IN THE PEWS: A conversation with Mary Beth LaNeve

 

Mary Beth LaNeve met her husband, Rick, while she was a student at Mount Carmel School. In this family photo taken at her daughter Margie’s wedding are, from left: Rick, Mary Beth, Margie and her husband, Mike Hammell, and son Rick and his wife, Kit.

Have you ever noticed the lights in the two windows to the left of the front door in the rectory? If they’re on, there’s a good chance Mary Beth LaNeve is there – it’s her home away from home. Mary Beth has been the secretary / business administrator of the parish for 28 years. Her tasks are numerous from producing the weekly bulletin, to making all sorts of arrangements, to taking care of the books. She does it all with professionalism and love.

You’ve been business administrator of the parish for years. What does the job entail?

Oversee the general workings of the parish – handle correspondence and phone inquiries, purchasing and bill payments, prepare certificates, schedule and record weddings and funerals, prepare the weekly bulletin, oversee the Prayer Remembrance and envelope systems, maintain parish activity calendar, record payroll, prepare financial reports and bank reconciliations, coordinate office volunteers and money counters, work with the pastor and various committees – just to name a few things.

What do you like about the position?

The wonderful people of this parish.

Is there anything you don’t like?

I love my job, but of all my tasks, the bookkeeping is my least favorite.

Your aunt had your position many years ago. What can you tell me about her and do you feel an obligation to carry on the family tradition?

My aunt Theresa DeSarro was a devoted volunteer bookkeeper who spent a great deal of her spare time for many years doing bookkeeping for the church. She was a very active parishioner until her illness and death from cancer. I was asked by Father Henry Benin if I would be willing to work here during the hours that my son was in school. So, unlike my aunt, who volunteered, I was the first paid secretary. No, I don’t feel an obligation, but it is a nice feeling to follow in her footsteps and a privilege to work for my parish. I have worked for five pastors – they are all wonderful priests who have become family friends – all so different from each other!

You graduated from Mount Carmel School in 1967. What are your fondest memories of that time?

Cheerleading and the many friends.

There is a special connection to this parish that those of us who have grown up here feel. Why is our church special for you?

My parents and grandparents were all very dedicated to volunteering in the parish here. When I was young, I would be with my parents here working on the festival or helping out with the school PTA. When I was in seventh or eighth grade, my father along with Father Ludwig and Father Mario renovated the church basement – it was a project we all did together. When you are so involved, it becomes a part of you. And, this is where I met my husband!

Like many people, you’ve had your good times and no-so-good times during your life. What has gotten you through it all?

There is a special support system when you work for a parish. You become like family with your co-workers and so many of the parishioners. When my parents or my husband were sick, there was always someone who gave their shoulder to cry on, or a hug. Working here, there is always a reminder that God will see you through.

If you met a newcomer to Mount Carmel / Blessed Sacrament and he or she asked you why you’re here nearly every day either in the rectory or church, what would your answer be?

It is a great place to be. People full of love, understanding and compassion – and laughter, too.

Finally, any advice for our beloved Yankees this season?
It is going to be a tough season without my favorite Mariano Rivera, but if they each do their job and work together as a team, they will win games.

MARY BETH LaNEVE
Age: 60.
Position: Secretary / business administrator.
Years on the job: 28.
Education: Mount Carmel School, Utica Catholic Academy.
Family: Husband Rick, son and daughter-in-law Rick and Kit, daughter and son-in-law Margie and Mike, dog Tiki.
What do you like to do in your spare time: Cook, read, be with family.