Holy Actors, Comics, Magicians, and More

Holy Actors, Comics, Magicians, and More October 26, 2020

There have been times when people seeing my Catholic faith come alive in their presence would ask me, ‘So are you a priest?”.  Some think that only those who choose religious life are very gung ho about their faith, forgetting the Universal Call to Holiness found in the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium.

Therefore in the Church, everyone whether belonging to the hierarchy, or being cared for by it, is called to holiness, according to the saying of the Apostle: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (I Thes. 4:3; df. Eph. 1:4). However, this holiness of the Church is unceasingly manifested, and must be manifested, in the fruits of grace which the Spirit produces in the faithful; it is expressed in many ways in individuals, who in their walk of life, tend toward the perfection of charity, thus causing the edification of others; in a very special way this (holiness) appears in the practice of the counsels, customarily called “evangelical.” This practice of the counsels, under the impulsion of the Holy Spirit, undertaken by many Christians, either privately or in a Church-approved condition or state of life, gives and must give in the world an outstanding witness and example of this same holiness.

If you look over the course of Catholic history you see holiness coming through individuals usually dedicating their lives to God by becoming priests, nuns, brothers.  A lot of them take on starting or founding schools, programs for the poor and disadvantaged, lead a life of intense prayer and bible study or die for the faith.

But holiness is supposed to hit every aspect of life.

Saint Gianna Beretta Molla was a wife, mother and doctor.

Georges Lemaître, was a scientist and father of the ‘Big Bang” theory.

Blessed Carlo Acutis (3 May 1991 – 12 October 2006) was an Italian Catholic kid and computer geek. He created a website documenting Eucharistic miracles around the world and cataloguing them all onto a website that he created in the months before his death from leukemia. He is the first millennial canonized.

Kristin Wilson- A Wife, Mother and occasional blogger at the Catholic Bard.

No matter who you are or what you do, you are called to holiness.

Here are some examples of professions you might not ordinarily associate with Catholics striving to be holy.

Some Catholic Actors

St. Luke Productions was started by Leonardo Defilippis  in 1980.  Leonardo was a Shakespearean actor with a goal of presenting the Gospel of Luke in a new dramatic way. He actually wrote to now St. Mother Teresa with advice on starting his new apostolate.  She did personally correspond with him and the result was The Gift of Peace: The First Six Chapters of Saint Luke’s Gospel.  Since then St. Luke’s has been turning out videos, movies, CD’s, and live shows.  I have personally seen live shows ot St. Maximillian Kolbe, St Therese and St. Faustina.  I even sent an audition tape into them. Leonardo gave me his opinion on my tape at a conference he saw me at.  He was polite but basically said, “You need work kid.”

Here’s an older video that gets to the heart of who they are.

Another wonderful talent in the world of Catholic acting is Kevin O’ Brien. The official description from his web site sums him up best.

Kevin O’Brien is the founder and artistic director of two touring theater companies – the Theater of the Word Incorporated and Upstage Productions – and has been touring the United States performing his own plays for nearly thirty years.  Kevin is booked regularly at over 20 wineries in 6 states, performing his own brand of interactive comedies – to a very loyal and devoted fan base.
Kevin hosts the television series The Theater of the Word on EWTN and has appeared in several movies and television series.
In addition, Kevin has performed and produced over 45 audio books, and is the only person in history to play every part in a Shakespeare play, which he did for his audiobook productions of The Merchant of Venice and Macbeth.  His recording of The Innocence of Father Brown was a winner of the ForeWord Best Audiobook of the Year award in 2009.
He is also a writer and regular contributor to The St. Austin Review and Gilbert Magazine.  His second book An Actor Bows was published in 2018.  His first book, The Church of the Kevin was listed as one of the Top Books of 2010 by Ignaitus Press.
Kevin also teaches several online classes for Homeschool Connections.
Here is an example of Kevin at work with Mark Shea.

Most movie lovers know who Bill Murray is. Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Scrooged, Larger Then Life, What About Bob?

But what about Bill Murray’s Sister Sister Nancy Murray. The official description on her website reads…

Sister Nancy Murray, OP, is a member of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, a congregation of more than 700 vowed members and associates ministering worldwide in the areas of education, health care and social justice.

