‘The Miracles of Padre Pio’ Premieres Sept. 23 on EWTN

Over the past couple years, EWTN viewers have enjoyed “Miracle Hunter” Michael O’Neill’s series “They Might Be Saints,” which chronicles the untold story of Americans who are on the path to possible canonization. Now, thrill to his newest show for EWTN: “The Miracles of Padre Pio, which premieres at 10 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Sept. 23 following a special 8 p.m. ET “EWTN Live” interview with O’Neill.

Michael O’Neill, who recently joined EWTN, talks about his EWTN special “The Miracles of Padre Pio,” which premieres 10 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Sept. 23.

And that’s just the first of many such shows viewers will enjoy, as O’Neill has recently joined the EWTN Team and will now be producing this type of content exclusively for EWTN. You’ll be able to listen to him on a new radio show called “The Miracle Hunter,” which will premiere at 7 p.m. ET, Saturday, Oct. 3 on the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network. You’ll be able to see O’Neill himself on various EWTN radio and television shows, and you’ll be able to view even more episodes of “They Might Be Saints,” as well as a Dec. 12 special entitled “The Miracles of Our Lady of Guadalupe.”

However, the story behind the filming of “The Miracles of Padre Pio,” which airs next week, is as fascinating as the program itself.

“I’ve studied miracles for many years,” O’Neill said. “Three of the all-time best I’ve ever heard of are all in this piece!”

Vera Marie Calandra

Like many people, O’Neill said he was very aware of the supernatural phenomena and miracles attributed to Padre Pio. In fact, he said two of the most incredible interviews of his life occurred at the National Center for Padre Pio in Bartow, Pa. There, he heard the story of Vera Marie Calandra, whose bladder was removed by future U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop. In 1968, Calandra was blessed by Padre Pio and her bladder grew back!

He also heard the story of Paul Walsh, who had been irreversibly brain damaged and had slipped into a coma after being in a car wreck. He had a vision of Padre Pio while he was in his hospital bed and was miraculously cured.

Paul Walsh

O’Neill was aware of all of this the day he arrived in Italy’s San Giovanni Rotondo for the 50th Anniversary Feast of Padre Pio.

“This was before coronavirus, so hundreds of thousands of people were there,” O’Neill said. “I had my summer crew with me and we filmed a bit about Padre Pio.”

However, more than the miracles and the bilocation for which Padre Pio is known, the people O’Neill spoke with at San Giovanni Rotondo were most enthusiastic about the work the famous priest did to build “a very modern and completely Catholic hospital,” which is known as Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza. O’Neill was able to get a tour of the hospital, and to interview some of the doctors and administrators who work there.

Dr. Alfredo Del Gaudio, the Miracle Boy’s surgeon.

O’Neill said to one of them: “I heard the miracle used for Padre Pio’s canonization happened in this hospital. Is there a single person still here who might be able to tell a bit of that story? The woman [I was speaking to] got on the phone, called upstairs, and said to me, “You’re in luck! The doctor who did the surgery that day is here today; he is available right NOW, and he speaks English!”

O’Neill raced upstairs with his camera crew and sat down with Dr. Alfredo Del Gaudio, Chief of the Department of Anesthesiology and Resuscitation, who had an “incredible testimony.” The surgeon said he was operating on Matteo Colella, when he died on the surgery table. He immediately began praying to Padre Pio.

Miracle Boy Matteo Colella’s parents.

Said O’Neill: “The doctor said he gave a heart massage to this patient for one-and-a-half hours. In all of his 20 plus years of medicine, he said he had never seen a patient who has come back to life after that who didn’t have brain damage and other physical malfunctions. The boy’s heart rate was at 0, and it came right back up. When boy came to, he said he had had a vision of Padre Pio himself, who interacted with the boy while he was out. So [the boy] had his own vision of Padre Pio while everyone was praying to Padre Pio, including the surgeon!”

But O’Neill’s interview with the surgeon wasn’t the end of the incredible string of “coincidences” that he experienced that day.

Someone told him they had a connection to the father and mother of the miracle boy and asked if O’Neill wanted their contact information. He texted the mother and said he was only going to be in San Giovanni Rotondo for one day and asked the couple could meet with him. She said she was sorry, but they were very busy that day. Nevertheless, O’Neill said if anything changed to let him know.

“At 9 p.m. or 10 p.m., they called and said, ‘We’re available. If you can come right now, we will tell you about the miracle of our son!”

Matteo Colella

Again, O’Neill found himself racing to make an interview, this time at the home of the miracle boy’s parents. At that late hour, he even managed to bring an interpreter because the couple only spoke Italian! “Everything fell into place in a beautiful way,” he said.

You truly do not want to miss O’Neill’s beautiful recreations of each of these miracle stories when “The Miracles of Padre Pio” premieres at 10 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Sept. 23 on EWTN!

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The Fourth Installment of ‘The “Reformation”: Disagreement & Chaos’ Airs This Week on EWTN

Most Catholics know that Martin Luther was a dissident priest who broke away from the Catholic Church to start his own sect as part of the so-called ‘Reformation’. However, as EWTN viewers will learn in the latest episode of “The ‘Reformation:’ Disagreement & Chaos,” the rebellious monk almost immediately lost control of his own rebellion. (Tune in or record this episode which airs 5:30 p.m., Friday, Aug. 7; and 2:30 a.m. and 11:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 8.)

