Fr. Steven Kunkel
Fr. Steven 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. Joseph Rajan
Parochial VicarREAD BIO
Fr. Joseph Rajan Biography
Fr. Rajan (pronounced Ra-GIN) joins us from India where he attended Catholic schools throughout his education including grammar school and St. Joseph Pontifical Institute in Aluva, Kerala, India. He was ordained a priest on December 29, 2004.
Fr. Rajan graduated with a Baccalaureate in Philosophy and Baccalaureate in Theology. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and a Diploma in Civil Engineering. He served as a Parochial Vicar for 3 parishes, Pastor of 2 parishes, Assistant Director at Little Flower Engineering Institute, Associate Manager at Albertian Institute of Science and Technology and Associate Manager at Albert's Maritime Institute.
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. Kevin Tulipana
Coordinator of Marriage Preparation and Annulments
Fellowship Coordinator and Safe Environment Coordinator
Assistant to the PastorREAD BIO
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.
Infant Baptism Coordinator
Assistant Coordinator of Parish Catechesis (Youth and Young Adult Ministry)
School PrincipalREAD BIO
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.
Music DirectorREAD BIO
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 1988 serving at St. Bridget (Mesa), St. Daniel the Prophet (Scottsdale), St. Theresa (Phoenix) and here at St. Thomas since 2005.
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 is a retired music educator of more than thirty years, and all grade levels (K-College). He is in demand as a choral music clinician, keyboardist, and guest director. Currently, he is assisting Mrs. Hyland with the 6-8 grade students and is planning to start a children's choir here at STA.
Mr. Hebert has been the honored recipient of several awards, including Arizona Choral Educator of the Year.
Please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in becoming a part of the music ministry.
Tom Parks, MA
Assistant Coordinator of School Catechesis (Sacramental Preparation, Campus Ministry)READ BIO
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.
Coordinator, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
Director of Parish and School Catechesis
Director of the Institute of Catholic Theology
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.
Parish Finance Coordinator