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Roma Downey's Little Angels View Comments
By John Feister

Downey is best known for her role as Monica on CBS's Touched by an Angel. She knows God's protection in real life, saying, "There are no coincidences."

PEOPLE EVERYWHERE still know her as Monica from TV’s popular Touched by an Angel series. She was the beautiful, sensitive angel with the lilting Irish accent, the star of the show. Over its nine-year
run on CBS, the show touched millions of lives with its simple message: that God has a plan for each of us and watches over us with a loving hand. The TV ratings agreed with what we all know: People long to hear that.

Roma Downey, now a parent of teens, is back with more angels. This time she’s the producer of Little Angels, a fun, animated feature for preschoolers and kindergartners. The DVD series is really aimed at young parents who grew up watching lots of TV and, like it or not, are using the TV to help them occupy their young children’s time. It’s being released as this issue of St. Anthony Messenger goes to press.

Roma invited Friar Jack Wintz and me to her oceanfront home in Malibu, California, where she and her husband, acclaimed producer Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Voice), are raising their family, to tell us the story.

As we sit on a backyard patio enjoying a cup of Irish tea, shaded from sun, waves crashing below the cliff at yard’s edge and birds chirping from nearby bushes, Thomas Merton’s No Man Is an Island sitting on a nearby table, Friar Jack and I share a long visit with Roma. She describes the program and its purpose, shows us some samples on her iPad, talks about her own life and some challenges of modern parenting. I couldn’t help but ask her a bit about Della Reese and those Touched by an Angel years, too.

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John Feister is editor-in-chief of this publication. He has master’s degrees in humanities and in theology from Xavier University, Cincinnati.

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Josephine Bakhita: For many years, Josephine Bakhita was a slave but her spirit was always free and eventually that spirit prevailed. 
<p>Born in Olgossa in the Darfur region of southern Sudan, Josephine was kidnapped at the age of seven, sold into slavery and given the name Bakhita, which means <i>fortunate</i>. She was re-sold several times, finally in 1883 to Callisto Legnani, Italian consul in Khartoum, Sudan. </p><p>Two years later he took Josephine to Italy and gave her to his friend Augusto Michieli. Bakhita became babysitter to Mimmina Michieli, whom she accompanied to Venice's Institute of the Catechumens, run by the Canossian Sisters. While Mimmina was being instructed, Josephine felt drawn to the Catholic Church. She was baptized and confirmed in 1890, taking the name Josephine. </p><p>When the Michielis returned from Africa and wanted to take Mimmina and Josephine back with them, the future saint refused to go. During the ensuing court case, the Canossian sisters and the patriarch of Venice intervened on Josephine's behalf. The judge concluded that since slavery was illegal in Italy, she had actually been free since 1885. </p><p>Josephine entered the Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossa in 1893 and made her profession three years later. In 1902, she was transferred to the city of Schio (northeast of Verona), where she assisted her religious community through cooking, sewing, embroidery and welcoming visitors at the door. She soon became well loved by the children attending the sisters' school and the local citizens. She once said, "Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him. What a great grace it is to know God!" </p><p>The first steps toward her beatification began in 1959. She was beatified in 1992 and canonized eight years later.</p> American Catholic Blog St. Paul talks about the Christian life as a race, and encourages us to run so as to win. So it’s not just OK, it’s commanded to be competitive, to strive to excel. But true greatness consists in sharing in the sacrificial love of Christ, who comes to serve rather than to be served. That means that this race St. Paul is talking about is a race to the bottom.

Conversations with a Guardian Angel

 
CATHOLIC GREETINGS
St. Josephine Bakhita
Today we honor the first saint from the Sudan, who was a model of piety and humility.

National Marriage Week
During this week especially tell each other how much your marriage means to you.

St. Valentine's Day
Schedule one or more e-cards today to be sent next Sunday.

Carnival
Create a festive atmosphere and invite friends over for one last party before the Lenten fast.

Catholic Schools Week
In the Catholic schools, parents know that their children are being formed as well as informed.


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