Cardinal Dolan’s Brother Is Here: ‘Choice’ in Milwaukee; Inside the Papal Conclave & More!

For most Americans, the word “choice” has become a synonym for abortion. But in Wisconsin, when someone asks if you are for or against “choice,” they’re most likely talking about the state’s school voucher program, a program that funds what is now the largest Catholic school in the country.

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Bob Dolan, a television and radio producer and host who also happens to be the brother of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, is producing yet another series for EWTN. This one is about St. Anthony School in Milwaukee, the largest Catholic school in the country, which is funded by the state’s Parental Choice Program; in other words, vouchers!

Bob Dolan, brother of New York’s Cardinal Dolan and a TV and Radio producer who owns his own production company, is here this week working on a new EWTN series (“my fifth or sixth”) about St. Anthony School in Milwaukee, a school for poor children whose parents could not afford to send them to Catholic school under any other circumstances. The school educates about 2,000 kids from pre-school through high school.

“People in Wisconsin either love or hate choice,” Dolan says. “Every time there’s an election, that’s the question. Our current governor, Scott Walker, loves the Parental Choice Program. A large majority of kids go to St. Anthony because of the Choice program. We’re telling this story because so many Catholic schools are not making it. Here, we have the opposite. It’s a hopeful story for the rest of us. It can still be done in 2013.”

The experience in Wisconsin proves that vouchers can work!

While Bob was here, I couldn’t resist asking him what it was like being Cardinal Dolan’s brother during the papal conclave. I knew he had been bombarded by the press because, as EWTN’s Communications Director, I fielded a fair number of calls from the media during that time who wanted Bob’s phone number. [For the curious, we passed on messages, but did NOT give out his phone number!]

“It was nerve wracking and exciting,” Bob said. “Family members read the same things everyone else read. The media said there were 10 or 15 Cardinals [up for election] and he was one of them. But we didn’t buy into it because we had talked to him! Even though we weren’t thinking about it, there is an hour between the white smoke [going up] and the man on the balcony; it was the longest hour of my life. You couldn’t help but think, ‘What if? How life would change for him and for us!’ It was a remarkable experience!”

Bob says his brother obviously couldn’t say much about the conclave. “But he did tell me it was the most emotional and spiritual experience he’s ever had in the conclave,” Bob said. “He said you could literally feel the presence of the Holy Spirit!”

Cardinal Timothy Dolan is the oldest of five children while Bob is smack in the middle. For years, Bob hosted a popular morning drive talk radio program in Milwaukee – and when his brother was Archbishop of Milwaukee, Bob says the two of them co-hosted a television show for three years called “Living Our Faith.”

Says Bob: “It was the first and only time we’ve ever worked together. My brother is good on camera, so there was no holding his hand. I may have been the media professional, but he ran away with the show. It was a blast!”

Readers: What do YOU want to know about EWTN, our hosts, employees and programs? This blog is for you!

Posted in Blog, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Catholic, Christian, EWTN, Television, TV, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

What Are EWTN’s Show Hosts REALLY Like?

That’s a question I get asked all the time – and this is the perfect week to answer that. I was privileged to be asked by “Women of Grace” Host Johnnette Benkovic to join the taping of her “Women of EWTN” series. So I had the opportunity to work with Teresa Tomeo (“Catholic Connection” & “The Catholic View for Women”), Joy Pinto (“At Home With Jim & Joy), and Elena Rodriguez (EWTN Radio Producer, who you heard a lot from during World Youth Day).

On the set of EWTN's "Women of Grace" with (l to r) Host Johnnette Benkovic, Joy Pinto of "At Home with Jim & Joy," Teresa Tomeo of "Catholic Connection" and "The Catholic View for Women," EWTN Director of Communications Michelle Laque Johnson, and EWTN Radio Producer Elena Rodriguez.

On the set of EWTN’s “Women of Grace” with (l to r) Host Johnnette Benkovic, Joy Pinto of “At Home with Jim & Joy,” Teresa Tomeo of “Catholic Connection” and “The Catholic View for Women,” EWTN Director of Communications Michelle Laque Johnson, and EWTN Radio Producer Elena Rodriguez.

