St. Mary Magdalene Staff
Chris Axline Biography
I am the oldest of three children. My sister, Michelle, lives in Tempe and my brother, Nicholas, currently attends Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY studying to be an engineer, though in his words, he's studying to become Iron Man. My family came to Arizona in 1997 after moving from San Jose California to Tucson. I graduated from the University of Arizona (Bear Down and go Wildcats!) in 2007. After graduating from the UofA, I entered the seminary and attended the Pontifical College Josephinum where I graduated in May of 2013. I was ordained a priest on June 1, 2013 and served as priest in residence at St. Mary Magdalene and Chaplain and Theology teacher at Seton Catholic Preparatory High School from July 2013 until April 2018. I was assigned as Parochial Administrator at St. Mary Magdalene in April 2018. God Bless you and thank you for your prayers!
Fr. Ishaya Samaila
Fr. Ishaya Samaila Biography
I was born in Rumi, Ikara Local Government, Kaduna State, Nigeria. I attended St. Joseph’s Minor Seminary, Zaria; from 1983 to 1988. My priestly vocation started in1989 when I was sent to St. Thomas Aquinas’ Major Seminary, Makurdi Benue State for Spirituality and Philosophy. After my pastoral year in 1993, I proceeded to St. Augustine’s Major Seminary, Jos Plateau State for diploma in Religion and first degree in Theology. I was ordained to the transitional deaconate in June of 1997 and as a priest, November 29th 1997 together with seven of my classmates of the same Kaduna Archdiocese. Since my ordination, I have served the Church in various capacities: associate pastor St. Joseph’s Cathedral, associate pastor St. Patrick’s parish, Kawo, associate pastor at the parish of Our Lady Independence Way, Kaduna, Pastor St. Dennis’ parish, Danladi, Pastor St. Stephen’s parish Dutsen Wai, and I currently serve as Parochial Vicar at St. Mary Magdalene.
The erection of the Zaria Diocese in March 2001 gave me the opportunity of being chaplain to the youth, a member of the council of priests, Dean of Ikara Deanery and a member of the board of consultors. Also in a non-denominational association of Christians, I served as chairman for five years, harmonizing beliefs and practices among Christians and non-Christians, especially Muslims. I am also a graduate of Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA) where I got a Masters in Pastoral Theology, 2013. If you would like to schedule an individual appointment with me, please contact Gretchen Malovoz, Administrative Assistant for the Parish at email@example.com. (480) 279-6737 ext 213
Our Permanent Deacons
Deacon Craig Hintze
Deacon Craig Hintze Biography
I was born in phoenix and went to Catholic school my entire life until I attended ASU, where I spent a lot of my time at the Newman Center. Before meeting my wife, Heidi, I was a seminarian for the Redemptorist order, She and I have been blessed with 8 children. I was ordained a deacon in November of 1996 and have been at St. Mary Magdalene since 2010.
Deacon Kevin Knapp
Deacon Kevin Knapp Biography
I came to St. Mary Magdalene parish on August 9, 2012 and assisted at Mass here for the first time as an Acolyte on August 12 near the end of my diaconate formation. I was ordained to the permanent diaconate on November 10, 2012 and was installed as a deacon here on Sunday November 18, 2012. My wife Kathy and I are both graduates of Arizona State University and were married at the Newman Center at ASU in October 1980. Our son Brian is also an ASU graduate and lives with his wife Jill in Phoenix.
Deacon Jerry O'Toole
Deacon Jerry O'Toole Biography
I was ordained a deacon on June 13, 1981. I am a Senior Deacon in the Diocese of Phoenix having reached the mandatory retirement age of 75. I have been in Arizona for 23 years. I served for 13 years at St. Anne's in Gilbert and have been at St. Mary Magdalene for the past 10 years. I am the middle child of 6 siblings. In addition to serving at Mass, my present ministry is to conduct a communion service at the Signal Butte Mental Care facility and to conduct two communion services at the 4th Ave. Jail every Friday. I am the assistant chaplain of the Knights of Columbus as well as the Senior Singles.
Coordinator of Sacred Liturgy
- 480-279-6737 ext 205
Director of Sacred Music
- 480-279-6737 ext 209
Claire Halbur Biography
I grew up in Joliet, Illinois and was homeschooled through high school, which provided many opportunities for service and leadership from a young age. Ours was a musical home, and my mother tells me I started singing as soon as I could talk. My music degree is from the University of Saint Francis in Joliet (vocal emphasis), and I have been involved with parish ministry since my teen years. Prior to coming to Saint Mary Magdalene, I served on the Music Staff at the Cathedral of Saint Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet, Illinois, where I co-founded and directed a Diocesan-wide youth choral program. Some of my other interests include holistic cooking, creative projects, and photography. I consider it a great gift to serve the Lord and the community of Saint Mary Magdalene as Director of Sacred Music. My responsibilities include direction of choirs for adults and children, planning and preparation of music for all weekend liturgies and holy days, and coordination of music for weddings and funerals.
