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Single Living

It’s hard to believe it’s been a month since I was blessed to be present at the canonization of St. John Paul II and St. Pope John XXIII! Despite my love for John Paul II and his amazing work, I wasn’t too excited about the massive crowds I’d been warned about by those who had attended his beatification. But I went, knowing I was meant to be there and trusting that John Paul II would work something out. In the end, after waiting, talking and praying through the night, my friend and I ended up in St. Peter’s Square, right along a barrier, with a great view! (As you may know, even getting into the square was a minor miracle!) JP2-St. Peter's Square

After a month I have had the opportunity to reflect on my trip and think about the events that really impacted me as a single Catholic. What struck me is that one of the points emphasized about St. John Paul II, both in Pope Francis’ homily at the canonization and at the Thanksgiving Mass the next day, is that St. John Paul II was “the Pope of the family.” For those of us who are single and would like to have a family of our own, but don’t, this point might be a cause of consternation rather than encouragement. But the question is—why did Pope Francis call him “the Pope of the family”?

St. John Paul II himself said that as a young priest, working with many engaged and married couples, he “fell in love with human love.” He wrote Love and Responsibility in 1960 and when pope, delivered a book he had written during a series of Wednesday audiences between 1979-1984 which has become known as the “Theology of the Body.”

As pope he issued the Apostolic Constitution Familiaris Consortio (On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World) and his Letter to Families. The basic idea from these writings is that, being made in the image and likeness of God, who is love, we are called to love and to form a communion of persons. The family is called to be a “community of life and love” and its mission is “to guard, reveal and communicate love, and this is a living reflection of and a real sharing in God’s love for humanity and the love of Christ the Lord for the Church His bride” (Familiaris Consortio 17). It’s through the family that we are brought into the larger family of God, the Church.

JP2-ColosseumThe family is where we learn to love and to live in community. Whether or not we have our own spouses and children, we are called to actively participate in the family to which we all belong, the Church! We must not think that we can live our faith on our own. As singles we are called to love the families in which we were born, and to help and encourage others who have families of their own. By supporting families, even if they aren’t our “own,” we help build up a culture of love and life. We can be involved in the lives of our nieces and nephews, or the children of our married friends—for example, take them out for an afternoon or sit for an evening so their parents can have a break. Or we can volunteer in our parishes to help children by teaching or mentoring. I know, sometimes it’s tough to do because it can be a reminder that we don’t have our “own” families. But let’s not let that steal the delight and joy that children can bring us. In turn, the Church has not forgotten us as singles.

Paraphrasing Familiaris Consortio 85, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1658) states,

“We must also remember the great number of single persons who, because of the particular circumstances in which they have to live—often not of their choosing—are especially close to Jesus’ heart and therefore deserve the special affection and active solicitude of the Church, especially of pastors… The doors of homes, the “domestic churches,” and of the great family which is the Church must be open to all of them. “No one is without a family in this world: the Church is a home and family for everyone, especially those who ‘labor and are heavy laden’” (2231; 2233).

JP2-Pope FrancisLastly, in this season of Easter, Pope Francis made it clear that the joy of the Resurrection came after the suffering of the Cross—and this is what happens throughout our own lives as well. If we feel as if our lives are not currently in an “Easter” moment, let’s continue to hope. As Pope Francis reminded us in the canonization homily:

“In these two men, who looked upon the wounds of Christ and bore witness to his mercy, there dwelt a living hope and an indescribable and glorious joy (1 Pet 1:3,8). The hope and the joy which the risen Christ bestows on his disciples, the hope and the joy which nothing and no one can take from them. The hope and joy of Easter, forged in the crucible of self-denial, self-emptying, utter identification with sinners, even to the point of disgust at the bitterness of that chalice. Such were the hope and the joy which these two holy popes had received as a gift from the risen Lord and which they in turn bestowed in abundance upon the People of God, meriting our eternal gratitude.”

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37 Comments

  1. James-141787 May 26, 2014

    Well, fine, Anastasia, and thanks for the all great work you do personally, but in general I think the Church has forgotten about singles and does very little to address the new and modern problem of pervasive, epidemic, persistent, and involuntary singleness. It is all fine to have a theory of marriage, and to tell us that being single is okay, but with the exception of things like your conferences, there is no culture of marriage that supports singles in seeking their married vocation. The Catholic Church is a lonely place to be single. We need more practice to support the theory.