In fact, as one group after another broke from Luther, it soon seemed that the only thing that the different so-called Protestant sects could agree upon was their hatred of the Catholic Church. Among other things, various sects set about replacing Latin with the vernacular, destroying religious imagery, and throwing out cassocks and other religious garb. Most importantly, they denied the Real Presence, which led to Protestants seeing the Mass not as a sacrifice but as a meal or a remembrance.

However, as Director Stefano Mazzeo says, it wasn’t just the different sects that couldn’t reconcile their beliefs. Martin Luther’s own religious beliefs were “a moving target.” At one point, Luther restored the Latin Mass and decided that clergy should wear habits. But later, he rescinded this, and even decided that clergy should marry. In fact, Luther himself married a former nun.

Each sect also had its own interpretation of the Bible, which made the Bible itself a bone of contention. One of Luther’s main competitors was a man named Ulrich Zwingli from Zurich, Switzerland, who decided that “someone” needed to adjudicate these differing interpretations of the Bible and see to it that the one who was “wrong” would be “silenced.” In Zwingli’s view, that someone would obviously not be the Catholic Church. Instead, it would be the Civic Counsel of Zurich.

As EWTN’s own Father Mitch Pacwa points out in this episode: “They [the Zwinglians] put the secular authorities over the Church; the State above God and the Church! … That’s an important lesson for everyone, [especially] Catholics tempted to some kind of watering down of the faith.” Why? Because it led to secularization, especially in Prussia and Scandinavia.

The Protestant sects also banned many pious customs, including praying to the saints, and they destroyed centuries of art, all of which led to fewer visits to church and less prayer. A person who didn’t stop into the Church to light a candle or to enjoy the art, also didn’t take a moment to also pray to God. Luther himself would decry the fact that liberty during that time was being confused with licentiousness, and that morals quickly became worse under Protestantism than they had been, in his mind, under the Papacy.

In fact, Luther was so upset about those who rebelled against Lutheranism that he stated: “Rebels must be killed as you would a mad dog. If you do not kill him, he shall fall upon you and the whole land.”

Zwingli had a similar intolerance for the Anabaptists, a group which rejected infant baptism in favor of adult baptism. Although the Catholic Church is frequently accused of believing in works over faith, she in fact supports infant baptism because she believes that it is Christ who saves.  So while the Catholic Church and the Zwinglians agree on infant baptism, they certainly did not agree on Zwingli’s penalty for those who believe in adult baptism. That penalty was death by drowning!

Interestingly, one of the biggest bones of contention between many Protestant sects and the Catholic Church is notion of Sola Scriptura, which contends that the Bible alone is the source of authority and truth. However, as Father Mitch points out, this logically means that somewhere in the Bible this “truth” must be stated. Unfortunately for Protestants, that statement cannot be found in the Bible.

In fact, as 2 Thessalonians 2:15 states: “So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” In other words, Catholics hold fast to Scripture AND Tradition.

Another bone of contention is the Catholic belief in the Real Presence, which is based on the words of Jesus Himself in the Bible (John 6: 53-58). If the Bible is the source of authority and truth, you would think Protestants would hold the same view. However, most Protestants either don’t believe in the Real Presence or have a different interpretation of the Real Presence than Catholic do.

Want to understand more about the Protestant break from the Catholic Church and the beliefs of the differing sects, which persist to this day? Then tune in this week when EWTN airs Episode four of “The ‘Reformation.’”

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EWTN Week in Lourdes, France Starts July 13, 2020

If you love Our Lady and her apparitions to St. Bernadette in Lourdes, France, plan to spend the week of July 13-17 with EWTN. Each weekday, tune in at 5:30 p.m. ET for the premiere of an EWTN original five-part mini-series “Lourdes with the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word.” This is an incredible and exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the famous Lourdes Shrine as you have never seen it!

Then, at 4 a.m. ET, Thursday, July 16, you can either turn on EWTN television or log onto EWTN’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ewtnonline) for “Lourdes United in Prayer” e-pilgrimage, which includes a one-hour special at 9 a.m. ET, and continues for 15 hours throughout the day with a full slate of Masses, Eucharistic Processions, rosaries and more in five languages. (For more information, please go to www.ewtn.com/friars.)

You’ll be more prepared for the spiritual experience of “Lourdes United for Prayer” if you tune into the mini-series with Father Joseph Mary Wolfe and Father John Paul Mary Zeller, two of EWTN’s favorite friars, for the mini-series. The lushly filmed 30-minute specials were filmed in high definition during a glorious week in Lourdes this past August.

EWTN’s Director of Studio Operation Stephen Beaumont (filming the friars), also took many of the photos in this blog post. Peter Gagnon, EWTN Vice President of Programming and Production, directs.

Your faith will be strengthened as the friars explain what it’s like to enter the healing baths at Lourdes; interview Dr. Alessandro De Franciscis, head of the Lourdes Medical Bureau, who explains how doctors determine if a miracle has occurred; discuss Mother Angelia’s own experience at Lourdes after her cerebral hemorrhage, and so much more.

“There are 70 officially investigated and approved miracles, but 7,000 people have claimed to have received a cure from Lourdes,” says Fr. Joseph. “Lourdes receives 30 to 35 claims of cures annually, but Dr. De Franciscis believes the number is much higher because most people don’t report the cure.”

