|Lino Rulli, the host of the Catholic Guy radio show on Sirius XM Sattelite Radio, broadcast his show from Pope John Paul II High School May 9 and 10. During his visit to JPII, he talked to students from the school, three Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, and Catholic musicians who live and work in Nashville. Photos by Andy Telli
Lino Rulli, the host of The Catholic Guy radio show on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, brought his show to Nashville and Pope John Paul II High School, where he got a chance to talk to JPII students, members of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation, and several Catholic musicians.
“They did great,” Rulli said of the students who were interviewed during the first of two shows in Nashville on Monday, May 9. The goal of his interviews, he said, was “to see if their lives as teenagers are different from normal Catholics on the planet.”
That approach extends to the show as a whole. “I’m just a Catholic guy,” Rulli said. “The same way I would talk about sports or popular culture, I do that with Catholicism.”
The conversations with his guests touch not only on how their faith colors their lives but often veer into everyday topics, such as the music they like and where they get their hair cut. “What you never really hear are regular people talking about faith. You hear experts talking about faith, priests talking about faith,” said Rulli, who himself holds a master’s degree in theology and has won three Emmy awards since he began his career broadcasting in 1998.
“That was really fun,” said JPII senior Michael Locke, the student body president who was one of six students interviewed by Rulli on his first show from Nashville. “I didn’t know what I was getting into.”
“He’s definitely a character. He’s all over the place,” said fellow JPII senior Jon Knox. “I kind of like that about him.”
Rulli started his interview with Knox asking what it means to be 18 years old. Knox blurted out it means he would have to go to jail if he ever got in trouble. That kicked off a humorous back and forth between Knox and Rulli.
Eventually, Rulli asked Knox about his plans for life – he’ll be attending the College of Charleston in the fall – and whether he asked God what His plan for Knox’s life was. “I like how he compared the life of a devout Christian and a normal kid,” Knox said of Rulli.
Rulli also interviewed junior Kieran Alterbern about her tastes in music – Taylor Swift and hip hop – what she thinks about Pope Francis – she thinks he’s great – and what she would think if Pope Francis was a hip hop fan – “I would think even more of him than I do now.”
|Sisters Ann Catherine, O.P., Mara Grace, O.P., and Mary Peter, O.P., share a laugh with “The Catholic Guy” radio show host Lino Rulli after the show.
fter hearing the conversations with Knox and Alterbern, Locke thought he knew what to expect when it was his turn to step up to the microphone. Instead, Rulli started by complimenting his hair. When Locke told Rulli he sings opera and will be studying vocal performance at Oberlin Conservatory of Music beginning next fall, the radio host asked him to sing.
Eventually, Locke, who was raised as a Baptist, told Rulli that after four years at JPII he was considering becoming Catholic. His interest in the faith was an outgrowth of his experience at the school and was nurtured in his theology classes. “It was me being in class, enjoying learning about the Church’s history and teachings,” Locke said. “I feel comfortable here.”
After interviewing the JPII students, Rulli talked to three Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, Sister Ann Catherine, O.P., Sister Mary Peter, O.P., and Sister Mara Grace, O.P., about their life as a Nashville Dominican and what led them to the congregation.
On the second day broadcasting from JPII’s library, Rulli talked to Catholic musician Matt Maher and Father Kevin McGoldrick, the chaplain at Aquinas College in Nashville and a singer-songwriter himself.
Rulli’s trip to Nashville started with an email from a faithful listener, Lia Fisher-Janosz, a member of the faculty at Overbrook School who invited him to come to the Music City sometime.
“Most of the ideas we get through the show comes from a letter or email,” Rulli said.
When Rulli took her up on the offer, he went looking for a place to broadcast the show and found JPII.
Michelle Barber, dean of admissions and advancement at JPII, an avid Catholic Channel listener, jumped at the chance to host The Catholic Guy live at JPII. “Our entire community enjoyed having Lino live from the JPII Claudia and William Puryear Library,” Barber said. “Our students were able to participate in and watch the workings of a live radio show ... and welcoming The Dominican Sisters, Matt Maher and Father Kevin McGoldrick to campus was also a real treat.”