NEWS BRIEF: Diocese of Phoenix to host CMC in June 2025

Presented by one of the fastest growing Catholic Dioceses in the United States, and for the first time this millennium, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix will host the national Catholic Media Conference in June of 2025.  The announcement was made this past Friday at this year’s conference in Atlanta.  Themed, “Arise in the Desert,” the 2025 CMC will take place June 24-27, 2025, in downtown Phoenix.

St. Anthony’s is a miracle: the dedication of a new church 

Joyous anticipation filled the air at St. Anthony Mission in Sacaton, Ariz., in the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC). This past Sunday, the community gathered in their temporary building that had been used to celebrate Mass the last 20 years. This past Sunday, the community didn’t gather there for Mass but instead to process to the new St. Anthony Mission. The historic mission, which has been a staple in the community for generations, burned in January 2000 due to arson. This past Sunday was the culmination of years of prayers, asking God to provide the means for a new mission church, and now, the prayers had been answered.

Hope in the face of hardship: St. Anthony Mission

It was in January 2000 when St. Anthony Mission Church in Sacaton, Ariz., on the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) went up in flames. The community would soon learn that the cause of the fire was arson. Carol Jackson, a parishioner, grew up on the reservation and was in a building next door the night of the fire. “I saw smoke…Everybody rushed over there. We stayed there with the church and watched it. Everybody was crying.” Smoke lingered in the air the next morning when the fire department investigated the interior and pulled out vestments that were completely untouched as well as a glass container of holy water. After the building cooled off, Jackson went inside as the fire department dismantled the tabernacle and pried it off, revealing an interesting burn mark on the wall. 

First Juneteenth Mass reinforces Catholic value of freedom for all

For the first time in the Diocese of Phoenix, Catholics celebrated Juneteenth — the commemoration of when the last slaves were freed following the Civil War — at St. Josephine Bakhita Mission Parish in Phoenix on June 19. Although President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, freeing all slaves within those states that had seceded, it wasn’t until June 19, 1865, at the end of the war, when Major General Gordon Granger and the Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to enforce it, thus freeing the last of the slaves in the former Confederate States. Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, has been celebrated since 1866 but it wasn’t recognized as a federal holiday until President Joe Biden signed it into law in 2021. 

‘LIKE COMING HOME AGAIN:’ After nearly 25 years, St. Anthony has a church again

SACATON, Ariz. – When fire destroyed St. Anthony Mission Church in 2000, it prompted the Diocese of Phoenix’s vicar for Native American Ministries at the time, Fr. John Hall, to voice a theme Catholics hear often. “The building was not the community,” he said, referring to the Church as the body of Christ; its people, not the structure in which they worship. Still, in this part of the Gila River Indian Community, where physical amenities are farther between and resources fewer than those in the non-Native world, St. Anthony was as big a part of the lives of believers as any other local place. 

Worship nights unite adults in community

The bass guitar vibrations shake the walls. Rows of chairs along a center aisle are filled at a valley parish every first Friday. Some people are sitting, some kneeling, and some standing. Others are found sitting crisscrossed before the altar gazing at the Beloved in the monstrance. While others take a posture of surrender and lie prostate in front of Jesus. Some cry, overwhelmed with joy and consolation. Others sit in serene peace, others stand with their hands raised up in front of them showing praise to the King. Some line up against a wall waiting for the sacrament of Confession. The Lord is filling them, filling their need. 

Phoenix gears up for annual John Paul II Classic: A night of faith, family...

The stage is set for the annual John Paul II (JPII) Classic, where priests and seminarians from the Diocese of Phoenix will go head-to-head in a friendly yet spirited basketball matchup. Slated for Friday, August 2, at Brophy College Preparatory (BPC) in Phoenix, this event has become a cornerstone of the Phoenix Catholic community, celebrating unity and faith. Fr. Matthew Lowry, episcopal vicar of the North and director of the Northern Arizona University Newman Center in Flagstaff, Ariz., has played in every JPII Classic since the inaugural tip-off in 2015.

NDP hires new Assistant Principal Isaac Sedillos

Scottsdale, Ariz. — Notre Dame Preparatory High School is pleased to announce the hiring of Isaac Sedillos as its new assistant principal on Wednesday,...

New artwork connects culture and reverence during second St. Josephine Bakhita Founders Day

Known for its strength and stability even in harsh climates, Sacred Scriptures reference the Acacia Tree throughout its pages, notably in being used to build the Ark of the Covenant in Exodus. A plant native to Africa, it has long been associated with the Black Catholic community in the United States. In preparation for its second annual Founders Day Celebration June 9, St. Josephine Bakhita Mission Parish near downtown Phoenix. brought this symbolism to the forefront in artistic restoration of its interior, which includes a mural of the tree behind the tabernacle. The church’s crucifix hangs in front of it, in the middle of the sanctuary, as if the wood of the cross is connected to the wood of the tree.

NEWS BRIEF: Kino congratulates graduating class

Over 30 people graduated from Kino Catechetical Institute, held at St. Mary’s Basilica in downtown Phoenix on June 4. The 33 graduates came from 23 different parishes in the Diocese of Phoenix and the class included three religious sisters.  “They are now better equipped to share their faith with their friends and family and support their parishes in whatever way the Holy Spirit is calling them to do,” said Luz Lobado, manager of Kino Catechetical Institute.