A new chapter: stepping down from my full-time job
I have to share my big news: I’m leaving my position as Director of Communications for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany after almost seven years. What’s the plan? To return to what I love to do most: writing, retreat work, and teaching yoga. Truth be told, I’ve been doing all those things while I do my day job, which might be why I’m always exhausted. Something had to give, and there was no way I could give up the work that is my true calling. It wasn’t an easy decision but my heart knew it was time. The still, small voice can get very loud and distracting when we don’t listen the first time (or 100 times). I’m lucky to be able to make this choice; I know not everyone can. I will write more about this soon, but for now, here is the media release issued by the Diocese of Albany with all the details:
Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger has accepted the resignation of Mary DeTurris Poust, diocesan director of communications, effective Jan. 28, 2022. Ms. DeTurris Poust has served in the role since September 2015, after initially being brought on six months earlier to create and maintain a social media presence for the bishop and the 14-county diocese. A search is underway for her replacement.
“Mary brought a unique blend of journalistic skills, spiritual insights, and social media savvy to the position, not to mention a lifelong Catholic faith that informed everything she did,” Bishop Scharfenberger said. “While we are sorry to lose her, we are grateful for her tireless efforts on behalf of the diocese and the larger Church, and we wish her all the best as she continues to spread the Gospel through the written and spoken word.”
Bishop Scharfenberger brought Ms. DeTurris Poust to the diocese in an effort to transform the Office of Communications from a traditional press office to a responsive and pro-active communications team that would use technology to further the mission of the Church. Ms. DeTurris Poust also serves as associate publisher of The Evangelist, the weekly newspaper of the diocese, and as vice president of its board. Her monthly column, Life Lines, will continue to run in The Evangelist.
“I am honored to have had the opportunity to serve the Diocese of Albany for close to seven years, and I’m proud of all we accomplished with the help of a great communications team. Now it is time for me to return to what has always been the heart of my ministry and professional life: writing, retreat work, and public speaking,” said Ms. DeTurris Poust. “I am so grateful to Bishop Scharfenberger for his commitment to transparency and truth, for his support of Catholic communications as the premier way to evangelize, educate and inspire, and, most importantly, for his unflagging efforts to bring healing to the survivors of sexual abuse.”
Prior to joining the diocese, Ms. DeTurris Poust spoke nationally about the need for the Church to use social media as way to reach Catholics and non-Catholics alike, telling the U.S. Bishops at their General Assembly in Baltimore in 2012 that “like it or not, Facebook is the new parish hall.” Bishop Scharfenberger also recognized that need and initially hired Ms. DeTurris Poust to establish a diocesan presence on various social media platforms. When she was appointed Communications Director five months later, that role was expanded to include media relations, redesign and maintenance of the diocesan website, video production and promotion, and more. Since then, the Communications Office has grown its digital presence year by year and has won numerous national Catholic Media Association awards for its social media campaigns and graphics, website design and content, press releases and breaking news.
“None of this could have happened without the talented and dedicated staff that has supported and executed our campaigns so expertly,” said Ms. DeTurris Poust. “I am so grateful to those who have worked alongside me to translate the bishop’s vision and the Gospel message into digital, video and print products.”
The author of six books on Catholic spirituality and six books of seasonal reflections, Ms. DeTurris Poust is the former managing editor of Catholic New York, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of New York, and contributing editor of Our Sunday Visitor newsweekly, and has also served the dioceses of Metuchen, N.J., and Austin, Texas. She is a nationally known retreat leader, and her writing appears regularly in various publications and on her blog at www.notstrictlyspiritual.com.