Over the last few seasons, fans of NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” — which returns Monday, July 11 with the City Finals — have followed Connecticut native Joe Moravsky, a k a “The Ninja Weatherman,” a meteorologist for News 12 Connecticut in Westport, through his engagement, and then his marriage, and now the birth of a daughter, Emily.
Meet Joe, who’ll be in the City Finals:
Moravsky is also a Catholic. As his Twitter bio says, “God #1″ — and his parents, Robin and Joe Moravsky, are regular visitors to the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass. Robin Moravsky has even interpreted in in American Sign Language (ASL) on Divine Mercy Sundays.
I caught up with Moravsky on Twitter and asked if he’d answer a few questions by email. Here’s the result (answers in bold):
The “American Ninja Warrior” family has followed you through engagement to marriage to fatherhood. What’s it been like, sharing your life with the fans?
It’s been surreal being able to share my life with the world. I always grew up wanting this type of life (not sure why) and I’m very happy that I’ve achieved it.
How has fatherhood changed your perspective on your athletic endeavors — and everything else?
Fatherhood has changed everything. I use to think that I couldn’t love anyone more than my parents, or my wife… but the strength of the love for my own child is something I could have never guessed.
Is there a connection between athletic discipline and the Faith?
I believe there is a link between athletic discipline and Faith. I always trust in God to provide the path for me … and my job is to be open to any changes (even if I might not like them). It’s hard but it’s important.
It says in your Twitter bio that God is #1 — how does that play out in daily life?
“God is #1″ is important because it’s a reminder for me (and my fans) to put God first … especially in times of need!
Not everyone can be a Ninja Warrior, but how can watching the show have a positive impact on people’s lives?
You’re right, not everyone can be a Ninja Warrior … but that’s because everyone has their own individual strengths, goals, and physical/mental abilities. BUT, watching the show is a good reminder to never give up on your dreams and goals… and no reason to not do something is too great to stop you.
What is it about “Ninja Warrior” in particular that was meaningful for you?
“Ninja Warrior” means a lot to me now more than ever. It’s changed my life in ways people might not understand. I have met many people ranging from famous celebrities … MUCH more than myself … to VERY sick individuals. Each encounter has changed not only my outlook on life, but my understanding of life as a whole.
How do you balance your job, your family and athletic training?
I still don’t know how I balance my jobs, family life, and training … haha!
Patron saint and favorite prayer?
Saint Michael — favorite prayers are the Our Father and the Serenity Prayer.
Click here for Joe’s official page.
And click here for an interview with his fellow Catholic competitor, Sean Bryan, the “Papal Ninja,” who joins him in Los Angeles on Monday night for the City Finals. Here’s a sample:
You’re the Papal Ninja — why did you choose a name that sets such a high bar?
I like to think of the name Papal Ninja as more of a description rather than a title. As a title, it would be quite a high bar, but I guess – in a way – it keeps me accountable. But “papal ninja” as a description seems quite fitting for what I do.
My work with the Dominicans in animating the Lay Mission Project has deepened my appreciation for the role of the laity in the mission of the Church – to be leaven for the world, as Lumen Gentium encourages:
[Lay people] seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God. They live in the world, that is, in each and in all of the secular professions and occupations. They live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life, from which the very web of their existence is woven. They are called there by God that by exercising their proper function and led by the spirit of the Gospel they may work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven. In this way they may make Christ known to others, especially by the testimony of a life resplendent in faith, hope and charity. (LG, 31)
In this way, I see the role of all laypeople as that of a papal ninja.
In an analogical sense, think of what a ninja is: a gifted person who stealthily helps to accomplish the mission of the one who sent him. Laypeople are likewise called by Christ to partake in the
secular mission of His Church by using their gifts to “work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven.” As such, I am called to simply be myself, and live out the Gospel faithfully in the “ordinary circumstances” of my life, which in this particular case includes trying my best to witness the faith quite publicly.
Image: Courtesy Joe Moravsky, NBC