The National Catholic Singles Conference (NCSC) was created to give single Catholics the opportunity to meet other like-minded singles and learn more about and share their Faith. CatholicMatch.com is sponsoring the National Catholic Singles conference in Philadelphia this year.
How did the National Catholic Singles Conferences begin?
As founder and Director, I started the National Catholic Singles Conference in 2005 with the encouragement and help of a couple friends. At that time I’d been working with John Paul II’s Theology of the Body for a few years and wanted to get a group of speakers together to talk about how one can live the theology of the body as a single person. Of course, time for prayer and socializing is also important, so that’s how we ended up with the balance of inspiring talks; Mass, adoration, and confession; and food, fun and dancing We sold out the first year.
Why is the conference a success (with the 12th one this year)?
I must admit that when I started the conference I had no idea it would become an annual—and sometimes bi-annual—event! It was really a matter of coming “back by popular demand.” By the end of the first conference, participants were already asking me when the next one was going to be held. I believe it’s a success because we singles need community and are encouraged in living our Catholic Faith by being around others who are facing the same challenges of living as a single person in today’s culture. It’s the only event of its kind and a great chance to meet new people in person, to be strengthened in one’s faith and receive a lot of good formation for one’s own life and relationships.
What do singles love the most about the conference?
It probably depends on the person, but one man who has come to many of them has said he really loves the community aspect of it. It’s great to know you’re not alone as a Catholic single, especially since sometimes it feels like it! Whether or not we meet Mr. or Miss Right anytime soon, it’s crucial we know how to live a joyful and fulfilled life as a single person in the moment!
What stories can you tell us about people who have attended the conference?
Well, I always tell people not to come expecting to meet their future spouse, but I’m delighted to add that at least eight couples have met at the conference and gotten married (including my sister and her husband!). Another friend met her husband at the 5th NCSC she attended and they just recently had their first child. (The funny thing was that they had both been at the 2010 conference but just didn’t meet until the 2011 event! It’s all about the right timing!) I’ve heard stories about lasting friendships that have been formed, and other stories about people who have encountered Christ and their Catholic faith in a way they never have before. Some have returned to confession after years away. I distinctly remember one woman telling me that it was like “a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.”
Well, as you know, this is the first time the National Catholic Singles Conference is being held in the Northeast. Some NCSC attendees from the Philly area approached me asking if we could bring the NCSC to the East Coast, and they were willing to put in a lot of work to see it happen. Philadelphia is a great central location—and it’s appropriate as well, since the very first NCSC was held in the Archdiocese of Denver when Archbishop Chaput was the bishop there.
What would you say to other single Catholics that are thinking of going, but need some encouragement?
I think the biggest concern people have is that the conference is some kind of meat market and I want to assure them it’s not like that. Of course, many who attend would love to meet Mr. or Miss Right, but the emphasis is not as much on that as on the inspiring talks, the prayer and the general community aspect. This creates an atmosphere in which one can be as comfortable as possible in meeting new people and just having a good time!
What are some of the highlights from the conference that you are most excited about?
Well, we’ve got a great speaker line-up so I’m looking forward to the talks, and it’s always just a great experience to get hundreds of Catholic singles together in one place! I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones!
What’s different about NCSC this time around?
The NCSC has a signature format which makes it a one-of-a-kind event. That format remains the same every year. What changes is the speaker line-up and the location, which brings a lot of new faces. So far we already have people registered from 31 states, DC, two Canadian provinces and Mexico!
What messages will the individual speakers be sharing?
The speakers all come from different perspectives, which will give a lot of variety to the weekend. Fr. Thomas Loya will present some great insights from the theology of the body, as will the closing speaker Damon Owens. CatholicMatch Institute blogger Lisa Duffy has an intriguing title: “The Attraction Factor: 6 Ways to Maximize your Appeal,” and Daniel Mattson’s talk, “As Strong as Fire: How Our Singleness Can Change the World” is guaranteed to be powerful! I love Emily Stimpson’s book The Catholic Girl’s Survival Guide for the Single Years, so I’m really looking forward to her talk to the women, and Fr. Loya is always a hit with the men.
What do you hope for single Catholics to get out of the experience?
Basically that they come away refreshed and encouraged in living their Faith, with hope and trust in God’s plan for their lives, and with new love for those God has put in their lives, including new friends made at the conference. And if more couples meet and are able to receive the Sacrament of Marriage, then all the better!
How can we register online?
It’s very easy, just head to our registration page at www.nationalcatholicsingles.com