Assisi, left his native land and entered the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word in October of 2004.  On August 15th 2005, Martin received the Franciscan habit and was given the name Br. Tarcisius Maria Sedes Sapientiae.

After his first profession of vows in August of 2006, Br. Tarcisius renewed them annually for six years and on May 31, 2012, Brother professed perpetual vows, forever vowing to live in poverty, chastity and obedience as a servant of Jesus Christ and son of St. Francis.  The Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word is thankful and grateful to God for Br. Tarcisius and the joy he brings to the Community.

June 9th, 2012

With a small amount of cash and large amount of faith, Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation in 1962 departed from her Poor Clare of Perpetual Adoration Monastery in Canton, Ohio to begin another foundation in Alabama.  Inspired by the Lord, Mother established Our Lady of the Angeles Monastery in the South to bring another Catholic presence to an area inhabited by few Catholics.

Living their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, Mother Angelica and her Poor Clare Sisters enjoyed a cloistered life of prayer and monastic discipline.  Their simple and radical Franciscan way of life eventually attracted local residents.   Visitors were impressed by the Sister’s love for Christ and with Mother Angelica’s practical and insightful knowledge of Sacred Scripture.  In the next few years Christ’s presence illuminating from Mother and the Sisters’ gradually captured the attention of Catholics and non-Catholic in Alabama and throughout the Southern states.

Over the years, God would extend this Catholic presence to the entire world through print, television, radio and Internet media.  On May 19 & 20, the Poor Clare Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word and Knights of the Holy Eucharist celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Our Lady of the Angeles Monastery in Alabama.

The festivities began Saturday morning with Mass celebrated by Bishop Robert Baker, with Bishop Emeritus David E. Foley, Abbot Cletus Meagher, the MFVA Priests and other visiting priest as concelebrants.   Weekend celebrations were concluded with solemn vespers and benediction on Sunday May 20th.

June 9th, 2012

With thanksgiving to God for the gifts of Wisdom, we celebrate the graduation of Rev. Brs. Leonard and Patrick, and Br. John Paul from Mount St Mary’s Seminary. Thankful also to the faculty and staff of the seminary for the guidance, direction and education received while at the Mount, the brothers look forward with hope to a lifetime of active ministry in Jesus Christ and His Church.

Handing the diplomas to our graduates are (left to right) the Provost, then the President of Mount St Mary’s University, and third the Rector of the Seminary. Congratulations to the Seminary Graduate Class of 2012!

April 30th, 2012

Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word Celebrate 25th Anniversary

EWTN’s ‘TV Priests’ Share the Gospel and Change Lives in the Process

On May 2, the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word mark a milestone: the 25th anniversary of their founding.
“There is significance that Mother Angelica started EWTN to defend Jesus Christ, and we were founded on the feast of St. Athanasius, a doctor of the Church, defender of the divinity of Jesus Christ and the ‘Father of Orthodoxy,’” said Father Joseph Wolfe.

Today, Father Joseph serves as chaplain to EWTN’s 350 employees. He entered the fledgling community as a founding member in May 2, 1987, eventually becoming the first priest ordained for this new Public Clerical Association of the Faithful in 1993. The name of the friary is Annunciation Friary. It was dedicated on the EWTN grounds appropriately on March 25, 1994. Like St. Gabriel the Archangel, the patron of communications, the friars are also called to announce the Good News of the Eternal Word.

“Mother Angelica wanted us to be a spiritual support for the television network,” explained Father Joseph. He uses the analogy that the cloistered nuns are to be the heart of the mission and the friars and EWTN are to be the voice of the mission.

“You need both of them,” he said. “That is why the Church has two patrons for her missionary activity. One is St. Francis Xavier, who many claim is the greatest missionary after St. Paul. The other is St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who was a cloistered nun who never left the monastery.”

“With the heart of the nuns’ monastery and shrine and the voice of the friars and EWTN, we work together to bring the Gospel more fruitfully to many,” Father Joseph said.

The friars provide for the spiritual needs of the nuns as well as of the pilgrims who visit EWTN in Irondale, Ala., and the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Ala. They hear confessions seven days a week and give spiritual talks.

“We spend a lot of hours hearing a lot of confessions for people who come to EWTN and the shrine,” said Father Anthony Mary, the friars’ community servant, the title for the superior.

He’s amazed by how many come to confession who have been away from church a very long time or who want to live their faith more fully.

The friars also operate TV cameras, direct live shows and give tours. Father Mark Mary co-hosts the popular weekly show Life on the Rock, while Brother Leo produces the children’s Hey, Brother Leo.

Today, there are 17 Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word (MFVA) friars who are priests or brothers. Twelve are in perpetual profession. On June 2, two men will be ordained to the transitional deaconate and two to the priesthood, increasing MFVA priests’ numbers to seven.

Father Joseph, who also hosted Faith in the Heartland, begins the day with intercom prayers for employees and sends them spiritual messages via email, per his chaplain duties.

The friars are most often the celebrants for the daily televised Mass on EWTN. The Mass has been one of the most-watched offerings on the Catholic network since its debut in 1991. The decision was made that year to televise the Mass because it was wartime — the Gulf War had begun.

What many viewers might not fully realize is how often the EWTN friars not only look after the faithful sheep, but fulfill their motto: “The lost I will seek out; the strays I will bring back” (Ezekiel 34:16).

“The thing that encourages me the most in our apostolate,” Father Joseph said, “is receiving emails and letters from all over the world from people who have returned to the faith or converted to the faith because of EWTN.” He also hears from people personally at EWTN and the Hanceville shrine.

Among countless examples: A woman in prison wrote to say she had learned so much through the network that she wanted to enter the Catholic faith. A young man wrote from England to say he was strongly influenced by secular society, then began watching EWTN; he is now studying for the priesthood. A former prisoner came to visit and said that when the warden planned to remove EWTN from the TV lineup, he and other prisoners insisted EWTN stay. He said EWTN changed his life.

Then there’s the time when Father Joseph was a young priest and a young mother and her child came to the friary. The mother explained that she lived near the shortwave radio facility, and when she picked up her telephone, she heard EWTN. He told the woman the engineers could fix that problem. She said, “No.” She hadn’t come to fix it, but to say,

“I’ve been listening to your programs, and I want to become Catholic.”

Peter Gagnon, EWTN’s director of programming and productions, finds their spiritual guidance and friendship an important part of his life.

“I see the way they interact with people who come on pilgrimage and those touched by EWTN and the friars, especially knowing them through daily Mass,” he said.

Personally, during his own extended sickness, he said, “the friars were an incredible asset in my life and my family’s life as well.” They brought Communion to the hospital and his home. They supported his wife, Sharon, and their six young children.

“Father Mark would come every Sunday evening to our house and bring Communion and hang out, too,” Gagnon said.

Even at work, amid the daily grind, “they were always there for me.”

The friars also pray for EWTN’s benefactors and the intentions viewers send in on a daily basis.

“Mother really did want us to do that,” Father Anthony said. “That’s a necessary component of EWTN. As priests and brothers, we can take those to God and intercede on behalf of these viewers.”

Looking back, Father Joseph said, “EWTN has had and continues to have a tremendous role in rebuilding the Church, through catechesis, preaching the Gospel and inspiring people to live lives of greater charity.”

Joseph Pronechen writes from Trumbull, Connecticut.

INFORMATION
Father Anthony invites any young man considering a call to Franciscan life and work with this apostolate to visit FranciscanMissionaries.com and contact the friars.

Featured in the National Catholic Register

April 26th, 2012

On Thursday April 19th through Sunday April the 22nd, Randon and John, our Postulants, had their well prepared for ‘KAIROS Weekend’ with the inmates at Donaldson Correction Facility in Bessemer, AL, which is a maximum security prison.  They witnessed to the prisoners the example of Christ.

April 26th, 2012

Fr. Joseph, Br. Bernard, Br. Leo, Randon, and John went to our Sisters in Charlotte, NC for Sister Immaculata’s Solemn Final Profession on Divine Mercy Sunday.

April 25th, 2012

On Divine Mercy Sunday, in Hanceville, AL, Fr. Anthony, Fr. Miguel, and Fr. Mark heard Confessions at the Shrine before the televised Divine Mercy Holy Hour that Fr. Miguel presided at.  Afterwards, Fr. Mark did a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Shrine.

April 23rd, 2012

In the Sacred Triduum, the Church solemnly celebrates the greatest mysteries of our

redemption, keeping by means of special celebrations the memorial of her Lord, crucified,

buried, and risen.