During the show, we answered questions that viewers had submitted via Facebook and Twitter – and we had NO idea what they were beforehand. We can only pray that you will have as much fun watching this show as we had taping it. (I’ll let you know when it airs!) You will see that this is one joyful group of women, but I am here to tell you why.

I have known Johnnette Benkovic since my days as the Editor-in-Chief of “The Catholic Standard & Times” in Philadelphia. I called her out of the blue one day to see if she would write a column for the newspaper. Between her television show, books, and speaking engagements, this is one busy lady, so she hesitated for a second, but then said: “I told God that I would never wanted to say “no” to Him (!). I feel like He is asking me to do this, so…I say yes.”

Wow. Let me tell you friends, this woman is the real deal. I watched the faith with which she faced the death of first her son and then her husband and how gracious she is to everyone she meets. This lady was also tremendously helpful to me when my own husband was critically ill and dying. You can trust what she says!

Can you spot the differences from the photo above? Yes, we're in slightly different poses but the REAL difference is that we're all eating cake! That's because, at the end of the show, Host Johnnette Benkovic surprized Joy Pinto with a birthday cake! P.S. A sugar rush -- just what we needed!

Can you spot the differences between this photo and the photo above? Yes, we’re in slightly different poses but the REAL difference is that we’re all eating cake! That’s because, at the end of the show, Host Johnnette Benkovic surprised Joy Pinto with a birthday cake! A sugar rush — just what we needed!

I have known the fabulous Teresa Tomeo for about the same amount of time since she too was a columnist for the paper when I was Editor. I will tell you this: She is the kind of person you can count on to stand by you when the chips are down. How many of us have seen our “friends” desert us when times got tough? If you’re a friend of Teresa, she stands by you. That is a rare quality. Plus, she is always laughing and fun to be with – and if you hang out with her any length of time, you’re going to end up shopping at Chico’s (during sales and always with coupons) since it’s her favorite store!

Joy is a more recent friend. I met her husband in the EWTN parking lot one day. He was on his way in to the Network to do his radio show, “At Home with Jim & Joy.” I said, “Where’s your lovely wife?” He said, “Back at the pregnancy center saving a life. I have to do the show alone today.” In other words, Joy doesn’t put her on-air work ahead of her real world work at the pregnancy center. That says a lot, doesn’t it?

Elena is the youngest member of the crew and also a more recent friend. But I see her at daily Mass and joy literally seems to radiate from her. One of her tips for viewers during the show was to always try to do one kind thing for someone every day. She said, “Even if it’s just a smile, it may be the only smile that person receives.” Elena’s not just talking. When I think of Elena, I think of her smile. It’s infectious!

Now, all of these women will be the first to tell you that they are far from perfect. But I can tell you that they are definitely walking “the narrow road” – and that they inspire me to be a better woman.

So now you know why they do such great shows and can give such great advice. I thank God for their correspondence to His grace and EWTN for the opportunity to work with them!

Posted in At Home With Jim & Joy, Blog, Catholic, Catholic Connection, Catholic View for Women, Christian, Elena Rodriguez, EWTN, Michelle Laque Johnson, Television, Teresa Tomeo, TV, Uncategorized, Women of Grace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What Prominent Artist Painted EWTN Foundress Mother Angelica’s Portrait – And Where Does It Hang?

Mother Angelica's Official Portrait was painted by a man who would one day become a President portrait artist: John Howard Sanden!

Mother Angelica’s Official Portrait was painted by a man who would one day become a President portrait artist: John Howard Sanden!

I’ve been working at EWTN for more than five years and I’m still learning new things about its storied history! Yesterday, EWTN President and Chief Executive Officer Michael P. Warsaw sent me a link to an online article that had appeared on AL.com (All Alabama). The headline was “Presidential portrait artist John Howard Sanden to speak Tuesday at Birmingham Museum of Art.” I thought that was interesting but what, I wondered, did that have to do with EWTN? I was about to find out!

After Mother Angelica suffered her stroke in 2001, Warsaw decided that the Network needed to have an official portrait of its beloved foundress. So he looked at the work of several artists and commissioned John Howard Sanden to do the job. Little did he know that, 11 years later, Sanden’s portraits of President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush would be unveiled at the White House!

