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Our Pastor

a brief history of our parish

Fr. Hans P. Ruygt was appointed by Bishop O'Brien to lead the parish on July 1, 2002 and to carry out a building program. The parish had started under the leadership of Fr. John R. Coleman and initially met in several neighborhood centers at Happy Trails, Arizona Traditions and Sun Village.  Then they were united at the Kingswood Parke Elementary School Gym.  In 2001 two modular buildings were placed on the parish site and Mass was celebrated and parish activities developed.  With rapid growth, it was very important to plan for permanent buildings. Thousands of parishioners rallied together to raise funds and to assess the needs of the parish. They determined that the first need was for a permanent church. They conducted several capital campaigns. On August 12, 2006 the day after the Feast of our patroness, St. Clare of Assisi, Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, gathered the parishioners, with Fr. Coleman, Fr. Ruygt and several other priests and deacons and civic leaders for the Blessing and Groundbreaking for the new church. Site work and grading were completed in 2007 and the parking lot was expanded. Construction on the church began in January 2008. Meanwhile the parish numbers grew rapidly reaching 2600 parish families and 500 children in the religious education programs for children and teens. Many  lay ministries flourished. Hundreds of people had to sit outside listening to ground speakers for Saturday and Sunday Masses on many weekend because they didn't fit inside the church.

It was a glorious day when parishioners moved into the new church and celebrated the first Mass on Christmas Eve 2008 at 4:00PM. We had no permanent furnishings and no tile on the floor but we finally had a roof over our heads and were able to accommodate the large crowds which often reached 1000 people.  All we had was the shell of the building, concrete floors, bare walls and a temporary wooden altar brought over from the parish hall.  So we set about adding slowly to the sacred art and furnishings.  First on the list was to buy and build a permanent altar, baptismal font and tabernacle.  With these we could finally have the Mass for the Dedication of a new Church and Altar on April 11, 2010, the Sunday after Easter (also known as Sunday of Divine Mercy).

Over the years since that glorious day of consecrating our church, we have continued to grow. We are a large, multi-cultural parish with thousands of parishioners. About a third of the parish leaves for the heat of the summer and returns in November. Some stay here for 2 months or 4 or 6 months going back and forth to their families and traveling for leisure.

We have been blessed by the help of many priests, some of whom have retired to our area and now help in many local parishes when they are able.

Read more about our parish history

Read more about our priests

Read more about our deacons

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