Today is the last day of the fiscal year, and it marks the end of an era at Sacred Heart of Jesus as we transition to a volunteer based model of a parish. This means good-bye to some wonderful, talented, dedicated staff members who have given their all for the people of our parish:
Denise Roberts, our liturgist and music director for 7 years.
Magdalena Harrach, our minister for the Hispanic community for 7 years.
Pat Marcotte, our receptionist for 19 years.
And Jan Altevogt, the principal of our school for 5 years, who leaves SHJ for medical reasons.
Finances seemed to be the driver of the four staff decisions, but if I look at this with eyes of faith, then I must see that somehow the hand of God is at work. At this early stage of this transition, my thoughts are that we have moved away from a professionally-trained staff whose expertise drove the care of the parishioners; and now we are moving into a manner of pastoral care that will be the parishioners taking care of their fellow parishioners.
This is a major change in how to care for a parish, more typical of a country parish than a city or suburban parish. I had been afraid that it wasn't going to work, but the volunteers have been responding in droves. So, the early signs are very hopeful. In the meantime, on this day of departure, I'll let myself grieve the loss of outstanding co-workers; and I hope and pray their new locations will be as much a blessing to them as they have been to me and to our parishioners.
Here they are: Denise Roberts, Mark Evevard, Magdalena Harrach, Pat Marcotte, and Jan Altevogt.