Please contact me if you are open to joining the music ministry as a choir member, cantor, or instrumentalist: firstname.lastname@example.org (480) 279-6737 ext 209. I will be delighted to speak with you!
Sacred Music Assistant
- 480-279-6737 ext 209
Clare Shakal Biography
I grew up in Bloomer, WI and was homeschooled all my life. I began piano lessons at 12, vocal lessons at 15, and at 13, I joined my parish choir and have enjoyed singing for Mass ever since. My responsibilities include printing, organizing, and filing music, and assembling music packets for our many scholas, cantors, and accompanists. I also prepare the orders of worship for the weekend Masses, facilitate youth choir enrollment, and assist with rehearsals. I am currently a student at Chandler-Gilbert Community College and discerning pursuit of a music degree.
Please contact me if you have questions regarding youth choir enrollment or other topics concerning the music office: email@example.com (480) 279-6737 ext 209
Coordinator of Pastoral Care
Trisha Engel Biography
I am originally from Buffalo NY, where I studied Social Work and worked with the Developmentally Disabled for 14 years. After a profound conversion, Our Lord has led me on an amazing journey. Encountering His great mercy; it is my heart’s desire to share this Love with others. My life has been changed by the lives of the saints, and they give me hope and daily inspiration. I am deeply grateful to be a part of the family here at St Mary Magdalene; and the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. My responsibilities include coordinating all Pastoral Care Ministers, those who visit and bring communion to the homebound, Anointing of the Sick and funerals.
Please contact me if you need Anointing of the Sick, would like to receive Communion and are unable to come to Mass, or if you need to arrange a funeral. firstname.lastname@example.org (480) 279-6737 ext 215
Director of Marriage & Family Life
- 480-279-6737 ext 212
Chris Zajdzinski Biography
I have been married to Meg for 20 years and have 4 children. I am a Chicago native, a graduate of Arizona State University, and hold a Masters in Theology from the Augustine Institute. I am responsible for developing programs that help parishioners understand and experience the sacramental reality of marriage and family life. In this capacity, I oversee the Marriage Preparation and Convalidation process, and work with volunteer ministries such as Holy Matrimony!, and the Nullity Ministry.
I would be happy to start working on Marriage Preparation with you or meet with you to discuss any other issues affecting your marriage and family life. email@example.com (480) 279-6737 ext 212
Evangelization, Catechesis & Sacrament Preparation
Director of Family Catechesis
- 480-279-6737 ext 203
Tom Perna Biography
I am originally from New Jersey, but grew up in Scottsdale and am a cradle Catholic. I have always loved my Catholic Faith, but my knowledge of the Faith grew exponentially while I attended the St. Ignatius Institute at the University of San Francisco where I earned a Bachelors in Philosophy. I hold a Masters in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville as well as a Masters in Education. In my spare time, I am also a Catholic blogger and speaker. I write at TomPerna.org.
Assistant to the Director of Family Catechesis
- 480-279-6737 ext 207
Mary Molina Biography
I was born and raised in the great state of Texas. I have lived in Arizona for the past 17 yrs. My family and I have been members of the parish for 10 years. I have been married for 20 years to my husband, Rick, and we have three children, Matthew, Luke and John. I am bilingual (English and Spanish) and if the need arises, I am here to help. I have been volunteering with Saint Mary Magdalene in several capacities over the extent of our time with the parish. I am now the Assistant Director of Children’s Religious Education and it has been a pleasure to get to know and work with the wonderful families that make this their parish. In my role, I, help to coordinate volunteer catechists, register new students into our program and help families through the process of receiving the Sacraments of Initiation.
Please contact me during the month of July if you would like to register your child for Religious Education or anytime if you have a question about your student already in our program. firstname.lastname@example.org (480) 279-6737 ext 207
Family Catechesis Registrar
- 480-279-6737 ext 207
Kristi Hillier Biography
I was born & raised in Southern CA (Pasadena). After getting married and living in Sacramento, CA for 10 years, our family moved to Arizona in 2005. We found St. Mary Magdalene parish shortly after moving here and knew after the very first Mass we attended in the gym on the old Williams Gateway base that we found the parish we’d call home. My husband David & I have been married 22 years and have four children, Jessica, Joshua, Jacob and Joanna. I have been involved with several Parish Life communities including Parents with Young Children, Respect Life Initiative, Covenant of Love and Prepare & Enrich marriage prep mentors. I assist Jayne LoConti and Mary Molina with Children’s Religious Education helping with registration, attendance, data entry, filing, sacramental prep and snacks. I also help out as a Catechist as needed. If you have any questions please let me know.
