So You Don’t Like Singles Events? Think Again.


I have decided they should call it the National Catholic Single, Divorced, Separated, Widowed and Annulled Conference.

Whatever we call it, I’m getting ready to go. Clearing my desk, getting my thoughts together and my stuff together. Everybody knows that I’m headed out of town in just a few days.

And it’s led to some interesting conversations.

I was talking to a recently divorced friendabout the conference, and about the whole concept of “Catholic singles” ministry. I asked him if he even thinks all of the “singles ministry” stuff applies to him, and he said that no, it doesn’t. He said he doesn’t think of himself as “single,” he isn’t looking for a relationship with anybody else, and hence this kind of ministry isn’t something he needs or has any interest in.

Meanwhile, so many others are wishing me a bon voyage that sounds a little like this: “Have a great trip!  I hope you meet someone great and fall in love!”

Here’s the thing: it’s the National Catholic Singles Conference, not The Bachelorette.

Don’t get me wrongit would be lovely to “meet someone great and fall in love.”  It has happened to others at other conferences, and I imagine it will happen a time or two or more in San Diego. I’m certainly not closed to the possibility.

But that’s not the primary reason I go. If it wereif my solitary “goal” at these conferences was to find a spousethen I would have to say that all of the other conferences I have attended over the past 10 years have been a failure.

And I can’t say that.

I loved every Catholic Singles Conference I have attended.  I have reveled in this huge, instant community of single Catholicsin a world where I frequently feel like I’m the only Catholic going through life without a spouse. I have met great peoplemany of whom are my close friends to this very day. I have explored my faith and my relationship with Christ through the lens of my currently single state. And I have had a whole lot of fun.

Friends, community, camaraderiethose are things we all need, whether we’re never married, annulled, divorced or widowed.

So if you’re divorced, or widowed, or in any other “not-living-with-a-spouse” state, and you’re thinking that “singles ministry” is just about a meat-market scene where people are just sifting through looking for short or long term partners, think again.

We can live without marriage. But it’s a lot harder to live without community. Singles’ sites, singles’ ministries and conferences like the National Catholic Singles Conference provide us with opportunities to build that community.

Join us!

To register for the National Catholic Singles Conference, visit their website.



  1. Michael-369664 September 8, 2016 Reply

    I would be interested in some stats on these conferences. Stats like how many men attend, how many women, how many are divorced, annulled, or widowed. Age ranges would also be helpful.
    I’m 60, and if most people attending are under 55, then I’d be very isolated probably.

  2. Julian-1294561 August 1, 2016 Reply

    I am very sorry, I am going to Africa on a safari, late September maybe next time.
    I live in Fort Erie Canada border with Buffalo, were do I leave from, and how do we meet, in case I do take a tripe with you some other time Julian

  3. Paul-883076 March 4, 2016 Reply

    It is unfortunate that all these singles conferences you have planned are in the United States. This does not make attendance inviting for Canadians who prefer not to make these long distance treks.

    It would be nice to attend to your Canadian subscribers and schedule some events in Canada–say Toronto, Ontario–the largest city in Canada. Food for thought!

  4. Oleg-1110998 October 5, 2015 Reply

    Does anybody know the percentage of “divorced and widowed” among the “singles” attending the Catholic Singles Conference?

  5. Chris-1059245 August 25, 2014 Reply

    I want to know other than the event itself, because unfortunately I missed out, is there any other type of events going on in San Diego to meet other Catholic singles?

  6. Juliet-981815 August 20, 2014 Reply

    Susan, I went to the conference and brought two of my young adult children(one with mild autism) who stayed in the hotel while I attended the event. If money is not a problem, I’m sure you can find a sitter who’s ecstatic to come join you for a family “vacation” next year! We had a planned family vacation that coincidentally happened to be on the same weekend! God Bless!

  7. Cathy C. August 10, 2014 Reply

    You are right. There should be more assistance for people in your position. As someone who doesn’t have children, I just never thought about it in regards to the singles conference. I’m glad you posted that suggestion. The rest of us need to be informed and enlightened. I hope the singles conference does come up with something as you suggest. I personally would love to marry a man who has children. I love kids, work with them and their parents as a teacher, but may never have any of my own. I would hate to think that the man of my dreams might not be at a singles conference because of a lack of child care! How sadly ironic would that be?

