COLORADO SPRINGS. Jeri Thieme, who helped to establish many of the accounting procedures and policies used by the Diocese of Colorado Springs since its inception in 1984, retired from her position as Controller May 1.
A farewell reception for Thieme was held at the Catholic Pastoral Center on April 28, with Bishop Emeritus Richard Hanifen, Bishop Michael Sheridan, coworkers and family members taking turns paying tribute to her many years of service to the diocese.
“We started with a manual general ledger and calculator, transitioning to automated accounting systems, took over parish accounting from the Archdiocese of Denver, and through it all, you saw to it that we earned an unqualified, or ‘clean,’ audit opinion for the last 33 years,” said Bob Doerfler, Finance Officer for the Diocese of Colorado Springs, who hired Thieme in November 1984.
“You saw your role in the Finance Office as one of service to the bishop, our pastors, to diocesan and parish staff members, allowing them to carry out the primary pastoral care of the people of God through worship, formation and charity. You were, and still are, a champion of those servant-based principles, a model for me and for the others who worked with you, of the way we are called to serve the Church,” Doerfler said.
“I will always appreciate your kindness and readiness to help me,” Bishop Sheridan told Thieme. “As soon as I got something in my hands that was (confusing), I knew that you would provide an understandable and helpful response. You are also quite the workhorse. If I come in on a Saturday to catch up, your car is in the parking lot. When I leave, it’s still in the parking lot.”
“I always thought of you as the wind beneath my wings,” Bishop Emeritus Hanifen told Thieme. “You were the one who held me accountable.”
In addition to overseeing the accounting operations of the various diocesan departments and entities, Thieme devoted a significant amount of time to training and providing assistance to parish business managers.
During the farewell party, Bishop Sheridan also presented Thieme and her husband Roger with an Apostolic Blessing signed by Pope Francis for the occasion of their 45th wedding anniversary, which they will celebrate in June.
Following Thieme’s departure, Robert Coniker assumed the role of Controller for the Diocese of Colorado Springs. Coniker previously held the same position at Economic Partners, LLC of Denver. Prior to that, he served for 20 years in a number of financial and administrative roles at the Apostolate for Family Consecration in Bloomingdale, Ohio. Coniker and his wife are members of St. Peter Parish in Monument and have eight children.