Dr. De Franciscis takes EWTN’s friars – and you – behind the scenes of the famous Shrine where they attend the staff’s morning prayer session, takes the friars on a tour of the area in which records of medical cures are kept (they are now in the process of digitizing them), and shows them the book visiting physicians sign in the event their expertise is needed. Two of the signatures in the book are of special interest.

“One was Gianna Molla; the other was Giuseppe Moscati!” said Fr. Joseph said. “Both of them visited Lourdes [during their lives] and signed the book.” And now they are recognized as saints!

Father John Paul and Father Joseph praying in front of the remains of St. Peter Julian Eymard, a champion of our Eucharistic Lord. Miracles at Lourdes frequently happen during Eucharistic processions in addition to the grotto baths!

The friars also visit the Paris chapel where the remains of St. Peter Julian Eymard are interred. Says Father Joseph: “One of the reasons we wanted to go is because the miracles of Lourdes happened in other ways. One major way was in Eucharistic processions. Once they started, more miracles started taking place through the blessing of the Blessed Sacrament.”

For Fr. Joseph, Fr. John Paul, and the EWTN crew, a highlight of the trip was the opportunity to go into the baths themselves.

Peter Gagnon, EWTN’s Vice President of Programming and Production, works behind the scenes as Fr. Joseph and Fr. John Paul discuss their experience in the baths at Lourdes!

“It was very cold – very, very cold – but it was worth it!” Fr. Joseph said. “You leave there and you just feel renewed. The cold water does that, but it’s more than that. As one person described it, you feel like you are being wrapped in the mantle of Mary because you are surrounded by the water. Immediately after that, we went across the river to a covered area with candles to talk about what we experienced. Behind us, you can see people waiting to go into the baths.”

The Lourdes countryside!

Fr. Joseph said one of the more recently approved miracles involves Sister Luigina Traverso, a 30-year-old Salesian nun, who was completely paralyzed. She asked her superior if she could go to Lourdes because she was unable to do her job, which was to teach children.

“During the Eucharistic procession, she felt this warmth go through her body,” Father Joseph said. “She was completely healed!”

While not everyone who goes to Lourdes is physically healed, Father Joseph says everyone who goes there with an open heart receives something.

“They receive a healing of the heart. Instead of being anguished by the trials they are going through, they receive a greater acceptance or understanding of suffering in their lives, a greater peace. There is strong sense of Mary’s motherly presence there.

“In Lourdes, you are not loved for what you do, you are loved because you exist,” Father continues. “People in wheelchairs are first in line. They are the front line of the Candlelight Procession and the Eucharistic procession. They are the people of honor.”

In the final episode, the friars discuss Mother Angelica’s trip to Lourdes after her cerebral hemorrhage. “Raymond [Arroyo] relates this story in his biography of Mother,” said Fr. Joseph. “She had hoped to be cured so she could get back to work, but what she received in Raymond’s mind was an even greater understanding and acceptance of the value of suffering, which we discuss.”

Fr. Joseph said he can attest to the fact that not all cures at Lourdes are reported. While it’s not included in the series, Fr. Joseph relays the story of EWTN’s own Director of Acquisitions John Elson and his wife Claudia. Lourdes “works” because of volunteers and a decade ago John and Claudia spent a week doing just that. They also prayed that Claudia would conceive. Six months later, the Pius VI Institute in Omaha, Nebraska called the couple to ask if they would be willing to move up the date of a planned surgery to help make this happen. Guess what the date of the surgery was? Feb. 11, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes! The couple now has a beautiful 10-year-old son named Joseph. Miracle? You decide!

As many viewers know, it was at Lourdes that Mary first proclaimed herself to be “the Immaculate Conception.”

“During the very first Baltimore Council of all the U.S. bishops in 1846, the bishops unanimously voted to put the United States under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception,” Father Joseph said. “The dogma wasn’t proclaimed until 1854; Lourdes didn’t happen until 1858! Pope Pius VI granted them permission to place the U.S. under her patronage. It’s why we have the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.”

Father said knowing the United States is under the care of Our Lady under the title of the Immaculate Conception can provide hope for our hurting world.

“I think one of the things that can give us heart is that we are under her patronage and, in these trying times, we can look to her. She really is our mother. She brings help and healing. That’s what you experience in Lourdes. That’s what we hope our viewers will too. She who is without sin can help our country in this time. Maybe this series is a way to renew that [consecration].”

Feeling in need of a lift? Tune into EWTN television all next week for your daily behind-the-scenes dose of inspiration at Our Lady’s famous shrine in Lourdes, and log onto EWTN’s Facebook page Thursday, July 16, for the “Lourdes United in Prayer” e-pilgrimage for a special day of devotions.

Said Fr. Joseph: “Hopefully, the content will inspire people and give them hope at this time in our history.”

Amen Father Joseph!

Note: If you would like to pre-purchase “Lourdes with the Franciscan Friars of the Eternal Word,” please go to https://bit.ly/LourdeswithEWTNFriars.

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Priests’ Request That EWTN Viewers Send Flowers To Our Lady Blesses Local Florists Who Praise & Thank EWTN’s Viewers

Near the end of his Mother’s Day homily on Sunday, May 10, Fr. Joseph asked EWTN viewers to send flowers to Our Lady during the month of May. However, there was a catch. Each flower had to represent one rosary. The next day, Father John Paul reiterated the message.

As EWTN viewers know, a veritable tsunami of flowers now surround a beautiful statue of Our Lady, sprawl across the floor around the altar in Our Lady of the Angels Chapel in Irondale, Ala., and flow into an adjoining room known as St. Michael’s Hall. The flowers are affectionately being called “Mary’s Garden.” The catch seems to have deterred no one.

