Meet the Catholic comedian
Romar Chuca opened a TikTok account last year and uploaded a rendition of Yellow by Coldplay and a medley of “Anima Christi” by Fr. Arnel Aquino.
That generated 500 likes and 5,000 views.
He posted them on Instagram and drew an amused audience.
Soon after, Chuca started to preach and made a series of uploads on social media. Before he knew it, he had over 161,000 followers on TikTok and 30,000 on Facebook.
The 29-year-old earned the moniker, “Catholic comedian,” for injecting humor into his music and preaching.
Despite the instant fame, Chuca said he doesn’t do content planning.
“Engagements like these are a shoutout by the Holy Spirit because even though I know I’m imperfect, a sinner, and sometimes lazy, that’s where the ideas come in. By God’s mercy, it connects with a lot of people. The realization is when I push, it becomes less effective but when it’s natural, it’s like God does a lot of wonders,” he said.
Chuca said he believes God understands peoples’ emotions, as well as laughter because Jesus laughs and also pranks his friends.
“God understands that we go through emotions, and emotions are an essential part of human life,” he said.
“That’s the first and foremost thing in our faith. God enters and changes us. He accepts me for who I am, in the unique particular way that I am. He is a loving God who understands us, regardless of who we are. So regardless of what I put on secular music and then I play liturgical music, God will enjoy that,” he added.
He also drew inspiration from the movie “Sister Act” starring Whoopi Goldberg where in one of the scenes, Goldberg entered the Church and conducted the choir singing “Salve Regina” with drum accompaniment.
“Our Catholic Faith is a religion for all. Perhaps, at the very core, God understands even through jazz music, tribal, or indigenous music, He is still there,” Chuca said.
Dealing with bashers
Chuca said he welcomes bashers and is grateful to them for bringing him back to the reason behind his unique way of preaching.
“I also have self-reflective moments because when I get lost along the way, I end up just thinking about it as how many likes I received, how many views,” he said, adding that he has a mission and purpose.
Despite the unending self-doubts, he said he doesn’t pressure himself because God is in control.
Who is Chuca?
Chuca serves as socioeconomic enrichment and development officer of the Fr. Leoni Memorial Foundation Inc., a Jesuit Indigenous Peoples’ Ministry in Bukidnon that conducts social enterprises to provide scholarships for indigenous peoples from the different tribes of the province.
He studied at Christian Life Education at Ateneo where he became a member of a theater group.
“When I was in high school, I was part of the theater group, Dulaang Sibol that was founded by Mr. Onofre Pagsanjan, one of the mentors of Fr. Manoling Francisco, the one who composed “Hindi Kita Malilimutan,” “Huwag Kang Mangamba,” he recalled.
Since then, he realized that God is not only present in the Eucharist, but also other forms such as music and arts.
During his high school years, he learned to play the piano.
As a college student, he served in their parish In college and was active in church and liturgical music. He became member of the Ateneo College Ministry Group.
Priesthood remains an option, according to Chuca.
“It’s not that I’m closing the door to priesthood but now I appreciate it more as a lay person. You can do so much for the church and the people,” he said.
His wit was noticed when he hosted the “Ginintuan” during the 50th Anniversary special of Jesuit Music in July 2019.
Little did he know that it would lead him to bigger things.
Indeed, God works in unique ways.
Chuca shared a friend’s advice: “When the Lord gives you big shoes, just put them on and do your best. Walk with those shoes, because in time your feet will grow and the Lord will catch you.”
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