UP Catholic 06 17 2016 E Edition Page 8

8 June 17, 2016 THE U.P. CATHOLIC www.upcatholic.org BY JAMIE CARTER THE U.P. CATHOLIC Secretaries are often the first per- son someone speaks with at a parish, whether it's in person or over the phone, playing an important part as the face of the parish. But, what one may not realize is that many of the secretaries across the diocese have additional roles in their parishes. Michelle Loper and Patty Pemble are just two of the secretaries that serve the diocese. Though one has been in her job for just over a year, and the other has been for nearly 30 years, what they both have in common is the people of their parish are like a second family to them. MICHELLE LOPER Loper of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Rapid River not only wears the hat of the parish secretary, she's also the parish's bookkeeper and faith formation coordinator. The parish is the same one where she was raised and received all of her sacraments, as did her father and grandfather. I've always been here, and my heart has always been here. In fact, her great-grandparents were one of the founding families of the parish. While St. Charles Borromeo Par- ish has always been a large of part of Loper's life, in the last two years it has become an even larger part. After several years of volunteering with the faith formation program, in 2014 Loper began working as the faith formation coordinator. The following year she also took on the duties as the secretary and bookkeeper. According to Loper, it's become more of a minis- try to her. It's a job. You're paid and there's a job title, but it's so much more of a service than it is a job, Loper ex- plained. I'm here to serve this parish to the best of my ability and serve these families to the best of my ability, along with the faith formation stu- dents, and my own family. Her service is evident in the way she's willing to lend a hand to the people of the parish, including outside of the office hours. I get calls at home for people who need things. Someone needs pasties, I run down. Some people needed help print- ing and following programs for a fu- neral. I came down and helped. She added, That's what I'm here for. Anything they pos- sibly need that I can help with, if I don't have the answer, I will find a way to get them what they need. According to Lop- er, she has found that her positions have helped her in learning more about her own faith. I didn't expect that or think about it when I first came on board. I have learned so much more about the Church, just being involved in working in both capacities. Because of her learning more, she's been able to pass it on to her two chil- dren, Ian, 9, and Isla, 8, and husband Jim. This has prompted their son to begin altar serving last fall. We've really learned from our older parish- ioners, they're a wealth of information and knowledge, Loper explained. PATTY PEMBLE Patty Pemble has worked as the secretary of St. Michael Parish in Marquette for the last 28 years, retir- ing earlier this month. As she stated, I began working at St. Michael's in 1988. After that, I say I've been in the same spot longer than any priest in the diocese has been in one spot. Pemble's job started out as the secretary for the faith formation office, and later transformed into the secretary for the parish. Just as many other parish secretaries take on multiple roles, she has also co-chaired the parish picnic for 15 years, and has been a part of the welcome committee. She even took on coaching the cheer team and was an assistant track coach at the former St. Michael School while her children were attending school there. Through all of her work with the parish, Pemble has been able to get to know many of the parishioners that have walked through the doors of St. Michael Parish. According to Pemble, when she comes into the office each day, it's like she's checking up on her own family. I feel like this is my family, just checking in on them. Everything from seeing how people in the hospital are doing and how the shut-ins are, voice- mail messages, who's sick, and who has died. Right down to seeing the kids who made their first Communion get married. She added that losing a member of the parish it is like losing a part of the Parish secretaries play an important part in life of the parish JOHN FEE THE U.P. CATHOLIC Michelle Loper hands her son, Ian the sacred oils during the Chrism Mass held at St. Peter Cathedral prior to Holy Week. Loper currently works as the parish secretary of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Rapid River. JAMIE CARTER THE U.P. CATHOLIC Patty Pemble has served as the parish secretary for St. Michael parish in Marquette for the last 28 years. CONTINUED ON PAGE 9

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