Holy Thursday the friars celebrated the memorial of the Lord’s Supper. On the night before He died, Our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist and the Priestly Order. With great joy we gave thanks to God for always being with His faithful through the sacramental ministry of His priests. Please continue to pray with us for Rev. Brs. Leonard and Patrick as they prepare for ordination to the Priesthood.

Good Friday we made the Way of the Cross and then remembered the Passion of the Lord and with loving heart adored the wood of the Cross. The Solemn Intercessions of the Good Friday celebration were especially moving this year as we prayed for the salvation of the whole world.

Finally, the greatest and most noble of all solemnities we celebrated during the Easter Vigil. After everyone joined us for the blessing of the Easter fire, Deacon Patrick chanted beautifully the newly translated Easter Proclamation. We heard the essential story of salvation by the proclamation of all nine readings. May the light of the Easter mystery ever burn brightly in our hearts!

April 23rd, 2012

On Friday March the 23rd, some of the friars went to downtown Birmingham, AL for the Freedom Rally for Life with Bishop Baker as the keynote speaker.

April 23rd, 2012

Fr. Anthony made the FRONT PAGE of the local newspaper (The Birmingham News) when he blessed the Italian Heritage Club’s St. Joseph altar on March 18th with Br. Tarcisius and Randon our Postulant.

April 3rd, 2012

San Damiano Discernment Retreat

Our next two San Damiano Discernment retreats will take place on:

Friday, July 13th – Sunday, July 15th

and Friday, August 24th – Sunday, August 26th

If you are interested in attending either of these and are between the ages of 21 – 35, please fill out the inquiry form and we will get back to you. http://www.franciscanmissionaries.com/vocations/vocations-inquiry/

March 29th, 2012

Fr. Mark & Fr. Anthony interviewed the directors/producers (Andrew & Jon Erwin) & lead actress (Rachel Hendrix) from the Pro-Life movie “October Baby” on “Life on the Rock” to promote the March 23rd theatrical release. Please help support this great Pro-Life movie in the theaters!  Watch it here: Life on the Rock 3-15-12 – Andy Erwin & Jon Erwin- Movie: “October Baby”

March 29th, 2012

On Friday, some of the friars went up to the Shrine for the EWTN employee retreat. This year’s retreat master was Fr. Brian Mullady, OP. He was our community’s retreat master for our annual retreat a little over a year ago (January 2011).  Fr. Mullady then stayed with us overnight and flew out the next morning.

March 29th, 2012

On Tuesday midday, Fr. Mark went to Samford University (a local Protestant University) to hear the preacher to the papal household, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap., give a talk. Later that afternoon, some of the friars attended a special pre-tape of EWTN Live with Fr. Cantalamessa as the guest. Wow, does he look like Fr. Joseph!

March 29th, 2012

On Friday, Fr. Mark and Br. Pio left for the Walk for Life: West Coast in San Francisco, CA. The walk took place on the next day, Saturday. They went to Yosemite National Park, which was snowy, on Sunday and Monday. It was a pretty good trip, other than Br. Pio accidentally spilling some coffee on a guy on the plane trip.

March 29th, 2012

On January 14th, 2012, hundreds of pro-life advocates gathered together in Brother Bryan Park in the city of Birmingham to participate in the annual March for Life.  This peaceful demonstration was organized by the United for Life Foundation which is dedicated to raising pro-life awareness.

During the pre-march rally, several speakers including Bishop Robert Baker and Jim Pinto inspired participants to become more active with the pro-life movement in order to defend the lives of the pre-born in danger of abortion and the elderly and infirm who are threatened with euthanasia.

The march route is designed to pass by one of the two remaining abortion mills in Birmingham.  This provides marchers the opportunity to pray for the conversion of those who work in the mill and for the mill’s closing.

The commemoration of the devastating Roe v. Wade decision is on January 22nd.  Please join pro-life advocates around the nation in praying for an end to the holocaust of abortion.

March 28th, 2012

On January 6th, Fr. Anthony & the friars used blessed chalk to write 20+C+M+B+12 above all the friary doorways: 2012 for the year, & C, M, B for the 3 Magi.  The Blessing for the Chalk: “O Lord God, bless this Thy creature chalk that it may be used for the salvation of the human race. Through the invocation of Thy most Holy Name grant that whoever shall take of this chalk & write with it upon the doors of his house the names of Thy saints, Caspar, Melchior & Balthasar, may through their merits & intercession receive health of body & protection of soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

March 28th, 2012

We were blessed to have a wonderful retreat this year, thanks to the Benedictine Monks at St. Bernard Abby in Cullman, AL for hosting us & for Br. Bill Short, O.F.M., S.T.L., S.T.D., who gave a Franciscan style retreat. Br. Bill is an expert on Franciscan spirituality & history, so we were able to ask him all kinds of specific Franciscan questions.

December 25th, 2011

Merry Christmas to all from the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word.

December 12th, 2011

Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Feast Day was celebrated at EWTN with a Mass in the Spanish language complete with musical quartet. Padre Pedro Núñez, the host of the Spanish show Conozca primero su Fé Católica, was the main celebrant.

Our Lady appeared to Saint Juan Diego in 1531 as the Mother of the people of the Americas.  She has by her prayers and motherly comfort always enfolded this people in her mantle.

December 5th, 2011

This year’s EWTN Advent Retreat held at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament was led by the Auxiliary Bishop of Denver James D. Conley.  He spoke about Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman.

The retreat presented an opportunity for employees of the network to prepare for the coming of Our Lord at Christmas.  Employees and their spouses were invited to attend the retreat and spend time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.  They also had the opportunity to meet with the Poor Clare nuns in the parlor. It was a grace-filled time for all participants including those friars who attended.

November 27th, 2011

Our community held its annual drawing of patron saints on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  This year five lunch bags were used to hold each category: a quote from Sacred Scripture, a quote from one of the writings of St. Francis, the names of a male and female saint, and the name of a friar of our community.

The quotes are intended to be something that the friar can meditate on throughout the year, the saints will be their patrons for the year, and the friar’s name is someone to be prayed for. The drawing of quotes can be quite amusing as they seem to usually befit the friar who draws them.

November 13th, 2011

Brothers John Paul and Paschal were part of the twenty-one seminarians who received candidacy in a November 11 Mass celebrated by Baltimore’s Auxiliary Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski.

Candidacy is the final step on the way to deaconate ordination and the point when the deacons-to-be formally announce their intention to approach God’s altar by declaring themselves as candidates for ordination. Father Joseph and Father Dominic were able to join with the Mount St Mary’s community in congratulating these men who will be ordained in just a few short months.

October 16th, 2011

With appreciation and jubilation the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word give thanks and praise to the Lord for their two new postulants.

In a brief but prayerful admission ceremony the two men new received the blessing of our Community Servant Fr. Anthony Mary and were given the San Damiano Postulant Cross.

Both men bring to the community a variety of gifts and talents.  Randon comes from Warner Robins, Georgia and John from Long Island, New York.   God willing, Randon and John will receive the habit of St. Francis of Assisi and enter the novitiate in August of 2012.  Please join us in welcoming and praying for our new postulants.

October 16th, 2011

Our zealous and studious seminarians are hitting the books and burning the midnight oil once again.  The community scholars returned to the seminary on August 21, 2012.  Rev. Br. Leonard Mary, Rev. Br. Patrick Mary and Br. John Paul Mary return for their final year.  Br. Paschal Mary entered third theology and Br. Matthew Mary commences his seminary career in first pre-theology.

During the summer, Rev. Brs. Leonard and Patrick as well as Br. John Paul were involved in weekend parish ministry in Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama.  As part of their formation as deacons and future priests, each friar was assigned to a different parish and became involved in various ways.  Brs. Leonard served at Holy Infant of Prague Parish in Trussville, Alabama and Patrick at St. Francis Xavier in the City of Birmingham.  Both participated in the Sunday Masses, preached homilies, performed baptisms, visited the sick and elderly, and assisted with funerals and weddings.  Br. John Paul was assigned to Our Lady of the Valley in Birmingham, Alabama.  There he brought communion to the sick, gave ferverinos, and assisted with a catechism class.

All seminarians in theology have a pastoral field assignment during the academic year.  This year Rev. Br. Leonard is assigned to St. Benedicts Parish in Baltimore, Maryland.  Rev. Br. Patrick serves at St. Joseph’s Parish in Frederick, Maryland.  Br. John Paul is assigned to St. Andrew’s Parish in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania and Br. Paschal teaches RCIA.  Upon completion of the 2011/ 2012 academic year, Br. Leonard & Patrick God willing will be ordained to the priesthood and Br. John Paul and Br. Paschal to the diaconate.

