SAN DIEGO — Lindsay Rossio is playing Cupid for local Catholics looking for lifelong love.
Rossio, a 35-year-old member of St. Michael Parish in Poway, is the creator of the Facebook group “Faithful San Diego Catholic Singles Seeking a Spouse.”
“I started this group perhaps through a moment of either the Holy Spirit’s divine intervention or perhaps a moment of spontaneous insanity – probably both,” quipped Rossio, who as a single Catholic herself recognized a need in the Church and decided to do something about it.
She launched the private Facebook group about five months ago. By the end of its first day, there were 14 members. It was on the cusp of 100 as of late January.
Potential members request to join and are admitted after answering a few prompted questions. Rossio said the group is open to all Catholics (and those currently in the process of becoming Catholic) who accept the Church’s magisterial teaching, live within commuting distance of San Diego, feel called to marriage, and are currently free to marry in the Church. Upon approval, members are encouraged to post a “member bio,” including a photo and a brief introduction.
Rossio said the COVID-19 pandemic inspired her to start the group, but she noted that the challenges that local Catholic singles face in meeting potential spouses predates social distancing and lockdowns.
She recounted one group member’s lament that there aren’t any events or programs in the San Diego Diocese that are geared specifically toward single Catholics who are looking to date fellow Catholics.
Rossio pointed out that, when attending an event like a Bible study, there may be many other singles in attendance, but it isn’t easy to determine which attendees are there strictly for faith and fellowship and which are also seeking relationships.
The Faithful San Diego Catholic Singles group “eliminates the guesswork,” she said, because group membership is limited to those who are seeking spouses and are open to receiving messages from fellow group members to gauge their compatibility.
Because it is a Facebook group, Rossio noted, it is also possible for members to see whether they share any mutual friends.
The diocesan Office for Young Adult Ministry has no official involvement with the group, but its director, Patrick Rivera, supports what Rossio is trying to do and says her group is “very much a ministry.”
Rivera’s office is “really big about vocational discernment,” he said, but it has not directly facilitated Catholic dating.
The Faithful San Diego Catholic Singles group exists to fill that gap.
Rossio modeled the group after similar Facebook groups that were open to single Catholics from throughout the country and, in some cases, around the globe. She couldn’t find any that were limited to San Diego and its environs.
At first, she was reluctant to start her own Catholic singles group, preferring “to sit back and hope someone else would do it.” Prayer and the encouragement of Rivera and others convinced her to change her mind.
For Rossio, who facilitates group interaction by posting ice-breakers and lighthearted memes, this is “a purely volunteer ministry.” If she were to meet her own future husband via the group, she said that would be “icing on the cake.” If not, she said, it’s enough to help fellow Catholics find love.
Greg Schuman, a freelance full stack developer who attends St. Margaret Parish in Oceanside, joined the group about four months ago.
“I cannot begin to share how difficult it is to find someone with similar values,” the 31-year-old said. “There are a lot of hoops to jump through: Sometimes it’s distance, sometimes it’s personality, sometimes it’s physical.”
Because the group’s membership is limited to Catholics in and around the San Diego area, he explained, there aren’t concerns that the person you’re corresponding with has a value system incompatible with your own or lives too far away.
“I’m looking for my best friend, someone who’s strong in faith but also willing to be open to doing new things,” Schuman said. “By being part of this group, I hope I can find that. If not that, at least just have a good conversation with someone.”
Clare Miranda, a 33-year-old educator and writer from Los Angeles who visits the San Diego area frequently, is also a member.
To Miranda, it’s ironic that she found the online group during a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is keeping people physically apart.
“It’s been a source of fun and even a little reassurance during this chaotic time that other people are looking for the potential of love just like me,” she said.
While noting that any serious relationship cannot develop without eventually meeting in person, she sees the group as providing the possibility of starting things off with a simple chat.
“Although I haven’t had any conversations with potential dates, I am enjoying the camaraderie and sense of solidarity that being a part of this group has allowed me to experience,” said Miranda. “In terms of meeting a potential Mr. Right, I guess we will have to see when and where God decides to make that happen.”