Tag Archives: Catholic humor

Young adult, Catholic and funny: Meet Matt Weber

August 25, 2012

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Matt Weber is a single, twenty-something guy who isn’t shy about being Catholic.

Weber frankly doesn’t seem shy about much. He bares a lot about himself in a just-out, lower-case titled paperback,  “fearing the stigmata,” which is billed by Loyola Press as “Humorously Holy Stories of a Young Catholic’s Search for a Culturally Relevant Faith.” There’s a lot of truth in that.

In a bit of a reversal of the usual routine in which a popular book is made into a movie or a TV series, “fearing the stigmata” can be accused of being a TV show that’s been made into a book.

The TV  piece — “A Word With Weber” — is a two-minute segment that runs every week on CatholicTV.com, and two minutes is just about how long it takes to read a chapter in the book.

The contents are somewhat similar, too. Every chapter starts with an off-beat story or memory, produces at least a giggle and usually several, and ends with a connection to Weber’s faith life or spiritual journey — and maybe, just maybe — to yours and mine.

Funny and faith go together fabulously

Weber writes about his mom asking at the post office for “Madonna” stamps at Christmas time and being told that there is yet to be a stamp issued that honors the pop singer.

He writes about playing balloon-volleyball with nuns, dressing up as Zak the Yak for a reading encouragement program, about liking Cheez Balls, about appreciating Mass, about his observations after years of watching the collection basket being passed, and about stopping after work to pray before a statue of Mary at a busy intersection.

He snitches on himself about the time he received Holy Communion and then had to play the harmonica — yes, the harmonica — as he accompanied the choir for the communion hymn. It’s only slightly irreverent. Weber, of course, being a good Catholic gentleman, had the sense of preface the story about being the harmonica player at church by noting: “If you have strict notions about church music — pre-Vatican Two-era — and you just fainted, I apologize.”

Since a regular workout seems important to his generation, Weber is right on the target audience with his wish that “people could look to religion or church the same way they look to a gym.” A priest is like a person trainer, he writes, and the pews and kneelers like Nautilus equipment: “At a gym, it’s health. At a church, it’s spiritual health.  A soul is nourished with community and Christ, and we don’t even have to break a sweat.”

He sneaks in advice for older Catholics that “young adult Catholics want just a little nod, a little recognition that they are on the Catholic team, too.”

And he has some advice for his own media-obsessed generation: While he’s all for You-Tube and Facebook, some of life’s events are better savored by “soaking in the moment without the worry of technologically capturing it.” I love his introspection: “Am I experiencing life in order to write about, and is something lost in the attempt to communicate the moment?”

Telling it like he is

What readers will most appreciate is Weber’s unabashed honesty. As do many of us today — not just twenty-somethings — he struggles with, in his words, “the overall challenge of trying to be a good Catholic. . . . The real problem lies in knowing what voices to listen to.”

And a Weber take-away? ” Be a good Catholic in whatever way you can.”

The book is funny, filled with the self-deprecating kind of humor that SiriusXM’s Lino Rulli, aka “The Catholic Guy.” brings to his afternoon radio show.

After you read “fearing the stigmata,” or maybe even before, you really need to check out “A Word With Weber” on http://www.CatholicTV.com. There’s a typical segment here. See one and you’ll want to watch several. Just Google Matt Weber CatholicTV.

Check out the book on the Loyola Press site. But before you click over to one of those sites, read just one more paragraph — after this one, I mean. It’s the most clever writing in the book, and it comes as Weber begins a chapter by repeating a nugget of wisdom an Irish seatmate shared on a flight from Dublin to Boston: “Matty, me boy, let me tell you something about love. It is the itch around the heart that you just can’t scratch.” Weber follows by writing:

“Perhaps this is a common phrase in Ireland, or maybe she made it up. In my younger years, I never really thought too much about love. I knew that love was patient and kind, a type of story, all we need, in the time of cholera, cannot be bought, and the name of a shack. I had heard that C.S. Lewis identified four kinds of love. The Greeks wrote about it. And Paul, the apostle, was pretty sure it bears all things, believes all, hopes all things, and endures all things.”

I wish I’d written that.

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Catholic joke book offers a lot to smile about

November 7, 2011

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A boy comes home from Catholic school and tells his mother he has a part in the class play.

She asks, “What part is it?”

The boys says, “I get to play the part of a husband.”

The mother scowls and says, “Go back and tell the teacher you want a speaking part.”

He’s got a million of ’em, does Deacon Tom Sheridan.

And they’re not all that lame.

In “The Third Book of Catholic Jokes,” Sheridan offers a collection centered on aging and relationships, and chances are you’ll chuckle at the majority.

You may very well have heard versions of some minus the Catholic angle, but that doesn’t detract from what I think is the real service Deacon Tom is doing with all three books in this series: All these are jokes one can tell in mixed company — and even in church. You’ll find these Acta Publications paperbacks at most religious goods stores.

Here’s my personal favorite joke from book number three:

At 75, the elderly pastor was finally retired and enjoying his one passion: fishing.

He was sitting in his boat when he heard a voice cry, “Pick me up; pick me up!”

Looking around, he couldnsee anyone. He thought he was dreaming until he heard the voice again, “Pick me up.” He looked in the water and there, floating on a lily pad, was a frog.

