From the virtual helm of the parish, Joanne Simpson has a unique view.
The parish secretary fields calls, directs parishioners and keeps priests in line from her desk at the parish office. Although in this position for only seven months, she has clocked nearly three decades as a parishioner and ministry volunteer.
“The spirit here is different from any other parish,” she said. “I attribute this to the Missionaries of La Salette. Their message of reconciliation and love is very present here.”
Simpson’s experience in St. Ann is widespread – this isn’t even her first paid gig here (she worked in liturgy and adult faith formation for six years). Like many ministry volunteers, her involvement has reflected her stage in life, beginning in what is now the Mother’s Guild and vacation bible school when her daughter, Youth Ministry Director Kelly Simpson, was a toddler, to current roles with St. Vincent de Paul and adult missions.
“It’s hard not to see St. Ann’s effect on community when you are a St. Vincent volunteer,” she said. “Monthly we are thanked by the homeless folks who come for Saturday dinner and the food pantry has a steady business.”
As for staffing the front desk, she said, the key quality is being flexible. She’s expected to handle anything that comes her way, such as greeting people, answering the phone, assigning Mass intentions and processing mail. Oftentimes it’s one of our priests coming her way.
“For a guy who can’t see very well, Father Ray certainly notices all the details!” she said. “He also loves exclamation points.”
Contact Joanne Simpson or give her a call at 770-552-6400 x6001.
pictured: Joanne Simpson