|Kay Dodds, founder of Changing Hearts US, prepares to record her weekly two-minute radio spot via Skype.|
The following article about the Changing Hearts Apostolate organized by
Regnum Christi member Kay Dodds is reprinted with permission from
the Criterion newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Indiana. (Click
here to read the article in the Criterion online.)
As the Dodds family gathered for a Labor Day
weekend celebration five years ago, conversation turned to the state
of the country.
“We were all talking about how horrible the
culture is,” said Kay Dodds. “Someone said, ‘Kay, you get
right on it!’ I saw [my husband] Don’s face sink,
because he knew what that would do to me.”
out Don was right. Since that conversation in September of
2009, Kay and her team have launched a national initiative
of prayer and fasting called Changing Hearts US, seeking to
change hearts—and the culture—across the nation and beyond.
‘The Lord opened
“I tried to ignore the comment,” said Dodds of her
relative’s challenge. “But the Lord wouldn’t let me alone.”
she leave the Lord alone. Dodds, a member of St.
Michael Parish in Greenfield, started an unusual novena—nine days with
time spent in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, in addition
to prayer and fasting at home.
By the end of the
novena, an ecumenical plan had emerged. It was a grand
plan, and Dodds was concerned.
“I said, ‘Lord, if you really
want this, you’ve got to open some doors for me,’
” she said. “One was for my husband to agree
that the plan was feasible. Second was for [then-St. Michael
Parish pastor Benedictine] Father Severin [Messick] to agree and approve
the plan. And third was for local ministers to agree.
Lord opened all three doors.”
The plan was to distribute bookmarks
with a prayer for a change of hearts to local
Christian congregations, and to have ecumenical prayer services monthly throughout
2010 at various churches in Hancock County, including St. Michael
Church in Greenfield.
The year of efforts ended with a
large ecumenical gathering for song and prayer at Park Chapel
Christian Church in Greenfield in October of 2010.
When it was
over, Dodds felt relief.
“I told my spiritual director, [Legion of
Christ] Father Robert [DeCesare], ‘I think we’re done!’ He looked
at me with a straight face and said, ‘But the
culture hasn’t changed yet.’ My face dropped,” said Dodds.
Four years later, what started out as a local
ministry has become a national non-profit organization called Changing Hearts
“We have three goals to help change the culture—prayer,
fasting and education,” Dodds explained. “We need more prayer warriors
because that’s how we’re going to change the culture, and
we need to educate because the mainstream media isn’t going
to tell the truth.”
Changing Hearts US still encourages prayer through
monthly ecumenical prayer services at churches in Hancock County, with
St. Michael Parish hosting one on July 17.
also still promoted through distribution of the bookmarks. But now
they’re finding their way far beyond the boundaries of Hancock
County into perpetual adoration chapels and churches in all 50
‘I settled on two minutes’
In 2011, a way to
address prayer, fasting and education at the same time presented
itself when Dodds was invited by a local Christian radio
station owner to have her own hour-long radio program.
way too long,” she said. “I settled on two minutes.”
the help of Jim Ganley, general manager of Catholic Radio
Indy, Dodds created the current format of the radio spot.
pray for two states each week, offer a fasting suggestion,
and give one praise and one prayer point having to
do with a moral issue,” she said. “We pick something
in the news that most people probably haven’t heard about,
or give a comment about things that are making headlines.”
addition to the Christian station near Greenfield, the spots now
air on 89.1 and 90.9 FM Catholic Radio Indy at
10:55 a.m. and 4:55 p.m. They also air on Real
Life Radio 1380 AM, a Catholic radio station in Lexington,
Dodds now records her messages via Skype through the
station in Lexington.
“On Wednesday mornings, they call and we Skype
it, and in 10 minutes they send it back,” said
Dodds. “It saves so much time.”
‘I ran ... yelling, “Alleluia!”
Prayer services, bookmarks and radio spots were a good start,
but Dodds was told she needed to get the message
on the Internet for it to really take off.
I talked to a friend about needing to get on
the Internet,” she said.
“Then one night, the phone rings.
A man says, ‘I understand you have a need for
a website for Changing Hearts US. I believe in your
message. I’m a web developer, and I will put a
website together for you for free.’ I ran through the
house yelling, ‘Alleluia!’ ”
The website shares the Changing Hearts US
prayer in four languages, posts a newsletter with the text
of each week’s radio spot (also available in newsletter form
via e-mail), features a prayer intention section and offers a
means to order bookmarks and donate.
“We also had a girl
put up a Facebook page for us,” said Dodds.
course, this is all volunteer. No one here gets paid.”
To help further spread the message of prayer and fasting
to return the culture to God, Changing Hearts US became
a non-profit organization last year as an apostolate under the
umbrella of the Legion of Christ’s Summit Seekers, Inc.
opened new doors,” Dodds said, noting that the non-profit status
enabled the organization to apply for grants.
In 2013, with
a grant for $2,500, Dodds and her team had red
bracelets made with the message, “Return the culture to God”
written in English on one side, in Portuguese on the
other, and included their website. They gave the bracelets to
a group of World Youth Day pilgrims from Kentucky to
distribute at the week-long event in Brazil.
“[The kids] told a
story how on the last day, a group from Argentina
came up and said ‘Are you the group with the
red bracelets? We’ve been looking for you! Do you have
enough for us?’ And they did!” said Dodds.
Through the message
of the bracelets, Changing Hearts US now has three youths
in Brazil helping to spread the message in their country.
power of one’
The success of the World Youth Day bracelets
is just one example Dodds cites as proof that the
Changing Hearts US message is working.
“I also see [results] in
Hancock County, where I see the churches working together in
unity to return the culture to God,” she said.
can’t help but feel our prayer and fasting has helped
a number of the recent changes,” she said in reference
to several religious-related rulings by the Supreme Court in June.
results give Dodds hope.
“I think people feel powerless,” she
said. “The culture is so strong. What can one person
“But I encourage people to have faith in the
power of one. The Lord calls us to try, not
to succeed—that’s his job. Nothing would happen if we didn’t
“One person can stand in the gap and ask
God, through prayer and fasting, to change the culture.”
join, support or for more information on Changing Hearts US,
log on to www.changinghearts.us. To receive their newsletter via e-mail,
contact Kay Dodds at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Following is the Changing
We come to you with heavy hearts. We
have strayed so far from your word. We seek forgiveness
and guidance. By forgetting you and straying to false philosophies,
we are becoming a godless people. In our selfish and
weakened state, we have renamed our offenses to hide our
sins. We have allowed it to be said:
That the unborn
is a “non-person” who has no rights;
That euthanasia is
“death with dignity”;
That neglecting discipline with our children builds
That filling airwaves and theaters with profanity and pornography
is “freedom of expression”;
That homosexual unions are “alternative life
That placing politics above moral values is “enlightenment.”
we know you are a powerful God, and because of
our offenses you could erase us from the Earth. But
we hope in your word, “if my people, who bear
my name, humble themselves and pray, and seek my presence
and turn from their evil ways, I myself will hear
them from heaven and pardon their sins and restore their
land” (2 Chr 7:14).
Please change our hearts and forgive
our sins! Give us the courage to proclaim your truth
to our culture. We pray all this in the Name
above all Names, Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.