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Austria: diocese of Salzburg, 26 new parish professional secretaries start working

The archdiocese of Salzburg has 26 new official parish professional secretaries. The parish secretary figure is becoming more and more important in Austria, above all, for ecclesial and administrative activities in parishes with no priest. In case of baptism, marriage or funeral, the secretary is the first person you get in touch with in the parish; and the secretary is constantly available. The 26 new secretaries will work in the whole archdiocese of Salzburg; they completed training in three thematic blocks: parish registrations, accountancy and communication. The professional community was established over 20 years ago; at the beginning it was just volunteering, but now it includes professionals with special skills and training: “It is no longer possible to have a priest every parish. But what we really need is a friendly face welcoming believers”, says Vicar General Msgr. Hansjörg Hofer, who presented end-of-training licence decrees. Today, the parish secretaries are 195; it is mainly a woman job: “Parish secretaries work on the front line whenever it is a matter of curing souls”, says Hofer. Various activities: setting up liturgical times, the parish, coordinating and planning events, and use of parish premises.

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