Please pray that our seminarians become holy priests like Jesus Christ our great high priest.  If you would like to give toward their seminary education please click here:

http://www.franciscanmissionaries.com/become-part-of-our-mission/

October 12th, 2011

The first week of August was one of great blessing to our community.  Early in the week Brs. Matthew Mary and Tarcisius Maria renewed their vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience for another year.

On Friday the memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major, Br. Paul Mary of St. Joseph the Protector made his first profession of vows.  He spent his novitiate year in Hanceville under the guidance, direction, and instruction of Fr. Miguel Marie.

On Saturday the feast of the Transfiguration, Br. Paschal Mary of the Nativity made his final profession of vows.  For the past two years, Br. Paschal has been attending Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and will, God-willing, be ordained a deacon next year and then a priest the following year.  He will be returning to seminary this month along with four other friar-seminarians which includes the latest addition of Br. Matthew.

We give praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God for these vocations and for the families of the friars who are offering their sons to the Lord!

September 7th, 2011

We had quite a dramatic evening at the prayer vigil. A terrific storm blew in and threatened to end the celebration before the Holy Father was able to give his address. They had to pause everything, and try to wait the storm out. It did eventually blow over, while Pope Benedict steadfastly remained up at the altar. He had a delight in his eyes as he gazed upon the crowds who remained enthusiastic despite the winds and the rain. Br. Tarsius made it up to the front of the crowds, and he was astounded at the peaceful spirit there and how people were helping one another deal with the rain. Brother also said he was amazed at the reverence and devotion people had during adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. To see that massive crowd in adoration is a sight to behold.

The Holy Father was kneeling with all of us facing Jesus truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, which teaches us to pray and find our peace in Jesus; He is there waiting for us in the silence of adoration. He also wants to strengthen our faith through our communion with Him in the Sacraments. WYD is about encountering Christ, which the youth experienced, just that, here in Madrid.

September 2nd, 2011

WYD 2011 Day 5 Madrid, Spain

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September 2nd, 2011

On day 4 we covered the Holy Father’s arrival and the official welcoming ceremony. He was as eloquent as ever and looked strong. He was obviously moved by the enthusiasm of the youth and radiated joy himself at seeing their large numbers. May we all radiate the joy of being converted to Christ and sharing the faith with others!!

August 20th, 2011

Life of the Rock aired live from the Life and Love Center in Madrid Spain.  World Youth Day coverage continues on EWTN as the Holy Father meets with the young to encourage them to be “rooted and planted in Christ, firm in the faith.”  Watch it on EWTN’s YouTube Channel Life on the Rock – 08-18-2011 – WYD – Madrid Spain

August 18th, 2011

World Youth Day Madrid 2011 is here.  The youth of the world is excited to meet the Lord, the source of joy.

Soon after arriving the friars went to Avila, to the place of Sts. Theresa of Jesus and  John of the Cross.  We celebrated the Mass at the Monastery of the Incarnation and walked around this revered town of the saints.

In Madrid we went to the Love and Life Center, which is for the English speaking pilgrims.  The Knights of Columbus and the Sisters of Life are hosting thousands who come here for events and time for quiet prayer.  There are two chapels: one for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; the other to promote devotion to Our Lady.  Please continue to pray for the youth and organizers of the event.

July 29th, 2011

EWTN celebrated 30 years by inviting the EWTN Family to Birmingham for a weekend convention.   Over a thousand attended the festivities and had the opportunity to meet some of their favorite hosts and friars.  The weekend – like the network itself – was centered on the Eucharist.  Holy Mass, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation were available to all.

For many it was the first time they came to Alabama to see the great work of God done through Mother Angelica.  The friars gave many tours at the EWTN television campus for those who came to see the studios.   Many made another pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, AL.

July 18th, 2011

On June 26th, EWTN celebrated the annual Corpus Christi Mass and Procession on the campus grounds.  The beautiful procession began immediately after the Mass.  Fr. Anthony Mary, the main celebrant, carried the monstrance holding the Blessed Sacrament around the network and paused at two outdoor altars for silent adoration and benediction.  All of the friars in Irondale were involved in setting up the altars and Brs. Tarcisius, Pio, and Matthew were assigned to emcee the celebration.

We wish to thank David Biddle for helping us take photos and Adele Gilbert for her assistance with acquiring and preparing the flower pedals as well as assisting with the flower girls.  Also, thanks to all the altar boys, flower girls, parents, and Knights of Columbus for helping to make this a joyous and reverent occasion.

Despite the heat and humidity, the procession was an excellent way to honor and adore Our Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament.

July 12th, 2011

Members of Comunita Cenacolo in Hanceville visited Annunciation Friary for the day in June. They participated in a variety of activities with the friars including the morning televised Mass, divine office, outdoor Rosary, tour of the EWTN campus and facilities, soccer, lunch and dinner, story-sharing, and concluded the day with a movie.

This is second year that a Cenacolo “fun day” has been held at the friary.
Thanks to Br. Tarcisius for organizing and planning this event. It was a very enjoyable and fraternal experience for both Cenacolo and the friars!

For more information on the Cenacolo Community go to http://www.comunitacenacolo.org/

July 2nd, 2011

On June 6th our community participated in the annual re-enthronement of the Sacred Heart at Annunciation Friary.  The event began with prayers of consecration in the friary chapel followed by an exhortation by Fr. Anthony. 

Immediately after the prayers in the chapel, the procession began with the statue of the Sacred Heart and the monstrance while the friars participated in singing hymns. 

As each of the friars approached their own cell at the friary, they knelt down in the doorway of their cell while Fr. Anthony blessed them and their cell with the Blessed Sacrament. 

The procession stopped briefly in the refectory for the enthronement and then continued into the House of Studies and concluded in the friary chapel. 

It was a blessed event for our home as well as a reminder of Our Lord’s Sacred Heart which was pierced out of profound love for each and every one of us.

July 2nd, 2011

The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker ordained Vincent Bresowar to the priesthood for the diocese of Birmingham on June 4th.  Our own seminarians had the privilege of serving the Mass, including our two recently-ordained deacons Brs. Leonard and Patrick.  The diocese is blessed to have the addition of another priest to assist with the ministry of God’s people.   A special thanks to Fr. Miguel’s parents for the photos.

June 20th, 2011

Brs. Leo, Paul, and Pio traveled to Kentucky for the second annual Catholic Homeschooling Conference which was held on June 3rd and 4th

The speakers addressed several topics that are relevant to those families who homeschool.  Our brothers participated as exhibitors at the conference to help increase awareness of our community and to promote vocations. 

For more information on the conference, visit:  http://www.kycatholichomeschooling.org/Conference.html.

June 1st, 2011

(Friday after Ascension Thursday to Saturday before Pentecost)

NINTH DAY

Thou, on those who evermore

Thee confess and Thee adore,

In Thy sevenfold gifts, descend:

Give them comfort when they die;

Give them life with Thee on high;

Give them joys which never end. Amen.

 

The Fruits of the Holy Ghost

            The gifts of the Holy Ghost perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Ghost, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Ghost. These Fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.

Prayer

            Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits, Thy charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance, that I may never weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to Thy inspiration may merit to be united eternally with Thee in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.

 

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.

The Glory Be SEVEN TIMES.

ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY GHOST

            On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity the unerring keenness of Your justice and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light and listen to Your voice and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart I implore You Adorable Spirit Helper of my infirmity, so to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace O Holy Ghost, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere “Speak Lord for Your servant heareth.” Amen.

PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY GHOST

            O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Ghost to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom, that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal; the Spirit of Understanding, to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth; the Spirit of Counsel, that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven; the Spirit of Fortitude, that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation; the Spirit of Knowledge, that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints; the Spirit of Piety, that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable; the Spirit of Fear, that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

May 26th, 2011

With praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God, our community now has two newly-ordained deacons! 

Rev. Br. Leonard Mary of the Holy Spirit and Rev. Br. Patrick Mary of Our Lady of Perpetual Help were ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Robert J. Baker of the Diocese of Birmingham. 

Members of each of the deacons’ families were present for this joyful occasion.  We also had several concelebrating priests especially Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ and Fr. Justin Damien, OSB (formerly Fr. James Dean on EWTN). 

After being ordained, the new deacons assisted Bishop Baker at the altar for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  Fr. Kevin Bazzel and Br. Tarcisius did an excellent job in emceeing the Mass.

Following the Mass, a reception was held at EWTN’s Guadalupe Hall which was organized by our former cook Adele Gilbert.  Over a hundred people attended the Mass and reception.

Please continue to pray for our community particularly for Deacons Leonard and Patrick as we eagerly await their ordination to the priesthood which will take place God-willingly next year. 

