How to Stay Catholic in College is a 17-page booklet published by Catholic Answers and sold by The Catholic Company. The intended audience is Catholics going off to college for the first time and my review boils down to this:
If proper catechesis hasn't already been done in a college students younger formative years, this booklet is not going to fix it. However, it many be helpful as a starting point for discussion. If a student is well-formed with great family communication, this booklet is probably largely unnecessary but may still help facilitate discussion.
In my opinion, this booklet could be of the greatest use in a parish youth group where study and serious pursuit of faith is regularly present. High school students specifically could very easily be led through the ideas and use them as starting points for relevant discussion.
The author, Christopher Kaczor, has been a student at several Catholic and non-Catholic colleges and universities and is now a professor... so he's familiar with his topic! He uses this booklet to address the extensive problem of loss of faith in college and the abandonment of moral principles.
Kaczor properly identifies college as a key moment in a person's spiritual journey. Which way will you choose? He provides general encouragement for Catholic students as well as touching on particular topics as they relate to the faith such as:
~ Classroom learning
~ History and Science
~ How to approach specific subjects which can easily undergo secular manipulation
~ Empty and false philosophies such as materialism, existentialism and relativism
~ Learning outside the classroom
~ Development of a healthy and faith-centered social life
~ A brief nod of warning to the dangers of alcohol and sexual activity
~ Two key temptations every college student faces - and how they stand in the way of God's plan for your life
~ What to do when your faith wanes or disappears: A simple exercise every Christian should practice that will make the love of God come alive in your life
~ God is waiting to help you choose a vocation... a career... a spouse... and a life
~ Crucial books every Catholic - expecially college students - should read to be inoculated against the errors that destroy faith
This booklet reads much like a letter to a favorite nephew who is about to leave for college. It is definitely written for those who already have a solid foundation of faith. There is simply no way to impart such a thing through 17 pages if it does not already exist. But again, it could be a very good starting point for opening or continuing communication.
I do not think that I would purchase this for my own children because we cover these topics on an ongoing basis but I would consider keeping a stack on hand to include with graduation gifts. As I said earlier, youth ministers and priests may find it a helpful way to guide discussion for those youngsters charged to their direction.