Taking the show on the road

| November 20, 2013 | 0 Comments
Lino Rulli hangs out with Deacon Paul Shovelain during a broadcast of his Sirius/XM Radio show, “The Catholic Guy” from St. Paul Seminary Nov. 13.

Lino Rulli hangs out with Deacon Paul Shovelain during a broadcast of his Sirius/XM Radio show, “The Catholic Guy” from St. Paul Seminary Nov. 13.

Lino Rulli, a St. Paul native and host of Sirius/XM Radio’s “The Catholic Guy,” broadcast the program  Nov. 11-14 from the St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul. The following are excerpts from Catholic Spirit reporter Dianne Towalski’s interview with Rulli.

Q. Why are you taking your show on the road?

A. Why not? To me, it’s one thing to do a radio show from New York or something, but it’s another thing to actually go out and experience the Catholic Church where it exists.

I would never want a seminarian on the show as some 20-minute interview by phone . . . that would be pretty boring. But to live and experience and hang out with seminarians isn’t boring at all; it’s actually a lot of fun. It’s really a way for me to go out and tell crazy stories and interesting stories through my eyes on the radio.

Q. Where else are you going?

A. Everywhere.

Q. Was this the first stop?

A. No. I was in Arizona last week. I was with Mark Hart, who is called “The Bible Geek,” and Father Leo Patalinghug, who is known as “The Cooking Priest” and who beat Bobby Flay [in a “Throwdown!” cooking competition.]

This week, I’m living in the seminary. Next week, I’m going to Haiti to see how the Church is rebuilding there. The following week, I’ll be in Indianapolis for the National Catholic Youth Conference with 2,000 kids.

The following week, I’ll be in San Diego. Then, Denver. The whole point is I’m going and finding, hopefully, funny, normal healthy Catholics and hanging out with them. Over the last seven years, I think, my audience has come to like me and trust me. This is a way to say I’ve built up a pretty big audience and now I can show my audience a lot more than just me. [I can] show them a lot of the people that make me excited to be Catholic, the normal and funny and the good people that are already in the church.

Rulli visits with Joseph Zabinski of St. Michael parish, St. Cloud, during  lunch time  at the seminary Nov. 14. Dianne Towalski / The Catholic Spirit

Rulli visits with Joseph Zabinski of St. Charles Borromeo in St. Anthony, during lunch time at the seminary Nov. 14. Dianne Towalski / The Catholic Spirit

Q. Is this a new thing, you just keep traveling?

A. Yeah. This is an open-ended thing. I’ve been based in New York for seven years, and New York is a great city, but even I get bored. I get way too restless.

I just love to travel, and the things that really excite me about Catholicism oftentimes are the people in the Church. And I don’t get to experience and touch that in a way if I’m sitting in a studio in New York City. Even if it’s really fun and I get to have all sorts of celebrities on my show, and that kind of thing. But that’s not really the whole picture of the Catholic Church. I’ll try this for a year or two years and let’s see what happens.

Q. What have your days been like here?

A. Long. I don’t know if we all realize how hard these seminarians work. The best way I could sum it up is these guys put in maybe 16-hour days. One day I woke up 6 a.m. for the Holy Hour, 7 a.m. morning prayer, then we had breakfast. There was an 8 a.m. class for 90 minutes, 15-minute break, another 90-minute class, 15-minute break. Then it was Mass, then it was lunch, then it was another class. I don’t know if us lay people realize how hard these guys work.

I was also really surprised how honest a lot of their classes were. They pick apart each other’s homilies. They’re extremely honest about what people want in a homily. They’re extremely honest about sex. They’re extremely honest about chastity, and problems in the Church. Every class I’ve sat in has had real conversations. I didn’t even know they were allowed to have such honest conversations.

I’ve been really impressed not just with the length of the days themselves, but also just in how much real-world stuff was going into this. It’s not just all prayer and Bible, but it’s really learning a lot about how this is practically going to work out for the average person in the pews. I think for us, the average people in the pews, it’s pretty affirming to see that.

Q. You’ve been visiting with seminarians on your show?

A. Yeah, we hang out. I don’t do interviews. I want to hear stories. Every vocation story is different; every guy is different. Most lay people, myself included, just sort of see the priest as just a fully formed guy once he shows up. Maybe he tells us his story, maybe not. When I was growing up, my priest never said, “Here’s my story of how I became a priest.”

They’ve each got different personalities. Some were in the big cities and some were in small cities and some are musicians, some can’t sing at all, and some love learning about theology, and others just really can’t wait to be more on the practical level. It’s a wide variety of guys, but their normalcy strikes me as interesting, and their stories all strike me as interesting.

Q. Do you have a story that a seminarian told that really sticks in your mind?

A. There’s a story of a guy [Deacon Marc Paveglio] who was in church and during Communion, he believes he heard God’s voice calling him by name, like his actual name. He said, ‘Marc.’ First of all, we all just go, ‘What on earth was that about?’ That’s a wild story.

But then in that same segment there’s a guy [Thinh Tran] who was planning to become a medical doctor. He has this chemistry degree and was planning to go to med school. It’s just as interesting to me that without any voice at all, he’s taking such an enormous risk.

He’s obviously a very smart guy and could be going to med school. The fact that he said, “I’m going to take a shot here. I’ll find out if God is calling me to be a priest.” To me, that’s even gutsier. It’s wild that God calls people by name, their first name, and it’s just as wild that a guy who never heard God call him by name and said, “Yep. I’m joining the seminary, too.”

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