I recently discovered the new television platform ICONS: Real People. Real Presence while cruising the Internet in search of fresh programming. I call ICONS a platform intentionally, because I believe that when this project rolls out fully, it will be far more than just a television show. Today, I’m happy to introduce the two very cool and holy geniuses behind ICONS. Two members of a set of triplets, Brother Innocent and Brother Angelus have set out to create something very special for young people. In the conversation below, I think you’ll get a sense of how their energy and vision combine to make this a project that has the potential to do great things for our Church and her young people.
Q: Brother Innocent and Brother Angelus, welcome to CatholicMom.com and congratulations on the launch of ICONS! Please briefly introduce yourselves to our readers.
Brother Angelus: We are Br.’s Innocent and Angelus Montgomery. We are from Lincoln, NE (Heart of the Midwest!) and we’re members of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in NYC. We’re currently studying to be priests at St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers, NY.
Brother Innocent: A unique fact: We are triplets! We have a sister, Katie, who is a mother of three. She still lives in Nebraska.
Brother Angelus: For a few more fun facts about us visit the “team” page of our website: http://iconstv.org/the-team/.
Brother Innocent: Much as we love talking about ourselves (NOT!) what we’re really excited to share with everyone is a new project we’re working on — a TV show called, ICONS: Real People. Real Presence. It’s a show about young people who have the faith to change the world.
Q: We’d love to hear your vocations stories! Can you each share briefly on how you found your way to the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal?
Br. Innocent: I went to college seminary out of high school in Nebraska. While we were in college, my brother and I visited New York City to do some mission work with the Missionaries of Charity. That is where we met the CFR’s (Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal). As I finished seminary, the thought of religious life had been on my heart and also I had a growing desire to serve the poor. The CFR’s kept coming up in my prayer, so I decided to visit. The rest is history! I joined in 2007 and now I am in final vows. God willing, I’ll be ordained a deacon in May and I’ll be a priest a year from now. Thanks to God!
Br. Angelus: I swore that if Br. Innocent was going to be a priest that the Lord would not call both of us! His ways are not our ways! After 4 years of college and a degree in Public Relations, I discerned that seminary was the place for me. After my pre-theology it was quite clear that the same attraction was on my heart for consecrated life and felt a genuine call to serve poor and spread the Gospel. I joined the CFR’s in 2009. Now am in final vows and will be ordained (God willing!) in 2018.
Br. Innocent: We are so grateful to God for the call to be consecrated to Him!
Q: Now you’ve launched ICONS: Real People. Real Presence! How did this project get started and what do you want our readers to know about ICONS? What is your mission with the show?
Br. Angelus: We got an invitation from EWTN to create a television show that could reach the hearts of young people. So grateful and exciting!
Br. Innocent: Media is having such an influence on the lives of young people today. We were inspired to create a show that would be relevant and attractive to a young audience. Let’s face it – everybody is connected to some device! We want to take the message of the Gospel to them where they live … on line and on TV.
Br. Angelus: Watch out! (jk- don’t be scared!) …ICONS is about telling stories that celebrate the lives of young people who are living for Christ in our increasingly secular and difficult world. They are revealing His presence to everyone around them.
Br. Innocent: ICONS is going to be a fast paced, upbeat, documentary-style show. We want to take Catholic television out of the studio and into the streets!
Br. Angelus: You can read more about our mission here: http://iconstv.org/mission/
Q: What are some of your ideas for using media and technology to share the faith?
Br. Angelus: Our desire is to be relevant. We want to be engaged and plugged in to the internet, social media and all the places where young people are spending time and getting information. We want at least some of that information to be about Christ and how to live a meaningful Christian life.
Br. Innocent: We are excited to respond to the call of St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis to be “missionaries to the digital continent.” We want to take the good news of the Gospel into the digital world, where often there is not a lot of good news.
Br. Angelus: We have a wonderful and talented team to help us get the message out there!!
Q: Can you each give us a tip on how you keep your own prayer life as a priority in the midst of your busy lives?
Br. Innocent: As consecrated religious men our prayer life and relationship with the Lord is primary. Scheduling the time is key! Usually early in the morning is a quiet and beautiful time to be with the Lord.
Br. Angelus: We both get up early, make the coffee (which is foundational in religious life!) and make sure we spend some quality time with the Lord.
Br. Innocent: We also have a Eucharistic Holy Hour with our Brothers at the Friary every evening, which is a nice way to pray together and spend time with the Lord.
Br. Angelus: Everyone is busy in their own way. Time with the Lord has to be a priority – we will never be outdone in generosity! The Lord’s blessings and grace are abundant!
Br. Innocent: Amen to that!
Q: Who are some of your spiritual “icons”… saints or living spiritual giants who have set an example for you?
Br. Angelus: St. John Paul II has had a huge impact on our vocations and desire follow Jesus. He was a true disciple of Jesus, a man who used his gifts, loved those around him and had a tremendous influence on the Church. He was a man who was so gifted, but also so grounded. He was so centered and real.
Br. Innocent: Of course – St. Francis, for obvious reasons, had a huge impact on our vocations. A radical disciple of Jesus, lover of the poor, and a man who spent himself for the Gospel.
Br. Angelus: We are also moved by the witness and example of our family. Our parents continue to witness heroic generosity and sacrifice to us. Our siblings, who are now married, are beautiful ICONS of the married vocation. They are witnesses of love, joy, and peace to both of us.
Br. Innocent: Every vocation is called to witness to Christ and we are surrounded by great examples. The Friars we live with, the volunteers that work so hard and the poor whom we serve – each witness to us the face of Christ!
Q: What can our readers do to support you in your mission?
Br. Innocent: Please pray for us! (seriously: we need it more than you think! ☺)
Br. Angelus: While we have spent the last year making plans for the show and getting ready to produce it, we are just beginning a our first serious fundraising effort.
Br. Innocent: We quickly came to the realization that in order to make a high quality show, that young people will want to watch, is going to cost real money. Since we took a vow of poverty, we haven’t got any, so we’re relying on the generosity of God’s people to help us get ICONS produced and on the air.
Br. Angelus: We are so grateful to anyone who is able to give a donation. Doesn’t matter how big or small.
Br. Innocent: You can say that again! Every dollar helps. You can visit www.iconstv.org to donate online. Thank you in advance for your generosity!
Br. Angelus: And please share this blog, the ICONS website (www.iconstv.org) and our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Icons-Real-People-Real-Presence/640649459381959) with everyone you know — help us spread the word! Tell your friends…
Br Innocent: And keep praying! (we’re talking – fasting, litanies, novenas, pilgrimages – anything that keeps the grace and blessings coming!)
Q: What’s next?
Br. Angelus: So excited for the upcoming release of the official 5 minute promo for ICONS: Real People. Real Presence., it will be debuting on our website and Facebook page real soon. Stay tuned!
Br. Innocent: What’s next? Fundraising of course! We’re going to be searching under every couch cushion we can find …
Q: Are there any additional thoughts or comments you would like to share with our readers?
Br. Innocent: Thank you for being ICONS of Christ to people in your own lives, especially to your kids. Moms reveal the kindness, tenderness, patience and love of Christ – which is so needed in our world! Thank you all!
Br. Angelus: Double AMEN to all of that!
For more information on ICONS: