Parish History

History of the St. Rose of Lima Parish

The original church of St. Rose of Lima Parish was constructed by the parishioners. Work was begun in 1925 and the church was dedicated in 1927. In 1937, western Graham County was designated a separate parish with St. Rose of Lima Church in Safford as headquarters. Rev. J.N Patterson was the first pastor. The following year Rev. B.P. O'oyle became pastor and served the parish for 10 years. Parish census and activities grew steadily. The ladies of the parish assumed many of the church chores of linens, candles, etc. Rev. P.M Larocque was appointed pastor in 1948. In 1950 the site of the present Catholic center was acquired. The Rev. Martin C. Kelly assumed pastoral duties in March, 1961. Parish interest and activities continued to increase. More parishioners became more interested in their parish and grand events cam about. Parish tithing became an established success.






The building program came closer and closer to reality. In the fall on 1961 the Sisters of the Eucharistic Missionaries of St. Dominic came to Safford for the first time to help in the catechetical program. On August 12, 1962 at 12:00 o'lock noon, Father Kelly presided over groundbreaking ceremonies for the new church. The St. Rose of Lima Convent was completed first; then the catechetical classrooms; and finally the church. The first Mass was on Easter Sunday, April 14, 1963.

Past, Interim, and Present Pastors who have served

St. Rose of Lima Parish


Years of Service

Rev. Joseph N. Patterson

08/1934 - 06/1938

Rev. B. P. Boyle

06/1938 - 04/1949

Rev. Francis L. Becktel

04/1949 - 09/1949

Rev. Paul M Larocque, OF

09/1949 - 02/1961

Rev. Martin C. Kelley, OF

02/1961 - 09/1964

Rev. William Reid, OF

09/1964 - 03/1969

Rev. Walter Rosenweig

03/1969 - 10/1972

Rev. John Fahey

10/1972 - 04/1975

Rev. Gerald Brynda

05/1975 - 09/1978

Rev. Gregory Hudson, OSB

09/1978 - 05/1980

Rev. Robert Tamminga

05/1980 - 08/1984

Rev. Charles D. Knapp

08/1984 - 06/1991

Rev. Tony Navvario

06/1991 - 02/1992

Rev. Domenico Pinti

02/1992 - 02/2004

Rev. Ariel G. Lustan

02/2004 - 06/2010

Rev. Edward Lucero

07/2010 - 06/2013

Rev. Robert A Rodriguez

07/2013 - 7/2018

Rev. Nicodemus Shaghel, V.C.

7/2018 - Present