From Fields to Faith – new appointment at Archdiocese

A former general manager of the National Trust is joining the Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham this week (Thursday 1 March).

David Brooks is the new Diocesan Chief Operating Officer, having been appointed by His Grace, Archbishop Bernard Longley.

The 58-year-old has answered the calling for the new role and is stepping out of retirement to say yes to God.

David, a parishioner at Saints Peter and Paul in Brailes, near Banbury, has been involved with the life of the Church for many years. Married to Catherine for 35 years they have three grown-up sons, and one grandson. The couple love to travel, with Italy being their favourite holiday destination.

“I have to thank our parish priest, Fr Brian, who posted a copy of the job advert on our church noticeboard and mentioned it to me,” said David.

“I was thinking about whether I should apply when a few days later at Mass, on the feast of SS Simon and Jude, Fr Brian was talking in his homily about discipleship and in summing up he said, ‘there is nothing more worthwhile than giving our time in the service of God’s kingdom’.

“That was the moment I realised I needed to trust in God, say ‘yes’ and offer myself for the role.”

Before his four-year role at the National Trust, David was a senior manager for 30 years with BP, working in a variety of roles including Director of Asset Development and Head of Business Services in the UK, and Director of National Operations in South Africa.

He has overseen multi-disciplinary teams responsible for all major commercial and administrative functions and has extensive experience working in large, complex and dispersed organisations.

David is currently a Director of both the Pope Francis and Lumen Christi Multi Academy Companies.

“I have always supported Catholic education, all three of our children went to Catholic primary and secondary schools, in fact we relocated so that we could send the boys to Blessed George Napier in Banbury,” he said.

“Over the years I have found the time to support our schools as a Governor and more recently as a Director of both Pope Francis and Lumen Christi Multi Academy Companies.

“Our schools need our support and you don’t need to have children at the school to offer your help. They play a vital role in helping our young people understand how the Gospel teachings can shape their lives and improve the world in which they will grow up. I would encourage all parishioners to think about how they can support our schools, we need more people to get involved.”

David joins a growing number of Chief Operating Officers already in place at other Diocese’ across the country.

In his new role he will consider and direct the implementation of the Diocesan Trustees’ Strategy as it seeks to meet the challenges posed by changes in society, and by the need to reallocate resources to engage the laity more in the life of the Church.  Thereby enabling priests and deacons to focus their ministries on teaching, sanctifying, evangelising and offering pastoral care and leadership.

“I am looking forward to developing a deeper understanding of the work of the diocese in all its diversity and to help the teams that support that work,” added David.

“To be able to serve and support the diocese whilst leading the team in this role is both an honour and a blessing. I have no doubt that the role will present many challenges, however I feel that the depth and breadth of my experience combined with lots of prayer will give me what it takes to carry out the role successfully.

“The diocese faces many challenges in the future and I am sure that the central team can continue to develop appropriate responses that will help clergy and parishes to spread the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and deliver our mission to serve the people living within the diocese.”

Archbishop Bernard added: “I am delighted that David has agreed to become our new Chief Operating Officer. Establishing a good working relationship with all our priests and deacons will be a key part of his role and I am grateful that he already has such good experience of working collaboratively with clergy within the Archdiocese. I pray for David as he prepares to take up his new work at the beginning of March.”

As a result of the new appointment Deacon David Palmer will step back from his day-to-day management role, although he will continue as Diocesan Treasurer and remain a Trustee.