Wanderer Wednesday: Instagraming the Diocese


Today’s Wanderer Wednesday post will be a brief one. We just wanted you to officially confirm that Instagram is all the rage, in case you weren’t aware. While you’ll need a smart phone or iDevice of some kind to make use of it, getting on board is not a bad idea! When polled this summer on Love Begins Here mission trips, our Middle School youth told us (resoundingly) that they use Instagram more than facebook and twitter combined.

To help orient you to the coolest Catholic Instagram accounts in the Diocese, the following is a little guide.

Blog, Instagram WW

Go ahead and like all of these accounts, mention us in your posts and tag us in your photos. There’s hardly a better way to evangelize through beauty during this Year of Faith. (If you don’t have access to one of these devices to Instagram on your own, you can view the feeds of these four accounts by visiting http://www.instagram.com/insertthenamehere. For example: www.instagram.com/madisondiocese.)

Word to the wise: please use the pre-made Instagram filters sparingly. Natural and unedited is always best. If you feel the need to edit, do so first in an app of your choice. For those in the iDevice world, we would suggest PicTapGo and Afterlight for your editing needs, A Beautiful Mess for adding text and Diptic for making quick photo collages!

How are you doing? What’s new?

Hoeben Film

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

Chances are you are going to find yourself socializing with family and friends quite a bit over the next couple of days. If your life is anything like mine, you will find yourself chatting with old acquaintances and family members you have not seen or caught up with for the better part of a year. Then come the questions: What’s new? How have you been? Is anything exciting happening in your life?

How do you capture how wonderful, yet routine and normal your life seems to be in the matter of a couple minutes over Christmas dinner?

As a little pre-Christmas gift, I have an idea of how this conversation could go for you —

Introduction Lines:
These last few months have been really great. I have been growing in my faith a lot through the Year of Faith that Pope Benedict called for starting this past October. One thing I’ve been doing lately is (pick one: reading Scripture more | attending Mass more regularly | diving into the study of my faith | thinking about a new year’s resolution to make that will help me grow in holiness.)

Meaty Subject Matter:
One great thing the Diocese of Madison (where I’m blessed to call home) has been doing for this Year of Faith is making films to help the faithful better understand what this journey of faith is all about. They are really beautiful, professional and inspiring. It’s great to be a part of the Church who knows the importance of using new media and wants to reach out to all Catholics and others through the internet, even if they don’t always come to Church.

— Actually, the Christmas video just came out. It shows the story of a great couple and their young family. I think you would love it. Let me show it to you. It’s really quick.

Have a computer, tablet or smart phone ready. Cue up the following.

Next Move:
Isn’t that beautiful? It has really reminded me to not let Christmas just be about these wonderful gatherings with families and friends, eating good food and giving gifts. It really is about our faith and that great event so many years ago when Jesus entered the world.

— So, yeah, that’s what’s new with me. What about you? 

Okay, you may not do exactly that. However, how could it hurt? Our families are stuck with us; it may not hurt to share who we really are and what is so important about this holiday to us. And really, these Year of Faith videos can show a new dimension of the Church to some who are under the impression that we Catholics are stuck in the dark ages.

In case you want to forget you ever read this and plan to never have that conversation over Christmas dinner, perhaps consider one of the following suggestions on how to share this video —

One: Follow the Madison Diocese on Twitter and RT (retweet that film)!
Two: Like the Madison Diocese of Facebook and share the film.
Three: Do numbers 1 and 2 throughout the real Christmas season — all the way into the new yea.r
Four: Send an e-mail to friends from your Parish, fallen away family members or co-workers to with them a merry Christmas, while passing along the link to the video.
Five: Watch it a couple times for yourself, preferably with your favorite warm beverage in your hands.

Make the most of those suggestions. We are entering some of the most incredible days of the year — enjoy the celebrations, the prayer and remembering the real reason for this season.

To my co-workers in the Diocese and all others who stumble across this post, I wish you a very blessed Christmas. You are in my prayers.
– Lindsay

Come. Go.

