When lifelong Catholic Dyan Hollenhorst started attending daily mass at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in her hometown of Hughson at her mother’s suggestion during Lent more than a decade ago, she never expected she would become the first lay, non-religious woman to be named as chancellor for the Diocese of Stockton earlier this month.

“It started, perhaps, as a way to find peace when raising four teenagers, but I found myself getting more interested in developing my faith,” Hollenhorst said.

After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in sociology from California State University, Stanislaus, Hollenhorst had trouble deciding what to study in graduate school, when a priest friend of hers recommended she study theology.

Hollenhorst graduated from the Franciscan School of Theology at University of California, Berkeley in 2008 with a master of theological studies and a master of arts in ministry for a multicultural church, she said, for which she drove approximately 80 miles each way.

From 2010 to 2018, Hollenhorst served as chaplain for the Newman Catholic Community at UOP, she said, and for the past two years she worked on the diocese’ “As One,” program, in which she helped parishes within the six-county diocese connect with the pastoral leadership team.

Through her work with “As One,” Hollenhorst was able to get to know diocesan staff, she said, and even earn the recognition of Bishop Myron Cotta.

“Bishop Cotta called me into a meeting one day, and asked if I would entertain the idea of stepping into the role of chancellor,” Hollenhorst said. “It’s still such an unreal feeling.”

“This is going to be great,” Cotta said in a press release. “Dyan is exactly the right person for this moment and this place, and we’re proud to be among the dioceses who celebrate the leadership of women and the laity.”

Full story at Lodinenews.com.