Evangelists Pg 5
"How then are they to call upon Him in whom they have not believed? But how are they to believe Him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear, if no one preaches?" ROM 10:14
There are many ways to preach and evangelize. It is not just reserved for the Evangelicals or perhaps, the Billy Grahams.
We will see many brave men and women through the ages evangelize: some quite boldly, some creatively, and others quite quietly.
Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation, PCPA (born Rita Antoinette Rizzo; April 20, 1923 – March 27, 2016), also known as Mother Angelica, was a Catholic American Poor Clare nun best known for her television personality. She was also the founder of the internationally broadcast cable television network Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) and the radio network WEWN.
In 1981, Mother Angelica started broadcasting religious programs from a converted garage in Birmingham, Alabama. Over the next twenty years, she developed a media network that included radio, TV, and internet channels as well as printed media.
Mother Angelica hosted shows on EWTN until she had a stroke in 2001. She continued to live in the cloistered monastery in Hanceville, Alabama, until her death at age 92 on March 27, 2016 (Easter Sunday).
Mother Angelica was born Rita Antoinette Rizzo on April 20, 1923, in Canton, Ohio, in a community of African-American and Italian immigrant mill workers. Of Italian-American background, she was the only child of John and Mae Helen Rizzo (néeGianfrancesco). Her father, a tailor by trade, abandoned the family when Rizzo was only five, and her parents divorced two years later. On March 10, 1931, her mother was granted custody of the young Rizzo, and her father ordered to pay five dollars a week in child support. Her mother only received "intermittent child-support payments from the father". While maintaining full custody, her mother struggled with chronic depression and poverty. This was in part because being a divorcée carried a social stigma at the time and the opportunities for a woman to secure income were limited especially in the height of the Great Depression.
Looking back at her childhood, Mother Angelica described herself and her mother as being "like a pair of refugees". "We were poor, hungry, and barely surviving on odd jobs until Mother joined the dry cleaning business as an apprentice to a Jewish tailor in our area. Even then, we pinched pennies just to keep food on the table." The pair lived with her maternal grandparents, moving out for a time between 1933 and 1937, but were forced to return because of financial pressures. Matters were complicated when her grandfather, Anthony Gianfancesco, suffered a stroke in their absence, which paralyzed him on one side and required him to use a cane.
Rizzo attended a convent school, but disliked the nuns there, whom she recalled as being "the meanest people on earth" and treating her with harsh discipline due to her parents' divorce. She then attended Canton McKinley High School, where she was one of the school's first drum majorettes. She later told an interviewer, "I did very poorly in school. I wasn’t interested in the capital of Ohio. I was interested in whether my mother had committed suicide that day." Rizzo developed no intimate friendships in high school, partly because of her fear that it would further upset her mother, who might see other demands for attention as a threat. Rizzo never dated, recalling later, "I never had a date, never wanted one. I just didn't have any desire. I suppose having experienced the worst of married life, it was not at all attractive to me."
In 1939, Rizzo, feeling overwhelmed by crowd noise and school chatter, began to leave McKinley High in the afternoons. She was given calcium and nerve medication to treat what was deemed a nervous condition. When  her mother's mental condition seemed to worsen, she made arrangements with her grandparents to have her sent to Philadelphia to be with a relative.
A stomach ailment that Rizzo had from 1939 continued to cause severe abdominal pain, despite the extensive medical treatment she received. Her mother took her to Rhoda Wisewho was hailed as a mystic and stigmatic and "who claimed to receive visions of St Thérèse of Lisieux." Wise instructed Rizzo to perform a novena (a nine-day course of prayers) and made the girl promise that she would spread devotion to the saint if she was cured."
On the novena’s final day, January 18, 1943, Rizzo declared that she woke up with no pain and the abdominal lump causing it had vanished. This experience profoundly touched her; she believed that God had performed a miracle and she traced her lifelong commitment to God to this event. She later told an interviewer "[at that point] I knew that God knew me and loved me and was interested in me. All I wanted to do after my healing was give myself to Jesus."
"'We don't understand the awesomeness of living even one more day... I told my sisters the other day, 'When I get really bad give me all the medicine I can take, all the tubes you can stuff down me. ... I want to live. ... Because I will have suffered one more day for the love of God ... I will exercise you in virtue. But most of all I will know God better. You cannot measure the value of one new thought about God in your own life.'"
Mother Angelica held the Catholic belief in Redemptive suffering, the belief human suffering can become meritorious if offered to Jesus Christ and mystically united with His suffering. Because of this belief, in her period of declining health Mother Angelica "instructed her nuns to do everything to keep her alive, no matter how much she suffered, because every day she suffered, she suffered for God." She wanted every day to be "one more act of suffering to God." EWTN chaplain, Father Joseph Mary Wolfe, MFVA told reporters that Mother Angelica's desire to unite with Jesus in suffering was fulfilled when she "went into her death throes on Good Friday".
