Please view the list of groups currently available to see which DG would best accommodate and support your spiritual needs.
We have 6 members and have room for 2 more people.
We are both Catholic converts and love our church. Michael has been a catechism teacher for more than 15 years and currently assists with Lifeteen. We also are engaged couple mentors and I’m Eucharistic minister. We have four children, all confirmed and practicing their faith, praise God!
Meet: Sundays at 3 p.m. | Revolving location at group members’ homes
Phone: (586) 805-0265
Openings: We have openings for 5 more young adults.
I grew up Catholic and attended Catholic schools from pre-K through high school. I loved God, and good, and what was right. At the same time, I was a perfectionist achiever, sought recognition and affirmation through my school work, and later career, and couldn’t clearly see my meaning and purpose. After having had a Christian community through school for so many years, for some reason, I did not join one in college, law school, and professional life. While still attending mass, I didn’t spend much time with God outside of that. Most of my time was spent working, listening to mainstream music, and watching popular TV. As a young professional, I felt “In-between”, lacking purpose and meaning, having left school communities but not having found other communities or having a family of my own to start.
In Fall 2014, I asked a friend to sign up for the young adult Alpha course with me. Though I wasn’t a parishioner at the time, I had heard others’ testimonies about it when attending Mass occasionally at Our Lady of Good Counsel. Lacking in opportunities to meet other young people (read: lonely), I hoped to make new friends. A single woman, I might have also hoped God would introduce me to a young man, too. The Lord had a better idea. Instead of a young man, He reintroduced me to Himself as well as to several great people who have become my friends and who continued on together in what is now a Discipleship Group.
Since that time, I’ve had the opportunity to grow in knowing the Lord through that Discipleship Group. We talk about God and what He is doing in our lives. I learned how to pray through the Oremus study, something I realize now that I hadn’t quite known how to do before. I now have a voracious hunger to hear God’s message, recognizing now and becoming sensitive to the world’s false messages in mainstream music and popular TV. While I have a long way to go, I have become bolder talking about God in my daily life. I live with more intention, having a clearer vision of what meaning is in my life. I no longer feel “in-between”, and realize that God can use me for His work anywhere and at any time.
I grew up in the church, and as a young child, had a desire to pray and know God, but my faith wasn’t nurtured, so in High School I started to contemplate atheism. It was at that point that my dad invited me to join him on a summer mission trip hosted by our parish. I told him no, but he kept asking me about it until I caved and agreed to join him.
When the mission trip started, I found myself on a bus with 40 very excited peers from a different school, and the only thought going through my head was “Who are these people?” and “I don’t belong here.” We eventually stopped at a Stubenville youth conference, where those thoughts were amplified as I was now surrounded by thousands of hyperactive people with their arms in the air singing along with some extremely loud worship music. But, something clicked during the second night of the conference when they brought out the Eucharist for adoration. The excitement died down some people started crying, others rested in the spirit, people began to pray over one another, and I began to pray to God in an honest way that was deeper than I ever went before. When our group convened afterwards, people began to talk about how God had been reaching them there and healing their scars. The rest of the trip, we went and painted houses and stuff, but when we got back home, I was committed to go back next year because there was something real at that conference that I needed to understand.
When the next year rolled around, and I found myself back at another Stubenville conference, it was different. The noise and excitement didn’t bother me anymore. Instead, I started to feel a gentle nudge to join in. I resisted at first because I was embarrassed, but eventually decided to raise my hands up and join in the worship. The moment I did that, I felt like I was exactly in the right place at the right time. It was an amazing experience, and that first night of worship was one of the most powerful I ever had. It also taught me that I love to sing, which is something I never would have figured out otherwise. After that night I was convinced God was real and I wanted to follow Him.
Meet: Alternate Saturdays 6-8 p.m. | Either at Dang house or another DG member’s house
Phone: (248) 252-4973
We are not currently accepting new members into our group. We just don’t have the space for all the children and the adults.
I met God the Father in my driveway looking up at the stars after just breaking up with my then girlfriend. Though I have been a Catholic my whole life, that was the first time I could tangibly feel His presence and His loving hands directing my life. Perhaps a little back-story may help in seeing the whole picture.
Up to that point in my life, I would say on the outside, I was what the world would call a devout Catholic. I attended mass every Sunday, I went to retreats, I volunteered doing Catholic things like the soup kitchen. I even went to confession twice a year. I was doing a lot of Catholic things, but I had no relationship with Christ or His Church. They were nice neighbors, and I enjoyed Their company, but I would not say I had a deep desire to know and love them.
During this time in my life I was dating a very beautiful woman, and we fell victim or perhaps more aptly willing accomplices to this world’s great lie, you can have it both ways. You can know what the Church teaches, and profess to be Catholic, but live your life in a way that directly contradicts what She teaches, hoping the Church will “get with the times.” We lived a fast-food, cafeteria type Christianity in that we wanted our way, right away. Pleasures now, no need for hard work or sacrifice.