The avalanche of flowers has proved to be a blessing not only to EWTN and its viewers, who get to enjoy the amazing sight during each Mass, but to florists and many others across the local area and beyond.

From the first day, viewers from around the country, and in some cases the world, began calling Birmingham, Alabama area florists and ordering anywhere from three flowers to several dozen flowers – almost all of them roses, which are associated with the rosary and Mary. That same day, Father Joseph began hearing from local florists whose pandemic-ravaged businesses have benefited by these orders from across the country,

“Yesterday, shortly after the morning Mass broadcast by EWTN, the flower shop was inundated with calls from all over the country,” said Shirley Carmack of Shirley’s Florist in Trussville, Ala. in a post on her shop’s Facebook page which was shared by the Trussville Chamber of Commerce. “Father Joseph asked the faithful followers of EWTN to send roses to the Virgin Mary. We have honestly spoken to people from every state in our nation. After closing my shop due to the coronavirus, this was a true blessing to me, Robin Monteabaro, and our employees. Our bills will be paid and we will make payroll because a man of God told the world to do this. I’m sure God told him to do this. Prayers are answered, maybe not the way we expected, but they are answered. Every small flower shop in the Birmingham area has been blessed this week. Thank you Eternal [Word] Television Network!”

In a follow-up interview, Carmack said she had received 100 orders averaging $50 apiece. “It was like Valentine’s Day,” she said. “We were flabbergasted to be honest. We lost so much business due to COVID-19. I pray daily for my business to survive this. We’re financially sound, but I don’t care how healthy your business is, no weddings for four to six weeks is detrimental – and not just to us, but also the growers and the third-party wholesalers. This was a blessing for a lot of people. It all trickles down.”

Cameron Pappas of Norton’s Florist said his shop fielded 500 phone calls on Tuesday alone – at least 200 of which were attributable to EWTN viewers. He said he typically receives 50 to 60 boxes of flowers twice a week, but that after Mother Day, the flower farms that supply U.S. florists had run out of their usual assortment.

“But they DID have roses so we got 20 boxes of roses and five of other stuff. It’s a God thing [since that’s what EWTN viewers were ordering]! The people who were calling had no idea what a blessing, what an impact it had on our company. It’s just amazing how God works!”

Dorothy McDaniel of Dorothy McDaniel’s Flower Market said that 40% of U.S. flower shops closed their doors during the 2018 financial crisis and many are anticipating that a significant number of smaller florists will close their doors due to the coronavirus. While Mother’s Day was good for McDaniel, she said all of her events from March through June have been cancelled. Fortunately, that blow has been softened by the 150 orders she has received in less than a week from EWTN viewers.

It appears that it may not be just florists who will benefit from the attention this brought to the Birmingham area.

“One lady wants to make a pilgrimage to EWTN,” McDaniel said. “She asked me if there were any nice B&Bs in the area because she doesn’t like big hotels. Another gentleman said when things calm down they are going to come visit the chapel [and they will need a place to stay.]”

All of the florists commented on how inspired they were by the faith of EWTN’s viewers.

“Everybody included cards to Mary,” said Shirley’s Florist’s Carmack. “They prayed with us. They witnessed to us over the phone. It was just unbelievable. A more devout group I’ve never known. It was so heartfelt, so full of love. It’s not all about the money, although money is good to keep us going. But it’s such a feeling of being a part of something that big, that makes such a difference in people’s lives.”

McDaniel, who is not Catholic, said a conversation with one caller inspired her to look up the message of Our Lady of Fatima, whose feast was celebrated May 13. The feast commemorates Our Lady’s appearance to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, in which Our Lady called for prayer and fasting in order to attain peace and the end of the Great War (World War I). McDaniel said she found it “very relevant to what we’re going through today.”

But McDaniel was also inspired by the viewers themselves.

“I can’t begin to tell you how meaningful this experience has been to me. Just to talk to these people from all over the country who felt so deeply this message that Fr. Joseph and Fr. John Paul sent out. It really did touch me. Obviously, this was important to a lot of people. At a time when hope is so important, it gave them hope.”

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‘They Might Be Saints: Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich’ Airs This Friday on EWTN

“Of all the [possible] sainthood stories I was interested in doing, this was my favorite. I absolutely had to do an episode on Blessed Miriam Teresa!”

Actress portrays Miriam Teresa Demjanovich before she became a Sister of Charity.

So says Michael O’Neill, who is writing, producing, and directing a series for EWTN entitled: “They Might Be Saints.” Viewers may remember previous episodes which profiled Sister Marie de Mandat-Grancey, the Martyrs of La Florida, and Bishop Frederic Baraga. But in this episode, O’Neill is talking about Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, whose beautiful story airs 5:30 p.m. ET, Friday, May 8; 4:30 a.m. ET and 2:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, May 9 on EWTN. (Find EWTN at www.ewtn.com/tv/channel-finder.

The real Miriam Teresa Demjanovich before she joined the Sisters of Charity.

O’Neill says the would-be saint was the first American to be beatified on U.S. soil. This “Jersey girl,” as one Sister of Charity called her during the episode, graduated from the College of St. Elizabeth, which is located across from the convent of the Sisters of Charity in Convent Station, N.J. A school for younger students is also located inside the convent. No surprise then that Miriam Teresa joined that order, and then began teaching at the convent school, after a brief stint teaching elsewhere. In fact, students at this still active school were used as extras during the filming!

