Church Building Update

As you might have noticed, we suspended giving updates and announcements regarding the progress of our "Living Our Faith, Building Our Home" Church Building Campaign for over a year as a result of the pandemic. This was to be sensitive to the plight of many of our parish families who were directly affected by the pandemic. Within this time period, we were continuing to evaluate the progress of the Campaign redemption, while the Building Committee kept working hard behind the scenes to monitor the rising cost of building materials.

Thank you for your patience, prayers and understanding through this challenging time. As the rate of viral infection declines, we believe this is a good time to resume sharing with you all that has been happening with the Campaign over the past year.

A brief note for our new parishioners: We started a capital campaign to build our permanent Church in April 2018. The campaign was successful, reaching our goal of $3.5M by pledge. We are currently within the period of pledge redemption which will end in August this year. Our plan was to “break ground” this 2021 and move into the new Church in 2022.

Early last year, we encountered a problem; our application for permission for the building site zoning was rejected by the City of Phoenix. This was a major setback as it required us to relocate the building site. Given the limited space of land available, this was not a feasible option. In addition, the rising cost of building materials, along with the significant financial impact felt from the pandemic, gave us pause.

After much prayer and reflection, I asked the Building Committee to explore an alternative plan that would enable us to move ahead, keeping in mind the resources available to us and a timeline that would not put our parishioners on hold for too long. A creative, alternative plan was developed and has since been presented to the Parish Pastoral and Finance Councils. Members of both Councils approved this new plan and gave their endorsement to move forward with it.

This plan will be presented to our St. Benedict Parishioners at the end of all Masses this weekend. Although this updated plan looks different from what we all originally committed to build, I appeal for your continuous support as we move in this positive new direction. The alternative plan is estimated to cost $4.3M. This is good news since it is less than half of the projected cost of the original plan. Adding to the good news is that the alternative plan is realizable within our current building timeline.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there gathering spaces outside after mass? On the northeast corner there is covered space. By the north side entry there is a grass area.

Will there be exterior facilities/utilities to allow a Coffee and Donut (example) reception after mass? Yes.

How would a funeral corteges enter and exit the church? If it is a small funeral the Chapel will be utilized. The exterior entry is on the south side of the building. For larger funerals will be held in the main church. Entry will be through the main doors on the east side of the building. The driveway will be close to both entrances.

Will there be restrooms accessible from the exterior? Yes there will be restrooms, on the northeast side of the building with exterior entrance. There will be doors to restrict access to the church as necessary.

Is there a adoration chapel which could be accesses from the outside 24/7 without allowing access to the rest of the building? The Chapel will also be the Adoration Chapel. It does have an external entry with controlled access to the main church. There is also a bathroom planned for the Chapel.

Is the bell tower a real bell tower? We will utilize a carillon system in the tower.

How will the building be lit at night? The detail lighting will be finalized during the detail design phase.

Will the church be the same color as the school? The goal is to keep the basic color of the school. Accent points of the church may differ from the school

How will the church design integrate the school more to give a campus feeling? A dedicated, clearly marked crosswalk area will aid in the student's safety as they cross to the church. The interior will have a devotional area of St John Bosco We will address other opportunities to link the school as the budget allows

Why are their two sacristies? One is for the priest which will allow the priest some private prayer time prior to Mass The other will be for the Deacon, lay ministries and servers

How do you access the balcony? There are two staircases and an elevator

How many restrooms are there? The current restrooms will remain. Additional male/female restrooms will be added on the northeast side of the building to meet city code.

Are there confessionals in the church? Yes, there will be 2 confessionals.

Are there rooms for meetings? This will be finalized during the detail design process as we balance the need for storage and meeting rooms.

Are there rooms for storing liturgical items?  This will be finalized during the detail design process as we balance the need for storage and meeting rooms, along with cabinets and closets in the 2 sacristies.

Why is the baptism fond at the entrance instead of near the altar? The guidance from the Diocese is to place the Baptismal font at the entry of the church. The font will not be anchored so it can be moved if required.

Why is the choir located behind the people instead of in front of the people? Based on guidance from the Diocese the choir can no longer be close to the sanctuary. This would require the choir to be in one of the transept, not visible to over half of the parishioners. 

Is there an organ in the choir loft? The choir loft will be wired for an organ.

