Network crew spent time in Knoxville recording ‘Living the Christian Life’ episodes that will air next month
By Bill Brewer
Eternal Word Television Network in September will begin broadcasting a 10-episode teaching series featuring Cardinal Justin Rigali, who will cover a range of spiritual topics aimed at enriching the faith.
An EWTN crew spent several days with Cardinal Rigali in 2017, recording him as he led the series. Part of the taping took place in the residence where Bishop Richard F. Stika and Cardinal Rigali reside, which has a fully appointed chapel.
Cardinal Rigali said he has worked with EWTN several times, providing commentary on various subjects, including a 15-episode TV series on Advent and some 17 talks on the Second Vatican Council. At the time, he was serving as the archbishop of St. Louis. He met with the global television network more recently about recording talks that are basic to the Catholic faith.
“These justify being seen as a program and that was my hope,” Cardinal Rigali said. “These cover a big field, but there is enough cohesion for a series.”
His newest EWTN series, titled “Living the Christian Life,” will cover faith, the mystical body of Christ, divine mercy, sin, the sacrament of penance, the Eucharist, Christian death, the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The series will be broadcast on the global television network from September through February, airing in 30-minute episodes on Mondays and Saturdays. EWTN said the series will debut on Sept. 3.
“I am very pleased with this project, and I hope people will find it useful,” Cardinal Rigali said, noting with optimism that EWTN reaches “an incredible number of people” – more than 250 million homes in 140 nations and territories.
In describing the series, EWTN said Cardinal Rigali’s talks “share a basic understanding of some of the most important tenets of the faith as well as a few spiritual devotions that can help anyone who struggles with living the Christian life.”
In the first installment, the cardinal discusses faith and its nature and importance, during which he talks about the important first condition for our holiness.
In the second installment, His Eminence reflects on the mystical body of Christ, which is the Church, and how we, as the Church, are related to Christ and how we collaborate with him in applying His graces of salvation to the world.
In episode three, Cardinal Rigali talks about one of the most exhilarating themes of God’s revelation: divine mercy. It is God’s love in the face of our needs and weaknesses.
Episode four with His Eminence looks at the deeply concerning topic of sin and how Jesus encourages us to repentance and unlimited confidence in our heavenly Father and in Him.
Episode five explores the sacrament of penance: “the Easter gift of the Risen Christ.”
In episode six, Cardinal Rigali discusses how the Eucharist is above all the mystery of Christ’s love for his Father. And the key to understanding the Eucharist is to understand that Jesus went to his death motivated by that great love.
Installment seven discusses how Christian death is our last act of faith and trust in God’s merciful love. And preparing for death is the greatest opportunity of our lives.
In installment eight, Cardinal Rigali discusses who the Holy Spirit is and what the Holy Spirit does.
Episode nine features the Blessed Virgin Mary. In this installment, Cardinal Rigali discusses how the Church honors Mary as the Holy Mother of God and the woman of salvation history.
Episode 10, the last installment in the series, features the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In it, Cardinal Rigali discusses how the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the summary and synthesis of what God has done for humanity; that love is seen as the driving force for our conversion of life and turning to God.
Cardinal Rigali expressed gratitude to EWTN for airing the series and said he has enjoyed his relationship with the Catholic cable network through the years. He noted that EWTN foundress Mother Angelica, PCPA, took a special interest in a program led by then-Father Richard F. Stika and then-Father Edward M. Rice of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, who discussed the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, long before they became bishops.
Bishop Stika has spoken about his admiration for Mother Angelica for her service to God as a religious in the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration and her work in creating EWTN.
EWTN remarked on the ongoing relationship it has with Cardinal Rigali and how that has translated to important faith-based programing.
“It is clear that Cardinal Rigali has devoted his life to sharing the Catholic faith, first as a layperson, then later as a priest, bishop, and cardinal,” said EWTN’s Jason Addington, who produced the “Living the Christian Life” series.
“Because of his steady example of a true missionary spirit, EWTN wanted to tap into the cardinal’s many years of experience and wisdom obtained through his tireless service to the global Church and reveal to our audience his personal insights on how to live the Christian life well,” Mr. Addington noted.