By Gwen Faust
Sarah Gray is multi-talented. Among her many gifts, she has the voice of an angel, a keen eye for decorating, and a gift for recognizing talent.
Her glorious voice can be heard in song as a cantor and as a member of the St. Francis de Sales Sunday morning 10:30 Chorale. She also is responsible for decorating the church as the chair of the Art and Environment Committee. And, she enjoys inviting people to volunteer to serve the church.
Growing up in Kenosha County, Sarah began singing in high school. She is the oldest of seven children, all who can carry a tune, according to Sarah. She attended St. John’s Catholic Grade School and graduated from Central High School in Paddock Lake.
Following high school, Sarah became a certified dental assistant. She practiced this profession for 20 years in Kenosha. During this time, she was blessed with two sons, Matt and Jake. But, while she was busy keeping a warm and comfortable home for her family, she wasn’t singing.
“I didn’t sing again until my boys were old enough to behave in church alone,” Sarah said with a smile.
That time would come at St. Francis Xavier Church in Brighton. She became a cantor and was active in parish work, including serving on the parish council. She also made a big change in her professional life. She left dental work and became the Director of Administrative Services at two Wisconsin Catholic parishes.
About 15 years ago, Sarah decided to join the St. Francis de Sales community. She continued as a cantor and became involved with the 10:30 Chorale.
Sarah considers her role as a cantor a joy and said, “You can feel the Spirit working through you when the congregation responds. My role is to encourage everyone else to sing.”
Always eager to lend a helping hand, along with lifting her voice in song, Sarah became chair of the Art and Environment Committee about 10 years ago. She is responsible for decorating the church to enhance people’s prayer experience.
When asked what her favorite times of the year are for decorating the church, she thought about it while taking a sip of her beloved Diet Coke. “Christmas and Easter,” she answered.
She particularly likes the quiet moments leading up to midnight Mass at Christmas, “when the trees are lit, but the lights are dim.” She also sparkles, when reminiscing about the lights being turned on at the Easter Vigil and “all of the candles and flowers are on display.”
Another aspect of her church ministry work that Sarah relishes is encouraging other people to volunteer. She likes to recognize a gift in someone and then encourage him or her to use their gift to serve St. Francis de Sales. For example, when she hears someone near her singing beautifully at Mass, she invites that person to join a choir. She feels that a “personal invitation is the most effective way to encourage volunteerism.”
When Sarah has time for herself, she likes to travel, especially to warm places, and bike on trails along Lake Michigan. She also has a new role that she is enjoying, being a grandmother. Her son, Matt, and his wife, Aggie, recently welcomed their son, Liam, into the world.
In addition, Sarah has a new job in her active life. She is the Director of Finance for Gesu Church, which is located on the Marquette University campus in Milwaukee.
From singing to decorating to volunteer recruiting, we thank you, Sarah. You have enriched all of our lives with your caring and giving spirit.