Though she identifies herself as an introvert, Irene Goodwin also noted she loves being around people.
That desire to connect with others is how she wound up as a pastoral administrator, pastoral associate and catechist at various parishes in the diocese.
Goodwin will retire at the end of June from her role as pastoral administrator of St. Mary of the Assumption in Scottsville, St. Vincent DePaul in Churchville, and St. Columba/St. Patrick in Caledonia. Yet she said she plans to stay active in parish life.
"I hope to do something for some parish somewhere because I have lots of energy left," said Goodwin, 65.
A native of New Jersey who later lived in Horseheads, Goodwin traced her desire to learn more about her faith to her teenage years, when, at 14, she begged her mother to take her to daily Mass. Though the family was Catholic and attended Mass weekly, they did not attend every day.
As she got older, Goodwin’s desire grew to learn more about her faith. She signed up for catechetical training when she was 18, after her family moved from Horseheads to Rochester, and soon was asked to become a catechist.
"I did that for a couple years and stopped when I had a child," Goodwin said.
After taking time off to raise her family, Goodwin assisted the religious-education coordinator at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Hamlin, where she helped coordinate the establishment of an interfaith food and clothing center. She later became the religious-education coordinator at Ss. Peter and Paul in Rochester.
She then moved to the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Brockport, where she served for six years as a catechetical leader and for four years as pastoral associate. Following that, she moved to Holy Ghost in Gates for three years to serve as pastoral associate.
In September 2002, she became pastoral administrator of St. Mary of the Assumption, and in 2011, she was appointed pastoral administrator of the Churchville and Caledonia parishes as well.
A typical day for Goodwin may include leading a Communion service, meeting with staff, visiting people who are sick, and attending evening meetings of finance committees or parish councils.
"My role in the church has changed immensely over the years, and it has been a great gift to me to be so active in my church," she said.
She said the importance of faith in her life also motivated her to get a master’s degree in theology.
"I have been fortunate that my faith has been strong," Goodwin said. "My faith has led me to want to know more about my church and my God. I find it enhanced by learning."
Goodwin and her husband, Bob, have four sons and four daughters-in-law. In retirement, she is looking forward to spending time with her seven grandchildren.
She also is planning to take the summer to relax, "which I don’t think I’ve done in many years," she remarked.
To celebrate her retirement, the parishes where she serves will host coffee hours after Masses June 21 and 22.