Catholic singles encouraged to make gift of self

Tuesday, July 03, 2018 - Updated: 10:06 am

By Matthew Davis Catholic News Service

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — International Catholic speaker Hudson Byblow kicked off his presentation at the National Catholic Singles Conference in Bloomington with a little Star Wars Jedi wit.

He told the story of a woman who had been promised a Toyota at her job. Byblow showed on a big screen what she really got — a toy Yoda.

“Because of her expectations, she was quite disappointed,” Byblow said.

Expectations like that can lead to seeking fulfillment in the wrong places, he added.

Byblow shared a testimony of his struggles in the single life, including viewing pornography and experiencing same-sex attraction and gender identity questions. But eventually, he found purpose in Jesus Christ. Byblow, 37 and single, said he now sees his identity in making a gift of himself by being a spiritual father, in a lay sense, to others.

“Pursuing the will of God, I realized, is not about what I want. It’s about what God desires of me and how I can best serve him at this present point in my life,” Byblow told an audience of 400 gathered in the ballroom of the Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport Mall of America hotel in Bloomington.

His address was part of the 18th National Catholic Singles Conference held June 8-9. The gathering provides an opportunity for singles to engage in the faith together through presentations, prayer, the sacraments and fellowship.

Byblow, who spoke June 9, and several other speakers delivered presentations on the call to holiness for Catholics who are single.

Archbishop Bernard Hebda, formerly of Pittsburgh, and Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens of St. Paul and Minneapolis presided at Masses, and adoration and confession were available throughout the weekend. Social activities preceded and followed the conference.

“For me, it’s knowing that I’m going to be around just faith- and fun-filled people, and (I’m) going to come away inspired and edified,” said Theresa Grobecker, a parishioner of St. Joseph in Troy, New York, who has been to multiple Catholic singles conferences.

“It’s a balance of fun, but yet being able to find opportunities of prayer and reflection,” she said.

Inspired by the theology of the body, a collection of papal audiences by St. John Paul II, the conference began in 2005 in Denver, and various sites throughout the U.S. have hosted it since. It was held in Minnesota for the first time this year.

Anastasia Northrop founded the National Catholic Singles Conference at the request of fellow Catholic single friends.

“We need to know who we are as sons and daughters of God, and that’s really how we’re going to be able to live our singleness well,” Northrop said.

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