The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) is an American cable television network which presents Catholic-themed programming. It was founded in 1980 by Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation, PCPA (born Rita Antoinette Rizzo) and began broadcasting on August 15, 1981 from a garage at the Our Lady of the Angels monastery in Irondale, Alabama.
Initially offering just four hours of programming per day, EWTN began broadcasting around the clock in 1987. Shortwave radio station WEWN was established in 1992, and, in 1996, they began broadcasting on traditional AM/FM radio. EWTN also has a presence on Sirius Satellite Radio and offers Spanish broadcasts on all platforms. EWTN HD became available on December 8, 2009.
In addition to regular programs, such as a daily Mass, a daily praying of the Rosary, The World Over Live, Life on the Rock, The Journey Home, and Sunday Night Live With Fr. Benedict Groeschel, EWTN presents a variety of educational shows for adults and children. When necessary, special programming is also presented: coverage of the deaths of popes; papal conclaves, elections and inaugurations; Easter, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day Masses; papal visits; the installations of bishops, archbishops, and cardinals; and World Youth Day. Mother Angelica herself hosted her own talk-style show, Mother Angelica Live, but a series of health problems (most notably a severe stroke in 2001), forced her to eventually give it up. Aged 87, she currently resides at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama and rarely appears on television. The show now airs as Mother Angelica Live Classics.
EWTN has occasionally been the subject of criticism. A dispute led to the Holy See sending an Apostolic visitor to the network in 2008. Believing that it could lead to her being forced to give up the network, she turned EWTN over to a board of lay people. Thus, while EWT