  8. Susan-330819 August 9, 2014 Reply

    Thanks, Patricia! You are amazing!!

  9. Patricia-879999 August 9, 2014 Reply

    Susan I don’t think Mike warrants any personal explanation. There are quite a few single mother’s/parent’s who are widowed especially here in S.D. and he should have some understanding and compassion. What a terrific way for high school students to be certified babysitters ahead of time and be able to babysit for the event. If their parents are attending the event it’s a win win situation for all. I’m not attending this year, but maybe we can try to look into it for next year. I don’t have children, but I’ve always worked around them and feel every safe and fun accommodation should be made for them.

  10. Susan-330819 August 8, 2014 Reply

    Mike, Please just stop. You don’t know me and you cannot possibly relate. You have no idea what I chose and what was thrust upon me. I certainly did not choose to be a single mother! Because you don’t me and have not been a single parent, your comments are cruel. I DO have my priorities in order: #1) God, #2) my dependent child. Everything else follows those two. And because my God and the practice of my Faith are crucial to who I am, I am more concerned about leading a healthy, moral life than about “having fun.” I would prefer to meet Catholic singles – as you get the opportunity to do. But, as you said, you prefer we be excluded. Parents without Partners is not a Catholic group. The local branch by me meets at a bar. It’s not my idea of fun and certainly not a morally acceptable venue for my most precious little child.

    Mike, I sincerely hope you have a great time. I hope you party it up and have mountains of fun. No one is judging you for wanting and choosing that. So stop judging me because I take my role as Catholic parent seriously. No one should have to parent alone. This is not how God intended things to be. But that I cannot find Catholic fellowship – or potentially a Catholic mate – because you and others thinks us parents should be excluded simply because we chose our children’s lives over any “fun” well, as I said earlier, it’s just not Christian. We are people of life. We are pro-life. It’s impossible to saq you like and support children but then not support the people who sacrifice everything to raise them right. So it’s time we all live as people of life in our words and actions. Catholic single parents shouldn’t be relegated to secular/non-religious groups. That’s just dumb. And as for asking for accommodations for single moms, I can’t take the question much higher than Mary Beth – the author of this article.

    • Luz-1055440 August 9, 2014 Reply

      It might be a good idea to write to the committee who organizes the conference. Mary Beth does not seem to be involved in the organization of this particular event.
      I would suggest not taking personally the lack of spaces for single parents who don’t have other options to care for their children. Most likely people,have not thought about it, or maybe it is too costly. But if you suggest it, and if maybe you suggest it can have some reasonable cost, they may try to include it later.
      Finally, don’t get hurt by immature comments. Some people will understand many years later. God bless you.

    • Michael-369664 September 8, 2016 Reply

      Susan you have made an eloquent and complete case for your situation. Your child is lucky to have a mom who puts the child ahead of her own pleasures. Too many parents single and married can’t or won’t do that.
      I still recall one case in Austin, TX seeing single moms bringing young children into a club where a band played until 1 am.
      Guys in the band were my friends. I’ll never forget one child, a young boy Danny, who cried and wanted to go home. His mother just took him and draped him over her shoulder. He fell asleep. I realized then what you must give up to be a parent. I never said anything to the mother, but I wanted to. She wanted to get out and she wasn’t going to let her child stop her. It was a Thursday or Friday night as I recall. The child wanted to go to bed, and she forced him to stay up late. It was abuse in my view, and I hope the boy turned out okay.

  11. Mike-646924 August 8, 2014 Reply

    Susan First of all You have a lot on your plate; with taking care of your child/ children;; I get that; If you have a “complaint” about how the church is ignoring your requeests or events; Go tell it to i higher source; I do understand i like kids; But there is a time & place for everyhing; You choose what you want to do in your life; Its YOU who chosed it; So maybe; go to the so called “Parents with out partners” “Google it” then you can go to their events and maybe meet somebody; Also Its your “resposibilty” for you to fine a “Baby sitter” I’an sure you can fine one; And you can go out and have FUN! Its all your choice! so dont tell me how or what to enjoy my life; I’am going to have FUN! especially in Sandiego! You need to get your priotoritis in order! So go find a baby sitter and have FUN!

