Dr. Knight: You are a layperson who has worked hard for the Church in many different ways. Could you tell us about your work? Especially your work with the RCIA? How has this changed your life?
Tim Daro: I was sitting in the pew at St. Theresa in Palatine, back in 1984 on a parish ministry day. In the pews were cards with each of the ministries described. The RCIA card caught my eye, as it read, “After all the Church has meant in your life, don’t you think it’s time to give something back?” It was and I’ve been involved, ever since that day. From making coffee to being a sponsor to being an input speaker to leading the program, it’s been a wonder-filled and faith-boosting part of my life. What a privilege to behold folks coming to the Church in much the same way they did in the beginning.
Dr. Knight: How did you receive your call to work so completely for the Church? How has this call changed over time with the RCIA?
Tim Daro: Over the years, I’ve written a parish newspaper, served on the Evangelization and Spiritual Life Commission, facilitated the Catholics Returning Home ministry and even been Bozo The Clown at a church picnic on a 100º day! I believe we all serve in our way, applying the talents given to do God’s work in the community. Jesus told Peter, “Upon this rock, I will build my Church.” Note the future tense, as we English majors are wont to do! The building continues, every day.
Dr. Knight: I see you are working in the area of marketing. Could you tell us what that means in light of your faith?
Tim Daro: Again, I use my copywriting and presenting talents every day to spread the good news about my clients. Similarly, I feel I should use that same talent to spread the REALLY Good News of Christ and His Church. I’m blessed to own an ad/PR agency with some very strong Catholics on the team, including a young lady with art talent galore. She’s helped put pictures with my words on many occasions to supply the parishes I’ve served with marketing materials for various ministries and events.
Dr. Knight: How about an easy question: what is your favorite film at this time? Book? Have you seen “Unplanned” or “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”
Tim Daro: I saw Unplanned with a group of Young Adults and there was not a dry eye in the bunch, at the end. Pro-life is a real passion, as I’ve run with Joe Scheidler and the Pro-Life Action League for many years. Joe taught at ND when I attended.
I read many books about medieval times and Old/Middle English, my areas of concentration during my school days.
Dr. Knight: Can you tell us how you incorporated the raising of a family with your work at Church?
Tim Daro: We all attended Mass together and my wife, who was not Catholic, brought over a good Protestant tradition of fellowship, starting a coffee-and at my former parish, where folks could linger after Mass and build community. Nice touch and one we have today at my current parish with “Coffee in the Courtyard.” The kids were all involved in activities at church, we prayed before every meal and we often spoke about the readings, after Mass.
Dr. Knight: Do you think/feel that the use of social media in our parishes can assist young people to think about knowing/loving/serving God through their ‘cyber-neighbor’?
Tim Daro: ABSOLUTELY. I have long lobbied for its use. Even at 67, I can tell this is a viable means of communicating the word to young people. After a long process, I got my current parish to put up various podcasts at the parish website and, not surprisingly, people are finding and listening to them.
Dr. Knight: As a layperson, you can educate and spiritually form many people in society through your work. What issues are predominantly on your mind and heart?
Tim Daro: Pro-life is tops and bringing people to the Church by the example of a life well-lived, though I’ve failed many times. As John The Baptist is a personal hero and patron saint of PR people (don’t look at me, look at HIM), I feel quite comfortable evangelizing, educating and, when necessary, correcting people. It’s a “habit” I picked up from all the nuns who taught me!
Dr. Knight: There have been very influential Bishops throughout the ages including saints. Who influenced you the most?
Tim Daro: Augustine as an example of life NOT well-lived who found redemption and poured forth his wisdom to the ages. Recently in Chicago, I was always struck by Cardinal George’s strength of character, given his health challenges and the difficult times in the Church, during his tenure. I remember interviewing him once for the parish paper and he responded to my question about his homily with, “Gee, Tim, weren’t you listening?” A wry smile told me a lesson had just been taught.
Dr. Knight: What are some of the issues you attend to that show how much you care for your neighbor? How does that fit in with the work of our Holy Father Pope Francis?
Tim Daro: Serving at Catholic Charities dinners is always a humbling experience. I often emcee, probably because of my loud voice. It took a while not to judge folks, then I opened my eyes and simply helped someone in need on a day and at a time.
Dr. Knight: What other issues do you have as a priority for our work as a society? As assisting the next generation to be followers of Christ?
Tim Daro: In my work with RCIA, I am always strengthened by the presence of so many young people who, at my parish, have succeeded in material gains but still seek a spiritual anchor or fulfillment in their lives. Being part of that process is a joy, a challenge and a supercharger to my own faith life.
Dr. Knight: Any other issues you would like to tell the readers about regarding your faith?
Tim Daro: A faith MUST be lived, each day. It will bring you great joy, comfort, solace and encouragement to endure and continue on life’s path. The end of the journey is certainly worth the trip!