    • Anastasia-205794 May 27, 2014

      I agree with you James (and that’s why I organize the National Catholic Singles Conference). There is still much to be done in order to see CCC 1658 put into practice. I think a lot of it is a lack of awareness on the part of those in the Church who have found and followed their vocation, and don’t realize there are many of us who haven’t – or if we feel called to marriage haven’t found a spouse. That’s where we single Catholics come in. I agree that it can be hard to be single in the Church, but it’s our responsibility to do something about it too – to speak to those in leadership in the Church about the situation and to get involved. :) Honestly, I think if all of us were active in our parishes, dioceses and local charities, the Church would be a different place. Hope to see you in San Diego for NCSC 2014! :)

  2. Matthew-877277 May 26, 2014

    I also think that the part of the Catechism – one lone paragraph not often backed up with action on the part of the Church – is a sad testament to how often the Church ignores singles. Where is the apostolic letter to singles? Where is the pontifical council for singles? Where is the parish singles group? Seems to me like so many empty words.

  3. Josh-1025422 May 26, 2014

    The church that I go to on Sundays, usually talks about singles like about
    a couple of Sundays in a month but once a month tries to recruit young men
    to join the Priest Hood. I’m hoping that Pope Francis changes the rules on
    recognize and allows women to officially be known as Priest because yesterday
    4 women were proclaim as new Priest. But to get back to singles topic, at my
    former church I use go to, they had Singles Group for adults and a another
    church here in town has a 1st Monday of month, Singles meeting / Dinner group,
    which is free for any singles to come too. :)

  4. Brett-848238 May 26, 2014

    unmarried, unloved, unknown.

  5. Michael-369664 May 26, 2014

    The huge amount of singles in the USA in the middle age and elder ranks is something institution is prepared to handle. I would not expect the Catholic church or any church to do much or even care that much about
    this group of people. We are invisible, since without partners or children, we don’t make any real demands on church services or impact their work very much. We come in, attend mass, leave, and disappear until next weekend. Some churches have active singles groups, but you better be young, as in under 40 to benefit from that. If you are 50 plus you get handed the title of golden ager or golden youth a silly and irrelevant
    label. A social life after 50 for any single in America is a tough challenge. Churches don’t work well in this arena. They can handle younger singles because they want to get them married off. 50 plus people aren’t really in the marriage or dating pool any more. Sorry, but it’s the truth. I’ll never forget the time I wanted to join a Catholic singles group when I was in my early 40s. I heard the age limit was 20-40, and someone told me they don’t want 40 plus folks around because “we can’t marry them off”. I made the mistake too many people make–age limits your marriage and dating prospects severely. After 40 and esp. 50 plus you will have a small pool of prospects to pick from if you find anyone at all. At that point it comes down to what are you willing to settle for, and those baggage issues–we all have ‘em–get to be a real obstacle to having a social life which is fulfilling and realistic. You can’t wait too long to find someone because you will age out of the social scene eventually.

    • Anastasia-205794 May 27, 2014

      You’re right, there aren’t as many options for older singles, but I’ve seen some here and there. This group in San Diego is helping with the upcoming National Catholic Singles Conference this summer: http://sandiegocac.org/. They have options for all ages. If there’s not something in your area, don’t be afraid to start something! :)

      • Josephine-586127 May 28, 2014

        “Don’t be afraid to start something?” you said to Michael? Why doesn’t the Catholic Church start something? They seem to do a good job ministering to younger singles. You seem to have an answer for every reply, but the sad fact still remains that the Church has forgotten us over 40 singles.

        • John-469247 May 29, 2014

          “Why doesn’t the Catholic Church start something?” You said to Anastasia? Josephine, do you realize that you too are the church??? The priest’s we have are overwhelmed already! In stead of sitting back and criticizing and blaming the Catholic Church, try looking at yourself… try being more pro-active! Anastasia had a very valid point, and one I have to admit, I’m guilty of myself!

          • Josephine-586127 May 30, 2014

            My my, John. Aren’t you the gallant defender. You don’t know me or what I already do for the Church. If you feel guilty about your lack of pro-activity, so be it and congrats on recognizing it. But please don’t put me on that/your level or tell me to look at myself.

