Noreen Fenlon often attends the events offered by Greece’s Holy Name of Jesus Parish. Even though she’s belonged to the parish for quite some time, she sometimes feels like an outsider at these functions.
It’s not that Holy Name’s parishioners are cold or unwelcoming. On the contrary, the many couples Fenlon met at the parish were warm and friendly. The problem is that all these warm, friendly couples have been just that — couples. Fenlon, who is single, sometimes feels awkward or out of place when she’s interacting with a room full of such people, she said.
“At a lot of the things I do, I’m always with couples. You feel like a third wheel. You sometimes feel like you shouldn’t go to events because you’re single,” Fenlon said.
Fenlon’s problem may soon be a thing of the past. She’s part of a newly formed group — temporarily called Single/Single Again — for local Catholic singles of all ages. The impetus for the group came toward the end of 2006, when several people asked Marie Marton, Holy Name’s religious-education coordinator, to see if anyone seemed interested in forming a singles group. Several other parishes, including those in Webster and Penfield, have had considerable success with singles events in the past.
In January Marton drafted an announcement about the possible formation of such a group and ran it in the bulletins of Holy Name and a number of other parishes. By early February more than 30 people, including Fenlon, had responded, she said.
“There’s definitely interest out there. There are a lot of single people out there,” Marton said.
Many of these interested singles belong to parishes in Hilton, Gates, Fairport, Greece, Rochester and other parts of Monroe County, but several people from Geneva and Canandaigua also have expressed interest in the new group, Marton said.
“They’re from all over. It’s a pretty diverse group,” she said.
The group also is diverse in terms of age, noted Natalie Mitrano, secretary of the group’s advisory committee. Mitrano, a parishioner of St. Theodore Parish in Gates, said the group already includes young people in their 20s, older people in their 70s and many others in between.
These new members’ interests and hopes for the group are as varied as their ages, she added. Some members are interested in attending art shows, theatrical productions or sporting events together, while others are interested in meeting at restaurants and going on day trips.
The one thing the singles all have in common is their Catholic faith, so the group will participate in parish offerings and such diocesan programs as Theology on Tap, Mitrano said. These are the kinds of events many singles either don’t know about or are unwilling to attend by themselves.
“My role, and the church’s role, would be to let them know that there are things available that they could do as a group to share their faith. I think that people are crying out for some sort of a connection between themselves and their faith,” Marton said.
The group’s first official meeting was planned for March 25 at Holy Name of Jesus, and Mitrano hoped the new group would have a more well-defined mission — as well as an official name — after that meeting.
The new group will hopefully be beneficial to those who are looking for a partner as well as those who aren’t looking to change their single status, noted Fenlon, president of the group’s advisory committee.
“I think a lot of people have an interest in finding somebody so they won’t be single anymore,” she said, but noted that’s not the group’s sole purpose. Many people will probably join the group in the hopes of making new friends with similar values, she added.
“It’s just about meeting new people, and meeting single people with like minds,” Fenlon said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information about Single/Single Again, contact Natalie Mitrano at NatalieMM@frontiernet.net.