The Deacon's Bench

Light the candles: the Catholic online dating service Catholic Match is marking its 10-year anniversary.

Rhode Island Catholic takes a look at the impact of this internet phenomenon:

Brian Barcaro, co-founder of Catholic, could be considered partly responsible for the nuptials of thousands who met their spouses through the dating Web site, recently marking its 10-year anniversary.

Barcaro has played an unconventional role in uniting Catholic brides and grooms from across the United States. In one specific case, a thankful couple in their gratitude to Barcaro and fellow Web site founder Jason LaFosse, gave each wedding guest a computer mouse pad with a Catholic Match logo as a wedding favor.

According to Barcaro, nearly half a million singles have used the Web site over the past decade, making it clear that many singles have been actively seeking out spouses who share their same faith.

“There is no question, looking at outside statistics, that the religious dating sites are finding more growth,” Barcaro said. “People are reevaluating what makes up a marriage. They really want someone to share their faith with.”

Catholic Match was successful in putting Kathleen Roche, 29, of Cumberland, in contact with other Catholics who are serious about their faith. Roche has been a member of Catholic Match since May and had the desire to meet someone who had the same religious background and beliefs.

“Relationships are already difficult enough without adding religious differences,” said?Roche. “I want to raise children in the Catholic faith and didn’t want that to be an issue with my future husband.”

Roche explained that she has had an extremely positive experience with Catholic Match.

“I’ve actually met someone through the site and we’ve been dating for about a month now,” she said.

What sets Catholic Match apart from secular dating Web sites, says Barcaro, is its strong sense of community. He explained that providing a community for their members has always been a priority for Catholic Match.

“If we can build a community of singles, the relationships will build themselves,” Barcaro said.

Bryn Evans, 27 of Providence joined Catholic Match to meet that special someone and explained how wonderful it has been to catch glimpses into the lives of other singles searching for their future spouses.

“I’ve come to realize how many others are out there who share the same faith as I do,” said Evans. “I take it for granted that ‘I am the Catholic Church’ when I step out in public so it is enlightening to see so many warm, Catholic faces.”

Catholic Match also asks members whether or not they accept seven specific teachings of the Catholic Church, including: abstaining from pre-marital sex, use of contraception, sanctity of life, papal infallibility, Immaculate Conception, Eucharist and holy orders.

“Unlike a secular Web site, people are coming to Catholic Match for a uniquely Catholic experience,” Barcaro explained.?“There are a lot of things that you want to know about someone which may not be appropriate for a first or second conversation. The questions allow people to meet others where they are at. We have also found that people who honestly answer those questions may be one of the first times they reflect on where they stand with certain church teachings, and it gets them in conversation with others.”

There’s much more at the RIC link.

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