National Catholic Singles Conference

Sound off with your experiences!

I attended the conference for the first time in Atlanta, GA. That was their tenth anniversary conference. I had such a great time that I plan on attending the next conference though I don’t know when or where it will be.

Reminiscent of a retreat, the conference had several speakers ranging from funny to serious and intense. All the talks had depth and a great deal of substance. Mass was held in the hotel every day of the conference. Priests were available for confession the first two days. Adoration was held during the conference. (That was probably my favorite scheduled event.) There was also an Adoration chapel in the hotel.

A dance was held Saturday night and that was an absolute blast. I normally have my guard up when I’m around that many people but I didn’t feel the need to be wary all night. They offered dance lessons at the beginning. I missed most of the lesson but people seemed to be getting the hang of it when I came in. They played all kinds of dancing music and everyone looked great.

I had a few glasses of wine so I could get out on the dance floor. And boy, am I glad that I did. I danced with everyone who asked me and I had a great time. I ended up spending most of the night in the hallway helping to sign people up to receive missions emails that I had just signed up to receive. It was a lot of fun and the caliber of people there was superb.

The conference is mainly for singles but I think anyone would benefit from attending and it was a lot of fun. I met a married couple that had met at the conference and continue to go in order to support it. Overall, I found the conference to be very encouraging. I live in a small town. My church is mainly comprised of the elderly and married couples with kids. Sometimes it’s discouraging, to hardly ever encounter singles committed to the faith. The conference showed me that I wasn’t alone and it invigorated me. I plan on doing whatever I can to help promote it and encourage others to go.

I highly encourage anyone who’s been to the conference before to share their thoughts, feelings, experiences, and advice. I almost didn’t go because I couldn’t find much information on it.

Things I plan on doing differently:

Registering as soon as possible - The sooner I register, the more money I save. It also helps the conference planners to have the money sooner.

Going a day early and staying a day late - There are pre and post conference events in the area. These are more opportunities to meet people and also to see the sites of the area.

Carrying business cards - I met a lot of people (both men and women) that I would have liked to stay in touch with. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the sense to give them my contact information or to get theirs. I don’t need or have business cards but I can get a hundred of them from VistaPrint starting at $16.

Again, I urge you to share your experiences regarding the National Catholic Singles Conference. If you’re interested in attending, sign up for their newsletter here: nationalcatholicsingles.com/about/newsletter/

If you’re interested in promoting the conference and/or volunteering, let them know here: nationalcatholicsingles.com/about/contact-us/

Visit their official website here: nationalcatholicsingles.com/

Visit their facebook page here: facebook.com/National-Catholic-Singles-Conference-243558302790/ They already have photos up from the Atlanta conference.

I would say that these are the opportunities you will want to take advantage of if you are single!

Do you know if they have these in England?

This is a wonderful idea for a thread. I have, in fact, attended the NCSC (2014-San Diego) and was in the same boat as the OP before going: wish there was more info but, hey, I’ll give it a shot anyway. I have some reflections that I wrote down immediately after the conference, which I will summarize here. My goal is to be honest about my experience, so that others who consider attending or do end up attend may come to see that there are a variety of ways to have a “good” NCSC experience. OK, here goes:

*- Remember that this is a “conference” in the secular sense of the word. If you enjoy the structure, focus, and tone of corporate conferences, this will likely be up your ally. Likewise, if you are in a socio-economic bracket that even allows you to attend such events (I admit, I had some help from family as I was a grad student at the time), you are more likely to feel more like the OP about NCSC than myself.

