Dcn. Ken Bennett holds Nicodemus Davis, whom he baptized in March 2021 at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Owensboro. COURTESY OF DCN. KEN BENNETT
Liturgy supports the Church – which supports the family, says new worship office co-coordinator
BY ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD, THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLIC
When Dcn. Ken Bennett was discerning the opportunity to apply to the Diocese of Owensboro’s opening for a co-coordinator of the Office of Worship, “there were several moments when I felt the Holy Spirit was nudging me in that direction.”
“It started as a gentle nudge but ended up feeling like a Louisville Slugger,” said Dcn. Bennett, who assumed the position on August 1, 2022.
Dcn. Bennett, who celebrates his fifth anniversary of permanent diaconate ordination this month, spent 27 years in the Army Reserve, had recently retired after 34 years with the Owensboro Police Department, and “wasn’t actively pursuing a career change.”
But the Holy Spirit had other plans.
With outgoing co-coordinator of worship, Lauren Johnson, vacating the role to become the director of religious education at Sts. William and Lawrence Parishes in eastern Daviess County, Dcn. Bennett reflected on God’s plan versus his own plan – “and I thought I’d apply,” he said.
The rest was history.
Dcn. Bennett has served as a deacon at his parish of Our Lady of Lourdes ever since his 2017 ordination, but in recent years decided to further his education at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in southern Indiana. He received his master’s degree in theology in May 2022.
With his formation at Saint Meinrad and years of hands-on experience as a deacon at Lourdes – as well as his people-oriented roles in the Army Reserve and law enforcement – Dcn. Bennett feels he is ready for this new path.
He will work closely with Fr. Brandon Williams, fellow co-coordinator of the worship office, to “consult with the bishop on liturgical matters” and plan diocesan liturgies, such as Chrism Mass and ordinations.
Dcn. Bennett will help parishes place orders for workbooks and liturgical aids and keep track of any liturgical updates from the Vatican. He will also serve on various diocesan committees that require his insights from the Office of Worship.
“Liturgy is the way in which we express worship,” said Dcn. Bennett, “and the way we express worship affects our faith life daily. It’s a very vital function in the life of the Church itself.”
He pointed out that besides the Mass, there are other aspects of liturgical life that the Church celebrates, such as Liturgy of the Hours, though “of course Mass (Eucharist) is the source and summit of the Christian life.”
He said his favorite liturgy to celebrate is that of baptism.
“When you baptize a child, it is a moment of purity, innocence, newness – the opportunities are new and endless,” he said. “When I baptize a child, I have an extreme sense of hope. Hope for the Church and hope for the future.”
He added that he also has a deep love of the Catholic Church’s funeral liturgy – “because there is great hope there, too.”
Dcn. Bennett enjoys being a deacon and serving his parish community with his wife, Helen, with whom he has three children and nine grandchildren.
“My number one support through all this is my wife – she has been the wind beneath my wings and has been there with our children,” said Dcn. Bennett.
“The liturgy supports the Church and the Church supports the family – it’s all interconnected,” he added.
Originally printed in the September 2022 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.