blackcatholichistory2-1

The Arlington Diocese celebrates Black Catholic History Month with the theme: Getting Married and Staying Married. A Day of Reflection to celebrate Black Catholic History Month in the Catholic Diocese of Arlington will be held this Saturday, November 19th from 8:30 am to 12 p.m. The event will take place at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Vienna, Virginia.  “Getting Married and Staying Married” was selected by the National Black Catholic Congress. According to the American Psychological Association, about 40-50% of all married couples in the United States get a divorce. And, the divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher.

The keynote speakers are Andrew and Terri Lyke. They run the ArusiNetwork, which looks at marriage from an African worldview that defines the “I” in the “we” and emphasizes the role of the community as a beneficiary and stakeholder of marriage. The ArusiNetwork stresses that just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a church to sustain a committed, lifelong, healthy marriage.

blackcatholichistory1

Our day got started very early. We were up and at ’em around 6:30 a.m. to prepare for Mass at 7:00 a.m. which was immediately followed by another monstrous breakfast. At 9:00 a.m. was the Opening Presentation by EWTN’s Chairman of the Board and CEO Michael Warsaw and Doug Keck, the President and COO. After their welcome, Bishop Kevin Vann took to the microphone again, this time as the Keynote Speaker.

Following the opening ceremony, all of the stations broke off to meet with their EWTN Regional Marketing Manager. The workshops and talks began at 11:00 a.m. There were workshops focusing on everything from FCC compliance, to fundraising strategies, as well as best practices and protecting the Apostolate and social media ideas. David and I split up the workshops, making sure we could cover as much ground as possible. We will take what we learned and implement those ideas as we continue to strive to make WMET the best that it can be.

The highlight of the day was a special presentation at noon. Michael Warsaw Doug Keck, and Raymond Arroyo sat down for an open talk in “Celebrating the Life & Legacy of Mother Angelica.” These three men had such beautiful stories to tell about Mother. There were a lot of laughs, a few moments that tugged at your emotional strings, and an indelible impression of Mother Angelica by Raymond. The talk lasted an hour, but we could’ve sat there for the rest of the day listening to the stories and lessons that Mother Angelica left.

After an hour of downtime, the conference reconvened at 6:00 p.m. for the Annual Dinner and Awards Show. The Wynfrey Ballroom C was turned into an elegant dinning room with two large screens for the awards. Quite the ordeal! The dinner played second fiddle to the entertainment of the night which included many of the hosts that we hear everyday on the GRN. My personal favorite performance was Fr. Leo Patalinghug. He brought six volunteers on stage (Myself, Tim Motte, Richard Reyna, Kent Loney and Dave Vacheresse) and we held wooden planks. Fr. Leo continued to break all three wooden planks in half (elbowing my finger in the process). The award ceremony allowed these hosts a platform to display various other skills that we otherwise wouldn’t have known they possessed.

The dinner and awards show ended with a video of Mother Angelica dancing to a Mariachi band and halfway through the video a live Mariachi band came out and a makeshift conga line broke out as they closed out the show.

Check back tomorrow to find out about our last day at the EWTN Catholic Radio Conference.

God Bless.

Raymond Arroyo, Michael Warsaw, and Doug Keck giving a special presentation about Mother Angelica

Raymond Arroyo, Michael Warsaw, and Doug Keck giving a special presentation about Mother Angelica

A piece of the board broken by Fr. Leo

A piece of the board broken by Fr. Leo

L:R (Michael Washabaugh. Richard Reyna, David Hornbek, and Martin Arizmendi)

L:R (Michael Washabaugh. Richard Reyna, David Hornbek, and Martin Arizmendi)

Raymond Arroyo next to a picture of Mother Angelica

Raymond Arroyo next to a picture of Mother Angelica

The dinner layout

The dinner layout

Award Show Stage

Award Show Stage

 

Wednesday was Pilgrimage Day. The GRN family was up and at it early for a big breakfast spread. In the main hallway, a smorgasbord of fruit, eggs, sausage, a pot of bacon, a vat of grits (delicious!), and different pastries awaited us. After we ate our fill, we boarded the buses and headed out towards Hanceville, a little more than an hour away from our hotel. The scenery was something straight out of a book. As we were driving, there were dilapidated houses next to beautiful country houses. Tall oak trees lines the streets and little ponds were seen throughout.