  6. Meesch-691047 May 26, 2014

    The Catholic Church is out to share the gospel and support the faithful. You and God have to figure out how your “singleness” fits in with this mission. Get out and read about what you can do with your singleness. For instance, supporting your local foster care organization! Or, if you love your church community, run every volunteer organization! Better yet, make a bible study or join one… even if it is at your local church down the road (just make sure the doctrine is sound). Go on an adventure, find a new hobby, go on a mission, volunteer… get creative and get around people. But, you are single for a reason and the Church NEEDS YOU no matter how awkward or isolated you feel in your own church! God is either teaching you something or leading you to a different calling and that is a conversation that you need to have with God.

  7. Christi-66675 May 27, 2014

    For the most part, if you are single you are a forgotten group in the Catholic church. I believe that some priests try to recognize and acknowledge the singles, but not very often. Singles groups are usually for YOUNGER singles.

  8. Elynne-747744 May 27, 2014

    It is tough to be single in the Church—no one can deny that. We’ve all sat through the prayers for vocations (implication—men and women discerning religious life only), prayers for families, and-none-for-Gretchen-Single-Byeee. It’s that time of year again—you know, Mother’s and Father’s Day, where all the men and women who have been blessed enough to find their vocations early are praised for what God has done in their lives. Now, don’t get me wrong—none of these paths are easy and everyone who has committed and sacrificed deserves every moment of recognition. But so does every single who is doing his or her best to live out a faithful Catholic life in a world that, as we all know too well, throws many, many (many) crosses and challenges into our paths each and every day.

    Perhaps the root of the problem is that, as a society, we tend to look at outward status more than the hearts of individuals. Married folks, parents, priests, and religious—they’ve all “achieved” something outwardly evident by their cassocks and habits and plain gold rings. Now no one except God and their confessors know what their inner lives are like in those vocations (and we do not need reminding of how human frailty comes through all too often behind closed doors), but no matter. Singles, on the other hand, have not outwardly “achieved” anything (unless we make up for it with endless hours of service or other extraordinary actions), so we’re often overlooked.

    One of the most meaningful moments of my life in the Faith thus far was the time I attended a small local Catholic singles conference about two years ago, and a priest got up and offered one of the most sincere, heartfelt apologies that I have ever heard in my life to all of us in attendance for the way that the Church has often overlooked us. There is hope. Even if we don’t hear it in the Prayers of the People on Sundays just yet…we can all start by praying for each other.

  9. Genevieve-1055759 May 27, 2014

    It’s painful to see the level of pain that is felt and expressed by fellow singles– and these feelings are authentic. Yet, how I wish that we would put ourselves out there- virtually out of our own selves; be active; find something to laugh about; contribute to society; live a life; say a prayer; chat with people just for the heck of it! Anything not to allow us wallow in sadness. Frankly we might be looking too into ourselves and feeling all alone. Maybe we should look around a little more; raise our eyes off of our feet. We are the Church, we are what we make of it. We can make a difference already and not wait for someone else to make things happen for us– like organize conferences, which is a very great gesture! But it can be smaller than that :-)

    I wish us well. And pray that we may “trust in the Lord with all our hearts, and lean not on our own understandings” — from Proverbs 3…. I think verse 5…or 6

    • Graciela-1086479 May 29, 2014

      I love your attitude and totally agree with it. I am single and I am 40 years old. I know what people here talk about, but I cannot sit around feeling pityful and thinking that the world and my church have forgotten about me. God has its ways of leading us exactly to where we need to be and push us to grow interiorly. Our singleness allow us to do this free from worries about family and all that comes with this. Maybe He needs us single, we are the people who can completely devote our hearts to Him, until he wants it otherwise…

  10. Carol-1017436 May 27, 2014

    I know it is hard. But as our human nature is not all that evolved over the thousands of years. We all tend to only look at life through our own lenses…and see the grass is greener on the other side. Whether single, single with kids, widowed, single because of a commitment to religious life, happily married, unhappily married…we all forget the specific blessings that come with our leg of the journey because we are too busy looking around the next corner.

    Do I feel a tug in my heart for a committed covenental marriage?…you betcha! But I WiILL NOT allow the enemy steal away my beautiful day, my time I can spend alone with the Lord instead of fretting about my current position, my ability to embrace my cross as He did for me if that is His will for me today, to allow Him to fill that aching in my heart… If I’m always looking to another person to fill a gap only He can fill, then I have set up any future relationship for failure…(voice of experience). I will be tempted to rush into a relationship with someone who is “close enough”.

