St. Mary Magdalene Staff
Fr. William Schmid
Fr. William Schmid Biography
I was born and raised in the Phoenix metropolitan area. I am a former Lutheran who was received into full communion with the Catholic faith in 2001. After completing my seminary formation at Mt. Angel Seminary in Oregon and the Pontifical College Josephinum in Ohio, I was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Phoenix on June 6, 2009. During the first three years of my priesthood, I served as Parochial Vicar to St. Mary's Parish in Chandler and St. Theresa Parish in Phoenix. I also served as chaplain and Theology teacher to Seton Catholic Preparatory High School in Chandler. In August of 2012 I earned a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. After completing my studies at Notre Dame, I was assigned to St. Mary Magdalene Parish as Parochial Administrator and was installed as Pastor in August of 2013. In addition to my primary ministry at St. Mary Magdalene Parish, I am also an adjunct professor of Theology at Benedictine University in Mesa, homiletics professor for the Diocese of Phoenix Permanent Diaconate Program, and volunteer chaplain for the Chandler Police Department.
Welcome to our parish and please be assured of my prayers for you and your family. If you have a question regarding one of the programs or aspects of the parish, please feel free to contact the appropriate staff member below. 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 204
Fr. Ken Nielson
Fr. Ken Nielson Biography
I was born, baptized, and raised in the very small farm town of Sublimity, Oregon. I entered the seminary at age 14, then at 18 entered the Benedictines. Having been involved in church music from an early age, after five years in the monastery, I left to pursue further music studies at the U. of Oregon, then a year teaching in Nassau, Bahamas, then 3 more years’ music study in Frankfurt, Germany.
Upon returning to the USA, from 1984 until 1995 I was Minister of Music at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in San Diego, CA, directing 6 choirs, recording two CDs, and founding the Schola Pacifica, a concertizing ecumenical men's Gregorian chant ensemble.
In 1995 I returned to the monastery in Oregon, and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1999. I worked in the School of Theology as a Formation Director and Seminary Choir Director, and in 2000 received a Commission as a Navy Chaplain. One month after 9/11 I was mobilized from the monastery to Active Duty at 29 Palms with the Marines, and in 2002 went to Camp Pendleton, CA, deploying twice to Iraq with the Marines. In August 2005 I deployed with the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln as Division Chaplain.
Early in 2007 I transferred to the Diocese of Austin, and also to the United States Army. I completed two more deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, followed by almost 3 years at West Point Military Academy as Pastor. With great joy I learned that I was assigned to St. Mary Magdalene! My passion is and always has been to bring people to the joy that is ours, when we allow ourselves to be more and more united to the life and love of our Lord. To this goal I am privileged to try to help you as one of your priests!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. (480) 279-6737 ext 213
Fr. Chris Axline
Priest in Residence
Fr. 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 have been assigned to St. Mary Magdalene and Seton Catholic Preparatory since July 1, 2013. I am serving full time at Seton Catholic Preparatory High School as Chaplain and Theology teacher. God Bless you and thank you for your prayers! You can reach me via email at email@example.com
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.
Deacon John Scott
Deacon John Scott Biography
As an Army Veteran of 35 years of service, I have served in Florida and Arizona parishes and at St. Mary Magdalene since 2014. My wife, Mary Alyce, and I have been married for 46 years and we have three grown children and numerous grandchildren in the Southwest and Florida. I am also an avid baseball card collector and my family enjoys skiing and hiking.
Coordinator of Sacred Liturgy
- 480-279-6737 ext 205
Aaron Accurso Biography
Having lived all over the country, my family is happy to have St. Mary Magdalene and Gilbert as our home. My wife, Christine, and I have 3 wonderful children, and are active participants in the parish and local community. I have a great love of the sacred liturgies of the Church, and have a passion for helping the faithful to participate fully in these liturgies. My responsibilities include planning an organizing all volunteers who help serve during the Liturgy such as Ushers, Lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion as well as maintaining the signups for the Adoration Chapel.
Please contact me if you have questions about any of our liturgical activities or if you would like to serve in one of these important ministries. firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (480) 279-6737 ext 209. I will be delighted to speak with you!
