Interview with Fr. Rich Young, O.S.A.

Anne Russell: Good afternoon, Fr. Rich Young. This is Anne Russell from the Province office. I'm here to ask you a few questions. Are you willing to answer me questions for me?

Fr. Rich Young, O.S.A.: Yes, I am.

Russell: Thank you. First of all, my first question is what was it that called you to be an Augustinian?

Young: Wow. I think what called me was a love for the community. I think the Augustinians called me, to be honest with you, God through the Augustinians. If you've read my story in The Midwest Augustinian a year or so ago, it's been a bit of a journey, huh?  And I think that says it best, is that it was a journey towards getting my ears cleaned out in a sense and being able to hear even more how God is calling me at this point in my life, and seeing that I'm able to share this part of journey with brothers and brothers in ministry. I truly believe that God is part of all that journey that brought me to this point.

Russell: When you were at St. Rita High School, had you thought about becoming a priest then?

Young: I wanted to be a priest since I was in first grade. It's always been a guiding force in my life. The issue for me at St. Rita was whether it was going to be the Augustinians or the Franciscans. I looked at the Franciscans, lived Franciscan life for a while, and now I get to be an Augustinian, so I get to do both things, which not a lot of people get to do.

Russell: What are you doing out at Providence? I know you taught at St. Rita High School for a while. Now what is your position at that Providence?

Young: I'm teaching theology to seniors. This semester I'm teaching sacramental theology and then I'm also teaching juniors moral theology, and then next semester, I'll be teaching juniors church history and also sophomores New Testament. I'm involved in a little way in the ministry in the pastoral office. I do the Tuesday Mass here in the morning and I help out at the larger Masses.

Russell: That gives people a little background of what you're doing and where you're at. Now, my next question is what would you say the role is of the Augustinian Order today and how are the Augustinians still relevant in today's society?

Young: What in today, relevant?

Russell: Yes.

Young: I think one of the greatest things about what we have to offer is that our charism is community, and that’s in all its goodness, badness, craziness, ugliness, you name it, but we're all in it together and I think what we do really well is we share with everybody that all of us as baptized are called to this way of life in some way. We say it in our vows, something on baptismal commitment. I think that's what we do as Augustinians. When you think of Franciscans, you think poverty.  When you think of Dominicans, you think preaching. When you think of Jesuits, you think education and higher education stuff. When you think of Augustinians, I think for me it's that connection between mind and heart. We're involved in education, but for the sake of the Kingdom and the movement towards community. Does that make sense?

Russell: Mm hmm, mm hmm.

Young: I think that's how we're relevant, is that we fit in. We're not saying we're different. We're saying we're companions on the journey. That's what I like about Augustine. When he would write on The Trinity, he said, this is a paraphrase, but let's walk this together. If I see you going off the road, I'll call you back, make sure you get back. If you see me going off the road, you call me back, but let's work together on Charity Street. I think that's real important is that we're in this together.

Russell: Do you think the Augustinians have a big role in today's society?

Young: I think we do and we don't know it, or I think we have the potential to have it. I'm wondering if we're just a smaller option starting to show in some way. I think we do because of the support we're getting from so many different people. I think having a vision of a Church that's inclusive, that's welcoming, that has a vision of hope and joy, but I think we're relevant. I don't want to say that we're any more relevant than any other group. I think that in general, we have something to offer and what we offer is our community and our mission and education, too.

Russell: My next question. As you know, the Continuing our Journey of Faith capital campaign hopes to build the Fr. Ray Ryan Trust for those men in formation and vocation, and also for the Journey of a Lifetime Trust for the retired and infirm Augustinians. Why do you think this campaign is particularly important at this point in time?

Young: I think we are at a fulcrum point at this point in time. I think there is a major re-awakening in the Church and in the world. I think this type of investment and sharing in our ministry will enable to invite people to that because of that. I think we're looking at the past. We're thanking the guys who have given so much. We're making sure that just like any other family, we take care of our elder, and I think that's really important. I think by us taking care of our elders, we're saying that being an elder is a gift and that our elders have something to offer.

We're making sure that we're investing in the future with our formation and our guys who are going to the seminary because we're saying that we have a vision, we have a hope. This is not going to end. We see a future that's got so much possibility and we're bringing in so many different guys from so many different walks of life, so many different ages. It says to me that there's something happening and it's a good thing.

Russell: Very good. Thank you. My next question. This should be a good one for you. Do you have any advice for those currently in formation for discerning a religious vocation?

Young: My advice is make sure you listen to God in the voices of other people and in the voice of your own experience. You do that obviously in prayer, but you do it in enjoying the life that God has given you and recognizing how good God is and how do you want to respond to that.

Russell: Very good. My last question. Why should others go the extra mile to make a special gift to this capital campaign?

Young: Because I think we promise you that we'll go the extra mile with you. We're going together. We're going the extra mile together. We promise that we're in this together.

Russell: Very good. Thank you, Fr. Rich. It was a pleasure talking to you. I hope you enjoy the rest of your afternoon. For those of you who are watching this, if you would like more information regarding the capital campaign, please go to Fr. Rich, have a wonderful afternoon. It was nice talking to you.

Young: Thanks. God bless.

Posted on November 17, 2014 and filed under Rich Young O.S.A..