We greatly appreciate all the support.  We wish to thank Gabor and Maria Nyeste for taking photographs during the Mass and afterwards.

May 23rd, 2011

On May 9th, Fr. Joseph, a few brothers, and our vocation visitor joined several EWTN employees in assisting with tornado relief efforts. 

We went to Pleasant Grove outside Birmingham which sustained significant damage.  Houses and other buildings were destroyed, trees were stripped bare or uprooted, and power lines were down everywhere.  The devastation was incredible to behold. 

We assisted with debris removal at a location that used to be a house but is now lying in ruins.  In the hot sun, we assisted in removing broken furniture, pieces of wood, sections of sheet rock, tree branches, bricks, and other debris from around and on the foundation of where the house once stood. 

EWTN plans to continue with volunteering for the relief efforts.

EWTN’s Tornado Relief webpage:

http://www.ewtn.com/tornadorelief/

News Story:

EWTN Partners with Birmingham Bishop for Tornado Relief

http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=3242

May 23rd, 2011

On April 27th, a system of severe thunderstorms struck several states in the South including Alabama.  These storms produced over 300 tornadoes which resulted in over 300 lives lost and significant damage in various areas. 

Thanks be to God that EWTN and the friary sustained no damage although it was believed that we could hear one of the tornadoes in the distance as it was passing by. 

The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville and the friars’ house near the shrine lost electricity but were not damaged.  Many trees were uprooted by heavy winds near and at the shrine. 

Please pray for the victims of these storms especially for those who have lost their lives and those who lost loved ones.  The process of cleaning up and rebuilding has begun and will probably take several months.

May 23rd, 2011

Every First Saturday in Birmingham, the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life (founded by Fr. Frank Pavone) hold a prayer gathering outside of one of the abortion mills in the city of Birmingham.  Several of our friars will often participate in these gatherings. 

Previously, the manager/staff of the abortion mill claimed that there were laws in place which prevented pro-life protesters from being within a defined proximity of the mill.  Therefore, we had to gather across the street in order to avoid legal action.  However, the situation changed when the Survivors group came to Birmingham and challenged this so-called “bubble zone” injunction. 

Several members of the group protested on the sidewalk right in front of the abortion mill and were arrested and spent a night in prison.  The Survivors did this several times before an injunction was put in place to allow pro-lifers to protest from the sidewalk outside the mill and to offer counseling to women seeking abortion.  It was an excellent victory!  Check out Survivors at http://survivors.la.

On the Saturday before Mothers Day, the Missionaries went to work praying and offering sidewalk counseling.  What made this day special was one particular case.  There was a woman considering abortion who agreed to speak with one of the pro-lifers despite the presence of disruptive “Volunteer Clinic Escorts”.  After receiving information about Her Choice (a pro-life pregnancy counseling center), she decided not to have the abortion and go there.  She left the abortion mill with two Mothers Day balloons given to her by pro-lifers!

May 23rd, 2011

On April 30th and May 1st, the IRL hosted its annual conference on religious life at Mundelein Seminary outside of Chicago, Illinois.  The focus of the conference was appropriately on the use of the media. 

Fr. Mark and Br. Matthew had the opportunity of attending the conference for the first time and to meet other religious from various communities and states. 

The keynote address was delivered by Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR and the “Pro Fidelitate et Virtute” award was given to Fr. Kenneth Baker, SJ who is the former editor of Homiletic and Pastoral Review. 

Fr. Mark and Br. Matthew stayed at the Marytown friary and retreat center which is right next to the seminary.  On Divine Mercy Sunday, they attended a Divine Mercy Holy Hour at Marytown which was celebrated by EWTN regular Fr. Brian Mullady, OP.

May 19th, 2011

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 entered into the various Masses and services that are offered during Holy Week.

On Tuesday of Holy Week, several friars attended the annual Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul in Birmingham.  Many priests from the diocese of Birmingham, including our friar-priests, were present to renew their priestly commitments to the bishop and to the Church.

On Holy Thursday, Fr. Anthony celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at the EWTN chapel and Fr. Mark delivered the homily.  On this solemn occasion, those present prayerfully recalled Our Lord’s actions at the Last Supper while Fr. Anthony washed the feet of the friars.  After the Mass ended, the Blessed Sacrament was processed to the altar of repose at the Friary Chapel in the midst of the choir chanting “Pange Lingua”.  The faithful were invited to remain with Our Lord in the Friary Chapel until later in the evening.

The Commemoration of Our Lord’s Passion was televised on EWTN on Good Friday.  Fr. Mark was the celebrant for the service while Fr. Anthony delivered the homily.  The three unique highlights of this service include the reading of the account of the Passion, the general intercessions for different groups of people, and the veneration of the cross.

The octave of the Resurrection began on Saturday evening with the Easter Vigil.  The celebrant was Fr. Anthony who also chanted the exultet.  At the beginning of the celebration, the Paschal candle was blessed and lit.  This symbol of Christ was source of the light of all the other candles in the chapel including those held by the faithful.

May 16th, 2011

Br. Leo spent some time with the Cat Chat family while they were recording some programs with the network.  They enjoyed playing basketball at the friary court and showed Br. Leo some skill with a unicycle. 

The family also appeared on Life on the Rock.

May 16th, 2011

Br. Paschal took the next step on his way to the priesthood when he was instituted as an acolyte on April 30th.  Bishop Peter J. Jugis of the Diocese of Charlotte, NC presided over the Mass. 

Ordinarily, a seminarian throughout his four years of seminary is first instituted as a lector, next acolyte, after that he is ordained as a deacon, and finally ordained a priest.

May 13th, 2011

Faster than a speeding bullet?  Well, maybe not quite that fast.  Doug Barry, co-host of Life on the Rock, exceeded his fundraising goal of $10,000 for the 2nd annual Nun Run which took place on March 12th

His flight to Arizona was funded by our community, the MFVA’s.  The Nun Run was an effort on the part of the Arizona Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration to raise funds for their monastery and chapel.  There were around 900 participants at the event in Tempe, AZ and over 500 shadow participants nationwide. 

An award was presented to Doug on Life on the Rock.  We would like to thank all those who generously sponsored Doug.  May God reward you!

May 13th, 2011

Fr. Mark was one of the nearly five thousand young people who gathered in a park near the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA for a Pro-Life Rally on March 27th.  Pasadena is a suburb of Los Angeles.  This is the first time that this rally and march has been organized.  Well-known personages were present such as Lila Rose, and Archbishop Gomez.  It was an excellent opportunity for the youth to show support for life and to pray for an end to the holocaust of abortion.

April 22nd, 2011

Divine Mercy 

Please pray with us (the MFVA Friars) as we beg the Lord for His Divine Mercy!

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy

1. Begin with the Sign of the Cross, then these opening prayers: “You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.”

“O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You!”  (three times) 

2. 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and The Apostles Creed.

3. Then on the Our Father Beads of your Rosary say the following: “Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.”

4. On the 10 Hail Mary Beads say the following: “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

5. (Repeat step 3 and 4 for all five decades).

6. End with (three times): “Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

7. Closing Prayer: “Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.”

For more info on Divine Mercy click here

April 11th, 2011

With praise and thanksgiving to God, Sr. Mary Gabriella of the Annunciation, PCPA made her first profession of the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience on March 19th

Fr. Anthony, Br. Paul, and Br. Justin were present for the profession which took place at Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury, NC. 

Sr. Gabriella belongs to the Poor Clare monastery in Charlotte, NC where the nuns have been located for the past year.  The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration are dedicated to adoring Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and to prayer as contemplatives.  Sr. Gabriella’s family from Ireland came to support her at this joyous occasion.

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April 11th, 2011

Prompted by the increase of turmoil, crises, and disasters in the world, EWTN televised a Holy Hour and Rosary for the World led by Fr. Joseph Mary on March 25th, the Solemnity of the Annunciation.  Br. Matthew Mary read brief meditations on each of the Joyful Mysteries while Fr. Joseph recited prayers with each of the mysteries that addressed the various crises occurring worldwide.  The event was an opportunity to unite the prayers of millions of faithful EWTN viewers for an outpouring of God’s grace on the world.

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April 1st, 2011

Amidst the peaceful atmosphere of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the local chapter of the Third Order Franciscans held their annual Day of Prayer and Recollection on March 19th, the solemnity of St. Joseph.  Br. Tarcisius delivered two talks to the group of lay faithful men and women.  The occasion was an opportunity for them to refocus themselves on their mission of making Christ present in the world.  Several members of the Third Order are employees of EWTN.

