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.
Jack was born and raised in Chicago and a long time die-hard Chicago White Sox fan. He married Jean McGuinn in 1967 and has three adult sons and five grandchildren. Jack was ordinated a permanent deacon in 1980 for the Archdiocese of Chicago. Once he found his way to the Valley of the Sun he became active in several parishes before he finally found himself at St. Benedict. His ministry has varied: RCIA, marriage prep, and funeral coordinator to name just a few. He was once ask by a pastor what he does in the parish. His response was “whatever the community calls me to do”. Service is his diaconate calling and he hopes to be able to serve the community at St. Benedict in whatever way the people and God lead him.
Mary Jane Livens
Mary Jane has served the Parish of St. Benedict for nearly 6 years. Her current position as Business Manager keeps her busy with the budget, accounting, HR, and much more.
She and her family have been active members of the parish for over 16 years.
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 Faith Formation Team in 2016 as the Coordinator of Children’s Faith Formation. She partners with parents and catechists to share the Good News with children through religious education including: Journey of Faith, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Sacrament preparation and Children’s Liturgy of the Word. In addition, she coordinates the annual Family Service Saturday and helps organize parish-wide gatherings like Trunk-or-Treat and the Picnic.
Heather is a Northern Arizona University alum with degrees in Speech Communication, Education, and Dance. Being on staff allows her to combine her passions for faith, education and social justice.
Heather 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 20 years, Patrick, settled in Ahwatukee in 2009 after many years in Monterey, California where they both worked in youth and parish ministry. She is a dedicated mom of three teenagers, and grateful for God's abundant grace and coffee. Heather is also a free-lance writer/editor, a lifelong Denver Broncos fan and an advocate for the performing arts.
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!
Miss Clare Gisla
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!