Campaign fortifies St. Margaret’s facilities, parish community

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Maria Avalos, office manager at St. Margaret, helps prepare the menudo breakfast on Sundays in a kitchen in need of remodeling. (Joyce Coronel/CATHOLIC SUN)
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Tucked away in Tempe, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Parish spent 14 years without a pastor. These days, the burgeoning church is home to roughly 2,500 families who worship the Lord mostly in Spanish. Now, they have a leader and he’s challenged them to step out in faith.

By the Numbers
2,678

Total number of families

125

Total number of parish volunteers

63

Total number of First Communions in 2018

1972

Year parish was established

7

Total number of volunteers serving in Friday education classes

29

Total number of lectors

Fr. Jesús Alfredo Quezada has been the parochial administrator for the last four years. “He’s very involved with the parish,” said Martha Gamez of the Mission Advancement Office for the Phoenix Diocese. “He has a class every week and brings a speaker every week as well.”

When it was time for St. Margaret to participate in the “Together Let us Go Forth ~ Juntos Sigamos Adelante” campaign, Fr. Quezada was a bit worried, Gamez said. How could such a humble parish meet its goal when it seemed so high?

“I think we all underestimated the sense of community that exists there,” Gamez said. “There was a sense of community there before but this campaign really brought them together to support the parish and the Diocese of Phoenix.”

When parishioners discovered that part of the money they would raise was destined to stay at St. Margaret’s, they were sold on the idea. The parish hall and kitchen are not up to code and in need of remodeling.

“One of the things that really resonated with them was the fact that we are building something for future generations,” Gamez said. “They really came together on that specific topic.”

The hall is busy seven days a week with catechism classes, a Cursillo group, formation, a prayer group and childcare for married couples who meet in the church on Mondays.

EN ESPAÑOL: Campaña fortifica instalaciones y comunidad de Santa Margarita

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Parish
2435 E. McArthur Dr., Tempe
The mission of the parish is to build the Body of Christ by enhancing the spiritual life through worship, education and service.
Sunday Mass Times (in Spanish, unless otherwise indicated):
  • 6 p.m. (Saturday)
  • 8 a.m.
  • 10 a.m.
  • 12 p.m. (English)
  • 5 p.m.
Confession Times
  • 7 p.m., Thursday
  • 7 p.m., Saturday
  • 5 p.m., Sunday (during Mass)
(480) 967 0379​

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There’s also a class that meets on Fridays for those who haven’t finished elementary school or junior high. Parishioners are teaching and with help from the Mexican Consulate, participants are receiving credit for the course. On Sunday mornings, families gather in the hall for a community breakfast of menudo, burritos, tacos and other Mexican fare.

“The kitchen is not up to date,” Gamez said. “There’s no hood or sprinkler system — that’s one of the reasons they could not get insured. The floor needs some repairs as well.”

Fr. Quezada prayed that parishioners would respond well and they did. In its introductory phase — with a presentation to some of the church’s larger donors, 70 percent of the goal was met. The first weekend the campaign hit the wider parish community, they were at 178 percent of the goal.

“We have parishes that after six months can only get to 25 percent,” Gamez said.

Fr. Quezada said the campaign is helping the parish to grow because it’s helping people to realize they are part of a wider Church. “We are growing in solidarity,” Fr. Quezada said.

Beyond that, he said, the campaign helps people put into practice Jesus’ command to love. “Love isn’t just something that’s spoken — love is put into practice and this campaign is the fruit of love. So, when we participate in this campaign, we are expressing love for God and for our neighbors. We don’t know who we are helping — we haven’t met them — but we know God.”