On our Catholic calendar, Sept. 15 is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, and here at St. Joseph, we will have our own very personal cause for sorrow that day. After nearly nine years of sterling pastoral service at the parish, Mary Ellen Kirchman is stepping down from her role as Office Manager.
Mary Ellen brought a graceful and skilled presence to our parish office after successful previous stints in a large hospital system and in the World Trade Center. She served as a constant, gracious and welcoming initial point of contact for parishioners, vendors and others while three pastors have led St. Joseph during the same span. She has kept the office rolling through these transitions, and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent relocation of the parish office to its current site at the church.
Mary Ellen is discerning her next career move, and we wish her, her husband Kevin and children the very best.
There will be three events at the parish honoring and thanking Mary Ellen: a private event for the parish team, a parish-wide reception on Saturday, Sept. 10 after the 5pm Mass, and a breakfast reception following the daily 8:30am Mass on Wednesday, Sept. 14. All parishioners are welcome to the latter two gatherings.
Due to our ongoing and serious fiscal constraints (another fiscal year with more than $100,000 operating deficit), we are not replacing Mary Ellen’s position. Instead, the remaining office team has been preparing to take on her responsibilities. Ana Valencia, director of pastoral services and faith formation, for whom many parishioners and families also reach out to initially, will more or less be the de facto office point of contact going forward. Like Mary Ellen, Ana has a strong commitment to her work, the details therein, and is very responsible in handling parish transactions. We will continue to be well-served.
We’re a bit concerned about back-up help in the event of sickness or vacation among remaining team members, so we have started to call in parishioners to “audition” for light office work should the need present itself.