EWTN President & CEO Michael P. Warsaw at the 2001 unveiling of Mother Angelica's official portrait, which was painted by Presidential Portrait Artist John Howard Sanden.

EWTN President & CEO Michael P. Warsaw at the 2001 unveiling of Mother Angelica’s official portrait, which was painted by Presidential Portrait Artist John Howard Sanden.

“I knew he had done Billy Graham and I really liked his work,” Warsaw said. “But this job was more difficult because, at that time, Mother not only couldn’t sit for the portrait, she couldn’t speak.”

Nevertheless, Sanden asked to meet with the subject he had been asked to paint!

“The meeting lasted about 15 minutes,” Warsaw continued. “John held her hand and looked into her eyes. He said – and anyone who ever met her knows this is true – that Mother’s eyes were her most expressive feature. Even though Mother couldn’t speak, John said she communicated so much to him through her eyes. He told me later that it was the most moving experiences he’d ever had with someone he had been asked to paint.”

The picture now hangs in St. Michael’s Hall on EWTN’s campus. I’ve included a picture with this post for those of you who can’t come to EWTN to check it out in person! But if you live in the area – or if you come to the Birmingham area for an EWTN Family Celebration or on a pilgrimage – you’ll definitely want to check it out “up close and personal!”

God bless Family!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

EWTN In Ukraine

On the set of EWTN Ukraine with EWTN President & CEO Michael P. Warsaw (center), Catholic Media Center Director Fr. Diego Saez Martin OMI (left of center), EWTN Marketing Director Ian Murray (right of center), and staff.

On the set of EWTN Ukraine with EWTN President & CEO Michael P. Warsaw (center), Catholic Media Center Director Fr. Diego Sáez Martin OMI (left of center), EWTN Regional Manager Ian Murray (right of center), and staff.

EWTN President and Chief Executive Officer Michael P. Warsaw traveled to Ukraine last week for meetings about EWTN’s Ukrainian-language television channel.

Michael arrived in Kiev the same day as Father Diego Sáez Martín OMI, the new Director of the Catholic Media Centre, where EWTN is broadcast. In fact, the two men were introduced to the staff of the Centre at the same time! The permanent staff consists of three priests and three religious sisters and four lay people. The rest of the staff are all volunteers.

EWTN President & CEO Michael P. Warsaw looks over the facilities in Ukraine with Catholic Media Centre Director Fr. Diego Saez Martin OMI.

EWTN President & CEO Michael P. Warsaw looks over the facilities in Ukraine with Catholic Media Centre Director Fr. Diego Sáez Martin OMI.

The Catholic Media Centre, which was launched in 2004 at the invitation of the head of the Roman Catholic Bishops Conference, is located in a church that is still under construction. EWTN Ukraine launched on Dec. 8, 2011. The Centre receives EWTN’s European feed via satellite, downlinks it, and provides Ukrainian translation. The channel is then sent via fiber optics to Volia, the leading Ukrainian cable television company. EWTN Ukraine now reaches 21 towns and cities. Believe it or not, the staff translates all of EWTN’s live shows and papal events into Ukrainian!

“They are also hoping to translate our live shows into Russian as well,” said Michael, “since a significant portion of the population prefers to speak Russian because of the Soviet era!”

To say everyone works extremely hard is an understatement. In fact, the three Oblate of Mary Immaculate priests often work 18 hours a day! On weekends, the priests preach about EWTN in the parishes. They are grateful beyond measure to EWTN for helping them bring the Ukrainian Church back to life.

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EWTN Regional Manager Ian Murray, EWTN President & CEO MIchael P. Warsaw and EWTN’s Regional Manager for Central and Eastern Europe.