Will construction impact traffic and parking for SJB and for Horizon? The goal is not to impact the traffic flow for SJB, Horizon or morning Mass.

Where will mass be celebrated during the construction phase? Daily Mass will be celebrated in an Annex room during the school year. When SJB is not in session, the SJB Chapel will be utilized. The weekend Masses will be held at SJB multi-purpose room.

How long will the construction phase be? The estimated time for modification to the building is 10 months.

Is there a bridal room? Yes, there will be a bridal room. The location will be finalized during the detail design phase.

Is there a separate family room for families with young children? Yes, there will be a family area for families with young children. The location will be finalized during the detail design phase

Will there be a prayer garden? At this time, it has not been addressed

Where will money counting happen (is there a secure room? The money counting will continue in the same room as today.

What kind of HVAC system will be used? An updated system similar to the HVAC that has successfully supported St Benedict for the last 16 years will be utilized

How much of the existing building will be reused? All of the existing building, except for the west wall will be utilized. The west wall will be removed to add the new transepts, the Sanctuary and the Sacristies

Where will the offices be? The offices will remain where they currently are

Will there be a gift shop? Yes, located by the base of the bell tower

How many Handicap parking spaces will be available? Number will be based on the city code

How many total parking spaces will be available? Number will be based on city code

Will the front dirt lot still be open to overflow parking? We are working with a civil engineer to address the proper flow of rainwater, which may impact the dirt parking There will not be any entry to the church on the west side of the building

Will we have kneelers? Yes

Will we still project the liturgy on screens and how will that happen? Yes, we plan on showing liturgy and music for the Parishioners to see. We will be working with an A/V engineer to identify the best solution to utilize

What steps are you taking to ensure good acoustics? An audio/sound engineer is in the budget.

What are the dimensions of the sanctuary? The video appears to show a long distance from the last row of seats to the altar. We will check the measurement to confirm the length of the Altar. We need space between the first pews and Altar because of funerals. We will ensure we have appropriate space. 

How much money has been collected and put aside for the building fund to date? We currently have collected $2.4M from the building campaign.

What is the remaining balance of the original pledge drive? We have $774,000 outstanding pledges to be collected from the campaign. 

How does the current balance impact the revised budget of $4.5 million and will the existing balance allow the parish to begin construction in November 2021? We will use the cash at hand from the campaign plus some parish savings and most likely a small loan to ensure we will can break ground in November. 

Will the parish utilize the existing environment (altar, ambo, crucifix above the altar, chairs, etc.) prior to purchasing new ones? We may repurpose a number of existing environments, but we will be building a new Altar. We will use pews in the main church and will use the current chairs in the Chapel. 

The new items are not in the current pledge budget. Do you anticipate additional pledge drives for these items? We are not going to run another building campaign, but we are looking at ways to encourage parishioners to pay off their outstanding pledges and also to reach out to parishioners who have not yet participated in the campaign. 

During construction, where will Mass be held? We will be having the weekend Masses in the SJB hall and daily Masses in the Annex building. 

Will the renovation of the existing building have meeting spaces and space for Children’s Liturgy of the Word, St Vincent de Paul storage, and office spaces? Yes, the new building will have a Chapel that will sit up to 100 people. We will be using the Annex for most meetings. Children Liturgy will be held in the Chapel or children room. St Vincent De Paul will move to the Annex.  The current office spaces will remain and will not be affected. 

Leadership and Contacts

Fr. James Aboyi, VC

General Chair
Karen & Eamonn Ahearne

Honorary Chairs
Marcia & Jay Iole
Kim & Martin Ruggiero

Campaign Committee
Julie & Parker Davis
Chettie & Hal Dodson
Carol & Don Engel
Holly & Dave Forseth
Chona Guang
Barb & John Phelps
Charlie Schifano
Karen & Chris Sommers
Cathy & Mike Templeton
Jennie & Jim Tighe

Special Events Chair
Marilyn & Bob Johnston

Administrative Support
Carol Lawless
Mary Jane Livens

Campaign Counsel provided by the Steier Group
MacGarret Becker

Parish Contact
Parish of St. Benedict
16223 S. 48th St.
Phoenix, AZ 85048

Volunteer sign-ups, campaign inquiries and pledge questions should be sent to: