YOUCAT: Youth Prayer Book, by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn

YOUCAT: Youth Prayer Book, by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn

Peter Westmore

A companion prayer book for the Youth Catechism

Youth Prayer Book
by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Ed by Fr Georg von Lengerke and Dörte Schrömges
(Freedom Publishing, 2013, 168pp, $19.95
ISBN 978-0-97756-996-0. Available from Freedom Publishing)

In response to the need to produce a catechetical text for young people, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna undertook a project which culminated in the publication of YOUCAT (an abbreviation of Youth Catechism) in 2010.

Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church published in 1997, YOUCAT has a foreword by Benedict XVI, and a series of four chapters which answer the basic questions of the Christian life.

These are: what we believe, how we celebrate the Christian mysteries, how we are to have life in Christ, and how we pray.

YOUCAT was outstandingly successful, having been translated into many languages, and is the foundation document used in many parts of the world by young people wanting to explore the faith.

Companion work

The companion work, YOUCAT – Youth Prayer Book, has now been released in Australia.

This is also addressed to young people, and particularly to those who have not had the benefit of a prayer life.

Its introduction is headed "You can pray", and in it the authors explain how prayer opens up the world of communication with God.

The first part is a cycle for two weeks of morning and evening prayers, to help young people interested in opening their hearts to God to find the words to do so.

Week 1 is "My path with God", and week 2 is "God's path with me".

The cycle contains simple prayers with which all of us are familiar, such as the Sign of the Cross and the Lord's Prayer, along with short scripture passages and prayers composed by great Christian thinkers such as St Augustine, St Ambrose and Cardinal Newman, as well as people unknown. Each of them speaks to God in words we can make our own.

The second part contains a treasury of familiar and unfamiliar prayers for special purposes, culminating in a series of prayers to Mary, our Heavenly Mother, who has extraordinary powers of mediation with her Son, Jesus Christ.

This is a powerful prayer book, written especially for young people. It is a wonderful source of guidance and inspiration in building a Christian prayer life.

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