News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool
Kenny Lawler credits two people for leading him down the path to his new role as one of the Archdiocese of Liverpool’s new pastoral associates. One is his wife, Carolyn, who saw the post advertised and suggested that he apply. The other, poignantly, is Julie, a former colleague and close friend whose death in a road accident last summer prompted a period of deep soul-searching on the part of the 41-year-old.
‘I lost a very good friend of mine through tragic circumstances and it felt like it was time for a change,’ he explains. ‘She was like an angel – she was a mentor to me in my early days of doing support work. She was naturally amazing with people and improved many lives.
‘This post came up at the right time,’ adds Kenny, who had been working as a housing support worker in Liverpool city centre. ‘I felt I was called to it.’
One of the five pastoral associates who embarked on full-time roles across the diocese in a pilot project begun in January, he is based at Our Lady Star of the Sea, Seaforth with responsibility for that parish as well as St Thomas of Canterbury and St Edmund of Canterbury, both in Waterloo.
His task, he elaborates, is to ‘link up the good work that’s already being done in the pastoral area such as faith formation and education and community, so the parishes can reach out to the community’ as well as ‘looking at new ways of how the Church can help the community’. And the first step, he continues, is ‘listening to people and then discerning what issues people are concerned about, what’s working well and what isn’t working well in the community. It’s in alignment with what’s happening with the Synod as well. I want to meet as many people as possible and invite people to talk to me.’
As well as presentations at Masses across the three parishes, he has been introduced via their newsletters and can be reached through each parish office. A social-media presence will follow. He adds: ‘I had a nice little conversation with someone yesterday who said, ‘Faith’s not taught, it’s caught’. It’s about reaching out and connecting people together and improving people’s lives. They are the fundamental goals.’
His employment history should help. ‘I worked for many years as a support worker with people with mental health and drug and alcohol issues. My last job was working for the Whitechapel Centre, a homeless charity, and my role was to prevent people ending up homeless so I’ve quite a lot of experience of being out in the community and linking people up with services and groups that might be of benefit to them.’
As a pastoral associate, Kenny will also start studying for an Archdiocesan diploma in Pastoral Ministry and Leadership – a course offered by Loyola University Chicago and Liverpool Hope University. For the father of four daughters aged between two and 14, a busy time beckons – though he will still have time for his fortnightly engagement at his beloved Anfield. After all, it’s in the blood. ‘My dad’s uncle used to play for Liverpool under Bill Shankly – Chris Lawler. There’s the story of my dad going around to his house and all they were ever eating was steak under instruction from Shankly!’
• To contact Kenny, email email@example.com