Back in the Fall of 2017, a few friends and I released a book from Ave Maria Press called The Catholic Hipster Handbook. It was a fun little title that explored the beautifully obscure parts of our faith and encouraged readers to rediscover and embrace all the weird and sacred stuff our Catholic faith holds dear.
Two years later, Ave Maria Press has offered an opportunity for me and an entirely different group of friends to help readers go even deeper. Catholic Hipster: The Next Level – How Some Awesomely Obscure Stuff Helps Us Live Our Faith with Passion is set to hit local Catholic bookstores and gigantic online peddlers this November 8, and I’m here to give the hip readers of CatholicMom a few sneak peeks before they can get their hands on the real deal.
This time around, we’re trying to help readers come away with practical suggestions for growing in their relationship with Christ and His Church. As I note in the book’s conclusion:
“That is precisely the aim we tried to achieve with Catholic Hipster: The Next Level. We wanted to make sure we weren’t simply leaving you with interesting ideas and realizations you may not have stumbled upon before. We wanted to make sure we were giving you an action plan, a way to direct your life toward giving yourself more completely to God and his Church.
From picking up new and powerful devotions, to considering a third order, to taking a stand for social justice, to accompanying those around you through a difficult time, the suggestions offered in this book have hopefully armed you with a list of things to get started on as you strive to deepen and strengthen your Catholic faith.
In an increasingly secular world, being Catholic is starting to feel like the only thing that makes any sense. And as we watch our own Church come to terms with its sins both past and present, we see more than ever before the importance of reflecting on our own holiness and making an effort to answer that universal call that God has offered to us all.”
If there is a single literary figure uniformly loved among all Catholic Hipsters, it has to be the one and only Flannery O’Connor. Her incredibly intense stories have left me speechless and wanting to re-read them again and again. Father Damian Ference is the foremost Flannery specialist in our little corner of Catholic Twitter, which is why we simply had to choose him to help us get to know her and her work better in the new book:
“If you are not familiar with Flannery O’Connor, here’s a brief biography: Mary Flannery O’Connor was born on March 25, 1925 — the Feast of the Annunciation — in Savannah, Georgia, and was raised by her devout Catholic parents, Edward and Regina. An only child, O’Connor took to reading and writing at a very young age and was especially inspired by the stories of Edgar Allan Poe. Her father died of lupus when she was a teenager, and she and her mother moved to Milledgeville, Georgia, where she studied at the Georgia College for Women”
After providing a straight to the point introduction, Fr. Ference encourages us to explore the idea of making a Flannery O’Connor pilgrimage, and it got me so excited, I’m already packing my bags:
“So why make a Flannery O’Connor pilgrimage? Because Catholics have been making pilgrimages for the past 2,000 years and because Flannery O’Connor was a devout Catholic. Also, strange and beautiful things happen on a Flannery O’Connor pilgrimage.”
And if you feel like you don’t know where to begin, don’t worry, he’s got you covered:
“Before you begin your pilgrimage, you’ll have some preliminary work to do. You don’t have to read O’Connor’s entire canon, but you should be familiar with her work. She wrote two novels, thirty-two short stories, about one hundred book reviews for her diocesan newspaper, a collection of essays, a prayer journal, and many, many letters, most of which are contained in the book Habit of Being. You ought to at least read the stories “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” “Parker’s Back,” Good Country People,” and “Revelation” before hitting the road. You may also want to watch the documentary Uncommon Grace: The Life of Flannery O’Connor by Beata Productions, which is an excellent introduction to O’Connor’s life and work.”
He goes on to provide a fantastic schedule of ideas to ensure your Flannery pilgrimage is absolutely life changing. So, what are you waiting for? Hop in the minivan and set off for Milledgeville!
Just like last time around, Catholic Hipster: The Next Level also introduces us to cool saints, forgotten prayers, and ways that we can put what we have just read into action (a new section called “Living the Faith”).
If you read the original Catholic Hipster book, you’ll be sure to love this one even more. If you didn’t, give this new one a shot, and let me know what you think!
You can preorder Catholic Hipster: The Next Level – How Some Awesomely Obscure Stuff Helps Us Live Our Faith with Passion on Amazon right now!
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Copyright 2019 Tommy Tighe