  • I did not get any sense of “retreat” the year I attended. I have been to other group retreats and while there have been speakers who had written books or had CD workshops available to sell, this was never the focus of their talks. At NCSC, almost every talk seemed ultimately focused on selling product. These are important, faith-filled products and missions…certainly. But, to be frank, the conference felt like a Catholic version of those evangelical-type events where every faith discussion ends in, “If you are really ready, open up your…checkbooks and make one out to…”
  • The dance. Now, I’m not saying let’s all belt out "Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” and hold hands but this is ballroom dancing. Rotating partners is usually just a casual, “hi, nice to meet you” at the beginning and “thank you very much” at the end. No need to even speak to the person again unless you choose. I have danced at ballroom, swing, tango, and other kinds of parties on three continents and never have I been made to feel like the men were doing me a massive favor by holding my hand for two seconds. I’m sorry, American Catholic fellas: secular men of the world have the leg up on courtesy! Fortunately, I found some great ladies to dance in a circle with later on and we had a blast. :thumbsup:*

Now, for the positive…this conference was one of the major reasons that I shifted my approach to being single, a shift that has ultimately led to my being more accepting of God’s plan for me right now and satisfied with the gifts that He has given me.

- Ultimately, I’ve decided to stop pursuing faith activities that are not either retreats or service, especially if hundreds of dollars are involved. Yes, these past couple of years I’ve needed to hear some of the things that the speakers talked about: building up faith, singleness is not a disease, etc. But what two speakers said, when combined, struck me the most:* Be a hero. Broken? Feel like you can’t do it? Do it anyway. **

  • I’ve also decided to invest less time and fewer resources in what I call the “single lifestyle.” For a few years, I needed to read books with titles like, “So You’re Still Single: You’re Not Crazy/Wrong/Evil!” and “God DOES Have a Plan For You…Really!” But that time is coming to an end. Instead, I will let the incidence of my relationship status fall to the wayside in lieu of building a firmer identity as a Catholic woman of color full stop.*

So, bottom line: this was my first Catholic singles conference…and it will probably be my last. That being said, I am glad that I went in the sense that my not-so-great experience there led me to make important changes in the way that I approached being single.

What I’m trying to say to anyone considering it: God may allow you to have an experience like the OPs, where you feel accepted and validated and make plenty of positive connections at the NCSC. He may allow you to have an experience like mine, where you realize that you need to make some important changes in the way you approach singleness. Or He may allow you to have a completely different experience. All are edifying and all hold important lessons from Him.

So, if you feel even the* slightest* little tug of curiosity…seriously discern whether He might be calling you to important growth opportunities through the NCSC!

I don’t know if they do. They recently teamed up with CatholicMatch. I don’t know if they have a presence in England or not. This is an article of how it started: nationalcatholicsingles.com/about/

Here is an article on the latest conference by CatholicMatch: catholicmatch.com/about/national-catholic-singles-conference-is-in-dallas-next-year/?referrer_code=googleplus_free&campaign_code=national_catholic_singles_conference_is_in_dallas

I imagine they would be interested in branching out if a real interest and commitment was shown.

The next conference is in Dallas, TX. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful :confused:

I just want to respond to this bit: I know this will be controversial, but sometimes it seems that Catholic men are some of the most uptight men I’ve ever encountered. I can totally relate to this feeling of guys acting like they are doing you a favor by talking to you. (And eh hem, it’s usually the most “traditional” men who are so proud of themselves for attending TLM or consider themselves to be a remnant of gentlemen-hood. It’s not that serious! I promise you that us gals won’t fall in love with you or expect a marriage proposal if you ask us to dance. Seriously. Some of the rudest men I have ever dealt with claimed to be traditional Catholics. Very disappointing.

:smiley: Vent over.

My take on the NCSC is it is definitely worth going to but I love to do stuff like this. It’s more of a conference than a retreat for sure. There are lots and lots of people of all shapes, sizes, ages, races so I didn’t feel out of place.

Personally, I went into it very realistically: the chances of actually meeting “the One” there are slim. . .It’s a great opportunity to remember that in the grand scheme of things, you are not alone and there are others who share your faith. I find at these events, the end tend to gravitate towards a certain physical “type” of women and if they don’t have a shot with those women, they kinda just phase everyone else out. Seems a bit short-sighted. I expect this kind of behavior from secular men but it’s always a little disheartening to see it in my Catholic brothers.