    I have not felt the Church has made me walk this path alone. But it has allowed my to walk it “on” my own (ever at my side) with as much or as little help or guidance as I sought. Are some presbyters and lay people have a harder time relating to me and my situation?..Absolutely! Are some good others at it because they have been there?…Absolutely!

    If you feel that your local parish isn’t doing enough, maybe that is your call to change that. Maybe the growth you will obtain from caring for others like you will help you develop in ways you never could have imagined. When we willingly submit ourselves to the Lord, He can do amazing things in our lives…things we could have never imagined on our own. Even in this crazy group of people that come together as a family known as His Church. Only He could have pulled that off!

    So look around at your brothers and sisters in Church this week and beyond and see…look in your heart and see what the Lord has placed there…spend time with Him, seeking clarity for His will in your life…(hard to get much closer that Holy Communion or Adoration) and then hold on, because He has great things planned for you! DO NOT let the enemy win and cause despair and lack of hope!

  11. Daniel C. May 27, 2014

    The Catholic Church has not forgotten men and women who happen to be single. Individual parishes, however, is another story. Many parishes go gang busters creating and promoting events and groups for young singles – up to about 35 years of age – and for seniors – who may or many not be single. That great swath of folks who are single who reside in the age range of about 35 to 60 or 65 are more often than not left to fend for themselves in the parishes of which I’ve been a part. That is a tragedy.

    Single adult who fall within those middle years obviously can’t be part of young adult groups. And while these middle-aged adults see plenty of activity and encouragement for married adults and who have children, they find little in the way of communal activity suited for them. Quite simply, from my own experience and what I’ve heard from others my age, we feel left out in the cold. I do not, in any way, place the responsibility for this on the Church itself. It’s the priests and laity at St. ______’s parish who seem to think that simply telling a working 40-something adult to volunteer for various ministries that that will substitute for the same community a young person finds in Frassati Society or that a retired senior is able enjoy at midweek book clubs or coffee get-togethers. That just isn’t the case.

    The Church is a home for everyone – young and old, married and single. I recognize individual parishes are often stretched beyond their capacity on what they can do for the lay men and women in the pews. Therefore it is incumbent upon the laity to take up the charge. A concerted effort should be made to reach everyone – not just those about to start a family, who have a family, or who are enjoying their golden years after raising a family. It would be great to one see, one day, alongside those bulletin announcements for the Frassati Society and Senior Groups a post announcing an evening gathering for single adults who don’t fit with either the 20-somethings or those wonderful retirees.

  12. Brandon-861917 May 27, 2014

    Yes, what Daniel C said!

    Wish my parish offered something.

  13. Ethan-229399 May 27, 2014

    It’s less that they have forgotten us and more that they think they are doing something for us when they aren’t. Example my church has a Theology on Tap program that we do every other month, thing is its not for singles its for “Young Adults” which ranges from for people in their 20s and 30s. So many people that come to the event are not singles, and when the speech of whoever the speaker is is done, everyone leaves. There is no engagement afterwards to make the people there talk to each other.

    I volunteered for this program, the diocese saw it as a huge success, but really its a huge failure to bring young adults together. It is just a speech, anyone can go and they do we got people in their 50s and even 80s, the speeches were never really directed towards Young Adults, and a few of them were directed at people already married, very frustrating and confusing.

    Also just getting to know the Young Adult ministry around here it seems that many if not all of the Young adults are focused on their jobs and school, before they seriously consider any kind of lasting relationship or even going to any Young Adult group. I think this is a backwards mindset of being raised in an American society. I think many people don’t realize is that if you don’t nurture these groups they will die, and when you are ready to look for that relationship the groups that help you find the Catholic someone will not be there. Not to mention the certain time limit our own bodies have to have children.

    So has the church forgotten about us? no. Are they doing the right things to bring us together? also, no. Do they ask us if they are doing the right things? again, no. Very frustrating indeed, to be single.

  14. Robert-514120 May 27, 2014

    I feel that The Single Life is also a vocation, and should be treated as such. One (now closed) parish went so far as to include The Single Life as part of the intentions for vocations each week in their parish bulletin.

  15. Jacqueline-198 May 28, 2014

    Once upon a time, the whole Young Adult Ministry was big, great fun times and fellowship, until you ‘age out’ then if you are still single, oh well, too young to be a Rosarian, too old to be a Young Adult, Singles groups are mostly for divorced and the widowers/widows have their own place, so…Catholic Match has become MY own personal community and that’s why I’m here and still here….I may ‘still’ be single but I don’t feel alone or lonely I know God has a plan.

