August 10, 2021

3 Answers: How Do I Find Good Catholic Friends and Community?

We asked three people to answer the question, “How do you recommend I find good Catholic friends and community?” Here is the wisdom they shared:

Fr. John Rutten
Parish Pastor in the Diocese of Sioux Falls

Acceptance. Accepting the absence is essential. A wise mentor once said, “if you die with one best friend, consider it a gift.” I learned to let go and live in the tension of my unfulfilled desire. Friendship is gift!

Prayer. Ask Him for good faith-filled friendship, but then move forward with life. Be attentive to what God is doing in your life and expect the gift but wait.

Openness. Accept that God may send someone different than expected. Look at experience – is it not true that the greatest blessings can be from people we wouldn’t expect.

Simplicity. Begin to engage friendship in a simple way, and let it develop over time. Don’t put pressure on yourself or others for something to happen over night. It takes time and shared experiences to grow in deeper levels of friendship.

Freedom. Always leave space for yourself and others to be free. No forced friendship! This dynamic is probably a part of everyone’s experiences. This grasping is a simple sign that we are expecting something from a friend that we are made to receive from God.

Finally, only God can answer our deepest longing, so no matter the depths and quantity of friendship, we will always need our primary friendship to be with Jesus Christ. This is why He came, to call us “friends”!

Maggie Helgeland
Student Development at University of Mary, Daughter of the Diocese of Sioux Falls

Finding good Catholic friends/community is a difficulty people face at any age! Whether you’re in high school, college, post-grad, or older, a good Catholic community is necessary for growth in knowledge, understanding, and relationship within the context of the Faith. So how do we do it?

  1. Partaking in functions that already exist
    Join a bible study at your parish or Newman Center! Go to a camp, conference, or retreat! Start volunteering at your parish or Newman Center. If these activities don’t already exist, ask your pastor if you can start something that you can invite others into. Put yourself in the position to meet new people who are seeking the same thing you are.
  1. Networking & making connections
    Make connections through your friends and co-workers to people they know. Identify common interests in addition to your shared faith and make an effort to spend time together outside of church functions. You’re likely only one “Do you know…” away from your new best friend.
  1. Practicing hospitality
    Invite people into your home and into your life. Host a men’s or women’s night at your home. Play games and have food and drinks. Have a cookout. Sometimes it can be awkward getting to know new people, but your generosity in these contexts will go a long way. A lot of the time, good communities can’t be “found” but need to be started, so why shouldn’t you?
  1. Joining online communities
    Sometimes joining online Catholic communities or Facebook groups can be beneficial and help provide those connections listed in #2. Be cautious not to use them as a crutch, but rather allow them to be a starting point to finding friends and community in your area.

Fr. Tony Klein
Priest of the Diocese of Sioux Falls

None of us are called to be Christians alone, but maybe we often ask, “Where on earth are my companions?! How do I find a good community of faithful peers?” That’s a tremendously important question, and should be a question considered at different stages of life.

If you’re considering which college to go to, or which city to move to, consider the kind of people you will be surrounded by. We become like the people we are around. “Does this school have a good community of Catholic students” should be a question asked just as seriously as “Does this school have my major?” Being one of the most formative periods of one’s life, the community of your college peers is one that can shape you, for good or ill, for the rest of your life.

Maybe you’re out of college, working, and living on your own. Then what? To be frank, it’s harder. But it’s not impossible. The difference is that you can’t wait for it to happen. My encouragement is to know what you need and search to find what you need. Seeing fellow young Catholics at Mass could be a situation to introduce yourself and plan a time to get together with a few others. Enjoying fellowship at events (such as the Taste of Goodness or other parish events) and taking a risk to talk to others can go a long way. It is often uncomfortable to try to introduce yourself and forge a new friendship, but it’s less uncomfortable than walking the life of a Catholic alone.

Trish Irvine is a pursuer of the good, the true, and the beautiful. As a high school theology teacher with a penchant for reading and writing, she has numerous encounters with each. Trish has a desire to help others encounter the Lord through a recognition of His presence in the ordinary. Her degree is from the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, but her home is the South Dakota prairie.

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