Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
September 3, 2001
Mother Angelica fans must wait
Shaw Cable not yet ready to put EWTN on local airwaves
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — Alberta followers of Eternal Word Television Network should not get rid of their satellite dishes just yet.
Although the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission has added EWTN to the list of eligible satellite services for digital distribution, it may take months before the network can be accessed through cable, a Shaw Cable representative told the WCR.
"We receive requests from the public and we will be receptive to them," said Shaw Senior Vice President Michael D'Avella.
"Shaw needs to give priority to Canadian networks and programs," he said. "Once they have been satisfied, foreign networks will be reviewed."
It will be about four to six months before Canadians can finally access EWTN through cable, D'Avella said.
Shaw will talk with the Alabama-based network once they begin the process of considering the network for Canadian airtime.
In an earlier report, Fred Hill, a Regina businessman and Canadian spokesperson for EWTN, said Canadians who want to watch the Catholic network should let cable companies know they wish to receive the service.
Because it has an established Canadian audience, cable companies will likely want to include EWTN in their cable packages, Hill said.
The world's largest religious network, founded by Mother Angelica, a Poor Clare nun, is celebrating its 20th year of operation.
The network, which can be seen in more than 66 million homes in 38 countries, received mixed reviews from people who follow the network's show and from those who tune in for curiosity.
Sue Gretier, 56, bought a satellite dish two years ago specifically to access EWTN. The audiologist at the University of Alberta comes home from work and tunes in to the network whether she sits down to watch or simply listens while doing house chores.
"I absolutely love it," said Gretier, whose first encounter with the network was when she had a car accident and was confined to bed, two years ago.
"I got it for company, for entertainment, to pray with and it is also extremely educational," said Gretier, who watches EWTN almost exclusively.
Gretier, a cradle Catholic who was inactive for some time, attributes the network's programs for her coming back to Church.
The Chaplet of Mercy is Gretier's favourite show although she strongly praised the shows of Father Benedict Groeschel.
"I find that he can put in a nutshell very important concepts," Gretier said of Groeschel.
For Pius Schroh, a seminarian at St. Joseph Seminary, the network is an important tool for evangelization.
"It is solid. It gives solid orthodox teachings and not just pious stuff," said Schroh, who is studying for the Saskatoon Diocese.
Like Gretier, Schroh appreciates the wide array of programs available on the network.
"They have varied things like devotions, talk shows with bishops, priests religious, lay people as guests," Schroh told the WCR.
"(EWTN) is good for the shut-ins, because the network has daily Mass and that greatly helps them nurture their spirituality," he added.
Because it is a Catholic network, it covers major events like papal visits so people "don't have to rely on the secular media," said Schroh.
However, from one Newman College professor's point of view, EWTN would appeal most to people looking for basic catechetics with a black and white perspective.
"It was several years ago that I had the occasion to view some programs and I found them to be very American and in the U.S. their issues are different from ours," said Sister Fay Trombley, who teaches spirituality and Church history at Newman.
"Mother Angelica is a woman of good will and faith and has the courage of her convictions, though not everyone would agree with her stance," Trombley said.
Mother Angelica is selective in which Church teachings she will illustrate and support, noted Trombley.
"My recollection is that she moralized more than she theologized and at times she sounds more infallible than the pope," said Trombley.
After a priest told Gretier that EWTN caters to a particular perspective of Catholicism, she wanted to be cautious.
"Obviously I am getting a heavy dose of EWTN," she said.
"I hope other people can see the shows especially those who do not have access either to satellite dish or cable," said Gretier upon hearing that CRTC approved the Canadian airing of EWTN.
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