A Tribute to Mother Angelica
By Fr. John Trigilio Jr., Confraternity of Catholic Priests:
Reverend Mother was very dear to me, like a beloved grandmother. Fr. Ken Brighenti and I anointed her last December for our most recent taping of WEB OF FAITH 2.0 Mother was a visionary, a pioneer, a maverick, an RN (real nun), a very dear friend and a very holy and devout Catholic Christian.
What you see is what you get. She was authentic. The real deal. No Political Correctness. Mother spoke her mind. She had no guile. She spoke “cor ad cor” (heart to heart) to every viewer and listener. Mother was a true Italian, as we all know. She had an Italian sense of humor and an Italian disposition. Very passionate and very expressive. But also very loving, affectionate and generous.
Foundress of Eternal Word Television (EWTN), Mother Angelica was like Christopher Columbus in that she was an explorer in a New World. While competing Catholic networks fizzled out quickly, EWTN has grown into the international and global media giant using cable and satellite television, broadcast and shortwave radio, internet and newspaper (The National Catholic Register).
She was kind enough to personally call and console my mom when my brother Joe had been killed by an underage drunk driver on 5 July 1997. My mother had already lost two of her five children and now Joe was number three. Mother spoke to her for 45 minutes. It was a great help and consolation. My mom frequently traveled with Fr. Bob Levis from Erie when we taped WEB OF FAITH and every time the Poor Clares and Mother Angelica were exceptionally hospitable and always made my mom feel at home and most welcome.
We watched with amazement as the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament was slowly built. Mother honored me, Fr. Levis and me by inviting us to the dedication and consecration of the shrine. The Mass brought tears to everyone’s eyes. I had not seen a communion rail used since my Confirmation in 1976 and watching the very devout and reverent reception of Holy Communion brought me to tears as well. Her fidelity to the Magisterium was exemplary and she proved the axion LEX ORANDI, LEX CREDENDI.
Reverent worship and orthodox doctrine are interrelated and interconnected. We’ve seen the destruction of faith caused by banal, pedestrian and irreverent liturgies and the heterodox nonsense taught in some seminaries and at the pulpits of some parish churches. EWTN was a light in the darkness, showing faithful Catholics that our 2,000 year old religion was and is an invaluable patrimony which believers deserve to share in its splendor and glory, not as some cheap, shabby and philistine fashion.
Three Holy Giants of the 20th Century
She made a few enemies, so did Christ. She also helped save many, many souls via EWTN. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Pope St. John Paul the Great and Mother Angelica are the three holy giants of the latter 20th century and early 21st. I mourn her death but rejoice in the legacy she has left behind. Mike Warsaw and Doug Keck and everyone at EWTN have been doing a phenomenal job since Mother was forced to retire for health problems several years ago. I am morally certain she will be one day be canonized as well. Her perseverance in trial and tribulation are as encouraging as was JP2. When Mother appeared on television wearing an eye patch and having half her face paralyzed, she was like Pope John Paul during his later years plagued by Parkinson’s, drooling and slurring his words, yet still giving Angelus talks when he could. Both of these holy people knew well the Crucified Lord and both embraced their respective crosses with dignity and with fidelity.
As a Priest, I hope and pray that I can imitate Mother Angelica’s deep and intense love of Jesus and His Holy Church. Requiescat in pace