April 26, 2018 // National

Book appeals to hipster Catholics with spiritual swagger

By Regina Lordan

Are you a Catholic hipster? Are you a bespectacled foodie, black skinny jeans and Chucks-wearing Catholic “sneaking a peek at your breviary app during your work meeting,” as the book teases?

Then yes, you are a Catholic hipster, and yes, “The Catholic Hipster Handbook: Rediscovering Cool Saints, Forgotten Prayers, and Other Weird but Sacred Stuff” by Tommy Tighe is for you.

Does this stereotype annoy you and does the whole idea of a Catholic hipster seem odd? It doesn’t matter, this book is still for you.

Just as the world is saturated with stereotypes about hipsters and Catholics (and perhaps now Catholic hipsters?), the market is saturated with books for Catholic moms, grieving, spirituality, history, the saints and the Gospel. It is not exactly overflowing with literature that purposely identifies with Catholics with a certain type of spiritual swagger.

This book will speak to the Catholic who is ready to appreciate the absolute coolness of Catholicism: It is countercultural, it’s ancient (more ancient than those ancient grains on your avocado toast), and there is so much to celebrate, discover and explore within the faith to deepen spirituality and life.

“The Catholic Hipster Handbook” augments these glorious features of the Church and organizes them into ways to rediscover the Church’s attitude, stuff, life and the attraction. The aptly called rediscoveries are explained and unfolded by interesting laypeople, as well by a Salesian sister and diocesan priest. Each topic is given a saint, prayer and activity. Hipsters love homework, right? Well no one really does, but this homework is easy, meaningful and involves pilgrimages, simple matching games, art projects and praying.

With chapters like “Catholic Weird on Twitter,” “What About Beards,” “Taking Pope Francis to the Farmers Market” and “The Local Craft (Catholic?) Brewery Scene,” there is no wonder “The Catholic Hipster Handbook” appeared on several top book lists floating around the internet.

Fresh and original, fun and clever, the book is laden with authentic Church teaching, beautiful prayers, meaningful reflections and spiritual refreshment. In “O Scapular, My Scapular,” Sarah Vabulas, author and podcast host, discusses the meaning behind her beloved scapular. On one side is the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, on the other is an image of Mary.

Vabulas said wearing the scapular almost daily has given her the opportunity to answer curious questioners about the relationship between Mary and Jesus. She notes the history of the scapular and its symbolism to live a life focused on Jesus through prayer and the sacrament of reconciliation.

Lisa Hendey’s contribution includes practical applications to keep Catholics focused on Catholicism by sharing her favorite Catholic apps. Author and founder of the popular CatholicMom.com, Hendey also reminds readers about the importance of silencing technology to “simply be in the astounding presence of the greatest designer the world has ever known.”

Her cool saint is St. Eligius, who “would have been an app designer had he lived in modern times.” This patron saint of gas station workers was a priest, bishop and skilled metalworker who used his access to royalty to help the poor. Her activity? Spend some time with an elderly person and help them learn something new about their technology.

Written by Tommy Tighe, founder of CatholicHipster.com, with the help of contributors including Leticia Ochoa Adams from Sirius XM, musician and comedian Matt Dunn and Salesian Sister Brittany Harrison, the voices are diverse and bring something very interesting to the (brunch?) table. Try it out and reinvigorate your faith life with a breath of fresh air.

In the mood for more alternative ways to engage your faith life? Try out “Catholic Puzzles, Word Games, and Brainteasers” by Matt Swaim and “Christian Labyrinths: A Celtic Coloring Book” by Daniel Mitsui, both published by Ava Maria Press.

“Catholic Puzzles” is collection of mind-bending but fun quizzes, code scrambles and letter games. The games will hone your Bible and Catholic fact skills as well as provide several hours of entertainment.

“Christian Labyrinths” is a coloring book that marries a love of coloring with intricate tile patterns and Bible verses and prayers. Interestingly, each page contains a hidden mistake, adding to the challenge and intrigue of this unique collection of coloring pages for adults.

Lordan has master’s degrees in education and political science and is a former assistant international editor of Catholic News Service. She is a digital editor at Peanut Butter & Grace, an online resource for Catholic family catechesis.

“The Catholic Hipster Handbook: Rediscovering Cool Saints, Forgotten Prayers and Other Weird but Sacred Stuff” by Tommy Tighe. Ave Maria Press (Notre Dame, Indiana, 2017). 206 pp., $15.95.

“Catholic Puzzles, Word Games and Brainteasers” by Matt Swaim. Ave Maria Press (Notre Dame, Indiana, 2017). 64 pp., $9.95.

“Christian Labyrinths: A Celtic Coloring Book” by Daniel Mitsui. Ave Maria Press (Notre Dame, Indiana, 2017). 64 pp., $10.95.

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