.- After Mother Angelica and Deacon Bill Steltemeier were given an award by Pope Benedict, Mike Warsaw, the CEO of EWTN, and Raymond Arroyo told CNA that they are overjoyed and grateful that Mother's work is being recognized.
Speaking to CNA, Mike Warsaw said, "I am very happy and excited for both Mother Angelica and Deacon Bill Steltemeier. This honor from the Holy Father is a recognition of the blood, sweat and tears that each of them have shed throughout the years in starting and building up EWTN."
Although Mother Angelica has encountered opposition in launching her television network, Warsaw stated, "Mother has always been a faithful daughter of the Church, and for her to be acknowledged for her tremendous faith and perseverance in the face of so many obstacles is certainly fitting."
Raymond Arroyo shared Warsaw's assessment, telling CNA, "This long deserved papal honor is truly validation of Mother Angelica's incredible work. The media empire that she founded has changed hearts and minds all over the world.
"Those who have attempted to marginalize Mother Angelica or minimize her enormous contribution to the Church and broadcasting must pause and acknowledge what the Holy Father has: that there is no other Catholic in the last 40 years who has done more to further that cause of evangelization or reach the common man than Mother Angelica," Arroyo said.
Warsaw also had words of praise for Deacon Bill, remarking, he "has sacrificed so much for the Network throughout the past three decades. He gave up an incredibly successful law practice to stand at Mother’s side and help her build EWTN. His devotion to Mother Angelica and her mission is an inspiration. I think the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award is a wonderful expression of gratitude to both of them for their service to the Church."
Both men agreed that the award is a validation of the importance of the network's mission.
"By recognizing the service of Mother Angelica and Deacon Bill, I believe our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI is also affirming the work and the mission of EWTN on behalf of the Church. That is a tremendous support and encouragement," Warsaw said.
As Raymond Arroyo put it, "I feel privileged to be a part of that legacy and to be a part of continuing her mission of Truth in joy."