Tommy Tighe is the man behind podcasts The Catholic Hipster Podcast and The Chimney. He’s a bonafide Catholic Hipster and has written a book to help the rest of us up our Catholic cool game – The Catholic Hipster Handbook!
What started out as a joke tweet turned into one of the best collections of reasons to be Catholic written this decade (maybe even this century!). The foreword to the book is written by Jeannie Gaffigan! Here are eight reasons to be a Catholic hipster, as collected by Tommy and and his Catholic hipster friends.
1. Cool, little-known saints abound
Have you ever heard of Blessed Augustus Czartoryski? Or Saint Epaphras? What about Saint Maria Domenica Mazzarello or Saint Hildegard of Bingen? Need a saint for apps and app makers? Choose Saint Eligius! The Catholic Hipster Handbook is a treasure trove of unknown or forgotten saints– and all applied to our modern lives! Seriously, being a Catholic hipster means you get by with a little help from your friends the saints, and this book is like Tinder (or CatholicMatch!) for finding a new saint buddy.
2. You need to know about all of these forgotten prayers
Each chapter in The Catholic Hipster Handbook teaches one old or forgotten prayer. There are prayers by saints, the prayer of procedure and blessing of investiture of the scapular (another Catholic hipster favorite item!), prayers from Scripture, the Invocations to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and so many more! This book doesn’t just tell you how to walk the hipster walk, it also prays right there with you! With a prayer for every situation and supplication, the Catholic Church is rich in her formulas to offer ourselves to God, and Catholic hipsters know all the best, old ones to connect us ever more deeply with the Divine.
3. Don’t miss out on the smells and bells
The smells and bells of Catholicism are the concrete items that enrich the life of faith. Rosaries, scapulars, consecration chains and apps for you phone all are concrete items Catholic hipster use to live the faith and also visible signs to display it to the world and to remind themselves. You can carry a rosary in your pocket or purse, or wear a medal of one of your favorite saints. Consecrated to Mary? You can even make a consecration chain out a chain link you can buy at your local hardware store.
4. You’re going to love these baby names
Mary, Elizabeth, Katherine, John, Michael, and Joseph are still good, tried-and-true baby names, but Catholic hipsters tend to look for more unique ways to name their children while honoring the faith (much like secular parents of this day and age). Names like Maria Regina and John Paul will scream “Catholic!” to the outside world while names like Zelie, Joachim, Caeli, and Vesper will make people stop and ask about the name choice and could end up helping you evangelize!
Saint John Chrysostom said, “So let the name of the saints enter our homes through the naming of our children, to train not only the child but the father….Do not because it is a small thing regard it as small; its purpose is to succor us.” Names are meant to remind us of Christ and the faith and also to help others know about it, too!
So get creative! Really want to go off-roading (or “catacombing”)? Try Saint Catherine of Siena’s childhood nickname Euphrosyne (Greek for “joy”) or Saint Teresa Margaret Redi’s childhood nickname Agnellina (Italian for “little lamb) as a way to honor saints.
5. There are so many beautiful, ancient ways to worship
Catholic hipsters like being connected to the ancient roots of the Church, so they like to worship in such a way, too. Divine Office, or the Liturgy of the Hours, is a set of readings and responses prayed every few hours by all of the priests and religious (and whatever laity joins in!) around the world every day. Another form of worship is the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, also known as the Latin mass. Catholic hipsters also try to make daily mass as often as possible, as well as frequenting the sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharistic adoration. (They also probably know the Divine Praises, Magnificat, and “Our Father” in Latin by heart)
6. Who can forget relics?
A relic usually consists of the physical remains of a saint, their possessions, or cloths touched to them. Relics are venerated in the Catholic Church as powerful ways to connect with these saints and also with the mystery of God. For instance, relics of Saint Gerard (the patron saint of pregnant women, labor, and childbirth) can be a great consolation to expectant mothers. Relics of the saints can be found in churches, or even on tours around different parts of the world.
There is probably nothing weirder about being a Catholic than the veneration of relics, but it’s also one of the most interesting, unique, and powerful ways to connect with God and His great cloud of witnesses– a little bit of “memento mori” and heaven all mixed together for us still on Earth.
7. You’re going to love Latin
The outside world, except for the scientific and medical communities, probably thinks Latin is a dead language. But Catholic hipsters know better. Latin is the universal language of the Church. This means you can go to a Latin mass in any country and the Latin will be the same. It’s the common language of the Church and Catholic hipsters are fluent.
You’ll probably hear them reciting the Our Father in Latin (that would be “Pater Noster”), frequenting the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, and saying things like, “Memento mori” (“remember your death”), “Ad majorem Dei gloriam” (often abbreviated AMDG; “all for the greater glory of God”), or “Pax Christi” (“peace of Christ”). Latin is like the secret language of Catholics and the more Latin you know, the more likely you are to be a Catholic hipster. So hit the books and brush up! Good luck with verb conjugation, though!
8. Good Catholic hipster humor
Catholic hipsters are all about the humor. They love GIFs, memes, Catholic comedians, and their own (sometimes inside jokes). Catholic hipsters know that humor is an essential part of life and evangelization. Venerable Fulton Sheen said, “Man laughs because he has a soul, hence, the more spiritual a person is, the more enjoyment there is in [his] life. In this sense, humor is closely related to faith; it bids us not to take anything too seriously.” Meanwhile, G.K. Chesterton reminds of of the need for levity in life, too: “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.”
Sometimes being a hipster gets a bad rap, but being a Catholic hipster shouldn’t! Catholic hipsters are into the forgotten aspects of the faith and modern ways to incorporate them into our lives. If the faith seems dull or dry to you, pick up a copy of The Catholic Hipster Handbook and rediscover some ancient ways to renew and bulk up your spiritual life. Tommy Tighe can be found being a Catholic hipster and not taking himself too seriously on Twitter.