It is my sincere belief that my daughter’s vocation is marriage. She’s been planning her wedding since she was about 10 years old, though she wasn’t really interested in finding a groom till much later! She has written papers about marriage for English classes, and she has done some reading just for her own preparation about making a marriage relationship “work”.
She was briefly engaged to a young man, but she realized immediately that she should not have accepted his proposal, and that relationship ended – for one as young as she was, it was a long-term relationship, which lasted almost 4 years. But in the end, he was not “the one”.
The problem is that where we live, there are very few young people to begin with, and even fewer of those are male, and even fewer of those are Catholic, and even fewer of those actually practice their faith. So my daughter had not had a Catholic boyfriend, and I was concerned about that. Sure, a non-Catholic boyfriend could convert at some point, even after marriage, as I did; but it would be better to start off with a good Catholic guy, I think!
So, I prayed and prayed and prayed...and I still pray and pray and pray. And after my daughter had a couple more non-Catholic-guy “experiences”, a thought came to my mind: I know a woman who has a private blog for the express purpose of Catholic “matchmaking”. I wrote to her, seeking to have her place my daughter’s info on her matchmaking blog. She was happy to oblige, but also suggested that my daughter could try “Catholic Match”; she said her own daughter had found her husband there! And I've heard one or two other stories of people I know who used these “matchmaking” sites with a positive outcome.
I didn’t actually think my daughter would go for it, but she did. I think she was a little tired of the barely-Christian boyfriends who never went to Mass with her. So she signed up, and had young men seeking her virtual company immediately.
You may have mixed feelings about these internet “dating” sites, and I did too. But this has been a wonderful experience for my daughter…and for me. It boosted my own faith tremendously – because I could see evidence that there really were some young men out there who at least claim to go to Mass weekly, who say their faith is important to them, and who actually talk some Catholic talk. And I saw my daughter’s faith increase, too, though I don’t know if she would put it that way. But I could see a light going on for her, too: "there ARE other young single people who actually go to Mass!" I think she thought she was the only one, because that's been her experience in her post-high-school years; the concept of "young single people at Mass" doesn’t happen in our parish. So this was an eye-opener for both of us.
And…she seems to have “found” one young man in particular who at least at the moment seems like a good match. They are communicating via FB messenger mostly, and they “skyped” last night. Thank God for the internet! This young man is in the service, and he is overseas – far, far away! His home, though, is only a few hours away from where we live.
I just cannot express how happy it makes me that my daughter now has easy access to Catholic contacts and potential suitors. She even commented to me that “It’s nice to be able to make Catholic jokes that the other person gets.” One young man had wished her a good night, saying, “Sleep with the angels, rise with the saints, and party with Pope Francis.” Well! I think he has a grasp on the reality of the Church’s current state!
And besides the spiritual benefits, what a difference it makes to think about the logistics of her wedding in the context of a Catholic groom! Believe me, this is a big relief to me!
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.