Although the number of Catholics in Ukraine is small – estimates range from 0.6% to 2% for the Latin Rite and 5.3% to 8% for the Greek Rite –Michael says the miracle is that the Church has survived at all. To understand why, you only have to hear the story of Father Pavlo Vyshkovskyy, Provincial Superior of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Ukraine. Father Pavlo founded the “media community” which does much of its work through the Catholic Media Centre, and also publishes a magazine and EWTN’s Ukrainian website, www.ewtn.org.ua. Father Pavlo was the first director of the Centre and, although he recently became the Superior of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Ukraine, he still tracks everything at the Centre on a daily basis. Michael shakes his head as he recalls this priest’s remarkable story.

“As a boy during the Soviet era, [Pavlo] went to Midnight Mass. Because of this ‘crime,’ he was declared an enemy of the state. Teachers stripped him of everything but his shirt and he had to walk and eventually crawl 5 km home in the middle of winter. He ended up in the hospital for eight months and lost the hearing in one ear — but he survived. He grew up to be a priest with a serious motivation for spreading the Gospel!”

Michael brought back a DVD of Father Pavlo’s account of the Soviet destruction of the Church in Ukraine. It is devastating. You can understand why this priest was willing to suffer as he did while only a young boy. His own grandfather was beaten and buried alive by Soviet soldiers because of his faith. Parishioners defending his parish church were given the choice to deny their faith. When they did not, they were hung by their ears around the church. He says more than 45,000 bishops and priests were murdered: crucified in prison cells, thrown into steam engine boilers, and frozen to death, and most of the churches were blown up. Says Fr. Pavlo: “The Church in Ukraine passed the maturity exam.”

You may think this all happened in the distant past, but Michael said Fr. Pavlo is only 38-years-old.

Michael had a chance to see – up close and personal – what happens when the citizens of a country lose the fundamental right to openly practice their religion. During the Soviet era, gorgeous cathedrals in Kiev were taken over by the government and turned into everything from tractor repair shops and stables to atheism museums and concert halls. Although the Soviet Union has fallen, these houses of worship in Kiev have not been returned to the diocese. Even today, the Diocese of Kiev has to purchase seats in its former churches every Sunday for the congregation.

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Meeting In the office of Archbishop Petro Malchuk OFM, Latin Rite Archbishop for the Diocese of Kiev-Zhytomyr, Ukraine.

While in Ukraine, Michael had the opportunity to meet Archbishop Petro Malchuk OFM, Latin Rite Archbishop for the Diocese of Kiev-Zhytomyr. He is the first Catholic bishop allowed to reside in Kiev in 350 years! Archbishop Malchuk’s office is in the bell tower of the Cathedral. To reach it, one must ascend a rickety spiral staircase to a room with a desk, computer and a phone. The Bishop has no staff.

Michael also had the opportunity to meet with His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. He normally resides in Kiev, but was in Lviv at the time of Michael’s visit. Unlike Kiev, which was almost totally destroyed during World War II, many of the beautiful churches in Lviv were not destroyed and are still maintained by the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. While that is a significant advantage, both the Latin Rite and the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches face the challenge of rebuilding relatively small congregations.

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Mass is offered every day in a small but very beautiful chapel in the Catholic Media Centre, Ukraine.

But how can the Church rebuild after such devastation? In the “I Love Jesus” DVD that Michael was given, Fr. Pavlo tells the story of his days as a young seminarian. He desperately wanted to meet Pope John Paul II.

Fortunately, his order had a contest. The seminarian who learned the most about the Oblate of Mary Immaculate’s founder would be sent to Rome for the canonization. Fr. Pavlo won.

However, Fr. Pavlo is very tall, so he was placed at the very back of the crowd being greeted by the Pope after the canonization. Fr. Pavlo saw he would have no chance to touch the Pope, much less converse with him – so he prayed to Jesus. When the Pope got to his group, he suddenly stopped and said, “Is there anybody from the East here?” Fr. Pavlo was pushed forward. The Pope said to him: “I give you my blessing to revive the Church in Ukraine.”

Fr. Pavlo will have help. As Michael was told time and time again during his trip, EWTN is the primary method for spreading the Gospel in a country where many of the people who are left don’t even know who Jesus Christ is! What an honor – and what a responsibility!

“In Ukraine, the Catholic Church is a small church in a nation that has overwhelmingly had its religious essence taken away by successive governments,” Michael said. “It can happen all too easily. We thank God for inspiring our viewers to make the donations that allow this kind of worldwide evangelization to take place.”

