“Mother Angelica was the New Evangelization”
VATICAN CITY — This afternoon, at the altar of St. Joseph in St. Peter’s Basilica, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, celebrated a Holy Mass for the repose of the soul of Mother Angelica of the Annunciation, founder of the EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network), on today’s one-year anniversary of her death.
Mother Angelica was an iconic figure of the New Evangelization. The network she began with no funds, in a garage in the woods of Alabama, would become the world’s largest religious media empire, reaching 144 countries.
Catholics and non-Catholics (and everyone in between); men and women (and children too), rich and poor from all across the globe were drawn to this “wisecracking nun,” whose intense love for Jesus, His Word and His Church, and whose sincere love for the forgotten, marginalized, ignored and abused, would make her “Mother” to millions.
In his new book, Mother Angelica, Her Grand Silence: The Last Year and Living Legacy,New York Times best-selling author, and long-time intimate friend of Mother, Raymond Arroyo, discusses Mother’s approach to the New Evangelization:
“The full expression of Mother’s faith, hope, and charity can be most clearly seen in her fervent evangelization efforts. Angelica could not accept the idea that people should be left in the dark, with no light to guide their paths. She corrected error, articulated the truths of the faith, and became its greatest pitchwoman. Many have written and spoken of the New Evangelization. Mother Angelica was the New Evangelization. She brought to fruition the Scripture verse that inspired her to found the radio operation in 1992: ‘And I saw another angel flying through the midst of heaven, having the eternal gospel, to preach unto them that sit upon the earth and over every nation and tribe and tongue and people’ (Rev. 14:6). Mother brought her joyful, no-nonsense, traditional vision of Catholicism to television, the Internet, shortwave, satellite, and terrestrial radio in multiple languages — the audiences couldn’t get enough. She spoke like the people watching and elevated their thoughts and souls while they laughed.”
But it was in her final years, when confined to her room and unable to give voice to God’s Word, that Mother Angelica reminded us of the divine logic, that is, that the greatest fruitfulness comes on the Cross.
Jesus spent three years preaching, teaching, healing, and casting out demons. And yet, as the Lord himself said: “and I, when I am lifted up, will draw all men to myself” (John 12:32). And so it often is with his holy ones.
Mother Angelica, Her Grand Silence, captures with humor and depth, “the last bittersweet years of a faithful woman who, in her grand silence and through great pain, transformed more lives and did more good than anyone imagined.”
St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, pray for us. St. Peter, pray for us. Mother Angelica, pray for us.