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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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Bernard of Clairvaux: Man of the century! Woman of the century! You see such terms applied to so many today—“golfer of the century,” “composer of the century,” “right tackle of the century”—that the line no longer has any punch. But Western Europe's “man of the twelfth century,” without doubt or controversy, has to be Bernard of Clairvaux. Adviser of popes, preacher of the Second Crusade, defender of the faith, healer of a schism, reformer of a monastic Order, Scripture scholar, theologian and eloquent preacher: any one of these titles would distinguish an ordinary man. Yet Bernard was all of these—and he still retained a burning desire to return to the hidden monastic life of his younger days. 
<p>In the year 1111, at the age of 20, Bernard left his home to join the monastic community of Citeaux. His five brothers, two uncles and some 30 young friends followed him into the monastery. Within four years a dying community had recovered enough vitality to establish a new house in the nearby valley of Wormwoods, with Bernard as abbot. The zealous young man was quite demanding, though more on himself than others. A slight breakdown of health taught him to be more patient and understanding. The valley was soon renamed Clairvaux, the valley of light. </p><p>His ability as arbitrator and counselor became widely known. More and more he was lured away from the monastery to settle long-standing disputes. On several of these occasions he apparently stepped on some sensitive toes in Rome. Bernard was completely dedicated to the primacy of the Roman See. But to a letter of warning from Rome, he replied that the good fathers in Rome had enough to do to keep the Church in one piece. If any matters arose that warranted their interest, he would be the first to let them know. </p><p>Shortly thereafter it was Bernard who intervened in a full-blown schism and settled it in favor of the Roman pontiff against the antipope. </p><p>The Holy See prevailed on Bernard to preach the Second Crusade throughout Europe. His eloquence was so overwhelming that a great army was assembled and the success of the crusade seemed assured. The ideals of the men and their leaders, however, were not those of Abbot Bernard, and the project ended as a complete military and moral disaster. </p><p>Bernard felt responsible in some way for the degenerative effects of the crusade. This heavy burden possibly hastened his death, which came August 20, 1153.</p> American Catholic Blog One of the things that we need to remember is that we’re preaching Jesus, not the institutional Church. It’s easy to get caught up in the rules and regulations of the institution and forget that we are saved not by the Church but by the person of Jesus or the Church as the body of Christ.

 
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