About Our Parish

Humble Beginnings

In 1972, there were less than 20 practicing Catholic families in Chino Valley. These families were regularly attending Mass at Sacred Heart Church in Prescott; but by 1974 we had increased significantly in number. Fr. James Griffin, CMF agreed to come out to Chino Valley to celebrate Mass once a week. We rented the Chino Valley Community Church and met each week for one Mass.

The dream of having a "home" of our own began with humble, but hopeful roots.  The establishment of St. Catherine Labouré Roman Catholic Mission began in earnest when Catherine Cooper generously donated the land adjoining her property for a church. 

 Catherine Cooper with Rev. Philip Reiser and Don Roskopf at the groudbreaking ceremony

In 1976, approximately 90-100 people would celebrate with food and an outside Mass on the very land that would eventually become our home.  However, it would be an additional three years before we would hold our groundbreaking ceremony in September of 1979.

The Diocese of Phoenix assigned Fr. Philip Reiser (also known as the "builder priest") to our parish and things quickly began to take shape.  Licensed contractors were hired to do the electrical and block work, but all other construction projects were to be completed by parish volunteers.

After eight long years of bazaars, spaghetti dinners, and other fundraisers held by the Ladies guild, and a parish pledge drive.  our dream was soon to become a reality!  Our big day finally arrived on March 23, 1980, when Bishop James Rausch came to bless our new facility.  At that time, we had only one building, with the front half dedicated to serving as our church, and the back half serving as our hall.  The church office served as the rectory (complete with a roll-away bed!), the confessional and the sacristy!

Growing Through Change

We had a small but active congregation, and we continued to grow.  In 1985, when the need for classroom space became imperative, it was decided to build a building that would serve our needs, but in keeping with our "can-do" spirit, we designed the building to be converted to a rectory in the event that we would be successful in obtaining our own resident priest.  Father Reiser was, appropriately, to be the first priest to occupy the building.  Using our classroom/rectory building, Father Reiser continued to attend to the spiritual needs of our growing congregation, and at the same time, we was building two more churches in the area, St. Joseph's in Mayer, AZ and St. Germaine's in Prescott Valley.

In the late 1980's, we were asked by the Methodist community in Chino Valley to consider letting them use our church for their services while they were saving money to build their own church.  Remembering our early beginnings, and in thanksgiving for the generosity we received from the Chino Valley Community Church, we were able to reach an agreement with the Methodist community.  In order to meet their needs for Sunday school classes, they purchased a portable building that was placed on our property.  When they completed building their church, they left the building for our use, and our classrooms moved from the rectory building into the portable building.  This allowed us to convert the rectory into a home for a resident priest, including adding a garage.

By 1988, our parish had experienced phenomenal growth and the need for a larger facility became obvious - we simply had outgrown the little church we had built.  We began a pledge drive to build a new addition to our existing building, one that would serve solely as our church.  The groundbreaking ceremony for our addition was held on December 17, 1990.  Construction began in earnest on March 17, 1991 and the first Mass in our new church was celebrated on July 27, 1991.  Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien would bless our new church on September 8, 1991.

Looking to the Future

While several changes have taken place physically over the years, the Holy Spirit continues to guide and richly bless our parish to this very day, just as He did with the early families who diligently pursued their dream of building a Catholic Church in Chino Valley so that we could more fully worship Him.

There have been trying times on our journey to establish our faith community, but there have also been times of great joy - Baptisms, Confirmations, First Communions, and Marriages.  With the continued guidance of the priests who so faithfully serve our parish, we will continue to grow in the love and service of God our Father and His children here on earth.  

We now have over 615 families and we continue to grow!  We have four Masses each weekend, and are blessed by a regular Daily Mass as well.  Our Religious Education programs are in full swing from September to May.  We have an active parish life, and continue to serve the members of the greater community through service and providing funding for projects such as the local Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, People Who Care, and a pro-life crisis pregnancy center.

With the help of the Holy Spirit, we will continue to reach out to not only the members of our faith community, but to the members of our community as members of the Body of Christ.  May God grant us many, many more years of service in His name!

 

 

We, the people of St. Catherine Labouré empowered by the Holy Spirit, will strive to serve the Gospel message in reaching out as the Body of Christ to serve our brothers and sisters.