College Faith 101

Book review of Your College Faith: Own It!


Your College Faith
Own It!

By Matt and Colleen Swaim
Liguori, 2013
128 pages, $12.99
To order:


Husband-and-wife authors Matt and Colleen Swaim ingeniously collaborated in an enlightening and spiritually uplifting book entitled Your College Faith: Own It! Matt is the producer of EWTN Radio’s Son Rise Morning Show, and Colleen is a high-school religion and English teacher.

In their book, the Swaims encourage young college students to live their faith amidst the common trials and challenges faced within the college atmosphere.

The Swaims offer practical advice to help students remain grounded in the faith while attending Catholic or public universities. References to Scripture, the lives of the saints, Church teaching and other useful tips and techniques prove this book to be an authentically Catholic must-read for any college student.

The Swaims stress the importance of “owning the faith” by attending Mass regularly, spiritual reading, daily prayer and receiving the sacraments as often as possible. They also discuss time and money management, charity and service to others, the importance of joining a faith community and finding friends with good moral character.

In the chapter “Making It Morally: Living Christian Ethics in the Dorms,” the Swaims discuss self-control and overcoming temptation: “True freedom is found by exercising self-control. … Freedom is not the ability to do whatever you want; rather, freedom is the possibility of doing what you ought to do. And doing what you ought to do is in reality what you most deeply desire, for right judgment brings order and justice to the world as well as in your own life.”

The largest chapter in the book focuses on vocational discernment. As the Swaims say, “It’s especially important during your college years to listen to how God is calling you to serve, not just in a profession, but in a vocation as well.” 

Every chapter in this book takes a simple but solid look into each topic with a prayerful and reflective mindset. The faith and moral aspects are inspiring and relate to the experiences of the everyday college student. This quick and informative read also allows room for journal entries, inviting each student to take a deeper look into his or her own moral and spiritual life. The Swaims end each chapter with recommended spiritual reading, followed by prayers that relate to the topic at hand.

It is my hope that many young hearts are moved by this motivational, educational and spiritually enriching book. It is exactly what all young Catholic college students — and parents and campus ministers, too — need.

Jacqueline Burkepile writes from Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.

She is a campus minister at St. John Paul II University Parish

and Campus Ministry in Denton, Texas.

Horace Vernet, “The Angel of Death,” 1851

Don’t Wait to Cram for Your ‘Final Exam’

“Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven — through a purification or immediately — or immediate and everlasting damnation.” (CCC 1022)

Francisco de Zurbarán, “The Family of the Virgin,” ca. 1650

Why Do We Ask Mary to Pray for Us?

“After her Son’s Ascension, Mary ‘aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers.’ In her association with the apostles and several women, ‘we also see Mary by her prayers imploring the gift of the Spirit, who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation.’” (CCC 965)