Published September 14, 2006
From the earliest days of the Church, we have distinguished ourselves as a community with differing needs and very diverse populations. From those first Greek-speaking and Hebrew-speaking widows who needed individual attention, to the countless language and cultural groups who have become members of the household of Faith, we are a Church with many various segments of people, each one with legitimate pastoral needs. It has always been important in the Church to recognize the special needs of those who may constitute only a relatively small portion of the family of believers but who are precious nonetheless to the heart of the Church.
Admittedly most parishes concern themselves primarily with families as the major portion of their ministry. Young people, couples, the elderly, the sick are all the focus of our pastoral efforts. Yet there are other special segments of our Church who occasionally may not fall neatly into the orbit of parish life. These are Catholics who are divorced, widowed, separated, or single. They too are not to be forgotten within our Catholic parish family and activities.
Our Archdiocese has a group that attempts to care for just that population of this local Church. It is called “Kindred Spirits – Singles 40 & Better.” Like other similar groups throughout the Church in the United States, Kindred Spirits provides a ministry to those who do not fit conveniently in many parish organizations. Although most of these wonderful folks know that they may be welcome, they often do not feel comfortable at all parish, functions. Kindred Spirits meets at our Cathedral Parish, but they come from many other parishes while also extending welcome to other Christians of different faiths throughout the Archdiocese. Some of them have been widowed and need the comfort of others who are now facing life without a spouse. Others have gone through a divorce, and they seek the understanding and the support of people who are making a new life for themselves. Some have remained single and do not fit the ordinary singles activities that young adults often host and organize. Above all, Kindred Spirits is an expression of the Church that always seeks to draw people to Christ from whatever life condition they may find themselves.
Several weeks ago, I met with a delegation from Kindred Spirits and they introduced themselves to me. I was happy to meet them since as a child of a single-parent home, I know firsthand that there are many wonderful Catholics and other Christian people who live within the Church under sometimes very difficult circumstances.
What does Kindred Spirits hope to provide for people who are living as mature single Catholics? They hope to provide a spiritual comfort, a social atmosphere, an opportunity for social outreach and service, mutual support and encouragement, and a spirit of joy and hope in our Catholic Faith. I endorse this group as an important expression of the mission of the Church that has been seeking out various groups within the family of Faith since those Greek-speaking widows and those Hebrew-speaking widows who dared to tell the Apostolic Church that they had special needs that Christ would surely want to take notice of and to serve.
If you want to find out more about Kindred Spirits, you can come to the Cathedral and celebrate the 5:30 p.m. Mass on the second Sunday of each month with them, and you can join them after that Mass at their Open House “Meet & Greet” for fellowship, light food and beverages in conference rooms 1 and 2 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. or visit their Web site at www.kindredspiritsatl.org. I ask that our parishes perhaps give this organization an occasional listing in the weekly bulletin so that those parishioners who might find this group helpful will know more about them.