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Blog Post #6: Are They Goosebumps or God-bumps?

EWTN | Mother Angelica | Pilgrimage | Catholic Media | Holy Spirit 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019 by Carol Kurivial

Despite temps in the high 90’s, I was shivering yesterday as I walked to my car at the end of the day. I attribute it to being doused in the Spirit for approximately eight solid hours!

My husband had business in Alabama and had encouraged me to go along for the ride and some much needed R & R. Besides, he shared that the hotel he was staying in was very close to EWTN. Sold!! I’m in. Let’s go! 

Now this is a blog, not a book, so if you don’t know much about EWTN or Mother Angelica (the founder of EWTN) please take a moment and do some googling. You’ll get a good glimpse of how God works in the lives of those who are obedient, faithful, resourceful, and determined. She started the network in a garage on August 15, 1981 and today they are affiliated with more than 350 stations in the U.S. and more than 500 stations globally. Not bad for one, poor Clare nun! 

My pilgrimage to this Catholic powerhouse began with a quick visit to the bookstore. I wanted to see the latest and greatest in Catholic literature and resources. Four books and about 25 medals later I went on to reconciliation, and let’s just say it was invigorating. 

Honestly, in my six plus decades of life, I have yet to have a bad experience in a confessional. I could tell right away that this priest was on the extraordinary side. I jumped right in, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit...” as there were plenty of others waiting. I was very specific about my confession. So was my confessor. It’s the first time I remember grabbing paper and pen and taking notes. I would love to share what we talked about, but reconciliation is meant to be a private encounter. Let’s just say it was a great start to the day, and I left feeling refreshed, renewed, inspired, and, most importantly, forgiven. 

Next I found myself in a holding tank area, where I waited to be escorted onto the set of the @ Home with Jim and Joy Pinto Show. To my delight, I ended up sharing a small couch with two ladies from the Syracuse, New York area. We introduced ourselves and quickly became friends. Their names were Elizabeth and Karen and they turned out to be two of the most beautiful women of faith and amazing companions for the rest of my EWTN experience. (We found out the next morning we were even staying at the same hotel!! What are the chances?) I now have two new friends who I will carry in my heart and memory for life. Thank you, Elizabeth and Karen, for sharing your joy, kindness, compassion, and faithfulness. You made my pilgrimage unforgettable!

So there we were, chatting on the couch, when the crew summoned us into the studio. As it turned out, there were only four audience members in attendance, so we got lots of special attention. And by special, I mean Jim and Joy (a husband and wife team) and even their guests on the show, interacted with us throughout and made us feel like we were part of the family. Jim gave us a beautiful prayer card the minute he walked onto the set and encouraged us to pray it daily (Very cool!). Joy was a bundle of energy, complete with a fun-spirited nature. They were both very real and down to earth and just plain likable. I loved how they kissed each other at every break. 

Soon after the first show started, I again found myself reaching for my pad and pen. (Thank goodness I had thrown it in my purse at the last minute.) I ended up sitting through the taping of three shows and I’m so glad I did because all three were a wealth of knowledge and insights. 

The first show was all about the different ways we might choose to console the heart of Jesus. Danielle Rose (the Catholic singer/song-writer) was on the line and shared that she likes to console the heart of Jesus by treating Him like a normal person and by loving those around her. She used the example of giving her child a cup of milk when they need it. It’s all about the simple things. 

A woman by the name of Marguerite called in and shared that she likes to console Jesus by telling Him how sorry she is when she sees and hears people doing and saying things that she knows will hurt Him. She likes to apologize to Jesus on their behalf and her own. She also likes to console Jesus in Adoration. There were lots of other thoughts well worth listening to and if you tune in tomorrow (September 11) you can hear them for yourself. 

But the whole thing got me thinking about how I most like to console Jesus. And I’d have to say that placing Him in my space is one of my favorites. I like to pay attention to detail...what He’s wearing, how He’s sitting or standing, what kind of mood He’s in...things like that, and then I’ll just chat with Him, smile at Him, ask Him questions, like, “What are You thinking about right now?” We just hang out, but we’re together. Sometimes I hold His hand or lay my head on His shoulder. It’s my own kind of adoration that I can do at home or on the road. I oftentimes, like Marguerite, end up telling Him how sorry I am about the things going down that I know are disappointing Him and causing Him pain. How about you? What’s your favorite way to console Jesus?

In the second taping, they had invited the National Director of Guard of Honor, Fr. Sean O’Mannion, to the show. His message was profound as he encouraged us to take our turn by spending one hour each day to give glory, love, and reparation to our Lord through prayer, awareness, sacrifice, and just making ourselves present at the foot of the cross. He made the point that the cross is an ever-present reality for Jesus, and, like our Blessed Mother, Mary Magdalene, and the beloved apostle, John, we too, need to stay present to Jesus. After all, this is a great way to show our gratitude. We so easily forget that Jesus is, was, and always will be both human and divine, and His crucifixion was a great act of love that many of us tend to take for granted. Fr. O’Mannion gave the example that if someone changed the oil in our car, we’d be so grateful and we’d easily voice that gratitude. But Jesus died for our sins and offenses and we barely think to even say thank you. He said that you don’t have to stop what you’re doing or go into a church to devote yourself to this hour...just be aware that you are offering up everything you do in that hour for the sacred heart of Jesus, and in so doing, you are being present to Him, you are guarding Him, and you are honoring Him. 

Jesus' crucifixion was a horrible thing. Can you imagine the abandonment He felt? And only a small handful of people were there to love and support Him. Mary, Mary Magdalene and John were his Honor Guard, but we all need to do the same. They suggested we go to, educate ourselves on this beautiful prayer form, and consider giving an hour of our day to help guard the sacred heart of Jesus. Pretty powerful stuff! 

Actually, this is just a small sampling of all I experienced during my time in the studio. Be sure to watch the shows this Wednesday through Friday (September 11-13) to get all the meat and potatoes. Trust me, there was plenty to feast on. 

I was in the studio for almost three hours and it felt like 30 minutes. I almost missed the 2:45 tour given by one of the Franciscan brothers and that experience was a real treasure as well. We were taken into the inner workings of the operation, and although I’ve seen the tech side of a TV studio many times, I was blown away by this one. 

At the end of the day I participated in both the Rosary and Benediction with the Franciscans and it was the perfect ending to my pilgrimage. As I walked to the car I realized that I hadn’t eaten in over eight hours and wasn’t particularly hungry, I think because my soul had been so well fed throughout the day. Again, I noticed that although the temps were in the high 90’s, I had goosebumps, or should I call them God-bumps? As I floated to the car, I could feel the swirl of the Holy Spirit and felt so grateful for a spunky, faith-filled nun, who answered the call, not knowing where it would lead and founded a life-changing network. What a great day at EWTN! Thank you, Mother Angelica!!        

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