God bless you Family!

Posted in Blog, Broadcast, Catholic View for Women, Christian, contest, EWTN, Jesus, Michael P. Warsaw, Ukraine, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Mother Dolores Hart Visits EWTN: Why She’s On A Book Tour, Her Assistant’s Amazing Conversion Story & More!

Mother Dolores and her assistant, Judith Pinco, on the "Bookmark" set with Host Doug Keck and Producer Kathy Ranelli.

Mother Dolores and her assistant, Judith Pinco, on the “Bookmark” set with Host Doug Keck and Producer Kathy Ranelli.

I was very excited to hear that Mother Dolores Hart was visiting EWTN this week to film “Bookmark” with Host Doug Keck! I ran down to the studio with my iPhone to take pictures and talk with her for this blog. What I didn’t expect was to have a conversation with her assistant, Judith Pinco, which turned out to be one of the best conversion stories I have ever heard. See if you don’t agree!

Mother Dolores' new bok, "The Ear of the Heart," An Actress' Journey from Hollywood to Holy Vows

Mother Dolores’ new book, “The Ear of the Heart,” An Actress’ Journey from Hollywood to Holy Vows

But before I get to that, I have to explain why Mother Dolores wrote the book you’ve probably been hearing so much about. It’s called “The Ear of the Heart: An Actress’ Journey From Hollywood to Holy Vows,” http://bit.ly/18YEXkK. Mother hadn’t been out of the monastery for 50 years, but when she was told that Apostolic Nuncio Pietro Sambi wanted to speak with her, she went to see him. She was told the interview would last 15 minutes. Instead, she was there more than two-and-a-half hours.

The Nuncio told Mother that the only other person who knew what he was about to say was the Pope. He asked her to make a movie about consecrated life. Mother was stunned. She said, “I’m not an actress any more. I have no contacts.” The Nuncio told her she had to find a way; that was her calling.

When Mother told the Abbess, her reaction was the same as Mother’s. “We can’t do that.” Mother said, “I know. We’ll pray.” Three days later, HBO called and said they wanted to do a movie about her life!

Mother Dolores with her assistant, Judith Pinco, a former backup singer in Hollywood.

Mother Dolores with her assistant, Judith Pinco, a former backup singer in Hollywood!

Mother’s assistant, Judith, tells what happened next: “Mother asked the woman who had called from HBO: ‘Do you know who Pietro Sambi is?’ ‘Who?’ said the nice Jewish girl from New York!”

Judith Pinco knows a lot about nice Jewish girls because she was one herself, except that she was not living in New York, but in Los Angeles and, instead of working for HBO, she was working as a backup singer and as an assistant to the late Donna Summer. She picked up the latter gig because Donna was a friend who needed her help, but she kept wondering why she was doing the job since it wasn’t something she had ever aspired to be!

Mother Dolores enjoyed being able to handle one of EWTN's big cameras!

Mother Dolores enjoyed being able to handle one of EWTN’s big cameras!

One day, Judith “just happened” to pick up an issue of “Oprah” magazine where she read a story about Mother Dolores and her Abbey, Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn. Judith says she actually heard a voice say to her, “You need to go there.” She was flabbergasted.

“It’s 3,000 miles away! I’m not Catholic! I saw no sense in this,” she says. “Every few months I’d hear it again. I argued on and off for two years.”

Finally, Judith gave in and traveled to the Abbey. “The minute I put my foot on the grounds, I knew I was in big trouble,” she said. It was the beginning of a journey which would lead Judith into the Catholic Church – and her current job as assistant to Mother Dolores.

Mother Dolores is full of joy! Here she is with a cowboy hat she got after doing a book signing in Texas. Mother had a cowboy hat as a postulant, when she had to do a lot of gardening, and was thrilled with the gift!

Mother Dolores is full of joy! Here she is with a cowboy hat she got after doing a book signing in Texas. Mother had a cowboy hat as a postulant, when she had to do a lot of gardening, and was thrilled with the gift!

