Joseph Pronechen is staff writer with the National Catholic Register since 2005. His articles have appeared in a number of national publications including Columbia magazine, Soul, Faith and Family, Catholic Digest, and Marian Helper. His religion features have also appeared in Fairfield County Catholic and in one of Connecticut’s largest news dailies. He holds an MS degree and formerly taught English and courses in film study that he developed at a Catholic high school in Connecticut. Joseph and his wife Mary reside on the East Coast.
EWTN’s Family Celebration is just around the corner and is sure to draw great attention in a special way as it will feature events celebrating “The Life and Legacy of Mother Angelica.”
The annual Family Celebration has always uplifted EWTN fans and newcomers and filled them with joy. This annual event for this 36th anniversary of EWTN will surely do the same during the two days it runs — Sept. 17-18 — in the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex in downtown Birmingham, Ala.
“This year’s EWTN Family Celebration is our first since the death of Mother Angelica and provides us with an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on the extraordinary life of Mother and what she meant to her EWTN family and to the world," EWTN Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Warsaw noted.
“Our celebration will include many wonderful events throughout the weekend,” he explained, “and I’m especially pleased that EWTN Chaplain Father Joseph Mary Wolfe, Johnnette Benkovic (Women of Grace), Jim & Joy Pinto (At Home with Jim & Joy), Father Wade Menezes (The Crux of the Matter), and Doug Keck (EWTN Bookmark) will join me on stage Saturday night for a special live show.”
What can people coming to the Family Celebration can look forward with that live show honoring EWTN Foundress Mother Angelica who passed away on Easter Sunday, Mar. 27, 2016?
Warsaw gives a hint of what’s in store. “We will share our memories, and answer audience questions about the nun whose faithfulness to God left a legacy of which all of us can be proud.”
Surely we’ll hear personal stories of her love for Jesus and people, miraculous making of EWTN, and quiet suffering.
Something for Everyone
The Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex is a really large, very comfortable site where everyone feels relaxed meeting the folks from EWTN, browsing around the remarkable gift shop, enjoying a snack with the family, watching the children participate in some fun and games, and listening to the fabulous speakers.
Speaking of speakers, this year they include Michael Warsaw; Doug Keck, EWTN’s president and chief operating officer and host of EWTN Bookmark; Jim and Joy Pinto, parents of four, grandparents of 16, and co-hosts of the EWTN’s popular At Home with Jim and Joy; Johnnette Benkovic, author, speaker, and longtime host of EWTN’s perennially popular radio and television shows, Women of Grace;.
Add to that Raymond Arroyo, host and creator of EWTN’s award-winning international news magazine, The World Over Live and author of several books including the best-selling biography Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve and a Network of Miracles (he’s also edited three books on Mother Angelica); and Father Wade Menezes of the Fathers of Mercy who has been a regular EWTN guest on different shows and produced a number of series for the EWTN Network including Crux of the Matter and Thirst for Truth, Battle for Souls.
This upcoming five-star weekend will also welcome Chris Stefanick of Real Life Catholic speaking and then interviewing the young winners of EWTN’s “Cool to be Catholic” Video Contest.
Children will get to see and talk to some favorites from EWTN’s Kids Faith Factory. In the “Kid’s Corner” they will meet Rob Evans The Donut Man & Dunkin’ who will be performing at scheduled times throughout the events.
And Brother Leo of Hey Brother Leo! will be there with an array of fun and interesting experiments and games to make life exciting for children of all ages to learn about their faith.
Children can even browse through the EWTN Kids interactive website.
Whether with or without children in the dining area, no one need miss events because monitors will be presenting them.
Adults can head to the “Meet the Author” area to chat with some of their favorites from among EWTN’s popular ones like Raymond Arroyo, Johnnette Benkovic, Joan Lewis from Rome, Chris Stefanick and more.
Over in the “EWTN Family Corner” people can meet and greet some favorite EWTN hosts, as well as some of the Franciscan Friars.
Some of the staff of The National Catholic Register which keeps everyone informed on the hottest topics regarding our Faith will be there to greet the folks and chat with them. By the way, see what Bishop Robert Barron has to say about the Register.
Whether a regular listen or still not familiar with EWTN Radio, all those coming to the celebration will be treated to EWTN Radio broadcasting live from the Convention complex.
EWTN’s Thom Price and Elena Rodriguez will anchor radio coverage throughout the weekend. There will be not-to-be-missed interviews with many popular EWTN Radio hosts including Jim and Joy Pinto, Joan Lewis, Doug Keck, the Franciscan Friars and many others.
Naturally, everybody at the Family Celebration will have the chance to meet and chat with friars from the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word, so many of who have become family friends as viewers watch EWTN’s various programs and Mass celebrated in the EWTN chapel.
Mass and More
What would an EWTN Family Celebration be without Holy Mass? Mass on Saturday will be celebrated by the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word. Then on Sunday, Bishop Robert J. Baker of Birmingham will again be there to celebrate Mass.
Always well-received by so many coming to the Family Celebration is the sacrament of Confession. Many take this time during the weekend to receive the sacrament. So will you.
Another big plus. Throughout the weekend, there is a chapel with adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament that will again draw many folks to spend some time with our Lord Jesus during this EWTN family event. Surely they’ll say a prayer of thanks for EWTN and ask Jesus to bless it to overflowing to reach even more souls for him.
Everyone attending the Family Celebration can also expect another superb array of religious articles and goods from the EWTN Religious Catalogue coming along too. An array of holy reminders, books, tapes and other religious articles from the EWTN Religious Catalogue collection will be ready to take back home.
Extra Spiritual Bonuses of Beauty
My, there’s so much. And if you’re coming from a distance like in previous years where folks have traveled from Europe and from across the United States, by all means get in a pilgrimage visit to EWTN’s Studios in Irondale. It’s only a short drive away. Tour the place, and pray in the heavenly chapel you’ve attended via television so many times for morning Mass on EWTN.
Then extend the pilgrimage with a 45-minute drive to Hanceville and the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament where Mother Angelica was laid to rest. There, the Poor Clare Nuns reside. The grounds, the church and the shrines are truly celestial and exceptionally holy ground.
See everybody there!
For more information, and a schedule of events, visit EWTN.com/FamilyCelebration
See a minute video here