Thursday 7 October 2010
St Francis Xavier’s boasts two secretaries (literally meaning ‘keepers of secrets’), Elaine Shelton and Vicki Abbatangelo. We enjoy working together and sharing this position. Pooling our experiences makes the administration of the parish for Fr Denis Stanley EV efficient and reliable. His confidence in his secretaries frees him up to channel his time and attention into his many priestly responsibilities.
Elaine began work at St Francis Xavier’s in April 2005 and Vicki joined the team in December 2009 after the resignation of Teresa Kren, who had also been in the shared position since April 2005 and left for family reasons.
Most parish secretaries will agree when we say that it does not matter what the position description says – we just render service whenever or wherever it is required. In addition to the usual secretarial requirements, we help with liturgies, decorating the church and hiring out the hall. With the help of a real estate agent, we manage four rental properties: we organise and supervise tradespeople such as painters, plumbers, carpenters and roofers for maintenance jobs.
The best thing about our job is being in a position to assist so many people with such varied needs. We have experienced that ‘it is better to give than to receive’ and this almost vocational commitment rewards us with much peace and joy. We would not trade our current positions for any previously held, well-paid jobs in the corporate world.
We both have outside interests. Elaine is a member of The Baytones, a singing group that visits aged-care hostels and nursing homes to entertain the residents. It is an absolute delight to see little old feet tapping away, a tear or two trickling down a face lost in memories of bygone times. Vicki enjoys helping the local Little Athletics Association in Seaford, where she organises all the paperwork and end-of-season trophies and awards.
Thank you Kairos for allowing us to share a bit of ourselves with the diocese and we take this opportunity to wish all our fellow secretaries much peace, joy and happy service in what are, without doubt, very privileged positions.
Kairos Catholic Journal has a regular column in which we salute the work of parish secretaries in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.
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