The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth Third Edition published by Saint Mary’s Press is a valuable resource for teens and adults alike. This helpful reference book mirrors the Catechism of the Catholic Church in its layout and content. It covers the key teachings of the Catechism in a clear concise language. This handbook can be used by anyone who is just learning the Catholic faith or as a review and deeper learning for those who already know it.
After three introductory chapters on Revelation and the Bible, the book is broken into four parts with numerous chapters in each. The first section focuses on the beliefs of the Church which centers on “The Creed”. Just like the Catechism, section two explains the “Liturgy and Sacraments”. This section includes talks about the liturgical year as well as the different liturgical rites. Each sacrament is then discussed in detail. Section three is about “Christian Morality”. It begins by teaching about the Beatitudes, free will, and sin. This leads to understanding moral law, church law, and the Magisterium of the Church to form a good conscience. Each of the Ten Commandments is covered in detail while including things our modern teens will encounter such as use of civil disobedience, abortion, genetic engineering, euthanasia, contraception, homosexuality, lust, masturbation, plagiarism, slander, and more. The final section is all about “Christian Prayer”. It includes types of prayer, personal prayer, how to pray with scripture, communal prayer through the Church, and an in depth study of the wording of the “Lord’s Prayer”. At the back of the book is the “Catholic Quick Facts” section. One of my favorite sections from this area of the book is the list of patron saints with their feast day alphabetized by their causes. Also helpful is the timeline of church history alongside a timeline of human history.
This paperback book has a nice sturdy cover with high quality semi-gloss pages that include many color photographs. It’s made to last. Many pages have a colored sidebar giving additional information or prayers based on the chapter’s topic. Thirty-nine “Saintly Profiles” articles are also scattered throughout the book with a corresponding color picture. Each chapter begins with words to know and ends with review questions. Of course, this can be used as a textbook for religious education especially for the Sacrament of Confirmation or for persons preparing to become members of the Catholic Church. Additionally the “Frequently Asked Questions Index” in the back of the book makes it easy to learn about the faith in a question and answer format. This Index points the reader to the corresponding chapter that will answer the question. However there are other ways to use this guide. As a homeschooling mother teaching my children at home, I’ve found this a wonderful go to book for additional information on topics we were already discussing – even for my younger ones. It reads easy making it a great resource and teaching tool for all.
I received a copy of this book for this review from Saint Mary’s Press. You can learn more about the book on their website here.