Single Catholics looking for love in all the right places through CSU
BEDFORD — “Our group is not necessarily about marrying,” Gigi Mulberry said of Catholic Singles United. “But if you meet your future spouse here, that’s wonderful.”
More, or at least as important, are the opportunities for fellowship and community that CSU offers single Catholics, added Mulberry, a parishioner of St. Michael Church in Bedford.
“We’re about being together and socializing as Catholics,” Mulberry said. “We get together every month to play games and hold events. We play Bunco. We play bingo, watch movies. We had a sock hop last year and we put on a play.”
The hundred plus who attended a July 27 Diocese of Fort Worth and CSU Annual Singles’ Recognition Mass followed by an Italian dinner at St. Michael spent part of the night crisscrossing the room. Printed game instructions laid at each table spot encouraged attendees to seek out others with characteristics such as the ability to play piano or having a last name beginning with S. The point being to prompt everyone to mingle beyond the table where they chose to sit.
St. Michael parishioner Josee Oliviero along with his wife and two single friends founded CSU in 2015.
“Actually, we revamped something that [former Diocese of Fort Worth Bishop Kevin Vann] did years ago,” Oliviero said. “It seemed there was a strong need for our singles community to be able to get together, that there is a group of young and old singles who are lonely and looking for the chance to get together with other [Catholic] Christians.”
Group members gather monthly for a potluck dinner and activities. Most meetings take place at St. Michael.
“Because it’s centrally located to where we can attract people from both the Fort Worth and Dallas dioceses,” Oliviero said. “But we’ve held events elsewhere too, had a picnic, went to a play, a movie. We always have a Thanksgiving event.”
Membership is free and open to Catholic singles 21 and older. To join, visit smcchurch.org/csu and fill out a short registration to get on the mailing list of monthly events.
About 230 have signed on so far, Oliviero said, with monthly events averaging 30 to 40 participants.
The July 27 event attracted more, thanks no doubt to the diocese’s involvement and Bishop Michael Olson’s presence.
It’s important, Bishop Olson said, for Catholic singles to find fellowship.
“So often our singles are overlooked,” Bishop Olson said. “And what they offer to society, as well as the Church, is important.”
Single life reminds all of the importance of friendship, he said.
“So often when we think of relationships we default to marriage or whatever might pass for marriage in society today,” Bishop Olson said. “Or some sort of utilitarian relationship where people use each other.
“What is lacking sometimes is the idea of friendship, which is a selfless way of living.
“The most beautiful friendships are those that are in a sense useless in the way the world thinks of usefulness. They are those just to enjoy the company of other people.”
St. Bartholomew Church parishioner Mike Wuller agreed.
“Being single is a different place in life,” Wuller said. “You have relationships with other people but you’re still standing somewhat alone. With CSU, it’s wonderful for us singles. We’re welcomed and recognized and not put as also-rans.”
For St. Maria Goretti parishioner Julie Galindo, the July 27 event marked her first CSU encounter.
“I’d signed up for the newsletter before but never came,” Galindo said. “Tonight, just felt like now it’s time to come. The Catholic faith is important to me. You hear so many horror stories from the dating world. But everyone is so nice here. I had fun playing the games and meeting people.”
Galindo said she plans to attend future CSU events, as did Good Shepherd Church parishioner Mary Hulshouser.
“I wish there were more of these types of things to get together.” Hulshouser said. “I’m not one to go to bars to try to meet people and there’s really nothing available, especially for older people. This is an outlet and a good opportunity to meet people and get to know them without pressure.”
St. Mark Church in Argyle parishioner Marie Decardenas, also a first-time CSU attendee, stressed that she’s never been on, nor does she intend to visit a dating site.
“I came tonight because my friend sent me an email about it,” Decardenas said. “My husband passed away seven years ago, and I’ve had difficulty finding anyone to go out with who shares the same beliefs and values I have, which is important to me.”
For Natasha Cha, who joked that she’s a roaming Roman Catholic, said she’s participated in several CSU events.
“Everyone’s Catholic, and that’s very important to me,” Cha said. “Especially if you’re looking to meet someone who could become your lifelong partner.”
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church parishioner Nick Fernandez said he also regularly attends CSU events.
“Well, it gets you out of the house,” Fernandez said. “It’s easy to just stay home when you’re single so it’s good to get out. It’s important too that this is Catholic faith based and that everybody is so nice at these deals whether they know you or not. It’s a great way to get to know people and make new friends.”