Our Parish Business and Operations Manager

Dear Friends…

In August of 2018, Lisa Muccilli arrived at our two parishes as our Business & Operations Manager. Lisa came to us after having run a hotel and restaurant in the Catskills with her husband for a decade and said that she felt called to find work that made a positive difference in the world. Though she herself was not a regular churchgoer at that time, she said that she had observed that churches were among the ones making the biggest day-to-day contribution in the life of the community. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Lisa had worked in sales and
marketing for a large organic food company and had earned an MBA, so she brought a lot of expertise to our two parishes and really helped us reach a new level of efficiency in our operations and smoothness in our financial processes.

What Lisa could not have predicted was that her work with us would introduce her to a faith that spoke to her heart and soul. Lisa realized in time that she belonged in the Catholic Church, not just as a parish employee, but as a member. Lisa had been raised a Presbyterian and her husband a Catholic, but neither was practicing. Their daughter, Willow, had never been baptized in a faith.

Through lots of prayer and discussions with me, Christa, Bob, and our parish reception volunteers, and through interactions with many of you, Lisa decided to be fully received into the Catholic Church through the sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation and to have Willow baptized and receive her First Eucharist. That was scheduled to occur on April 11, the night of the Easter Vigil.

No one needs to be reminded of the life-changing circumstances that cancelled our Easter Vigil and indefinitely postponed the Sacraments of Initiation for Lisa, Willow, Ernesto, Jim, Dahlia and Jackie, our beloved parishioners in the RCIA program. But they are all persevering, Willow and Lisa included. Willow will be baptized soon in a small family ceremony and Lisa plans to receive Eucharist and Confirmation as soon as the Rites of Initiation are able to be rescheduled.

But life can twist us and turn us in many directions, even when a Pandemic is going on. Lisa’s husband, Don, has been working for a manufacturing company on Long Island that has over the course of several years been moving to a permanent new location in Charlotte, NC. It became clear this spring that the Muccilli family would need to relocate this summer for Don’s career, and while there was excitement about this, it pained Lisa to be leaving the faith family she had come to see as her own and the career that she loved and was so good at.

After a series of events that can only be attributed to Divine Providence, in the middle of Coronavirus, Lisa & Don got an unexpected offer on their house and had their offer on a house down South accepted nearly simultaneously! Lisa, Don and Willow are scheduled to move there later this month. We all feel the rightness of this for them and accept God’s will for the path of their life, but you are certainly aware, I’m sure, of how bittersweet it is to see them go…
both professionally and personally. We will miss them terribly.

Here’s the good news… you can never outdo God when it comes to goodness and abundance.

We did a search for a new Parish Business and Operations Manager who would be able to keep our churches performing at the newly smooth and efficient level we’ve come to enjoy and expect. We underwent a thorough search and interview process and had two positively fantastic finalists who made making a final decision a very challenging task.

I am proud to now introduce to you Dawn Brownson as our new Parish Business and Operations Manager at St. Patrick’s & St. Mary’s, and share how tailor-made her background is for this position.

Dawn has a degree from Siena College in accounting and has worked as a financial officer in numerous positions in healthcare and non-profit organizations. She has been an analyst, auditor, department head and CFO in hospital settings and has worked as an accountant for The Columbia County Historical Society and most recently as Controller for the YWCA of Ulster

Dawn is the town historian for the Town of Clermont, south of Hudson, and – most advantageous for her work with us – Dawn is a veteran member and current chair of her parish Finance Committee (Holy Trinity Parish, Hudson & Germantown)! Talk about qualified!

Dawn brings a wealth of knowledge and experience about accounting and organizational operations and understands first-hand the mission and workings of parish life.

We welcome her to St. Mary’s & St. Patrick’s with great joy! At the same time, we wish Lisa, Don, Willow and the whole Muccilli family a blessed path forward and promise that we will keep their place here in our two parish families “warm and ready” for their greatly anticipated (and hopefully frequent) visits.

Father Scott