  12. Susan-330819 August 8, 2014 Reply

    Thanks, Mike, but there is not a single parent of a little child in the entire world who has “free time” much less free time to start up a national Catholic single parents conference! I already am a full time parent, full time employee and run a non-profit ministry in addition to volunteer activities at the parish. I am confident it is not my calling. But, you missed my point as so many other do – there is NOTHING the Church offers for single parents and well-meaning people just about always exclude us as you are proposing. It’s a terribly unChristian approach to continue to exclude the people who likely need companionship and support the most as there is no other vocation in the world like parenthood and so precious few opportunities to connect. The exclusion not only lacks charity, but also shows disrespect for the dignity of human life. If claim we are people of Faith who respect life, then why can’t we find away to be inclusive?

    For the record, I never asked you to be around any child. Nor did I ask for children to be included in anything with or for adults. Only that the parents could leave their children with safe day care providers at the venue and then be free to go enjoy the company of other Catholic adults too – even if only for a short time. By excluding me and others in this situation, you deprive us of opportunities to meet one another and potentially the man for whom God did intend.

    • Luz-1055440 August 9, 2014 Reply

      Susan, just to say that it is clear that you are a responsible person and that, as everyone can see, you do not expect that facilities that choose to offer child care will take off your responsibility. You are right and I am sure those who have not experienced any parenting and think it is so easy that one can delegate the job to a baby sitter will learn the hard way that it is not about them, but about the child. Don’t fret about unfriendly comments. God bless you.

  13. Ann-69118 August 6, 2014 Reply

    Wish they had more of these and closer to where I live. I’ve always wondered why they haven’t done one in St. Louis as we are in the middle of the country, fairly cheap travelwise and accessable.

  14. Bernard-2709 August 6, 2014 Reply

    Do they have a Traditional Latin Mass there? Or an Eastern Rite Liturgy?

  15. Mike-646924 August 6, 2014 Reply

    I Have to Dis agree with you susan; Sorry; Maybe YOU should start up a “single parent” event’s (maybe thats your calling) from the Good Lord; No keep this Single Confrence just for Adults ONLY! Thats what i’am looking forward to! Not to be around some Kids!

  16. Susan-330819 August 6, 2014 Reply

    It would help tremendously if single parents could bring their kids to events like these too and have something going on for the kids. I have my school-aged child 24/7 and just can’t get away – unless she can come too.
    I find that singles conferences are for single adults – but we miss the enormous group of single parents that would benefit significantly from community with other single Catholic parents who “get it.”

    Not living with a spouse can be tough, but being a full time single parent is the hardest job in the world and the Catholic Church does not offer much to support us.

    • Luz-1055440 August 9, 2014 Reply

      You are right Susan. It would be good to have some kid care or something of the like. I do not have any kids, I have never been married. I just wanted to state my support a a single to people,in your walk of life. I don’t think such type of,help for parents with kids would diminish the experience in any way to others. God bless you.

  17. Anastasia-205794 August 5, 2014 Reply

    Carrie, we just finished a novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots for the conference and now we’re praying one to St. John Paul II! The National Catholic Singles Conference is for all – for those who feel called to the vocation of marriage, those who are discerning a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, and those who are only seeking to live their single state even more fully and joyfully! Mary Beth is right – we all need community, to be encouraged by others also striving to live the Gospel in today’s world!

  18. MaryBeth-902916 August 5, 2014 Reply

    I wish I could participate in the whole event but will be at the Beach on Friday to hostess! Looking forward to meeting a few new friends!!!

  19. Carrie-529869 August 5, 2014 Reply

    Agreed, yet it seems that even among Catholic organizations that its the purpose.

    A request for saint’s intercession for the conference, and the answer is saints for finding a spouse. I don’t believe that answers the question.

    See here:

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