The Independent Newsweekly
Posted: August 27, 2003
A listing of resources for working with youth
Reviewed by GRETCHEN HAILER
Finally a set of books for Catholics, honest and inquiring enough to call themselves "beginners" in Bible Study. While these unique volumes (Thomas More Publishing, 352 pages and 288 pages, $15 each) are directed primarily, but not exclusively, to the Catholic community and their use of the Bible in the practice of their faith, they are not parochial. In fact they present to students the best of scholarship on scripture and opens them up to new perspectives on the Word of God.
The essential themes of both the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian writings are treated in a manner that engages the human experience of the reader regardless of their age or level of faith development. For this reason, these two creative books offer readers both theological information and faith formation.
In addition to the down-to-earth approach and examples, the texts offer handy charts, helpful discussion questions, a useful index, and suggestions for further reading.
Gretchen Hailer, RSHM is a consultant in adult faith formation; she designs resources in audio, print and video for publishers, dioceses and parishes.
Reviewed by BARBARA FIAND
"We are bound together by the mere fact that we are seekers -- seeking truth, life, love, friendship, meaning, understanding, fulfillment, peace, happiness." Although Jeremy Langford wrote God Moments (Orbis Books, 207 pages, $17) clearly for his "Generation X," this observation, as the concluding statement to the introduction, invites all of us into its themes and draws us back into our own inner fire, our restlessness, our longing, our insatiability, loneliness and hunger.
God Moments is a friendly and uncomplicated book. Written simply and offering countless personal examples, it speaks to young Catholics first about their unique and legitimate place in our time and culture and then about their questing and the movement into depth that awaits them. It personalizes for them the great questions of Christianity and eloquently speaks to the importance of spirituality and its connection with religion, community and commitment. It invites them into the Christian, specifically the Catholic, faith experience and points to the responsibility for the justice agenda of the Gospels that comes with the Christian vision.
This book could probably best be characterized as a primer for young Catholics and should prove very helpful to Langford's generation.
Barbara Fiand, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, is the author of In the Stillness You Will Know: Exploring the Paths of Our Ancient Belonging (Crossroad).
Reviewed by GREG DOBIE MOSER
In All Things (Loyola Press, 214 pages, $10.95) offers a rich diversity of prayers from students in Jesuit high schools. The words, expressions and images illustrate many different perspectives and experiences of God through the words of teenagers.
Teens take on themes of friendship, honesty, gratitude, faithfulness, sexuality, pain, service, relationships and more. It is helpful that the prayers maintain a perspective that has not been modified into false platitudes bereft of passion. As a bonus the book adds powerful prayers from the Ignatian heritage and prayers from the ages that inspire and educate. This is a fine resource for many different ministry settings or for teens themselves.
Greg Dobie Moser is executive director of youth and young adult ministry in Cleveland and a national catechetical and youth ministry consultant.
Reviewed by PATRICIA M. McCORMACK
When children ask questions they do not desire elaborate responses. They have a need to experience respectful treatment of their question, to receive a context for their anxiety, and to reestablish their sense of personal security.
Within the pages of Your Grieving Child (Our Sunday Visitor, 169 pages, $8.95), parents, teachers and folks in professions of child care will find insightful support, 119 concise answers to questions on death and dying, and prayer practices to respond to the separation anxiety that children experience when someone dies whom they loved or with whom they were associated.
Parents who have already walked a child through the issue of loss and grief will think, "Where was this book when I needed it?" A sense of confidence and readiness will be evoked within current readers.
Patricia McCormack is a education consultant to parents and teachers on topics related to the soulful formation of children. Her most recent book is Fostering Student Self-Esteem in the Catholic Elementary School.
Reviewed by TONY TAMBERINO
Anthony J. Gittins' A Presence That Disturbs (Liguori/Triumph, 171 pages, $16.95) does just that. This gem of a book is perceptive, thought provoking and quite disturbing. His frank analysis of Christianity's failure to capture the postmodern imagination will drive any disciple to an examination of conscience and the sweaty palms reminiscent of being next in the confessional line.
Gittins does not resort to preachy bombast or whiny platitude. He forcefully reminds us of Jesus' basic message: All stand equal before God. Jesus is the stranger who both comforts and disturbs -- the one whose Spirit transforms the true disciple into disturber as well.
Don't ignore this call to choose, to encounter, to suffer. Gittins offers a valuable resource: a teaching tool, a spiritual meditation and a call to conversion.
Tony Tamberino is an associate for youth and young adult ministry at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Columbia, Md.
THE CATHOLIC YOUTH BIBLE
I am proud to say that my two teenagers love their Bible. They were fortunate enough to be one of the first among their peers to receive a copy of the Catholic Youth Bible (St. Mary's Press, 1,792 pages, $27.95). It has since become a valued resource among their classmates and friends at youth ministry.
My daughter indicated that the Catholic Youth Bible mixes "God ideas with real-life ideas" making the scriptures alive for her faith life. She has found it useful in planning prayer services. My son said it is just "cool to carry around" and a ready resource when he needs to make a point in a discussion or debate regarding faith stuff.
As a father and catechetical leader, I have found the Catholic Youth Bible to be an essential asset. It is well designed, responds to many diverse cultures and topical issues, and is useful for the active faith life of today's adolescents.
D. Scott Miller is the associate director for the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry.
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