I am, by my own free will, Catholic. Catholic among people who often see being Catholic as proof that I am enslaved. I am Catholic everywhere and in every interest. It means that in areas of interest where the norm is secular, neo-pagan, or a hodgepodge of whatever the individual cobbled together for a personal religion, I stand rather alone in my adherence to Catholicism, with the deposit of faith given us by God, maintained by God through the Church, and properly interpreted for application by that Church and no other.
My husband asked me the other day why, when I so clearly enjoyed my time in a meeting of St. Vincent de Paul, why I spend time with the Society for Creative Anachronism? I found myself explaining that what I love about the group at the parish is our shared Catholicism and the work the group is doing to try and fulfill the commandments of Christ. We have that in common– and little else. Lovely people, but my passion for studying the history of the 10th century Eastern Romans eludes them. On the other side, those people in the SCA understand my passion for history, and a lot of other other geeky sorts of things, but they do not share my Faith.
So it is very nice to participate in a ministry at Church where being Catholic is understood properly and shared, but it hardly replaces having friends who share my interests. If your interests are uncommon, you will find less over-lap between groups. What is more, if you are a geek, many of the people who share those other interests will be uncomfortable the moment they find out you are Catholic. Fear is the fastest response, fear that I am there to judge them or to try and force my religion down their throats, and leads to unpleasantness.
Usually the first unpleasantness will be a demand of one sort or another to deny some known aspect of my religion. It would be unthinkable for any of them to demand that a neo-pagan give up any portion of their religious beliefs, but somehow it is essential that I be forced to give up mine. My failure to deny any aspect of my religion generally leads to a anger, generally suppressed. I am not unaware of the undercurrent of negativity over who I am and I participate anyway.
This is the reality in the modern world.
Dear Lord, thank You for the many interesting groups out there and thank You for the joy of shared Catholicism. May I never take the later for granted. +Amen.