New communications director to tap all media for the church

| March 28, 2012 | 0 Comments
Mealey

Mealey

Sarah Mealey, the newly named communications director for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, said she is “convinced that this is what I’m being called to do.”

“I view it as an honor to be able to come in the position and work with a great team,” said Mealey, who will start working part time April 9 and full time April 16. She brings years of experience in strategizing, communications, marketing and finance, most recently with Ameriprise Financial, where she is the vice president of Ameriprise Franchise Group strategy and field execution.

“My job is — as the right hand to the president of the franchise business — to help think through the business strategy of the franchise operation and to think through the best ways to help it grow and succeed in order to serve the 1.5 million clients that we serve across the country,” Mealey said. Dealing with 7,500 franchisees across the country requires a lot of communication, she added.

As the director of archdiocesan communications, Mealey is charged with pulling together all the communications efforts for the archdiocese “so we have a more cohesive and consistent and compelling message for parishioners across the archdiocese, and for the larger public and our cohorts in the media.”

The ultimate vision and goal, she said, is to make Christ and his church known and loved.

Web, social media, print, all vital

“To do that we have to pull together all the various ways to communicate, the audiences, and the content,” she said. “In 2012, we have an unprecedented number of media for us to use, whether it’s the biweekly Catholic Spirit newspaper or various news sites to blogging to Facebook and other social media.”

“Social media is — and will continue to grow as — a critical means of reaching people both within the church and outside the church,” Mealey said. “We want to dive in and be a part of it. . . . Christ always shines his light into the darkness. And we need to be that light and we need to use social media to accomplish that.”

The archdiocesan websites are an integral part of the communication strategy, not only as a portal into news and information, but as a reliable resource for education and formation, she said.

But, diving into the Internet and social media does not mean abandoning print media.

“Many Catholics find that the biweekly print newspaper — and I’m one of them — is an integral part of their interaction with the church,” Mealey said. “I think The Catholic Spirit is doing a lot of really good work, whether it’s the print version of the newspaper, the push strategy with email getting the online version out, the website, Catholic Hotdish [blogs] — all of it is on the right track.”

One of her major challenges and goals as communications director is to reach out to young people and help them see the truth and the beauty of the Catholic faith.

It is also a personal goal for Mealey and her husband of 22 years, Patrick. The couple has four children: Thomas, 21, a junior at Notre Dame; Kevin, 18, a freshman at the University of St. Thomas; Claire, 15, a sophomore at Trinity School in Eagan; and Kate, 9, a fourth-grader at Holy Family Academy in St. Louis Park, where they are parishioners.

“I am enormously blessed by the gift of my husband — Patrick — he’s a wonderful guy,” she said.

“The more we can play a role in helping them ignite their passion for the faith, the more that all of us play a role in helping secure the future of the church.”

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Category: Local News, Spotlight