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March 14th, 2011

Employees of the EWTN along with some of the friars gathered for a Lenten day of devotion and recollection at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama.  Bishop James Wall of Gallup, NM was the retreat master. His conferences focused on the theological virtues and union with God. 

“Faith, Hope and Charity in truth, the three virtues encouraged by our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, are the great means for us to grow in union with God.  Jesus, the one who shows us our true dignity and is the answer to the questions we have in life, shows us the love of the Father for us and the way to Him.  By looking upon the cross we are drawn out of our selfishness and are inspired to give to others.  Prayer, fasting and almsgiving by God’s grace are efficacious means to grow in love for God and neighbor and to make us more like Christ,” said Bishop Wall.

With renewed zeal for the faith retreat participants will now embrace the cross and forty days of Lent with greater appreciation and admiration.

March 14th, 2011

In preparation for the long awaited translation of the Roman Missal, the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word sponsored a one-day workshop on implementation of the new missal on Monday March 7, 2011.

The workshop was given by Rev. Douglas Martis, PHD., S.T.D. and Dennis R. Mcnamara M.ARCH. H., PHD, members of the Liturgical Institute of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake. 

Session topics were on the Word Became Flesh, Maturing in the Word, Liturgy of the Word, and Tips for Catechesis. 

In addition to the friars, attendees included representatives from EWTN, the National Catholic Register, the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word, and the Knights of the Holy Eucharist. 

The changes to the revised Roman Missal include updated translations for prayers, responses, and acclamations at Mass.  Also, included are observances for recently canonized saints, added prefaces for the Eucharistic prayers and votive Masses and Masses for various needs and occasions (USCCB). 

Implementation for the Roman Missal in the United States goes into effect on November 27, 2011.

March 14th, 2011

The February 25, 2011 edition of “The Catholic Witness” featured the amazing and inspiring conversion and vocation story of Br. John Paul Mary, MFVA.

The article entitled From Hot Wheels to Holy Orders: New Freedom Native Trades Show Care for Religious Vocation, can be found on the .pdf file below. It is a moving and captivating account of a man’s profound response after a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ.

Diocese of Harrisburg Newspaper.pdf

March 14th, 2011

Br. Leonard and Br. Patrick took another step toward diaconate ordination last month after making their Profession of Faith and taking their Oath of Fidelity. 

By making a public profession of faith the brothers publicly professed that they believed 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 deacons and never to teach anything contrary to Divine Revelation and the moral teachings of the Church. 

Monsignor Steven P. Rohlfs, Rector of the seminary presided over the ceremony held at the Immaculate Conception Chapel at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. 

The diaconate ordination date for Brothers Patrick and Leonard is schedule for May 21, 2011 at Our Lady of the Angels Chapel in Irondale, Alabama.  Please pray for our brothers as they prepare to serve God as deacons. 

March 14th, 2011

Strikes and spares were sought after as the friars participated in the annual EWTN employee bowling day.  For the past few years the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word and EWTN employees have enjoyed coming together for an afternoon of bowling, courtesy of Vestavia Bowl Family Fun Center in Birmingham, Alabama.  Friars and employees along with their families were treated to several free games of bowling, billiards and video games.  The social and recreational event is one of many occasions for fellowship and building friendships for all involved.     

Visit Vestavia Bowl at:

 1429 Montgomery Highway

Birmingham, AL. 35216

www.vestaviabowl.com

February 5th, 2011

The March for Life has become one of the most poignant proclamations of faith in the United States today.  When we profess our loving care for mother and child through our peaceful and prayerful expression that government support of abortion be stopped, we at the same time are evangelizing the culture.  We announce that in every conception there is a manifestation of the loving plan of God.  God is not far from us.  In fact He has shown us the great dignity of infancy and motherhood in the Incarnation. 

At the March we see not only Christians, but men and women from 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.  In dialogue we are struck also by this common experience—the recognition of the worth of person and the glory of God.  Love of God and love of neighbor are intimately linked.  Thanks be to God for the strength of the pro-life movement.

February 5th, 2011

The largest crowd in the history of the event gathered in San Francisco for the 7th annual Walk for Life.  Over 40,000 peacefully and prophetically demonstrated the loving desire to promote and foster life at all its stages.  Caring for the child a shows care for the mother and father of the child and is a sign of the solidarity of the whole human race.  In walking for life we walk for the dignity of all life and proclaim the great gift of God.   Watch our Special Life on the Rock – Walk for Life West Coast, 2011 – 01-27-2011  now on the web.

January 20th, 2011

On January 15th, hundreds of pro-life advocates gathered together in Brother Bryan Park in the city of Birmingham to participate in the annual March for Life.  This peaceful demonstration was organized by the United for Life Foundation which is dedicated to raising pro-life awareness. 

During the pre-march rally, several speakers including Bishop Robert Baker and Jim Pinto inspired participants to become more active with the pro-life movement in order to defend the lives of the pre-born in danger of abortion and the elderly and infirm who are threatened with euthanasia. 

The march route is designed to pass by one of the two remaining abortion mills in Birmingham.  This provides marchers the opportunity to pray for the conversion of those who work in the mill and for the mill’s closing.

The commemoration of the devastating Roe v. Wade decision is on January 22nd.  Please join pro-life advocates around the nation in praying for an end to the holocaust of abortion.

January 20th, 2011

On January 10th, the southern states of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia were declared a State of Emergency because of a winter storm system that passed through the area.  The city of Birmingham received mostly ice and sleet, but one hour north in Hanceville they received snow.  Fr. Miguel, Br. Bernard, and our Novices who live up in Hanceville were able to build a snowman, and go around the Shine of the Most Blessed Sacrament to take some beauty shots of the winter wonderland.  Enjoy!

January 19th, 2011

Escaping the lights and cameras of the Eternal Word Television Network, the friars retired from their apostolic duties at the St. Bernard’s Abbey in Cullman, Alabama for their annual canonical retreat.  They spent five days resting with Jesus in adoration, reflection and contemplation.  Their retreat master was Fr. Brian Mullady, OP.  The community returned refreshed and energized for another year of service to God and His Church.     

January 18th, 2011

Courtesy of a generous benefactor sixteen friars ventured to Huntsville Alabama last month to visit the NASA Space Museum. 

The MFVA priests and brothers viewed full size rockets, learned about the history of American space exploration and received an education on the future of aerospace technology.  They also saw exhibits on the war technology of the US Army and the Chronicles of Narnia films.   

January 2nd, 2011

On Friday the 24th the friars decorated the EWTN Chapel.  On Saturday the 25th, we celebrated Christmas at the friary.  It began with the celebration of midnight Mass and morning Mass. 

In the afternoon on a snowy Christmas day, we sang Christmas carols and blessed the manger scene at the EWTN chapel.  Christmas dinner was followed by a “secret santa” gift exchange in St. Anthony’s room.

December 26th, 2010

Fr. Mark Celebrates Christmas Mass for Cloistered Dominican Nuns

Glorious hymns of praise for Jesus Christ our new born King echoed from the Dominican Monastery of St. Jude at midnight and Christmas morning Mass.  On Christmas Eve two of our friars traveled an hour south to Marbury, Alabama to join the Dominican contemplative cloistered nuns for their Christmas liturgies.  Fr. Mark celebrated both Masses while Br. Leonard served them.  The sisters greeted the friars with joyous smiles, a delicious breakfast and a generous portion of homemade cookies.   

 Seven Dominican contemplative nuns reside at the St. Jude Dominican Monastery in the Diocese of Mobile Alabama.  These faithful and prayerful sisters center their lives on the Holy Mass and the Divine Office.  Eucharistic adoration, perpetual rosaries and a balanced common life of prayer, study and work are how the sisters spend their days.

For more information contact them at:

 Dominican Monastery of St. Jude

P.O. Box 170, 143 Country Rd. 20 E.

Marbury, Alabama 36051

Stjudemonastery@aol.com

www.stjudemonastery.org

December 21st, 2010

Songs of glad tidings and Christmas cheer were heard from our neighborhood on Saturday evening as employees and other friends joined the friars in caroling.  Participants went from house to house singing Christmas carols, jingling bells, and proclaiming the coming of Christ Our Lord.  Afterwards, everyone retired to the House of Studies for some hot chocolate, hot apple cider, and some cookies and other sweets.

December 21st, 2010

EWTN hosted its annual Christmas Luncheon at the Pine Tree Country Club in Irondale, Alabama.  The event is an opportunity for all employees and friars to celebrate in anticipation of the solemnity of Christmas.  After the meal, EWTN president & CEO Michael Warsaw recognized those employees who have dedicated themselves to the mission of EWTN for a number of years.  Those who have worked for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 years receive a gift in gratitude for their service.  Our Fr. Joseph Mary received special recognition for 25 years of service to EWTN as a former network engineer and member of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word.  The event concluded with a drawing of names to win various door prizes provided by several corporate sponsors.

