Fr. Steven A. Kunkel
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Fr. Steven A. Kunkel Biography
Rev. Steve Kunkel is the pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Phoenix, Arizona. Raised in an Army family, Fr. Kunkel graduated from FSU (Fayetteville State University) with a BS in Computer Science. After working for Wachovia Bank, he entered the seminary, studying at St. Meinrad Seminary, earning and MDiv. He was ordained for the Diocese of Phoenix in 2001 and has been pastor of Resurrection Parish in Tempe and Christ the King Parish in Mesa.
Fr. Musie Tesfayohannes
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Fr. Musie Tesfayohannes Biography
I was born in March 7, 1952 in the town of Wasdemba, Diocese of Keren, Eritrea. Baptized 28 march 1952 at St. George Church, Sharchy diocese of Keren, Eritrea. I received my first Holy Communion and Chrismation in 1958 at the Church of Jesus the Savior, Wasdemba, Eritrea. I finished my elementary school at Wasedemba. In 1972 entered into the Cistercian monastery seminary of the Assumption of St. Mary; in the diocese of Asmara, Eritrea and completed high school at St. Stephen Cistercian monastery, Keren, Eritrea. After one year of novitiate I studied two years philosophy and 4 years theology at the Catholic Theological Institute, Asmara, Eritrea.
In 1982 I did my perpetual vows in the Assumption monastery, Asmara, Eritrea. After one year in 1983 I was ordained deacon in February and in the same year priest in 10 August 1983, by his Excel. Bishop Abraha Francois.
In St. Joseph monastery, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia and in the monastery of St. Mary of the Assumption, Asmara, Eritrea, I worked as rector of the seminarians for 12 years. In the diocese of Asmara and Italy I worked as a pastor and from 2010 to 2017 I worked as parochial vicar in the parish of St. John Neumann, in Mout Laurel NJ, USA.
All glory be to God.
Dcn. William Chavira, MD
Dcn. William Chavira, MD Biography
Faith is truly a gift. Throughout my life I have come to appreciate this gift; it was through my great-grandmother “Nana Bell” where I came to understand the gift of faith that has been passed down from generation to generation. She did not have a degree, did not graduate from high school, she was poor and lived in public housing; however, her wealth came from her reliance on God.
I learned through the example of my great-grandmother that Holy Mass was the most important thing in life and therefore I would walk with her to St. Anthony Catholic Church during the heat of the summer months and the cold of winter. My great-grandmother’s love and devotion to our blessed Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe, was an inspiration to me as a young boy. I learned of our Lady’s maternal protection of her son Jesus; something I foster in my own life and try to teach others.
While in high school, I discerned the vocation of Holy Orders and met with the Vocations Director for the University of Notre Dame. After much reflection, I decided to pursue my undergraduate degree at The University of Arizona as a sociology major with an emphasis in pre-medical studies. While at The University of Arizona, I met my future bride, who too had a deep love for the Lord and His church. We continued with our undergraduate studies and later both pursued our advanced degrees; she in psychology and I in medicine.
I began my career as an instructor of clinical OBGYN which I soon left to begin my private practice. It was at about this time when I met Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted who truly served as a spiritual father to me, allowing me to fully embrace, understand, and promote the teachings of Humanae Vitae. It was through the encouragement of priests and deacons where I began to again discern a call to Holy Orders, but this time to the permanent diaconate. With the support of my wife and children, I began the process of formation. The Holy Spirit has lead me on a journey; opening pathways and doors so that God’s will may be done. I do not know where my journey will end but I say “yes” to the Lord knowing that if I seek to do His will there will be peace and joy in my busy life as a father, husband, physician, and community leader. St. John Paul II says that the greatest gift a permanent deacon can give the Church is the foundation of a strong family, imaging the love of the blessed trinity. “Diakonia” means service, a deacon must first serve his family then the community.
Dcn. John Barelli, JD
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Dcn. John Barelli, JD Biography
Deacon John P. Barelli JD is returning to Saint Thomas the Apostle after twenty-one years. His first assignment as a deacon began with us in 1996. He returns to us from his eleven year assignment at St. Daniel the Prophet Parish, Scottsdale. Deacon Barelli served also in the Diocese of Kansas City St. Joe, and the Diocese of Tucson (on the Colorado River Indian Reservation).
Deacon Barelli and his wife Mary Jean have lived in the Phoenix area for thirty-one years, and they have been STA parishioners for more than twenty-five years.
Deacon Barelli has his Juris Doctorate Degree, a Master’s Degree in Applied Orthodox Theology, a Graduate Bachelor’s Degree in International Business Management, as well as, a Bachelor’s Degree in Government.
Deacon Barelli has been a lawyer for forty-six years, admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, licensed in Arizona, Montana, Kansas, and Missouri. He has served two governors on the Arizona Drug & Alcohol Education Parents’ Commission.
Before retiring in 2018, Deacon Barelli served two years are Judge Pro Tempore for the Maricopa County Arizona Superior Court. He is certified as a Catholic Airport Chaplain and a member of the Sky Harbor Interfaith Chaplaincy, Inc. for over twenty years.
He and Mrs. Barelli are particularly devoted to Our Mother Mary Queen of Heaven and Earth. Deacon Barelli’s favorite ministries include: preaching, counseling, teaching, sacramental preparation, and pro-life-human dignity issues. His hobbies including writing, aviation, art, and cooking.
Mrs. Barelli is a retired educator. She taught fifth grade for twenty years at St. Daniel the Prophet Catholic School before retiring in 2008.
The Barellis have been married for fifty years. They have four children, eleven grandchildren, and one greatgrandchild. Two of their sons and one grandson serve in the United States Coast Guard.