After living like that for a few years, an emptiness and hopelessness came over me. I knew that I was made for something more, but I just did not have the courage or moral conviction to stop my spiral of reckless, selfish behavior. I started using my girlfriend and others for my own selfish motives, and eventually it all came crashing down. I do not even remember what she and I fought about, but I am pretty sure it was my pride in wanting things my way. So, since I did not want to change, I decided I would take the highway. After a few weeks of being single, and having a conversation with some friends, I found myself frustrated and emptied sitting in my driveway looking up at the stars. I don’t think I have ever asked God a direct question, as if He were a real person, in my entire life. So I asked Him “What do you want from me? Why do I feel like this?” Though it wasn’t a actual physical voice booming from heaven, I heard Him speak to me, “I have given this woman to you to make you holy, and you have used her and thrown her away like a piece of trash. You’ll understand my love when you’re ready to lay your life down for her.” It was that point in my life, I slowly started my journey back to God.
Though it was that exact point in my life I saw God working and loving me back into the Church and into His arms, it was not an easy journey. I started praying more, adoring Christ in the Eucharist, praying with my girlfriend for the first time, and I discovered this wonderful thing called Catholic radio! I realized what an incredible task it was to be a Christian, and I thought God was calling me to the priesthood. Spoiler alert, I married that beautiful woman, and she is the mother of our four beautiful children. We pray together as a family, we pray together as a couple. We attend Eucharistic adoration as a family. We have prayer dates on Fridays. We read the Sunday readings as a family, and are Catholic podcast junkies. We are continually discerning where as a family, God wants us to pour out our lives. He is still calling me through the emptiness. It was always Him and I was never alone.
Meet: Tuesdays at 7 p.m.
At this time we have no room for new members.
I have always believed in God, always knew He was there for me, always felt His love. I have a childlike faith, and it was this faith that was going to show me a deeper meaning of His love.
When I was in my late teens my girlfriends from work invited me to go to Mass with them. I wasn’t a Catholic, but I wanted to see where they worshiped and so I went. The minute I stepped through the door of that church I felt something pulling me, drawing me in. As I sat through the Mass that feeling never left me. When the priest held up the bread and the wine and said, “This is My Body, this is My Blood,” my faith took over. I knew there was something deeper going on here than I had ever seen before, a profound mystery in which I wanted to partake. This was not merely bread and wine, this was much more. This was the Jesus I had known all my life. This experience was the first step of a journey that would lead me to becoming a Catholic.
Many years and many experiences later I still marvel that Jesus loves me so much that He would die for me. We come to Mass not to be entertained. We come to Mass because our Lord is here. We come to worship Him, and adore Him, and to thank Him for all He has done for us. He climbed on that cross, allowed Himself to be nailed to it, and then died for us. What greater ways is there to show His love for us? The nails didn’t hold Him to the cross. His love did. I pray all who are seeking something bigger than what the world is offering would encounter the profound Mystery that I did so long ago, and come to see with the eyes of faith the One who loves them beyond measure, Jesus Christ.
We have an opening for 2 couples, preferably in their late 20’s or early 30’s.
I grew up in a Catholic home where my siblings and I went to Mass every week, received the Sacraments, and prayed daily, because that’s what we were “supposed” to do. I viewed God as an authority figure or a magician when I really needed something, but never a friend whom I desired to have a personal relationship with. To no fault of their own, my parents passed on the faith to us kids in the way they knew best. But looking back, I was really taught more rules than offered an encounter with Christ.
Most of my friends growing up were from the Catholic schools I attended. While we were considered “good kids,” Jesus was never something we discussed outside of “Religion” class. Deep down, I desired more of a relationship with Jesus, but was afraid to be “one of those people” who read the bible or listened to Christian music. So, I just tried to fit into the secular culture.
While I always strived to uphold the faith, it was not until college that I really encountered Jesus. I met a group of friends who were truly Catholic and fun….and proud of their faith! Until that point, I didn’t realize Catholics could or should have a personal relationship with Jesus. It was so attractive to be near these friends who all loved Him and were “still normal”. Their faith inspired me to take a deeper look at my own relationship with God and I started to grow closer to Him. Attending mass outside of a weekend was something I would have never considered before, but after time, I longed to receive more of Jesus in the Eucharist and in Adoration.
As I continued on my faith journey, The Lord blessed me with an amazing husband (James), who also has a deep, personal relationship with The Lord. Together, we are striving to grow closer to Him everyday while being a light of His love to draw others closer as well. We are also looking forward to raising children in the Catholic faith, as we anticipate the birth of our first baby this November. Praise God!
Meets: Monday evenings 6:45-8:45 p.m. | Our home
Dennis’ Contact Information:
Phone: (734) 718-1655
We have room for 2 more people.
