Loving hipsters is easy. (The first guest post!)

Editor’s note: This blog is the first guest post on madisoncatholicyouth.com. This has been written by Madison Seminarian Bill VanWagner, who himself is proud of being a hipster and his Catholic faith. Check back often for weekly posts this Lent from Bill.

Let’s be honest, almost everyone wants to be a hipster. You can deny it all you want, but you know you have at least one Bon Iver album on your iPod, you love v-neck tee shirts, and you are always looking for an opportunity to wear those huge-rimmed glasses you found at grandma’s house. If you’re reading this–which you are–then you are also probably Catholic. This is good news. Being Catholic basically automatically makes you a hipster. Don’t believe me? Take Urban Dictionary’s word for it:

HIPSTER: Hipsters are a subculture of men and women that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter.

Boom. If that’s not Catholic, then neither is the Pope.

Counter-culture? We’ve got that down. This whole “Catholic, Jesus, not-being-pagan-or-Jewish” thing was illegal for the first 300 hundred years of it’s existence–and it hasn’t exactly been the “in-thing” for much time since then. Rule of thumb; you know you’re a part of a counter-culture when you get beheaded, burnt alive, or crucified for your very involvement in that culture.

St. Thomas More

Independent thinking? We do that, too. When the English government did this whole thing where King Henry VIII tried to claim authority over the Church–basically making himself more important than the Pope — Saint Thomas More — was not having it. This was a pretty big pickle, since Thomas More was himself was Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain (don’t worry, I don’t know what that means either). When it came out that Sir Thomas was actually going to be faithful to Holy Catholic Church, the locked him up in London Tower for a year and then beheaded him. I’d say that’s independent thinking.

Progressive politics? This one is easy. First of all, Jesus got himself into a lot of trouble for hanging out with the wrong crowds. In Jesus’ time, everyone was shoved into a nice and neat social class with essentially no chance of rising up, but a pretty good chance of falling down. The thing was, if you were in class D, you were alright, but you didn’t bother class A or B, and you had to straight-up avoid class E-Z. Jesus kind of ignored that whole concept. He hung out with tax-collectors–class C-ish–and lepers–probably class Z. Back then, that sort of thing really rubbed people the wrong way. No wonder they killed him, eh?

Caravaggio - Martirio di San Pietro

Appreciation of art? This is awesome, Catholics basically invented art. That might be a stretch, but hear me out. When you go to Europe, there’s no tour called “Discovering the Art of Ancient Atheists.” Point being, for 2,000 years Catholics have been building enormous glowing edifices that reflect the glory and beauty of God. Michelangelo, Raphael, Bernini, Caravaggio; all artists who built, sculpted, and painted glorious works in attempt to show the splendor of the Heavens.

Creativity, intelligence, and witty banter? Catholics are great at that. Just recently, the Holy Father created 22 new Cardinals, including 2 Americans. One of the Americans among the elect was Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, former Archbishop of Milwaukee. He was fortunate enough to bring his dear mother along to Rome for the ceremony. When he introduced her to the Holy Father, Papa Bene looked at her and said, “You look too young to be the mother of a Cardinal!” With the blink of an eye, Mrs. Dolan quipped, “Is that an infallible statement, Holy Father?” Catholic wit and intelligence has dominated the field of intellectual study throughout the entire history of the Church. St. Justin, St. Augustine, Bl. Duns Scotus, St. Bonaventure, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Ignatius, G.K. Chesterton, St. Edith Stein, Pope John Paul II — in nearly every century since the death of Christ, there has been a Catholic mind that has sculpted the intellectual pursuits of the time.

The great part about being super hip and super Catholic, is that all these complicated ingredients can be summed up into one. Being Holy. In today’s culture of death and hate, what’s the best way to stand out in the crowd? Giving your life to Jesus. Don’t believe me? Tell somebody at school you prayed the Rosary yesterday and see the look on their face. Heck, if you’re lucky, they might even call you “psycho” or a “cult-worshipper”. Don’t be discouraged, though, that’s just layman’s terms for totally hip. Case in point: it’s super counter-cultural these days to love Jesus Christ. The great part is that this isn’t just rebellion for rebellion’s sake. No, instead, loving Jesus offers us so many promises the world cannot fulfill: Eternal happiness, peace, joy, perfect love, and intimate communion with God the Father, the constant guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the intercession of the Saints and Angels. All of that sounds pretty good, even if it means getting martyred for it.

