Three weeks into his new assignment, Fr. Brady Williams, SOLT, thanked Most Holy Trinity parishioners — on Father’s Day — for his warm welcome. This marks his first parish assignment, having spent the last eight years with seminarians, at a Colorado mission and at the University of Dallas.
Fr. Williams’ appointment is one of 32 new priest assignments across the Phoenix Diocese in recent months. That includes two which will become official next month.
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted makes priest assignments throughout the year as pastoral needs arise. The decision factors in a priest’s particular gifts and parish needs. The assignment can often help bring about a spiritual renewal, said Fr. David Sanfilippo, vicar for priests.
“Our priests have responded to the growing needs in our diocese with great generosity. They have gladly said yes to the call of the Lord to serve,” he said.
The Apostles of Jesus will now serve in a second parish in the diocese. Fr. John Ssegawa, AJ, became pastor of St. Helen July 1.
For Most Holy Trinity parishioners, it marked the second new pastor in three years. The same is true for the more than 2,100 families who call St. Vincent de Paul Parish home.
Fr. Kilian McCaffrey took over in 2009 after Vincentian priests left. He moved to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Scottsdale July 1 and left a “Do not be afraid. Just have faith” note to St. Vincent de Paul parishioners.
“Nobody likes change. However, it is inevitable. God will take care of things if only we let Him into our lives and into our hearts,” he wrote.
Both the new parochial administrator and the new parochial vicar are new at the parish. Additionally, Fr. Paul Sullivan, director of vocations for the diocese, is now in residence and will offer weekend assistance.
For Fr. Jesus Lopez, the new parochial administrator, this marks his first leadership role since his ordination in 2008. Fr. Joji Balasamy Nagineni, the parochial vicar, just arrived from India.
So far, it’s been a smooth beginning, Fr. Lopez said. He met with parish and school staff before his arrival. Once moved in, he introduced himself at every Mass.
“People started greeting me and thanking me for being here. I’m looking forward to getting to know them,” Fr. Lopez told The Catholic Sun.
It’s simple greetings like that which can help make a newly assigned priest feel at home. He admitted it can be hard for priests to move around so much, but knows it’s part of their call to go where they’re needed.
Fr. McCaffrey agreed, pointing out the words “Thy will be done” from the Our Father. He is scheduled to discuss his transition from St. Vincent de Paul to OLPH in Scottsdale on The Bishops’ Hour radio show at 11 a.m. July 23 on 1310AM.
“God’s will works in our lives. All we have to do is take the pride out of the way and let the humility take over,” Fr. McCaffrey told the show’s host, Michael Dixon.
His new assignment carries on a strong tradition of Irish pastors. He took over for Msgr. Thomas Hever, who retired June 30. The new pastor built an immediate bridge with his new parishioners. His letter in the bulletin was written in front of a newly purchased image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. He wrote it from Knock, a place in Ireland where the Blessed Mother appeared in 1879.
“I always make a little pilgrimage to a special place dedicated to the patron of the parish I am going to as pastor before I start my work. I think everything should begin with prayer,” Fr. McCaffrey wrote.
He also mentioned that his father is from a village not far from where Msgr. Hever is from.
Fr. Raul Lopez, who became parochial vicar at St. Mary Mediatrix in Yarnell and Good Shepherd in Congress, sent a text message to Fr. Sanfilippo after his first Mass. He said it went well, that the people are great and they even welcomed him with a cake.
Fr. Sanfilippo said when priests serve with a shepherd’s heart, “the people of God see Christ’s love for them through their priests. When they welcome their priest, they know that they welcome Christ and His Gospel.”
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New priest assignments
WHO’S THE NEW GUY?