The way I feel about online dating, conferences, retreats, etc is you are putting your faith in action and “giving” God opportunities to make something wonderful happen. The cost of the conference is relatively cheap. Of course there’s travel and hotel which adds up. hope this helps others.

According to the NCSC’s facebook page the next conference is September 30 - October 2 in Dallas, TX.

Thank you to everyone who has and will respond with their experiences, good or bad. The information and opinions help people to make more informed decisions. I really do appreciate it.

Not at all, that’s great, thanks. I didn’t expect them to have anything over here, tbh.

Hey All!

Some more information on the next conference. It will start September 30 and end on October 2, 2016 in Dallas, TX.

I’ve already registered for it. The sooner you register the more you save. You may be able to save some money using the Promo code: LEAPOFFAITH29
There is a limit to the times it can be used so it may not work.

The website has been updated. It now has information on the schedule and speakers.

nationalcatholicsingles.com/

Facebook page facebook.com/pages/National-Catholic-Singles-Conference/243558302790

Flickr page flickr.com/photos/56704395@N05/sets/

I must be really out of the game. I guess going into the conference hoping to, or even dreaming of, meeting “the one” misses the point of a singles conference. No wonder so many singles are disenchanted with singles activities; going into it with what (or who) I can get out of it instead of “what do I bring to the table” is is likely to lead to disappointment.

I appreciate your reflections; thanks for sharing them. What you bolded really resonates. It’s unfortunate that the ballroom dancing was awkward; I would have had high hopes myself.

I went to the one in San Diego. It was a great experience. It was more about living the faith as a single person, than finding the “one”. I’ve gone to the LA Religious Congress and it’s not always easy to find a speaker you like, but with conferences like these were everyone is in the same sessions the speakers chosen are pretty great. The only problem I see is that it’s a national conference which moves around the entire United States, so flying across the country can be difficult. Hopefully in the future they can split the conference into regions and have a NCSC North, NCSC South, and NCSC West. I would definitely consider going if it was in Hawaii or on a cruise. If Catholic Answers can have a cruise, why not Catholic Singles?

Is this conference for young singles only? What about Christians who turn 25 and 35 and are still single at 40 and 45?

They go back to church and they find out there is almost no fellowship for Catholic singles between the ages of 45 to 65 and over.

Are churches just for the youth and married couples? No wonder people are leaving the church in droves. There is nothing for them to be a part of.

Is the Catholic church dying out the way of the dinosaur? Is extinction coming soon?

Hello Jupiter321,

I try to not get too involved on forums or internet social media. I have a tendency to misunderstand people, communicate poorly, and then get sucked into the internet for many, many hours. My sincere apologies if I’m responding to something you didn’t type.

People of all ages attended the conference. Afterwards I went on a date with a man that was 24 years older than me. (So I may be the wrong person to talk about age groups.) I also became acquainted with some members of the Atlanta Catholic Singles. I’m about two hours from Atlanta. I can’t attend all of their events. I’ve only been to one and it was a lot of fun. They’re a great group of people. I plan on going to another one this weekend.

There are Catholic singles groups in other parts of the country as well. In the future I would love to start a group for the NE Georgia and Piedmont SC area. That is a long ways off. You may have to do some digging to find them. I’m in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and I stumbled upon the conference by lurking on these forums. I didn’t hear about it from anyone involved in my church. They had never heard of it and several people are interested. That is part of the reason I started this thread.

Are you one of the people that feels left out or do you know someone who feels this way? I’m very sorry to hear it either way. Many people seem to feel shy about welcoming people they don’t recognize. I can’t help but think they’re afraid of accidently offending someone who’s already a member of the church. I’ve always been warmly welcomed when people find out I’m visiting a church. Not so much if I don’t indicate I’m visiting. I attend a small church. When I first started going to the weekday Mass the three elderly ladies who attended and the priest were incredibly welcoming. This really helped me on my journey back to the Church. We make an effort to always welcome new people and get our members involved. Sometimes we fail though.

