Confessions of a (Reformed) Catholic Hipster

I loved (and still love) being Catholic. I loved belonging to my parish, to my youth group, to the choir, and to the picnic committee. I wanted to be involved in anything that allowed me to express my faith. However, I now realize that sometimes my zeal for my faith made me act like I was part of an exclusive club — not the Body of Christ on earth, commissioned to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

The Sidewalk Missionary: My Divine Appointment from Finland

It was a scorching hot summer day. We left the shade of the high Barcelona city buildings and crossed over a plaza on our way to the pier. It was while we were joking around, probably complaining about the heat and our naive decision not to bring water bottles that God provided a divine appointment.

An Open Letter to Brent: On the Power of Words

Dear Brent, My first year at Life Teen I was the awkward freshman in the corner of the room, trying to go unnoticed, so I understand if you didn’t see me. I saw you, though. You were a confident senior and the center of attention. It seemed like everyone admired you, and with good reason. […]

In Name Only?: When Your Catholic School Isn’t Very Catholic

“All-school Mass today? Sweet, that means no math class first period!”“Pro-Life March? You mean three days off school and a trip to D.C.!”“Would anyone like to say a prayer to start class?” *crickets*Man . . . do any Catholics even go to this school?!I went to Catholic schools my entire life, and I’m not gonna lie: sometimes, I wondered. It often felt like we were Catholic in name only – and even then, it’s not like we wrote it boldly across our t-shirts.

I’m Walking Away: Standing up against Immorality

I’ve always lived a rather sheltered life. I was raised Catholic and sent to Catholic School — there was never any moment when my faith and belief in God was truly tested. But now that I’ve entered college and am studying at a school that’s far from Catholic, within the first week of orientation God […]

Silence is Impossible

The Apostles couldn't explain how Jesus rose from the dead but they still spoke the truth because they experienced His rising in person. I couldn't intellectually or scientifically prove the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist (see CCC 1374) yet I proclaimed it as true because I have experienced what Jesus has done for me through the Eucharist.

Type Nice: Digital Evangelization

If you're on any type of social media and have an opinion about anything, you've probably experienced this. You type, 'Wendys fries are so much better than McDonald's' as a status update. You walk away from your computer and return to find World War III has broken out on your wall, with friends declaring their allegiances.

10 Ways to Share Your Faith

What's your New Year's resolution? Are you going to study more? Eat your vegetables? Finally watch all those episodes of Honey Boo Boo clogging up the DVR?

How about a resolution to proclaim your faith a little more?

You know, proclaim. To state publicly, to announce, to shout from the rooftops. In his letter on the Year of Faith Pope Benedict XVI writes that,

'The Church on the day of Pentecost demonstrates with utter clarity this public dimension of believing and proclaiming one's faith fearlessly to every person.'

That Awkward Silence: Sharing Your Faith With Your Family

The reality is that if you live out your faith there will probably be some conflict and moments of very awkward silence. Like that moment when your aunt tells you all the things 'wrong' with your Church . . . or your condescending cousin drills you on Catholic Church teaching and asks why you so 'mindlessly' follow it? Or when your Mom pulls you aside in the kitchen before family dinner and encourages you to avoid talking about certain topics like abortion or politics?

That Awkward Silence: Sharing Your Faith With Your Family

The reality is that if you live out your faith there will probably be some conflict and moments of very awkward silence. Like that moment when your aunt tells you all the things 'wrong' with your Church . . . or your condescending cousin drills you on Catholic Church teaching and asks why you so 'mindlessly' follow it? Or when your Mom pulls you aside in the kitchen before family dinner and encourages you to avoid talking about certain topics like abortion or politics?

Stop Yelling At Me

St. Peter said that we should always be ready 'to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence' (1 Peter 3:15). It's important to know what the church teaches and why, so that we can explain it in class, in debates, and defend the Church’s position, even to our friends.

Stop Yelling At Me

St. Peter said that we should always be ready 'to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence' (1 Peter 3:15). It's important to know what the church teaches and why, so that we can explain it in class, in debates, and defend the Church’s position, even to our friends.

Now What?: Advice for After a Youth Conference

When you wake up, you look at your floor, strewn with t-shirts, phone numbers of friends, and your journal. You remember the moments that challenged you, the resolutions you made to make changes in your life: to delete the songs on your computer, to change who you hang out with, and to basically be the Mother Theresa of the tenth grade.

Fight Like a Saint

My goal in life is to be a saint, and I hope yours in too, so we need to ask ourselves … how do I treat people when I disagree with them?

Look actions 1 – 4 above and replace ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâèÏSt. Peter' with whomever you disagree with. Are you more likely to gossip about the person, tell other people how wrong they are, or even fight with the person? Or are you mature enough to respectfully talk with the person and still give them the honor they deserve?

I Am Catholic

Did any of your family or friends think you were crazy for becoming Catholic? How did you respond?

My family was supportive, but my friends were not in the least bit. Most of them doubted that I could ever change or stick with it. They were just waiting for me to fall again. In a way, that doubt from other people pushes you harder. I looked at their doubt in me as an extra source of motivation.

Standing Up For Truth: It’s Worth It

However, I've heard so many people attack what they think the Catholic Church is saying about homosexuality and gay marriage that I want to clear things up a bit.

Don’t Sit So Close to Me

One of the things I hate about flying is the discomfort and awkwardness of sitting very close to a stranger for 4 or more hours (the typical length of one of my flights).

I'm an introvert, but I'm not anti-social. I like talking, but I hate small talk … which is what plane conversations often are. (For me, at least)

It's my luck to always get stuck next to: the creepy, flirty man, the smoker or perfume over-doser who gives me a headache, chatty Cathy who ignores the book in my lap, and many others who have left me with the opinion that I'd rather sit alone.

Almost every week, I get an email from a teen or young adult asking what they should do if they want to pursue youth ministry as a career. First, I have to say how exciting it is to see God lifting up a new generation of young ministers to His Church. You stand as a testament to quality youth ministry happening at your parish. Second, I encourage you to continue to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as the Lord leads you into the plan He has for your life (Jeremiah 29:11).

Exit Row Evangelization

I love traveling, especially by air. Since the time I was old enough to travel alone, I've rarely said ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâèÏno' to a chance to get on a plane.