Read: Why I Am Becoming Catholic | Dan Dundas

38-year-old Dan Dundas says he began to reassess his life during the COVID-19 pandemic. The result of that reassessment is that Dan will be received into the Catholic Church this weekend during the Easter Vigil at Saint Gerard Parish in Lansing. Deo gratias!

Dan, who is president of a state-wide trade association, is among the approximately 400 men, women and children becoming Catholic at the Easter Vigil in parishes across the Diocese of Lansing.

A native of Lexington, Michigan, here’s Dan’s incredible story of how divine providence – including the example and influence of a saintly friend – has led him to Jesus Christ and His Holy Church. Here's Dan's story in his own words:

My name is Dan Dundas, and like a lot of people, the COVID pandemic made me reassess, well, everything. I’ve lived and worked in Lansing for over 20 years, including graduating from MSU (Go Green!).

I spent most of my career in the legislature and now work in the private sector. I had a great job in 2020; amazing really. To lead a group of people who had to go in to work every day during a pandemic - it was something else. The most rewarding job I’ll ever have. The most difficult job I’ll ever have.

During COVID, despite being surrounded by people at work, I still felt incredibly alone. Deeply, unabatedly alone. And when you’re living by yourself, everything is shut down and you’re surrounded by friends at work and still feel alone, that is a really tough place to be. The stress of work and burdens of responsibility led me to a different career in 2021.

But something else happened in 2020 that put me on a path to where I am today, just weeks from being baptized into the Catholic faith. I cannot tell you exactly what happened on this day in Fall 2020. I don’t remember the particulars that made me upset, angry, frustrated, despondent. But I do know how one of my co-workers, one of my good friends, reached out. By offering a prayer. She knew how much I was suffering. She knew there were no earthly words that could help. So, she did what she knew best to do – she offered a prayer. I have the text message still, copied in my phone. The prayer is the Prayer of Self-Dedication to Jesus Christ.

For those unfamiliar: "Lord Jesus Christ, take all my freedom, my memory, my understanding, and my will. All that I have and cherish you have given me. I surrender it all to be guided by your will. Your grace and your love are wealth enough for me. Give me these, Lord Jesus, and I ask for nothing more. Amen".

I prayed that prayer that evening and…..well, things didn’t get immediately solved. But I felt better. As I was choosing whether to leave my current employment for a new job, my friend continued to offer prayers and encouragement. It was a major career change, not a slight deviation. And I was leaving behind a team that I loved and adored. It was heart-wrenching. But still the prayers kept getting sent to me. And I kept praying them."

When I left to try the new role, my friend got my old job, as she should. I suddenly had more free time in my new role, and I didn’t know how to fill that time. But over the holidays in 2020, I realized that the loneliness and the fatigue over the past year was not just the job. I needed something more. I wanted to explore my faith more. I wanted to read the Bible.

But man, where to start?! As usual, my friend had the solution – Father Mike Schmitz had started the Bible in a Year podcast. I started a couple days into 2021, but quickly caught up. For a while I was reading an NSV Study Bible edition, listening to the podcast, and then reading the notes in the study bible. Every. Day.

The Book of Job is of course one of the first readings, and I connected with Job immediately. I could relate to his suffering, or rather, how he felt about his suffering. My friend and I met on a regular basis, and at first the conversations were about our new jobs and adjusting to the new roles and how we could be helpful to each other (I had had her job, after all!).

I’d ask questions about faith and Catholicism. And she always had answers. I wasn’t sold on it, yet, but my friend is such an incredible ambassador for the faith, her and her family’s love for Jesus is contagious.

I was given countless books on Catholicism, and I read them constantly. I read more books in 2021 than I had in years, and most were about the Catholic faith.

As the year progressed the conversations became more and more about faith and family, and less about work. Those conversations allowed me to better understand the faith; the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Word. It made so much sense to me. 

Then I had a conversation with another friend explaining the Eucharist and something clicked. In August I found myself on St. Gerard’s website looking at the RCIA page. I finally reached out and found out that classes started in September – perfect. I met with the RCIA Director and I was off to the races. I felt pretty confident that Catholicism was the right faith for me, but RCIA delved deeper into the Catholic beliefs, and helped me understand this was the right place for me by explaining the "why".

And the community at St. Gerard has been awesome - just this past week total strangers were welcoming me to the Church! Before the Rite of Acceptance, I had to choose a Godparent to help me complete my walk into the faith. There was only one choice - the person who I have to believe had the Holy Spirit working through them to offer me that prayer in Fall 2020. The person who had already been guiding me all year, and who had been a model for how to live your faith even before that.

I am really blessed to have been embraced by so many people, including friends of other faiths. Ash Wednesday was a special day for me. The Mass was wonderful and I found myself in the pew praying after getting my ashes and being so thankful and happy. I cannot wait for Easter. 

Please do keep Dan in your prayers in the days ahead. Saint Gerard, pray for him! Our Lady, Mother of the Church, pray for him!