In the Archdiocese of Louisville, women have held leadership roles for years, and the number of women in key roles has risen in recent years.
The editor of this paper, appointed in 2014, is the first woman to lead the diocesan paper.
In 2016, the archdiocese hired Dr. Karen Shadle to lead the Office of Worship. She succeeded another talented leader, Dr. Judy Bullock.
In 2017 Lisa DeJaco Crutcher was appointed CEO of Catholic Charities of Louisville, the archdiocese’s largest agency.
Earlier this year, the archdiocese hired Melody Denson to lead the Office of Mission Advancement and Andrea Colpo as director of personnel.
These relatively new women leaders join the ranks of other female leaders who have helped shape the diocese for decades.
The Office of Catholic Schools has operated with Superintendent Leisa Schulz at the helm for more than two decades. Schulz runs one of the largest school systems in Kentucky.
Similarly, Cecelia Price has served as the archdiocese’s chief communications officer for more than 20 years.
M. Annette Turner, executive director of the Office of Multicultural Ministry, precedes the others with three decades of leadership in the archdiocese. She is also the longest serving director of an archdiocesan agency here.
In addition to archdiocesan agencies, some parishes in the area employ women in key leadership positions, including principals and pastoral associates.
There are other women, too, who help lead and influence the archdiocese and its parishes. There are also those who came before us and those making their way toward leadership now.
None of this has happened by accident.
Dr. Brian B. Reynolds, chancellor and chief administrative officer of the archdiocese, said there has been an intentional effort to give job searches the breadth and depth necessary to reach pools of qualified candidates, including women.
“These women, among others, are enormously competent and they have assumed their roles because of their competency and expertise,” Reynolds said during a recent conversation.
He noted it’s helpful that such leaders bring with them the experience and understanding of women — who comprise half the church’s population.
“The church seems male dominated because the priesthood and diaconate are male,” he noted. “The way you bring balance to church ministry is by staffing women in key positions.
“While we could always do better to be an inclusive church — in gender and ethnicity — the archdiocese’s inclusion of women in key leadership positions — at diocesan and parish levels — is something we can be proud of,” Reynolds added.
The local church has made great strides and the archdiocese is better for it.