Road Signs For Catholic Teens invites teens to navigate their spiritual life as they near adulthood.
Author Jennessa Terraccino calls it like she sees it when it comes to the faith formation landscape for American teenagers. “I am tired of seeing chastity only books for teens. Though that’s certainly a vital topic, teens deserve to be presented with a wider vision of what it means to be a Catholic”, Jennessa says. “If we don’t help young adults form their conscience in other ways, strengthen them in all virtues (not just temperance), grow in holiness, intellect, and conviction, we can’t expect them to miraculously be chaste.”
It’s the wider vision of spirituality that compelled Terraccino to gather a diverse group of Catholic writers to write Road Signs For Catholic Teens, a compilation of essays that prompts young people to consider Hell, Heaven, and everything in between.
One of many examples, in her essay “The Winding Road”, Kimberly Cook speaks from her own experience right to the hearts of her adolescent readers “I felt most abandoned and distant from God at a time when I needed faith and hope more than anything.” What a common experience this is for many of us at some point in our young lives! Cook recalls how she began to experience an attraction to faith. It was an encounter with another person. “She was happy. She had peace. Meanwhile, I was miserable.” Her essay touches on human freedom, the power of joy, and ultimately the companion you need on life’s winding road – Christ.
Like Cook’s essay, each article uses the analogy of being on the road, a welcome sign of freedom for any teenager. While at times the analogy was a bit overemphasized for my taste, in general it allows for many comparisons that encourage teens to really dig deeper about life’s meaning:
- What does “Yield”ing have to do with our relationship with others?
- What can a run-in with a deer teach us about the connection between faith and science (and there is a lot to learn!)
- Is Merging a good lens to consider dating (so, yes, dating is covered!)
- Why are Stop signs like the Sabbath a necessary part of our lives?
Each section ends with questions with reflection, which I can easily see being used solo, with a discussion group, or as a co-reading experience with a parent. The book gives teens a lot to think about – and apply to their own lives. The writers do an excellent job of resisting talking down to teenagers, but rather really meeting them where they are and challenging them to consider faith and life and where the truth really lies. Readers will encounter one of the briefest, yet clearest, explanations of Aquinas’s Five Proofs for the Existence of God I’ve ever seen, as well as the way the Church approaches approving miracles and Marian apparitions, and much more.
In other words, this is a chance for young Catholics to make the faith their own. And, as Terracinno points out, kids as young as 10 are leaving the Faith, so books like this are much-needed.
When asked about the impact of this book, the author shares, “Teens are never going to see the road the same! Something ordinary, road signs, just became extraordinary—directives to get to heaven!”
Road Signs For Catholic Teens is published by Our Sunday Visitor