Physical upgrades to allow parish pair to better welcome future Catholics

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In a diocese that has six sets of twins and a pair of triplets, Our Lady of the Valley and St. Raphael are neither.

St. Raphael

5525 W. Acoma Rd., Glendale
Weekend Mass Times
  • 5:30 p.m., Sat.
  • 9 a.m., noon Sun.

By the Numbers

3.4

Miles between the sister parishes that are one year apart in age and share a pastor plus some meeting space

44-45

Years of age this July for Our Lady of the Valley and St. Raphael, respectively

41

Number of years St. Raphael parishioners have been praying in temporary folding pews

Their similarities are apparent, however. The sister parishes share a URL, a similar population and geography. They were established a year apart almost to the day and have shared the same pastor since 2004. How they discerned and budgeted their respective portions of the “Parish Support” pot from the “Together Let Us Go Forth ~ Juntos Sigamos Adelante” campaign that’s making its way around the Diocese of Phoenix differed, however.

Ironically, the end result will make the complementary parishes more identical yet more complete as standalone campuses.

“I have one parish with a great hall and education building and I have another church with a great worship space,” but not much else, explained Holy Cross Father Ed Kaminski. He has shepherded both parishes for nearly 13 years.

Permanent pews

At St. Raphael, which sits in Glendale, a few blocks west of Arizona State University’s west campus, the most pressing request was for permanent seating. “Give us a pew that won’t move when we sit down,” parishioners said. Somehow, the folding pews, intended to be temporary, have endured 42 years of Masses with decades of funds dedicated elsewhere in an apparent “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude toward stewardship.

Funds will also update the patchwork linoleum tile flooring. It’s cracking and dated at best. These cosmetic changes aren’t vital, but will go a long way toward evangelization, explained Rusty and Carmen Dudley. The couple grew up in the Diocese of Phoenix and have spent 10 years at St. Raphael where they’re co-chairing campaign efforts.

“It’s going to make the worship space better than it is now,” Rusty said.

Seating and flooring with a side view of the altar shout St. Raphael’s status as a church built in the ’70s. (Jesús Valencia/CATHOLIC SUN)

First-time visitors will be more likely to come back, the couple said, and young families — a small but growing number, will be more inclined to get involved with sacraments and ministries.

The Dudleys have a heart for and experience in junior high and high school ministry, so they respect that other elements of the diocesan campaign continue parishes’ youth outreach at the college level via the Newman Centers.

“There’s something there for everybody to have a passion about,” said Carmen of the campaign. “There’s something for everyone to go forth ~ juntos.”

Gathering together

By the Numbers

600-650

Families per parish —
St. Raphael
Our Lady of the Valley

80

Comfortable capacity for current multi-purpose social “hall” used at Our Lady of the Valley for post-Mass fellowship, funeral receptions, ministry socials, etc.

3.4

Miles between the sister parishes that are one year apart in age and share a pastor plus some meeting space

For parishioners of Our Lady of the Valley, which sits west of Interstate 17 along Greenway Road, part of their passion for the campaign is a forthcoming social space. Parish buildings turned 42 just before Easter with the original kitchen still there. Accessory classrooms, which double as space for post-Mass fellowship, funeral receptions and ministry gatherings can’t hold enough people to allow true hospitality.

Each parish receives 35 percent of what it raises during the campaign to support internal efforts. Our Lady of the Valley is planning for a more efficient multipurpose space. “I basically looked at this campaign as an investment in the future of the Diocese of Phoenix,” Fr. Kaminski said, who alongside the faithful at both parishes, also applauded the four-part “Francis Fund” within the campaign.

Anita Kilcran, co-chair of the campaign at Our Lady of the Valley, saw “Together Let Us Go Forth ~ Juntos Sigamos Adelante” as an exercise in trusting Divine Providence. She mirrors many of the parish’s 600 aging families that are on a fixed income, especially as a recent widow.

“I’m making my pledge knowing God will not be outdone in generosity,” Kilcran told parishioners she has prayed beside for 20 years.

Our Lady of the Valley

3220 W. Greenway Rd., Phoenix
Sunday Mass Times
  • 4 p.m., Sat.
  • 7:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 5 p.m., Sun. (Filipino)

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