Loretta’s Faith Story
Raised in a Protestant church-going family, throughout my life I regularly attended church and frequently prayed. Then in 2014, after being married 28 years to a Catholic man, attending Catholic mass and raising our three children in the Catholic Church, I decided to join The Church. My time in RCIA was rich, impactful, life-changing, and a turning point in my faith; so much more than I ever expected. It was an awesome journey that helped me to truly know Christ. If you but crack the door open to Christ, he will burst in with all His love and grace. My spiritual life and prayer life has been lifted to a whole new level. My conversion also affected our grown children. It increased my family’s awareness of the beauty, depth, and purpose of their Church.
The call to host a Discipleship Group was very strong. What a wonderful way to help each other continue our faith journeys. Learning, growing and challenging ourselves to be disciples of Christ in our everyday life. My enthusiasm continues and every day I strive to be a faithful disciple of Christ. God has blessed me thoroughly in my life, even through some tough times. His Grace is the strength we need to live the life He means for us to live.
Dennis’ Faith Journey
No single event ignited my faith journey. Rather, I have been following an on-again/off-again path until a few years ago when my faith has continuously grown. As a cradle Catholic, and child whose parents were very active in their church, I was regularly exposed to a strong Catholic faith. I approach my faith similar to other aspects of my life, from an academic and intellectual perspective. However, once I started to develop a more personal relationship, my faith grew exponentially.
Trust in God’s will and plan was key for my relationship with Christ. It was essential for me to transition from what I knew to what I believe. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” This verse really challenged my “intellectual” approach to faith. I realized that I was leaning too much on my own understanding and abilities to handle life’s challenges. Once I started to trust God and surrender control to Him, a greater sense of peace started to take over my life.
We are all called to trust in God to live as His disciples. Being a part of a Discipleship Group has allowed me to not only continue my intellectual faith journey, but also trust in how God wants me to live it out as well.
Meets: Tuesdays, 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. | Oberski Home
Phone: (734) 846-9033
New group just forming. Multiple openings.
My faith journey is I was born and raised in a Catholic home, attended weekly mass, received my sacraments, went to college met a nice Catholic boy, and got married. Throughout college and thereafter, independence was a big temptation. My husband and I, didn’t fall away from the Church but didn’t attend regularly either.
In asserting my grown up independence, I didn’t want to listen to the why of going to church or what the Church taught. My personal relationship with Christ was my own and no one was going to tell me how to be in that relationship. Truthfully, I was on the boat in the storm with Jesus yelling “save me,” so focused on myself I forgot he too was in the storm resting.
Fast forward to sacrament time for our oldest daughter. We opted to participate in the family program at OLGC, it’s what took up the least amount of time. Good knew us better. When our eldest daughter started her confirmation prep, we would sit in talks with speakers during that time. So many thoughts and ideas were discussed I had no clue what to think, nor had answers for my child’s questions. God was knocking on the door and I could hear him. Then we were challenged to spend time in Eucharistic Adoration. That year I made a New Years Resolution to sit 1 hour/week in adoration. At first, it was simply to read the weekday readings in prep for the following Sunday, it’s been almost 4 yrs and I cherish my time with the Lord. This one gesture helped change my life. God knocked, all I had to do was open the door for him.
Now, I have a strong prayer life and thankful for God’s mercy and love throughout my life. Hindsight is 20/20, I can see how he was with me, and my family, during the calm and the storms of every day. Life with 2 girls ages 12 and 13 is not always easy, ok it’s exhausting most days, but knowing Jesus and letting the Holy Spirit guide our family is helping us teach his truth to our girls. Hopefully, by sharing this walk with Jesus with others we can help our families grow into a deeper relationship with Christ as we all navigate the teen years.
Meets: Wednesday mornings 10 a.m.-12 p.m. | Angela Hospice, Livonia
Phone: (734) 416-1381
We currently have two openings available.
As a child, I received the teachings and Sacraments of the Catholic Church through Catechism classes. Being a product of public high school and universities, I became a “one hour a week” Catholic. This persisted through five years of military service and into the early years of civilian life and marriage to my wife, Terise.
At that time my personal goals were “to be the best I could be” and “to make the world a better place.” In the working world such idealistic goals striving for the common good met with resistance. Often they conflicted with the self-centered goals of higher political authorities, which were characterized by “what’s in it for me” and “my preferences first.”
The resulting disillusionments with human institutions led me on paths to seek greater fulfillment through faith in Jesus Christ. More time and attention was given to prayer, scripture study, sacraments and Christian fellowship. Such faith enabled me to combat and survive multiple health obstacles as well as an abrupt retirement from the working world.
As a retiree, still growing in faith, I am striving to seek the truth and become a disciple of Christ.
Stan’s Faith Journey
I am a “cradle Catholic” who was blessed to be born in Chicago and to be raised in a family of members of “the greatest generation.” They quietly showed me that they were good disciples of Jesus by their actions, not just their words.
