When the Bishop of Mexicali decided to establish a new parish in Puerto Peñasco, he designated Padre Marco Lopez as pastor to oversee two churches and manage all expenses of the parish and his own living expenses.

With no residence at either location, Marco rented a small studio apartment in a noisy area down town until construction could be completed on a residence where he could “lay his head.” Working as funds were donated, St. Joseph’s sexton had the residence for Pastor Marco ready for occupancy in less than a year from breaking ground.

It sits on a 15-foot by 37-foot foundation, which is 405 square feet – small by most standards but roomy enough for one priest and two small pets. Because it was necessary to provide quarters for the Bishop when he visits the new parish, a bedroom, bath and two nice patios were added as a second story.

In total, the residence is a little over 800 square feet. It is made of concrete block with ceramic tile and durable fixtures. Furniture and household items were donated, so Father Marco only needed to bring his personal affects, and his cat and dog.

This comfortable new home was possible because of the generosity of parishioners, visitors, vendors, workmen and contractors who gave a “God Discount” on the cost of construction.

Though Padre Marco now occupies the home, there are finishing touches that will make it even more comfortable and attractive.

Sexton Bob Keller said the first add-on will be a small fenced yard where Father Marco’s little dog, Sissy, can be outside safely. It will include an area with pavers and another with Astro-turf, plus an herb garden and possibly a barbecue space.

“We’ll be adding an eve over the front door and window which will serve as a rain gutter to carry water off the property from the patio above,” Keller said. “We’ll also be trimming all the windows with decorative brick to match the window trim on the church.”

As with every new home, small things will need to be done, but Pastor Marco now has a comfortable, quiet place at St. Joseph’s Church “to lay his head.”

St. Joseph’s offers the only bilingual Mass in Puerto Peñasco. Service is every Sunday at 8:30 a.m. To reach the church, take the paved road past the Sandy Beach Resorts and the dirt road past Wrecked at the Reef. As you wind toward Cholla Bay, the church is on the right and clearly marked.

For information about services at the church, e-mail Sexton Bob Keller at: bob@keller.net or phone or text 928-706-6928.

Pastor Padre Marco Lopez (R), along with his little dog Sissy, visits with Father Manuel, the first visitor to the new residence.

The new kitchen and living room in Padre Marco’s new home in La Cholla.