Judith also happens to be quite accomplished in using technology such as the iPad, MacBook Pro, iPhone, etc., which Mother Dolores needed to learn. She returned to Los Angles, but began teaching Mother from Los Angeles using Skype! After a time, Judith heard that “voice” once more. It said: “Now, you need to move there [meaning to Connecticut, near the Abbey].”

Judith decided she would! Because she’s 65, Judith thought she was headed into a peaceful retirement. But three months after she arrived, the Abbess said to her, “I want you to take Mother to the Academy Awards!”

It turned out that the HBO film on Mother’s life, which had been shortened to 34 minutes and entered into the short documentary category, had gotten an Oscar nomination! So in 2012, Judith found herself on the red carpet with Mother Dolores.

“Pietro Sambi died before the movie came out,” Judith says. “We figure he had a lot to do with the success.”

Mother Dolores took lots of her own pictures of the staff while at EWTN. She said she had to give a report to the other nuns when she returns to the Abbey!

Mother Dolores took lots of her own pictures of the staff while at EWTN. She said she had to give a report to the other nuns when she returns to the Abbey!

Why does Judith think all this happened to her? She says simply: “I had been searching for God since I was a little kid. I had a guru, I lived in India!” But this month, Judith the Catholic will become a Monastic Scholar. As she explains it, “that’s a person who uses her professional abilities for the good of the community.”

As we all know by now, Mother Dolores went on to write her memoir, and has been on a book tour of the U.S. The money raised from the sale of her book will be used to renovate the monastery, which is falling apart (http://abbeyofreginalaudis.org/donations.html).

Says Mother: “Judith makes all this traveling possible. I couldn’t do any of this by myself.”

After hearing the reason Mother had done a film, written a book, and gone on a book tour, I shook my head, and said to her, “You know, the Lord never wastes our experiences. Who would have thought?” And Mother looked at me with a twinkle in her eye and said, “I would!”

Posted in Blog, Broadcast, Catholic, Christian, Elvis Presley, Hollywood, Jesus, Mother Dolores Hart, Pope, Religion, Television, TV, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Can You Encourage Vocations, Help Your Overworked Priests & More – Behind The Scenes of a New EWTN Series

You would think with World Youth Day 2013 behind us things might slow down a bit at EWTN. Instead we have dozens of people flying in from all over the country to film a new series, “Vocation Boom.”

Jerry Usher, host of a new EWTN series, "Vocation Boom," in the studio with one of  his guests, Debbie Georgianni of EWTN's Phoenix radio affiliate.

Jerry Usher, host of a new EWTN series, “Vocation Boom,” in the studio with one of his guests, Debbie Georgianni of EWTN’s Phoenix radio affiliate.

EWTN Global Catholic Radio fans are already familiar with Host Jerry Usher’s popular radio show by the same name. You may also remember that Jerry was once the host of “Catholic Answers Live.” I remember him as always having something funny to say and as making observations about things that everyone else was thinking about, but wouldn’t dare to say! I’m happy to report he’s as much a natural on television as he is on radio!

Jerry says his apostotale for future priests started about four years ago (Sept. 14, 2009 to be exact) with a website, www.vocationboom.com. This was followed by a radio show, which launched on Feb. 5, 2011, and now a television series. The Lord is obviously blessing this work!

His guests include Dr. Matthew Bunson, Senior Fellow of the St. Paul Center for biblical Theology, one of the leading authorities on the papacy and the Church, and author of 50 (!) books. EWTN carries two popular ones: “Encyclopedia of U.S. Catholic History,” http://bit.ly/14j7IuO, and “Pope Francis,” the first biography of our new Pope, http://bit.ly/18Nl28R.

Dr. Matthew Bunson, Church historian and author of more than 50 books, on the set of "Vocation Boom," a new series now filming at EWTN.

Dr. Matthew Bunson, Church historian and author of more than 50 books, on the set of “Vocation Boom,” a new series now filming at EWTN.

Matthew says that the book was doing well when it first came out, but after he filmed an episode of “EWTN Bookmark” with Host Doug Keck, the book soared to #1 on the Catholic bestseller list and rose to #200 on Amazon – this is out of ALL their books, whether secular or religious, which his HUGE!

