Twin Religious Celebrate Living ‘Icons of Jesus’
Meet Media-Savvy Friar-Brothers Angelus and Innocent Montgomery, Radio and TV Hosts
Perfectly timed for this Year of Mercy, and ready to share the good news of what many young people are doing, is a three-part special called Icons Spotlight that will be seen on EWTN. The inspiration for producing this show came from its on-camera hosts, Brothers Angelus and Innocent Montgomery, of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. They also happen to be twins.
In a world of bad news and negativity, with a lot of struggle and hopelessness, Brother Angelus points out that this series will be a counterweight. “The icons that we have on the show are the good news of what Christ can do in someone’s life,” he said.
“With Icons Spotlight, we want to shout from the rooftops that Jesus is alive and in the hearts of young people living for him,” he explained. “That’s what this show is celebrating. We want to share their remarkable stories with everyone.”
As icons are liturgical art, often described as windows into heaven, the show’s subjects are “living icons” — living “windows” showing God’s love in action in many ways.
Brother Angelus describes the format as intimate conversations with young people on how they are living for Christ. “It’s a really beautiful, candid, intimate way of getting at the heart of someone’s relationship with Christ,” he said. “And it’s honest sharing and witnessing that what young people do is definitely and truly needed at this time in the Church, in the culture and in the world.”
Because everybody is moved by stories, noted Brother Innocent, “We want to celebrate young people living in the faith. We praise God for their lives” and hope their personal stories will capture the hearts of viewers.
Adds Brother Angelus, “We put the spotlight on them to share in a real way what God is doing in their lives.” In a sense, they’re icons of Jesus.
Mercy in Action
Brother Angelus noted the timing could not be better. “This particular special is a Year of Mercy special,” he emphasized. “All of our guests are truly living the works of mercy in their lives.” He summarized their stories this way: “I received God’s mercy, and so I’m now called to give mercy to others.”
What can viewers look forward to? Brother Angelus said in the first half of each episode, young people tell how they met Christ and how he has a profound impact on their lives. Then the second half highlights how, after their encounter with Christ, they couldn’t help but share this gift of Christ with the world.
One deals with Carmen Casterone, a young lady working with refugee families on the Texas-Mexico border. “She had this powerful encounter with Christ in her life, and belonging to a community and a family, and she wanted to go give that to others who don’t have that as they come across the border,” Brother Innocent said. Now, she’s dedicated “to serving these refugees, especially the children, and helping them to encounter Christ.”
Another puts into the spotlight husband-and-wife Nathan and Monica Herber and their amazing story of facing personal struggles and then finding God working in their hearts, as they adopted a baby boy.
“They encountered God’s mercy in their suffering, and they were able to open their hearts to someone who didn’t have a family,” said Brother Innocent of this beautiful couple.
Icons Spotlight also focuses on Eric Mahl, a former NFL player now associated with a Marian religious order who serves the poor on the streets in the Northeast.
Brother Angelus said, “The key is how they received the mercy.”
Twins in Media
As members of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, Brothers Angelus and Innocent are putting much effort into their media movement between their studies for the priesthood and their ministry with the friars. Both do ministry work in the New York area, serving in a variety of apostolates with the poor. It’s a long way from where these twin brothers grew up in Nebraska, but they love being friars. Both speak with fervor and enthusiasm of their shared vocation.
“My brother and I are excited to go out in the Catholic world,” emphasized Brother Angelus, “to put the spotlight on people who are living icons of Jesus in the way they passionately live their faith.”
Once Icons Spotlight airs on EWTN in the summer of 2016, it will be available online at the twin friars’ IconsMedia.org website. Brothers Angelus and Innocent have established Icons Media as a platform for a radio show and other media projects, as well as celebrating those who are living their faith in the world. Icons Media is produced by the Live Greater Foundation (LiveGreaterFoundation.org) in Olathe, Kan., a nonprofit dedicated to spreading the Gospel through new media and organizing projects around the country to serve the poor.
On their radio show Icons Impact, the duo look forward to chatting with Catholics about how they have experienced God’s love in a personal and real way. The show airs on Relevant Radio, 1430 AM in the New York metro area. (It can also be found at IconsMedia.org.)
Brother Angelus feels blessed by a team that is “super-talented and totally elevating the game. They’re committed to the Lord and excited about the work and the end product.”
“We’re really trying to make it attractive to young audiences,” he said, emphasizing that he and Brother Innocent are partnering with EWTN to launch Icons Spotlight. He added that they and their brother Franciscan Friars of the Renewal are grateful for a continuing partnership with EWTN.
Brother Innocent also expressed appreciation in light of Pope Francis inviting people to bear witness to mercy during this special jubilee year.
“We are grateful we have this opportunity to reveal that Jesus is alive in people’s hearts and grateful to present the Gospel in this way,” he said. “We can celebrate how the Gospel is alive in peoples’ hearts and use Catholic media to help celebrate that.”
Joseph Pronechen is a
Register staff writer.
ICON DUO. These real-life brothers enjoy being Franciscans who share the beauty of art with the world. Courtesy of Brother Angelus Montgomery