Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bless this gutter! The "Catholic Guy", Lino Rulli, is back

I was awarded a medal the other day for admitting that I had never watched Oprah. I just lost the opportunity to get one for never having read "C.J." in the Strib. She has an article on Lino Rulli, St. Paul's and St. Olaf's contribution to Catholic young folks, who will be broadcasting his Sirius radio program from here three days this week.

A Minneapolis bowling alley, Memory Lanes, is naming a gutter after Lino Rulli, Sirius XM Radio's "The Catholic Guy."

That says it all. The hip religion show host is returning to St. Paul, where he'll broadcast his normally New York City-based Sirius Catholic Channel radio show for three days this week. The residence of Angelo and Gina Rulli, Lino's parents, is serving as the broadcasting site for the show airing from 3 to 6 p.m.

Those without Sirius XM probably lost track of Rulli when he moved to NYC in 2006, taking with him two Emmys for his work on the cable-access show "Generation Cross," a behind-the-scenes look at the Catholic Church and its people, and a travelogue when Lino felt like going to Rome. He also did a stint as "Soul Man" on WCCO-TV, where he won an Emmy for a World War II documentary.

Maureen McMurray, producer of his XM show, said they wanted the bowling alley gutter named for Rulli as a joke: "We thought it would be kind of funny. We were just basically going for the most ridiculous things to see if people would actually agree to do it. We thought people would say no, and people in Minnesota are just so polite."

Speaking of ridiculous, Rulli's also receiving the key to the Cathedral of St. Paul, as if they would allow this man about town anywhere near a key that was anything but purely ceremonial. In other more believable honors coming Rulli's way, Kieran's Pub is naming a restroom stall for him; Tom Reid's Hockey City Pub a drink, and Stella's Fish Cafe a lobster that will then be sacrificed for dinner by members of Lino's crew.

That's the other unusual element of Rulli's return: Lino's GOT PEOPLE! Important people, too. When Rulli lived in the Twin Cities, he contacted me himself for publicity. Now, Joseph Zwilling, GM and director of communications for the Archdiocese of New York, manages Rulli's media contacts.

I told Zwilling that despite the single Catholic guy's active romantic life, I've always thought he was fighting a call to the priesthood.

"You know, some people are working on him," said Zwilling.

Lino on the line

After getting my voice mail about how he'd gone big time on me, Lino Rulli did call me.

He didn't realize the GM of the station had reached out to me. I told Rulli that there must have been something divine about Joseph Zwilling's e-mail. The reference to "Lino" in the first sentence meant nothing to me except Lino Lakes, and I was this close to deleting it without reading more, thinking that there was a huge mixup if I was on the "Archdiocese of New York" e-mail list. Star Tribune

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