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Mother Angelica’s funeral to be broadcast live on media network she founded

Mother Angelica

The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) will broadcast the funeral of Mother Angelica live on Friday.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11am on Friday at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Hanceville, and interment will immediately follow in the Shrine’s Crypt Church.

Mother Mary Angelica died on Easter Sunday at the age of 92 at her order’s Our Lady of Angels Monastery in rural Alabama.

Mother Angelica was born Rita Rizzo in Canton, Ohio, in 1923. She entered the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration monastery in Cleveland at age 21 and joined other nuns in moving South to open a new monastery in Alabama in 1962.

Known to millions of viewers simply as ‘Mother Angelica’, she founded EWTN in 1981. With only $200, Mother Angelica began broadcasting a religious talk show from a TV studio put together in the monastery garage in suburban Birmingham. That show grew into EWTN, which has long had the blessing of the Vatican.

She had been in declining health since suffering a severe cerebral hemorrhage on Christmas Eve 2001. She never regained her full speaking ability and had other, less-severe strokes through the years.

Bedridden for months, Mother Angelica was placed on a feeding tube in the autumn as her health slowly declined, fellow nuns at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery said in an announcement released in November.

“Mother has always, and will always, personify EWTN, the Network which she founded. In the face of sickness and long-suffering trials, Mother’s example of joy and prayerful perseverance exemplified the Franciscan spirit she held so dear. We thank God for Mother Angelica and for the gift of her extraordinary life,” said Michael P Warsaw, EWTN Chairman and Chief Executive Officer said on Sunday.

Despite its humble beginnings, EWTN Global Catholic Network calls itself the world’s largest religious media network. It has 11 TV networks that broadcast Catholic programming to more than 258 million households in more than 145 counties and territories.

Eternal Word’s radio operation includes a global shortwave broadcast; satellite and internet radio channels; and more than 300 Catholic radio affiliates in the United States. Its print services include the National Catholic Register newspaper, the Catholic News Agency and EWTN Publishing Inc.

The non-profit broadcaster reported total revenues of $46 million in 2013, the last year for which tax records are available. Of that, $45.4 million came from donations.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said in a statement Sunday that Mother Angelica will live forever in the hearts of those touched by her sermons.

“On this Easter Sunday, it is only fitting that the Lord chose today to call home one of his humble servants, Mother Angelica. She devoted her life to ministry, converting untold numbers of people to the Church. She left an indelible mark on Alabama, the Catholic Church and the world as a whole,” Bentley said.