Tim Pappas enjoys his job as managing partner with Pappas-Delaney, a company that trains businesses to hire candidates that best fit their needs and culture.
However, upon seeing a woman dropping her son off for a retreat, distraught over losing her job after 27 years and struggling to maintain her faith, he realized he had a calling.
“I have enjoyed the training aspect of my job but this brought me to a realization that losing a job really shakes a person’s faith,” explained Pappas, a parishioner at St. Martin of Tours in Franklin. “I’ve served before at church, but wasn’t always suited to the task, but in this regard, I felt God put the desire in my heart. I want people to think not about what God has done to us, but what he has done for us.”
Aware of the St. James employment group on the north side of the city run by Pat Cronin, now called the Lumen Christi employment network, Pappas created a south side group to serve the needs of that area’s parishes. While there are hundreds of opportunities to network on the Internet and through job fairs, Pappas said there is a component to Lumen Christi that isn’t found elsewhere.
“Unemployment challenges the faith of the whole family; it impacts your very identity. These groups help people to stay grounded in their faith, while getting to meet others and network in the process. I’m thinking we should adopt the slogan, ‘Getting people out of their bathrobes’ to explain what we do.”
Job seekers and resources alike meet once a week on Tuesday mornings from 7:30 to 9 alternately at St. Mary Hales Corners and St. Martin of Tours. Practice interviews are done and information sharing are part of each session, which also offers the opportunity to meet for a prayer group afterward.
The program has been successful, with the north side group celebrating six years and more than 120 people placed in jobs. The south side group has also begun to see placements, and alumni are encouraged to stay in contact with the group to continue to provide hope and support. Pappas said other small groups have formed as well, and other group members have started volunteering to help offer them a little perspective.
“This has really helped me to interact with others,” said Mary Harms, a job seeker who attends the weekly sessions. “It grounds me in my search, as we also talk about and share the core values of faith and what is really important.”
The program has also had an impact on Pappas’ spiritual life.
|Name: Tim Pappas
Parish: St. Martin of Tours, Franklin
Occupation: Managing partner,
Book recently read: “The Worst Hard Time,” by Timothy Egan
Favorite movie: “Annie Hall”
Favorite quotation: “I don’t like that man … I guess I should get to know him better.” Abraham Lincoln
(Submitted photo courtesy Tim Pappas)
“When people come to me and say they appreciate the prayers said for them, and I see people go into a prayer session after networking, I don’t know how that doesn’t impact your faith. When people tell you they are grateful to you and are praying for you, it’s humbling,” Pappas said.
“When you foster an environment where people are freed to hear others’ stories, they also become more open to each other and more open to serve,” he added.
Pappas also enjoys volunteering, and has served with youth in areas affected by hurricanes and on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. He said the impact of seeing and serving others in need teaches young people about humility. He said anyone who volunteers comes back changed.
Marge McGinn, a resource for the network who also has witnessed Pappas’ involvement at St. Martin, said, “Tim practices what he preaches in that he is outgoing and generous with his time and treasure, and is always positive and upbeat. He is also involved with the kids, and has worked with them on volunteer outreach projects.”
“I think people, especially our kids, need to experience working or volunteering on a project that is bigger than themselves,” Pappas said. “However, they should realize that these needs are here as well, our mission fields are right here.”