The CatholicMatch Institute recently began a partnership with Franciscan University of Steubenville's Christian Outreach Office, which hosts Catholic conferences for youth, young adults, and adults that draw more than 50,000 participants annually. It is the first collaboration the Institute has made with a university. They plan to work together to further their similar missions involving educating and guiding Catholics in the ways of dating and marriage.
“We’ve been publishing content on dating, relationships, and marriage for years,” said Brian Barcaro, co-founder and CEO of CatholicMatch.com. The website provides an opportunity for “faith focused dating” in which Catholic singles can create free profiles and search for their match online.
“We recognized there was a greater need to reach out to people who were not using CatholicMatch, and that included not just singles, but also both dating and married couples,” Barcaro added. “We were trying to more closely tie the reason for dating to marriage itself. Sometimes they get looked upon almost separately.” To bring advice and resources to more people, the CatholicMatch Institute was born.
According to Barcaro, CatholicMatch Institute was also founded because CatholicMatch.com wanted to work more closely with church organizations and assist church leaders in reaching out to people. One year ago, the Institute was launched as a way to “unlock content to people beyond the dating site.” It is closely aligned with the online dating service, but the content is not only for people who are not necessarily looking for other singles, but also for people who are looking for resources about relationships, faith, and marriage. Its mission is to see healthier sacramental marriages through purposeful dating and more engaging remote marriage preparation.
“On a daily basis, we’re working on content and publishing information about these important issues,” said Barcaro. In hopes of furthering its mission and reaching a greater audience, the Institute partnered with organizers of Franciscan University’s summer conferences, which are held at 18 locations across the U.S. and Canada. Through the partnership, visitors to SteubenvilleConferences.com will be directed to CatholicMatch Institute resources.
According to Barcaro, Franciscan University serves a community of students and alumni that could greatly benefit from the content that the CatholicMatch Institute publishes. “Especially when their students and alumni are specifically looking to get married to a Catholic in a Catholic church,” he added.
“The youth and adults who come to our conferences seek an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ,” said John Beaulieu, director of Partnerships and Engagement in the Franciscan University Christian Outreach Office. “At each conference, the speakers and Mass homilists also hold up Christ-centered relationships and a Catholic understanding of marriage, something young people don’t often hear amid the secular noise that surrounds them. The information presented by the CatholicMatch Institute will build upon what they learn about true love at our conferences, as well as help strengthen the vocation of those who are already married.”
The University started two new young adult conferences this year. On November 8, 2014, Steubenville Conferences is partnering with Arise Missions of Milwaukee and CatholicMatch.com to present the Encounter Young Adult Conference.
“Many young adults have never really been exposed to the truth about marriage,” said Beaulieu. “They’ve never really learned why marriage is a better option than cohabitation, for example. I think CatholicMatch, particularly with their work through the Institute, can help single Catholics on their discernment journey and married couples seeking to grow in their relationship with each other.”
Visit our event page for more information and to register for the Encounter Young Adult Conference.