A Catholic priest from Liverpool is to receive an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours for service to the community. Father Gerry Proctor, 61, served one of the largest parishes in the Archdiocese, St Margaret Mary’s, Knotty Ash, for 12 years, from 1991 to 2003. In 1998 the award-winning Granada TV series St Margaret Mary’s was filmed around Fr Proctor’s ministry as parish priest.
Gerry was Chair of Governors for St Margaret Mary’s Primary School, one of Liverpool’s largest, for twelve years. He also spent eight years working in St Helens with young people from across the borough, particularly those at West Park and Notre Dame High Schools.
Since 2004, he has been researching mission and community within the Catholic Church in developing countries and at home. His research involved visits to Latin America, Africa and Asia working with deprived communities. This culminated in Fr Proctor being awarded a Masters in Philosophy degree at Liverpool Hope University with a thesis called A Commitment To Neighbourhood: Base Ecclesial Communities in Global Perspective.
As part of this project, Fr Proctor chose to work amongst the often isolated residents of apartment blocks in Liverpool city centre and the redeveloped Mersey waterfront. Emerging from this commitment, in 2007 Fr Proctor became a co-founder and chair of Engage Liverpool, a forum for the 32,000 people who own and live in city centre apartments.
Engage is unique in working specifically with everyone who lives in apartment blocks to improve the quality of management, which improves everyone’s quality of life. Engage has been responsible for ground-breaking work in reflecting the needs and aspirations of city centre residents to stakeholders and decision makers, helping to create a city in which every citizen can flourish.
Fr Gerry recently organised the successful Cities for People seminar series where pioneering urban architect Prof Trevor Boddy from Vancouver led constructive debate on developing the city centre as a quality place in which to live and work.
Following the brutal murder in 2008 of a young gay man in Merseyside, the community rallied to support the family and establish the Michael Causer Foundation in his memory. Because of his experience in community building and housing management, Fr Proctor was invited to become Chair of the newly formed Charity in 2010, which aims to create safe supported accommodation for vulnerable young people.
Fr Proctor said: "This recognition values the importance of putting the full dignity and human rights of each person first. My inspiration and motivation has always been the priestly task of living the Gospel and enabling the values of the Kingdom to flourish in every situation."
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