New novel for teens delves into morality issues

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"My Rock and Salvation"

What happens when the lives of an aspiring rock star and a professional football player collide? They find themselves on a journey that opens their eyes to some of today's top moral issues.

That was Zip Rzeppa's aim in writing "My Rock and Salvation," a Catholic novel for teens and college-age students, released this month. Rzeppa, a former sportscaster and former director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in St. Louis, said he had been planning for years to write the novel.

Set in St. Louis, the book focuses on aspiring musician Manny Morrison and NFL standout Steve Bronson. The two become friends and begin dating two Catholic women, Sheila and Rachel. The book takes a closer look at their relationships and deals with issues including sexuality, an unplanned pregnancy, social media and murder.

"It's all about morality and the teachings of the Church," said Rzeppa, who in 2012 founded Mater Media, an apostolate dedicated to creating inspirational Catholic books to evangelize others. "We don't believe kids are going to go to Barnes and Noble and seek out the books with Catholic teaching in them. So we're trying to raise money and give this book away free to anyone and everyone ... primarily high school and college students all over the country."

Rzeppa collaborated with Catholic musician and speaker Emily Wilson, to create the female characters in the novel. During Easter week, he will head to a Catholic educators' conference in Pittsburgh to promote the book. Other marketing efforts include working with Newman Centers, Life Teen and other parish youth ministers and campus ministers.

Rzeppa explained "My Rock and Salvation" shows a clear picture to young people that actions have consequences. "They will see this through the characters and what they do. This will confirm them in their faith and give them a great tool" to educate others.

To learn more about the book, visit www.matermedia.org.

Mater Media events

Mater Media will host two events for young people this summer. They are:

• A "Youth and Young Adult Evening" with Leah Darrow, former America's Next Top Model contestant, and Catholic musician and speaker Emily Wilson; 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, at St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, 4900 Ringer Road in Oakville; and 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9, at Immaculate Conception, 7701 Highway N in Dardenne Prairie.

• "Where Truth and Beauty Meet to Transform Culture," featuring Catholic speaker Jimmy Mitchell and Catholic musician Michael James Mette; 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, at St. Margaret Mary Alacoque; and 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9, at Immaculate Conception. 

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