Since 2000, Sister Nancy has performed her show for audiences across the United States and throughout the world, bringing to life the inspiring story of Dominican St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church.

Sister Nancy has also performed shows as Notre Dame de Namur Sister Dorothy Stang, who was murdered in the Amazon, and Mary Potter, founder of the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary.

Catholic Circus Chaplin

I saw  Fr Jerry Hogan speak at a church in Sudbury Mass. This is in the first week that our friend Spencer came to live with us and also the night one of our former tenants busted our door to break in our house and give us a piece of her mind about something we did to tick her off.

From the Metrowest Daily News...

The Rev. George “Jerry” Hogan once held confession in a dirt parking lot, listening to a circus performer admit his sins. After he absolved the man, Hogan turned to find himself locked in a stare. He had not been paying attention to the caged tiger behind him.

“I asked, ‘You next?’” remembered Hogan.

Known as a “circus priest,” Hogan is a chaplain for traveling circuses, crisscrossing the nation with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey and other big names as he ministers to clowns, trapeze artists and ringleaders who perform for worldwide audiences. His duties include sprinkling holy water onto tigers, lions and elephants; celebrating Mass for worshipers in clown noses, wigs and fake eyelashes; and blessing train cars.-

Catholic Comic Books

Voyage Comics  is devoted to “testing everything” and finding God in popular entertainment, focusing on comics, fantasy and sci-fi. Some of their current titles include Finnian and the Seven Mountains, The Mission of Joan of Arc, The Tale of Patrick Peyton and the upcoming Jonah’s Voyage to Atlantis. They also have a non-fiction book  The Last Monks of Skellig Michael by Philip Kosloski.

Voyage Comics & Publishing - Christian Comic Books and Graphic Novels

One of my FB friends writes articles for their blog.

Jesus is a model for the perfect human. God became man. He shows us the way to free us from sins. Literature is filled with heroic figures. But nearly all contain a fatal character flaw. Hubris. Greed. Anger. Lust. Or envy. While no characters, especially comic book characters, can be matched perfectly with Jesus there is one superhero most commonly associated Christ— Superman.

The Man of Steel embodies everything you want in a hero: strength, a great origin story, and virtuous character. Some may argue Kal-El is too perfect. Unrelatable even. But I think most can agree that Superman is a symbol of hope for Metropolis and Earth.
Matt Chicoine, Echoes of the Gospel in ‘The Return of Superman’

Catholic Comic Strips

 Frederick Francis “Fred” McCarthy, (September 5, 1918 –  October 26, 2009) O.F.S., was creator of the Brother Juniper comic strip. 1958 until 1989. It was published  in over 100 American newspapers as well as overseas. Brother Juniper was the only religious-themed comic ever syndicated in daily newspapers internationally. McCarthy also created two less-successful religious-themed strips, Sister Suzie about a teaching nun, and Brother Rufus. He published these under the pen name “Fred Francis”. McCarthy was a Secular Franciscan from 1938, and was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1945 but left the friars and the priesthood in the early 1960s. He remained active as a Franciscan, however, resuming his life as a Franciscan tertiary, in which he was active till the end of his life. He taught at a number of colleges and universities.-Wikipedia 

McCarthy first began drawing  the funny little cartoon friar  his own amusement, and then for posters and flyers. He named the short, freckled, and ever-cheerful (if sometimes naive) character “Brother Juniper” in 1942, after the historical Brother Juniper, a companion of St. Francis of Assisi. McCarthy later served as art director of Friar, a national Franciscan magazine, and this led to the Brother Juniper character coming to the attention of the Publishers Syndicate, a distributor of comic strips.

Jason Bach uses his talent for God by drawing comics, Catholic Style. He was inspired by the very popular Calvin and Hobbes.

Calvin and Hobbes' creator Bill Watterson - Business Insider

His comics are full of wit, whimsy, humor and Catholic faith. Check out his website for great examples of great Catholic comics.

Here’s an older interview that gives you an insight into this Catholic Comic Creator.

Toomics by Tom Gould is another dive into the Catholic comic-sphere. Each comic Tom creates also has a theological explanation that goes along with it. He is another joy and delight to read.

