East Valley Catholics are mourning the loss of Fr. Louis Anthony Sigman, who passed away Aug. 29 at the age of 87.
Fr. Sigman, a native of Chicago, was ordained for the Diocese of Peoria in Illinois in 1967. He made his way to Arizona where he served as parochial vicar of Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson and was incardinated to the Diocese of Phoenix in February of 1973.
Fr. Sigman briefly served at St. Theresa Parish in east Phoenix before being named pastor of St. Daniel Parish in south Scottsdale in 1975. It was there he began a reputation of building the church both physically and spiritually. Fr. Sigman spearheaded building the current worship space for St. Daniel and saw it through to completion in 1981.
As founding pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Ahwatukee four years later, Fr. Sigman again headed up a capital campaign. Catholics at the growing parish were able to attend Mass on its own land by 1989.
“He was a good priest for the time that we had him,” said John Rajczyck, a Corpus Christi parishioner since 1988.
Fr. Sigman retired in 1998, but not before encouraging parishioners to establish a variety of vital parish ministries: extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, the Knights of Columbus — where the priest served as chaplain — communion to the homebound, money counters and ushers. Rajczyck played a role in all of them, leading some for 25 years.
“He made you enjoy coming to Church. He knew how to talk to people,” Rajczyck said. He also noted the priest’s ability to treat people like family — an easier task in the beginning when there were 300 people. Corpus Christi quickly grew to 1,000 families and beyond during his tenure.
There are some 2,800 families today, but Fr. Sigman spent much of his active retirement years at St. Mary in Chandler, which has more than 5,000 families.
Mass of Christian burial was celebrated at Corpus Christi Sept. 2. Interment followed at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Mesa.