December 21st, 2010

Sr. Mary Bernadette of the Immaculate Conception, PCPA of the Poor Clare nuns in Hanceville, Alabama passed away on December 1.

This dedicated 91-year old nun entered religious life 60 years ago at Sancta Clara Monastery in Canton, Ohio.  She transferred to Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville in 1995.

A funeral Mass was celebrated in her honor on December 6.  Fr. Joseph Tuscan, a priest whose life was touched by Sr. Bernadette, preached the homily.

After the Mass, the casket containing Sr. Bernadette’s body was taken to the crypt chapel of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament for interment.

Three friars from our community participated as pallbearers.  In the lower crypt chapel, the final commendation was made by Fr. Anthony.

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

December 11th, 2010

This year’s EWTN Advent Retreat held at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament was led by two sisters from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist on Friday, December 3. 

Mother Assumpta Long delivered the morning talk and Sr. Joseph Andrew delivered the talk in the afternoon. 

The Mass was celebrated by Fr. Zachary from the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity who also preached the homily.

The retreat presented an opportunity for employees of the network to prepare for the coming of Our Lord at Christmas.  Employees and their spouses were invited to attend the retreat and spend time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.  They also had the opportunity to meet with the Poor Clare nuns in the parlor. 

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

December 11th, 2010

Every year the friars are featured in the Life on the Rock Thanksgiving show.  The focus this year was mainly on the friars who are or are intending to be permanent brothers. 

The first segment featured Fr. Joseph and Fr. Mark who discussed community life and what they were thankful for. 

The rest of the program included Brs. Leo, Tarcisius, Pio, and Matthew who discussed topics such as the religious names they received, St. Francis, and our community. 

The program gave viewers the opportunity to become acquainted with the friars who regularly serve the Daily Mass and assist with the live television programs. 

The Thanksgiving program can be viewed by clicking here:  Life on the Rock Thanksgiving special with the Friars – Doug with The MFVA’s – 11-25-2010

December 8th, 2010

Our next two San Damiano Discernment retreats will take place Monday, December 20th – Thursday, December 23rd and Monday, January 10th – Thursday, January 13th. If you are interested in attending either of these and are between the ages of 21 – 35, please fill out the inquiry form and we will get back to you. http://www.franciscanmissionaries.com/vocations/vocations-inquiry/

San Damiano Discernment Retreat

(12/20 – 12/23) & (1/10 – 1/13)

Monday

Early Afternoon……………..Arrival

3:45p…………………………Holy Hour

4:45p…………………………Vespers & Benediction

5:15p…………………………Dinner

7:00p…………………………Tour of EWTN

8:00p…………………………Recreation

9:00p…………………………Night Prayer

9:30p…………………………Grand Silence

 

Tuesday

 

5:30a…………………………Rise

6:00a…………………………Office of Readings & Morning Prayer

7:00a…………………………Mass

8:05a…………………………Rosary

8:30a…………………………Breakfast

9:15a…………………………Conference on Discernment

10:15a………………………..Work Assignment

12:15p………………………..Midday Prayer

12:30p………………………..Lunch/Free Time

2:30p…………………………Conference on Religious Life/MFVA

3:45p…………………………Holy Hour

4:45p…………………………Vespers & Benediction

5:15p…………………………Dinner

7:00p…………………………Recreation

9:00p…………………………Night Prayer

9:30p…………………………Grand Silence

 

Wednesday

 

5:40a…………………………Depart for Hanceville

        ………………………….Office & Morning Prayer in car

7:00a…………………………Mass

8:30a…………………………Breakfast

9:30a…………………………Holy Hour

10:30a………………………..Tour of Shrine

12:00p………………………..Lunch/depart for Irondale

          …………………………Rosary and Daytime prayer in car

4:45p…………………………Vespers & Benediction

5:15p…………………………Dinner

7:00p…………………………Live Show (EWTN LIVE)

9:30p…………………………Night Prayer/Grand Silence

 

Thursday

 

5:30a…………………………..Rise

6:00a…………………………..Office of Readings & Morning Prayer

7:00a…………………………..Mass

8:30a…………………………..Rosary

9:00a…………………………..Breakfast

Late Morning/early afternoon…Depart

December 8th, 2010

Our community held its annual drawing of patron saints on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Before the event, Fr. Anthony gave the community an exhortation for the coming year.  After the exhortation, four containers were placed on a table in which there were little slips of paper. 

Each of the containers had the following contents respectively: a quote from Sacred Scripture, a quote from one of the writings of St. Francis, the names of a male and female saint, and the name of a friar of our community.

The quotes are intended to be something that the friar can meditate on throughout the year, the saints will be their patrons/patronesses for the year, and the friar’s name is someone to be prayed for. 

The event began with the chanting of the “Veni Creator Spiritus”, which is a prayer to the Holy Spirit.  Afterwards, the drawing began with each of the friars taking turns starting with the youngest friar in the community according to profession and ending with the oldest. 

The drawing of quotes can be quite amusing as they seem to usually befit the friar who draws them.  Once all of the friars finished the drawing, the event was concluded with the chanting of a psalm of praise and closing prayer.

December 8th, 2010

In conjunction with Visitation Pilgrimages & Tours, Fr. Miguel Marie led a small group of 22 pilgrims to the Holy Land from Oct. 25 to Nov. 4, 2010.  Pilgrims were from various states like Alabama, Georgia, California, Delaware, Tennessee.  They visited many holy places in Tiberias, Cana, Nazareth, Capernaum, Sea of Galilee, Bethlehem, Gethsemane, Jerusalem, Sinai in Egypt, Mt. Zion, Bethany.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered daily in holy places like Basilica of the Annunciation, Mt. of Beatitude, Shepherd’s Field in Bethlehem, Calvary, Mt. Sinai, near the Upper Room, Bethany.  One Hour Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction was held in the Church of All the Nations at Mt. Olives in Gethsemane near the rock where Jesus prayed in agony before He underwent His Passion and where He asked His Disciples to “watch and pray one hour” with Him.  During this pilgrimage, they also prayed a daily novena for the Poor Souls in Purgatory especially for the souls of the Pilgrims’ relatives and loved ones who have gone before them. 

The Synod Fathers have spoken of the Holy Land as “the Fifth Gospel.”  Verbum Domini  states, “The Holy Land today remains a goal of pilgrimage for the Christian people, a place of prayer and penance, as was testified to in antiquity by authors like Saint Jerome.  The more we turn our eyes and our hearts to the earthly Jerusalem, the more will our yearning be kindled for the heavenly Jerusalem, the true goal of every pilgrimage, along with our eager desire that the name of Jesus, the one name which brings salvation, may be acknowledged by all (cf. Acts 4:12).”

December 8th, 2010

Brs. Leo and Tarcisius recently traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina to visit with the Poor Clare nuns and to attend the Investiture and Profession of a new nun.  On Sunday, November 21st, the Solemnity of Christ the King, Allison Schumacher received the habit of the Poor Clares and was named Sr. Mary Raphael of the Divine Physician.  After the investiture, a Mass was celebrated at St. Ann’s Church by Bishop Robert Baker during which Sr. Raphael made her first profession of vows.  Allison had been Bishop Baker’s secretary prior to entering the Poor Clares.  Afterwards a reception was held at the church and was provided for by the parish.  Congratulations to Sr. Raphael and to the Poor Clares in Charlotte!

December 7th, 2010

Brothers Leonard and Patrick were admitted to Candidacy for Holy Orders during the celebration of Mass on November 19, 2010 in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception at Mount St. Mary’s.  The Most Rev. Kevin Rhoades, Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, IN was the main celebrant and homilist.

November 24th, 2010

Comunitá Cenacolo hosted its first Festival of Life at their location in Hanceville, Alabama on Saturday and Sunday, November 6th and 7th.

Several of our friars were present for the opening night’s festivities.  Members of Cenacolo performed dances that expressed their journeys from the darkness of sin and addiction to the light of Christ.

On Sunday, the day began with Mass on the property of Cenacolo followed by events such as skits, testimonies, and food.  The event was an opportunity for parents of Cenacolo members to learn about the community and witness how their sons and daughters are progressing.

Comunitá Cenacolo is a lay community founded 27 years ago in Italy by Mother Elvira Petrozzi (seen in the photos) with the purpose of assisting men and women who are struggling with addictions.  The community has opened several other locations since its founding including two locations in the United States.

