A new volunteer register database has been set up to harness the skills, expertise and enthusiasm of Catholics across the Brisbane Archdiocese.
Sr Carmel Dwan, Project Officer for the Office for the Participation of Women, has overseen the set-up of the volunteer register and was on hand in early February to witness its first registrant, Ms Emily Hitzke of Kedron parish, enter in her details.
Sr Dwan said a volunteer register for women, albeit in a limited hard copy version, was first established back in 1999.
“This new on-line version was originally to be for women only as well, but as I have moved about the deaneries, I was asked for it to be an inclusive register instead so we’ve expanded it,” Sr Carmel said.
“The volunteer register’s purpose is to gather together information on women and men of all ages, backgrounds and abilities who would like to participate in the life of the church, either at parish or Archdiocesan agency level, or by serving on the many boards, councils and commissions that offer advice or assistance to the Archbishop.
“I think access to a knowledge of people’s expertise, especially women, is limited to a couple of people and so in trying to get a gender balance on all our boards, we needed a place where we could gather and draw upon volunteer information.
“Often it is the case that you don’t know everyone sitting in the pews in front of you.
“I think it was a priest in a deanery meeting who said to me ‘well, the talent’s out there but I don’t know people in my parish who have these skills and expertise’,” she said.
Access to the Volunteer Register is available to the public through the Archdiocesan website or at the following web address:http://www.bne.catholic.net.au/volunteerreg/html/
At this initial stage it is only available in English but the dream would be to expand it into other languages in future.
Sr Dwan said that privacy laws governing its use would be closely adhered to and only a limited number of people would have access to the database.
“Individuals can rest assured about the privacy of their data,” Sr Dwan said.
“They can add, amend or remove their details at any time plus on a yearly basis the register will be checked to see that volunteers are happy to have their details remain in the database.
“It’s intended for use right across the archdiocese, not just centrally.
“My hope is the volunteer register will let the archdiocese maximise the talent, the mission and the generosity of people who are prepared to minister in that (some) way,” she said.
At the time of their registration volunteers can specify a particular area of interest from a list of 27 categories, for example ecumenism, youth ministry or finance and accounting.
With the Pope coming to Australia in July 2008, pioneer registrant Emily Hitzke said she was keen to volunteer her help for Brisbane’s programme of WYD-based events.
“I’m from a family of ten and we’re all going to WYD so yes, I want to get as involved as possible to the action and be a part of it,” Ms Hitzke said.
For more information about the volunteer register please visit the web address listed in the story above or phone Sr Dwan on 3336 9103.
Released by the Catholic Communications Office