St Francis de Sales Music Ministry has been a vital part of our parish prayer life. When we gather at Worship, the music gives one voice; in sung prayer, we praise, thank, petition and ask forgiveness of our gracious God, not only as individuals but also as a community – the People of God. In tracing the roots of this vibrant ministry, gratitude was a predominant theme for the many talented people who gave of themselves to make us who we are today. Early in the life of the parish, Mass was celebrated in the Stone Chapel, where Mrs. Sullivan accompanied congregational singing. Richard Cassiley, who later on became a world acclaimed operatic tenor, shared his talent in singing songs of praise and thanksgiving.
In the 60’s thru the 80’s, not only was the Stone Chapel used for worship but also Kilduff Hall, with leaders of song and a folk group who helped the assembly raise their voices in song. Jane Gervasoni helped organize a fledgling choir with the aid of various organists: Nancy Webster Cassiley, Anna Belpot, Curt Bauer and Mary Moulsdale. With continual growth, in the 90s the parish made the decision to build the Worship Center. SFDS saw the building we worship in today erected. To create a way for “full active participation” by everyone, the decision was made to employ full time directors of music. Adella Nowowieski and later on Mary Jo Piccolo developed the music ministry to a level of competency, artistry and beauty. Sr. Kathleen Lehner introduced the use of Hand Bells to our worship. The first set donated by the Callahan Family in honor of their mother Emma. These bells still enhance liturgies today at special celebrations. In the development of all the music groups, the purpose of this ministry was always kept in mind – to aid the assembly to engage in “full, active liturgy participation”. SFDS has become known as the “singing” parish. Moving into the future, our hope is that under the direction of Rob Henry this vibrant ministry will continue to flourish as he adds his unique talents. REMEMBER WE ARE ST. FRANCIS!