By ARCHBISHOP WILTON D. GREGORY, Commentary | Published November 13, 2014 | En Español
For more than eight years, hers was the voice that answered the Archbishop’s phone. She was kind, generous, witty and incredibly insightful. She grew into the job, bringing her vast professional skills into dialogue with her sincere Catholic faith. She probably learned more about the structure and functioning of the Catholic Church during those eight years than she might have ever anticipated. She certainly came to know the Archbishop very well—and as far as I know that didn’t damage her faith too much.
As most of you may already know, Kenya Graham, my dutiful secretary, has accepted a new job in the public sector that holds many professional advantages for her and her family. I wish her well even as I lament her loss.
Kenya was just one of the many tremendous folks who serve the Archdiocese of Atlanta in a host of professional capacities. They are men and women of integrity and professional competence. They are often the voices, hands and eyes of the Archbishop, and I could not be more grateful for their service and assistance. They work in finance, communications, reception areas, construction, education, archives, formation, the newspaper, planning, development, IT, tribunals, pastoral services, human resources and all of the other offices and agencies that comprise the Chancery. They are among the most generous and competent folks that I have ever known.
I share the same human fault that many other men suffer—I often forget to thank people and to hold up my colleagues for the recognition and respect that they so rightfully deserve. It may be at a moment like this when one of them leaves the employ of the Archdiocese of Atlanta that I realize just how much I owe them—how much we all benefit from their skills and dedication. When they depart for advanced job opportunities, or because of the birth of a baby, a family relocation, to begin their retirement, or for any other reason, their loss is felt by so many of us who have had the privilege of working with them for however many years.
Our Chancery has so many talented people who serve us all so well. Some of them are not Catholic, but they enrich the life of the Catholic Church here in North Georgia because of their skills and their dedication. Ours is a diverse workplace with men and women of different languages, cultures, religious heritages and skills. It reflects well on the community of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, and each co-worker adds to our health, proficiency and wellbeing.
When you call, write or visit the Chancery, you regularly meet some of them, and I pray that their competence is a source of pride and satisfaction for you as it is for me. Occasionally a particular issue needs further attention and sometimes a final resolution is not to everyone’s liking. But even in those moments, I hope that you still encounter the kindness and the good will of these very fine folks.
To a person they want to assist the mission of this local Church, and together they have been exceptionally successful in doing so. When Jesus was first establishing the Church, He gathered disciples around Him who were taken from common folks. Those first believers represented a variety of occupations—fishermen, homemakers, tax collectors, tent makers, and a couple of political zealots. He fashioned them into a community through the grace of the Holy Spirit, and they, in turn, invited others to come to know the Christ.
I hope that the community of workers—clerical, religious and laity who serve this local Church in our Chancery—also invite us to encounter the Christ through their labors and dedication. I assure you, they do bring the Christ into greater clarity and immediacy for the Archbishop. Thank you to all of my colleagues and from the heart!