Hope for the New Springtime
A Catholic Author Interview with
Young and Catholic: The Face of Tomorrow's Church
Author Tim Drake gives readers reason
for great optimism with his latest,
Young and Catholic: The Face of Tomorrow's Church (Sophia Institute Press, September 2004,
paperback). Serving as writer for countless Catholic periodicals has
given this convert to the faith an excellent vantage point from which to
seek out instances of devotion in today’s younger generation. This
wonderful book provides an up close look at how younger Catholics are
responding the Holy Father, John Paul II’s call to be “the Hope of the
Church”. Drake shares numerous instances of young men and women leading
lives of profound service and dedication to the Church. An increase in
vocations, new and creative means of evangelization, and use of the
Internet to deepen and spread the faith are just a few of the examples
Drake cites. Readers will be encouraged by these first person accounts
and inspired by the role models they meet in the pages of the book.
Perhaps most importantly, they will likely be prompted by Drake’s
positive, infectious enthusiasm and by promptings of the Holy Spirit to
join these young, future leaders in embracing and truly living the
teachings of Jesus Christ.
Tim Drake shared the following about
Young and Catholic and the future of the Catholic Church.
Q: Tim Drake, author of
Young and Catholic: The Face of Tomorrow's Church thank you for your
time and for participating in this Catholic Book Spotlight interview.
Please tell us a bit about yourself and your family.
A: Thanks for asking. I was born and
have lived in Minnesota for my entire life. I’m a Lutheran convert to the
Catholic faith. I entered the Church in March, 1995. I serve as staff
writer with the National Catholic Register and Faith and Family Magazine.
I am also the author of three books and have contributed to half a dozen
I’ve been married for 15 years to my
lovely wife, Mary. We met in college and were married shortly after
graduating from the University of Minnesota. I often tell her that her
vocation as a wife, mother and educator makes my avocation as a Catholic
journalist and author possible. We have five children ages 2 to 8, and we
home educate our three eldest children.
Q: I’ve been a fan of your writing
and have enjoyed your previous books and the talent you share at the
National Catholic Register and Faith and Family Magazine. What prompted
you to take on this latest project? What message do you hope to share
Young and Catholic?
My family and I try to attend daily
Mass. Over the years I have noticed the absence of young people not only
at daily Mass, but also at the Sunday Liturgy. That raised a question in
my mind – “Where are the young people?”
I knew that they weren’t entirely
absent from the faith. In 2002, I had the privilege of attending World
Youth Day in Toronto. I covered it as a correspondent with the National
Catholic Register, but also participated in it as a pilgrim. I was
extremely touched by the dialogue between the youth and the Holy Father at
World Youth Day and my eyes were opened to the ways in which young people
are active in the Church.
Not long after, Sophia Institute Press
approached me with the idea for a book taking a look at young Catholics.
My previous experiences were perfect grist, so I began the research. In
the end, I spoke to more than 300 youth from across the U.S. and
The message I hope to share is one of
tremendous hope. It’s easy to think that the youth aren’t involved simply
because they aren’t sitting with us in the pew. What I discovered is that
they are active in other ways. They often attend youth Masses on Saturday
and Sunday evening. They are active online. They are involved in
missionary programs both here at home and abroad. They are active in
exciting programs on Catholic and secular college campuses, and they are
involved in young adult discussion and faith sharing groups across the
Q: It’s exciting to read so many
portraits of the vibrancy of the faith in today’s youth! Do you have any
favorite stories from the book?
One of my favorites is the story of
then-high school students Tiffany Pullis and Mary Jansen. They gave up
their summer vacation to organize a parish-based Vacation Bible School
program – the first that the Church of St. Anthony’s had ever held. The
story is a favorite because my three eldest children were involved in the
VBS program and I could see how they were touched by it.
The beginning of the book is filled
with selfless examples of efforts such as these – young people on fire for
their faith, sharing it with others.
I also enjoyed the stories of the
countless men and women who the Holy Spirit has connected using modern-day
technology. The chapter “The Faith Online” gives the portrait of one woman
who thought she would never marry. On a whim, she used an online Catholic
dating service, and in the end found not only her best friend, but her
spouse. The fact that young Catholics are meeting online, and starting
families of their own is a remarkable example of how the Holy Spirit can
work in people’s lives.