Many of the community’s members struggle with drug addictions but there are other members with varying addictions from alcohol to video games.  The members live in community usually for a period of 3 years.  However, they are welcome to leave before 3 years or remain longer.

They live a life of poverty, prayer, and work.  Over the years the community has seen a lot of good fruit as many members have been freed from their addictions and are prepared to live normal lives.

October 26th, 2010

EWTN hosted the annual Radio Conference at the Wynfrey hotel in Hoover, AL on October 13-16.  Around 150 members of Catholic radio station affiliates from around the country attended the conference.  They had the opportunity to share information and experiences with each other, to hear talks from various guest speakers, and to consider offers for services needed for their radio stations. 

The keynote address was delivered by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (who became a Catholic in 2009) and his wife Callista.  After their speech, there was a screening of their compelling documentary on Pope John Paul II entitled “Nine Days that Changed the World”. 

Br. Leo was available to assist with any needs that the conference hosts or attendees may have.  There were also Masses offered at the hotel on Saturday and Sunday which were set up by the friar sacristans.

The conference attendees also had the opportunity go to a taping of Life on the Rock, and they had the opportunity to make a trip to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville.  They attended Mass celebrated by Bishop Robert Baker of the diocese of Birmingham and heard a spiritual talk given by Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR.  Brs. Paschal and Patrick from our community accompanied the group in Hanceville.

October 23rd, 2010

Our next two San Damiano Discernment retreats will take place Monday, December 20th – Thursday, December 23rd and Monday, January 10th – Thursday, January 13th. If you are interested in attending either of these and are between the ages of 21 – 35, please fill out the inquiry form and we will get back to you. http://www.franciscanmissionaries.com/vocations/vocations-inquiry/

San Damiano Discernment Retreat

(12/20 – 12/23) & (1/10 – 1/13)

Monday

Early Afternoon……………..Arrival

3:45p…………………………Holy Hour

4:45p…………………………Vespers & Benediction

5:15p…………………………Dinner

7:00p…………………………Tour of EWTN

8:00p…………………………Recreation

9:00p…………………………Night Prayer

9:30p…………………………Grand Silence

 

Tuesday

 

5:30a…………………………Rise

6:00a…………………………Office of Readings & Morning Prayer

7:00a…………………………Mass

8:05a…………………………Rosary

8:30a…………………………Breakfast

9:15a…………………………Conference on Discernment

10:15a………………………..Work Assignment

12:15p………………………..Midday Prayer

12:30p………………………..Lunch/Free Time

2:30p…………………………Conference on Religious Life/MFVA

3:45p…………………………Holy Hour

4:45p…………………………Vespers & Benediction

5:15p…………………………Dinner

7:00p…………………………Recreation

9:00p…………………………Night Prayer

9:30p…………………………Grand Silence

 

Wednesday

 

5:40a…………………………Depart for Hanceville

        ………………………….Office & Morning Prayer in car

7:00a…………………………Mass

8:30a…………………………Breakfast

9:30a…………………………Holy Hour

10:30a………………………..Tour of Shrine

12:00p………………………..Lunch/depart for Irondale

          …………………………Rosary and Daytime prayer in car

4:45p…………………………Vespers & Benediction

5:15p…………………………Dinner

7:00p…………………………Live Show (EWTN LIVE)

9:30p…………………………Night Prayer/Grand Silence

 

Thursday

 

5:30a…………………………..Rise

6:00a…………………………..Office of Readings & Morning Prayer

7:00a…………………………..Mass

8:30a…………………………..Rosary

9:00a…………………………..Breakfast

Late Morning/early afternoon…Depart

October 16th, 2010

During the weekend of October 9 & 10, EWTN hosted their annual Family Celebration in Mother Angelica’s hometown of Canton, Ohio, which is also where she entered the order of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration.

This special occasion attracted at least 3,000 attendees to come and meet EWTN personalities and friars, listen to talks by various show hosts and special guests, and participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Many employees of the network and several friars were involved in setting up and assisting with the celebration.
During the celebration, the mayor of Canton announced a special honor that was being bestowed on Mother Angelica. A section of Market Avenue was being renamed “Mother Angelica Way”. The Mother Angelica Memorial Corridor will include the section of road that runs in front of Sancta Clara Monastery, where Mother made her first vows and lived out her first years as a nun. The street signs include a photo of Mother and the quote for which she is most famous: “Unless we are willing to do the ridiculous, God will not do the miraculous.”

Our friars assisted with serving and preparing for the liturgical celebrations, ushering penitents into the confessionals, and with many other needs. Our friar-priests concelebrated at the Masses, heard confessions, celebrated benediction services, and co-hosted the Family Talk.

Br. Leo hosted numerous children in the EWTN Faith Factory and gave them fun lessons on the faith using experiments that have been seen on his television show. The friars were available to meet with the attendees and encountered people from all over the country and even in Canada.

The celebration was a wonderful opportunity to bring EWTN to the people, especially those who are not able to visit the network. Through the celebration, we can see how the network has touched and helped so many lives thanks to God working through his faithful servant Mother Angelica.

October 13th, 2010

Bishop Robert Baker held the annual Rosary for Life and Vocations on Sunday, October 3rd. Around 250 participants gathered at the Our Lady of Lourdes grotto located on the grounds of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, AL.

There was a benediction service during which two sets of mysteries of the rosary were prayed for life and vocations respectively. Several decades of the rosary were prayed in various languages such as Latin, Italian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

During the service, Fr. Rick Chenault of the diocese of Birmingham preached a moving pro-life homily, and our Fr. Miguel was the MC.

The purpose of the occasion is to support and pray for the sanctity of human life as well as to entreat the Lord for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

October 7th, 2010

On Saturday September 25th, EWTN held an annual Family Picnic on the grounds of the network.  EWTN employees, their families, and the friars were invited to come for an afternoon of food and all sorts of activities.

The event began with Mass in the EWTN chapel celebrated by Fr. Mitch Pacwa.  After the Mass, there were hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and other goodies available.

Activities included caricature drawings, inflatable rides, and pony rides.  It was an opportunity for all involved with EWTN to come together to celebrate the network family.  The ice cream provided a delicious conclusion to a fun-filled day!

September 30th, 2010

Fr. Joseph and the Novices, Br. Paul and Br. Justin, traveled to Phoenix to help the PCPA Nuns move from their temporary location in Black Canyon City (North of Phoenix) to their permanent location in Tonapah (West of Phoenix).

In 2005, the nuns moved from Alabama to start a new foundation in Phoenix at the request of Bishop Thomas Olmsted.  He graciously let them use a Retreat Center of the Phoenix Diocese for their temporary housing.

Recently the nuns completed the first phase of their monastery construction and are moving to their house located near their newly complete chapel (See more photos at www.desertnuns.com).

The friars had the opportunity to climb a couple of mountains while they were in Phoenix.  The novices had a hard time keeping up with Fr. Joseph!

September 20th, 2010

Fr. Mark, Doug Berry, Br. Pio, & a production crew from EWTN went to Lander, WY, the location of Wyoming Catholic College for a 90-minute production of Life on the Rock “On The Road”.

They were blessed to enjoy some time with WCC’s faculty & students a few days before the show on Thursday evening September 9, 2010.

Fr. Mark & Br. Pio were able to squeeze in a hike in the mountains of WY in between shooting some skits and footage for LOTR as seen in the photos.

The actual show was shot in the outdoors with the beautiful Wind River Mountain Range as the backdrop.  The students were filled with joy & excitement, which you can witness for yourself on EWTN’s YouTube page if you click here: Life on the Rock – Wyoming Catholic.

After the show was finished everybody that was at the show went to a local lodge to watch it since they did not have any TV monitors to see it as EWTN taped it outside.  Closer to the end of this photo gallery you will see the students cheering as they watched LOTR with delight on the big screen.

September 18th, 2010

Br. Bernard & Br. Pio traveled for their 1st time to Charlotte, NC, for a brief visit to The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration Nuns at their new location.  Br. Bernard (our MFVA Bookkeeper) assisted our sisters with some bookkeeping matters.  The friars had a great time there with the sisters, & the people of Charlotte.

September 10th, 2010

It’s that time of the year again and we’re all back to school.  Father Dominic continues his studies in Canon Law at the Catholic University of America while the brothers return to Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD.

Brothers John Paul, Leonard and Patrick are all in third theology and are beginning to prepare for preaching and teaching the faith as ordained ministers of the Gospel.  Brother Paschal is one year behind them in second theology.

September 10th, 2010

In order to integrate intellectual studies with mature human relationships and apostolic zeal, the men in formation for the priesthood are given works to do for the sake of Christ and His Church.

