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Sarah Duvall & Gracie Weidman: In perfect harmony

Best friends lead music and campus ministry in Conway

Published: August 29, 2023   
Aprille Hanson Spivey
University of Central Arkansas students Sarah Duvall of Morrilton (left) and Gracie Weidman of Fort Smith smile Aug. 10 at the new Catholic Campus Ministry building in Conway. The pair are co-directors of the CCM music ministry.

Sarah Duvall was going to let her faith take a backseat in college. The born and raised Catholic, who attended Sacred Heart Church and School in Morrilton, still planned to attend Mass but wanted to shift her focus. But God had other plans when she, “spur of the moment,” signed up for a small group Bible study. It’s where she met her now-best friend Gracie Weidman, a cradle Catholic from Immaculate Conception Church and School in Fort Smith. 

“We definitely clicked very quickly,” Weidman, 21, said, despite being more of an introvert to Duvall’s extroverted nature.

But that balance has created beautiful harmony for the pair who co-direct the music ministry at Catholic Campus Ministry at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. 

“It helps you enter into a place where you can pray more fully. That’s been really beautiful,” Duvall, 21, said. “... I am consistently completely nervous before every Mass. I’m always shaking in the pew. The moment you see the priests starting to come in, everything kind of clicks. It just flows. Once those nerves are gone, it really does feel like singing is praying.” 

The two seniors sing and coordinate music and musicians for the Sunday Mass, worship nights and other events. 

“I just really dive into the lyrics. I’m purely focused on what the words are saying in each song,” Weidman said. “Sarah and I, we pray about it before every Mass, that we’re doing it to lead others in the worship of God and not do it as a performance. So it’s important to focus on the words.” 

Being a part of CCM has helped both stay grounded in faith. 

“The people there really help you remember what’s the most important part of your life,” Duvall said.


More stories will appear in our 15 Young Adults Who Inspire Us 2023 Section as they are posted online. Subscribe to Arkansas Catholic’s digital and print publications to read more content like this.

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