Journeying to the Father: Researching Faith and Identity in a Contemporary Catholic Youth Movement in Canada

Title: Journeying to the Father: Researching Faith and Identity in a Contemporary Catholic Youth Movement in Canada
Authors: Gareau, Paul
Date: 2016
Abstract: The New Evangelization (NE) is a recent development in the Catholic Church. It seeks to preserve, restore, and re-invigorate Catholic religious identity in the face of what it perceives to be a dominance of secular values. This proselytization program instigates personal religiosity among adherents in the hopes of forming an evangelical Catholic identity. However, little is known of the processes and discourses of Catholic evangelization, especially among young people in Canada. This thesis responds to the main question: How are young people engaging and interpreting evangelical modes of religious and socio-political identity, and integrating or negotiating this worldview within a pluralist Canadian society? This research, therefore, focuses on an annual summer Catholic youth conference called Journey to the Father as a case study that sheds light on the dissemination of Catholic perspectives, the development of a personal and charismatic religious experience, and the instigation of an evangelical impetus in young Catholic participants. Using participant observation and semi-structured interviews with both the adult organizers (ages 18 and older) and young participants (ages 13–18) in Journey to the Father, this research examines the processes of identity formation through affective and experiential religiosity, and the formulation of a minority identity politics among young Catholics within a diverse Canada. It also takes into account the correlation between an evangelical Catholic worldview and young people, spelling out different reflections on religion and society, experience and agency. This research emphasizes how young people negotiate (i.e. appropriate or negate) evangelical Catholic values and charismatic religious experience when forming their social, political, and religious identities, in order to gain an understanding of their socio-political position within a diverse Canadian society.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -