I attend a weekly Latin Mass in a parish that also has a rock Mass, a Polish Mass, a Spanish Mass, and the occasional Haitian Mass. The only time any of us interact is on the steps of the church, like ships passing in the night.
Some of us are currently trying to restart a Sunday morning coffee hour tradition that has been neglected for the past few years.
When there was an opportunity to gather, I noticed plenty of curious Mass-goers venturing to the basement for donuts and conversation.
Typical of human nature, we did separate into groups (the under-30s, the over-80s, the moms with newborns). However, it was an organic division and could easily be breached by walking over to the next table to meet new faces.
I’ve heard a lot of complaints—and yes, I’ve done some complaining myself—about parishes not doing enough for the singles in their area. It is hard to meet new people after Mass if there is no opportunity for fellowship.
Sure we have sites like CatholicMatch where like-minded singles can interact through forums and meeting individually, but I don’t think that means we should neglect the opportunity for a real life forum once a week at Sunday Mass.
Having events for singles seems like an easy solution to many of the non-marrieds, but I have been to numerous singles events, whether of the Theology on Tap or adoration varieties, and I have found that the atmosphere can quickly become stilted.
How many variations on “Where did you go to school? What sort of job do you have?” are there?
I often impose on one of my married girlfriends to be my wingman to singles events because of the sheer awkwardness of being single (and looking).
I am a big advocate for churches having social events—not just for singles, but for everyone in the parish. It’s important for various age groups to come together because we all bring so much to the table.
Older people—especially those who have been married for many years—love to share their wisdom and those of us who lack these wonderful experiences need to hear their stories.
Sometimes it’s difficult being the shy, single girl at a party, but when I’m surrounded by families with small children, I have an opportunity to help with the babies—and I’m sure the mothers appreciate the assistance.
The dynamic changes drastically when various groups come together to enjoy themselves, rather than the sometimes intimidating—and often scary—“meet market” atmosphere that is inevitably present in so many singles groups.
When we observe the current dating culture, it seems like speed dating and meeting random people in bars is the norm. But is this natural at all? None of us have been raised in a vacuum. A lot of us are accustomed to spending time with our families—from grandparents to little cousins—and most workplaces are filled with both young and old, married and single.
Why shouldn’t more churches host events that encourage everyone to attend? Wouldn’t everyone feel more comfortable and at ease if the pressure to find a spouse was lifted?
So I encourage you, the next time you see an event hosted at your local parish—a Bible study, a talk, a pancake breakfast—I encourage you to attend. Introduce yourself to at least one new person. You never know who you will meet!