By Alice Huth-Derrah
One of the first faces to greet visitors and parishioners to St. Elizabeth Seton Parish is Sylvia Cabral, the Administrative Assistant in the front office. Sylvia has been in the job since January of this year, and a warm, shy smile and a gentle demeanor make her well suited for the position.
Born in Los Angeles, California in 1979, Sylvia has two younger brothers and a younger sister. Raised in the Catholic faith, she attended St. Isabel Catholic Elementary and Junior High Schools in Los Angeles, and then went on to Roosevelt, a public high school. After spending a few years in nursing school, she decided not to pursue studies in that field, and went on to earn a General Education degree from American Career Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, California.
Having moved to Arizona eight years ago, Sylvia was one of the last of her family members to relocate to the state. Sylvia’s face lights up as she talks about raising her three children, two daughters, ages 13 and 9, and a three-year-old son. Sylvia is “very close” to her oldest daughter, who is autistic, and credits her for teaching her an important life lesson, that of patience. Sylvia believes patience helps her on a daily basis, in her job and interactions with other people, in all relationships, promoting respect, tolerance, and perseverance especially in difficult situations. With her parents, siblings, and ten cousins residing in the area, Sylvia and her children enjoy frequent gatherings with their large and loving extended family.
After applying for her position through the on-line app “Indeed,” Sylvia obtained an interview and then went home and “prayed that I’d be called back.” She got that call and a second interview, and was offered the job the same day. Though the job entails many duties, Sylvia’s main responsibility is for the Front Office. Her priority is to welcome, receive, and generally “take care of people coming in or telephoning with questions or specific needs.” Sylvia is also in charge of ordering supplies, counting monies received and entering those amounts into the computer system, readying deposits, placing upcoming events on the parish calendar, and serving the needs of various parish groups when they require assistance securing rooms for meetings and events. She is especially grateful for the office volunteers who “fill-in,” answering phones and taking messages, on those hectic days when she needs to focus on “meeting deadlines such as ensuring the weekly church bulletin is issued on time and is ready for distribution to parishioners.”
With the little spare time she has, Sylvia is an enthusiastic crafter. Her focus is on customizing shirts, cups, mugs, or other things that can be printed on, using skills she acquired during the Covid pandemic. She is completely “self-taught” in the medium and learned from “watching YouTube videos and through trial and error.” As Sylvia describes working with print, her passion and enthusiasm are evident. She says she uses specialty equipment, “paper sublimation and a sublimation printer that cause the print to adhere to items like metal cups,” and these are machines she has set up in her craft room at home. She sells her specialty items at craft shows and through word of mouth, and she has started sharing her talents by teaching friends the craft.
Sylvia thoroughly enjoys working with the many church volunteers and is “grateful for every hour they give of their time.” She also appreciates the “time everyone takes to check-in with each other to ensure you’re okay.” With an affable smile, Sylvia says her position at St. Elizabeth Seton has afforded her “a wonderful opportunity to build new friendships.”