Our Catholic high school religion classes were some of the first to be modified by the actions of the second Vatican Council. I appreciated that I was able to participate more fully in the Mass in English even though I knew exactly what was happening in Latin by using my missal. I was active in, and even president of, the Catholic Newman Club in college, but fell into lazy religious practices after graduation and moving to Michigan. Then I met my wife, Marilyn, and she has inspired me to want to follow Jesus more closely for the last 44 years!
Our married life has been blessed with, three, now grown, children, and six grandchildren, who helped me practice some of the self-giving of our parents and grandparents.
A Ford Motor Company assignment to live abroad for four years gave us the opportunity to practice our Catholic Faith as a 10% minority in England as well as to be weekly Christian worshippers who are also a 10% group.
After we returned home, I made frequent business trips to Europe. I was very late in arriving for my 1 p.m., December 21, 1988, Pan Am flight to Detroit. I just made it as they closed the door and we taxied off. I was relieved to be able to make the early flight so that I could see my sons play hockey. If I missed the 1 p.m. flight, I could get the 6 p.m. flight, but would miss the game. I had the best flight ever. I was upgraded to 1st class and sat next to a Ford supplier colleague who was an evangelical Christian. He never had the chance to talk to a Catholic, and we enjoyed six hours of great conversation and food.
When we arrived in Detroit, I was the first one off the plane and breezed through Customs & Immigration in record time. When the exit door to the terminal opened, I was greeted by a microphone put into my face by a Channel 7 News reporter. He asked me if I knew anyone on the 6 p.m. Pan Am flight 103 which had just crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland. Just then, Marilyn ran up to me and our hug was on the 10 p.m. news.
This incident caused me to think and pray seriously about what God wanted me to do with the rest of my life. The call to be an after-school catechist came first. Soon came EME, Parish Christian Service Commission Co-chair, 4 p.m. Mass Guitar Group, New Leaven, Alpha, Unbound Prayer Ministry and now Discipleship Group Host/Leader. I can’t wait to see where the Holy Spirit is leading us to say “Yes!” to Jesus in the many new ways available to us in our Parish!
Marilyn’s Faith Journey
I was raised in a very devout Catholic family. My parents were active in the Church. Mom was in the Rosary Sodality and dad was an usher. There were nine of us growing up in a small home by today’s standards. The two oldest siblings, dad and mom are hopefully with the Lord.
At a very early age, God planted in my heart a desire to help others to know Him. I had a built in class with five younger siblings. Our basement walls could attest to it.
I attended St. Mary Catholic school for 8 years. It was no surprise to my parents that I wanted to enter the Felician Academy to dedicate my life to the Lord. After high school, a group of us aspirants entered the Felician sisters’ novitiate in Livonia. My faith life continued to grow, focusing on the interior life as well as the externals.
Then came the Vatican II Council. It was a very exciting time in the Church. The Holy Spirit was stirring the pot, and allowing fresh air into our lives. Along with it came much confusion and upheaval. I believed I could do more for the Lord outside of the convent walls.
I always had a great devotion to St. Anthony. I prayed to him to help me find a loving faith-filled Catholic man. Our Catholic faith has always been very important to us. We have been blessed with 3 adult children and 5 grandchildren. We are now helping our grandchildren get to know God’s love for them.
God has always been a big part of my life, even when I struggled with certain issues. There were times I felt like St. Peter, following Jesus from afar. Jesus would always pull me back into a deeper relationship with Him.
A big change in my life came when I attended Dun Scotus and was baptized in the Holy Spirit. It was a very powerful experience and I became involved in the Charismatic Movement, especially the healing ministry. The Holy Spirit is alive and well, working mightily in the Church today.
One of the best times of my life was serving as DRE at OLGC. It was a privileged ministry, and a very important responsibility. The sacramental retreats and celebrations were a high point of the year. God cannot be outdone in generosity, and the rewards were a hundred fold.
God, each other and our family are our lives. We are so blessed to be a part of so many ministries in our parish. My hope when God calls me home is that I will hear Him say, well done good and faithful servant.
Meets: Thursday evenings 7-9 p.m.
Phone: (313) 330-1006
Currently, there are only 5 people (excluding myself) committed to the group. One other person will likely join us, but that depends on her work schedule.
My Catholic upbringing was fairly typical. I recall regularly attending Mass with my parents and devotedly celebrating Lent, Easter and Christmas with family. Like most children who were raised in a Catholic home, I received the Sacraments of Holy Eucharist, Reconciliation and Confirmation, and attended Catholic schools where I obtained the majority of my faith formation at that time.
As a young adult, most (if not all) of my participation in the faith was motivated by either habit or a perceived obligation. I slowly became aware that I lacked an authentic desire to know and spend time with our Lord. Regardless of my earlier formation I attribute that ‘lack’ to not really understanding who I was as a creation and child of God. My personal relationship with Him was non-existent, and I slowly fell away from the Church.
