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BOSTON — The Massachusetts Catholic Conference announced Dec. 9 that Maria Parker will retire from her position as associate director at the end of the month.
Initially hired in 1998 for a three-year term as project director of In Support of Life, the Catholic bishops’ first-ever statewide educational initiative on end-of-life care, Parker was appointed to her current position in 2000.
Working for the MCC has been both challenging and rewarding, she said.
“I feel honored and privileged to serve the Church in these particular times. Some of the years have been very difficult, as everybody would recognize, but I hope I’ve made some small contribution to making things better,” she said.
Parker headed the MCC as interim director after Gerald D’Avolio stepped down and before Edward F. Saunders assumed the position on July 25.
She said of the experience, “They were a very difficult few months because we were in the middle of a major lobbying effort on stem-cell research. We had a full plate in the legislature as well as the continuing work on the marriage issue. It was very hectic.”
The most rewarding aspect of her almost eight years with the MCC has been working with legislators and others who seek to establish a better society and a culture of life, she said.
“It’s really been a joy to work with so many beautiful people who are working very, very hard in Massachusetts to put forth the truth on public policy issues and work for those who are underprivileged,” she said.
Those people put their faith in action and are “inspirational,” she added.
Parker hopes to now focus on her international work as the main representative for The United Nation’s World Union of Catholic Women’s Organization, an umbrella group for Catholic women’s groups all over the world, she said.
She would also like to spend more time with family and will continue to speak out on public policy issues, she added.
“As Ms. Maria Parker moves on to new professional responsibilities, I am grateful that she will continue to proudly support the work of the Church,” said Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley.
The archbishop also expressed his gratitude for Parker’s years of dedicated service to the Church.
“Maria has consistently represented the positions of the dioceses of Massachusetts often in the midst of challenging circumstances,” he said. “Testimony to her professionalism and competence is found in the high regard in which she is held by her peers.”