By ARCHBISHOP WILTON D. GREGORY, Commentary | Published April 28, 2016 | En Español
Its origin dates back to 1952 when it was first called “Secretary’s Day.” It has evolved into an occasion for national recognition of all of the professional staff who work in organizations, businesses and offices and whose generous service makes life manageable for most administrators—including me!
This week, we will host a luncheon for all of the staff at our Chancery to say “thank you” and to recognize some special anniversaries for a number of employees who mark five, 10, 20 or more years of service to the Archdiocese of Atlanta. I hope my brother pastors and our school principals throughout the Archdiocese will also find an occasion to thank their associates in pastoral ministry in this local Church.
The responsibilities of every person who may have once been called a secretary have increased exponentially since the observance began in 1952 as technology, the internet, and the complexity of business activities have expanded well beyond answering the phone, typing a letter or managing a calendar.
The Church has not been exempt from this development as we too must address a wide range of activities each day that require the assistance of many professionals to handle ordinary requests. The specialists who assist in the smooth functioning of the Archdiocese include technical experts who keep the internet working, people who translate documents, track and record our business activities, edit the newspaper, keep the building warm or cool at the proper time, catechize and teach our youngsters, respond to the conditions of those with special needs, attend to the promotion of the dignity of human life, and dozens of other dimensions of the mission of the Church in North Georgia.
Fortunately we have a tremendously talented and generous staff of professionals who perform all of those activities each day of the year. As I travel throughout the Archdiocese, I regularly hear people thank me for a letter or an email response to an inquiry. I know that one of the staff persons made that response both appropriate and accurate. Our Chancery is a big building that needs constant care, and thanks be to God we have people who perform that maintenance and upkeep with exceptional diligence. Our staff personnel are artists, technicians and professionals, and I’d simply be lost without their devotion—and the people of the Archdiocese would be much less efficiently served.
The expansion of this observance formerly entitled “Secretary’s Day” to include all professional staff people is a clear indication that our institutional worlds have changed—including that of the Church. The recent popes have jumped headlong into social media, and while Pope Francis is busy trying to reorganize the offices of his Curia (his own chancery), I’m sure that this reorganization will have to consider all of the developments of technology and social communications that continue to touch the lives of people everywhere. Our Chancery is no different than his—although admittedly it is much smaller in scope.
So this week, I will say thank you to all of my colleagues at the Chancery and assure them of my sincere gratitude for all that they do for all of us. In addition to all of their talents and skills, I witness each day the importance of their kindness and generosity that makes for a happy environment at 2401 Lake Park Drive! Thank you to each one of them and from the heart.