Many years later as a mature adult, I felt drawn back to my faith and began to regularly attend Mass. I enjoyed being back in church but realized that I still didn’t know that much more about my faith than when I fell away years before. However, one thing was clear. I now had a genuine desire to learn more about my Catholic faith, and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. With this new found enthusiasm I began to read the Bible and attend Bible studies, talks and presentations to help me understand Salvation history.
My thirst for God’s Word seemed unquenchable. I also knew I had to go back to confession. So, after many years of separation from God, I made a sincere confession. This was where my faith journey really began…the day I was forgiven and welcomed home. Today, I embrace my faith and have a personal relationship with the Lord. I know with certainty He is always with me and I’m never alone. No two faith journeys are the same; they cannot be. God speaks to each of us in His own way and in His own time. I can’t express my gratitude enough for the path He helped me find and the faith journey I’m traveling.
Meets: Monday evenings 6:30 p.m.
Tim’s Contact Information:
Phone: (734) 765-1548
I am a cradle Catholic who was raised well by my parents in a close family. I learned to say my prayers (“Bless us O Lord and these, thy gifts…” before meals and “God bless mommy and daddy…” at bed time), I went to church every week and received the sacraments, and I tried to lead a good life. I was your typical cookie cutter Catholic going through the motions.
At some point in my adult life I felt like I wanted to get involved with something at the church, but I just didn’t know what. I didn’t know where to fit in and so I hesitated to do something about it. Then, during our 2013 Parish Mission here at OLGC, Father John spoke to us about “dropping our nets” as Peter and the other apostles did and truly becoming a disciple and I really felt called to serve.
Shortly after that I went through the Alpha program and my table host suggested that I could be a host the next time we ran the program. I wasn’t sure I could do it but, remembering Father John’s words about “dropping the nets,” I decided to drop mine and dive in. My wife Monica and I decided to host Alpha together and so I became a table host while she became our table helper. Doing this as a husband-and-wife team was a blessing, and it really helped both of us to grow in our faith. We could immediately see the impact it was having in our parish and how it was building community and felt it was where God called us to serve. We have since then hosted Alpha four times and a New Leaven modular group, and have joined the prayer ministry team as well.
You may have heard Father John talk about 3 phases in our journey of “Encounter, Grow, and Witness.” We had a life changing encounter with Jesus through Alpha. We are now growing as disciples and are part of the pilot group of Discipleship Group (DG) leaders. Our group is helping each other grow in our faith and I encourage everyone at OLGC to join a DG. It will help you grow too. So don’t hesitate. Drop your nets and dive in. We are all called to be disciples and witness to others who may or may not know Jesus.
Meet: Tuesdays 7-9 p.m.
Jack’s Number: (248) 739-1895
Anna’s Number: (248) 808-1062
12 in group, including Anna & Jack. Currently not accepting new members.
Throughout the course of 40 years of marriage, Jack and I both had conversions to the faith. Our conversions did not happen at the same time, but we supported each other when they occurred.
I did not grow up practicing any type of religion, but I felt that God was calling me. Jack grew up as a “cradle Catholic.” I decided to become Catholic a year after our wedding. I was baptized, confirmed, and received the Eucharist at the Easter Vigil. We practiced our faith for several years but didn’t really have a “relationship” with God. When our children were young, I got very sick. My illness went undiagnosed for several years. Those were very difficult years for me. In my despair, I sought out Jesus as I looked for physical healing What I found was something much better than that. I found Jesus! I found Him in the beauty of the Catholic Church. I found Him in the Mass, at “healing” Masses and in the sacraments. I found Him in the Saints. I learned about The Blessed Mother and how to pray the Rosary, novenas, and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. I attended Catholic presentations and talks, and met holy men and women. I was blessed to see the Shroud and Eucharistic Miracle in Italy, which further solidified my faith. All of these experiences increased my faith. I fell in love with Jesus and the Catholic Church, and I wanted to share it with everyone! I would share everything with my family and friends. I took the children and Jack to as many Masses and talks as possible.
Jack was always spiritual. He always prayed. He never missed a Mass. But he now knows he was just going through the motions. He tells me that my encouragement led him to spend more time in prayer and read things he was never interested in. While reading the Pieta prayer book, he described “a lightbulb turning on” experience. That was the start of his conversion. The Holy Spirit illuminated his intellect and he was then on fire for God! He desired more. Jack drove by Our Lady of Good Counsel Church one afternoon and felt compelled to visit the church. When he walked in, Jack immediately felt a peace like nothing else. He explains, “I felt like I was home.” From that moment on, we were parishioners! We are blessed to be a part of this parish family.
We love our Catholic Church. We want to share Christ with others. We are open to where the Holy Spirit wants to work in our life and when the Holy Spirit wants to work through us. Praise God!
Meet: Wednesdays following the 6:00 p.m. Mass at OLGC Church for the Rerouting Deeper Dive Sessions.
Our group is full. We have no openings at the moment.
