Irondale, Ala., Mar 27, 2018 / 04:45 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- On Tuesday Catholics marked the second anniversary of the death of Mother Angelica, foundress of EWTN Global Catholic Network.
“Mother Angelica’s spirit continues to guide all that we do at EWTN. It’s easy to feel her presence. She was a remarkable woman of faith and courage whose goal was to lead people to heaven,” said Michael P. Warsaw, EWTN Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
“Every day we hear from people around the world whose lives have been changed by EWTN, long after Mother stopped making programs. It’s clear that the work of EWTN and the mission of our Foundress continue to accomplish her goal,” Warsaw told CNA, which is part of the EWTN family.
Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation died at the age of 92 on March 27, 2016, after a 15-year struggle with the aftereffects of a stroke.
Warsaw believes that sharing stories and memories of the network’s foundress has played an important role in maintaining the culture she fostered at EWTN.
“I was blessed to be with Mother nearly every day for the last ten active years that she had at EWTN before her stroke. Sharing those stories provides a great way for people to understand a little something about her. It’s an important way of helping our employees to understand that EWTN has always been a work of God’s Providence,” Warsaw said.
Warsaw also believes that Mother Angelica has left a lasting legacy within the U.S., by reminding Catholics of “the importance of fidelity to the traditional teachings of the Church” and “the importance of keeping Christ at the center of our lives through the Eucharist.”
“She had seen that there was so much confusion in the world and that the Church had answers to that chaos,” Warsaw remarked, adding, “she wanted everyone to know the joy that comes from that intimate relationship with our Lord.”
Warsaw said he hopes that younger and future generations will aspire to Mother Angelica’s frequently recited motto: “Dare to do the ridiculous so that God can accomplish the miraculous!”
In Rome, a memorial Mass was celebrated Tuesday in remembrance of the anniversary of Mother Angelica’s death.
The Mass was celebrated in the Choir Chapel of St. Peter’s Basilica. Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, was the principal celebrant. During his homily, Cardinal O’Brien fondly remembered the EWTN foundress.
“A worldly-wise contemplative, a handicapped hobbler, an unsophisticated but highly intelligent charismatic voice still touching the hearts of millions around the world, Mother Mary Angelica would surely be an unexpected choice to enable God’s word to reach to the ends of the earth,” O’Brien said.
“Her every living moment was spent in a scrupulous discernment of God’s will in her life – an active life of contemplation guided by the Eucharist and that well-worn Bible always clutched in her arms,” he continued.
In his homily, Cardinal O’Brien referenced Mother Angelica’s sufferings, both physical and interior, saying that despite challenges, her “steel-willed, tenacious determination resulted in amazing achievements.”
The strokes which left Mother Angelica speechless and physically powerless brought some of the most difficult years of her life, O’Brien said, which led her to “the life of a true contemplative.”
“We can but imagine what graces which those years of silent suffering have won for the spread of the Eternal Word, even as we speak,” O’Brien remarked.
The cardinal spoke to CNA about Mother Angelica’s legacy of putting “herself completely at the will of God and the Church,” which positively “affected the lives of many, many Catholics.” He also noted that “no one can really ascertain the long-range effect that [her legacy] will continue to have on the Church and throughout the world.”
Doug Keck, EWTN President and Chief Operating Officer, told CNA that Mother Angelica’s memory lives on through EWTN viewers.
“Not a day goes by that we do not get calls, emails, and/or letters extolling not only the importance of EWTN in their spiritual lives but specifically in the teachings of Mother Angelica on her classic, timeless live shows,” Keck said.
Keck believes that viewers relate so deeply to Mother Angelica because she “meets them where they are, in all their pain and brokenness, but refuses to leave them there. Instead, she lovingly accompanies, getting them on the right path that leads to her spouse, Jesus Christ.”
The EWTN foundress left a legacy remembered beyond her viewers. She will also be remembered by the communications community for her lasting achievements, Keck said.
“Mother Angelica defined what it meant to be a media revolutionary and cable pioneer. She went forward, with one step in the air and a queasy feeling in her stomach, into a communications jungle,” Keck said.
“She astonished the experts and proved to an industry of mavericks that faithfully following your mission despite all obstacles could lead to great rewards.”
Mother Angelica launched EWTN Global Catholic Network in 1981. Now the largest religious media network in the world, today it reaches more than 275 million television households in more than 145 countries and territories.
In addition to 11 television channels in multiple languages, EWTN platforms include radio services through shortwave and satellite radio, SIRIUS/XM, iHeart Radio, and over 500 AM & FM affiliates. EWTN publishes the National Catholic Register and Catholic News Agency, produces daily news show EWTN News Nightly, operates a religious goods catalogue, and in 2015 formed EWTN Publishing as a joint venture with Sophia Institute Press.