Catholic Herald staff
As a Catholic and as an artist, Chris Rogers is drawn to the saints. The Rice Lake native has been sharing his talents online, illustrating favorite saints in a series of Youtube videos designed to educate and entertain.
St. Bernadette, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Francis Borgia, St. Ignatius of Antioch – so far, Rogers has posted five “Drawn to the Saints” videos, all of which can be accessed from his website, www.credochris.com.
Rogers, who says he hasn’t cried since eighth grade – that was because the Packers lost the 1997 Super Bowl – characterizes his faith personality as intellectual, rather than emotional.
“I really get my energy from understanding philosophy and understanding theological philosophy and studying church fathers and people who have lived the faith in the past, and that’s why I have an interest in the saints,” he said.
“Not just the canonized saints either,” he added. “I have an interest in those who are interceding for us, loved ones who lived their lives in communion with Christ, and … when they died, God took them in.”
Rogers is the son of Garrett and Sharon Rogers, of Rice Lake. Oldest of five children, his educational background is in fine arts. He graduated from UW-River Falls and works as a web designer, graphic designer and cartographer.
Although Rogers is currently between jobs and living in Rice Lake, he’s spent the last 10 years working in Rhinelander. For eight of those years, he was teaching religious education at Nativity of our Lord Parish, Rhinelander.
He started out teaching second grade, and then advanced to fourth and eighth grades before moving into confirmation preparation. His “Drawn to the Saints” Youtube videos evolved from plans for an informal summertime program for Nativity teens. Structured around the life of one saint, each casual gathering would lead off with a video.
As he draws saints, Rogers gives a brief bio of their lives. Most of the videos are around 5 minutes in length.
“I draw these illustrations with pencil, India ink pens and alcohol-based markers,” he said. “I record my drawing process and speed it up to match the length of my narration script. Right now I haven’t done anything special with the finished artwork. But I have toyed around with the idea of framing them and decorating the Extreme Faith camps with the drawings.”
Teaching teens has also taught Rogers many youths get their information from Youtube, so he sought to reach them through the medium of online video.
“I wanted to come up with content that would come in those same kids’ search results, so that it would be an entertaining way to learn about how to live a life of holiness,” he added.
Rogers was also interested in trying out alcohol-based markers and “speed art,” the sped-up videos of art production popular on Youtube, so the saints presented the perfect opportunity.
He currently has five saint videos published online, with plans to post a complete season of 10 videos.
Rogers’ other Youtube venture involves more “suffering,” in his words. As part of his Lenten sacrifice, he’s been making a video each day on a theological topic, “kind of pushing myself to learn more.”
Although the intent of the project was to keep himself sharp, he figured, “As long as I’m doing this, I might as well share it too, make this stuff available.”
At his website, www.credochris.com, visitors can find his blogs, as well as all his Lenten reflections.
He doesn’t think they’ll go viral.
“If you want to watch me struggle … go ahead and watch me,” he said. “Love and suffering. I’m doing this because I love you, God.”
Rogers is friends with a number of young priests in the diocese – Fr. David Neuschwander, currently serving the Rice Lake parish cluster; Fr. Adam Laski, who is from Haugen and is serving the Cathedral cluster; and Deacon Sam Schneider, who will be ordained June 4.
It comes as no surprise that a single, 30-something man with priestly friends and an online ministry would field inquiries about the priesthood. So far, Rogers’ answer is, “I have always felt that marriage is my vocation, but I can’t lie and say I’ve never considered a vocation to the priesthood.”
However, he said, this is a time of discernment. He’s job-hunting – so far, all the options seem to be in Duluth, the Twin Cities or Eau Claire, all outside the diocese – and, he admits, the job market looks a lot more promising for priests than graphic designers.
Overall, he said, this is a disorienting period in his life, so he’s taking it on faith.
“It’s really about putting your trust in God, and knowing He’s the one controlling everything and you’re not,” he added. “You just have to cooperate with Him.”