Brian’s Faith Journey
I was born and raised in a Catholic family, but faith wasn’t central to my life as a youth. It was during college that my faith started to grow. I returned to attending Mass regularly, grew closer to Our Lady, and met Louise – my wife, my best friend, and my partner on this faith journey over the past 30 years. Louise’s gentle encouragement, her knowledge of the faith, and her personal example – plus, of course, God’s grace – have continued to show me the path forward.
Having a large family – seven kids – has strengthened my faith. A strong faith helps me get through the challenges of everyday life, plus it’s harder to fake it with a lot of little ones watching your every move. My daughter Bridget’s four year battle with a rare brain tumor also drew me closer to the Lord. Her faith, her simple and unconditional love of Jesus, her ability to live “Every Day with Joy” – even in the midst of so much physical pain – continues to inspire my relationship with the Lord.
I am far from perfect. Some days I feel incredibly close to Jesus, and other days my faith seems so shallow and distant from the Lord, but my journey continues.
Louise’s Faith Journey
My faith journey began in my childhood before I can really remember. My parent’s Catholic faith was the center of their lives and they encouraged me to have a relationship with the Lord and His church. My dad was ordained a Permanent Deacon while I was in middle school and our family became even more involved in parish life. I was a leader in a Catholic youth retreat group in high school, but during my college years faith took a back seat to the rest of life. I still went to Mass, but I was basically just going through the motions.
It was my senior year of college that I had a renewal of my faith after a vivid dream and an experience of the Lord calling me back to a fuller life in the Church. The next day I signed up for a Life in the Spirit Seminar. I had made the decision during that time to be more intentional in my relationship with the Lord, but found I was lacking in the ability and knowledge to defend the faith. I took some Catholic theology classes and ultimately completed my Masters degree in Theology and Christian Ministry. I have been blessed over the years to be able to use the knowledge I gained to serve in varied ministries and help others to develop a deeper relationship with the Lord.
My husband Brian and I have been married 25 years, and I am so grateful to share this journey with him and our 7 children. I have had many ups and downs in my relationship with the Lord, but I continue to strive to follow Him.
At this time, we do not have any openings. We have a family DG, so everyone brings their kids, we eat and pray together as a whole group, then we have sitters come to play with the kids while the adults watch the videos and have discussions.
Our names are Adam and Nikki Van Dis, and we’ve been blessed to be members of Our Lady of Good Counsel since the beginning of 2014. We have one daughter (age 10) and three sons (ages 8, 3, and 2) that fill us with joy, love, and a lot of humility.
Nikki was raised in a Catholic family and never strayed far from the faith. Although prayer and church were always a part of life, it wasn’t until preparing for marriage that my relationship with Jesus really became a central, guiding presence. Looking back at my young adult years, I realize that I used God more as a magic genie than as the Lord of my life. I sought praise and acceptance from many relationships that failed to direct me towards being the person I was created to be. Once Adam and I began preparing for marriage and I seriously started looking into the Catholic faith, I realized that I was longing for a perfect, unconditional acceptance that only Jesus can fulfill. From that time on, faith has been so much more than just a box to check, a way to be presentable, or a hope that my wishes will magically be answered. I still struggle to grasp just how deeply God loves me, just as I am, despite all my flaws. However, as I surrender more and more of my life into His loving hands, the peace and joy that fills my soul provides the assurance I need to live each part of my life as His disciple.
Adam was brought up in a loving, faithful, Christian home. As I neared my teenage years, church was not something that I wanted to be a part of. Many different influences drew me further and further from Christ. I gave in to temptations that led to a lifestyle of vandalism, theft, alcohol abuse, drug experimentation, and destruction. The further I got from God, the more desperate I felt. Although I was a model student, successful athlete, and well liked friend, I was hurting inside. I numbed my conscience to sin and lost myself in the process. While dating Nikki, I was re-introduced to Jesus in the Catholic Church. After graduating college, I began learning more about the faith and was drawn in, especially by the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. I went through RCIA and received the Sacraments in 2005. Since that time, I have experienced the peace of Christ and know that everything I was searching for in my earlier years has been found in the Church.
We long to give our children the love and peace that is only available in Christ. We rely on the grace of the Sacraments to guide our parenting and our decision making. Of course, that is often easier to say than to live. So, as many times and we fail, we know that Jesus will pick us back up and that the Holy Spirit will be there to show us the way to the Father.
We have 9 members and are not accepting new members.
I am married to my wonderful wife, Kathy, for almost 50 years … we live in Livonia where we raised 4 beautiful kids … all are now grown and with families of their own. We’ve 5 grandchildren who give us plenty to do. Kathy and I are cradle Catholics and we raised our kids as Catholic. We met on a blind date and married when we finished college. I grew up in a loving mixed-faith family … we always went to church and I attended the parish grade school and an all-boys Catholic high school.