LBH - FB 2

It’s 55 degrees outside right now. I know we are a mere twenty days away from the great Solemnity of Christmas, but I cannot help feel like [or wish that] Spring is settling in. It is always at this time of year that I start to get restless. I have been in the office so many days in a row. I only work with young people on occasional weekends. I feel removed from the joy, hard work, laughter and conversion that I’ve have become accustomed to during the summer months of Love Begins Here.

Love Begins Here
1. an apostolate of the Catholic Diocese of Madison’s OEC, that works to provide Middle School + High School youth with an opportunity to encounter Jesus Christ in a life changing way through weeklong, local Mission Trips where they live in Catholic community and continue His work on earth
2. “The best week of my life.” – 2012 Mission Trip Participant
3. “Fun. Exciting. Spiritually uplifting. Something I look forward to all year. A place to meet friends. A place to see old friends. A place of prayer. A lesson in religion. A challenge. Pleasant memories. Full of people like me. Life changing. Worth it. Strengthening. UNFORGETTABLE.” – 2012 Mission Trip Participant

To help fill this void, I make to do lists of dozens of things to do to prepare for the summer. What makes the top of the list is entirely dependent on what will help set the tone for this next leg of the journey. (It’s already our 5th summer!) To begin the sharing of what this next summer holds, Love Begins Here would like to formally announce the 2013 Summer Theme.

Come. Go.

Quote - Blog 1This theme came about in a number of ways.

1. The Pope has declared the World Youth Day 2013 theme to be, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” His message for the occasion is incredible. It is packed with solid catechesis and information on forming young disciples. This obviously fits well in with Love Begins Here.

2. Cardinal Dolan has been quoting this piece of good advice from Venerable Fulton Sheen again and again, during this Year of Faith. Love Begins Here is looking forward to sharing this call to conversion, which is so crucial for this Year of Faith, with our young missionaries.

3. It defines the two fundamental aspects of Love Begins Here. COME – LBH focuses on everyone developing a relationship with Jesus Christ and encountering his love. GO – LBH works to spread His love to those in need and the community we are living in.

4. We think our missionaries will like this. And, we hope that it will be a memorable one that will remain in our minds and hearts for years to come!

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us!



Don’t let this busy season stress you out —photo 2

photo 1


Instead, take Mary as your model.

The Virgin Mary perfectly embodies the spirit of Advent, which consists of listening to God, a profound desire to do His will, and joyful service to others. Let us be guided by her, so that God who is coming may not find us closed or distracted, but might extend to each of us a small part of His kingdom of love, of justice, and of peace. – Pope Benedict XVI, First Sunday of Advent, 2012


photo 3

Rejoice! Rejoice!

O come, desire of nations, bind
in one the hearts of humankind:
bid ev’ry sad division cease
and be thyself our Prince of peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.

Happy Advent and Happy New Year, one and all. Thanks for stopping by Madison Catholic Youth’s blog today. In case you’ve been a faithful follower for quite a while, sorry for that draught we just experienced. November was quite the month. It was great seeing almost 100 great co-workers in the vineyard at Regional Gatherings in November, and we held our Unveiled retreats for the first time. (If you missed them, check out the facebook and twitter for a few little highlights. Though, we will get some on the blog soon, too.)

Back to this New Year in the Church we just began. In the name of resolutions, please find our plan for the blog this December. It promises to be a mix of reflection, happily awaited information, photographs and inspiration.

Calendar - Blog Smallest

From today until December 31st, we are promising a (week) daily update right here on these pages. Please enjoy.