Father Wolfe recalled that "Mother began to cry out early in the morning from the pain that she was having. She had a fracture in her bones because of the length of time she had been bedridden. They said you could hear it down the hallways, that she was crying out on Good Friday from what she was going through. These two people [a caregiver and one of the sisters of her order] said to me she has excruciating pain." Wolfe said that "After the 3 o'clock hour arrived on Good Friday she was more calm, she was more peaceful." He also said that by the following day he made a point of putting himself in a position where her open eyes might focus on him and thanked her for the witness of her faith and "teaching us how to love Jesus more". By 5:30 am on Easter Sunday, Wolfe was contacted by Mother Delores who told him that Mother Angelica "was really struggling, she wasn't doing very well." Wolfe went to her bedside to administer the Catholic last rites with the sisters of her order in attendance. The sisters prayed their morning prayers, the Divine Office, around her bed. As it was Easter, the prayer was liturgically required to contain Alleluias, which are usually not contained in the office for the dead – a fact that Wolfe felt had significance. Around 10:30 am, Father Paschal offered Mass in her room and she received her last communion (Viaticum). Priests and nuns continued to pray around her bed into the afternoon. She took her last breath shortly before 5:00 pm, and died.
Mother Angelica had a profound impact on millions of souls, Catholic as well as non-Catholic, through the television and radio network that she founded. Her warm, candid and sometimes humorous talks were not just informative but instructive for good, sound Catholic living.
Some great videos:
Bishop Fulton J. Sheen
Venerable Fulton J. Sheen
"There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be."
Fulton John Sheen (born Peter John Sheen, May 8, 1895 – December 9, 1979) was an American bishop (later archbishop) of the Catholic Church known for his preaching and especially his work on television and radio. Ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoriain 1919, Sheen quickly became a renowned theologian, earning the Cardinal Mercier Prize for International Philosophy in 1923. He went on to teach theology and philosophy at the Catholic University of America as well as acting as a parish priest before being appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York in 1951. He held this position until 1966 when he was made the Bishop of Rochester from October 21, 1966, to October 6, 1969, when he resigned and was made the Archbishop of the titular see of Newport, Wales.
For 20 years as Father Sheen, later Monsignor, he hosted the night-time radio program The Catholic Hour on NBC (1930–1950) before moving to television and presenting Life Is Worth Living (1951–1957). Sheen's final presenting role was on the syndicated The Fulton Sheen Program (1961–1968) with a format very similar to that of the earlier Life is Worth Living show. For this work, Sheen twice won an Emmy Award for Most Outstanding Television Personality, and was featured on the cover of Time Magazine. Starting in 2009, his shows were being re-broadcast on the EWTN and the Trinity Broadcasting Network's Church Channel cable networks.Due to his contribution to televised preaching Sheen is often referred to as one of the first televangelists.
The cause for his canonization was officially opened in 2002. In June 2012, Pope Benedict XVI officially recognized a decree from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints stating that he lived a life of "heroic virtues" – a major step towards beatification – and he is now referred to as "Venerable."
A popular instructor, Sheen wrote the first of 73 books in 1925, and in 1930 began a weekly NBC Sunday night radio broadcast, The Catholic Hour. Sheen called World War II not only a political struggle, but also a "theological one." He referred to Hitler as an example of the "Anti-Christ." Two decades later, the broadcast had a weekly listening audience of four million people. Time referred to him in 1946 as "the golden-voiced Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen, U.S. Catholicism's famed proselytizer" and reported that his radio broadcast received 3,000–6,000 letters weekly from listeners.
In 1951 he began a weekly television program on the DuMont Television Network titled Life Is Worth Living. Filmed at the Adelphi Theatre in New York City, the program consisted of the unpaid Sheen simply speaking in front of a live audience without a script or cue cards, occasionally using a chalkboard.
One of his best-remembered presentations came in February 1953, when he forcefully denounced the Soviet regime of Joseph Stalin. Sheen gave a dramatic reading of the burial scene from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, substituting the names of prominent Soviet leaders Stalin, Lavrenty Beria, Georgy Malenkov, and Andrey Vyshinsky for the original Caesar, Cassius, Marc Antony, and Brutus. He concluded by saying, "Stalin must one day meet his judgment." The dictator suffered a stroke a few days later and died within a week.
Sheen was credited with helping convert a number of notable figures to the Catholic faith, including agnostic writer Heywood Broun, politician Clare Boothe Luce, automaker Henry Ford II, Communist writer Louis F. Budenz, Communist organizer Bella Dodd, theatrical designer Jo Mielziner, violinist and composer Fritz Kreisler, and actress Virginia Mayo. Each conversion process took an average of 25 hours of lessons, and reportedly more than 95% of his students in private instruction were baptized.
