Fr. Lombardi Reflects on Mother Angelica

Communication doesn’t spring from technology, but from a heart full of the experience of God

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“Mother Angelica was a testimony that an intense spiritual experience is an engine of great communication,” according to another of the Church’s most high-profile communicators, the Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi.
The Jesuit offered this reflection about the foundress of EWTN on Friday, the day she was laid to rest after her death on Easter Sunday at age 92.
Fr. Lombardi was speaking to ZENIT at the end of a Mass offered in the Vatican for Mother Angelica.
“I thank Mother Angelica for what she did, as well as all those who collaborated with her,” said the Vatican’s spokesman. “In this perspective, let us build communion in the Church by working together, open mutually, to understand what each one of us can give for a common communion under the leadership of the Pope.”
EWTN – Eternal Word Television Network – is the largest Catholic radio and television network in the world, with 24-hour programming of religious content. The American Poor Clare nun, Mother Angelica, founded the network in 1981. She was born in Canton, Ohio, on April 20, 1926.
Fr. Lombardi added: “My message to EWTN, <whose staff> I consider friends and valuable people in collaboration to spread the message of the Pope, has always been to cooperate together, as in the communion of the Church, and not creating divisions or tensions between us or other things, because we can do much in communion.”
“An ecclesial vision of communion, in which these contributions are integrated, is vital,” he said, and EWTN’s contribution, inserted in this collaboration of communion and Church, is valuable. This is my attitude to EWTN, although knowing that there are persons who have difficulty collaborating with them, he said.
“I tried to collaborate with them both with Vatican Radio as well as the Vatican Television Center during the years in which I was in charge, because I always had a vision of collaboration in the Church, knowing that none of us can do it all, and if we can do much, it is precisely because we collaborate together,” he added.
Father Lombardi said that in “the broadcasts in English and Spanish for America, be it in EWTN’s radio or television, the contribution was extraordinary in the diffusion, because we would never have been able to take the Pope’s celebrations in Rome live on television to the Philippines and to great parts of Asia and Africa.”
He also pointed out that he met Mother Angelica when he attended a three-day meeting of Catholic radios and televisions of the U.S. and other countries, organized by EWTN at its headquarters in Alabama.
“I went as Director of Vatican Radio because it was a good occasion to get to know the media especially in the U.S., where <EWTN> had a very important role.” While there, Father Lombardi was taken to visit “the shrine of perpetual Adoration founded by Mother Angelica. Next to it is the Community where she lived. I was accompanied to the parlor and Mother Angelica came and I saw her.”
Although many years have gone by and Father Lombardi said he does not remember all the particulars, he does recall it as “a very moving meeting, and I was happy to be able to greet a person who had carried out such a great service to communication in the Church.”
The Vatican spokesman added the Poor Clare nun “greeted me very kindly. I don’t remember if it was an articulated communication or one of gestures and smiles. She was suffering from her illness then, but was fully conscious. She sent her greetings to the Pope who, if I’m not mistaken, was Benedict XVI.”
“I was very impressed by the force of this testimony, which not only generated communication through the Church’s media, but her communication was born from a profound and strong spiritual experience, in particular also of Adoration,” he said.
“Because the value of Mother Angelica’s witness is also the clarity that communication in the Church is not born primarily from technology and professionalism but from a heart that is very full of the experience of God and of love, which it is necessary to communicate to others,” concluded Father Lombardi.
He acknowledged, of course, that communication uses all the instruments that she was able to use and that she encouraged her disciples to use. “However, the point of departure is that of her spiritual message, which one lives first of all and then communicates outside. This is my little testimony on Mother Angelica.”

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Sergio Mora

Buenos Aires, Argentina Estudios de periodismo en el Istituto Superiore di Comunicazione de Roma y examen superior de italiano para extranjeros en el Instituto Dante Alighieri de Roma. Periodista profesional de la Associazione Stampa Estera en Italia, y publicista de la Orden de periodistas de Italia. Fue corresponsal adjunto del diario español El País de 2000 a 2004, colaborador de los programas en español de la BBC y de Radio Vaticano. Fue director del mensual Expreso Latino, realizó 41 programas en Sky con Babel TV. Actualmente además de ser redactor de ZENIT colabora con diversos medios latinoamericanos.

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