Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word
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The Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word (MFVA, Latin for Missionarii Franciscani Verbi Aeterni) is a Public Clerical Association of the Faithful, located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama. They were founded in 1987 by Mother Angelica, who also founded the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) and the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama.
The primary residence of the Friars is in Irondale, Alabama, and is next door to EWTN. They also have residences in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where their Seminarians attend the seminary at Mount Saint Mary's University, and in Hanceville, near the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
The Friars’ apostolate is to communicate the Catholic faith by word and example. It involves using the media: television, radio and the Internet, as well as publishing and conducting retreats. Currently, they focus their attention on the television and radio ministry, in addition to providing for the spiritual needs of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, the EWTN employees, and the visitors who come to EWTN and the Shrine.
Many of the Friars take classes during the school year, either at Mount Saint Mary’s University or in their own House of Studies adjacent to the Friary in Birmingham. In contrast to Franciscan communities that focus on the corporal works of mercy, the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word devote themselves to the spiritual works of mercy. Therefore, they study to gain a deep knowledge of the Catholic faith and practice communicating it effectively.
Adapting to the needs of the time, they have developed into an active religious institute, but still maintain elements of the contemplative life. In addition to praying the Liturgy of the Hours, the Friars devote an hour each day to Eucharistic Adoration and pray the daily Rosary. Spiritually, they are sons of Saint Francis of Assisi and Mother Angelica, and strive to imitate their zeal for the salvation of souls.
The community is composed of Priests and Seminarians, as well as Consecrated Brothers. With the Priests attending to the pastoral needs of souls, and the Seminarians to their studies, the Brothers have ample opportunity to serve the apostolates by supplying the common needs of the Friars and through varied assignments in the television, radio and pilgrimage ministries. As a family, or team, all the members share a common goal of continuing Christ Jesus’ work on Earth and bringing about His Eucharistic reign in the hearts of all people.