I’m pleased to announce the creation of a new staff position at St Thomas Aquinas parish: The Director of Parish Advancement. The purpose of this position is to assist me in advancing our parish’s mission. Why a new position like this?

Our parish is bristling with life and new energy: the upcoming Saint John Paull II High School, our new Dominican Sisters, a revamped pastoral council assisting me with crafting a bold five-year strategic plan, a promising new music director, and a host of new pastoral projects (more on all of this to come), and our rapidly expanding parish community (we’ve have over a thousand new families register since July 2015).

Like a lush growing garden, a parish community like this needs a clear vision of where it’s headed and along with many, many hands to foster the right kind of growth. I don’t want a single person to be left out. I want every person, every family to know what we’re about and to feel they are an important part of it. I’m more aware now than ever that to make this happen, a major part of my role as pastor is to clearly and consistently articulate what I believe that vision is.

This new position will make this possible by providing strategic oversight of three areas of the parish: daily operations, liturgy, and communications, and thus free me up to some extent to provide more “bird’s eye” leadership. We’re still a small staff in a big parish. This position will provide much needed support by expanding our leadership team, and thereby improving our impact on each individual and family.

There will be MUCH more to come on our future growth and vision, but for now please join me in welcoming to our parish Mr. Geoff Stricklin our new Director of Parish Advancement! Here is some key information about him.

Geoff Stricklin was born and raised in Huntington Beach, California and received his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology/Anthropology from Loyola Marymount University. After teaching in inner city Philadelphia, first through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, and then working in social work and administration for the Office of Mental Health in Philadelphia, Mr. Stricklin dedicated his professional service to the Catholic Church. For five years, he served as Pastoral Administrator and Director of Sacred Liturgy at St. Magdalene de Pazzi R.C. Church in Flemington, New Jersey. During this time Mr. Stricklin received his master’s degree in sacred liturgy, summa cum laude, from the University of Mary of the Lake, The Liturgical Institute, Mundelein Seminary, Illinois. Mr. Stricklin, along with his wife Ruth Stricklin, a sacred artist, co-founded New Jerusalem Studios, LLC, a sacred art and liturgical design studio, moved to Arizona in 2014. Most recently he taught theology at Xavier College Preparatory, and co-moderated the pilot program, Agape Latte, an interactive faith sharing forum, the Logos Film Club, and Xavier Young Vincentians service club. Mr. Stricklin enjoys singing sacred music, hiking, cycling, and the great game of golf.

Fr. Muir