Monday, October 05, 2009

Pope awards Mother Angelica and Deacon Bill Steltemeier highest papal honor, the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal

Praise the Lord. What a well-deserved honor.

Updated: Pope honors EWTN founder Mother Angelica

By Greg Garrison -- The Birmingham News
October 05, 2009, 3:57PM

Bishop Robert Baker, center, presented medals Sunday to Deacon Bill Steltemeier, left, chairman of EWTN, to EWTN founder Mother Angelica, with Sister Margaret Mary, right, accepting on Mother Angelica's behalf. (Special to The Birmingham News)

Mother Angelica, 86, the nun who founded the world's largest religious network, rarely leaves her bed these days and didn't make it to a ceremony Sunday awarding her a papal honor.

Pope Benedict XVI awarded the Cross of Honor for distinguished service to both Mother Angelica and Deacon Bill Steltemeier, 80, chairman of the board for EWTN, the network Mother Angelica founded in 1981 in a garage at the Our Lady of Angels Monastery in Irondale. The monastery has since relocated to Hanceville, while the Global Catholic Network remains headquartered in Irondale.

Bishop Robert Baker, head of the Catholic Diocese of Birmingham, presented the medals and certificates to Mother Angelica and to Steltemeier.

Sister Margaret Mary, the mother vicar of the monastery, received the framed document and medal on Mother Angelica's behalf in the public part of the ceremony Sunday at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville.

Mother Angelica's frail health restricts her activities, said EWTN spokeswoman Michelle Johnson.

"She doesn't really do ceremonies," Johnson said. "She doesn't make public appearances right now."

Mother Angelica came to Alabama in 1961 to found the monastery in Irondale. After she started the network, Steltemeier left his Nashville law practice to help run what has become one of the largest religious media networks in the world. EWTN can be seen in 150 million households in more than 140 countries and territories.

See also:

From CNA, "Papal award validates mission of EWTN, says CEO" and "Mother Angelica awarded top honor by Pope Benedict XVI."

From WAFF 48 News Huntsville, "Pope honors Ala. nun of Catholic television fame"


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