"Taking care of the people who take care of the people of God"

Just in time for Labor Day, this week the Catholic Standard in Washington introduces readers to the deacon who directs human resources for the Archdiocese:

The e-mails sent by Deacon Dan Finn, the director of human resources for the Archdiocese of Washington, include a simple phrase at the bottom: “Taking care of the people who take care of the people of God.”

That motto is something that he and his staff take to heart, as they serve the employees of the 140 parishes, nearly 100 schools, 100 Catholic agencies and the central administration of the archdiocese.

“We have approximately 5,000 employees, full and part-time,” he said, noting that his office also supports the 10,000 volunteers at parishes, schools and agencies, providing the fingerprinting services and follow-up to the background checks required by the archdiocese’s Child Protection Policy for anyone who works with children.

Summarizing his office’s service to the employees of the archdiocese, he said, “Our job is to make it easier for them to do their job.” …

… Deacon Finn said he feels incredibly blessed in his new position, which he assumed in late March after working for 26 years for Marriott International as a top human resources executive, most recently as a corporate vice president leading a team that developed, delivered and managed human resource processes and tools to support all of the Marriott hotels. He also had extensive experience in change management, project management and human resources technology. He succeeded Dorothy Moore, who retired this spring after serving 18 years leading the archdiocese’s human resources department.

“This opportunity popped up. To me, it’s an opportunity that builds on the skills and knowledge I’ve developed over the years working for Marriott, and prior to that, for 13 years with a trade association,” he said.

About 15-20 years ago, he started thinking about a personal mission statement, and he resolved that the wanted “to make a difference through service.” Over those years, he had served as a parish volunteer and soccer coach.

Last year, he was ordained as a permanent deacon for the archdiocese, and he serves at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Derwood, where he assists and preaches at Mass, helps with marriage preparation, performs baptisms, presides at weddings and wakes, and participate in the adult religious education program.

“I had this desire after I became a deacon and finished 25 years at Marriott , that I would like to do a ‘give-back’ career,” he said, noting that he had thought about working for a non-profit institution, preferably the Church.

His favorite part of his new job, he said, is the people he has met, the employees serving the people of God. “We clearly have a driving vision to continue to evangelize the Church in the Washington area,” he said. “…People are not just dedicated to their work, they’re passionate about it… It’s not just a job, it’s more of a mission-driven calling.”

That dedication to a mission is something that Deacon Finn respects and understands. About 20 years ago, he started going on a silent retreat, and about five years after that, “I got this nudge, a calling to be a deacon.”

He discussed it with his wife Georgana, but at that time, they decided their children were too young for him to make that kind of commitment. About seven years ago, he said, he felt that nudge again during his silent retreat, and he applied to the diaconate formation program. His wife, a kindergarten teacher for a Montgomery County public school, supported him throughout the process, he said.

“She’s an incredible partner,” he said. “Our love is deeper today than it was 38 years ago” when they got married.

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