Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dick Duquin - a man of the Church

After ten years of extraordinary commitment to St. Benedict's Parish, our Business Manager, Dick Duquin, has decided to retire.  While we will miss his daily presence in church, in the rectory and in our school buildings, we are assured that Dick will remain active in our Technology, Evangelization and Social Justice efforts. So, while the following paragraphs are written in the past tense, we are not saying goodbye to Dick, just honoring all the contributions he has made to the parish so far.  Undoubtedly, there will be more to come.

Dick Duquin in action as a master presenter.
Dick was hired by our former Pastor, Fr. Gary Bagley. Since his first day on the job, Dick has worked to keep St. Ben's on an even financial keel. He was a stable presence for us after the unexpected death of Fr. Gary and helped us through Fr. Joe's overseas tours of duty.  Dick has shepherded many initiatives through our Finance Council. Dick's responsibilities included the day-to-day personnel matters in the school and rectory. He has chaired our Buildings and Grounds Committee as well.  Dick has worked tirelessly to make St. Ben's grounds the best in the Diocese. His parish Garden Club has helped make that happen year after year.

However, those who know Dick, know that his financial acumen and leadership skills are just two of his many gifts. Dick is a deeply spiritual man; a true man of the Church. He has been adamant in his insistence that we, the Church, come to a fuller understanding of stewardship. Dick has taught us that it is more than just sharing our finances or treasure; it is equally about contributing our time and talents. Those of us who have had the privilege of being at meetings with Dick can attest to his insistence that we look more deeply into people's gifts and enable them to share their gifts more effectively. One notices Dick's influence on our website homepage where the Stewardship tab clearly reflects Dick's broad vision of church.

Dick's sense of church revealed itself in many ways at St. Benedict's. He has organized retreat days for the parish, planned our Lenten schedule, and spearheaded evangelization efforts such as "welcome back" Sunday in our parish. Dick was instrumental on the ground floor in our digital development and social networking. It is worth noting in this context that Dick is responsible for the very first post from this blog which has since received over 24,000 page views. Dick was also the first to post on the parish Facebook page.  He has moved St. Ben's into the digital age financially as well, providing online giving opportunities such as E-Basket and WeShare. Dick has made the parish finances transparent, having our latest report posted on the website for all to see.

However, perhaps nothing reveals Dick's love for Christ and His Church as much as the "15 Hours of Ashes" approach he developed to begin the Lenten season. By keeping our parish church opened, and by creating a welcoming environment for those who may have been away from the Church for whatever reasons, "15 Hours of Ashes" has had a tremendous impact on many.  Not only are there great stories of penitents reconnecting with their Catholic Faith, but "15 Hours of Ashes" has brought the parish community together spiritually as well.

We wish Dick well in his official retirement.  But more importantly, we thank him for his decade of dedication to St. Benedict's.  May God bless Dick, Lori and their family with peace, joy and love.

Thank you Dick!