Director of Parish Evangelization
- 480-279-6737 ext 210
Lita Martinez Biography
Though originally from the Los Angeles area, I mainly grew up in Mesa, AZ. I’ve been Catholic since my Baptism at 5 months old, but experienced a profound conversion after receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation my junior year in high school. My passion for the Truth led me to missionary work in Mexico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and then to the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, where I graduated with a degree in Theology and Catholic Studies. I have ten years of experience working with high school teens- in youth ministry and teaching Theology at a Catholic High School. At the parish, my responsibilities include overseeing the RCIA program (the formal process for coming into the Catholic Church), all major communications involving parish activities and ministries, our bulletin “Vidi Dominum", and other social media. I am also the point person for the parish in regards to special events, and any opportunities happening in the diocese or surrounding community.
Please contact me if you are thinking about becoming Catholic, if you would like the parish to participate in something, or to notify the parish community about a specific event or need. email@example.com, (480) 279-6737 ext 210.
Director of Youth Evangelization
- 480-279-6737 ext 211
Jake Stanley Biography
I was born and raised in a small town in Massachusetts as a Red Sox, Celtics, and, yes, Patriots fan. When I was in junior high and high school, I had a powerful encounter with Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church which completely changed my life. Through prayer, I experienced the Lord calling me to share the Faith with teenagers so that they might also come to know the Lord. I graduated with a Bachelor's Degree from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, where I studied Communication Arts, Theology, and Catechetics with a Youth Ministry Concentration.
I oversee our Jr. High Ministry (EDGE) and our High School Ministry (GS24). This includes weekly meetings for both ministries, discipleship groups, retreats, service trips, and Sacramental Preparation. I would love to meet you if you are interested in getting more involved with our ministries as a core member or if you have a son or daughter that is interested in joining us! You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org (480) 279-6737 ext 211
Coordinator of High School Evangelization
- 480-279-6737 ext 218
Maria Stoey Biography
I was born and raised in Buffalo, NY on chicken wings, sports, and snow. I loved growing up in a strong Catholic household, but did not truly come to have a real personal relationship with Christ until high school. This relationship led me to attend a small Catholic college in Maryland called Mount St. Mary's University where I studied Theology in order to better serve the Church. I am so excited to be helping teens to grow in their faith and in their own relationship with Christ.
Please contact me if you are interested in our High School Youth Program (GS24), or High School Sacramental Preparation. I would love to meet you if you are just starting out, or if you have any questions about the programs. You can contact me at email@example.com or (480) 279-6737 x 218.
Coordinator of Middle School Evangelization
- 480-279-6737 ext 214
Lauren McParlane Biography
I was born and raised in the great state of Colorado. I grew up in Conifer, a small town which is between two other small towns also named after trees, Pine and Evergreen :) where I nurtured my love for the great outdoors. I have two wonderful parents and a twin sister. I experienced Jesus in a personal way for the first time during my 8th grade Confirmation preparation. Since establishing this relationship with Jesus Christ, I have had an unyielding passion for evangelization. I earned my degrees in Theology and Catechetics at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Since graduating in 2014, I have served as a full-time missionary with Life Teen. I am overjoyed that God has placed me at St. Mary Magdalene Parish to share my passion for Him with the awesome middle school youth. I am looking forward to meeting all of you soon! Please pray for me and be assured of my prayers for you.
Director of Finance
- 480-279-6737 ext 206
Shari Stenborg Biography
I am originally from Indianapolis, Indiana and have moved several times during my adult life finally landing in Gilbert in 2004. I have worked at St. Mary Magdalene Parish since the Spring of 2007. I feel very blessed to be employed and a parishioner at this parish. As Director of Finance & Operations, I manage relationships between all of our vendors, service agencies, as well as the parish finances and the day to day operations at the parish. I also manage all aspects of parishioners’ financial contributions and planned giving.
Please contact me if you have a question regarding your own financial contributions, if you need a tax receipt, or have other questions regarding the business side of the parish. firstname.lastname@example.org (480) 279-6737 ext 206
- 480-279-6737 ext 200
Jackie Sullivan Biography
I have been happily married since 1986 to my husband, Tim. We have been blessed with nine children and have welcomed daughter-in-laws and a few grandkids to the mix as well. As the parish receptionist, I am here to welcome you to our parish, help you find a ministry, and connect you with the person (or persons) who are here to help you on your journey in the Catholic Faith. I can also help if you would like to have a mass offered or would like to register at the parish. email@example.com (480) 279-6737 ext 200
Athena Mota de Alcantara
Programs Administrative Assistant
- 480-279-6737 ext 217
Athena Mota de Alcantara Biography
I provide administrative support to the Liturgy, Marriage and Family, Evangelization, and Adult Faith Formation Departments. I also work at the front desk in the Parish Office. Most of my time is spent supporting the Marriage and Family Department, and parishioners can contact me to hear about the steps and requirements for St. Mary Magdalene's Marriage Preparation Program. You can contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org (480) 279-6737 ext 217
2654 East Williams Field Road
Gilbert AZ 85295