I'm fortunate that I've been able to work off-duty several years in the dugouts or bullpens at Kauffman Stadium so I've had more than my fair share of brushes with celebrities. I'll admit, I appreciate my situation, knowing few people get to be there. It is pretty cool thinking, "I'm standing next to a future Hall of Famer before he goes up to bat." That being said, you also get to see the players as people--celebrating their successes, angry at their failures, being kind, being not so kind. And ironically, going unrecognized in the parking lot.
The same is true in the Catholic world. There are all types of "Catholic celebrities." These celebrities are famous for different reasons, some are people in power such as Timothy Cardinal Dolan or Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia. Some people are bloggers such as Father Z or Deacon Kandra. Scott Hahn and Tim Staples are famous speakers. Lino Rulli is a radio host on Sirius/XM's The Catholic Channel. And in there youth ministry world there is Mark Hart, Jesse Manibusan, Father Tony and many many others.
These people are held up as celebrities, yet they are unknown outside of their own circle. I know that if I mentioned their names at work, people would not know who they are. But I make time to read their books or blogs. I'm interested in what they have to say and will make efforts to see them do presentations. I even consider a couple of them as roll models.
Here is the thing---I may see them as "celebrities" but I also see them as people---worthy of my admiration. But because I see them also as fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, I don't get bent out of shape if they make mistakes. On the other hand, I don't "freak out" over them either. Oh sure, with my friends, I'll act all fanboy sometimes but they understand that's just me being goofy. And sure, I would love to sit with many of them and over a beer discuss theology, youth ministry or even baseball---but that's just because I do have admiration for them just like I admire certain co-workers, my parish priest or family members.
Celebrity is good--- as long as they are celebrity for the right reason--that they are people to look up to for the right reasons. But it takes a lot for me to get too excited---after all, my favorite "celebrities" are my wife and my best friends. Because they like me back!! And not to name drop---but I had a nice conversation with God this morning---I have His number in my cell---so top that!!