EWTN’s 2013 Family Celebration

It was great fun to be part of the 2013 Family celebration organised by EWTN. A vast auditorium at a conference centre, an opportunity to meet all sorts of colleagues from EWTN, some wonderful conversations with people from across America who came hurrying up to say “We love your programme!”…it was all tremendous fun, and I think was a great to boost to everyone’s morale.

And we need a morale boost because there are some tough times ahead. For me, a great highlight at the Festival was the session on Religious Freedom in which EWTN’s Michael Warsaw joined a team that also included a lawyer from the Becket Fund, discussing the various options available in response to President Obama’s imposition of compulsory funding of abortion and contraception through the new insurance scheme. Courage, commitment and wisdom are going to be needed in the months ahead. And looming up is the horrible threat of same-sex “marriage” and restrictions on the freedom of speech for anyone who opposes it…

The mood at the EWTN Family festival was upbeat. See Joan Lewis’ blog “JOAN’S ROME” for a vivid description of the “Women of Grace” special we presented on the Saturday evening…afterwards we all gathered to celebrate, and together we raised the wine glasses we had all been given – these were a lovely gift from Doug Keck’s wife for us, and bear the words “Too blessed to be stressed”. A lovely thought, and I have mine with me as I write this…

Not stressed, but certainly busy, as I flew on from the USA to Australia, to start a lecture tour! I have 3 new books coming out. Two are for children – Saints and Heroes for boys and Saints and Heroines for girls. The third book tells the story of Brigettines nuns in World War II who hid Jewish people in their convent in Rome. This is important as the debate still rages about the role of the then Pope, Pius XII, and it is becoming clear that the number of Jewish people saved in Italy – 80 per cent of all the Jews in the country – was due to the Pope and the Church. I think that one day Pius XII will be hailed as a “righteous gentile” and honoured at Yad Vashem. Meanwhile my small book tells the story of the Jewish family sheltered at the convent of St Birgitta on the Piazza Farnese, and I will be talking about it at meetings in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

I’m writing this in Sydney, where I’ve been spending a quiet day recovering after the long flight, and preparing for the various talks.