I had a chance to chat with this Catholic expert and discovered that he lived in Hawaii and, as a very young boy, was actually part of a television series with the late Brian Keith called “The Little People” aka “The Brian Keith Show.” He played the character of Billy, who was always getting into trouble! A quick Internet search uncovered an episode called “Sunday Fishy Sunday” that first aired on Nov. 9, 1973 – almost 40 years ago. Apparently, you can still see it on Netflix! Who would have thought little Billy would turn out to be a world renowned Catholic scholar!

Matthew appears on each episode of the new show with short 5-minute historical segments in which he discusses topics like how young men received their training for the priesthood during the early days of the Church and how that training changed for the better after the Council of Trent.

Debbie Georgianni, Community Relations Representative and Announcer for EWTN’s Phoenix radio affiliate, Immaculate Heart Radio, KIHP 1310 AM. Here, she is on the set of "Vocation Boom," a new series filming at EWTN.

Debbie Georgianni, Community Relations Representative and Announcer for EWTN’s Phoenix radio affiliate, Immaculate Heart Radio, KIHP 1310 AM. Here, she is on the set of “Vocation Boom,” a new series filming at EWTN.

Also visiting EWTN were one time guests on the show such as Debbie Georgianni, Community Relations Representative and Announcer for EWTN’s Phoenix radio affiliate, Immaculate Heart Radio KIHP 1310 AM, http://ihradio.com. Georgianni, who is also a motivational and public speaker, has been heavily involved in religious education and outreach to priests in her diocese. Her segment was eminently practical. She notes, for example, that many people invite their parish priest to dinner at their homes. But she stressed that it’s important to make this an occasion where your overworked priest can actually relax and recharge with good friends – no shop talk! Her advice: If you want spiritual direction, set up a session for that, but treat your priest as you would any other dinner guest. Then, you will truly be a blessing!

Sherry Kennedy Brownrigg talks about her apostolate, Maria Regina Cleri, on the set of "Vocation Boom," a new series filming at EWTN.

Sherry Kennedy Brownrigg talks about her apostolate, Maria Regina Cleri, on the set of “Vocation Boom,” a new series filming at EWTN.

I also ran into Sherry Kennedy Brownrigg. She’s a public relations and radio professional who helps Catholic organizations, apostolates and radio groups with their media needs. She resides in Nebraska, but you’ll find her everywhere from EWTN to the Caribbean, where she travels each year to teach the youth about communications and media. Although she’s usually helping others publicize their apostolates, she was on “Vocation Boom” to discuss her very own apostolate, Maria Regina Cleri. You’ll definitely want to check her website, www.prayingforourpriests.org.

The mission of the group is “the prayerful support of the ministerial priesthood and vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.” Her website offers books, CDs and downloads of the rosary, Stations of the Cross, Chaplet of Divine mercy for priests, and the Rosary for Vocations, and much of it is free. Says Brownrigg: “No priest, no Eucharist. Why wouldn’t we pray?”

You’ll meet all of these terrific people and more on “Vocation Boom” with Host Jerry Usher. I promise to let you know when EWTN launches this terrific new series!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Things You Don’t Know About EWTN, Fr. Mitch and More!

I’ve got lots of great tidbits for you this week – so let’s get started! • As you might imagine, all of EWTN is heavily involved in bringing you coverage of World Youth Day 2013! Not everyone understands that EWTN is not just one English-speaking network – it’s 11 television networks, which include two Spanish-speaking channels that broadcast 24/7. There’s also a Spanish-speaking radio network, Radio Catolica Mundial, and a Spanish news service (EWTN Noticias). And this year, the National Catholic Register has joined in the fun!

It looks like "Star Wars," but it's really one of our operators at the Control Panel at EWTN's headquarters during #WYD2013 coverage. It's behind-the-scenes employees like these who help make it happen!

It looks like “Star Wars,” but it’s really one of our operators at the Control Panel at EWTN’s headquarters during #WYD2013 coverage. It’s behind-the-scenes employees like these who help make it happen!

EWTN's crew at headquarters produces the pictures you see coming to you from Rio de Janeiro!

