Singles. The forgotten people of my diocese.

So I’m a single 20-something Catholic women and feel no place in the Church. Well, not in my diocese anyway. (I’m not in America BTW)
My Parish is pretty small, mostly seniors and a few families, the only young ones only make an appearance when it’s time to baptize their baby.
There’s no opportunity to help out at my Parish - the jobs are few and are taken. I can’t volunteer with the Charity run by my church because I was told I was too young and won’t fit in with the over 70’s. They actually told me this.
The SAME people every single week do the readings, hand out communion and the few other Parish jobs.
There’s never an opportunity to do anything unless you have a child you can put in Faith Formation or the occasional ‘theology of the body’ classes they run for couples.

The dioceses offers nothing for singles. They are putting on a special mass soon celebrating all the married people and religious. Singles not invited.

What can I do? How can I help but feel unloved?
Why can’t we be more friendly to singles?

I feel like I can’t participate in my Parish and it’s lonely. :frowning:

I understand as I have had a similar experience. I was once told when I was in my mid thirties that I would not enjoy the bible study since it was mainly retired women with whom I would have nothing in common. As if wanting to be close to God was not a good thing to share:rolleyes:

I don’t know if this will be any consolation to you, however, I have come to the conclusion that having kids so I would go to these ‘family’ activities may not make me feel any more that I fit in. I can’t help but think young parents would have a hard time with their peers. eg some parents are more permissive and the stricter ones would feel like fuddy duddies when they do what they think is best for their kids. An older kid might bully a younger one and the parents would fight over it. IOW everyone has their cross.

Not much practical advise, but hopefully some comfort in knowing you are not alone


It sounds like your parish has a death wish.

If I had no tact, I’d ask the pastor, “So, what will you do when all today’s 70-somethings go to the nursing home and you’ve already run off all the younger people?”

More seriously, this is a good opportunity for using my favorite tactic when dealing with such issues: invite the pastor to lunch (and–very important–pay for his lunch!). Have a nice lunch, chat pleasantly, and raise your concerns at the end. Not accusingly, just mentioning that as a younger single person, you feel left out and asking what your pastor recommends. There may be something at the diocesan level you don’t know about. I have to warn you that the probabilities are that you will be asked to organize something, and that you may wind up discovering why there aren’t any events for young people and singles–namely not enough turn up, so the attempts fizzle.

I would also ask about retreats aimed at younger people. And if there’s a college in your area, I would seek out the college chaplaincy. Unavoidably, there will be a lot of younger people there.

Years ago, my husband was noting that an academic program that our kids participate in didn’t have enough science stuff. He told me to go tell the organizer. I did and the organizer did what anybody would have expected–asked if my husband could teach a science course. After a few years, he did. That sort of thing happens all the time. If you go to the authorities pointing out a need for X, you’ll be asked to volunteer to provide X.

Our college chaplaincy (where we normally go for Mass) has a lot of little kids from graduate families, but none of the programming takes that fact into account. When I find a little time, I’m going to talk to the pastor about advertising a monthly or bimonthly playdate/get-together for mothers and little kids from the parish. I’ve also been thinking about facilitating a personal finance course at the Catholic student center and I’ll probably talk to the pastor about that.

Best wishes!

Unfortunately it’s a problem everywhere – maybe not so much in the bigger cities where there are a lot of people, but where I live the single Catholics don’t seem to want to participate. I’ve been part of a city-wide Catholic singles group that does Bible studies, social activities – even did a retreat for Catholic singles – and almost no participation outside of the core five people.

I did write to our diocese thinking a diocese-wide singles ministry would be a good thing to at least attempt but got no response.

If possible, maybe switch to another parish. Maybe find a generic Christian singles group to at least meet other people of faith to do things with. If those things aren’t possible, just keep praying that God will show you your niche in the parish :smiley:

I wouldn’t say that the singles are forgotten, many of the people who participate the most in parish life are single. I would say that it is a problem with young people, particularly young singles, being flaky and non-committal. Trying to schedule activities and getting participation is well-nigh impossible. Many people in their 20s are in a period in their lives where they drift away from the church and many of the ones who do still attend church seem like they are just checking a box. I’ve noticed living in Norway, where identifying with the Catholic Church is intentional as opposed to something you’re born into, there is a lot more participation than in my parish in the US.

I’m single and I go to Mass.
I don’t expect anything. The Mass suffices for me.

You can start something. Volunteer elsewhere. In a Catholic charity. Start a bible study group.
But to demand and expect we be served in a time where Churches are suffering attendance.
Better help get those Catholics back to the Church as a start and then proceed from there.

Flakiness can be very discouraging.

I’m the veteran of a number of attempts to do parish mom groups or run a playdate (as well as other social events), and it’s just HARD to stay committed when you schedule something, you get a bunch of RSVPs and email interest, and then nobody shows up. There were so many times when I’d painstakingly tidy up our toddler-trashed apartment for a playdate, and then nobody would come. But there were other occasions where all the work paid off.

If you organize something with your parish or diocese, I would suggest starting it with one or two other committed people, so that you don’t run the risk of having literally no attendance aside from yourself.

The reason people don’t organize stuff is that it’s work, and it doesn’t always pay off. Plus, presumably with singles groups, a lot of the more appealing, more fun members get married pretty fast, so there’s probably a major problem with maintaining the group over time.

