Once a month, I sit in the chair behind the desk. Once a month, I answer phones and help the church secretary with whatever odds and ends she needs to get done, but doesn’t have the time to complete. This is my desk and my view for the morning.
It’s been an interesting volunteering at church. One time, while the staff was in a meeting, and I don’t know how I did it, I managed to get every phone in the office area to ring at the same time. Thu haveat included the priests’ phones in their offices, the church administrator’s phone, the secretary’s phone, the janitor’s phone. There wasn’t a single phone that didn’t ring for 10 long minutes in the church offices. Prayer helped. Finally, God came to my rescue, and the phones simply quit ringing. Thank You, Lord!
I’ve taken phone calls from people seeking information. “When are confessions heard during the week?” “Do you have an 11 AM Mass during the week? Why not? I can’t make it at noon.” “Are the priests willing to talk with my child about returning to the church?” “Since when did the Catholic Church change its rules?” “Is the funeral party going downstairs first for lunch or are they going to the cemetery before lunch?” “Do you have any vouchers left?”
Then, there are those who walk into the workroom and see the huge safe that houses all the delicately written baptismal, confirmation, and marriage certificates. They see the machines that are used by the staff for printing and folding. Usually, it’s the safe that catches their attention. One man grinned when he saw the safe. “How much money do you keep in there?” he asks. “No money, sir. We keep records in there. We need to keep them safe.” He seemed a little disappointed.
There are those who walk past because they have come to pray in the chapel adjoining the workroom. There are those who come to ask for help from anyone they see. They seek bus tickets to home. They ask for clothing, groceries, rent money. The needs are great. Some come in to get out of the cold.
At noon, the staff is in and out of the workroom. Some stay for their entire lunch break. Some just stay long enough to let their co workers about a new program or to ask for help. When the phone rings, I answer, but, most often, I leave. My time is up for the month. I return the following month. The view is the same. The people are the same, but, life changes. The needs are still great, and everyone is busy!