Fr Steve Kunkel

Saint Thomas the Apostle Roman Catholic Parish is at a pivotal moment in our history. Since our founding over sixty years ago, this family of faith has experienced God’s blessings grace the sacrificial efforts of our brothers and sisters to live faith-filled lives and witness to the gospel. Nurtured by our loving Father, called by his only-begotten Son, and inspired by their Holy Spirit, our entire parish has grown over the years into a vibrant and spiritually rich community. Our school, the largest mission of the parish, provides our children a splendid and truly Catholic environment to form mind and soul. The school’s well-deserved reputation for academic excellence is only enhanced by the life of faith that permeates the campus. Our children thrive by being introduced and mentored in the life of virtue, by being taught a habit of prayer, by coming to know the truth about God, themselves, and the world, and above all in encountering God in the sacraments.

With the passage of time and ongoing growth, our parish now faces some significant needs which present challenges but also exciting opportunities. The infrastructure of our school is in dire need of attention and upgrades to provide the best educational environment possible for our children and to maintain our reputation for a fine Catholic education. All around us the urban core of Phoenix continues to grow and with that comes the opportunity to share the saving gospel of Jesus Christ with an increasing number of neighbors, inviting them to share the joy of the communion of the Church. As pastor of everyone living within the parish boundaries, Catholic or not, I am particularly concerned to reach out and invite the disenfranchised, those who may feel estranged from the Church, and those who have never heard of Jesus and his love for them. As our parish continues to grow in size and ministries, we need to keep pace with the momentum that is building all around us. Fortunately, I am convinced that we are now in a place of strength, vigor, and enthusiasm for a bright future. There is no better time than the present to address these needs with our parish master vision.

Our parish master vision will unfold in two phases, each with their own defined projects. The first phase will be funded by Building Virtues, the first capital campaign our parish and school has conducted in a very long time. I am turning to you now as a member of the parish to give generously to this exciting $10 million capital campaign. This case for support tells our story, describes the pressing and urgent needs we face, and makes a compelling presentation of how your support will enable us to continue our mission.

I need you to support our effort as generously as you can; even to a sacrificial degree. Please take some time to read through this case for support, consider your participation in this campaign prayerfully, and give as generously as you can in communion with the sacrificial giving provided by those before us. In response to the call of the Lord, aided by his grace, and with your generous support, we will continue our mission in forming our young, imparting the gospel, and Building Virtues for life-long faithful discipleship.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Steve


loving father, we ask you TO bless our efforts to build a community pleasing to your majesty, that we may worship you with humble and generous hearts. help us in building virtues for our children and community.

called together by the power of your holy spirit, we rely on your guidance and constant help. give us the wisdom to know your will and generous hearts to respond.

we ask this through jesus christ, our lord.



In 1950 the first Saint Thomas the Apostle parishioners began transforming 10 acres of cattle fields on the corner of 24th Street and Campbell Avenue, to serve 250 Catholic families living within the parish boundaries at the time. Their vision—a church, parish hall, school, convent, rectory and other amenities—was coming on the heels of World War II as an agricultural Phoenix was welcoming industry.

Today Saint Thomas is at the heart of the city and has grown to a community of over 1,200 families and almost 500 students. With that growth our needs have changed and it is time for us to follow in the footsteps of those before to chart our path for an even greater future.


Since our parish began building 65 years ago, the Phoenix population has grown 14 times larger. Within our parish boundaries there are many who are not yet part of the Saint Thomas family and to whom we must reach out. Our location is at a confluence of diverse social, ethnic and economic backgrounds and all around us we are seeing development embrace density as part of urban living. What this means is our community is only going to get bigger.

With our growth to date and our vision for welcoming more to the fold, there are increasing demands on our facilities by parish ministries as well as future programs that require additional space. It is an opportune time for us to revitalize our campus and make better use of the landlocked space we have. Doing so will maximize our parish potential and keep our school competitive with other already redeveloped schools across Phoenix.

Adapting our site and modernizing facilities will allow us to increase our “market share,” affording us the ability to grow our ministry base, provide for a variety of space needs and offer special accommodations for receptions celebrating sacraments like baptisms and weddings. The largest parish ministry, our school, must continue to deliver the best educational resources to our children while also attracting new students. Saint Thomas has become an education leader in the diocese. With 59% of our teachers holding master’s degrees, a faith-filled curriculum and nurturing community, we are sought by families across the valley. In order to stay ahead and continue a legacy of leadership, we must provide for our future.


November 6, 1950 is the parish birthday. Saint Thomas was established 19 years before the Diocese of Phoenix and was originally part of the Diocese of Tucson.

NOVEMBER 19, 1950 marked the beginning of the Women’s Committee. Today, it is officially known as the Sodality of Our Lady of the Assumption.

$400,000 is the amount the Men’s Club of the 1950’s raised hosting BINGO Sundays to help fund parish building by the time the church was consecrated in 1970.

So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. EPHESIANS 2:19-22

“Saint Thomas the Apostle is a bedrock of our Catholic Faith, providing us personal spiritual growth and many cherished friendships from our thirty years of involvement. Our eight children and their families have all celebrated many life events, friendships and memories here.Our love for the faith and this beautiful church and school makes us honored to serve as Chairs for the Building Virtues campaign. We pray that we will all work together to build at STA a campus to serve our community for many years to come.”