Big (Belated) Valentine’s Day News

I hope you are all ready for some great news today, so let’s not waste any time getting to it.

The news broke last night on facebook, which helped many LBH folks celebrate Valentine’s Day in a very exciting way. If you are curious how you access the registration materials, visit this page on the Diocese of Madison website. If you would like a leader package mailed to you, leave your name in a comment and it will hit the mail this week!

With that, enjoy a little missionary encouragement to celebrate the love we are called to from JPII!

Don’t hesitate! Today’s the day to begin some love in your own home.

Live Your Vocation

Hey blog readers,

I’m glad you’ve tuned in for another #resrally2012 review!

In the midst of a weekend learning about the universal call to holiness and encouraging the young people of the Diocese to LIVE THEIR VOCATION, it was extremely beautiful to have the Camp Gray Chaplain, Fr. Tim Renz along for the weekend, who was recently ordained in June of 2011. While the young people were encourage to think about what God is calling them to in life and Not Yet shared what vocations they are not yet living out, Fr. Tim was present to LIVE his vocation out all weekend. He slid down the water slides with joy, heard Confessions for 4 hours and presided over Eucharistic Adoration and the Holy Mass. Having Fr. Tim around surely inspired everyone around to consider their vocations in a deeper way.

Speaking of the universal call to holiness, the Second Vatican Council broke open the teaching on this topic in Lumen Gentium, which the teens learned about during the weekend. It’s a solid read. Spend some time with it if you have never done so!

How beautiful is that photograph?

In other beautiful news, facebook and twitter were going crazy during the days post-Rally. Take a look at some of the best #socialmedia evaluations:

Facebook Highlights
Shannon C.: the whole weekend was awesome, but the Testimonies and adoration were my favorite. I’m so glad that I’m able to be apart of this wonderful community of people who are so strong in they’re faith and just support each other it is truly amazing.

Keith L.: My favorite part was entering the next week being so on fire with the Spirit thanks to all the amazing people and testimonials. This year especially is going to have a lasting effect on my spirit and how I define “being a man”.

Twitter Highlights
#thatamazingmomentwhen all my sins that i’ve racked up over the past 7 or more years have been forgiven and I feel like I can fly. #ptL (Katie Greenwood, Reedsburg)

So thankful for all the youth, youth ministers, and priests of the Diocese of Madison. What a perfect weekend! #ptL #resrally2012 #boom (Bill VanWagner, Seminarian & Keynote Speaker)

Wow! What a weekend. You’re still in for one more blog post that is going to recap the weekend. Don’t miss it.


#resrally2012 Recap, Number One

This past weekend, over 200 young people and some rockstar adults gathered at Chula Vista to enjoy a weekend at the waterpark, grow in holiness and learn about all of the things that the Lord CALLS the young people to.

Top moments of the weekend include:
– NOT YET rocking the house as keynote speakers.
– Incredible testimonies by Aly, Nick and Carley. What inspiring young people!
– A line for Confession over 100 young people long.
– Great conversation, good food, and super fast water slides.

Check out these photos from the weekend from General Sessions & Adoration…
 … and all of the fun the young people had together.

We’re still in the process of breaking down highlights from the Keynote Speakers, but Pope Benedict summed up the message pretty well on Sunday morning!

Look forward to two more updates in the next week, and perhaps the first guest blogger to appear on Madison Catholic Youth! Any guesses as to who it may be? (He loves the Lord, the youth of the Diocese and not all that long ago was one of them himself!)

Work Day: Reflection One

Hello readers, especially those new to this blog,

This week is a busy one for the youth of the Diocese, as the Resurrection Catholic HS Rally is coming to the Dells this weekend, but that did not keep nearly 40 Parishes from sending representatives to the inagural St. John Bosco Work Day.

Youth Ministers, DREs and volunteers from Parishes networked, planned and chatted all day long. In the midst of the time together, new projects were brainstormed, existing projects were highlighted and we were all inspired to focus in more on the “needful things”.

In the coming weeks, I will be posting much more from this day, including tentative calendars for next year and such, but for now, keep the youth and one another in your prayers.

Thank you to all of those who were able to join us, at the BOCC, virtually or just through your prayers. Great things are happening. Praise the Lord!