Honorary Archbishop of Philadelphia (US), Bishop Charles Chabot, has been honored as the first winner of the annual “Mother Angelica” award presented by EWTN, the world’s largest Catholic television network.
EWTN President and CEO Michael B. Wardo the award to Bishop Chabot during a ceremony on August 15 that was broadcast to the world. The date also marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Catholic Television Network.
“This award was created as a means of recognizing Mother Angelica and her legacy by honoring people who have dedicated their lives to serving the Church, particularly to the service of the new evangelization, just as Mother Angelica herself did.” Warsaw said.
“When we first proposed this award, no one in my mind was more deserving of it than Archbishop Chabot,” he stressed.
The award was originally scheduled to be presented in 2020 during a face-to-face event in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event has been cancelled. Instead, the network presented the award as part of a televised program broadcast to more than 380 million households in 150 countries and territories, as well as through the EWTN’s multiple radio and digital platforms.
Archbishop Chabot, 76, retired in 2020 as Archbishop of Philadelphia. He previously served as Archbishop of Denver and Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota. The Archbishop also recently resigned from the EWTN Board of Directors after 25 years of service, including 10 years of service as Vice President. He has appeared frequently with Mother Angelica on EWTN over the years and was the main celebrant at her funeral mass in 2016.
During the award ceremony, spectators heard the thoughts of the Archbishop’s many friends, who all paid tribute to him for empowering, encouraging and enabling the development of apostles such as FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), Augustine Institute, ENDOW (Education for the Nature and Dignity of Women) and many others.
During this event, Warsaw interviewed the Archbishop about his service to the Church, his years of support for the Arab World Network, and its mission. “In many ways, it was a model for how the bishop could work with lay leaders to advance the church and evangelize,” Warsaw said.
Archbishop Chabot said he was empowered by the Acts of the Apostles and the words of Pope Benedict XVI, who reminded everyone that the church’s responsibility is not only the job of the clergy.
“The laity don’t work for the clergy. We are responsible together. I really think it’s true,” said Monsignor Chabot.
During the interview, Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia recalled his first television show with Mother Angelica, in which he spoke about the damage feminism is doing to the world and the church.
I said, ‘Well, you’re a feminist. Maybe of a different kind, but you’re a feminist nonetheless,” I remember her laughing out loud.
“I was reluctant to say it because I thought she might be offended, but she wasn’t,” Bishop Chabot continued.
“She was a happy person, and nothing could surprise her. She could simply respond to what they said. So our days together were truly a blessing, and I am grateful to God that he continues his work at EWTN today, and for the people who made it possible: the donors and the people who work on the programs, as well as the heroes programs. They are all working together to carry on this mother’s dream, and to make the gospel relevant and accessible to everyone in their homes,” he continued.
Bishop Chabot also noted that he and Mother Angelica had one more thing in common: the two had always been very proud of being Franciscans. That created a bond, but their friendship and Franciscan spirituality didn’t mean they always agreed.
The bishop, who served as a district for the Capuchin community in Denver before becoming bishop, said Franciscans are taught to trust in providence and not plan ahead. However, he did not understand that this meant that his community should not have a budget. When it was suggested that the World Television Network would do the same, the mother refused.
“I thought it was a sin against Providence. We had some serious discussions about it, but I never persuaded her,” said Monsignor Chabot.
Warsaw referred to Mother Angelica: “She always told me that she believed that her testimony before the world, after her departure, would trust in Providence. In his autobiography on Pope St. John Paul, George Weigel referred to him as a “witness of hope.” I often referred to Mother Angelica. As a Witness of Providence because that has always been the focus of her life. It is an integral part of EWTN’s DNA.”
Archbishop Chabot agreed. “The true heart of Franciscan spirituality is to see the world as a daughter or son of God. If God is our Father, we trust in Him, and if God is our Father, we are brothers in one another… [Madre Angélica] He has shown us during his life that there is no problem in trusting God because God is always faithful to his promises.”
Bishop Chabot gave two advice to those engaged in the new evangelization, as did Mother.
First, he said, “No matter how old we get or how much we suffer, if you look at the things you should be grateful for, they give you a happy heart. I don’t know what eternity will be like. We have no idea what God has in store,” said St. Paul. For those he loves and for those who love him, but I look forward with longing and joy to the adventure of eternity, in which I firmly believe and in which I trust.”
Second, the archbishop suggested that all those involved in the new evangelization should overcome frustration and despair and maintain a sense of adventure.
“The world around us has changed and is more difficult than it was before. The temptation, then, is despair…or at least frustration…you stop seeing life as an adventure, but as something you have to put up with,” said Monsignor Chabot.
“I think it is important for us to maintain a sense of adventure about faith, and that God has given us a difficult world, which makes the work of evangelism more exciting and not less exciting. But we can’t do it the old-fashioned way… We have to be creative and try to respond to the world as it is. Rather than responding to what we expect.”
Archbishop Chabot continued: “I therefore encourage people to be enthusiastic and to be passionate and to find like-minded friends so as not to give in to discouragement and to make the world that God gives us a place where his word can be, I declare with joy and confidence.”
You can find more information about the Mother Angelica Award and the ceremony at www.ewtn.com/award.
On its 40th anniversary, EWTN is the world’s largest religious media network. EWTN’s 11 television channels are broadcast in multiple languages 24 hours a day, seven days a week to more than 380 million television homes in more than 150 countries and territories.
EWTN platforms also include SIRIUS/XM radio services, iHeart Radio, and more than 500 local and international AM and FM radio operators; global shortwave radio service; One of the largest Catholic sites in the United States; Electronic and print news services, including the ACI Group, The National Catholic Register, and several world news services, as well as EWTN Publishing, its book publishing division.
Translated and adapted by Diego Lopez Marina. Originally Posted in CN.
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