Meet the Staff
The staff at St. Benedict Catholic Church is dedicated to serving the needs of our community. Please contact us with your thoughts, ideas, questions or concerns.
St. Benedict Catholic Church
16223 S. 48th St.
Phoenix, AZ 85048
Parish Office: 480.961.1610
After Hours Emergency: Ext. 7
St. John Bosco School
16035 S. 48th St.
Phoenix, AZ 85048
School Office: 480.219.4848
Fr. James Aboyi, V.C.
Fr. James Aboyi, V.C., joined the parish as Parochial Administrator in July of 2018. He was appointed Pastor of St. Benedict on January 1, 2020. Prior to his assignment, Fr. James served as Parochial Vicar at Holy Cross in Mesa and Chaplain of Benedictine University in Mesa.
Fr. James Aboyi, VC, is originally from Nigeria in West Africa. He joined the Via Christi Society as one of the first four members of the society, and completed his philosophy and theology seminary studies in Nigeria. He was ordained a priest for the Via Christi Society on July 3, 2004, and was assigned to the Diocese of Tucson for his first priestly ministry shortly after in August 2004. During his assignment in Tucson, he served as Parochial Vicar at St. Bartholomew in San Manuel; Parish Administrator at Infant Jesus of Prague in Kearny; Associate Pastor at Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson; and Pastor of St. Francis of Assisi in Superior.
Fr. Wilfred Yinah, V.C.
Fr. Wilfred Yinah, V.C., joined the Parish of St. Benedict as Parochial Vicar in September of 2018. Prior to his assignment here, Fr. Wilfred served as Parochial Vicar at Resurrection Parish in Tempe.
Fr. Wilfred Joseph Yinah, V.C. was born on March 2, 1980, to Samuel Amua Yinah (deceased) and Sussana Mbaeren Yinah from the Ushongo Local Government area of Benue State, Nigeria. In July of 1999, he completed his schooling, graduating with distinction. Although Fr. Wilfred was born into a family that belonged to the Universal Reformed Christian Church, he answered the Lord’s calling to serve Him as a priest of the Roman Catholic Church and converted. He was ordained a priest on June 30, 2012, for the congregation of the Via Christi Society by Most. Rev. Fr. William Amoave Avenya, Bishop of Gboko Diocese in Benue State, Nigeria. Fr. Wilfred continued his pastoral work in Africa, starting a number of ministries helping many people, including children and the poor. He arrived in the United States on June 28, 2017, when he was assigned to Resurrection Parish in Tempe, Arizona. Fr. Wilfred served there for 14-months before coming to us here at St. Benedict. He is a very caring and hard-working person leaving legacies everywhere. He also loves to sing. He has produced three musical albums and has videos on Youtube.
Deacon Ed was born in Illinois and married Linda in 1968. They moved to Arizona in 1982 and became parishioners of Holy Spirit where they were active in RCIA, Eucharist Ministry, Engaged Encounter, Parish Council and the Building Committee. At some point Ed and Linda joined St. Benedict, became involved, and soon entered the diaconate program. Ed was ordained a Permanent Deacon for the Diocese of Phoenix in 2012 and was assigned to St. Steven’s Parish in Sun Lakes. Shortly after that, he was transferred back to St. Benedict where he and Linda feel it is their “home away from home.” He is involved in many ministries here at St. Benedict. Ed and Linda have two children, three grandchildren and two great-granddaughters, and enjoy their time with their family.
Coordinator of Stewardship & Development
Jennifer was raised in a military family and has been blessed to live in multiple states and countries. Her family moved from Pennsylvania to Phoenix in 2015. She has been married to Erick for over 20 years and has three young adult children and a dog named Dunkin' (yes, like the donuts)! Her background includes youth and campus ministry, business and office administration, and donor relations. She is excited to get to know all the parishioners of St. Benedict as well as provide a warm welcome to those new to our community. She loves coffee and is always looking for someone to get to know better and join her for a cup!
Front Office/Administrative Assistant
When you call or visit the parish office you will most likely speak to Amy first. Because of this, Amy has been referred to as the “Director of First Impressions.” She is our Administrative Assistant possessing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Arizona State University.
Before being a stay-at-home mom with her three children, she worked in the business world in the areas of publicity, marketing and public relations. Her duties at the church include greeting visitors, answering calls, creating the bulletin each week, arranging Mass Intentions, keeping the Parish calendar up-to-date, and assisting the Business Manager and the Pastor as needed.
She is a native-born Phoenician and has been married for over 25 years. Her favorite activities include playing with her dog (Biscuit), exercising, shopping, listening to music and helping others.
Coordinator of Children's Faith Formation
Heather joined the Staff in 2016 and partners with parents and catechists to share the Good News with children through Journey of Faith, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Sacrament preparation and Children’s Liturgy of the Word. Heather also coordinates parish-wide service opportunities to help fulfill our call as disciples to serve others.
She is a Northern Arizona University alum who grew up moving around the country as the daughter of an Air Force Colonel, spending her favorite years on the West Coast. She and her husband of 22 years, Patrick, settled in Ahwatukee in 2009 with their three kids after many years in Monterey, California where they both worked in youth and parish ministry. Heather is also a free-lance writer/editor, who always has time for a good chat about her National Park travels, the Denver Broncos, and the performing arts.
Coordinator of Youth Ministry
Clare has served as our Coordinator of Youth Ministry since July 2021. She likes to say her only real job responsibility is discipleship, but she also organizes middle and high school youth group meetings and events, teen sacrament preparation, religious education, and service projects.
Clare grew up in Sacramento, CA and then moved to Southern California to get her BA in Liberal Arts from Thomas Aquinas College. Besides being a dedicated Marian Missionary of Divine Mercy, she's worked as a summer camp counselor, a cantor for Masses and weddings, a choir director, and a 7th and 9th grade teacher, but she thinks youth ministry is the best because it's a little bit of everything. Stop by her office to say hi, grab a snack, and chat about saints, books, cooking, personality types and temperaments, or anything music-related. She'll be thrilled if you have a cool story about something amazing God did in your life recently!
Director of Music, Media/Communications
Nick was born and raised in Mesa, AZ. He grew up at St Timothy’s Catholic Church and served along side some great music directors such as Tim and Julie Smith, Tom Booth and Matt Maher. He was heavily influenced by all of them. He has always served in the church giving his gifts back to the Lord. Nick is married with 5 children. He and his wife Nikki are also published songwriters through their worship project “Holy Song” for the Catholic church. Come say hi to Nick before or after mass. Especially if you want to talk about the Phoenix Suns!
Coordinator of Liturgy
Nikki was born and raised in St. Louis, MO and has always been very involved in Church, particularly in Music Ministry and youth groups while growing up. She moved to Arizona when she was 20yrs old. She there met her husband, Nick Garza and they were married in 2007. They now have 5 children and 3 dogs that keep them on their toes. Nick is also the Music Director here at St. Benedict’s so Nikki is very involved in our Music Ministry as well as Liturgy. Nick and Nikki are published song writers for the Catholic Church. Nikki’s background includes, Liturgy, Music Ministry, Youth Ministry, Office Management, and Customer Service. Come talk to Nikki at mass and get started in one of our wonderful ministries here at St. Benedict’s. She is excited to meet you!