Solemn Vespers for EWTN's 25th Anniversary
Father Joseph Mary Wolfe, MFVA
Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament
15 August 2006
Solemnity of the Assumption
We welcome all of you who are with us through television, radio and internet to this gathering of EWTN employees and friends — as we pray and celebrate together what God, Who is mighty, has done, in these 25 years of the Eternal Word Television Network.
We come now to the conclusion of our 25th Anniversary celebrations in the very most appropriate place we could — before Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. This work began and was sustained through adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament — the Source of all fruitfulness — and this work will continue and be sustained in the years ahead through adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
It is only right, then, that we would come together — all of us who have labored together — sharing in joys and successes together — and supporting each other through difficulties, stress and tears. It is only right that we would come together tonight to pray and to adore together: before Jesus, with Jesus and in Jesus Christ our Eucharistic King Whom we love and serve.
Do you ever consider, dear friends, that we are part of an ongoing miracle — something that only God could have accomplished?
As I mentioned this morning at Mass, it was Mother's "fiat" — her "yes" to God — that began this great work. But other "fiats" other "yeses" to His plan were necessary, too, in order to bring this work to fulfillment. It was also the "fiats" of each of you, who are so dear to God, that was necessary for the fruitfulness of this work. Pope Benedict beautifully put it: We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. Your "yes" and mine were and are a part of God plan for making this work more fruitful.
Tonight we give thanks to Jesus, the Eternal Word — for inspiring and sustaining this work and we give thanks to Our Lady, our Mother in Heaven. We thank her, too, in a special way, under the title under with which the nuns turn to her daily: Our Lady of Good Remedy for interceding so beneficially for the financial needs of the Network and the Shrine.
Tonight I would also like to speak to all of you here who labor for EWTN — on behalf of all of our viewers throughout the world;
On behalf of all of those whose lives were once filled with self-destruction — until they found the Divine Physician, Jesus;
On behalf of those whose lives were so painfully lonely and who now are part of the Church's family and can join others in prayer and devotions through EWTN;
I would like to speak to all of you on behalf of those who are homebound and had though their lives no longer had any purpose, and who now know that each day is a gift and that their prayers and offerings are precious to God and to those for whom they pray;
And on behalf of the missionaries in distant parts of the world who have no other support except the encouragement they receive from EWTN's broadcasts.
I have heard from all of these groups and some of them have told me that they do not know what they would do without the Network.
On behalf of all of them, dear laborers in the Lord's vineyard, I thank you. Please continue to understand the value of what you do. Yours in not a job, but a mission from God to bring His light and His love to others. Each of you has been entrusted with many souls, and you must remember that it is for them that you work and labor.
Again from Pope Ben: There is nothing more beautiful than to know Christ and to speak to others of our friendship with Him. That is the essence of all evangelization: to know Christ and to speak to others of our friendship with Him.
Mother Angelica wrote, in her mini-book Jesus Needs Me:
To be the radiant light of Jesus is the mission of each Christian. Like the twinkle of a single star on a dark night, the Christian must give light and hope and raise the minds and hearts of all people to the Love and Mercy of God as Father and Lord.
The Christian's constant effort towards becoming a perfect copy of Jesus gives his neighbor hope. It fills him with a deep realization that there is an invisible reality strong enough to overcome every temptation, rise above every indignity, bear every cross and sustain joy no matter what happens.
Jesus needs that copy, that Christian, to help radiate His Power and Personality to the world. Paul put it beautifully when he said, "God makes us, in Christ, partners of His triumph and through us is spreading the knowledge of Himself, like a sweet smell everywhere. " (2 Cor. 2:14) "We are Christ's incense to God... You are a letter from Christ ... drawn up by the Spirit of the living God." "We are ambassadors for Christ; it is as though God were appealing through us. " (2 Cor. 5:21)
We are to radiate Jesus and the rays of that light will shine to the ends of the earth and envelope every nation and its people, because we work together with Jesus for the salvation of all mankind.
I learned from Raymond Arroyo's book that Mother Angelica threw the switch that launched EWTN on the air on, of course, August 15, 1981 at 6:00pm. Tonight at approximately that very moment, 25 years later, the nuns will sing the Te Deum which is translated at the end of your booklets and is a hymn which has been used by the Church since the 4th century to praise and give thanks to God.
O GOD, we praise You: we acknowledge You to be the Lord. Everlasting Father, all the earth does worship You. To You all the Angels, the Heavens and all the Powers, all the Cherubim and Seraphim, unceasingly proclaim: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts! Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Your glory.
Finally, listen to our prayers of intercession tonight chanted by our 2 cantors. The last 3 are the prayer that Mother Angelica offered just before EWTN went on the air. Think of it as a petition for even greater fruitfulness of the Network — but also think of it as a "prayer fulfilled". A prayer that God heard and so richly answered — blessing the programs that would issue forth from EWTN's facilities, inspiring men to seek holiness of heart, zeal for the extension of the Church, courage to seek after justice and human rights and patience to endure persecution. That prayer has been fulfilled in so many souls these past 25 years.
Now I would like to conclude as I began. That it is only right that the 25th Anniversary celebrations now come to completion where it all began 25 years ago — at the feet of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. As the nuns sing their solemn Magnificat tonight and our attention is focused on our Eucharistic Lord ( the incense representing our prayers rising before Him) — I encourage you to join in the refrain: Magnificat anima mea Dominum. My soul magnifies, my soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. Let our hearts rise in praise and thanksgiving to our Eucharistic King. He Who is mighty has done great things for us. Holy is His Name.