Answering the Pastor’s request for “a place to sleep,” parishioners at St. Joseph’s Mission Church in La Cholla have contributed enough money to break ground and start the foundation for a new rectory behind the church.

“We will build as the money comes in,” said sexton Bob Keller, “We have been able to collect several thousand dollars toward the $10,000 matching funds pledge, but with building material prices going up almost weekly, it is prudent to do as much as we can, as soon as we can.

“When the donations have reached $10,000 and our anonymous matching-funds donation is received, we will be able to move much faster; but we will need a good deal more support to complete the rectory,” Keller added.

The first phase will be construction of a 555-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment for Padre Marco Lopez, the new pastor of St. Joseph’s and Holy Family Church which is close to Rodeo Drive. Finishing out the apartment with flooring, cabinetry, appliances and furniture will be next.

“Once Father Marco is comfortably able to move in, we will start Phase II, the construction of a small, second floor sleeping space and meeting room for the Bishop and visiting priests,” Keller said.

St. Joseph’s, which offers the only bilingual Mass in Rocky Point, draws English speaking seasonal residents and visitors who have been generous contributors to the church. In just seven years, it has gone from an abandoned cinder block shell to a comfortable house of worship. Soon it will be home to the pastor as well.

“All of the scripture readings are done in both languages, the hymns rotate verses in Spanish and English and the sermon is translated by volunteers,” Keller explained, “but Father Marco is getting better and better at English.”

Several years ago, the congregation discussed whether they would prefer to have the Mass in just one language, and everyone agreed that they liked the format and the opportunity to pick up a little more of the other language. “It feels more inclusive,” one member said.

The bilingual service is offered at 8:30 every Sunday. A special anointing of the sick takes place on the second Sunday of the month and all are welcome to participate.

To reach St. Joseph’s/San José, take the road past the Sandy Beach Resorts, the dirt road past Wrecked at the Reef and as the road winds toward Cholla Bay, the church is on the right and clearly marked. For information about services or to help with the building fund, contact sexton Bob Keller by e-mail at, by phone at 928-706-6928 or by mail at P.O. Box 297, Lukeville, AZ 85341.


Workers begin clearing the building site for the foundation of the new rectory at St. Joseph’s Church in Cholla.

Sexton Bob Keller puts up ‘Caution’ tape after the septic tank hole is dug.