“It’s been an honor and a joy to serve under four bishops and the people of the St. Cloud Diocese,” Angie Loecken said, describing more than 40 years she has worked for the diocese.
Loecken, administrative assistant to the director of the diocesan Office of Marriage and Family, retires July 29. In addition to assisting the director, Chris Codden, she currently does program coordinating and accounting for the office.
Loecken began Sept. 1, 1969, as a stock clerk for St. Cloud Bookshop when it was owned by the diocese and located at 810 St. Germain St., in St. Cloud. She quickly graduated to new responsibilities on the floor, then as a store purchaser.
“I enjoyed the bookshop, a full-service store selling everything from parish supplies to books for religious education,” Loecken said.
Loecken became part of the Family Life Bureau Dec. 1, 1974. That was the beginning of 42 years with the office, which has had three name changes over the years.
“It was hard to leave the bookshop because December is their busy season, so I worked there nights and at the Family Life Bureau during the day for a month,” she said.
“Since then I’ve had many different titles over the years, but I’ve basically done the same tasks — coordinating events or programs with Chris Codden and taking care of the financial aspects of the office.”
“Angie has devoted her life to serving the Diocese of St. Cloud,” Codden said. “It has been her mission, her vocation, which showed through her professionalism, friendly manner, efficiency and always ready-to-serve attitude.
“Working for the diocese was not only her job, but she witnessed to and served Christ in all that she did,” Codden said. “It has been a supreme honor and privilege to work with Angie for the past 29 years. May God continue to bless and keep her in her retirement and in every way God leads her in the future. She will be sorely missed.”
The hundreds of gatherings she’s organized and staffed include International Year of the Family, Catholic men’s and women’s conferences, purity balls, vespers, March for Life, Masses of hope and healing, marriage enrichment, Fortnight for Freedom, marriage preparation events, Diocesan Ministry Day and Honoring Marriage Day.
Her favorite events?
“I really enjoyed “The Many Hats Women Wear,” which was a pro-life event on Mother’s Day weekend that honored women. We no longer provide it — it was replaced by the Catholic Women’s Conference, which this year will be Saturday, Oct. 15.”
Another event she liked to organize is Honoring Marriage Day, which, she recalled, began at the request of Bishop John Kinney. “That first year we held it at St. John’s University — it was huge. Now, St. Mary’s Cathedral hosts the event most years. This year we sent 1,544 invitations.”
Loecken glows when she describes the event’s special details — color coordinating boutonnieres and flowers to the number of years couples have been married, keepsakes offered at the occasion, pictures taken with the bishop and the joy that celebrating couples express.
Those tasks will now fall to Janet Dusek, who began July 25 in her position as the new administrative assistant in the OMF.
In retirement, Loecken looks forward to taking day trips with Chuck, her husband who’s been retired for six years, spending time with family and volunteering at her parish, St. Joseph in St. Joseph.
She is in her second term as regent for the St. Cloud chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and is committed to supporting veterans. Her chapter donates funds and comfort care items to the VA Hospital in St. Cloud and to Eagle’s Healing Nest in Sauk Centre. Members participate in VA parades and educational and cemetery preservation projects. Each year they present a gold medal to a female cadet at the Fighting Saints Battalion Army ROTC annual military ball in St. Cloud.
Like “Memories … pressed between the pages of our minds” (to quote from a song Elvis Presley performed), Loecken said she has fond memories of the priests, staff and others she worked with through her many years with the diocese. She’s an Elvis buff, but that’s another story.