To help you navigate this month, we’ll be linking up all of the December blog posts right here —

12 | 3 – Marian Advent Reflection
12 | 4 – LBH Theme Reveal: Come. Go.
12 | 5 – Guest Blogger: The God Who Waits
12 | 6 – St. John Bosco Day Announcement
12 | 7 – Film Contest Launch

12 | 10 – Frassati Fest – Catholic Herald, Part I
12 | 11 – Frassati Fest – Catholic Herald, Part II
12 | 12 – Frassati Fest on Twitter
12 | 13 – Frassati Fest Workshop Previews
12 | 14 – Frassati Fest – Keynote Speaker Surprise

12 | 17 – LOVE BEGINS HERE – Special, Part I
12 | 18 – LOVE BEGINS HERE – Special, Part II
12 | 19 – Cardinal Virtue Spotlight
12 | 20 – MYSTERY
12 | 21 – Lindsay’s Christmas Gift

12 | 24 – CHRISTMAS
12 | 25 – CHRISTMAS, Guest Blog
12 | 26 – New Evangelization, Part I
12 | 27 – New Evangelization, Part II
12 | 28 – New Evangelization, Part III

12 | 30 – New Evangelization, Part IV
12 | 31 – New Year’s Resolutions

UNVEILED: How to register? + Schedules

We’ve gotten a few questions on how to go about registering for Unveiled. Hopefully this little post and the explanation will be of great benefit to you.

A small suggestion: Go ahead and read through all of these steps first, and then use the links to help you with each step of the process.

Step One:
Visit the Unveiled Registration Page on the Diocesan Website.

Step Two (Individual Registrations):
E-mail Lindsay to let her know that you will be sending young people on the retreat. Include the names of who the chaperones are or if you will need help getting hooked up with a chaperone. Chaperones do need to go through the registration process too!

Step Two (Parish Group Registrations):
[Request a Google Doc if you haven’t yet.] Fill in your registration info on your Google Doc.

Step Three:
Print off an initial registration form and your waivers – Middle School and/or High School.

Step Four:
Fill them out and mail them in. Make checks payable to Diocese of Madison – OEC. It would be great to get all the forms in a week before the retreat begins!

That’s it!
Easy right? That’s the hope.

If you still have questions, post a comment, e-mail lindsay.becher@straphael.org, or or give a call to Lindsay (608.821.4544).

A bunch more information is found on the Unveiled Page on the Diocesan Website, so make sure to check it out and read all about it. One small bit of information that’s not posted there yet are the schedules. However, you’re in luck — as we’re unveiling them on the blog today. Enjoy the sneak peek into this incredible, prayerful and fun retreat.

Middle School:

High School:

Sneak Peak: Year of Faith Resolutions

The following is an article I wrote appearing in this week’s issue of The Catholic Herald on how to go about making some Year of Faith resolutions. Enjoy the preview — and make sure to pick up a copy in the next few days.

Most Americans are familiar with New Years resolutions; many embrace them with enthusiasm for the first two weeks of January each year. As winter trudges on, those resolutions lose some of their fervor. Almost all Catholics are familiar with the practice of fasting from things they enjoy each Lent; the good majority stay strong throughout those forty days.

Based on the success rates of keeping resolutions, it seems like the better and more serious a reason to make one in the first place, the more enthusiasm and effort is put forth in keeping it.

As this Year of Faith began in early October, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in his opening homily spoke of a “desertification” happening throughout the world. Many people have found themselves drifting away from the practice of the faith, putting stake in the world’s definition of happiness and no longer desiring the beautiful.

He has spoken. This is a serious problem for the world, pertinent for everyone from faithful Catholics to those who are far away from the Church. This problem is not going to remain an unsolved riddle. The Holy Father spoke of a solution you can be a part of during the upcoming 13 months.

In his homily at the Mass opening the Year of Faith, he told all Catholics that “in the desert people of faith are needed who, with their own lives, point out the way to the Promised Land and keep hope alive.”

If you are up for the challenge of being a person of faith in the dessert, you may be interested in the following four ideas of resolutions to take on during this Year of Faith, as inspired by the Holy Father’s and Fr. Eric Sternberg’s opening homilies on this momentous occasion.

Number One: Go to Mass and listen. As Fr. Sternberg told the students, if you show up and listen during Mass this year, there is no way that you are not going to get the point and deepen your faith. Priests around the Diocese and the world are going to be teaching from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the documents of the Second Vatican Council. Listen carefully; your life is about to be transformed.