  16. Michael-1090684 May 28, 2014

    Dear Anastasia … James, Matthew, Michael, Christy, Elynne, Daniel C, Brandon, and Jacqueline are correct. With all due respect, and that is not just cliché – I mean that because your heart is in the right place and you are correct in theory, the “Catholic Church has not forgotten singles” can only be truly stated if by “the Church” you mean the concern and teaching of recent Pontiffs. However, the Church is not just the hierarchy, and in fact, in our own lived experience in the Church within our parishes and dioceses, the teaching and example of the Pontiffs have little bearing.

    This article has thus rightly seen the disagreement and dissension it has from the commenters — because there was no attempt to make this qualification. Instead, you have idealistically told the people here who have experienced first-hand the practical ostracism (albeit, not done so intentionally) of being single in the Church, that this is in fact not true and that the Church has not forgot about them — something true in theory, but not so in practice. So to paraphrase the Apostle James: “What good is it if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Suppose a brother or a sister is without a spouse. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; the Church cares for singles’ but does nothing about their needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:14-17)

    • Anastasia-205794 May 28, 2014

      Thanks for your comment Michael. I agree with you – and I do realize my article may have sounded overly idealistic and unrealistic, but the reality is I’m very aware of the lack of support for singles in the Church today (as I hope I conveyed in my reply to James). In my personal and professional life I’m doing whatever I can to help remedy the situation. I was quite encouraged just to find the one little paragraph in Familiaris Consortio and in the Catechism which acknowledged the fact that there are those (I would say many today) who are unintentionally single – who WANT to be living the vocation to marriage but for whatever reason haven’t been able to find a spouse. I don’t deny there is a lot of pain out there – and being quite unintentionally single myself I’m no stranger to it. But I AM encouraged that we are “especially close to Jesus’ heart” and that our suffering can be redemptive! We as singles have to be active in our parishes, dioceses and communities, as Meesch, Genevieve and Carol have beautifully pointed out, and help to change the situation. So yes, I could have clarified the point, but it’s been a great discussion and it’s good to hear what others have experienced. I included the quote from Pope Francis at the end intentionally, because it CAN be painful and difficult, but we have to keep our eyes fixed on Christ and his incredible love for us, and live in the hope and joy of the resurrection, bringing that joy to those around us! As one author pointed out, true freedom is in the embracing of the things in life we did NOT choose – and Christ gives us the power to do that! :)

      • Michael-1090684 May 29, 2014

        Thank you for your reply, Anastasia — it is clear we are on the same page.

        I will follow up with a private message …

  17. John-1046049 May 28, 2014

    To a certain extent, it’s all spiritual warfare, and the enemy is always looking for a way to cause trouble/divisions in the Body of Christ. Whether it’s the sexual scandals, or the homily on the importance of using your envelopes, or the isolation and loneliness of being a single/divorced Catholic, the enemy is doing a pretty good job of getting people to give up and walk away. After many years of trying to fight the good fight, stay positive, put on the armor of Christ, look outward, becoming an EM, joining the men’s group, visiting the sick and elderly in the hospital, smiling and talking to anyone and everyone that I could at church, I still feel alone there and that’s a horrible feeling especially on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. In despair, I’ve gone to the local Mission church several times just to see and feel the love of Christ and I have to say it is there…they hug you at the door, ask you your name, say it’s so wonderful to see you, and it feels wonderful! Of course, they don’t have the Sacraments, the saints or Mary and all that I love about the church, but boy it felt good to be acknowledged! I’ve read the book Rebuilt…google it if you don’t know it…and I think in short, that’s the answer. The church has to change, parish by parish, and it has to become more of a community, but bishops, pastors have to want that and many don’t have the energy or the vision to see the need. I’m going to search for a new pastor/parish that is trying to address some of the above, and in the meantime I’ll continue to try and light a single candle, by being the Catholic that won’t run you over in the parking lot, and the one who will ask you if you are okay when I see you crying in the pew. Jesus help us feel loved in your church, and thank you Anastasia for giving us the chance to voice our frustration but let’s all be strong and confident in the Lord’s love and empathy for us…

