Background of EWTN
Irondale, AL - When Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) was launched on August 15, 1981, many felt there would be little demand for a Catholic network. Now, in its 23rd year, EWTN has become the largest religious media network in the world, transmitting programming 24 hours a day to homes in 144 countries and territories on 4,800 cable systems, wireless cable, Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS), low power TV and individual satellite users.
In the early 1960s, Mother M. Angelica, a Poor Clare nun, cloistered and dedicated to the perpetual Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, fulfilling a promise made to our Lord, founded Our Lady of Angels Monastery in Irondale, Alabama, in the Deep South. In one of her early evangelizing efforts Mother Angelica began writing "mini-books", short teachings on a variety of religious themes. As the popularity of these "mini-books" grew, her nuns obtained a printing press and started duplicating and distributing them worldwide.
Soon, Mother began receiving requests for speaking engagements, evolving into a video series of her talks taped at a local Birmingham television station. The Poor Clare nun, who knew little of the world of technology and communication, then built her own TV studio on monastery property in Irondale, which today is home to Eternal Word Television Network. What began 20 years ago as a garage-turned-TV-studio is now a state of the art audiovisual complex funded totally by gifts from individuals and groups and visited annually by thousands of pilgrims.
The heart of the network's programming, Mother Angelica Live, hosted by Mother Angelica, is broadcast before a live audience every Tuesday and Wednesday night. In addition to Mother Angelica Live, EWTN offers several live programs including the Daily Mass from the chapel in Irondale, Life on the Rock, a teen and young adult show with host Fr. Francis Mary, EWTN Live with Fr. Mitch Pacwa, The Journey Home with Marcus Grodi and The World Over with news anchor Raymond Arroyo. The network also airs documentaries, weekly series hosted by leading Catholic theologians, coverage of Church events in the U.S. and abroad, seasonal music specials, the Rosary and other devotional prayer segments.
"Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and tongue and people" (Rev 14:6)
In 1992, her vision ever expanding, through the generosity of the late Mr. & Mrs. Piet Derksen, Mother Angelica established the world's largest privately owned short wave radio station on a mountain top 20 miles from EWTN. The station broadcasts 24 hours a day in English and Spanish to areas of the world including those remote places not reached by television.
EWTN Global Catholic Radio reaches a potential audience of 600 million listeners. Telephone calls, e-mails, and letters are received from places as far away as India, China, Germany, Russia, Nigeria and Australia. Much of the programming is original and is produced at the station. In March 1996, EWTN launched a satellite-delivered AM/FM radio network offered free of charge to radio stations worldwide for re-broadcast locally in either English or Spanish.
Online Services provides a variety of Catholic resources to those with Internet capability. Here one has access to the Catholic Church's teachings on a wide variety of moral and theological issues made available in searchable audio and document libraries. The service offers online experts to answer questions about the Faith.
EWTN News produces a daily news service for the television network, the radio network and Online Services, featuring in-depth reports and summaries gathered from worldwide news sources including Vatican Radio.
Beyond the broadcast vision, however, first and foremost, the spiritual heart of the EWTN mission is to bring the Eternal Word of Jesus Christ to all. The religious centers of the network are visited daily by pilgrims who travel to Irondale to worship in the chapel or visit the newly constructed Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama. Visitors of all faiths are invited to "come away by yourself to a quiet place, and rest awhile" (Mark 6:31) and to pray before the most Blessed Sacrament, adored and loved perpetually by the cloistered nuns now living at Our Lady of Angels Monastery in Hanceville or by the faithful in Irondale.
Without making plans for the future, Mother Angelica, relying completely on Divine Providence, believes in going "where God opens the door." It is that deep and constant faith in the Lord, which has called Mother Angelica to act on God's invitation to do the impossible, through Him, who accomplishes the miraculous.