Presently our Church is served by Fr. Abrán Tadeo. Our church has a unique story that we love to share. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was originally a Capilla that was constructed of adobe bricks made and put together on the spot in 1938, mostly by local residents who volunteered their time. It still stands as a parish hall, although requiring constant maintenance. In 1951, we became formally established as a parish. In 1956, a larger church was built to serve the growing needs of the barrio, and subsequently we added a building for religious education and another to provide rectory and office space.
At present there are approximately 2,500 families registered at St. Margaret Mary. The religious education department has 450 registered children who attend catechism classes. Ours is a very active Church that serves as the gathering hub for many activities in the barrio, including the Fiesta Grande.
Current parish activities include the our Semillas De Fe Youth Group, Sacred Heart, Grupo de Oracion, Guadalupanas, Legion of Mary, Ministry of Evangelization, Hospitality Ministry, Grupo de Matrimonio, St. Vincent de Paul, and Bible Study in both Spanish and English.
Since July 2013, it is now run by the Diocese of Tucson. Prior to that, Carmelite Friars from a Province in California were responsible for starting it in obedience to God. The Friars from Spain were responsible for building St. Margaret Mary and at least seven other Catholic churches in the Tucson Diocese. They had begun working in Mexico, but growing indications of persecution there convinced them to start moving to Arizona in 1912. Bishop Enrique Granjon first assigned them to missions in the mining areas and then to the most important churches in Tucson as well. The history of the Catholic Church in Arizona makes it evident that these missionaries were an integral part of the evangelization of the state in the twentieth century.
Over the years, more than 50 Carmelites from Spain worked in the state, building chapels and churches and serving over 20 small towns and cities. The record of these Friars is an impressive chronicle of dedication, hardship, and perseverance in the face of daunting obstacles. They rotated in and out of the U.S. with as many as 16-20 Carmelites in Arizona at any one time.
Among those who served in Arizona, five were later martyred in Spain, including the very first priest assigned to the earliest Tucson churches of Holy Family and Santa Cruz. Two of these Friars were beatified in 2009 by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI. In fact, the Spanish Civil War decimated the Carmelites in that country, making it impossible to send more to the Southwest.
In 1963 the Arizona missionaries, who then included an Irishman and two Hungarians, asked to be affiliated with the Carmelites in California. Thus, Friars of the California Province began serving in Arizona as well. Our Province has continued staffing the Tucson churches of St. Margaret Mary and Santa Cruz Parish since their construction. Many of the
chapels founded by the Spanish Friars had to be turned over to the Diocese or were no longer needed when mining ceased.
The Catholic Community of St. Margaret Mary Parish, proclaims, witnesses and shares the Good News of Jesus Christ. We invite all to join us as we live our faith and reach out in charity. Please consider joining and together we can add to our unique history and at the same time make our spiritual family proud.
St. Margaret Mary Community
P.S. To read more about the five martyrs visit: http://www.discalcedcarmelitefriars.com/aboutus/saints.php http://latino.si.edu/researchandmuseums/presentations/bhati_paper.html