The New and The Old

09-10-2023Pastor's LetterFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

“Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” (Matt. 13:51) We are fortunate to have both the old and the new as part of our mission for this portion of the Body of Christ in Sun City West and in the Vistancia/N. Peoria area. First the new. Part of our Parish mission at this moment in time is to help start a new parish in the Vistancia/N. Peoria area. For the past two years we have been celebrating Mass in the Gym at Vistancia Elementary School. We have purchased 60 acres of land off the west side of Lake Pleasant Parkway, north of Rt. 303, just below the CAP canal.

For the past year I have been working with an Architect and Civil Engineers to develop a site plan for the location. The plan envisions a Parish Church, Parish Hall, and Offices, Preschool and Elementary School along with a possible Assisted Living facility and a Catholic cemetery. The first phase of the site plan includes the Church, Hall/Offices, School, and Rectory. We have met with the City many times to get the site plan approved in accord with local regulations.

During the process the City asked if they could dig two wells on our property and we agreed to cede the necessary land to them for that purpose in exchange for water rights and for the City to bring the utilities to the property. Our last meeting included staff from APS, who informed us there is sufficient power available from two substations to the south of our property. Then we mapped out the trenching etc. needed to bring power to the property and required easements since the land surrounding our property is AZ State Trust Land. The schedule for that phase is to have the wells operational by June 2025. Once done, we could begin construction in earnest as we would then have power/water on the property.

About a week later the City of Peoria told us of their plan to build an airport (much like Scottsdale Airpark) possibly just north of our property on the north side of the CAP canal. A lot of the development in this area is being driven by the needs of the new TSMC plant, which is just 5 miles east of our property. After describing the potential Airport and surrounding development (including the great need for more schools in the area and hoping we would build one) they asked if we would consider moving to another location closer to the Vistancia development area. That was quite unexpected, but we told them nothing was off the table, and we would consider their offer for a land swap or some other arrangement. As of now we are awaiting their offer. Obviously, this puts things on hold for now. But do not doubt the hand of God in all this, possibly steering us to a better location, one that has the infrastructure already in place and may require less pre-construction infrastructure work.

Now to the old. We have been working to upgrade the sound system in the Church. I know how frustrating it is for those of you with hearing impairment. The new system will allow those of you who have hearing-aids that you control from your smart phone to connect it to the Church system and control the volume etc. from your phone. For others who do not have those, we will have earphones that you can use while in the Church to control the sound volume. We are also upgrading the sound system in Madonna Hall, so that when events are held in the Hall you can hear what is being said. Be patient, there are a lot of thing-a-majigs that need to be installed. But hopefully the system should be operational very soon and we will provide an instructional video to show you how to connect your hearing devices to the new system.

Otherwise, our Lourdes campus is in rather good shape, and we don’t envision any major capital issues this year other than the normal wear-and-tear and when things like HVAC units hit their life spans.

Thank you for your stewardship of the mission of our Parish and expanding our reach to more and more people.


Fr. John B.