We arrived at The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament and were led through the courtyard into the lower church. The courtyard itself was something I’ve never seen before. It was likened after the piazzas found in Europe. Once we were in the Lower Crypt Church, Fr. Wade Menezes gave an inspirational talk on the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Among the points that stood out was the fact that when in confession, the confessor is more likely to go too in depth. That is something that scares people off. Instead, Fr. Wade encouraged us to simply confess the type of sin and the number of times we’ve done that sin. Nothing more, nothing less. After the speech, the conference went upstairs to the main church where confessions were being heard.

The Main Church, or Temple of the Divine Child, was the most beautiful church I’d ever been in. Taking on a Romanesque-Gothic style, the back of the alter was gilded and the monstrance was simply majestic! Bishop Robert Baker, of the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama, said mass with half of it in Latin. After mass,we had a good barbecue lunch and then some free time to roam the grounds. I went on the John Paul II Eucharistic Center Tour while others went to the gift shop of El Nino to pick up rosary rings, prayer coins, and other reminders of their trip. I also took that time to go back to the Lower Crypt Church and was able to pray at Mother Angelica’s final resting place.

At 2:15 p.m. we met in the Lourdes Grotto for a Private Rosary. The Grotto was designed after the actual Lourdes Grotto in France and there was a piece of rock that came from the real Grotto. The alter contains 33 relics from saints. After we prayed the Rosary, we had about a half an hour which I took to do self-reflections before we boarded the bus.

Our next stop took us to the EWTN studios. We were given dinner and a tour of the campus before we were led into the studio and sat in as the live studio audience for EWTN Live with Fr. Mitch Pacwa and his guest Bishop Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Orange, California. Our very own David Hornbek was able to ask a question and had it answered live! Following the show we were able to see Mother Angelica’s office! It was left as it was when the miracle occurred that allowed her to walk without a braces or crutches.

That concluded my first pilgrimage and it remains as one of the most inspirational days of my life, especially in regards to my spiritual life. The beauty and reverence of the day will never be forgotten.

Tomorrow, I will recap the workshops that we attended throughout the day.

God Bless.

 

 

img_0352img_0341img_0337img_0348img_0285img_0316img_0332

 

archbishop_daniel_dinardo          imgres

According to the Catholic News Agency, the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops have elected a new president and vice-president.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston was elected as the new president. Cardinal DiNardo previously served as the vice-president since 2013, and will serve a three-year term. Meanwhile, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles will take over the role of vice-president.

Archbishop Gomez, the highest ranking Hispanic bishop in the United States, currently leads the largest United States diocese. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles serves over 4 million Catholics.

Cardinal DiNardo beat out 10 other candidates by a wide margin. He ascertained 113 votes, while the second place finisher for the presidency, Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans, only managed to gain 30 votes.

Everyone at 1160 AM WMET would like to congratulate Cardinal DiNardo and Archbishop Gomez on their new positions.

Last week, 1160 AM WMET joined numerous other Catholic radio stations at the 17th annual EWTN Catholic Radio Conference. David and I flew out of Ronald Reagan National Airport at 6:45 a.m. on Tuesday and arrived in Birmingham, Alabama around 2:00 p.m. After checking into our rooms and resting (both of us had been up since 3:30 a.m.), we picked up Richard Reyna of the South and Central Texas GRN station and Tim Motte of 1430 AM KSHJ of Houston. The four of us ventured to Dave Vacheresse’s house of the Alabama and Florida GRN stations. There, along with members from a radio station in Toledo, Ohio, we all broke bread and enjoyed a delicious dinner. As the night wore on, including a rousing game of Family Feud (Dave Vacheresse is quite the host!) and the crew from Ohio left, the rest of us joined together and prayed the Holy Rosary. This allowed me to realize that the next three days were truly going to be special. We made it back to our hotel for a couple hours of shut eye before one of the most inspirational days of my life would take place.
img_0278                                                   img_0281

Check back each day for the rest of the week to read about the rest of the conference from my perspective!

