Lydia Doyle hired as new diocesan planning director

CHARLESTON—Meet the new director of Research and Planning for the Diocese of Charleston — Lydia Doyle.

The Atlanta native fills a position that has been vacant for almost three years, since Lisa Rawlins Durst resigned in August 2010. Doyle said she spent her first week on the job familiarizing herself with the diocesan plan for development and formulating ideas on how to best move forward.

At 30, she already has six years of research and planning experience with various agencies, including the University of Georgia, local governments and non-profits. Her most recent post was a two-year stint at a historical society in North Carolina.

Doyle has a bachelor’s degree in history from Notre Dame, plus a master’s in historical preservation and a juris doctor degree, all of which aid in her chosen career path.

She said she loves figuring out where an organization is, where they want to go, and planning how to get there.

“It’s always something different. I love working with people and getting out there on the road,” she said, adding that she usually puts about 30,000 miles a year on her “poor little car.”

Doyle said she’s excited about working with the Catholic Church because it has personal meaning, allowing her to help connect people with their faith. To that end, she’s looking forward to visiting all the parishes and getting to know people at each church.

One thing that is important at all churches is keeping adults connected to their faith through ongoing education, and creating programs that span across generations and income groups, she said.

Her first trip won’t be around the state, but across the country to Seattle, Wash., for a conference on Catholic facility management to help with her position on the building and renovation committee.

In the meantime, Doyle is settling into her new town with her two dogs, which she calls “humane society specials,” and waiting on the arrival of her horse. She said she started begging for a horse and riding lessons when she was 5 and her mom finally relented when she was 9. She has been riding competitively ever since.