Amy Profenna works for Catholic Cemeteries, Archdiocese of Toronto. She previously was a competitive cyclist and holds a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do. Below she shares some of her inspirations and her role in serving the Catholic community in Toronto.
|Amy Profenna, Catholic Cemeteries|
1) What is your job with Catholic Cemeteries and how long have you been in this role?
My title is Manager of Marketing & Public Relations and I was hired in February of 2003.
2) Explain the relationship between the Archdiocese of Toronto and Catholic Cemeteries.
In the community of our archdiocese, Catholic Cemeteries is profoundly important. It is a place, a family and an environment wherein we take the tenants of our faith and our belief in life after death and try to make that real for people. Acting together as a family of faith, Catholic Cemeteries works closely with our parishes.
3) Dealing with loss of life on a daily basis can’t be an easy task. What keeps you coming back each day?
To discuss the loss of a loved one from my perspective is to look at life through the eyes of faith. The great gift of our Catholic faith is that we believe that “life is changed, not ended.” We believe that God, in His love, will bring us to be with Him forever in Heaven.
What I love most about being a Catholic cemeterian is the ability to serve the Catholic community in Toronto. I feel that the work I do helps to provide comfort to families at their time of loss. Planning events such the Annual Mass for the Faithful Departed is an example of how I support the faithful in praying for the dead.
|Amy helps Bishop Boissonneau stay dry as he |
blesses the prayer garden at Queen of Heaven Cemetery.
4) What is your greatest accomplishment in your work to date?
My greatest accomplishment to date has to be my collaboration with Salt and Light Television producing the 25 minute video entitled, “When a Loved One Dies: Finding Your Way Through Loss.” This film focuses on three bereaved families, their journeys, the Church’s response and the role Catholic Cemeteries plays in their ongoing emotional healing. This video is available to anyone in the Archdiocese through Catholic Cemeteries.
5) You have an interesting background as an athlete. What is the most important lesson you learned through your training and how does it help you in your work life?
The most important lesson that I have learned is to be patient yet determined. I have also learned that the broader the base, the higher the peak, which means that victory loves preparation. Having a positive attitude is important. Lastly, as I always say, it’s a short day when I don’t learn something new.
6) If you weren’t working for Catholic Cemeteries, what would you be doing?
I would be doing something related to coaching, training or athletics.
7) If you could job shadow anyone in the world for a day, who would it be and why?
Clara Hughes. Clara is a Canadian cyclist and speed skater who has won Olympic medals in both the summer and winter games. Apart from being an amazing athlete, she is involved in various organizations such as Right to Play. This humanitarian organization uses sport to improve health, develop life skills and foster peace for children in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world.
8) Who inspires you?
I am inspired by ordinary people, not movie stars or celebrities! I am inspired by the families who I have the privilege of meeting though my work at Catholic Cemeteries, people who use their grief and pain and turn it into a positive thing. Like the mother I met who lost her son to suicide who wrote a heart-wrenching and inspiring novel about her son’s struggles. She is using the proceeds of this book to help support those suffering from mental illness by donating to St. Michael’s hospital.
I was inspired just the other day when my friend shared a video with me about a father who competes with his disabled son in Ironman triathlons. He pulls his son along in a boat while he swims, rides his specially adapted bicycle with his son sitting on the front and pushes son in his wheelchair during the run. The father said that his son told him (with the aid of a computer) that while they run, train and compete his disability disappears. This story is an example of love and inspiration.
Lastly I am also inspired by Pier Giorgio Frassati who said, "verso l'alto” which refers to constant striving to reach the summit of eternal life.
9) If someone were to write a book about your life, what would the title be?
Verso l’alto or Never Give Up!
10) What do you like to do on your days off?
On my days off I like to spend time with my kids and my family which includes my dog, Stella.