But it’s the miracle of a young boy, who is the first and only person in history to be healed of macular degeneration, either medically or miraculously,  that especially caught O’Neill’s attention.

The real Michael Mencer, who was healed through the intercession of Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich.

As a student, 8-year-old Michael Mencer endured the taunts of his classmates who called him “fish eye” because the little boy’s failing eyesight only permitted him to see out of the corners of his eyes. The child could never catch a baseball or interact with his peers in a normal way.

Fortunately, O’Neill said his school teacher was also head of the Sister Miriam Teresa League of Prayer, an association that promotes Sister’s cause for canonization. As O’Neill tells it, the teacher told her students: “Here’s somebody [Michael Mencer] who needs prayers. Let’s all pray together. She had the entire school praying for him.”

Michael O’Neill writes, produces, and directs a series for EWTN entitled “They Might Be Saints.”

Although Michael Mencer died a year before this episode was filmed, his mother spoke with O’Neill. Her story, about the day she realized her son, who only had 20/200 vision, was healed is movingly re-enacted in this episode.

“There’s a beautiful scene: His mother is cooking dinner. Michael comes home from school. He taps his mother, who turns, and he looks at her straight in the eye and hands her the relic! We see the mother and son reacting for the first time!”

This episode also takes viewers through the canonization process and how this miracle was approved. The report of this miracle was hidden among the canonization files for 28 years. Its discovery was something of a miracle in itself! Tune in to learn more.

The real Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, took her final vows on her death bed at age 24.

Sister Miriam Teresa made her final vows on her death bed, at the tender age of 24. So while her life, especially her life in the convent, was short, the priest chaplain, who was also her confessor, very quickly realized that the young novice was a mystic with great spiritual insights. The priest was so impressed, he asked Sister Miriam Teresa to secretly write the conferences he delivered to other postulants! This remained a secret until after her death.

Before she died, Sister Miriam Teresa gave the priest her notes from the conferences as well as permission to publish them. O’Neill says that the central message of the book, “Greater Perfection” by Bl. Miriam Teresa, is a universal call to holiness. “We think holiness is only for special people, but all of us can find Christ in our lives.”

Dramatization of the moment that Michael Mencer was healed of a degenerative eye disease and regained his sight!

The next episode of “They Might Be Saints” will focus on Venerable Patrick Peyton, otherwise known as the Rosary Priest, who is most famous for coining the phrase: “The family that prays together, stays together.” Before Pope John Paul II, O’Neill says that during his worldwide Rosary Crusades, Father Peyton was seen live by more people than anyone in the history of the world. Look for that episode at 1:30 p.m. ET, Wednesday, June 3 and 11 p.m. ET, Thursday, June 4.

EWTN Publishing has also asked O’Neill to write a book to go with the series, which could be available this year or next.

But, for now, O’Neill is excited that the public will have the opportunity to find out more about Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich.

“She was a sister who died young,” he says. “A lot of young people may be inspired. Holiness is for everyone; that was Miriam Teresa’s message. We can all find God at any place in our lives. I’m excited that this came out so well!”

 

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Another Black Legend Dispelled: The ‘Reformation’ Airs This Week On EWTN

If you were brought up to believe that your father was a corrupt businessman, a thief, or a murderer, would it matter to you, maybe even change your life, if you later discovered that, far from being any of these things, your father was a hero?

Many of us think of history as dry, meaningless, and stale. But the new EWTN docu-drama, The “Reformation,” is here to show you that some of the events you may believe to be an embarrassment to Catholics are actually “Black Legends.” As history shows, these “legends” were perpetuated by people who had their own selfish motives for taking down the Church, the Church that built Western Civilization!

The Prayer Book Rebellion: The Last Charge of the Catholic Cornish

The “Reformation” is part of a trilogy of must-see docu-dramas examining the biggest so-called Black Legends against the Church: the Crusades, the Inquisition, and now, the “Reformation.” This series begins with The “Reformation:” A Catholic World,” which airs at 10 p.m. ET, Wednesday, May 6. One new episode will air each month until October 31, when EWTN will air all 12 episodes in one day, six of which will be premieres! (See the full program schedule in your local time here: http://bit.ly/EWTNtv).

“We’re making these to dispel what are known as Black Legends,” said “Reformation” Writer/Producer/Director Stefano Mazzeo. “All three were important to get the truth out. This is not what you hear in the secular media or the Protestant world.”

Stefano Mazzeo, “Reformation” Writer/Producer/Director

Mazzeo steps right into the middle of controversy, refusing to sugarcoat anything.

For example, while there were abuses of indulgences, Mazzeo says Luther threw out the whole concept of indulgences, which Catholics embrace even today. Unlike St. Francis, St. Dominic and St. Peter Damien, who chose to reform from within, Luther chose to align himself with noblemen who supported him because they wanted to seize Church lands. “If they got rid of the monasteries, they could do a big land grab and could control the Church,” Mazzeo says.

Martin Luther before the Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms

Luther was a man of contradictions. While he could be charismatic at times, Mazzeo says he was a manic depressive who suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder. He was known to spend six hours in the confessional, even though he himself never believed that his sins could be forgiven. In fact, there’s a lot he didn’t believe.