My encounters with Christ have been a life-long experience … although I frequently did not recognize them … I found Jesus mainly in people and through His Spirit in me. Raising our four kids was a challenge … Kathy and I got them through 12 years of Catholic education. I was involved in the many things a father does … coach and cheerleader for them all. I participated in parish activities because people tapped me on the shoulder … I was and am a lector, extraordinary minister, Religious Ed teacher, parish council president, Education Commission and Worship Commission member. I attend Mass daily at 6:30 where I lector, work as a sacristan and server. I conduct Communion Services when a priest is not available to say Mass. All good activities that seemed to follow the path that God had called me to journey … but something seemed missing … I was doing stuff … but I felt a void … and it seemed to be a meaningful relationship with Jesus … was I doing what he what he wanted of me. All of this raised a question — did I understand what was the right behavior for the culture and for what the Christian life should be? Was there something more for me to do and to be? Was God calling me to something new?
In the late 90’s things were in flux … I had worked for Ford for 30 years … I was offered a buyout almost 19 years ago — God said to me that it was time to go … I’ve got some other things for you to do – I was 53. Kathy and I decided we could make it work and so a new life began. Since 1999 I’ve worked as a volunteer for many of God’s people — a school teacher (computers & religion) at St. Michael’s in Livonia and spiritual care support person for Angela Hospice and Livonia Woods Nursing Home. I completed a two-year internship in Ignatian Spirituality at Manresa Jesuit Retreat House and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. I took a part time job at Manresa and for about 8 years I ran a Dinner Auction Event to raise money for the retreat house. Additionally, I have been participating in seminars and reading programs on classical spiritual writers and modern saints. For the past 10 years, I’ve been a part of the Men’s Spirituality Group (leading it the last 3 years) and have been conducting Bible Studies on several of the Jeff Cavins’ programs. I’ve been involved with the Alpha program since the fall of 2013 and hosted small groups on 8 occasions at both OLGC and St. Michael’s.
And so? God raised the bar a bit … discipleship. Jesus last words in Matthew’s Gospel were to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” Maybe, I reasoned, that this is what I have been doing all along – it’s what I am called to do – making disciples.” But then the mission is not just mine but all of ours and I am making a new beginning.
I grew up in an intentionally Catholic home where my family and I went to Mass, received the Sacraments, prayed the Rosary and went to Adoration when we could.
I’ve always had faith in God, and that has not waivered. But like so many others, I strayed from the Faith in high school and college. I realize now that many times I was just going through the motions, and allowing myself to get caught up in whatever life was throwing at me. I don’t believe that I was intentionally seeking God’s will for my life except when I came upon difficult challenges. Although I don’t remember ever intentionally missing Mass, I know that I was living on the edge and not really living like a follower of the Lord.
Toward the end of high school I had an encounter with the Lord during a trip to Europe. I became aware of the presence of God in a more tangible way. I came home with a renewed decision to follow Him.
College was pretty uneventful as far as my faith life was involved. I decided to go to law school after college, where I met my husband John. John was Catholic, too and shared the vision that our children should be raised Catholic. God has blessed us with four children, all adults now, and one beautiful grandchild. We just celebrated 34 years of marriage.
When John and I were first married and starting our family, we met a family from the Word of God community. It was then that I was first exposed to Catholic charismatic worship and tradition. I later realized how much the friendship with this family helped us to be more intentional about our Faith. I went through a Life in the Spirit seminar, and became open to receiving the Gifts and Charisms of the Holy Spirit. There are a number of occasions where I encountered Jesus in a profound way and made a further commitment to be His disciple.
In 2009, I enrolled at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. I went on to fulfill all the requirements for a Certificate in Theology. My studies have enkindled in me a greater love for Christ and His Church, and have called me to greater conversion. While my studies are wonderful, at times I need to be more of a “Mary” and less of a “Martha.”
My conversion is still very much a work in progress. Since making OLGC our home, I am constantly being challenged to deeper conversion and discipleship. I have been involved in several ministries at OLGC, including the Legion of Mary, Communion to the Sick, Hospitality, Alpha and now as a co-Discipleship Group leader with our former Alpha group.
Currently accepting 2 new members.
I was born into a large Catholic family. My parents were always looking for a deeper experience of the Lord, and that led to involvement in the early days of the Catholic Charismatic renewal. As a result, I was prayed over to receive the Holy Spirit on vacation when I was 9 years old, along with the rest of my family. That was the same vacation where I learned to smoke cigarettes, so I would not say I experienced a full conversion in my life at that time.
I had many moments throughout my teens when I did give my life over to Jesus, really wanting to follow him more deeply, but I was not really ready to give up some of my attachments to sin. My parents made the decision to move to Ann Arbor from my hometown of Midland the summer before my senior year of High School. While I hated moving from my friends, in Ann Arbor I got involved in a strong ecumenical Charismatic group where I saw true faith in action on a daily basis. It was life-changing for me.
