Culture of Life
A Singular Focus on Christ Really Present
Singles of the Eucharist helps the unmarried to center their lives on the Blessed Sacrament. By Joseph Pronechen.
BY JOSEPH PRONECHEN
April 22-28, 2007 Issue | Posted 4/17/07 at 9:00 AM
While some singles are looking for love in a singles bar, some others are raising the bar. Members of Singles of the Eucharist, they’re finding love of a truer kind in front of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.
The new apostolate, founded last summer by Theresa Lynn in Kansas City, Mo., is gaining members from Georgia to California.
In Brownsville, Texas, Jesus Salinas joined after the group’s advertisement in the National Catholic Register caught his eye. He was already attending a perpetual adoration chapel, but this group gave him a unique opportunity to be connected with like-minded singles around the country.
“I wanted to be in touch with other people who have the same devotion to Our Lord and the Blessed Sacrament,” Salinas says. Now he can do that via e-mail, the group’s website (singlesoftheeucharist.org) and, eventually, conferences and pilgrimages.
“It’s another way of enriching my faith life with like-minded people,” seconds Craig Koppa, a 30-year-old parishioner of Kansas City’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Being Catholic and single isn’t always easy, he says, because parish activities tend to be geared toward families, married couples and children. Through Singles of the Eucharist, Christ-centered singles can offer each other prayers and support.
“What also drew me is it really doesn’t make any major demands on members other than asking you to believe what the Church teaches on the holy Eucharist and to be committed to living out the Church’s moral teaching on sexuality,” says Salinas. “That was key to me.”
All For One
Theresa Lynn launched Singles of the Eucharist last summer in her home Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph, Mo., after the idea came to her in adoration. She had a notion to bring together single people who were already spending time before Christ in the Eucharist.
“We need to get these single people together to know there are other people like themselves, choosing to be chaste and celibate, using fortitude and perseverance, to reflect the light of Christ in the world,” she explains. “They’re ready to give witness to the Real Presence. Singles of the Eucharist provides them a way to get together and do this.”
Members can see their single vocation as a gift and consider renouncing marriage, as Jesus teaches in Matthew 19:12, “for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.”
But even those who might be looking for a spouse are doing so with the aid of the Eucharist, as well as doing something for the Church.
To spread Singles of the Eucharist nationally — and, she hopes, internationally — Lynn turned to the Internet, applying skills she gained in starting two businesses from scratch in the 1990s. While she aimed the apostolate at adults mainly 35 and up, members signing on span from 24 to 80 years old.
Lynn also submitted the apostolate and website for diocesan approval — which Kansas City-St. Joseph’s vice-chancellor, Claude Sasso, granted.
“I think it’s a needed ministry and I believe it’s one that will have an appeal to young adults of faith,” Sasso says. “I believe it will be very valuable to them to share their faith and to attend functions where they can hear speakers and pray together and share their lives.” He has already given a talk to local members.
Lynn is applying her knowledge as an Ave Maria University master of theology candidate to bring visitors to the site information about a Eucharistically centered life.
Member Salinas appreciates the effort.
“What is appealing is the website has a lot of different avenues for people already devoted to the Blessed Sacrament to grow in their faith,” he says, “including a Marian channel and the writings of Pope John Paul II.”
Reflecting the Marian emphasis, Lynn points out how working on the apostolate has given her a stronger relationship with the Blessed Mother.
“She gets me to the computer so that I can add pages,” says Lynn, “and keeps me motivated to get Singles of the Eucharist products going.”
“Products” so far are the bumper stickers with a bright monstrance logo that members receive. Using the monstrance image for evangelizing the Real Presence in an organized effort by singles also came as an inspiration to Lynn during her adoration time.
As part of the mission of the Singles of the Eucharist, she wants to eventually see that logo on members’ clothes and things they use, like pens and cups. They’ll be natural conversation openers for singles to carry out a main goal: catechizing Catholics and evangelizing non-Catholics on the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation.
It all fits with the group’s slogan: “Honoring the Body and the Blood.”
Members do that by living chastely, praying for vocations and striving to love their neighbor.
“Our members can work toward these goals however they want,” says Lynn. To show love of neighbor, for example, she describes how one member made and delivered 92 cupcakes for bus travelers who had to be put up in a school gym after being stranded in a January snowstorm in Kansas City.
Msgr. William Blacet, pastor at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, which Lynn attends, sees the apostolate as vital.
“A lot of our singles are lonely people,” he says. Yet many are finding out that, “when they go to an adoration chapel before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, they’re not alone. It fires them up to go out and stand up for what is Catholic, and they’re proud to be Catholic.”
“I’m enthused with their reaction and what they’re doing,” he says of the local Singles of the Eucharist group he’s met. “There’s no big fanfare. They work quietly always for Our Lord and encouraging other people to follow Christ.”
“There’s no distance between altars,” says Salinas. “I can be praying before the Blessed Sacrament here in Brownsville, and Theresa can be praying at her parish in Kansas, and other adorers praying in their parishes throughout the country, but we’re united in a common purpose. That is a very real way for me to comprehend the Church’s teachings on the communion of saints.”
And a real way to find what Lynn hopes for all members. “I want everybody else,” she says, “to find the joy I have found.”
Staff writer Joseph Pronechen writes from Trumbull, Connecticut.
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