Growing up, I tried to break Pius XI High School’s dress code whenever I could. We weren’t allowed to wear “band/music” shirts. Obviously, my Beatles and Rolling Stones attire wouldn’t get me into the building, but lesser known punk groups like Sum 41 and The Offspring would easily fly by most teachers’ radar. 

We also weren’t allowed to have ripped jeans, but most of my jeans at the bottom, near my heels, were completely raggedy and trailed behind me on every step.

In high school, I tried to do my best to stand out as someone original. A rebel-without-a-cause type who wasn’t afraid to do something different.

If my high school self could see me now at work with a shirt and tie he’d probably say I was a “sell out” to The Man, authority, the boss, and that I was a conformist. It wouldn’t matter to him that I still wear punk rock shirts and go to punk rock shows on the weekends.

At the Men of Christ conference this past year I was covering the talk by Tom Peterson. After his presentation, as I wandered toward where he was selling his book and DVDs, another table caught my eye. 

Like a lot of kids, the Star Wars movies took up a lot of my free time. But when I saw a black T-shirt with yellow letters descending into the foreground, I had to see it. 

It happened to be the words from the Our Father written in the classic style of the opening credits of Star Wars movies. 

I continued to browse the merchandise and realized the products I was looking at were T-shirts I’d never seen. This might not have been something I’d wear, but it would’ve been something I’d consider. 

Back when I didn’t have a lot of money, I normally shopped with my eyes. There was one shirt that I saw in a Journeys that I thought was interesting. It was a picture of Jesus and it said, “Jesus is My Homeboy.” It was a clever way of portraying pride in my faith without making me look like a square. 

I didn’t buy it. Instead, I opted for a sticker, which I put on my guitar. Ironically, on my amplifier I had a sticker that read, “Jesus would play this show for free.” I was displaying my faith in a more punk rock sense of mind. 

As I casually admired the various T-shirts, I talked to the man behind the brand. His name is Luke Aubut and he started the company Need Catholic Shirt with his wife, Lorainne, who was at home with their child. 

While I was talking with him, I heard a voice in my head say, “Take out your recorder and get this on the record.” 

In the middle of our conversation I said, “Do you mind if I do an interview with you?”

Luke agreed and we restarted the conversation. After the conference, I remained in contact with him to develop the story.

Check out the full story of this local online Catholic business in this issue.