Luther threw out all of the sacraments in his new religion except Baptism and, while he kept the sacrament of Communion, he did not believe in transubstantiation. Luther also threw out seven books of the Old Testament, and added the word “alone” to the New Testament quote “Justification is by faith alone” – all on his own authority!

John Calvin

But it was John Calvin, another “Reformation” figure, who Mazzeo says “was busy turning Geneva into a tyrannical Protestant religious state,” who introduced the belief that some people were predestined for hell, some for heaven. “Catholics say it’s not that way at all. No one is predestined for hell! Catholics believe we have a choice: to cooperate with God’s grace or not. We have free will.”

Episode 1 focuses on how Jesus formed the Catholic Church, changing the name of Simon to Peter, which is the Greek word for rock. It was on this rock that Jesus built His Church. Ever since that time, the successor of Peter has headed the Church.

Council of Nicaea

Says Mazzeo: “If you break away from Peter, you are breaking away from the Apostles. It was the Catholic Church that built Western Civilization.”

You’ll also learn it was the Church, through its Councils and ratified by the Pope, that “collected all the books of the Bible and decided which books should be in the Bible” so the Protestant charge that the Church is not biblical is untrue.

Mary, Queen of Scots

Queen Elizabeth

In addition to examining the persons of Martin Luther and John Calvin, the first six episodes consider Catholic theologians battles with Luther, Henry VIII and his break from the Church, the Council of Trent, and the difference between England’s Queen Elizabeth, who persecuted Catholics, and Mary, Queen of Scots.

“The series also looks at how the ‘Reformation’ still affects the world today and why the Catholic Church is still relatively strong despite everything,” says Mazzeo.

“Why is Germany so poor when it comes to faith? I talked to a Lutheran pastor in Germany and asked her why, in Luther’s heartland, she thought of the 20% of Lutherans who are baptized, less than 4% are going to church. She said it was probably due to communism.”

King Henry VIII’s six wives

“I didn’t tell the poor woman, ‘If you just go across the border, you’ll find Poland and it is Catholic and very religious.’ How did [the Catholic faith in] Poland survive communism and not [the Lutheran faith in] eastern Germany?

Tune in to find out!

 

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Books To Help You Through the Pandemic – And Your Life!

With most of the country sheltering in place for a few more weeks to a few more months, many people find themselves turning to their faith for comfort. If you would like to learn to pray better, to know Jesus better, to defend the Faith better, and to be inspired to live a better life, EWTN Religious Catalogue has some suggestions for you. The books below are bestsellers for a reason. To see these and all the resources EWTN Religious Catalogue offers, please go to www.ewtnrc.com.

Learn to Pray Better 

  • “The Examen Prayer” by Father Timothy Gallagher.

In this book, Fr. Timothy Gallagher teaches Catholics the Ignatian method of examining your conscience. Many people end the day by asking God about what they could or should have done better. But St. Ignatius recommends beginning our examination of conscience by thanking God, not just for general blessings, but for what He very specifically did for us that particular day. Focusing on gratitude first makes us realize how much God loves us. That’s why we say this book could change your life. Find it here: https://bit.ly/3br7CVN If you have read this book and want to go deeper, pick up Fr. Gallagher’s book, “The Discernment of Spirits: An Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living.” Learn to discern when you are feeling consolation and when you are feeling desolation and what to do about those changes in your spirit. Find the book and/or accompanying DVD here: https://bit.ly/DiscernmentOfSpirits

  • “The Interior Castle” by St. Teresa of Avila.

For those who want to understand just how close it is possible to get to Jesus in this life, St. Teresa of Avila’s masterwork, “The Interior Castle,“ is a must read. She describes the soul as a series of room in a castle and takes you on a journey from outside the castle. where lots of snakes and other poisonous creatures (temptations) assail you, all the way through the castle and into the innermost room, where Jesus awaits. You can get closer to Our Lord in this life than you ever thought possible! Find it here: https://www.ewtnreligiouscatalogue.com/the-interior-castle-st-teresa-of-avila/p/BKSNT01517 

Be Inspired To Live a Better Life

  • Books By and About Mother Angelica, including “Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles” by Raymond Arroyo, and, especially in these times of pandemic, “Mother Angelica on Suffering and Burnout.”

If you haven’t read the definitive bio of Mother Angelica, it’s an entertaining and inspiring read! And if you’re looking for encouragement and consolation as well as an explanation of the purpose of suffering and how to avoid wasting it, turn to the Suffering and Burnout book. Find these and other books by Mother Angelica here: https://bit.ly/BooksByAndAboutMotherAngelica.

  • “33 Days to Morning Glory” by Father Michael Gaitley.

During this Easter season of celebration, we thank God for all He did for us during His Passion and Death. One amazing way to do this is to consecrate ourselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary. As Catholics often say: “To Jesus through Mary!” This book provides an easily accessible way to make this consecration with teachings from Saints Therese of Lisieux, Faustina Kowalska, John Paul II, and Louis de Montfort. Already read this book? Then, read the next two books in this trilogy: “33 days to Merciful Love,” which is about consecration to Divine Mercy, and “33 Days to Greater Glory,” Father Gaitley’s newest book, which is about consecration to God the Father. Find all three books here: https://bit.ly/33daysBooks.

Learn to Defend the Faith Better 

  • “Praying the Gospels – Jesus Launches His Ministry” by Father Mitch Pacwa.

