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Want to Make the Pope Laugh? No, Seriously


Antoine Mekary | Aleteia

Zoe Romanowsky - published on 09/10/15

"Joke With the Pope" launches an effort to highlight joy and humor

Knock Knock? Who’s there? Papa. Papa Who? Papa Wants a Good Belly Laugh. And a good laugh Francis may get if he scrolls through a new web site called “Joke with the Pope,” which was recently launched in anticipation of his visit to the United States later this month.

The light-hearted endeavor is meant to help spread “the joyful spirit of Pope Francis,” Fr. Andrew Small told The Catholic Register. Small is national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies, the sponsor of “Joke with the Pope,” which works to spread the Catholic faith overseas, particularly in poor and remote areas.

“In that joy, we’re able to then lift our own hearts up and reach out to one another,” Small said. “Even if that’s all we can share with one another — a smile, a laugh or, you know, like the Pope, sort of the touch of compassion — I think that helps us to change the world one laugh at a time.”

From now until October 2, Catholics and non-Catholics alike are invited to submit a joke about the pope or the Church —  either in writing or by video — to

Anyone submitting a joke will be able to select one of three charitable causes to support if their entry wins: housing the homeless in Ethiopia, feeding the hungry in Kenya, or helping needy children in Argentina.

If you plan to submit your best “pope, rabbi and the Dalai Lama” joke, be forewarned, though: Your head judge knows a thing or two about humor. Actor and comedian Bill Murray, a Catholic, will serve as “Honorary Advisor for Pontifical Comedy” and will help decide the winner, to be announced October 5.

And the reward, beyond making Bill Murray — and hopefully the pope himself — laugh hysterically? The title of “Honorary Comedic Advisor to the Pope” and the Pontifical Missions will donate $10,000 to the winner’s chosen cause.

The “Joke With the Pope” digital campaign is also designed to raise awareness for the new Missio app, an updated news aggregator site that connects users with hundreds of projects around the world.

Zoe Romanowsky is Lifestyle Editor and Video Content Producer at Aleteia. 

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