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Single Living

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!

 

 

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10 Comments

  1. Jeff-959374 April 9, 2013

    Yes this is a good set of ideas. Mass itself tends to get used for everything – passing on messages from the Bishop; talks by guest speakers during the homily; notifications of events etc. It can’t be the medium for everything people who belong to a church get involved in.I’ve found that when alternative events are staged at the church people will and do attend. The more we are involved beyond sharing liturgical events the better the liturgy will be.

  2. Jacqueline-198 April 9, 2013

    Back in the day my parish had a new parishioner breakfast, my good friends met there! Of course, the minute I joined, they no longer held them…LOL…go figure…my parish doesn’t have anything for singles, the little ones have their Children’s Liturgy and play groups, Men have their groups, the Rosarians have theirs, and the youth have theirs, I’m 50, single, childless and frankly feel like there is NO place for me, too old for this and frankly to young for that! That’s why I have been on CM for so long, I have the fellowship and friendship and support I don’t find available at my own parish. Don’t get me wrong, I participate at different activities, have helped out during the annual Carnival and such but still…once upon a time, church used to be the perfect place to meet like minded singles, but in many cities and towns, it’s no longer true. At least not in my region.

    • Patricia-755756 April 11, 2013

      Same for me Jacqueline. My Parish doesn’t have anything for singles either. I really feel displaced most times. Being 45 (almost 46) never married & childless, it really is so difficult to find a nice man my age. Most single men in their 40′s are looking for younger women to start a family with. At my age I’m past that. There will be no children for me. I wish my church would put more focus on us single people.

  3. Kathy-949034 April 10, 2013

    I returned back last summer and I’ve been finding the same thing. I realize coming in at the summertime was not condusive to more activities, but thankfully, my parish continued coffee & donuts after masses. That was my key! I had to break from my what I was used to and step out of the comfort box myself. Because, how can change happen if I were not to do it myself! Since then, I’ve gotten involved in another ongoing class at a neighboring parish (invited by a friend) and started to attend bible study at my own. Talking to more parishoners at my parish, I discovered that there truly is an age gap missing. Unfortunately that is MY age group! I just need not get discouraged, but keep going, listen to Jesus and spread His Good News!

  4. Frank-716218 April 10, 2013

    I agree with and experienced the same thing as the above folks. In my parish at mass it is almost all 30 or 40 somethings with families or the elderly. Wish there was a singles event.

  5. BelleClaire-954476 April 11, 2013

    Hi,

    Do you meet together sometimes? I would love to join a Catholic meeting group.

  6. Phetsile-961852 April 11, 2013

    My Diocese do try to create functions where the Youth or single people but I just haven’t met that special someone yet.

  7. Carol-737878 April 11, 2013

    I’m impressed that your church offers so many varieties of Masses for the different ethnic groups and for those who choose conservative or contemporary worship–that’s amazing!!!

    The parish I used to belong to did try to start something for singles, but it never really got off the ground.
    However, when the pastor of the Cathedral thought to begin a group for any adult single, that seemed to work out pretty well because it beckoned to people from all over the archdiocese.

  8. Elissa-829089 April 12, 2013

    I really agree with you, Catherine. Thanks for posting this. I’m a convert who joined the Church more than ten years ago, and the contrast from the social life and fellowship of most of the Protestant churches is very pronounced. People at those churches make friends, have small groups, go on mission trips — and they often don’t have groups just for singles because they don’t need them. Their gatherings are based on a common desire to study the Bible together, discuss a topic, or help other people.

    After I became Catholic, I found fellowship by joining the music team at my church, and I also worked in the parish office so I got to know a lot of people and had a specific role in helping them. But now that I’ve moved to a different area, it’s been five years or more, and I don’t feel “at home” at any parish. I go to Mass, sit alone, and leave alone. Hardly anyone cares to talk to me, and the people I was in choir with for a year don’t even say hello. I find that married people outright avoid singles. On top of that, I’m now old enough that younger singles can’t “relate” to me anymore. :-)

    I think one of the best ways to get diverse people together would be to have study groups or classes that are interesting to everyone; and I think “singles groups” would be less awkward and more fulfilling if they were oriented toward helping the poor or sharing the Gospel rather than sitting around getting to know each other (again and again). I don’t mean to be harsh since I’m actually grateful that there are singles groups in my area; but if I’m not going to meet someone I can marry (which leads to service in a family setting), I would rather go out together with my fellow Catholics and share the joy we have with other people than have a dinner and sip wine…

  9. Steve-111719 April 18, 2013

    I must agree with the others in the comments section. It isn’t a stretch to feel that the Church really doesn’t make any effort to address the growing numbers of adult singles in the parishes. When I was living in Lexington, KY, I joined a young adult group at my parish (actually I joined that paricular parish precisely because it had a young adult group). The people who formed it did a great job, in spite of the fact that the the pastor at the time told them that he didn’t want the group to become “a Catholic dating group.” What they did was hold a weekly Bible study and go out to dinner afterwards. We also attended Theology On Tap and did a good deal of service projects. I never quite understood why the priest said what he did to the founders of the group. I mean, where better to meet Catholic singles than at a parish group meeting, young adult or otherwise. What I wouldn’t give now to belong to a parish with a singles group. I fear for the future of the Church as long as it makes no effort to help it’s single parishoners.

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