Image may contain: text that says 'TOMICS by Tom Gould IF You HAVE FAITH, YOU CAN WALK ON WATER WITH ME, SIMON. AAUGH! AMAZING! UH-OH SIMON YOU'RE SINKING LIKE AROCK. Matthew 14:28 31, 16:18 16:18 AND UPON THIS ROCK-- JESUS!!! AD'

1. In Matthew 14, Jesus’s crew heads out onto the water without Him while He sends away some visitors. Once, He’s done, He walks on the water toward their ship, then calls Simon to walk on the water with Him. Simon does at first, but then begins sinking as the waves around him cause his faith to falter. Jesus helps him up and calms the waves, and the two climb into the boat.
2. In Matthew 16, Simon proves his faith to Jesus and Jesus calls him “Cephas” or “Peter” or “Rock”, and then follows that by saying, “Upon this rock, I will build My Church.”
3. This cartoon combines the first story, where Simon-Peter sinks like a rock, and the second story, where Jesus nicknames him “Rock”. By combining them into one moment, it makes it look like Jesus nicknamed Simon-Peter “Rock” specifically because of the sinking incident. Who knows? Maybe that really did play a part in it. Maybe I’m post-cognitive and the extent of my power to see into the past has revealed the true story behind the name.

Catholic Magicians

Giancarlo Bernini uses his talents and gifts of the Lord to perform illusions and stage magic. He has had multiple national television and radio appearances including Penn & Teller: Fool Us and The Jennifer Fulwiler Show.

If you are attending one of Giancarlo’s shows, prepare to be taken on a journey into the impossible.

Whether it’s a college campus, a corporate conference, or a church youth event, Giancarlo has crafted an experience that will astonish, bewilder, and delight your guests.

Don Silvio Mantelli (born May 22, 1944) otherwise known as “Mago Sales”is an Italian Salesian Catholic priest and Gospel Magician.  He is a member of the Society of American Magicians, the Catholic Magicians’ Guild and London’s famed Magic Circle. Mago Sales presented a magic wand to the Pope John Paul II in 2002 and petitioned the Pope to proclaim St. Don Bosco the Patron of Stage Magicians to which the Pope responded “You’ll need a lot of magic wands to change our world; but let’s make a start with this one!

Mantelli also runs a “magic tricks for guns” program entitled A Peaceful Christmas, where any child who turns in a toy gun will receive a magic kit in return. The idea has spread to many Italian cities involving more than 22,000 children.

Angelo Stagnaro also known as Erasmus is Guildmaster of the Catholic Magicians Guild and a professed member of the Secular (Third Order) Franciscans. He has published theological articles in a lot of Catholic periodicals and online sites and has published a good variety of books including The Catechist’s Magic Kit (2009).

ABOUT - Angelo Stagnaro

Don Bosco’s enthusiasm for magic also provided him with an outlet for his joyful spirituality. He saw children’s joy as their natural connection with the God of creation, and he used magic tricks to spark joy into the lives of poor children.

Like Don Bosco, I love surprising people with magic. I love the look of awe on their faces when the unexpected happens in front of them. In the tradition of Don Bosco, I’m a “gospel magician.” For 25 years I’ve performed magic shows that illustrate our faith. Even now, before each performance I offer a prayer to Don Bosco asking for his guidance. I pray that I don’t fumble a trick, that I convey theological lessons clearly, and that I show the audience a few moments of joy and awe. And if a show goes well, I am quick to remind the audience that my skills aren’t mine but God’s.
Angelo Stagnaro, Magic act, (October 23, 2012) US Catholic

Here is Angelo hosting a magic show.

Catholic Sports Figure

There are quite a lot of Catholics involved in sports. One such individual is Kerry Fraser (born May 30, 1952). He is a hockey analyst, broadcaster and former senior referee in the National Hockey League. During his career, he called 1,904 regular season games, 12 Stanley Cup Finals, and over 261 Stanley Cup playoff games.  I choose him to represent all the various athletes, coaches, broadcasters who use the bodies and voices God gave them playing sports who are not shy about sharing their Catholic faith.

These are just some samples of Catholics that are out there bringing their Catholic faith to their profession.

No who you are or what you do, God can use you where he put you.


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