We must also remember the great number of single persons who. . .are especially close to Jesus' heart and therefore deserve the special affection and active solicitude of the Church, especially of pastors. Many remain without a human family, often due to conditions of poverty. Some live their situation in the spirit of the Beatitudes, serving God and neighbor in exemplary fashion. The door of homes, the 'domestic churches,' and of the great family which is the Church must be open to all of them." - Catechism of the Catholic Church
The single life
may seem like the "last resort" - the state where anyone ends up who doesn't feel called to the priesthood
or religious life
and who can't find a suitable spouse for marriage
. But the single life is just as much a vocation, a divine call, as any of the other states. The Church needs lay Catholics who work in the world, but who can dedicate themselves to their work and the spread of the Gospel, without having to worry about supporting a family. So God calls certain people to the single life in the world.
Single people can do great good in the Church. Since they are not bound to the rules of a religious community, they have the flexibility to do all kinds of work in order to proclaim the Gospel. Since they do not have a family of their own to care for, they can give their time to help other families which need them. Certain professions which require a lot of time and dedication, such as medicine or teaching, are especially suited to the single life; a single person can wholeheartedly dedicate him or herself to the work in a unique way.
As with the married state, single life is a vocation which is carried out in the midst of the world. The vocation of single Catholics is to represent Christ wherever they are and whatever they do, whether they are business people, teachers, writers, politicians, doctors, computer programmers, media experts, lawyers, musicians, government workers, truck drivers, lay missionaries or any other profession. By the silent witness of a holy life, these people are lights shining out in the world, pointing out the way to God.
This witness in the world is a special form of preaching. The Catechism of the Catholic Church
states, "Lay people also fulfill their prophetic mission by evangelization, 'that is, the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life.' For lay people, 'this evangelization. . .acquires a specific property and peculiar efficacy because it is accomplished in the ordinary circumstances of the world.' This witness of life, however, is not the sole element in the apostolate; the true apostle is on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers...or to the faithful."
Some single people take vows of chastity (single women can be consecrated as virgins
according to a new rite in the Church), or enter secular institutes or other Catholic associations
"in which the Christian faithful living in the world strive for the perfection of charity and work for the sanctification of the world especially from within." (Catechism of the Catholic Church
Are you single and between the ages of 18-40? Visit the Archdiocesan Office for Young Adult and Campus Ministry . Want to stay connected with other Young Adult Catholics throughout San Antonio? Visit the Young Adult Meetup Group.