—Bob & Kathy Hubbard, General Chairs



1) Renovation to Preschool / “L-Wing” (1-Story) Additional Pre-K Classroom with Restrooms New Three’s Classroom Additional Staff Restrooms
2) Expanded Playground
3) New Classroom Building for Grades 1-8, New Media Center & Library (3-Story)
4) New Cafeteria (1-1/2 Story)
5) New Administration (1-Story)
6) New School Entry Feature

Phase 1 includes renovation to the existing Preschool / L-Wing Building which will be complete August 2016.

The existing Parish Hall will come down to make room for the new Classroom Building, Cafeteria, Media Center and Library.


7) New Gym (2-Story)
8) New Parish Social Hall (1-1/2 Story)
9) New Parish Community Center (1-Story)
New Meeting Rooms
New Teen Room
New Bookstore &Coffee Shop
New Weekend Welcome Center
10) Renovation for New Adoration Chapel
11) Expansion of St. Vincent de Paul Pantry

Phase 2 will take down existing classroom wings to make room for a new gym and parish social hall, new parish community rooms for meetings and teen groups, a coffee shop and bookstore. Also included in Phase 2 is an Adoration Chapel and the renovation / expansion of the St. Vincent de Paul pantry.



The church and school count on each other for the well-being of the entire parish community. Saint Thomas is a vibrant parish because it houses so many touchpoints of faith formation and fellowship—for all ages and every stage of Christian discipleship. The master vision accounts for the interests of both parishioners and school families and will be built in two phases allowing us to stay fully functioning throughout construction and even expand our outreach and programs in the process.

“Love is itself the fulfillment of all our works. There is the goal; that is why we run: we run toward it, and once we reach it, in it we shall find rest.” - Saint Augustine


Our Building Virtues capital campaign is aimed at helping us fund the cost to complete Phase 1 which includes the renovation to the preschool and creating a "school within a school" and the new school building for grades 1st-8th. The preschool renovation will be compete August 2016.



The master vision organizes our site in three “bars.” FAITH, our church, is the point from which all parish and school activities radiate—it inspires HEARTS in our community and fellowship spaces and MINDS in the learning spaces for our children.



One key competitive advantage other parochial and private schools offer is expanded preschool programs. Currently Saint Thomas only offers one class for Pre-K students. School leaders have identified the need for an expanded early childhood education program. Phase 1 of the master vision pioritizes this program expansion and the preschool renovation will be complete to welcome new students in August 2016. These improvements lead our campaign as part of our Faith Goal of $2 million.

The Preschool Renovation will:

  • More than double preschool enrollment by offering a new Three’s Program and second Pre-K class.
  • Help keep classes full from Kindergarten to 8th grade as more preschool students progress to the next phase of academics.
  • Offer families with multiple children at various ages a “one drop-off, one pick-up” school option to fulfill their needs.
  • Welcome new families into the Saint Thomas community.



The central project of phase 1 is the completion of a new classroom building, cafeteria, media center and library. A new grand entry feature to the school will help establish a “sense of place” and gravitas, referencing the architectural heritage of our church’s belltower and our Catholic identity. Building Virtues’ $5 million Hope Goal will celebrate our campaign’s halfway mark helping fund this portion of the project.

Creating a centralized classroom building is of great benefit to the parish, freeing up space currently taken up by four of the older classroom wings and the satellite 8th-Grade wing. We then can accommodate Phase 2 of the master vision which includes a gym, parish social hall, community center, Adoration Chapel renovation and renovation/expansion of the St. Vincent de Paul pantry.

The New Classroom Building will:

  • Modernize spaces, tools and technology to meet the needs of our educators and students. Be more energy-efficient and sustainable.
  • Create centralized green areas for beloved school traditions such as rallies and class gatherings.
  • Provide better security.
  • Make better use of the land we have, allowing space for future development of parish community spaces.


From those to whom much is given, much is expected. (LK 12:38)

Selecting the best gift-plan depends on one’s personal financial situation and goals. As tax laws are always changing and each individual’s situation is unique, donors are encouraged to consult with financial advisors to determine which methos od contributing is most beneficial.

There are many ways of giving so that you are able to meet your needs and have the opportunity to support Saint Thomas the Apostle in a meaningful way. Pledges are commitments made in good faith, but are not legally binding. Parishioners may want to consider stretching pledges over a three-year period.

This commitment can be fulfilled through monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual installments. we encourage all donors to consider a 10-20 percent initial payment to begin your commitment. Gifts made by cash, check, or credit card are the most common and will allow Saint Thomas the Apostle to address its immediate needs. Checks should be made payable to Saint Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church.

While the needs of the capital campaign are urgent, we will gratefully accept gifts in various forms, including those listed:

You may set up an automatic withdrawal from a bank account in order to make initial gifts and recurring payments. Please visit us at to complete this process.

You may make initial gifts and set-up recurring payments with your credit or debit cards. Please click here to complete this process.

Stocks, bonds or mutual fund shares that have appreciated have an immediate impact on our campaign and also create an income tax deduction for you based on their current value. Please contact the Diocesan Finance Office at (602) 354-2000 for more information.

LIFE INSURANCE You may donate to the campaign by making Saint Thomas the Apostle the owner and beneficiary of your inurance policy. Please contact the Diocesan Finance Office at (602) 354-2000 for more information.

Planned giving is the process of carefully selecting the best method and asset for making a charitable gift. Such a gift can enable you to take full advantage of tax laws to accomplish your financial and charitable goals. Planned gifts can be made in the following ways: Bequests by will or living trust, Charitable Remainder Trusts, Charitable Gift Annuities, Charitable Lead Trusts, Beneficiary benefits from IRA’s, pensions or financial accounts

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