Churches are not just for youth and married couples. I’ve been single for a decade. With the exception of my sister and a friend, there were no people our age who attended regularly. (A few married couples with kids have joined though!) I’ve always felt welcomed and been encouraged to help. It is a small church. Just about everything is done by volunteers.

The Church isn’t dying. The gates of hell won’t prevail against her. People are seeing a need for singles ministry and stepping up. It takes time because finding people to help is always difficult, even when it’s something the people want to see happen. Even so, we’re getting there.

The Frequently Asked Questions page at NationalCatholicSingles.com may be of more help. Here is the link: nationalcatholicsingles.com/about/faqs/

I hope this was helpful :slight_smile:

It may seem counter intuitive but in other countries where big extended families are the norm, there is a place for everyone, not just youth or married couples with young children. I guess everyone is seen as belonging to a family which in reality they are. Contrast this to cultures where family definition is limited to nuclear families with young children.

Hopefully, someday they’ll have one of these conferences up in the pacific northwest region. Would be nice to go to.

What is the age range to attend such a conference? Is the main reason for the conference to create ways for catholics to meet, like thru CatholicMatch, or is it a spiritual singles retreat & there catholics can meet people (friendships, not relationship seeking)? I can’t see myself attending a conference specifically for meeting someone to potentially date. If that’s the type of conference it is, count me out.

KiwiBliss and Myhathaswords:

Thanks for posting about NCSC. I didn’t make the Atlanta conference, but I did go to a couple in San Diego, Philadelphia, Denver, and San Antonio. I will probably go this year too.

Yes, I do recommend going. I did feel that while maybe one or two presentations were on the “buy my CD” line, many were not. (At one conference, I think I skipped I presentation because I didn’t care too much for the speaker).

The men’s session by Patrick Reidy did not involve any selling, and neither did the presentation by Daniel Mattson at the one I attended in Philadelphia. Jennifer Roback Morse did some excellent presentations - first time I ever heard the term, “reluctantly divorced.” Lisa Duffy’s opening session at the Philadelphia conference was “spot on”, and opened my eyes up to those going through the annulment process.

About ages: It’s open to all ages. There should be a representation of Young Adults from 25 to 40, and then there are some “older Catholics”. I would say the “average age” at most of the ones I’ve attended was between 28 and 42, but there were quite a few of the 50+ crowd at the San Diego conference, and while a few were attentive and serious about their faith, it was evident that there were those who were there just for a party. I’m in my mid 40’s and I look young, but honestly, I don’t have much in common with the majority of Catholics over 45, unless they have a reversion story or are a convert, because many Catholics over 45 were poorly catechized. It’s somewhat of a “catch-all” for singles.

I have met good groups of people though, and that’s expanded my social circle. I’ve kept up with a few as well. I was able to connect, and had good conversations. At mealtimes, people were willing to share tables, say hello, and engage in conversation.

The last three I attended, the dance was a big highlight. At Philadelphia and San Diego, as myhathaswords mentioned, the ladies felt comfortable accepting dances. As a man, I got very few “nos” for dances. When I went to the San Diego conference, I did arrive a day early and left a day later, which was worth it. It’s also easier to fly back on Monday afternoon than on Sunday night, and it’s an excuse to attend some of the post-conference events.

I recommend signing up for the Dallas one. It’s actually very close to the airport, so it should be easy to fly in and take the aiport shuttle to the hotel.

Have fun, and go for the event.

KiwiBliss:

I have to admit, the first conference I attended it was within a day’s drive (about six hours), so I drove because I had a feeling that it might just be a “singles mingle”, or a place where the speakers focused on topics such as “oh, you are so picky, lighten up, that’s why your single” (I say that because there was a permanent deacon where I lived who would give retreats like that years ago).

I was blown away that the conference was not a “singles mingle”, and it stressed more on Catholic issues. Had it been a “singles mingle”, I would of gotten in my car and left. I had a good time, and conferences I have been to since then seem to have more people willing to get out of their comfort zone.

Hope this helps and answers your question.

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