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. 317
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. Manasseh Iorchir, VC
Fr. Manasseh Terfa Iorchir, VC, was born to the family of Titus and Christiana Iorchir in Makurdi, Benue, State of Nigeria on December 22, 1983. He attended Christ Anglican Nursery and Primary School, and Mount Saint Gabriel Secondary School in Makurdi for his elementary and high school education, respectively. After a mandatory year of Postulancy at the Via Christi Society Formation House, he proceeded to St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary Makurdi in 2002 where he obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy. He was thereafter sent to the Archdiocese of Abuja where he spent a year for Pastoral apprenticeship. Between 2006 and 2010, Fr. Manasseh studied Sacred Theology at the National Missionary Seminary of St. Paul Gwagwalada, Abuja, and was ordained a transitory Deacon on January 25, 2010. He was ordained a priest at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral in Makurdi on June 26 the same year and was immediately sent to the Diocese of Lafia where he ministered for eleven years. He arrived at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix on July 8, 2021 and has been working at St. Benedict Catholic Church since then.
Fr. Manasseh enjoys hiking, watching soccer, and the Phoenix Suns basketball. He is grateful for God’s Grace and loves meeting and sharing God’s Word with Christ’s faithful.
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.
Director of Music & Liturgy
Phil Arkfeld joined the staff of St. Benedict in April of 2022 as Director of Music and Liturgy. One of nine children, he was born and raised in a small town in Iowa. He had a conversion experience during a retreat when he was fifteen and later felt the call to go into contemporary music ministry. Active in the music program at his local parish, he went on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Music from Luther College in Iowa.
Moving from Iowa to the San Francisco Bay Area, Phil met his wife Laura at church and joined the contemporary choir she was directing. Their shared love of music and liturgy led to romance, and the couple were married and have five children.
The young family moved to Southern California and joined a brand-new parish, St. Paul the Apostle in Chino Hills, which was, at that time, meeting in a school. As the community grew, the pastor invited Phil to come on staff as the Director of Music. Over the next twenty years, the ministry grew to two hundred and fifty volunteers. He also developed and saw the implementation of the audio-visual system in the new church.
He went on to serve at Our Lady of Fatima in San Clemente for nearly seven years where he founded the A.V. Ministry and rebuilt the music program. He is very excited to serve at St. Benedicts and enjoys playing with his grandchildren and running.
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 her favorite activities include playing with her dog (Biscuit), exercising, shopping, listening to music and helping others.
Sr. Ruth de la Cruz, O.P.
Director of Evangelization & Faith Formation
Sister Ruth grew up in Western Visayas, Philippines. She holds a Bachelor in Secondary Education, Major in Religious Education, and a Masters in Educational Management from Xavier University – a Jesuit school in the Philippines.
Sister Ruth spent her high school in one of the schools of the Dominican Sisters, entering the Congregation in 1998. She taught in the Philippines for 16 years and worked as an Administrator for 10 years. In 2019, she was sent by the Congregation to work here in the U.S.
In her free time, she enjoys reading funny stories, watching comedy video clips, and spending time with her family and fellow sisters in the convent.
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.
Sr. Delia Obenza, O.P.
Coordinator of Youth Ministry
Sister Delia was born in Davao Region, southeastern Mindanao, Philippines. In 1985, after she graduated from Maryknoll High School, she entered the congregation of the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary of the Philippines at the age of 16 and made her final vows on May 24, 1994.
She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, a Master’s Degree in Religious and Values Education from De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines and a Master’s Degree in Catholic Educational Leadership from the University of San Francisco, California.
Sister Delia has taught kindergarten up to high school and has been a School Administrator. She was assigned to the Northern Marianas Islands for 7 years, 5 years in Hawaii, and 14 years in San Francisco, CA with 10 years as a DRE. She believes that God chose her to be an instrument of spreading His love, peace, joy and mercy. Her favorite Bible verse is, "In everything, give thanks." On August 8, 2023, Sr. Delia was happy to join the St. Benedict team.
Coordinator of Stewardship and Engagement (Part-time)
Maryola and her husband Damian moved to Arizona from California in 2006. In 2011, they were blessed with the birth of their son Noah. The family moved to Ahwatukee in 2018 and have been parishioners of St. Benedict since. In August of 2022, Maryola joined the parish staff as the Coordinator of Stewardship and Engagement. She currently works part-time and helps out at St. John Bosco Catholic School where Noah has been going since Kindergarten. In her role, Maryola strives to live the four pillars of stewardship: hospitality, prayer, formation and service.