Fallout with Cardinal Spellman
According to the foreword written for a 2008 edition of Sheen's autobiography, Treasure in Clay: The Autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen, Catholic journalist Raymond Arroyo wrote why Sheen "retired" from hosting Life is Worth Living "at the height of its popularity ... [when] an estimated 30 million viewers and listeners tuned in each week." Arroyo wrote that "It is widely believed that Cardinal Spellman drove Sheen off the air."
Arroyo relates that "In the late 1950s the government donated millions of dollars' worth of powdered milk to the New York Archdiocese. In turn, Cardinal Spellman handed that milk over to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith to distribute to the poor of the world. On at least one occasion he demanded that the director of the Society, Bishop Sheen, pay the Archdiocese for the donated milk. He wanted millions of dollars. Despite Cardinal Spellman's considerable powers of persuasion and influence in Rome, Sheen refused. These were funds donated by the public to the missions, funds Sheen himself had personally contributed to and raised over the airwaves. He felt an obligation to protect them, even from the itchy fingers of his own Cardinal."
Spellman later took the issue directly to Pope Pius XII, pleading his case with Sheen present. The Pope sided with Sheen. Spellman later confronted Sheen, stating, "I will get even with you. It may take six months or ten years, but everyone will know what you are like." Besides being pressured to leave television, Sheen also "found himself unwelcome in the churches of New York City.
Spellman cancelled Sheen's annual Good Friday sermons at St. Patrick's Cathedral and discouraged clergy from befriending the Bishop." In 1966, Spellman had Sheen reassigned to Rochester, New York, and caused his leadership at the Society for the Propagation of the Faith to be terminated (a position he had held for 16 years and raised hundreds of millions of dollars for, to which he had personally donated 10 million dollars of his own earnings). On December 2, 1967, Spellman died in New York City.
Did Archbishop Fulton Sheen prophesy about the condition of (many parts of) our Church today?
“[Satan] will set up a counterchurch which will be the ape of the [Catholic] Church … It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content.
We are living in the days of the Apocalypse, the last days of our era. The two great forces – the Mystical Body of Christ and the Mystical Body of the anti-Christ – are beginning to draw battle lines for the catastrophic contest.
The False prophet will have a religion without a cross. A religion without a world to come. A religion to destroy religions. There will be a counterfeit Church.
Christ’s Church the Catholic Church will be one; and the false Prophet will create the other.
The False Church will be worldly, ecumenical, and global. It will be a loose federation of churches and religions, forming some type of global association.
A world parliament of Churches. It will be emptied of all Divine content, it will be the mystical body of the anti-christ. The Mystical Body on earth today will have its Judas Iscariot, and he will be the false prophet. Satan will recruit him from our Bishops."
We live in a time of such confusion in the Catholic Church. Sermon by Fulton J. Sheen on the “Signs of the Times”. Listen to the sermon through video (below) :
"He had a knack for getting to the heart of the matter and presenting the truth unabashedly throughout his entire life. He was a prolific writer and epic Catholic personality whose allegiance was no secret. He was a soldier for Christ here on earth and he continues in that vein now in death. He had much to say, a lot of it quite pithy." *
A FEW WISE QUOTES & FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
“The barbarism of the new era will not be like that of the Huns of old; it will be technical, scientific, secular, and propagandized. It will come not from without, but from within, for barbarism is not outside us; it is underneath us. Older civilizations were destroyed by imported barbarism; modern civilization breeds its own.”
“A popular God-is-dead book in the United States argues that homosexuality will become normal in a humanistic society where there is no restriction of morals which come from religion. St. Paul declared homosexuality and atheism were related to one another as effect to cause.”
“Humility is not self-contempt but the truth about ourselves coupled with a reverence for others; it is self-surrender to the highest goal.”
“Physical idleness deteriorates the mind; spiritual idleness deteriorates the heart.”
“In the Church (post-Vatican II) began a yearning for the lusts of the world. Think of it! ‘In Egypt we had fish for the asking, cucumbers and melons, leeks and onions and garlic.’ Abortion, violence, divorce and repudiation of vows which belonged to the Egypt of the world were now by some accepted or defended. No longer was a solid, moral phalanx thrown up against the spirit of evil. It was no longer what the Church believed or the Holy Father taught, or what the Word of God cautioned; the individual conscience of and by itself became the sole standard of right and wrong: ‘Each of us doing what he pleases’ (Deuteronomy 12:8).”*
Bishop Fulton Sheen was a brilliant Godly man who was sensitive to the times and was prophetic in his time. He gave to Catholics and to the world words to contemplate and live by. Courage and spine comes to the man not afraid to call sin, a sin.