EWTN’s crew at headquarters produces the pictures you see coming to you from Rio de Janeiro!

These teams are sending back great pictures to those of us back home so we can update you on our social media sites – which include a Spanish Facebook page (and a Spanish website. As always, the crews in the field stand on the shoulders of the crew here in Alabama, a group of dedicated professionals who are laboring around the clock to bring you the Pope’s visit to his home continent! Are you enjoying our coverage?

What you see on your screen during our #WYD2013 coverage!

What you see on your screen during our #WYD2013 coverage is made possible by the EWTN employees like those shown above this picture!

• If you haven’t done so, don’t miss the opportunity to check out “WYD 360” yet – a technological marvel which gives you a 360 degree view of WYD venues! Find it on our website, http://www.ewtn.com and our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/ewtnonline (look under the Cover Image for the WYD 360 icon). What do you think?

JB Brown at the Reception Desk at EWTN's headquarters in Irondale shows off some of our #WYD2013 coverage!

JB Brown at the Reception Desk at EWTN’s headquarters in Irondale shows off some of our #WYD2013 coverage!

• You have probably heard rumors that EWTN will begin a nightly news program in September. They are TRUE! You will be hearing more about that next month. Meanwhile, JB Brown, EWTN’s On Air Promotions Manager, is traveling to D.C. shortly to film “EWTN New Nightly” Anchor Colleen Carroll Campbell both in the studio and around D.C. Sound easy? He says he had to get permission from the Capitol police to film at the Capitol, the Supreme Court police to film at the Supreme Court, the National Park Service to film at the Mall, and the Washington D.C. Film Commission to film on the streets of D.C. When I passed him in the hall, he was muttering something about possibly having to get permission from the Secret Service for some other shot. This is one hardworking guy!

Great new book by Janet Morana, co-host of "The Catholic View for Women" and "Defending Life" on EWTN!

Great new book by Janet Morana, co-host of “The Catholic View for Women” and “Defending Life” on EWTN!

• Have you had the opportunity to read “The Catholic View for Women” and “Defending Life” Co-Host Janet Morana’s new book, “Recall Abortion?” It’s fabulous! She handed me an autographed copy at the National Right To Life Convention, which I attended with EWTN Executive Vice President Doug Keck last month. (You’ll be seeing the fruits of that collaboration in an upcoming series –that’s all I’ll say for now!) But I digress! If you want to understand why abortion is morally reprehensible, if you want to understand how to answer the pro-abortion lobby’s false arguments, if you want to know what you can do NOW to make a difference, get this book, http://bit.ly/1aUm2ti. And please make sure you take her advice and sign this on-line petition, http://www.RecallAbortion.com, and urge others to do the same.

EWTN 25th Anniversary Celebration

EWTN’s own Father Mitch Pacwa, host of “EWTN Live” which airs 8 p.m. ET Wednesdays and other great programs!

• Finally, I just hung up from a great conversation with Fr. Mitch Pacwa who is in Stuebenville, Ohio for a few days teaching at their Summer Ancient & Biblical Languages Institute. He says he was recently at the Saint Arnold Brewing Company in Houston with friends when he was hit up by an ESPN crew, who had no idea who he was. They asked him to appear – spur-of-the-moment – on a show they were filming there and Fr. Mitch, who is always prepared, agreed!

He says that gave him the opportunity to explain who St. Arnold was and why he is the patron saint of brewers (of course, he knew that off the top of his head!), and to explain what the Bible says about drinking. “Is it a sin?” they asked. Father said they needed to look to the Bible for the answer. Psalm 104:15 says wine gladdens the heart of man. However, the Bible also says that drunkenness is a sin.

They even ended by asking for Fr. Mitch’s blessing. Fr. Mitch: Evangelizing WHEREVER he goes! If it airs, we’ll give you the link!

Hope you’re enjoying #WYD2013 as much as we are! God bless Family!

Posted in #WYD2013, Blog, Broadcast, Catholic, Catholic View for Women, Christian, Defending Life, EWTN, Janet Morana, Mitch Pacwa, Pope, Pope Francis, pro-life, Religion, Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Television, TV, Uncategorized, World Youth Day | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment