There’s one author on the cover, but more than 25 voices on the inside.
‘Single and Catholic: Finding Meaning in Your State of Life’
Author: Judy Keane
Publisher: Sophia Institute Press
Length: 144 pages
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Every one of them has at least two things in common — shared traits that are summed up in the title of a Valley author’s first book — they’re “Single and Catholic.” The subtitle, “Finding Meaning in Your State of Life,” offers encouragement to that demographic and insight for Church leaders.
Judy Keane admitted early on that the Holy Spirit uniquely qualified her to quickly research and write the 12-chapter book. The Corpus Christi parishioner had written related articles for “Catholic Exchange,” the website platform tied in with Sophia Institute Press’ book publishing division. More importantly, the former broadcast news producer turned public relations professional was a mere week beyond a failed engagement.
“Not the first post-breakup plan I had in mind,” Keane wrote.
An eight-month research and writing deadline on top of a new full time job took her mind off of that relationship. Better yet, certain chapters helped Keane, and now other Catholics too, focus on a more important relationship: one with God and the Church.
Chapters such as “The Power of One: Singles in the New Evangelization,” “Soul Searching: Discerning God’s Will for Your Life,” and “Keeping the Faith” appeal to Catholics on the full spectrum of singlehood in a conversational tone.
“This is about all of us,” Keane wrote in the introduction. “Those who are just starting out, those who have never married, those who have survived broken relationships, those who have not lived according to the Church but are considering and even trying to find their way back and those facing single life once again because they have been widowed or are dealing with a separation or divorce.”
Despite the vast reach, Keane was still surprised to discover statistics from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. They reported 47 percent of adult Catholics as single — far larger than she anticipated. Keane hopes readers finish the book affirmed knowing that their party of one is never alone in trying to live the faith.
Keane said single Catholics are dynamic people accomplishing much for the Church and culture. She spent two years teaching English in a refugee camp and credited her single state for allowing such flexibility. Keane’s isn’t the only voice in the book. Readers will also meet a cattle rancher from the Dakotas, a veterinarian, a former Miss Universe titleholder and a single mom whose daughter is now in college, among others.
“Singles are unique in that we are able to serve the Church and to serve our communities and to serve our public at large,” when others rightly put raising children as a higher priority, Keane told The Catholic Sun.
Readers will also soak up wisdom of priests including Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted.
“I think singles need to do all they can to grow in gratitude and joy from being a beloved son and beloved daughter of God,” Bishop Olmsted said in the eighth chapter. “As we do that, it helps us to trust the Father who speaks to us as a loving Father. He will make our life fruitful.”
‘Your life is now’
The bishop also advises using time well in the fourth chapter and recognizes the pitfalls society offers. Keane agreed. Part of time management means being proactive in ensuring singles are represented in parish life whether that’s through a formal singles group, supporting various ministries or simply filling up the pews by inviting fellow single Catholics to Mass, she said.
“Life is not going to begin when you get married or have children or reach these milestones,” Keane said. “Your life is now. God is meeting you where you are.”
“It’s so important to fall in love with Christ first in our lives and then pursue the [dating] relationship,” Keane said, describing a certain peace that comes with following His way.
She has a message for fallen-away single Catholics too. “If you’ve been away from the Church and you’re finding yourself disillusioned with the ways of the world, there’s always an invitation to come back,” she said, emphasizing the sacrament of Reconciliation.