Striking a Path through the Wilderness: the Negotiations of Catholic Evangelical Youth in a Secular and Diverse Canada

In: Youth, Religion, and Identity in a Globalizing Context
Author: Paul L. Gareau

Since the 1960s, Catholicism in Canada has sought to adjust to shifting socio-political realities. This has given rise to different movements and approaches in the Church intended to stifle the loss of its members and reassert its prominence in the socio-political landscape. One such movement is a weekend conference called Journey to the Father where 500 Catholic youth congregate in rural Ontario to discuss, experience, and (re)discover their faith. Journey is designed to allow for an e motional religious experience in the hopes of converting “cultural” Catholics into socio-religiously active Catholic neophytes. This presentation underscores how Journey acts as an “alternative” public site for the inculcation of an evangelical Catholic identity in Canadian youth in order to challenge the liberal values of a modern and diverse Canadian society. This chapter emphasizes how the young Catholics who attended Journey to the Father negotiate (i.e., appropriate or negate) evangelical Catholic values and experiences when forming their social, political, and religious identities in order to understand their socio-political position in a diverse Canadian society. This presentation also seeks to understand how youth actively negotiate the convergence of evangelical worldview with their engagement in a pluralistic social landscape. It seeks to see how young people are striking their own path through this discursive wilderness of religious identity.

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