    • Anastasia-205794 May 28, 2014

      Thanks John! I wanted to mention this earlier, and since you brought up Mother’s/Father’s Day again (as Elynne did as well), I’ll just throw it out there. One thing that’s helped me tremendously was St. John Paul II’s discussion of spiritual motherhood and fatherhood. (See Mulieris Dignitatem and Love and Responsibility.) I’d love to be a physical mother, but since I’m not at the moment, I do take consolation in the fact that I can and am a spiritual mother. We as women are called to nurture life in many ways and to many people, going beyond the physical reality. It sounds like you’re living out your spiritual fatherhood in what you’re doing as well. Again, it’s not the same, but it is a consolation! :)

      Also, you mentioned “Rebuilt.” (A convert once said to me that Protestants do a lot more with a lot less, and there’s some truth in that.) You may also be interested in the book “Forming Intentional Disciples” by Sherri Weddell. I highly recommend it to everyone! You’re right – many parishes today aren’t “alive”, and as you pointed out, the evil one would like to keep it that way. But that shouldn’t be the norm. If the Holy Spirit resides in us through Baptism and Confirmation, people should be able to tell! :) Let’s not let the evil one steal our joy – and let’s keep plugging away to bring Christ’s love to others, and see what happens when we surrender ourselves to Him and allow Him to work!

  18. David-870960 May 29, 2014

    Excellent piece Anastasia! I share the pains expressed in the many comments, but I also embrace the Hope you encourage. Thank you for your Ministry.

  19. Ann-69118 May 29, 2014

    There’s a lot of be said on either side of the issue where ever you fall. I for one pretty much gave up looking there comes a point where you realize you’re on a train going nowhere and it’s time to get off. I accepting singleness as a reality not so much as a vocation or choice. I still do and probably always will believe the church could do more for singles and hasn’t done too much as yet either. Every adult Catholic singles group I was ever in had to fight just to get mentioned in the bullitens even when they had the approval of the local arch diocese. Most disolved within a few months or few years from when they started. That’s just an example.

  20. Maura-1071968 May 30, 2014

    This is a great thread of comments! There are so many things that I find to be true from both the older and younger singles. Since as long as I can remember nothing has been more beautiful than the life and love of my parents and what they share. Many of my close friends have entered the seminary or a religious order. The rest of my close friends and all of my older siblings are married with several a number of kids. I live in a small town with very few singles and many many young married couples and lots of big families so I and the few other singles in this town stick out like a sore thumb. :) I ask God why He wants me here a lot. Some days it is painful to be in church to see all these beautiful relationships that everyone else seems to have husband to wife and parent to child and I ask Him again, why do I not have that kind of relationship anywhere? Some days I think of leaving, moving somewhere else, anywhere else. I tried several times to move away go find more single people to hang out with more young adult groups to join but I am happiest here. Where can I go and not feel this pain or experience the same problem? The problem I have mostly is that I am sectioned off from the rest of the Church family. I have a label slapped on me that says “single, unattached, lonely” and people fear that by association they will somehow be contaminated. :)
    This is not a new problem for me but this is the first time I have to fix the problem by myself. I am blessed to live in a small town because I can do something to change this issue of loneliness that is always lurking outside the door to my heart because I do have family and friends here. Maybe not the ones I want here but God always gives us what we need. If we are unhappy it is often because we are afraid of who we will become if we let God take our unhappiness away. I am waging with God regarding me not having what I want when I want it. I hate that I am that petty and act so much like a toddler who wants a toy from the store and is throwing a tantrum because I cannot have it. Why can I not find peace with where I am? Why do I always want something I cannot have? Why is it someone else’s fault that I cannot have it?? Jesus doesn’t make mistakes, but I do. Jesus doesn’t love me less because I am not married, but I love myself less or refuse to be happy because it isn’t what I want right now. Our first vocation is always to Love God. If we cannot learn to want that first we are in trouble. Getting married would just take that unhappiness, that loneliness and multiple it. Having more is not good for us. There are always problems and loneliness lurking around the corner and adding another person to your life isn’t going to fill the empty hole where God reserved a place in our hearts as His alone. The true love of God needs to keep growing. We need to fill up our love tanks and keep them full of God. Some days I hate sometimes that I am so dependent on Him. I hate that I need Him so much to make it through each day I wish I could do it by myself so that I wouldn’t experience or feel the pain but He want a heart of flesh and not of stone. Sometimes, not getting what I want is painful. There is a decision that needs to be made. Do I choose to be happy with what He chooses as best for me? Do I really believe that His choices will make me happy? Do I believe in God? This is an active choice that we have to continue to make. I do believe. Whatever my vocation is whether to live out my days in singleness and service building invisible castles that only He can see or if He decides to that it is better that we have our own physical family, we have to trust that I am where I should be right now. The question I would ask any single right now who is feeling left out by their church family is this, if you had to live out the rest of your days in singleness, how would you want to do it? Could you be happy with that? What is really nice about your life right now that you appreciate? He loves you exactly as you are right now. Live in His Love.
    There are lots of problems that need to be fixed and worked on in the church. I used to think that our priest was supposed to give better homilies and tend to my needs better, but whether or not that is true doesn’t change the situation right now. But if I become more loving, if I do better about communicating my need for community, love and acceptance from my church family things can get better for everyone. I can do something about that and not feel so isolated and lonely. It’s not easy but it worth a try. How is speaking the truth a problem?

