I was very fortunate to attend the Catholic Channel’s Listener Appreciation Day on Tuesday, November 18 thanks to Father Jonathan Morris, the channel’s program director. My friend Joe Cirillo (President of Catholic Fellowship of Northern New Jersey) joined me on this excursion to Sirius XM studios in NYC’s Rockefeller Center. We sat in the audience, which was a very intimate setting, for a number of the shows throughout the afternoon and evening.
The first show we attended was “News & Views” with Father Jonathan Morris. Father Jonathan started the show by telling us about himself, how he became a priest, and how he became the Catholic Channel program director. He then invited members of the audience to ask any questions we had or to say what was on our mind. He was very gracious and appreciative of the audience’s questions and comments.
The second show we saw was “Entertaining Truth” with Father Leo Patalinghug and Tom Leopold. Father Leo is the founder of the movement Grace Before Meals, which is an apostolate that helps to strengthen families through food and faith. He also beat Bobby Flay in a steak fajita throwdown on “Throwdown with Bobby Flay”. Tom Leopold is a comedy writer, who has written for such shows as “Cheers”, “Seinfeld”, and “Will and Grace”. Father Leo & Tom are a hilarious duo. They complement each other extraordinarily well. In addition to having audience members ask questions, they also had two guests on the show. Their guests, Stacey and Christie, were two young ladies from the upcoming Lifetime TV reality series “The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns”. The show ended with a rousing rendition of “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name”.
The next show we watched was a packed house. It was “Conversation with Cardinal Dolan” with Timothy Cardinal Dolan and Father Dave Dwyer. Cardinal Dolan is the Archbishop of New York. This week Cardinal Dolan was joined by The Catholic Guy Lino Rulli and Gus Lloyd of “Seize The Day”. Cardinal Dolan was also joined by the one and only “Reeg”, Regis Philbin. Cardinal Dolan and Regis were a great pair. They had the crowd roaring with laughter. Regis hasn’t lost his touch one bit.
After “Conversation with Cardinal Dolan”, Joe and I took a walk to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and then to dinner at Oceana Restaurant, which was phenomenal (stay tuned for more on the cathedral and dinner).
We were invited back to Sirius XM studios by Brett Siddell to be in the audience of “The Busted Halo Show”. Brett is the producer of the show. The host is Father Dave Dwyer, who is a Paulist Father and the Director of Busted Halo®. Joey “Ramon” Engelbrekt and Kia Matthews round out the cast of characters that will have you rolling on the floor with laughter. But in addition to laughing and having a good time, Father Dave and Team Busted Halo really do a great job of teaching about the Catholic faith. For Listener Appreciation Day, they performed an episode of “The Saints of Our Lives” featuring St. Elizabeth of Hungary, whose feast day was on Monday. Father Dave narrated the story, as Brett, Joey, and Kia acted out the parts of the characters. We couldn’t stop laughing throughout the whole skit. The show came to a close with Father Dave taking a few questions of faith. And with that the Catholic Channel’s 1st ever Listener Appreciation Day came to a close. It is a day I will not soon forget. I will treasure the memories of being able to attend this amazing day of watching and interacting with a group of men and women that are second to none. I must say that the Catholic Channel has really helped to strengthen my faith. Listening to the shows on the channel over the last year and a half has helped me to be a better Catholic. And for that I am forever grateful.
Pax et bonum,
Anthony “Tony Mangia” Scillia
Tagged: Busted Halo, Busted Halo Show, Cardinal Dolan, Catholic, Catholic Channel, Catholic Guy, Entertaining Truth, Father Dave, Father Dave Dwyer, Father Jonathan Morris, Father Leo, Father Leo Patalinghug, Gus Lloyd, Lino Rulli, Listener Appreciation, Listener Appreciation Day, News & Views, NYC, Regis Philbin, Rockefeller Center, Roman Catholic, Roman Catholic faith, satellite radio, Seize the Day, Sirius, SiriusXM, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Tom Leopold, XM