Coordinator of Youth Ministry
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Ryan Ayala Biography
Ryan is originally from New Orleans and graduated from Holy Cross College with a Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Minor in Philosophy and is in progress for his Master of Education from the University of Mary. He has spent the past 8 years serving in youth ministry in the Diocese of Phoenix. In addition to being the Youth Minister at Saint Thomas, he currently serves as the Director of Youth Evangelization at Saint Mary's Catholic High School and teaches the Youth Specialization class for the Kino Institute at the Diocese of Phoenix. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he served as a Campus Minister at the University of Notre Dame. At Notre Dame he met his future wife, Amanda, and happily married her in 2014. They enjoy raising their energetic and rambunctious two-year old son, Liam Joseph Ayala.
Coordinator of Marriage Preparation and Annulments
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Assistant to the Pastor
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Janine Campo Biography
Janine has a unique background across 3 complimentary fields that span parent-child development, technology, and non-profit organizations. She brings this knowledge to serve Saint Thomas. After receiving her B.A. from San Francisco Sate University she spent two years working at Gymboree Corporation Headquarters in the Play Programs division. Her career then led her to Silicon Valley where she launched first-of-its kind worldwide programs in the marketing, sales operations, and PR departments for a Fortune 500 software company which grew to over $2 billion in annual sales. While still living in the Bay Area, she served two terms as President of the Board for her children’s cooperative preschool. When her family moved to Phoenix in 2011, she served on the board of her son’s preschool, and served on the Saint Thomas PTO and School Advisory Boards. She is a founding member and current co-chair of the Catholic Leadership Circle, the only Catholic grant making organization in the Diocese of Phoenix. Her husband, John, is a Saint Thomas alum and their children attend Saint Thomas school and are 4th generation parishioners.
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Mary Coffman Biography
Mrs. Mary Coffman, MA, has served as principal of Saint Thomas the Apostle Catholic School since 2008. She holds a Masters of Arts degree in Education with an emphasis on differentiated instruction. She has taught third grade through the community college level. She has served in a variety of leadership roles including 8 years as an assistant principal.
Mrs. Coffman is committed to excellence in Catholic education. She was raised by parents who worked hard to give their children the gift of Catholic education as students of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine in the Bronx, NY. Mrs. Coffman and her husband Gary have been married for 28 years and are the proud parents of three grown children; all graduates of Saint Thomas the Apostle and local Catholic high schools.
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Gift Shop Manager
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Mary Gibson Biography
Mary Gibson has been the manager of the St. Thomas the Apostle Gift Shop since 2003. Prior to 2003, she was the manager of the gift shop at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital for 15 years. Mary has a BA from Barat College in IL, and was an elementary school teacher for 28 years before making the transition to sales and management. Mary has been a very active volunteer with the Sodality, RCIA and many other ministries here at STA, and is the founder of the Oblates of St. Benedict, Phoenix Chapter.
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Greg Hebert Biography
Greg Hebert, Director of Music Ministry, received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Arizona State University, and has been a Catholic Music Ministry Director in the Phoenix area since 1989. Since 2005, he has been at St. Thomas the Apostle.
Bringing with him a traditional background as a chorister, pianist, and choral music director, Mr. Hebert proudly upholds the integrity of music in sacred Catholic worship. In addition, he has a performed and collaborated with many contemporary published Catholic artists, such as Chris Muglia, Jaime Cortez, Tom Booth, Tim Smith, Paul Hillebrand, Craig Colson, Aaron Thompson, and Daniel Consiglio. He has an ability to bring authenticity to contemporary and traditional styles.
In addition to his music ministry experience, Mr. Hebert has been the choral director at Corona Del Sol High School since 1994. With over twenty five years of choral music teaching, he is a highly sought-after cooperating teacher, clinician, adjudicator and guest conductor. As a music educator, he has conducted two Arizona All-State Jr. High Honor Choirs, and six High School Regional Honor Choirs. Being honored as an outstanding teacher, Mr. Hebert has been awarded with the Tempe Union High School Teacher of the Year Award, Tempe Diablo Teacher of the Year two times, AzACDA President Award, AMEA Excellence in Teaching Award, and AzACDA Choir Director of the Year. Mr. Hebert is currently the Vice President of the American Choral Directors Association, Arizona Chapter.
Tom Parks, MA
Coordinator of School Campus Ministry
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Tom Parks, MA Biography
Thomas began working at St. Thomas the Apostle in June 2009 as the Director of Youth Ministry. He has a Master of Arts degree in theology with a specialization in the New Evangelization. He is a 7th grade homeroom teacher and teaches 6th, 7th, and 8th grade religion in the school. He is also the assistant to Eric Westby, director of parish catechesis.
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Chris Quintenz Biography
Chris Quintenz has been a parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle since 1996. He has been involved in many volunteer ministries including St. Vincent de Paul, Voice of the Poor and the RCIA program. Chris and his wife Karen have three children and four grandchildren and enjoy live music and travel. Before working for St Thomas he spent 30 years in the Office Products business.
Coordinator, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
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Director of Parish and School Catechesis
Director of the Institute of Catholic Theology
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Eric Westby Biography
Eric J. Westby is the Director of Parish and School Catechesis as well as the Director of the Institute of Catholic Theology. He holds a Masters of Arts degree in Theology and Christian Ministry from Franciscan University in Steubenville and a PhD from the Maryvale Institute of Birmingham, England. He holds a Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies from the Center for Ministry Development, and has been involved in parish catechesis since 1988. He is a regular presenter at the summer St. John Bosco Catechetical Conference at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is the founder of ymcentral.com and rciacentral.com. More importantly, he is husband to Nikki and father of five beautiful girls. Everyone agrees he married up.
Coordinator - Safe Environment, Sacramental Records, Infant Baptism and Parish Catechesis
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Parish Finance Coordinator
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