Today Pauline Books and Media is releasing Catholic Funny Fill-ins, written by Karen and Tommy Tighe. Karen and Tommy are the proud parents of five boys. Tommy Tighe is co-host of the video program Repent & Submit airing on CatholicTV. (You can see past episodes here.)
If you're looking for some fun for family road trips, get-togethers, youth group parties, or just a great evening at home, then Catholic Funny Fill-ins is for you! It helps you bring together both humor and holiness, and create goofy stories while learning about your Catholic faith.
Sr. Kathryn J. Hermes caught up with Karen and Tommy to ask how this all came about!
I first met Tommy when he was given a tour of the Pauline Publishing House last December. He had just been at Catholic TV with Steve the Missionary recording their program Repent & Submit. I knew as soon as I met him that he was a lot of fun and at the same time the real thing when it came to being a Catholic evangelizing in the world today.
It is that joy that excited me. It is that joy that makes the faith appealing and beautiful for those around us who are searching in the depth of their heart for true happiness, even when they don’t know where to find it.
Karen and Tommy, how did you begin to connect humor with faith in your own life, and then in your ministry?
When we were kids, both our families valued humor and used it to teach, to connect with one another, and to show love. Karen's dad loves to tell stories and humor is woven through every one of his stories--even ones about faith. As adults, humor seems to be the antidote for taking ourselves too seriously, and while our faith is obviously something worth taking seriously, we can really get into a rut when we take ourselves too seriously in relation to our faith journey.
How have you seen God working through your ministry? How has humor been a part of that?
If one is going to share the Catholic faith with others, one first has to stop and recognize just how weird the Catholic faith can seem to those on the outside looking in. When people see Catholics living their faith, it's important they see Catholics who realize we're a bit odd compared to the secular culture, and then are willing to poke fun at ourselves about it. If we left humor out of the equation, Catholicism wouldn't be nearly as interesting a proposition. Thinking back to teaching engaged couples NFP, we were always sure to insert humorous stories from our married life, not only because life is just hilarious sometimes but also because it helps draw people in.
How important is it to connect humor with kids?
In a frenzied rush to get out the door and make it to Mass on time, we told our then-five-year-old that he would need to get himself dressed so we could have time to get ready ourselves. Tommy said something along the lines of "make sure you pick out something that's nice and comfortable." As we walked out of our room ready to hop in the van and leave, our son came into the hallway wearing a head-to-toe Spiderman costume, mask included. Despite the rush, we couldn't help but just stop and laugh at the ridiculousness of the whole situation and family life in general. Another time while praying together, our then-three-year-old loudly said: "May the souls of the faithful apartment through the mercy of God rest in peace." Kids provide so many opportunities to stop being obsessed with our adult life, wrapped up in all of our concerns and struggles, and just laugh and live in the moment. If we're going to reach kids, we need to come at things in the same way they do, living in the present moment and being willing to just have a good laugh from time to time. Our joyfulness in the faith points us to the joyfulness waiting for us in Heaven.
Anything else you’d like to add?
We use humor on social media a lot, as it seems to be a great way to bring people’s resistance to religion and faith down. Since we’re cracking a joke, people feel more open to engage, and then might ask a serious question that leads to a conversation. It similar to what we’re hoping to accomplish with the Funny Fill-ins book; get engaged in a conversation about faith without people realizing it because they’re just having fun!
Puzzling fun—perfect for family road trips, youth groups, faith formation, or just a rainy day. Grab a pen or pencil, and you'll be laughing—and learning—in no time! Catholic Family Fun includes saintly profiles, fascinating trivia, and creative ways to help you grow in your faith and in your relationship with Christ and his Church.
Purchase this weekend and save 20%.