There is no better way to learn (and to live) the Bible than by praying it. In this book, Fr. Mitch takes you by the hand and shows you how enter into a Gospel scene and meditate upon it even as He shares fascinating details about the geography, customs and ideas of Jesus’ time. He even provides questions intended to lead you into a deeper examination of your own life and mission in the world today. Find it here: https://bit.ly/PrayingTheGospels. Find dozens of other Bible studies, including many more by Father Mitch, here: https://bit.ly/EWTNBibleStudies.

  • “Why Be Catholic?: Ten Answers to a Very Important Question” by Patrick Madrid.

Described by readers as “essential,” “phenomenal,” “easy to read,” and more, this book will make you proud to be Catholic and able to defend the Faith with clear, fact-based answers. Non-Catholics will find it clears up many misconceptions and helps them see the Church in a new light. The book is riveting because it is deeply personal, and offers wonderful anecdotes from Madrid’s own experience as a life-long Catholic born in the 1960s. Worthwhile reading! Find it here: https://bit.ly/PatrickMadridWHyBeCatholic.

Posted in Books, EWTN Hosts, Employees, Shows, Jesus, Saints, Suffering | 2 Comments

In Response To Pandemic, EWTN To Air Re-Consecration Of U.S. And Canada To Our Lady

Have you heard? Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), announced April 23 that the U.S. bishops will join the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to renew the consecration of the two nations to the care of our Blessed Mother!

EWTN will air the brief liturgy and prayer of re-consecration at 3 p.m. ET, Friday, May 1, live from Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles with Archbishop Gomez celebrating. The event will also be aired live on EWTN’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ewtnonline.

But that’s not all! On the day of the Re-Consecration, Birmingham Bishop Robert J. Baker will celebrate the 8 a.m. ET Daily Mass, which will include some very special prayers, and the Franciscan Friars of the Eternal Word will conduct a Rosary Holy Hour at 2 p.m. ET.

Also, this week, the Friars have been leading a series of short meditations on the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady immediately following the 8 a.m. ET Mass. If you missed them, the meditations can be found on EWTN’s Facebook page, along with a post containing the words to each day’s meditation.

In a letter to the U.S. Bishops regarding the Re-Consecration, Archbishop Gomez said: “This will give the Church the occasion to pray for Our Lady’s continued protection of the vulnerable, healing of the unwell, and wisdom for those who work to cure this terrible virus.” Each year, the Church seeks the special intercession of the Mother of God during the month of May. “This year, we seek the assistance of Our Lady all the more earnestly as we face together the effects of the global pandemic.”

EWTN Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael P. Warsaw said: “EWTN is honored to be airing this important Re-Consecration of the United States and Canada to Our Lady. As the bishops’ leadership demonstrates, the road out of this pandemic is through the intercession of our Heavenly Mother. May the Lord bless and protect us in these challenging times.”

Don’t miss this important event Family!

Posted in EWTN Hosts, Employees, Shows | 1 Comment

EWTN’s Divine Mercy Programming Includes Live Novena to the Divine Mercy in Time of Pandemic

Beginning Easter Sunday, EWTN Global Catholic Network will broadcast a live “Novena to the Divine Mercy in Time of Pandemic.” The novena will air shortly after the conclusion of the live Daily Mass, which airs at 8 a.m. ET. (The text to the novena can be found at www.ewtn.com/mercy, which viewers should begin on Good Friday.

“The graces of Divine Mercy Sunday are so extraordinary that every Catholic should take full advantage of them, especially in these very difficult days,” said EWTN Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael P. Warsaw. “Although EWTN viewers can join in the Chaplet of Divine Mercy every weekday at 3 p.m. ET, the Network has a long tradition of airing expanded programming about the devotion on Divine Mercy Sunday itself, and during the week leading up to it.”

Highlights of EWTN’s Divine Mercy programs are noted below. For a complete listing, please go to https://www.ewtn.com/tv/schedule. Find EWTN at www.ewtn.com/tv/channel-finder. For all the ways to watch EWTN, please go to www.ewtn.com/everywhere.

Ongoing

Novena to the Divine Mercy in Time of Pandemic: Airs approximately 9 a.m. ET (immediately following Daily Mass at 8 a.m. ET).

Daily

Chaplet of Divine Mercy: Airs 3 p.m. ET. From Our Lady of the Angels Chapel Irondale, AL.

Monday, April 13

Chaplet of Divine Mercy from Our Lady of Grace Shrine in Sasse, Cameroon, Africa: Airs 3:45 a.m. ET. Encores 1:45 a.m., Tuesday through Saturday, April 14 through 18. Combines Cameroon’s rich native culture and melodies with the beauty and serenity of God’s Mercy.

The God of Mercy – Faustina, A Story of Mercy: Airs 5:30 p.m. ET with an encore at 3:30 a.m. ET, Tuesday, April 14. Fr. Bala Udumala shares the life of St. Faustina as permeated with the mission of mercy entrusted to her by Jesus.

Tuesday, April 14

The Face of Mercy: Airs 4 a.m. ET. Encores 8 p.m. ET, Friday, April 17. Documentary on the origins of the Divine Mercy devotion and the personal impact it ha had on the lives of several Catholics.

Saint Faustina: Divine Mercy in Our Souls: Airs 1:30 p.m. ET. Fr. Roesch talks to Bob and Maureen Digen about Maureen’s healing at the tomb of St. Faustina, which led to Blessed Faustina’s beatification in 1993.

