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Former Seminarian-Turned-Author Shares Dating Discoveries

02/10/2017 | Comments

DENVER. Single Catholics would benefit from getting reacquainted with the concept of dating, said John Antonio, author of the book “Dating and Other Things Catholic: What Seminary Taught Me about Single Life” and a blogger for   

Speaking to several groups of Catholic singles while visiting Denver recently, Antonio said that people are often afraid of dating because they think it implies an instant, long-term commitment.

I surveyed young men in Catholic communities and said, ‘Why aren’t you asking people out on dates?’” Antonio said. “They’d say, ‘I’m not really sure if I want to marry that girl.’ I told them, ‘Whoa, you’re like five years ahead here.’”

Antonio, who himself is single, spoke to more than 60 Catholic singles at back-to-back events during December while visiting on his first speaking engagement in Denver to talk to – and speed date with - Christmas Catholic Speed Dating Age 20-40. The event was hosted at Annie’s Café in Denver, and run by Denver Catholic Speed Dating, founded six years ago. The organization has since seen more than 20 couples married who met at its events and has hosted events in Seattle, Las Vegas, Dallas and ran one within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia the night before Pope Francis flew into Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families.

Antonio also spoke at the 11th Annual Last Supper Club Christmas Party, at the Old Spaghetti Factory. Last Supper Club is an after-Mass dinner club started and run by members of Denver’s cathedral and hosts many young adult Catholics after the 6:30 p.m. Mass two Sundays per month.

“In seminary, we don’t commit or really think of committing to become a priest when we first walk through the door,” Antonio said. “In seminary, the idea was, hey you just walk through the door, you just give it a shot and get to know it and spend a day. Same thing with a date. If you sign up for a date or you go on a date, that’s your only commitment.”

Commitment stages go hand in hand with privilege, similar to seminary life, he said. One privilege is time. He gave pointers to people to not rush ahead from the get-go.

“A lot of times we treat people based on how much we like them rather than based on their level of commitment towards us,” Antonio said. “For instance, I’ll meet someone I really like, she really likes me and then it’s all of a sudden, it’s ‘clear my schedule. Let’s go out on Monday and to a baseball game Tuesday, and then on the weekend let’s go jogging and hiking and go to Mass together cause I really like this person.’ But really what’s that person’s level of commitment to us? It’s nothing really, and by Tuesday next week they could be gone and dating somebody else. The way we did things in seminary, we experienced certain privileges based on the level of commitment we were at.”

He suggested men get used to asking “Would you like to go on a date with me?” even if they have to practice the phrase in the mirror. Once dating, he suggested establishing clear expectations for how much time will be spent together.

“I agreed with his observation that there is not much dating within the Catholic circles,” said Angela Graziano, 38, of Denver. “The other was that it is a good thing to date. You don't have to know if you will marry the person to go on a date; that is the purpose of dating. We have to take it one step at a time being honest with the other person.” She said she liked his tips on using the time as a single to prepare emotionally and spiritually for marriage and above all, focus on charity and love.

“I’ve definitely started using some of his advice,” said 21-year-old Johana Quant, a student in Denver. “So many times we go on dates and we are already contemplating if this person is "the one" and if they're someone you could marry. However, you should go on a date and think more short-term like, ‘Okay we will go on this date and get through it and try to have fun. If it works then let's go on another and take it more a step at a time and little by little as opposed to trying to see the whole picture and imagining your entire lives together immediately.”

“Dating and Other Things Catholic:What Seminary Taught Me about Single Life” can be purchased on Amazon.


Information on Denver Catholic Speed Dating is at the events tab at Information on the Last Supper Club can be found by joining Last Supper Club Denver on Facebook. 

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