By RENEE WEBB
The Diocese of Sioux City recently announced the addition of two new staff members to the chancery staff.
Susan O’Brien has been hired as the director of development and communications and Darby Young will serve as the assistant director of marriage and family life.
As director of development and communications, she will direct and manage all development efforts for the Central Catholic Offices, including the Catholic School Foundation and Priests Pension Fund. She will also direct and coordinate all communications with the media for the Central Catholic Offices.
“My hope is to refresh all of our marketing and development efforts and ensure that our team approach to positively impacting the diocese is strong, so that all of our clergy, parishioners, staff, faculty and students benefit, as well as our diocesan communities through our service and prayer,” said O’Brien.
As a 1992 graduate of Bishop Heelan High School in Sioux City, O’Brien said she is aware of the benefit of attending Catholic schools and having a strong faith.
“Our school system molded me into the person I am today, as well as my very faithful parents,” O’Brien said. “I am blessed that my parents sent me to Catholic schools, and I am proud that my sons attend the same school system. My Dad passed away in June, and I know he is up there smiling down at me as I start this new position with the diocese.”
O’Brien earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa in 1996 and master’s from Iowa State University in 2002.
After graduating from the University of Iowa in 1996 she taught middle school for three year and then headed to grad school. She then worked in program development for Iowa State University for 11 years. Since 2015, O’Brien served as the director of marketing for Innovative Business Consultants. She also owns her own business – Hill House Publishing – publishing Siouxland Magazine, for which she is the editor and sales manager.
O’Brien and her husband, Todd, have five children. Her sons, Paulsen and John, attend Holy Cross School, Blessed Sacrament Center.
A parishioner at Holy Cross Parish, Blessed Sacrament Church, she served on the Peace and Social Justice Committee for several years and is currently president of the Mercy Auxiliary, chair of the Angels in Blue that support the Mercy Child Advocacy Center as well as serves on the Mercy Hospital Foundation Board.
“Working at the diocese is a wonderful career move for me, as I am able to further my experience in a role that includes and broadens my spiritual well-being,” said O’Brien, who began her duties on Sept. 13. “I feel fortunate to make this move to the diocese, and I hope to make a very positive impact in this position.”
As assistant director of marriage and family life, one of Young’s main duties is to help coordinate marriage preparation activities with the parishes throughout the diocese. Other tasks will include coordinating Natural Family Planning, prolife events, the diocesan men’s and women’s conferences along with assisting with other faith formation activities in the diocese.
Through his work, Young said he hopes to “grow in my faith, learn more about my faith, convert souls. I will always be happy, but never be satisfied. I feel I can always do more for the Lord.” He is also a first-year aspirant in the permanent deacon program.
Young views his position with the diocese as “a calling” and coupled with the deacon formation, he said, “I feel that my life is being fulfilled. I long to work for the church, to evangelize, to minister.” His first day on the job was Sept. 10, which he referred to as “a glorious day.”
He is a product of diocesan Catholic schools, attending one year at St. Rose of Lima School in Denison, St. Joseph Grade School in Salix and Bishop Heelan High School, graduating in 1990. Young earned a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in 1995, a master’s at Iowa State in 2006 and a doctorate in education from ISU in 2012..
After college, Young worked at Gateway Computers in North Sioux City for six years and then for two years for the Knights of Columbus. He worked in admissions and as an adjunct instructor at Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City for four years and for the last 11 years he served as the lead coordinator and an adjunct at Morningside College.
Young and his wife, Angela, have two children who attend Mater Dei School: Joseph, an 8th grader and Felicity, a 6th grader. He noted his mother’s maiden name is Garrigan, adding, “Yes, that Garrigan.” He is from the family tree of Bishop Philip Garrigan, the diocese’s second bishop.
In his Mater Dei Parish, Young volunteers as a lector, eucharistic minister and in the hospitality ministry.