YOUCAT STUDY GUIDE by Jack Kersting, Paul George, Mark Brumley,
Vivian W. Dudro (Ignatius Press 2013, supplied by Pleroma Christian Supplies); $19.99. Reviewed by TERESA McNAMARA.
Pilgrims who came home after World Youth Day Madrid in 2011
were excited about a new book they had received from Pope Benedict
YouCat was a new tool given to young people to help them uncover the richness of the Catholic Faith. YouCat is an accessible, contemporary version of the original Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is unashamedly aimed at young people.
Those leading ministry with young people got excited, bought the
book, waxed on lyrically about how easy it was to read and understand. Some diligently studied it and others, like me, found YouCat to be a really useful reference tool.
But read the foreword of YouCat and you will find out that it was Pope Benedict’s heartfelt desire that we should all study the Catechism. He shared the analogy that we need to know our faith with the same precision with which an IT specialist knows the inner workings of a computer. That’s where the latest publication, the YouCat Study Guide, comes in handy.
Both YouCat and the study guide share the same structure as the
original Catechism, with four sections:
• What Catholics Believe, and why (doctrine)
• How Catholics celebrate the mysteries of the faith (the sacraments)
• How Catholics are to live (moral life)
• How Catholics Should Pray (prayer and spirituality).
The study guide provides a structure for young people (and those
who are young at heart) to study the Catechism.
It consists of 35 topics. Each topic starts with a short introduction to set the scene.
Students then read relevant questions and answers from YouCat, followed by Scripture passages that speak into the topic. Reflection questions encourage students to consider what their knowledge is of this topic and what they have learnt from YouCat. The two final parts of each topic are “YOU Chat” and “YOU Challenge”.
The questions in the Chat section can be reflected on individually
or discussed in small groups. The Challenge section calls the student to action.
Typically there are three or four action ideas. The student could
choose one or more for action that week.
Each topic includes space for students to journal their thoughts
while working through that topic.
The study guide is written in language that is common to young people with headings like “Standing for Something” to study the Creed and “Team Spirit” to study the Holy Spirit. The layout is
simple and uncluttered, with each topic comprising just two pages.
I would recommend the YouCat Study Guide as a good resource for
classrooms, youth group discussions and for personal study.
The study guide is designed in such a way that the sections of the topics are all modular, which makes it easy for leaders to use either as an entire course or to dip in and use for one session on a
If you are ministering with young people both YouCat and the YouCat
Study Guide should be part of your toolbox.
Teresa McNamara is the Youth and Young Adult Ministry
coordinator for Auckland diocese.