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 Covenant of Love, 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 Adult Evangelization and 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.
At the parish, I oversee the Porta Fidei Adult Faith Formation Program, which offers opportunities for adults to equip themselves in understanding our Catholic faith through a wide range of catechetical studies. Currently, our Porta Fidei program offers studies on Tuesday mornings, Thursday evenings, and our Saturday Morning Speaker Series.
If you would like to know more about these opportunities or have any questions regarding a particular teaching of the Church, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org (480) 279-6737 ext 203
Director of Children's Religious Education
- 480-279-6737 ext 202
Jayne LoConti Biography
I was raised in a large German Catholic family in Ohio. Growing up, I went to Catholic schools and received my Bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Cincinnati. I was a Catholic educator for 15 years. After moving to Arizona, I came to work at St. Mary Magdalene. I received my Master's degree in Religious Education from Loyola University, New Orleans. I am the proud mother of three sons, and my favorite pass time, of course, is music. I oversee our Children’s Religious Education program, which currently serves children who are in Kindergarten through sixth grade. In this capacity, I am also responsible for sacramental preparation for all children who are receiving Confirmation, First Communion, and First Reconciliation. This includes children who are older and still have not received these 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. email@example.com (480) 279-6737 ext 202
Assistant Director of Children's Religious Education
- 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
Director of Parish Evangelization
- 480-279-6737 ext 210
Lita Arroyo 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.
Coordinator of High School 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 High School Youth Group, GS24, as well as Sacramental Preparation for High School students here at the parish.
I would love to meet you if you are interested in GS24 or if you have a son or daughter that is interested in joining us. firstname.lastname@example.org (480) 279-6737 ext 211
Assistant Coordinator of Youth Evangelization
- (480) 279-6737 ext 214
Brandon Ashton Biography
I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where I discovered my passion for dancing, singing, carpentry, the outdoors, adventure, and Jesus. In 11th grade, I started going to the youth group at my parish, and a fire was set in my soul. I graduated from the University of Dallas in May of 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Ministry. For the past six years, youth ministry has been the focus of my life, including serving as a summer missionary with Life Teen in 2014 at Camp Covecrest.
I will be helping with both the jr. high and the high school programs at the parish. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. email@example.com (480) 279-6737 ext 214
- 480-279-6737 ext 201
Gretchen Malovoz Biography
My husband, four children and I moved to Arizona in 2003 and we joined this parish in 2005. Since then, our family grew to 5 children and in 2012, I started working at St. Mary Magdalene as the Parish Receptionist. Subsequently, I was blessed to work as the Coordinator of Infant Baptisms and as the Marriage Preparation Coordinator. I now work as the Administrative Assistant to our priests. My responsibilities include making appointments for our priests, managing their calendars as well as the parish calendar and events.
If you would like to make an appointment with Fr. Will or Fr. Ishaya or if you have an inquiry regarding the parish calendar or meeting spaces, or if you would like to have a table to promote an activity or ministry after mass please contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org (480) 279-6737 ext 201
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. email@example.com (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. firstname.lastname@example.org (480) 279-6737 ext 200
Athena Mota de Alcantara
Programs Administrative Assistant
- 480-279-6737 ext 217
Athena Mota de Alcantara Biography
I was born and raised in Southern California. After graduating from Thomas Aquinas College, I spent some time with my family in Brazil before moving to Arizona in December 2014. I currently provide administrative support to the Music, Marriage and Family Life, Evangelization, and Adult Faith Formation and Catechesis Departments. You can contact me to schedule appointments with Tom Perna, Chris Zajdzinski, and our Director of Sacred Music or to hear about the steps and requirements for St. Mary Magdalene's Marriage Preparation Program. I also work at the front desk in the Parish Office.
I would be happy to speak to you about any of these programs or answer any other questions you may have about the parish. email@example.com (480) 279-6737 ext 200
2654 East Williams Field Road
Gilbert AZ 85295
- 9am - Noon & 1 - 5pm
- 9am - Noon & 1 - 7pm
- 9am - Noon & 1 - 7pm
- 9am - Noon & 1 - 5pm
- 9am - Noon
- After Sunday Morning Masses Only