The idea of a county-wide Discovering Christ came to her after attending a conference and meeting with her spiritual director. It seemed like the answer to her desire for a way to evangelize her community outside of the parish walls. Her prayer became “Lord, if this is not your idea, shut the door.” After a series of meetings with her bishop and several other Catholic leaders, the planning began. Before every step in the process—from building the intercessory prayer team to finding a location to choosing a caterer—Dianne continued praying, “Lord, if this is not your idea, shut the door.” And God continued to open the doors.
The first step was recruiting and training a team of over 175 volunteers from almost all of the twenty parishes in Dutchess County. Many of the team members had already been through Discovering Christ and were excited to help others experience it.
On Sunday, September 9th, 500 people arrived to the transformed gymnasium at Our Lady of Lourdes High School. Catholics from the pews, inactive Catholics, other Christians, and non-Christians sat down around tables to discuss the meaning of life.
Small group discussions gave guests the chance to reflect on their own lives and provided the opportunity to enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ. One guest shared, “I did experience a change in my relationship with Christ…. It is not a one-sided relationship. I know that I love Jesus, but now I have a much stronger feeling that Jesus truly does love me...”
The Holy Spirit retreat was a powerful day for the hundreds who attended. They heard talks about who the Holy Spirit is and how we need the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. For an hour, 23 prayer teams were available as many people stepped forward to commit their lives to Jesus.
Catholics in the pews were inspired to live their faith with more fervor: “I believe my faith and my relationship with Jesus has been significantly deepened and renewed… I have also started reading the Bible more when I pray. I am definitely renewed and excited about my future and my faith.”
Through Discovering Christ, many people found a relationship with Jesus to be the answer to the question “What is the meaning of my life?” As one guest shared, “Jesus is my teacher... my savior. I have spoken to Christ every day. I have asked the Holy Spirit to come in and to guide me. I have never had such a personal experience.”
The next step for the leadership team is helping people continue on the journey they started through Discovering Christ. Dianne and her team are partnering with the Archdiocese of New York to form small groups, offer Bible studies, and host a Following Christ course.