Careers, internships with the Diocese of Burlington
For Brittany Czekaj, development donor systems specialist in the Office of Development and Stewardship for the Diocese of Burlington, the best part of working at diocesan headquarters in South Burlington is being in an environment where she shares her faith with her colleagues. “We are all working toward the same goal of spreading the Good News and serving the Church,” she said.
The environment is one aspect of working at 55 Joy Drive that draws people to employment and internships with the Diocese.
But there’s more: Daily Mass, helping people, making a difference and developing skills are among the benefits employees and interns mention when reflecting upon their work.
“What I like best about working for the Diocese has to be the people. They’re all so different but they’re all thoughtful and nice. They’re like a second family all working together toward the same mission,” said Denise Watson, an accountant in Parish Accounting Services.
Previously she worked as a finance associate at a Burlington nonprofit; she has worked for the Diocese since 2017.
“Unique benefits of working for the Diocese are that it’s not your typical accounting job in tax or audit. You’re doing everything from accounts payable, to accounts receivable, invoicing, analysis, budgeting, payroll, dealing with fixed assets etc.,” she said. “You’re helping priests and secretaries with limited accounting backgrounds, and you’re making a difference through positive communication.”
The Diocese has 41 employees and last summer had three interns: one in finance, one in development and one in safe environment programs.
Czekaj, who has worked for the Diocese since November, previously worked as a credit and collections specialist for a large business.
“I had previously thought of working for the Diocese; however, I did not believe that there would be a position fit for me,” she said. “It did not occur to me that finance and data management were all performed in-house. When I thought of the Diocese, my mind would immediately go to thinking about evangelization and catechesis.”
Daily Mass has become Czekaj’s favorite benefit of working for the Diocese. At first, she often went home for lunch, but daily Mass in the chapel in the diocesan headquarters, The Bishop Brady Center, has become a priority, and she often serves as a lector. “This has greatly enhanced my daily prayer life and even my calmness, in spending time with the real presence of the Eucharist,” she said.
The Diocese has two or three interns each summer. Previous interns have had backgrounds in accounting, marketing, business and English. “What an intern receives is hands-on-experience which then helps their resume for future employment here or somewhere else,” commented Eileen O’Rourke, executive director of human resources for the Diocese.
Holly Thayer of St. Ann Church in Milton is a senior at Pace University in New York City majoring in communications studies and minoring in marketing. She interned for the Diocese last summer in development and communication.
She worked with the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, processing donations and assisting with donor relations and customer service. She helped draft and schedule daily social media posts for the diocesan accounts, did research for the diocesan magazine, assisted with database maintenance and helped keep the diocesan wide-census data up to date.
“Interning at the Diocese has helped me prepare for a professional career after college as it gave me office experience and taught me how different departments often have to work together to achieve a goal,” she said.
Working in a small department she had responsibilities and tasks that were important to the working of the department and needed to be completed by deadlines. “This taught me to organize my work and prioritize my tasks so that everything was completed to the best of my ability in a timely manner,” she said. “I also was able to work closely with the other people in my department, which allowed me to learn from them as well as get experience collaborating with coworkers. I had never had much experience with database software, so I was also able to learn how to use new tools which could be translated to other software.”
She is grateful for the time she spent interning for the Diocese because of the valuable skills she learned and the experience and also because she knows the work she did helped the Church and her community.
Working with people that share the same Catholic faith has more of an affect on an employee than one may realize, Czekaj said: “In my previous work, people tended to be more negative, which can really affect one’s demeanor and daily work. My colleagues here are very positive, driven and faith-filled individuals. Starting our meetings with prayer and our luncheons with grace really sets the tone for what we do.”
She also likes the camaraderie among employees and monthly birthday lunches. And she looks forward to her first summer with adjusted hours so the Friday work days end at noon.
“Finding this position was most definitely part of God’s plan for me,” Czekaj said. “I previously prayed about my career path as I felt the call to do something more fulfilling. Even in the few months that I have been working at the Diocese, I just know that this is what I was called to do.”
Watson advises those who would like to work or intern for the Diocese to keep an open mind. “The people are so kind, and it’s a really healthy environment for anyone to grow their skills and grow in their career,” she said.
“We are fortunate to attract individuals, and part of the reason is our compensation offering, along with offering a positive work place,” O’Rourke said.
Current openings in the Diocese are posted on the Career Opportunities page.