Q: During the election cycle, we
heard quite a lot about the power of the “new media”. I know that you
devote a chapter of the book to the impact of the Internet and blogs on
the Faith. Could you say a few words about how our Catholic Church is
being impacted by the Internet?
If television was the medium of choice
for the previous generation, the Internet is the medium of choice for
Generation X and Y. Their life is wired. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
they can be reached through email, their Palm Pilots, web logs, and cell
phones. As a result, young Catholics are using the Internet to evangelize
and meet other Catholics. At home, in their parish, they may feel isolated
– as if they are just one young Catholic. Online, they discover that they
are not alone, but that there are many others like them elsewhere.
Online, youth and young adults are
discovering the true meaning of the word “Catholic.” Our Church is
universal. It’s a Church without borders.
Q: What influences have caused this
spiritual renewal, particularly among younger generations?
Time and time again, in talking with
youth, they told me about the impact that rampant divorce, constant
change, and the sexual revolution has had on their generation. Even by
their existence, they are in some ways, a sign of contradiction. One-third
of their generation has been legally destroyed in the womb.
This generation carries that angst
within them. Bombarded by the media messages of consumerism and
materialism, they are searching for the Truth. The great British
journalist and writer G.K. Chesterton used to say that, “A dead thing goes
with the stream; only a living thing can go against it.” That is what I
see the young doing. They are alive and they are going against the stream.
In many ways, their generation is
trying to overcome the mistakes of the previous generation. They are doing
this by embracing the counter-cultural messages of abstinence, holiness,
The Holy Father, in preparation for
World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne, has called the youth the “Magi of the
Third Millennium.” This is a very apt description. The young are searching
for the Truth, and very often finding it through such movements in the
Q: What can Catholic parents do to
light a fire in the hearts and souls of their own families?
Many of the youth in the book have
come from broken families. They have embraced the Church sometimes in
spite of their history. The best thing that Catholic parents can do for
their children is to love God and love one another. By living lives of
holiness, attending Mass, availing themselves of the Sacraments, and
praying together as a family, parents can serve as examples of “salt and
light.” Time and time again, in the lives of the saints, we can see that
holy children have come from holy parents. If we are models of holiness
for our children, we too can bring about saints for the future.
Q: Please say a few words about the
role our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II has played in inspiring this
wonderful “springtime of faith”.
The Holy Father has spoken, since the
beginning of his pontificate, of the New Springtime. It’s ironic that the
most effective youth minister in the world hasn’t been a college graduate.
It’s been an 84-year-old man. There can be no denying the impact of Pope
John Paul II upon the youth. They are initially drawn by his travels and
media appearances, only later to discover the wisdom of his words and his
writing, which always point to the Gospels.
It is safe to say that the seeds of
the New Springtime have been sown. The movements I draw from in my book
demonstrate that those seeds have begun to sprout. If they continue to
grow, I have great hope for the future of the Church.
Q: Tim Drake, thanks again for your
time and for sharing the gift of your writing and this encouraging book
Young and Catholic: The Face of Tomorrow's Church. What are
your hopes for the future of our Church?
Christ told us to spread the “Good
News,” not the bad. That’s what my book is all about. Spreading bad news
is like seeing the Church as half-empty rather than half-full. It’s hard
to read this book and not come away hopeful. There are so many movements
taking place among young people that they can’t help but enrich the
Church. This is not to say that we won’t have our struggles. Many in the
book remark that they feel that the Church of the future might be a
smaller, but stronger Church. That is very possible.
We must remember, as Paul states in
his letter to the Corinthians, that there is “faith, hope, and love.” This
book provides examples of all three. As such, I have tremendous hope about
youth who are knowledgeable about their faith, about our young seminarians
and religious, and about graduates from authentically Catholic colleges
and universities bringing the Truth of the Church to bear in their work
and in their lives. They will not only change the future of the Church,
but are changing it today.
For more information on
Young and Catholic: The Face of Tomorrow's Church visit
The Catholic Company
and Catholic Website
CatholicMom.com Book Club
Book Spotlight on Drake's Saints of the Jubilee
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