Fr. Alphonsus Bakyil*, SOLT, pastor, St. Frances Cabrini, Camp Verde
Fr. John Ssegawa, AJ, pastor, St. Helen, Glendale
Fr. Victor Yakubu, parochial vicar, St. Helen, Glendale
Fr. Jose Jesus Lopez, parochial administrator, St. Vincent de Paul
Fr. Joji Balasamy, parochial vicar, St. Vincent de Paul
Fr. Paul Sullivan, weekend assistance and live in residence at St. Vincent de Paul (additional role)
Fr. Brady Williams,* SOLT, pastor, Most Holy Trinity
Fr. Emile “Bud” Pelletier,* canonical pastor, Our Lady of Fatima Mission (additional role). Assisted by Msgr. Maron Sadei Toma from the Syriac Catholic community
Fr. Kilian McCaffrey, pastor, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Scottsdale
Fr. Steve Kunkel, canonical pastor, St. Margaret, Tempe (additional role)
Fr. Eric Houseknect,* parochial vicar, St. Thomas Aquinas, Avondale
Fr. Bruce Downs, parochial vicar, St. Gabriel the Archangel, Cave Creek
Fr. Dan Vanyo, parochial vicar, Queen of Peace, Mesa and chaplain at Seton, Chandler
Fr. Benjamin Lwin, parochial vicar, St. Mary Parish, Chandler
Fr. Jesus “Jess” Ty, parochial vicar, San Francisco de Asís, Flagstaff
Fr. Reynaldo Clutario, parochial vicar, San Francisco de Asís, Flagstaff
Fr. Benedict Onegiu, AJ, parochial vicar, St. James, Glendale
Fr. Lawrence Merta, LC, parochial vicar, Christ the King, Mesa
Fr. Greg Menegay,* parochial vicar, St. Joan of Arc
Fr. Kenenth Walker,* FSSP, parochial vicar, Mater Misericordiae Church
Fr. Gregory Rice,* interim parochial administrator, St. Joseph
Fr. Joseph Knoll,* MJ, parochial vicar, St. Daniel the Prophet, Scottsdale
Fr. Nicholas Floridi, parochial vicar, St. Joachim and St. Anne, Sun City
Fr. Camilo De Villa, parochial vicar, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Tempe
Fr. Raul Lopez, parochial vicar, St. Mary Mediatrix Mission, Yarnell and Good Shepherd of the Desert Mission, Congress
Fr. Ernesto Reynoso, weekend assistance and in residence at
Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral
Fr. Benjamin Pantas,* fulltime Judge and Defender of the Bond in the Office of Tribunal and in residence at St. Theresa
Fr. Robert Bolding, rector,
St. Mary’s High School and in residence at St. Thomas the Apostle
Fr. Michael Accinni-Reinhardt, fulltime chaplain for St. Jude Hospice
Fr. Daryl Olds, CMF, pastor, Sacred Heart, Prescott (Aug. 1)
Fr. Will Schmid, parochial administrator, St. Mary Magdalene, Gilbert (Aug. 9)
*effective prior to July 1
Ambria Hammel, staff writer, began serving The Catholic Sun diocesan newspaper via writing and photography in 2006. For story ideas, email email@example.com or call (602) 354-2134.
Fr. Christopher J. Fraser, JCL, is the Judicial Vicar in the Office of Canonical Services and the Tribunal for the Diocese of Phoenix.
Fr. Fraser was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Phoenix in June of 2001. Before entering St. Meinrad Seminary in southern Indiana, he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business from Arizona State University in 1994. Upon graduation, he was employed at the School of Law at Arizona State University until 1996 when he entered the seminary to begin preparations and discernment of the priesthood. He received a Master of Divinity from St. Meinrad School of Theology in 2001 and was ordained to the ministerial priesthood on June 2, 2001.
Fr. Fraser’s parish assignments were Parochial Vicar of Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix and St. Andrew the Apostle in Chandler. In 2004, Fr. Fraser was sent to the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., to study canon law, where he earned a licentiate in Canon Law in 2006. Upon graduation, he returned to Phoenix to work full time in the Office of Canonical Services and the Tribunal, where he has served as the Judicial Vicar since December of 2007.
Fr. Fraser is a graduate of Seton Catholic Preparatory High School in Chandler.