Each year at the Mount Saint Mary’s, the friars pursue different assignments.  These help us to grow and to stretch our limitations with the help of God’s grace.  All of the works of mercy, spiritual and corporal, are channels of grace for all the baptized.  As we open our hearts to those whom we serve, we are able to “tune into” the grace which God is communicating to us.

Brother Patrick continues to work with men who are discerning a vocation to our community (check out the vocations page).  Br. Leonard is in a “Pre-Deacon” assignment at St. Francis Xavier in Gettysburg and Br. John Paul is working as a catechist at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Waynesboro, PA.  Finally, Br. Paschal is travelling to Washington, DC to work with the infirm living with the Little Sisters of the Poor at the St. Jeanne Jugan Residence.

September 8th, 2010

With a generous benefactor’s specific intention of sending our MFVA Priests to Rome, Fr. Mark and Fr. Miguel was blessed to join 15,000 other priests, from all over the world, and of course Pope Benedict XVI for the close of the Year of the Priesthood.  It was a very moving experience for both of our priests.  Fr. Mark said that he “felt like the Pope was leading them to Jesus.” He went on to say that “the flock is entrusted to the successor of Peter, but it is Jesus, Himself, who shepherds and tends His sheep through the hierarchy.”

The Pope drove through the crowd standing in an open-air jeep, and passed within 10 feet from our priests at one point!  So, Fr. Miguel took a photo of our Pontiff as seen below.  This beautiful gathering of priests with their Shepherd closed with a final Mass on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

September 8th, 2010

Last month the Vita Consecrata Institute, dedicated to continuing formation for Religious, was held by the Institute for Religious Life at Christendom College.

Fr. Miguel, Brs. Bernard, Patrick, and Paschal enjoyed the fraternity, prayer, and wonderful formation classes.  The classes included Mariology, the Vows according to St. Thomas Aquinas, the Gospel of Luke, and the Theology of the Priesthood.

The friars look forward to returning next year.

September 2nd, 2010

Life on the Rock will be airing at a new time starting in September.

The show will air on Thursdays at 10PM ET and again on Friday at 8PM ET.  Continue to check us out as hosts Fr. Mark and Doug Barry interview various guests on a wide range of topics.  Other friars will continue to work behind-the-scenes with various production tasks.

September 1st, 2010

On August 9th, our community celebrated the annual Re-enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Eucharistic procession for Annunciation Friary.

Brs. Tarcisius, Paschal, and Matthew organized the occasion with other friars helping to serve the procession.

Fr. Anthony was the celebrant and carried a monstrance holding the Blessed Sacrament all throughout the friary and House of Studies facility, blessing each room along the way.  Amidst the singing of hymns, Fr. Anthony was led by a crucifix-bearer, a statue of the Sacred Heart, and a thurifer.

The procession began in the Friary Chapel with an exhortation by Fr. Anthony followed by prayers for the re-enthronement.  During the procession, we paused in the refectory for continued prayers of consecration.

August 30th, 2010

On August 14th, 2010, with praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God, Brs. Pio and John Paul professed Perpetual Vows at Our Lady of the Angels Chapel at EWTN.

Bishop Robert Baker of the diocese of Birmingham, Alabama was the celebrant, and there were several visiting concelebrants including Fr. Brian Van Hove, SJ and Fr. Frederick Miller, STD (professor at Mount St. Mary’s seminary).

The families of the newly-professed friars were present for this solemn occasion.  Br. Pio will be a permanent brother while Br. John Paul is studying to be a priest.

Thanks to the hard work and coordination of Adele Gilbert, a reception was held at the House of Studies following the Mass.  In the evening, an honorary dinner was held for Brs. Pio and John Paul at the reception hall of St. Francis Xavier parish in Birmingham, Alabama.  The newly-professed brothers delivered speeches at the conclusion of the meal in order to give a brief explanation of religious life, and to thank their families and everyone who supported them in their vocations.

Our community is now blessed to have eleven Perpetually-Professed friars.

August 30th, 2010

On August 12th and 13th, our community participated in the annual blessing of EWTN’s facilities and main campus.  On August 12th, the procession began in EWTN’s warehouse, continued at Religious Catalogue, and concluded at the radio network.  Altars were set up at EWTN’s warehouse and at Religious Catalogue.  Fr. Joseph 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.  The blessing of the main campus of EWTN on August 13th began in the chapel, and was also led by Fr. Joseph.  The procession covered every department of EWTN.

August 30th, 2010

On August 2nd, the Solemnity of Our Lady of the Angels, our community held its annual Profession and Investiture ceremonies.  Brs. Tarcisius, Paschal, and Matthew renewed their vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience for another year.  God-willing, these friars will one day profess perpetual vows.

Our Postulants, Anthony and Michael, were advanced to the Novitiate, invested with their habits, and they received new names.  There was a great deal of excitement and anticipation around the friary as the friars speculated about what their religious names would be.  The announcement was proclaimed at the conclusion of the Rite of Investiture by Fr. Anthony, “Postulate Anthony will now be known as Br. Justin Mary of Our Lady of Charity and Postulate Michael as Br. Paul Mary of St. Joseph the Protector.”

A reception was held after the ceremony at the House of Studies where all, including families of the friars, could congratulate the new novices and professed friars.  For the next year, the novices will prepare to make their first profession of vows at Ephesus House in Hanceville under the direction of our newly-appointed Novice Master-Fr. Miguel and his assistant Br. Bernard.

July 18th, 2010

Our community just held its second San Damiano vocation retreat this summer from July 8 to 11. Vocation visitors were invited to come and experience the life of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word. Our vocation director Br. Patrick did an excellent job in organizing and directing the retreat as well as in delivering two talks. We had a great turnout of six visitors in attendance.

During the retreat, our vocation visitors had the opportunity to join us in our regular schedule of prayer which includes the Mass, the rosary, holy hour, the Office of Readings, and Morning, Daytime, Evening, and Night Prayer. In addition, they experienced 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, using the modern means of social communication. They even participated in a little fraternal recreation with the friars. Finally, our visitors had the benefit of receiving individual direction and guidance from our Community Servant Fr. Anthony and from Br. Patrick.

July 18th, 2010

A pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima was recently brought to the Friary by our cook, Paul Pallotto, who gave an exhortation to the friars about Our Lady of Fatima. The pilgrim statue of Our Lady stayed at the Friary Chapel during the month of May. The friars later had a procession with the statue around the property while praying the rosary. Devotion to the Blessed Mother is very important to the Friars. We agree with St. Louis Marie de Montfort, who wrote in his treatise, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, that Our Lady “is the safest, easiest, shortest and most perfect way of approaching Jesus….” In imitation of Jesus Christ, we seek to honor, love and respect Our Lady, who was given to us as our mother at the foot of the cross.

July 18th, 2010

On Wednesday, May 26, 2010, a special MFVA Community Mass and Holy Hour took place in the morning in preparation for the Community Elections, which were held in the Friary Chapel in the afternoon. Bishop Baker was present for the elections with Fr. Kevin Bazzel.
The following were elected to serve the community for the next three years:
Fr. Anthony Mary, Community Servant
Fr. Miguel Marie, Vicar
Fr. Dominic Mary, Councilor
Fr. Mark Mary, Councilor
Br. Bernard Mary, Councilor

July 18th, 2010

On Sunday June 6th, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, or as it is more commonly called, Corpus Christi. Immediately following the 7am Mass, the Knights of Columbus as well as a good number of altar boys, flower girls, and some of their mothers, assisted us with a televised procession around the EWTN property. We made use of two altars set up outside along the route for silent prayer followed by benediction before processing back into the Chapel for the final benediction. The EWTN choir added much to the solemnity of the procession by their very edifying Eucharistic hymns. Thanks to Brothers John Paul and Matthew as well as all those families, friars, friends and EWTN employees who worked so hard to make this a wonderful procession in honor of Our Eucharistic Lord!

July 18th, 2010

On Monday May 31st, Memorial Day, the MFVA Friars served dinner to Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, the President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications in Rome, Bishop Baker, and Michael Warsaw, the president of EWTN. Then early the next morning, Archbishop Celli celebrated the EWTN televised Mass, and gave the homily. The Archbishop then received a tour of the television network from Bishop Baker and Michael Warsaw. Later in the day, Archbishop Celli and his tour guides ate lunch with the MFVA Friars at their Friary located on EWTN’s property (see photos). Following lunch, Bishop Baker took the Archbishop to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament to meet with Mother Angelica. Then they ate dinner at the Community Cenacolo in Hanceville, AL.