We were lucky enough to witness a beautiful moment at a recent online Missio Local Secretary Training, when two long lost friends recognised each other among our amazing volunteers!
Mary Pagendam (née Atherton) is a Local Secretary in St Helens (Liverpool Archdiocese). She recognised her old school friend Pat Walters (née Griffiths), who is now a Local Secretary in Wrexham.
‘I was astonished, when I recently attended an online training session for Missio Local Secretaries. Mary also attended the session and recognised me! Gasps and squeals followed as we confirmed that we did know each other, and tried to remember when we last met. We were at school together between 1966 and 1973… a long time ago!’
‘Pat and I have only met up a couple of times since leaving school. The most recent was at a school reunion in 2005 so it was a lovely surprise to see her on the Zoom local secretary training session.’
We were so happy to witness these friends reunited that we asked them to share a little more about themselves, their lives and their volunteering journeys.
‘I grew up in St.Helens and attended Notre Dame High School, where Mary was a classmate. After school, I studied medicine and settled in Wrexham, North Wales, where I practised as a GP. I married and have two adult children.
‘Since retirement I have enjoyed walking and music, but I’ve also done what I can to help the Church.
Answering the call to volunteer
‘I answered a call for a volunteer to take on the role of Missio Parish secretary. And while I don’t like asking people for money, I have enjoyed learning more about the work of Missio.
‘It has been wonderful to meet more people in our parish (Wrexham Cathedral), especially the older and housebound parishioners. My understanding of the Catholic Church in other countries, of people around the world all sharing the same Faith, united in our love of God and each other, has helped my own faith.
‘In Wales, the number of Catholics is now very small. We don’t have enough priests to keep our churches going. We now welcome priests from many of the countries where Missio originally supported the young parishes inspired vocations. The circle is complete.’
By supporting the Red Box, you’re helping Missio and our partners the Mill Hill Missionaries bring God’s love to our global family – wherever and however that’s needed. Please give today if you can>>
‘Pat and I were in the same class at Notre Dame High School, Eccleston, from 1966 – 1973. In 1987 the school amalgamated with three other high schools to form De La Salle, which my three children all attended.
‘From school I went on to train at Notre Dame College in Liverpool as a primary school teacher. I ended my career as a specialist dyslexia teacher supporting children in Primary and Secondary Schools with Literacy difficulties. I got married in 1979 and remained in St Helens, with my three children and a granddaughter all living close by.’
Supporting the local – and global – community
‘I have been a parishioner of St Teresa of Avila since I was a child. Since retiring in 2016 I have been able to get more involved in parish activities. I am a Eucharistic Minister, a Catechist and a member of the church choir. At present I am also a Steward helping to keep the church open during the pandemic.
‘St Teresa’s parish is very active in supporting our local community and in so doing spreading the Christian message of loving our neighbour. We have a food bank and a clothes bank and support the Baby Basics project by providing baby clothes and other items needed for newborn babies. We also provide English classes for Asylum Seekers.
‘By supporting Missio and the Mill Hill Missionaries our Parish is able to extend support beyond our local community to the wider world. We have had a long association with Mill Hill and when the role of Local Secretary became available last year I was only too happy to take it on.
‘I feel it is very important to continue and to strengthen the relationship between our parish and the Mill Hill missionaries. As we come out of the COVID-19 restrictions, I am looking forward to promoting the charity by holding social events to raise funds and awareness of the wonderful work the mission does announcing the Good News of Jesus Christ to people throughout the world through its ministry and relief work.’
Thank you to Mary and Pat for sharing your story with Missio – and for everything you do for us and our partners the Mill Hill Missionaries!
It’s Volunteers Week!
We celebrate and give thanks for our amazing volunteers 52 weeks of the year, but we couldn’t miss this special opportunity to say thank you! Like most charities, we simply couldn’t do what we do without our amazing Local Secretaries, School Ambassadors, and everyone else who gives their time freely to help us continue our global mission. Thank you everyone!
If you have a special story to share with us, we’d love to hear it! Please do get in tough, via firstname.lastname@example.org
Your support of the Red Box makes our mission possible. To give online, click here>>
Want to join our volunteering family? Find out more here>>