I recently got an email from someone who saw my show. She thought (correctly) that since I’m a comedian and Catholic, that I would be interested to know that there was once a St. Hilarius. Sure enough, I looked it up. He was even Pope from 461 to 468.
But his name is a relative term. Maybe he was St. Hilarius to some, but what if he was a prop saint? Or if he did nothing original but just constantly quoted other saints? In that case, history will surely judge him to be St. Hacky.
But maybe not. Maybe he was just a normal saint at first, doing saint things around the office, at the water cooler or the corner bar. Then his friends said, “Dude, you gotta take this on the road!” So he did.
However, very few people know about him. You never see a Cathedral of St. Hilarius. I personally think it’s because it would give the congregation a very high level of expectation. Every Sunday people would just sit there looking at the priest with their arms crossed mumbling, “This guy ain’t funny. The sign said hilarius. We should get our tithe back.”
It all remains a mystery. We have to use our imagination, like I did in the following conversation I bet St. Hilarius had on a long travel day with some guy he never met.
“Hey, buddy. I believe that’s my camel seat. See…16-B.”
“My mistake. Here you go.”
“No problemo. That’s a mighty fine coat of hair you got there. What’s your name?”
“No kidding? Can you cure my corns? I mean, you are a saint, right? So you should be able to be a saint whenever, at any time, right?”
“Uh….it doesn’t quite work like that.”
“You know, guys at work think I’m hilarious. I should be a saint. You write your own miracles? You know who I like….that St. Cable Guy. He’s a hoot. What’s that line he has….I don’t care who ya are, that’s holy right thar!”
“Yeah, he’s doing okay for himself.”
“So have I seen you on any stained glass windows or late night Masses?”
“What do your parents think about you being a saint? Can you go to school for that? You know, I got a cousin who dabbles in saint stuff. Mostly writing. Can I put him in touch with you?”
That’s precisely why most people have never heard of St. Hilarius, because after that moment, whenever someone asked what he did for a living, he just said “sales” like all of us comedians do.