Local and visiting Catholics have made it financially possible to take the San José/St. Joseph’s Church in La Cholla from a cinder block shell to a beautiful house of God. Now they are called to build an actual house for their new pastor, Marco Lopez.

One seasonal visitor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has pledged to match the first $10,000 raised by the community. The gift was offered to encourage donors, so their priest can be onsite and comfortable in a dedicated rectory.

The small house will be built against the back wall of the church in an area that is 15 by 37 feet. It will include office space as well as living quarters.

“In time we will add a small second-story bedroom to accommodate the Bishop and/or visiting priests,” said church sexton Bob Keller. “For now, our urgency is to answer Padre Marco’s request for, ‘a place to sleep.’

“This matching-funds pledge means we would have $20,000 with which to build the basic structure, get Father sheltered and then finish out the rectory with tile, appliances and furniture as additional money is raised,” Keller explained.

In addition to St. Joseph’s, Padre Lopez has responsibility for Sacred Family Church, a much larger church on Avenida Pino Suárez just off of Calle No Reelección. Although that parish is larger, there is no available land there, so the rectory will be built in La Cholla.

Individuals who would like to contribute to this matching-funds campaign can contact Keller by phone at 928-706-6928, by e-mail at bob@keller.net or send a check to P.O. Box 297, Lukeville, AZ 85341.

“Or, join us at our bilingual Mass any Sunday at 8 a.m. We have a building fund donation box on the back wall of the church so your gift can also be anonymous if you prefer,” Keller said.

To reach the church, take the road past the Sandy Beach resorts, then the sand road past Wrecked at the Reef. As you wind your way toward Cholla Bay, the church will be on the right. It is clearly marked.

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Padre Marco Lopez and sexton Bob Keller review the plans and the site where the new rectory will be constructed behind St. Joseph’s Church in La Cholla.