Who is a ‘Catholic Seeker’?
By definition, a seeker is one who searches. In a spiritual context, a seeker is someone who searches for a deeper, more meaningful spiritual life or for a more comfortable, nurturing spiritual home. Often spiritual seekers are also searching for a resolution to some conflict or tension between themselves and a particular church or religious community.
The term “Catholic Seeker” is commonly used to describe individuals baptized into the Catholic community who no longer feel spiritually at home there. Catholic seekers may include active, inactive, alienated, discouraged and former Catholics who are disillusioned, confused or troubled about their relationship with the Catholic Church.
Why Catholics Become Seekers
There are a wide variety of circumstances and reasons why some Catholics become spiritual seekers. Almost always, a Seeker’s relationship with the Church is complicated by the fact that we are all human beings and the Church is both a supernatural and a human community.
Human persons grow and change -- or fail to grow and change -- as the world around them changes. We are all spiritual pilgrims, and the church is a pilgrim church. For that reason, nothing is complete, finished or perfect here. We are always “on the way,” and everyone travels at a different pace. This creates the possibility for tension, and sometimes conflict, between the faith community and individual members.
That tension may express itself in a variety of ways. For example,
• Some Seekers feel a conflict between their faith and the institutional
• Others are troubled by some aspect of Church teaching or Catholic
• Some are happy being Catholic but do not feel at home in their local
• Others are frustrated because the faith they learned as children is no
longer adequate for adults.
• Some Seekers are discouraged or disappointed by change, or the lack
of change, in the Church.
• Other feel that some of their personal or spiritual needs are better
fulfilled in another church or tradition.
• Some Seekers have been abused or offended by a representative of the
church or are scandalized by the behavior of some Church members.
• Others have gradually drifted away from the Church and now feel
estranged or unwelcome.
• A number of Seekers have rejected their association with the church but
are still troubled by some experiences, issues or questions which were
What every Seeker shares is a sense that something important is missing, unfinished or unsatisfied in their life. All Seekers hunger for something which will fill the emptiness. Some Seekers may feel that they are re-living their teenage years. In the process of becoming a mature, responsible, and faithful adult, the Seeker may have to re-appropriate what they have been taught to believe, and renegotiate their relationship to religious authority. It is an exciting, but also challenging, and sometimes scary, experience.
What Seekers Can Do
If you or someone you know is a Catholic Seeker, here are some things you can do:
• Continue to pray for the spiritual gifts of patience, wisdom and
• Find a Catholic faith community where you can worship regularly,
even if you attend services in another church.
• Investigate new forms of personal and communal prayer such as
Taize Prayer, Centering Prayer, or Lectio divina.
• Identify friends or colleagues with whom you can share your personal
faith journey confidently and honestly.
• Join a faith-sharing group where you can discuss matters of faith with
other Catholic Seekers.
• Avoid people or circumstances where talk about church is too
polarized or bitter.
• Seek a spiritual director or guide with whom you can meet regularly.
• Ask a trusted friend or spiritual guide to suggest good books by
traditional or contemporary spiritual writers.
• Read more about the history of the church to appreciate how it has
changed over the years.
• Study the documents of the Second Vatican Council. (An accessible
resource is Bill Huebsch’s Vatican II in Plain English.)
• Meditate on the lives of the saints, old and new, who were the
pilgrims, prophets and pioneers of their day.
• Participate in retreat and renewal opportunities offered by local
parishes or nearby retreat centers.
• Live your faith by getting actively involved in community service and
social justice activities.
• Learn and practice strategies for healthy living recommended for co-
dependents by 12-Step programs.
How We Can Help
The Catholic parishes in Waterloo are eager to encourage and support our sisters and brothers who do not feel at home in the Catholic faith community.
If you or someone you know is a Catholic Seeker, we welcome the opportunity to discuss your concerns and questions in a safe, understanding and nonjudgmental environment, even if you do not anticipate resuming participation in the Catholic faith community.
The Catholic parishes in Waterloo provide the following opportunities:
These open-forum opportunities for Catholic Seekers and inactive Catholics held periodically throughout the year in a non-church location
Click here for a current schedule of Listening Sessions
A Seekers’ Faith-Sharing Group
This faith-sharing group meets monthly to discuss the spiritual needs of Catholic Seekers, inactive and alienated Catholics who are troubled by their past or current relationship to the Catholic Church.
Click here for more information about the Seeker's Group
Companions on the Journey
These small faith-sharing groups meet monthly and provide an opportunity for spiritual discernment under the direction of a professional spiritual director.
Click here for more information about Companions
Fundamental Issues Series
This developing series of adult formation programs is designed to examine fundamental issues which many believers take for granted and many Seekers want to explore.
Click here for more information about the Fundamental Issues Series
Continuing Adult Formation, Education and
Spiritual Growth Opportunities for Adults
The parishes sponsor a variety of continuing formation, education and spiritual growth opportunities throughout the year. We suggest that individuals who have been away from the Church for some time may want to consider participating in a program like Catholic 101 or The Rite of Reception for Adults.
Click here for a Directory of Adult Formation Opportunities
Click here for a Directory of Spiritual Growth Opportunities
Click here for Highlights of Adult Formation Opportunities this month
A Private Appointment
We would be happy to arrange a private, confidential appointment with a pastor or a pastoral staff member at any time.