Veronica, a former teacher of English, Drama and Religious Education, lives with her husband Sean, in the parish of St. Agnes at Eccleston, Chorley and joined the Pastoral Formation Department in June 2008.
Through involvement in various ministries within her local parish in Salford diocese, Veronica was invited by her parish priest to consider a one year part-time course in Pastoral Ministry being run by the Upholland Northern Institute. After completing this she began full time work as a diocesan adviser for adult formation and parish development. As part of her continuing development Veronica began a part-time Masters Degree in Religious Studies at Manchester University which helped to deepen her existing passion for scripture. Veronica says: ‘For me, one of the great gifts from the Second Vatican Council was the desire that everyone should have easy access to scripture and I feel I have received some of the first fruits of this imperative. Working with scripture really underpins my goals and strategies as coordinator for adult faith formation.
Veronica also works for the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales within the Department of Evangelisation & Catechesis and also for the Celebrating Family: Blessed, Broken, Living Love initiative. A short term temporary contract enabled her to contribute to the production of the Home is a Holy Place resource.
Mrs Maureen Knight
Advisor for Adult Faith Formation
Maureen began working for the department even before its formal launch in 1982. She trained and worked as a secretary and then as a co-ordinator of volunteers for the International Voluntary Service and became a member of Sefton’s Community Health Council. After completing her Open University course in community work with people with disabilities, she became secretary of the Archdiocesan Marriage and Family Life Committee. In February 1982 the Pastoral Formation Department was launched and Maureen became part of the team that was soon offering catechetical courses such as: ‘The Basic Course in Adult Christian Education’, ‘Servants of the Kingdom’, and courses of preparation for Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Marriage and Reconciliation. Maureen has been involved in many collaborative projects at local and national levels and co-authored the ‘Moments That Matter’ series for parents of primary school children and the ‘Celebrate Together’ resource for First Holy Communion. One of Maureen’s biggest challenges came in 1987 when she was responsible for coordinating the formation of over 1400 new Special Ministers of Holy Communion when the archdiocese introduced Holy Communion under both kinds at Mass. Maureen has also taken courses in Bereavement Counselling at the Alder Centre and helped introduce the Rainbows programme for children who have suffered family breakdown or loss. She is a Registered Director for the Rainbows programme.
Since the Irenaeus Project for Spirituality (http://www.irenaeus.co.uk) began Maureen has been helping to lead retreats and days of recollection and she is a member of the Bishops’ Conference working group on spirituality. She continues to co-ordinate the initial and ongoing formation of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and the training opportunities offered to leaders of Children’s Liturgy of the Word. Maureen's main work focusses on the support of people in ministries of pastoral care, including Bereavement Teams, Lay Funeral Ministers, and those involved with people living with dementia or other mental health issues. She chairs the archdiocesan Lay Funeral Ministry Committee and the Dementia Working Group, offering initial formation, continuing development, and days of reflection for those involved in these important ministries. Maureen is involved in the preparations for the Eucharistic Congress in September 2018 and the Archdiocesan Synod in 2020.
Mrs Maureen O’Brien
Coordinator for Marriage and Family Life Ministry
Maureen O’Brien lives in the parish of Holy Rosary, in Aintree and has three grown up children. Maureen began work as the assistant coordinator for adult faith formation with special responsibility for marriage and family life ministry in September 2009. Maureen was married for seventeen years and has been a single mum for twenty-seven years ‘so she can certainly relate to the many joys and sorrows that family life can bring.’ Maureen has worked in an array of roles throughout her career, the majority of which have been customer focused which is a great advantage to her role.
Maureen attended Hope University from 2005-2009 and gained her Foundation Degree in Pastoral Leadership. Maureen’s ministry enables her to make personal contact with parishioners and clergy across the archdiocese, offering pastoral support to all who are involved in the work of preparing and affirming Marriage and Family Life in the parishes.
Field Worker for the Justice and Peace Commission
The Justice and Peace Commission highlights the importance of social justice issues and it tries to remind people that the church has a provocative mission to the world and in the world. Church is a place where we engage with, rather than escape from, the world. This service of God through service of each other brings joy not gloom.
The commission works through the principles of the Pastoral Cycle: See – Judge – Act.
Before his appointment as field worker in 2004, Steve worked as a drama teacher for over 30 years. From 1999 he was a member of the Justice and Peace Commission, sitting for a period as its chair. A visit to Bangladesh in 2000 as a CAFOD Millennium Awardee was a life-changing experience.
He enjoys working with adults to explore their faith and is involved in developing and facilitating the Faith for Life programme across the diocese and further afield. He is a frequent visitor to parishes and welcomes invitations to work with groups or to give talks. March 2018 will see his 100-monthly column in the Catholic Pictorial.
Steve lives with his wife Anne in the parish of St John in Wigan. Their five children are grown-up and the first grandchild is expected any day soon.