Number Two: Pray. There is no better way to figure out how the Lord wants to use you in the desert this year other than by being in regular communication with him. Do not be surprised if deepening your prayer life leads you to Confession or taking seriously the following two resolutions.

Number Three: Do something big. (Caveat: Fr. Sternberg told the students at St. Paul’s not to drop out of school. That doesn’t make parents happy.) As for the rest, if the Lord has given you a call, now is the time to embrace it. Perhaps consider doing something big that will invite someone to come back to the Church; put witnessing to what you believe at the top of your list of ideas.

Number Four: Live with joy. As the Holy Father said this week, “We should live with joy in our hearts. We can be happy because Jesus’ goodness remains and is strong.”

For those of you who struggle with resolutions day to day, for the forty days of Lent or during each new year, do not fear. This Year of Faith is not the time for doubt or waiting around; it is a call for action. Let the Lord know about your resolutions and allow the Holy Spirit to give you the grace and energy needed to keep them.

– Lindsay, Coordinator of Youth & Young Adult Formation

How do I become a new evangelist? + GIVEAWAY (Updated!)

With the start of this Year of Faith last week, we are going to be hearing a number of words and phrases again and again. One of them is new evangelization. To get to the heart of what this phrase means and what it looks like, stay tuned during the rest of this week for resources, quotes and materials on it. (And, if you happen to be in your 20s or 30s, come on out to next month’s Theology on Tap. I’ll be there to share how to share the good news with joy and swagger. It is on Thursday, October 25th from 7:00 – 9:00pm!)

To get us started on the learning, let’s hear some words from our Holy Father as quoted by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, who is the President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization:

The faith has to be thought out and especially lived out today in a way which is new, in order to become something which belongs to the present. But it is not the dilution of the faith which helps us here, but only living the faith fully in our world today.

To help further your excitement on this topic, watch this great interview with Fr. Robert Barron posted today on the 7 qualities of a new evangelizer. His six-minute explanation is succinct, beautiful and motivating.

As for the GIVEAWAY, enter a comment on this post sharing which point you found to be most enlightening or inspiring and you will be entered to win a set of two books that you can use to help you spread the good news! To be eligible for the giveaway, enter your comment by 11:59pm CST on Thursday, October 18th!

Go out there and work on becoming a new evangelizer today! You’ll be in my prayers. – Lindsay

UPDATE: Thank you so much to Lisa, Doug and Michelle for participating in the first of many GIVEAWAYS on the blog. Below is the photo of the official drawing.

Congratulations Michelle! You’ll be receiving your books soon.

Year of Faith: The Beginning

Have you seen the first in a series of films made especially by Backflip Films for the Diocese of Madison for this Year of Faith? We think it’s pretty incredible. Please watch.

The reasons we ended up making this film are quite plentiful. For some of them, you could read the article about them in the Catholic Herald this past week. Also, have you heard that this week a study came out that one in five Americans do not claim a religious affiliation? That number rises to one in three if you look at just those Americans under the age of 30.

With that said, we essentially want to welcome people back to the Church, help the faithful in the Church desire to deepen their faith and remind everyone that beauty can lead us to know and love God more — all in a super good-looking, professional, beautiful online format that is really easy to share with friends on facebook, e-mail to family members or tweet about.

As a little challenge during these opening days of the Year of Faith, think of someone who you can share this video with in the coming week. Perhaps you could share it with someone from outside of the Madison Diocese or a fallen away friend or family member. This video would also be great to use with your Bible Study group or as you begin your faith formation classes this week. If you are interested in using it as a teaching tool or with a small group, check out the general film guide or high school film guide created to use with the film. Copies of those film guides are also available in B&W on the Diocese of Madison Year of Faith website.

A few resources I would suggest you knowing about as this year begins:
– Daily e-mails from Flocknote to help you read the Catechism during the Year of Faith.
– The Madison Diocese website page for the Year of Faith.
– Daily Year of Faith Companion from Magnificat.
Prayer used at the Second Vatican Council. (This website is also a stellar resource!)

Much more to come in the weeks and months to come! Enjoy sharing the film and checking out all of these great resources.