The God of Mercy: The Five Elements of the Divine Mercy Devotion: Airs 5:30 p.m. ET, with an encore at 2:30 a.m. ET, Wednesday, April 15.

Wednesday, April 15

The God of Mercy – Yahweh, The God of Mercy in the Old Testament: Airs 5:30 p.m. ET, with an encore at 3:30 a.m. ET, Thursday, April 16.

Thursday, April 16

The God of Mercy – Jesus, The Incarnation of Mercy in the New Testament: Airs 5:30 p.m. ET, with an encore that airs at 3:30 a.m. ET, Friday, April 17.

Friday, April 17

Divine Mercy – The Canonization of John Paul II: Airs 10:30 am. ET. Newt and Callista Gingrich, along with a cast of scholars, witnesses, and pilgrims share their experiences of the canonization of Pope John Paul II and reflect on his legacy.

The God of Mercy – Mercy Wanted Today: Airs 5:30 p.m. ET, with an encore at 3:30 a.m., Saturday, April 18. Fr. Bala Udumala relates that the message of Divine Mercy is needed today in a violent and godless world, in which mercy is redemptive.

Saturday, April 18

Original Image of the Divine Mercy, The Untold Story of an Unknown Masterpiece. Airs 8 p.m. ET. A look at the history of the original image of Divine Mercy, from the events that led to its creation under St. Faustina’s guidance to its current place in the Cathedral in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Divine Mercy Sunday, April 19 

Life and Times of Sister Faustina: Airs 3 a.m. ET. Encores at 3 a.m. ET, Tuesday, April 21. Fr. Seraphin Michalenko, Vice Postulor for the Cause of Canonization for Blessed Fautina for North America, explains this re-enactment of Blessed Faustina’s life and the Divine Mercy Novena.

Divine Mercy Celebration from Vilnius, Lithuania: Airs 10 a.m. ET. Celebrated by Archbishop Gintaras Grusas from the Shrine of Divine Mercy.

Divine Mercy Preview Show: Airs Noon and midnight ET. Celebrated by Fr. Joseph Roesch, MIC, from the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy.

Mass and Celebration of Divine Mercy from Stockbridge, MA: Airs live at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Chaplet of Divine Mercy: Airs 3 p.m. ET.

Divine Mercy Holy Hour With the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word: Airs 4 p.m. ET with an encore at 7 a.m. ET, Monday, April 20. Live from the Chapel of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Irondale, Ala.

Posted in EWTN Hosts, Employees, Shows, Lent, Advent, and Liturgical Seasons, Prayers and Devotions | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Make The Most of Holy Week With These EWTN Specials

EWTN Foundress Mother Mary Angelica, P.C.P.A.

In addition to the beautiful Palm Sunday Masses and live Adoration EWTN offers this week (bit.ly/EWTNHolyWeek), we want to call your attention to just a few of the specials we’ll be offering you during this prelude to the Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday). You’ll find them grouped by categories below.

For a complete schedule, please go to https://www.ewtn.com/tv/schedule. Not in the U.S.? Just click on “United States” and a drop down menu will take you to programs in your part of the world. For all the ways to watch us, please go to EWTN Everywhere: https://www.ewtn.com/everywhere/online.

Stations of the Cross – Beautiful ways to deepen your appreciation of the Passion of Christ and how it applies to your daily life.

  • Stations of the Cross During Pandemic of Covid-19
    Especially relevant for our times. Airs 7 a.m. ET,  Friday, April 3, and 7 a.m. ET and 2 p.m. ET, Good Friday, April 10.
  • Stations of the Cross with the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal World
    Airs 2:30 p.m. ET, Friday, April 3 from Our Lady of the Angels Chapel in Irondale, Ala.

Travel – Make a virtual visit the Holy Land during the holiest time of the year

  • Built on Faith: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre
    A look inside the Church where Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected. Airs 6:30 p.m. ET, Tuesday, April 7.
  • An EWTN Holy Land Experience: Holy Week
    Fr. Joseph Mary Wolfe and Fr. Mark Mary Cristina journey to the sites in the Holy Land where our Lord suffered, died, and rose from the dead. Airs 11 p.m. ET, Sunday, April 5

Children’s Programming – But adults will enjoy it too!

  • The Way of the Cross for Kids
    Airs 4 p.m. ET, Friday, April 3.
  • I Was There, The Holy Mass
    A reverent animated account of a young man’s realization of the meaning of Mass for him. Airs 4 p.m. ET, Tuesday, April 7.

Wisdom from Mother Angelica

  • Mother Angelic Live Classics: Preparation for Holy Week
    Airs 10 a.m. ET, Monday, April 6. Start your Holy Week out right!

Sacred Music

  • Love, Agony, and Hope: A Journey Into the Lives of Jesus and Mary on Holy Thursday ad Good Friday.
    A narrated concert of the Passion of Jesus, the Last Supper and the Blessed Sacrament. Airs 5 p.m. ET, Sunday,  April 5.

Something to Read – now or in the coming year

EWTN Bookmark

Gary Zimak’s “Give Up Worry for Lent,” bit.ly/WorryForLent, provides advice for finding peace in Christ, while Conor Gallagher shares three remedies for the stress of modern life in “Still Amidst the Storm,” bit.ly/StillAmidstStorm. Airs 9:30 a.m., Sunday, April 5, and 5 p.m. ET, Monday, April 6.

Posted in EWTN Hosts, Employees, Shows, Lent, Advent, and Liturgical Seasons | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments
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