Public relations coordinator starts
Sara Eliasen brings experience in business and in Oshkosh parish
By Patricia Kasten
Compass Associate Editor
"It's an exciting time in the church," says Sara Eliasen, the new public relations coordinator for the Green Bay Diocese. Pointing to all the parish changes and new programs, such as "Journey Home" for returning Catholics, Eliasen says "being a part of this is the chance of a lifetime for me."
Eliasen, a native of Madison, graduated from UW-Madison with degrees in journalism and English. She has worked in promotions for Wisconsin Public Radio and as PR coordinator for Alliance Laundry Systems (Speed Queen) in Ripon. Most recently, she served as parish secretary at St. Mary Parish in
She says that her parish job gives her an inside track on communicating the many programs and resources the diocese offers to parishes. "There's a lot of support here (in the diocesan offices)," she says, "but people in the parishes don't always know that." She hopes to serve as a strong link between parishes and diocesan personnel.
"Sara's work will include public relations, media relations and coordinating the diocesan web page (www.gbdioc.org)," said Tony Kuick, director of communications. "She has a good background in
public relations and strong writing skills. We're very pleased to have her on board."
In coordinating the website, Eliasen hopes to find new ways to make the site a place where the diocese,
parishes and people in the pews can interact.
This should be especially helpful since Eliasen comes to the diocese during a time of change for
parishes, a time of mergers and linkages, when parishes are learning new ways of dealing with the
shortage of priests. She sees her job as playing a critical role in implementing parish plans.
"I'd like to be able to communicate all those changes with a sense of peace," she says, "so people can
see the benefits of those changes rather than the loss."
Eliasen also brings a unique perspective on the church to her new position. In 1997, she joined the
Catholic faith. Her family belonged to the Christian Science faith. Her husband, Steve, was a Catholic.
She credits their Oshkosh parish, St. Mary, its parish director, Sr. Judy Miller and the late Fr. Orville
Janssen, with making her feel welcome. Without them, especially Sr. Miller, "I couldn't have made the
leap to the opposite end of the spectrum," Eliasen says.
Now Eliasen hopes to combine her joy in the church and a strong desire to serve with her love of
writing. "I love meeting people and helping them tell their stories. Everyone has these things about
themselves that no one would ever guess. It's inspiring."
Eliasen recently moved to Green Bay with her photographer husband and their two children, two-year-old Owen and 18-month-old Isabella. She also has a stepdaughter, Grace.