By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
ALBIA — When Father Mike Volkmer, C.PP.S., was assigned to serve St. Mary Parish-Albia in 2007, he learned one thing right away: the parish had a “rock-strong” director of religious education (DRE) and pastoral associate in Jackie Maddy.
But, as knowledgeable and dedicated as the longtime lay minister seemed to be, Maddy admits that it was never a singular effort. “This is not a one-person job.
This has always been a shared responsibility. I always counted as my biggest successes the times when someone else said yes to a project or a ministry.”
Maddy is retiring this summer after more than 30 years working in the parish. Fr. Volkmer said, “She has been a wonderful collaborator in ministry, a person of great faith, a person with a spirit of service and a person who is very easy to work with.”
Sharon Crall, assistant DRE, has been by Maddy’s side since they started out as religious education teachers in the early 1980s. When Maddy was offered the DRE position in the fall of 1985, Crall remembers Maddy saying, “I will take it, if you will help me.”
Crall believes the two of them worked well together because they enjoyed bouncing ideas off of one another, being creative and willing to try new ideas. Together they have worked to help families make faith a priority in an increasingly busy world and to help children combat cultural decay. They’ve also worked together on social justice and social action issues — a big passion of Maddy’s.
Crall said she’ll miss working with Maddy, in part because of their shared experiences throughout the years. “I’m going to miss the history. Not having someone to talk with about the history, of how things have changed.”
She’ll also miss Maddy’s light-hearted one-liner at the end of long nights teaching religious education: “Let’s blow this joint!” Crall said, “At 8:45 p.m., we were pretty much done for!”
Maddy observes that some of that shared “history” Crall spoke of can be found in the pews on a weekly basis. Children that they taught at the beginning of their tenures are now having children of their own, so they’ve been able to work with multiple generations of the same families. “I don’t know where the time has gone!” Maddy mused.
Maddy said she will miss “everything” about her job at St. Mary’s. “I truly enjoyed my job, because at the center, it was always about serving people, and that is what we are supposed to be about. I can look back and see all the good things that have been accomplished — things we have gotten up and running, programs that have made a difference for the parish and the community of Albia.”
She is looking forward to traveling in retirement, but plans to stay involved in the parish by leading a Bible study and perhaps becoming involved in other ministries.
Maddy is confident that the tradition of collaboration will continue at St. Mary’s. “I know that we have good people in place who will continue to have the best interests of St. Mary’s in their hearts and will continue to serve the people with great effort.”
If you go:
A retirement party for Jackie Maddy will take place June 19 from 1-3 p.m. at St. Mary’s Albia