Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects



Additional Departmental Affiliation


Document Type



Ireland is a country that is well-known for its Catholic heritage. Despite its global perception as a Catholic country, the Emerald Isle has experienced rapid secularization within the last 30 years, during which rates of Church attendance and Catholic self-identification have fallen dramatically. Likewise, the legalization of abortion, gay marriage, and divorce, concepts contrary to Catholic teaching, further reflect the island's departure from Catholic Orthodoxy. Should the Catholic religion have a future in Ireland, it will lie in the hands of its devout youth: a demographic with relatively little representation in the literature.

Using a hybrid interview and survey format, the study at hand explores the reasons young practicing Catholics in Ireland are keeping their faith and their Catholic identity and the various components that make up their Catholic upbringing and spiritual life. The sample consists of 15 practicing Catholics between the ages of 19-29 recruited through snowball sampling and a personal connection in Letterkenny, Ireland. Among the primary findings, the participants cited several reasons for keeping their Catholic faith and identity: they recognized their Catholic roots in that they grew up in Catholic families and in a Catholic society, believed the religion to be true, identified a need for God that they fulfilled through the Church, found satisfaction in their faith after finding dissatisfaction in living a secular lifestyle, and, in some cases, credited the role of peers and role models in helping them grow in their faith.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Elizabeth Gish, Ph.D.


Catholic Studies | Christianity | European Languages and Societies | Religion