Woman makes history as Diocese of Stockton chancellor

Dyan Hollenhorst appointed first lay, non-religious woman to hold the post

Dyan Hollenhorst, CQ, who was recently appointed by the Diocese of Stockton as the first lay, non-vowed religious woman to serve as chancellor, is pictured at the Stockton office Thursday, July 12, 2018.

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.


  1. I’m coming out, I want the world to know, I got to let it show
    There’s a new me coming out, And I just had to live, And I want to give, I’m completely positive
    I think this time around, I am gonna do it, Like you never do it, Like you never knew it, Oh, I’ll make it through

  2. Anonymous says:

    It is good to see someone for whom a sociology degree and a theology degree worked out.

  3. Best wishes and prayers to Ms. Hollenhorst in her new position. The photo caption has the letters CQ after her name. I found no clarification in the text and am unfamiliar with what this may stand for. Any info appreciated.

  4. St. Christoper says:

    Does this dopey appointment make any sense? Because she is a woman? What does it mean for the Diocese to “Celebrate the leadership of women and the laity.”? No one ever should be given a position of authority because they are a woman. The point should be to find the best, most competent, person for the job. Did the article say anything about her competency?

    Nope, a woman cannot ever, never, be made a priest. And no woman should be made chancellor, or anything, because of her anatomy.

    • Steve Seitz says:

      St. Christopher,
      Bishop Cota is a good man, and I’m certain [notwithstanding the language in the article] that he named her to be chancellor not because she was a woman but because she was the best person for the job.

      Also, you might be confusing the position of chancellor with that of vicar general. Unlike the position of vicar general which involves the use of ordinary power, the chancellor is in charge of administration that doesn’t involve such use. Consequently, there is no necessity that the chancellor be a cleric.

    • Bob One says:

      St. Christoper, read the article again. It’s all about competency. The job has nothing to do with the priesthood. This is an overgeneralization, but the Chancellor is a diocese’s equivalent of a corporate secretary; plus a lot more. The article said the Bishop asked her to take the job because she was the right person.
      Why is it that for you, so often, no good deed goes unpunished. Where is your joy that someone will serve their Lord? Where are the ole’s for finding a good person to do the job? Where is your trust in God, the Holy Spirit to help make the right decisions? Your comment, above, is what drives people out of the Church.

  5. These third-rate writers for diocesan papers use the same template. So many times a story begins with “When (X) did or was (Y) he never thought he’d later (Z), but that’s just what happened.” Like people are supposed to be amazed by things that have nothing to do with each other and drawn into reading further. Or they try to sound sophisticated by showing that common sense is abut to be proved wrong in the rest of the story. Or they go with “making history” or a “diversity” angle or “look, the Church isn’t dying after all”. Most of these stories have terrible hooks and are so formulaic.

  6. Steve D says:

    As if the Church leadership is not effeminate enough already.

    • Bob One says:

      Steve D, your comment is very 1600s. Some would say its sexist. In any case, it is way out of the bounds of acceptable dialogue in polite company. If you said something like that at work, you would be subject to investigation and likely fired for creating a hostile work environment. Just saying!

      • Steve Seitz says:

        Bob One,
        Instead of attacking Steve D, would it be possible to attack his comment instead. Because you attacked him instead of his comment, his comment remains standing, untouched and unscathed.

        • The Comment Not the Person says:

          Wait, what? Bob One did attack his comment, not he as a person. Maybe possibly the last sentence, but he was only alerting him to the consequences of the comment, not the person. How would you prefer Bob One have phrased it?

          • Steve Seitz says:

            Dear Comment Not Person,
            There’s a certain amount of truth to your comment. However, Bob One used inflammatory language which is characteristic of a personal attack and thus has a bleed-over affect to the person with whom he wrote.

            Case in point: Instead of attacking Bob One’s comments as I did, what if I had said, “what a mindless, knuckle-dragging comment he made.” The issue is that the words “sexist” and “knuckle-dragging” typically describe people: not comments.

            So, how should he have addressed the comment? He could have said that a) an effeminate leadership is good and then state why, or b) that the appointment doesn’t make the leadership more effeminate and then state why, or c) some other similar comment.

        • Anonymous says:

          And correct!

  7. St. Christopher says:

    “Bob One”: read the article. Its first and second headlines speak first and only about the fact of the new Chancellor’s gender (as does the entire first paragraph). Ms. Hollenhorst may or may not have the requisite skills, the story simply does not say much about it. Sorry you are offended by the tone of this, and other posts, but the institutional Catholic Church is in dire straights. It is the result of many things, but prominent among them is the appointment of mendacious, and yes, incompetent, bishops (no, not all). One is blind not to notice the creeping aggression of USA bishops to the placement of women in leadership positions (and how was Ms. H. a “chaplain” at the UOP Newman Center?). Women as priests is the obvious goal.

  8. Pauline Roberts says:

    Congratulations to Ms Hollenhorst! Bishop Cotta is a very smart man!

  9. St. Christopher says:

    “Steve D” is correct, absolutely correct, “Bob One.” Much literature has been devoted to showing how overtly, “red-blooded” American men have been denied access to seminaries and weeded out once their. Effeminate, homosexual, men have literally taken over the Catholic Church (and even Pope Francis decried this fact in a recent meeting). Your ad hominem attack on Steve D supports the validity of his point. Today’s Catholic Church has been laid waste by the sexual depredations of its homosexual clergy. We have paid out over $4 Billion in damages to the victims; effeminate clergy is a virtual term of art regarding today’s Catholic Church.

    • Another Christopher (the Irish) says:

      The Church isn’t American, Chris, it is universal. Gay men are red blooded, Chris, unless they are Vulcan, in which case they are green blooded like True Irish. Some gay men are not effeminate, Chris, though some straight men are effeminate, Sexually predatory priests have cause much harm to our Church, Chris, though a significant number of them preyed upon girls. Many priests preyed upon boys and girls, Chris, though most priests gay and straight didn’t.

  10. St. Christopher says:

    “Another Christopher (the Irish)”: Too much of what you say concerns Clinton’s deposition answer about “what ‘is’ is.” Start from the most obvious fraud of your serial absurdities: not all sexual abusers of children are homosexual, but all abusers of pre- and post-pubescent boys are. And, over 80% of those children raped and assaulted were boys. Your attempted distinctions here are mendacious.

    Homosexual men have no place as priests or laity involved with the Church. Women do have important roles, but not in a seminary or sacristy or administration of a diocese, and never at the altar.

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