I would definitely suggest getting as social media savvy as possible before starting anything, and making sure to do reminders the day before or the day of.

Best wishes!

On reflection, the more successful the singles group is, the more likely people are to get married, which (ironically) could kill the singles group if it happened too fast.


My husband was offered a music ministry job at a parish that was all funerals and no baptisms. He didn’t take it because we wanted a parish that was going to still be there in ten years. I think the best course of action is for you to suggest to the pastor or the parish council that they need to find ways to encourage, support, and invite the younger members of the parish who don’t have children. I will say, this is a common problem in many if not most parishes in the US. They have lots of programs for youth and children and for the elderly, but not much for the young adults. I remember making a comment to a parish member regarding the scheduling of the women’s bible study at lunch time on every other Tuesday. She just couldn’t understand why that time might be difficult for any women to make. :shrug:

I feel your pain. Let me put it this way: my parish’s funerals are in English and the baptisms are in Spanish. Currently we have 4 English Masses and 2 Spanish Masses on Sundays. I can see that number reversing in 10-12 years.

I have tried integrating with the Hispanic community. I speak Spanish quite well, I work in the office, but I simply don’t have time to go to the Spanish Masses, attend Spanish devotions, and get involved in Spanish activities, because I’m already doing the English ones. It’s a tragedy that the parish is so segregated like this.

My first suggestion would be to look outside your parish for things to do, but if this problem is truly diocese-wide, then you have a serious quandary.

I took up ballroom/Latin dancing as a recreational activity and a way to mix/meet women of my age and proclivities. I still haven’t paired up with anyone and it’s been a year, but I’m a little more hopeful. I am not an eligible 20-something but a 40-something with issues, so perhaps I am simply called to be perpetually single.

I met my husband by calling our diocese and asking what was available for singles. Turned out there was a Singles Club for the entire diocese. (We will be married 25 years this Tuesday!) :slight_smile:

What’s to stop you from starting a Singles Club in your own parish? I agree with the others who say you should voice your concerns to Father. Such a club could emphasize attending Mass together, having Bible studies, in addition to social activities.

If I were in your shoes, I would just elbow my way in there anyway, and make myself enough of a nuisance until people actually took me seriously. I did just that with the Lenten Women’s Bible Study. It was mainly geared toward empty nesters, but I went anyway and brought along my baby. It was wonderful. I got to see just how girlish and insecure and desiring to be pleasing to God that the older ladies were. Many (most, all?) women never outgrow their girlishness with respect to friendships and personalities, which you can see if you get to know them. So I say it is hogwash that a younger woman wouldn’t enjoy the company of her elders. Furthermore, can they REALLY tell you no to volunteering? I would show up on their doorstep anyway. Keep getting your foot in the door with this kind of stuff, and keep asking about being a reader or an EMHC. Talk with the pastor about your desire to serve in a ministry. Ask where there might be a place for you.
Just don’t give up! Remind these people that young adults and single folk have an important role in the Body of Christ, too, and that you want to build up the parish and help carry it forward with them, and someday, for them.
God bless you and good luck!

Go, mommamaree!

Mommamaree is right, except that you should not make a nuisance of yourself–and not just because you shouldn’t have to. If you solve your issue that way, it is not wrong, but it would only solve things for you. That won’t change things for young parishioners who are not only not as persistent as you, but who don’t even try because no one has invited them to participate.

Have you talked to your pastor about this? If it is not your pastor telling you this nonsense–70-something work quite well with 20-somethings and even younger parishioners, because I see it in our parish every day–then I wouldn’t believe it just yet. Make a list of everything you have tried, why you were told you could not volunteer in that capacity, and who it was who told you that. See what happens. If he says there isn’t anything, then you ought to say, “Every Mass, you dismiss us to go forth and live the Christian life, but you’re telling me my service isn’t wanted in this parish? How am I supposed to take that?”

If it is your pastor telling you this nonsense, then write to your diocesan chancery office and ask for suggestions about how you are to serve the Church and your poor brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ, because you have exhausted the options you can think of in your own parish. Repeat your list of everything you have tried and why you were told you could not volunteer in that capacity, so that he will know you are not just whining.

The third place I would try are Catholic organizations such as Catholic Charities, St. Vincent de Paul, and local convents. These are not run by the bishop directly, but might be more than thrilled to have volunteers.

Still, I’d stick with finding at least some way to be active your own parish, other than regular Mass attendance. It is not right for someone who wants to be able to contribute in their own home church to be denied the chance to knit herself to the others in her parish through work.

Why are you going to this parish? There’s others to choose from, as you know. I think this is not the right parish for you, my friend.

God Bless!

But do not limit the age for the Singles Club! There are some never married that are over fifty (like me) and you may find some of those ‘old fuddie duddies’ may have the same fealings/interest as the younger singles. :eek: :slight_smile:

I’m a sixty-something never married and happy to be one. Now, I just have to get others to accept that and quit asking if I’m unhappy about never being married! ! ! (I usally say I know what I got, I don’t know what I’d get!) :shrug: :smiley:

Really? They specifically stated that singles could not attend the Mass? I wonder why they would not want everyone to celebrate that wanted to.


Don’t name your parish, but what diocese are you in?

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