St. Teresa’s parish secretary retiring after 20 years
Appeal Staff Writer
Janet Basgall has seen a lot of changes over the 20 years she has spent at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Community.
Basgall was hired in February 1985 as a part-time parish secretary. There were about 800 families who were members of the church; now, there are 2,452, and that number changes each week.
“Sometimes we add two or three families; other weeks, we add 10,” she said. “There has been a lot of growth in our church, specifically Hispanic growth.”
She hopes with the growth will come a bilingual deacon to meet the needs of Spanish speakers.
“I can only smile to them. We’re growing so much, I’m praying we can get a bilingual deacon to help them.”
Basgall said her job is to take care of people. She also records baptisms and marriages, types letters for the Rev. Jerry Hanley – anything he needs and wants done.
“Father (Hanley) is so great to work with,” she said. “The parish family is very special. We all feel safe and protected in a good working environment.”
“Janet has been a gift from God to us,” Hanley said. “It’s hard to believe sometimes inside the office (of the church) there is hurt, suffering, angers deaths, sorrow and everything else of the human gamut. We are thankful for Janet.
“She has cared for, loved, and helped the people. She loves the Lord and all of us. We will deeply miss her. We wish her well, and hope to get her back as a volunteer.”
Hanley said replacing Basgall will be Kari Anderson, a pastoral assistant with the church.
“Kari is a wonderful lady, and God has blessed us with her.”
A support system that has been crucial to Basgall are Lois Johnson and Nellie Revelle, secretaries for St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, respectively.
“Once a month, we meet for lunch,” Basgall said. “They’re a good sounding board – and better than seeing a psychiatrist.
“I thought this job would be a quiet one,” she said, then began to chuckle. “It is a lot of roller-coaster emotions. Sad and beautiful, happy times, confirmations and baptisms.
“I also felt like I was doing what I should be doing.”
Basgall looks forward to visiting other Catholic churches in the area. She will also take in more of her hobbies with her husband, Virgil. She will travel to visit her family: three daughters, five grandchildren and one great-granddaughter
She loves football (especially the Raiders and 49ers), baseball, NASCAR races, country music, crafts and going out to lunch with the girls and dinner once a week with Virgil.
“I really want to garden,” she said. “I want to be out in my yard, planting flowers and listening to Neil Diamond.
“But the parish family has been the most important part of my job. I love them dearly – we are like family.”
• Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at email@example.com or 881-1223.