MINNEAPOLIS (CNS) — Lino Rulli doesn’t have any children of his own. Married two years ago, the 46-year-old and his wife, Jill, are hoping that changes soon.
But the Minnesota native and Catholic media personality is already the pater familias of his own unique brood: a devoted community of listeners to “The Catholic Guy,” a weekday afternoon drive program on Sirius XM Radio’s Catholic Channel, which Rulli has hosted since it started in 2006.
About 200 members of this tight-knit crew came to the Twin Cities Aug. 17-18 for “Catholic Guy Con,” which sold out in 24 hours. The main event consisted of a recorded show and presentations from Rulli and his co-hosts, preceded the night before by a meet-up at a downtown Minneapolis brew pub. Mass celebrated by co-host Father Jim Chern, dinner catered by a St. Paul Italian eatery, and a visit to Rulli’s high school alma mater, Hill-Murray in Maplewood, were other features.
“My biggest takeaway from this experience is just a feeling of gratitude,” said Rulli, who admitted he had no idea the event would be such a success when it was being planned. “I’ve found myself thanking God over and over again for this career, and for our audience, and how lucky I am to be able to be in people’s lives.”
While the event was the first official Catholic Guy Con, for many fans it was not the first time they had gathered with each other and Rulli, who hosts several pilgrimages for Catholic Guy devotees each year. One Catholic Guy Con attendee had been on five.
For many Catholic Guy followers, the show provides the type of community they don’t find elsewhere. When they listen to “The Catholic Guy,” they’re plugged into a relatable community of Catholics, and are encouraged in their Catholic faith.
Though Rulli now resides in New York City, where he also serves as media advisor to Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, he says his Minnesota upbringing shapes the way he sees the world and the Church. As he put it, “If it wasn’t for my time on TV here, there wouldn’t be ‘The Catholic Guy’ show anywhere.”