God Bless!

box_of_joy_logo_lr

Through Cross Catholic Outreach’s Box of Joy program, you can ensure children in impoverished countries such as Haiti, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic are not deprived Christmas blessings this year. St. Thomas More Academy in Middletown, Maryland is supporting this program and needs help from the community to ensure its success.

Here’s how it works: Pick up a Box of Joy from St. Thomas More Academy or just use any standard shoe box. First, choose a gender and age range between 2 to 14, then label your Box of Joy. Next, go shopping and personally select gifts to bring joy to a child — small toys, hygiene items, school supplies, hard candy, etc. Please no liquids, food or combat items.  For each Box of Joy, please include $9 in an envelope inside the box. This covers the $7 shipping cost  and $2 to support the life-saving ministries of those working with the children. Then, drop off your Box of Joy to St. Thomas More Academy  November 11-13. Last, pray for the mission and children who will receive the Boxes of Joy.

The address for St. Thomas More Academy is 103 Prospect Street Middletown, MD 21703. For more information on St. Thomas More Academy or their Box of Joy program, click here.

[youtube clipid=”BZsNR61qr_s” autoplay=”0″]

 

imgres

The 40 Days of Life Closing Ceremony in Washington D.C. will take place this Sunday, November 6th at 1 p.m. People will gather for the roughly hour long ceremony on the sidewalk at 1225 4th St. NE, Washington D.C.

The ceremony will include pro-life guest speakers, as well as a display of the mobile ultrasound vehicle used by ABC Women’s Health and Ultrasound Center to provide images of unborn babies to women experiencing unexpected pregnancies. There will also be a brief summary of “When a Friend Says “I’m Pregnant,” a pro-life presentation designed to give young women and men information they can use to help persuade a friend who’s experiencing an unexpected pregnancy choose life.

Prayers for life and hymns will be sung, so if you plan on going, plan on being active!

The 40 Days of Life is the largest internationally coordinated pro-life mobilization in history, helping people in local communities end the injustice of abortion through prayer and fasting, community outreach, and peaceful vigils.

 

Fr. Greg Shaffer speaks at the Pre-Election Day of Reflection. Photo by: Mary Cunningham

 

Sixteen years ago, tragedy struck the Catholic church. Monsignor Thomas Wells was found murdered at the Mother Seton Parish rectory in Germantown, MD. On Saturday, community members met at Sacred Heart Church in Bowie, MD for a “Pre-Election Day of Reflection.” The event put on by the Msgr. Thomas Wells Society featured exuberant talks centered around Msgr. Wells’ highmarks of Joyful Evangelization, Fearlessness in the Marketplace, Modern-day Martyrdom, and Devotion to the Eucharist. The day included lunch, confession, as well as fellowship. Fr. Jim Stack, Fr. Dan Leary, and Fr. Greg Shaffer all spoke to the crowd. “In his life and in his death, Fr. Wells inspired vocations to the priesthood,” said Fr. Shaffer in a 2010 post.

This became especially evident with his nephew. Fr. Dave Wells, the nephew of Msgr. Wells. Fr. Wells, was merely a teen at the time of the tragedy. He began to entertain the thought of entering the priesthood following the passing of his uncle, and was ordained six years ago. Fr. Wells also spoke on Saturday.

The Msgr. Thomas Wells Society provides personal, spiritual, and financial support for seminarians.