“The priest said, “Are you talking to me?”

“Yes,” the frong repled. “Pick me up, kiss me, and I’ll turn into the most beautiful woman you’ve ever see. I’ll make sure that all your friends are envious and jealous because I’ll be your bride.”

The pirest looked at the frog, reached over and picked it up carefully. Then he dropped the frog into his front pocket.

From the depths of the pocket the frog cried out, “Are you nuts? Didn’t you hears what I said? Kiss me and I’ll be your beautiful bride.”

The priest opened his pocket looked down at the frog and said, “Nah. At my age it’s too late. I’d rather have a talking frog.”

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Lino Rulli: Take-aways that could be out-takes

September 19, 2011

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"Sinner" is available online at Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.

  • “I trust in God’s plan, but I’m always afraid I’m going to screw it up.”
  • “Faith and a neurotic personality don’t always mix well.”
  • “I liked the rhythm of monastic life. I liked the structure of prayer and work. I really liked being a part of a community that prayed together, ate together, drank together. It was like a clean frat house.”
  • “Mother Teresa once said that in order to be a saint you have to seriously want to be one. So I try, feebly, to be a saint. Frankly, the sinner in me doesn’t think it sounds like much fun.”
  • “Just a quick note to priests hearing confessions: If confessions start at 5:00 p.m., any chance you could get there a few minutes early, before the line forms? . . . There’s nothing worse than standing in line, waiting for the priest to arrive, and having him show up, stare at each of the people in line, and then go in. Kind of ruins the whole anonymity thing.”
Read a review.
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Catholic Guy cracks jokes and cracks wise over his foibles and his faith

September 19, 2011

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I hate to feed Lino Rulli’s ego, but here  goes: His book “Sinner” had me chuckling out loud.

Fortunately there’s a good dose of humility left in the St. Paul native despite his success in both television and radio. When that’s combined with the self-deprecating humor that he spreads on pretty thickly in stories from his relatively young life-and-times, it makes for reading that’s both funny and — I’m searching for a word here — well, evangelizing? Catechizing without trying too hard? Preaching as much to himself as to others?

Lino is a self-admitted screw up who’s trying not to be.

He’s trying to be a good Catholic, holy, even a saint. He claims to be not doing so well at it, hence the book’s title. You and I might call him normal.

Okay, maybe obsessive.

Definitely gregarious and out-spoken.

Yes, paranoid.

But still funny. And he’d want me to mention that he’s single and still available, ladies.

As he both stumbles along and finds success , the tales he tells are the stuff of sitcoms. The pratfalls are both physical and moral, and that’s where the faith connection comes into play. The stories usually have a punchline, and most have a sliver or two of catechism, too.

Catholic media someone will actually watch & listen to

So that makes “Sinner” not unlike Lino’s “The Catholic Guy” show on SiriusXM Radio afternoons daily, which he tries to make three hours of Catholic radio that doesn’t suck (his description).

That’s what the book is: It’s funny stories that end up being a teaching vehicle about things Catholic that won’t bore you to death or hit you over the head with dogma. The Catholic teaching is there, but it’s a pill that’s not that hard to swallow.

Frankly, the quality of the writing in “Sinner” isn’t unexpected. Lino’s writing talent made the pages of The Catholic Spirit young-adult friendly for a number of years. The “Generation Cross” show that he hosted on Twin Cities cable television aimed, successfully, to be Catholic TV people 18-to-34 would actually watch. His quick wit and his professional know-how around a camera and microphone have been recognized with three Emmys.

Readers of “Sinner” will find themselves appreciating Lino’s dedication to his Catholic faith and his commitment to excellence in his chosen vocation. And they’ll laugh out loud, too.

“Sinner” is available on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble, via Kindle and audiobook as well.

 

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Joke — no joke — just for Catholics

August 5, 2011

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Jim and Jennifer were at their wedding rehearsal on a Friday night when a tornado struck the church, collapsing the walls and roof and tragically killing them both.

They’d led good lives and went straight to heaven, where they asked St. Peter for a favor: Could they still get married?

St. Peter said, “Well, sure. Tell you what: I’ll come and get you when we can do that.”

Jim and Jennifer were pleased, but it was five years before St. Peter showed up and said they could get married.

And so they had their wedding. It wasn’t too long though that the couple realized they’d made a mistake. The went to St. Peter and asked if they could have a divorce.

“Well, we frown upon that here,” St. Peter said, “but let me see what I can do. I’ll call you.”

After waiting five years to get married, though, Jennifer was concerned that it might take just as long to start divorce proceedings. “How long will it take?” she asked.

St. Peter was miffed. “It took five years to bet a preacher up here. Who knows how long it will be before a lawyer shows up!”

AND HERE’S THE NO-JOKE:

Joseph’s Coat, the St. Paul walk-in center for the homeless and needy, will be doing it’s annual distribution of school supplies and backpacks Aug. 29 and 31, so there’s still time for all of us to donate so some kids feel good about going to school this year because they have a new backpack and school supplies like the other kids.

I’ll be taking the backpack pictured here and picking up crayons, pens, pencils, markers, 3-ring binders, looseleaf paper — all that good stuff you use to love to have — and dropping it off at 1107 West Seventh in St. Paul.

Donations are accepted on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m to 2 p.m.

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