Vogt, Brandon. Return: How to Draw Your Child Back to the Church. Winter Springs, Florida: Nouminous Books, 2015.
As a priest, I have spoken with countless parents whose young adult children have left the faith. It breaks their hearts that the people they most love, their children, do not know the God that loves them. Broadly speaking there are two common errors in relating to their children in regards to the faith. The first is constant nagging, ‘So, when are you going back to Church?’ The second is to avoid the topic altogether so as not to aggravate the situation. Of the two, the latter seems more common. There is however, a better way than either approach.
Brandon Vogt’s book, Return, is a practical handbook on how to bring one’s adult children back to the faith. It reminds parents that they have more influence on their children than they often realize. It analyses the reasons young people leave the Church. It presents the parent with certain supernatural and relational principles, and then gives concretes steps to take. If studied and applied, this book should help strengthen the relationship between parent and child, even if a return to the faith takes longer.
The book addresses the current reality without making facile guarantees or giving easy answers to difficult situations such as: divorce and remarriage, cohabitation, prejudices against the Church, and so on. This honesty lends the book credibility. Nevertheless, Return also gives the parents a game plan, and more importantly, hope
Given today’s culture, Return should become necessary reading for parents of young adults, or for anyone who simply wants to share the faith. Read it. Share it with others. A group of parents could even study the book together, pray together, and then try to apply the book’s suggestions, encouraging each other along the way.
‘The lost I will search out, the strays I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, and the sick I will heal’ [Ez 34:16 quoted by Vogt]. Christ wants us to reach out to those who have strayed from the fold. Vogt’s book, Return, is a wonderful tool in such an important endeavor.
Fr. John Bullock, LC