Obviously, the bishops, priests, deacons, and lay ministers each have their unique roles in these liturgical celebrations. Lectors, cantors, servers, ushers, greeters, and communion ministers step forward to fulfill their roles with great reverence and skill. We are all blessed when generous people give of their time and talent during these holy days.
There is one group of people that do a lot of work during these days that don’t often hear a lot of praise. It is the people who work in our parish offices as receptionists, secretaries, bulletin editors and office managers. They are the front line people meeting the needs of the parishioners and guests as best as they are able. This is no small task. The number of times the parish telephone rings during this week is astounding. Frequently the person on the other end of the line simply wants to know the times of the services or some other piece of information regarding the Holy Week celebrations. However, there are still many other “business as usual” items that must be addressed in the midst of all these additional queries. Bulletin deadlines change during these weeks because of the holidays, and this disruption to the normal schedule does not always go by without a certain level of difficulty or glitches. Patience is definitely a virtue during these busy days.
“Platform—Get Noticed In a Noisy World” is a book written by Michael Hyatt. He sums it up quite well when he says that the receptionist’s title should be Director of First Impressions. This is true for any organization, but it is especially pertinent for all those in our parish offices who fill the role of receptionist regardless of what their actual title is. At the moment someone comes into the office or calls on the telephone, the receptionist is the face of the Church. That is an awesome privilege, but it is also one with commensurate responsibility. Evangelization happens when the Director of First Impressions fulfills that role of hospitality well.
I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of those individuals working in the front areas of our parish offices. Your kindness with parishioners and guests during these activity-filled days is sincerely appreciated. Thank you for your ministry!