Dear Father,

I am the mother of two young men ages 18 and 15. As their circle of friends includes young people other than Catholics, they sometimes find it necessary to defend their faith, especially to those who go to Evangelical churches. We have always taught them to respect the beliefs of others and discuss our faith and it's aspects with our sons regularly. However, I am concerned about how their friends questions may effect their faith. I know I don't have all of the answers for them and I encourage them to take any hard questions to our parish priest. I know there are no gaurentees that they will remain Catholic as they get older but do you have any suggestions on how parents can help their older children appreciate the great gift our church is to them. Also, can you suggest any reading material that may help. (They have their own Bibles and we encourage them to read the new catecism.)

Thanks,

Fran

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Dear Fran,

Sounds to me like you are doing great with your two boys. I wish all parents were as conscientious re their teenagers. It is a real battle, especially against the relentlessness of our secular culture. Their association with Evangelicals can be some help, but of course poses its own challenges. There are so many good books, magazines, tapes, videos to help a young person. A great starting point is Ignatius Press which I am sure you are already familiar with. Have they started reading C.S. Lewis, Chesterton & other classics? St. Paul says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewal of your mind." (Rm 12:2) Renewal of the mind thru good reading and good conversation is for sure just a part of the struggle. Satan with his worldly allies has a lot of tricks to bring down a young person (not to mention us older ones). Prayer, confession, the fourth commandment, those are a young man's protection.

God bless,

Fr. Phil Bloom