  21. Maura-1071968 May 30, 2014

    Sorry for the epic long response!! So many good points to consider!!! :)

  22. Regina-911983 May 30, 2014

    Ditto Ann.

    All the events in the church bulletin are for couples. There was a singles club formed in one church and they had the nerve to put 40-60. Some of them in the group were already in a relationship. Why put an age on it? There was a seminar on “Rebuilding” in another church and they charged. The book was never finished. Too much socializing about other issues. Periodically in the bulletin a seminar on annulment is mentioned. Again, they charge. You can speak to a canon lawyer free or go on the Internet. Years ago, the rich got their annulments asap. This has to be addressed by the Church too. People that have been abandoned and betrayed and did not want a divorce, should be treated and made to feel more at ease and welcomed in the church. That includes going to communion which I recently read was approved by the Pope. IT’S ABOUT TIME THESE ISSUES WERE DISCUSSED MORE OPENLY. Stop making money on annulments and one’s heartache.

  23. Michael-369664 May 31, 2014

    Lots of excellent comments in here. In my case I never considered marriage to be a vocation due to chronic illness starting at 20. I’ve had a decent period as a single person,but at 56 I was forced to retire due to cancer. I made two key mistakes, not using dating websites earlier in life, and not building a social network of friends during my 30s-50s. I’m home alone now, and since I don’t know what time is left to me, it’s very hard to invest time in any activity if I don’t see a quick payoff. I never looked at my church as a place to build or create any relationships. Churches can barely handle all the chores they have now. Asking them to do anything for singles of any age is unrealistic. I know it’s tough, but you have to avoid talking and acting like a victim. For many of us the dating rituals in America don’t work well. and with age your pool shrinks. I found at 55 plus there I was considered too old. I’m not surprised. Age bias is a huge problem in America. I had my turn when I was younger, so I’m paying now for not trying harder to date in those years. You just can’t catch up later in life for what you missed out on earlier. My only words of warning to anyone single under 40 out there is: do all you can to date and meet people now. If you wait, you will regret it later. After 45, you will be really struggling to find quality available people.

  24. Saul P. June 2, 2014

    I thinnk there is very little fellowship

  25. Cynthia-571586 June 4, 2014

    Anastasia, thank you for writing this post, and for all of the work you do to support Catholic Singles. Last year, I also felt what so many people responding to this post feel now. I found myself just over 40 and single, and I felt like there was nowhere for me to go to meet men who shared my faith. Many of my friends complained about feeling the same way, so I finally decided to do something about it.

    I created CLICK Catholic Singles in the Southern California area so that Catholics wouldn’t be limited to their own parishes when meeting new singles. It has been around now for a little over a year, and over the course of the year over 350 people have gathered at compelling venues to mingle and get to know one another. Our latest event had around 70 people, and we’re still growing. It has been such a rewarding experience, because most of the people who come don’t know each other at all, and yet by the end of the night people are joking and chatting like old friends.

    I think the events are so powerful because when we all get together, even though we’re from different parishes and places, we have so many of the same core values. This makes connecting so much easier.

    For those of you who have mentioned the idea of taking responsibility for creating these opportunities in your parish, I will say that for us it has taken a lot of work and resources to make these events happen. This is my full-time job. Not everyone will have the time it takes to create a consistent group with regular opportunities to get together. But if you do have the time, it is absolutely worth it.

    Or, if you happen to live in the Southern California area, you are always welcome to attend an event. You can see what’s next at http://www.catholicsclick.com. If you want to create something similar in your area and have any questions along the way, please feel free to contact us.

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