I married someone from that group of Christians. Unfortunately, he had some serious issues that lead to a divorce. I felt as if my life had been shattered. I spent five years as a single parent with three children. I went back to school, and also got an annulment during that time. I had to deal with a lot of grief, shame, and hurt. During that time, I clung to God for everything and experienced his mercy and provision even during that deeply painful time. I had to work through a lot of issues with forgiveness, and still have to deal with that.
The Lord brought my husband Kevin and I together in 1997. It was so clearly his hand at work. We had known each other since the very first week that my family had moved to Ann Arbor.
We live in Plymouth and have one child left at home who is a senior at FGR high school. Our older kids are all beyond college and some of them are married, we even have two beautiful granddaughters. Kevin and I have felt called to follow the Lord and to take action, knowing that everything we do is imperfect, but that God for some reason wants to use it anyway.
My first 40 years were spent as a Protestant, of Presbyterian persuasion. I first started reading the Bible in second grade in the privacy of my room and believed the stories to be true and wanted to be a Christian. In high school, I joined a Christian Club sponsored by the public high school which was probably the second time I turned my life over to Christ.
When I started college at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, I sought out a Christian support group. I met students part of The Word of God community that lived in dormitories nearby. I was awed by their love of God, their knowledge of the Bible, the obvious joy they felt in praise and worship. They became my best friends while at U-M. It was through them I turned my life over to Christ for a third time and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. A couple years later, I met my future brother-in-law who introduced me to my future wife (although we actually didn’t date and marry for another 20 years).
Upon graduation, I joined something like a religious order, actually a brotherhood, comprised of Catholics and non-Catholics. I was among the few being non-Catholic. There I spent time each day in personal prayer and went to work performing business management and fundraising functions for a ministry to advance ecumenism and the spread of the Good News to both Catholics and non-Catholics. I did this for 14 years until an unfortunate rift occurred fracturing the ministry and The Word of God community into a mere shadow of its prior existence. This crisis caused me to leave the religious order.
I struggled for 5 years to become established and “find my feet.” Then MaryBeth and I crossed paths after 20 years. We both graduated from Eastern on the same day. Within seven months we were married making me an instant family man of 3 children. A year later, we added a son. That’s when I was startled by my father who mentioned it was okay if I became a Catholic. I went through RCIA at OLGC, and have been through New Leaven, Alpha, attend the weekly Men’s Prayer Breakfast, and now I feel called to be part of the Discipleship Groups here.
Currently accepting 8 new members. (NEW GROUP)
I grew up in a Lutheran home where faith was something relegated to attending Sunday services. Prayer and Scripture reading was not part of my upbringing. This pattern continued into young adulthood. I was married in the Catholic Church and I agreed to rear any children we might have in the Catholic faith.
Faith was not the center of my life until my wife divorced me after 10 years of marriage. My family was everything to me. In desperation, I called out to God asking Him to heal our broken home. I started pouring over Scripture, seeking wisdom and knowledge for my situation. I encountered Jesus in the Gospels and it changed my life. I began to attend RCIA classes. Christ became the center of my life. I fell in love with Jesus and His Church. During a particularly difficult time in my desert experience of divorce, I was praying intensely for the salvation of my wife and the healing of my marriage. I received Baptism in the Holy Spirit and began praying in tongues. I felt an immense warmth and peace wash over me. I heard God clearly tell me that my marriage would be healed. Eight years after our divorce, my wife came home. A little more than two years later, my wife died from complications from radiation treatment for cancer 25 years earlier. My strong faith and trust in God helped me again to deal with this loss. I would not have been able to survive either of these events without my personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
My thirst for knowledge of God that began 25 years ago continues to this day. Part of that journey was receiving a Masters of Art in Pastoral Studies Degree from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in April, 2016. Daily, I pray for God’s will to be done in my life.
I grew up in a home with a mixed-faith tradition. My mother was a practicing Catholic while my father was a non-practicing Methodist. I attended CCD and received the sacraments of baptism, first Holy Communion and confirmation. But I practiced the Catholic faith out of fear and obligation. I knew about Jesus but didn’t know Jesus. That changed during my freshman year in college when I attended a Campus Crusade for Christ rally and invited Jesus to be my Lord and Savior.
That encounter was the best thing that has ever happened in my life. From that moment, everything changed. Scripture leapt off the page. Prayer became a conversation. My greatest desire was to serve the Lord. I quickly got involved in the Charismatic Renewal and helping other students encounter Jesus through Antioch retreats.
For the past 40+ years, I have sought to learn and grow in my faith, as well as serve the Lord. I have been involved in marriage preparation and enrichment, parish renewal and prolife initiatives. In addition, I have been involved in the Charismatic Renewal, the Secular Franciscan Order and Marriage Encounter. Presently, I am pursuing a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary.
We met on Ave Maria Single Catholics Online and courted long distance for several months before marrying in December, 2002. We live in Northville, Michigan. Together, we have three grown children and four grandchildren.