Our bounded issues since 1987. To contact diocesan archives for copies of old articles or photos: (602) 354-2475 or online: https://www.diocesephoenix.org/archives.php

Where were you when Pope John Paul II visited Arizona? Lived elsewhere? Well, hop on the light rail on Central Avenue headed eastbound at either Osborn or Thomas Road. Take it down to Washington Street and you’ve passed the same sites as the papal motorcade. And if you can, imagine 150,000 people lining either side. That was the police estimate.

Whether you lived in the area or not 25 years ago, take a look at some of these papal headlines and other news makers from our archives.

From September 1987 issues (25 years ago):

  • Coat of arms
    A standalone photo shows three girls decorating a papal coat of arms with colored rice at St. Paul Parish. The activity was part of a JPII 101-style program to prepare them for the papal visit.
    Teenagers at St. Francis Xavier Parish held a “lock-in” to study the pope’s travels.
  • Preparation forces Mass from basilica
    In order to continue with setup for the papal visit the following day, regular Masses at St. Mary’s Basilica moved to nearby First Presbyterian’s Norton Chapel Sept. 13 that year.
  • When expecting company, plan a year ahead
    Interview with Sultana Klatt, then the bishop’s  cook, reveals her preparations for the papal visit. She shopped with Eddie Basha at his store to select the food. She put a chair from her own dining room in the pope’s bedroom. She borrowed a lot and people donated a lot.
  • Pima woman humbly awaits papal address
    It took a member of the St. Francis Mission on the Salt River Indian Reservation more than a week to tell her family that she would brief the pope on major concerns of the Native Americans.
  • Keeping busy before Mass takes imagination
    The line to get into the papal Mass stretched five miles.
  • Visit overwhelms, moves, inspires participants
    One of two pages that printed personal reflections on the pope’s visit. Seminarian, St. Theresa students and various papal coordinators shared their thoughts.
  • Pontiff’s message is ‘magical,’ ‘strengthening’
  • Other areas can’t get rid of tickets
    Regional dioceses were allotted 50 tickets to the Phoenix Papal Mass. That didn’t mean travel was practical. One diocese in Colorado, for example, only had six ticket  inquiries.
  • Pope focuses on social justice in auto capitol
    A newswire story previews the pope’s forthcoming visit. Social justice was one of three talks he gave because Detroit had the nation’s highest murder rate at the time and unemployment, poverty and a  70 percent school dropout rate plagued the black community.
  • Crash victims remembered in parish services
    At least 23 members of local parishes were among those killed in an airplane crash that August. The flight originated from Detroit and included a family of five returning from a baptism in New York. They were parishioners at St. Timothy in Mesa. A family of four were newcomers at St. Anne in Gilbert.

From September 2002 issues (10 years ago):

  • Crew finds ‘time capsule’ from 1925 at St. Mary’s school site
  • Catholic community finds home in Anthem Center
    Recaps the first Masses for what is now Good Shepherd Mission in New River. Area residents had commuted to Mass in central Phoenix, Black Canyon City and northeast Phoenix beforehand. The mission is now canonically part of St. Rose Parish, which was established two years later.
  • St. Patrick Parish in Scottsdale opened its current 1,200-seat church and Queen of Peace Parish in Mesa opened an adult education center plus two new classrooms.
  • Remembering 9/11