By Vicki Clark
Copper Basin News
As I was gathering information for this piece I talked with Msg. Raul Trevizo, who was raised in Hayden. He described the history of St. Joseph’s Parish as a trinity…The Founding, The New Church and The Remodeling. The three were equally important to help build and blend the parish into what it is today. This is my attempt of the trinity.
Little did we know that the destiny and future of St. Joseph in Hayden and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Winkelman were practically secure due to the misfortune of Mexico. During Mexico’s turmoil in the late 1800’s it began exiling Catholic priests, especially foreign priests. Missionaries started migrating to Southwest Arizona including the Carmelites of the Discalced Order from Spain.
One such priest was Fr. Pedro Heriz who arrived in Arizona in October of 1911. He was soon given authority from Bishop Granjon of Tucson to establish a foundation of the Order in one of the towns between Mammoth-Oracle and Ray-Sonora. These were all mining communities with the majority of the populations being from Mexico.
After living in Winkelman for two or three months, he decided to build a Chapel and house as the center of the new Parish in Sonora. From there he could attend to the spiritual needs of the other towns located within that area. There were small chapels already built in Winkelman, Christmas and Mammoth.
While the adobes for the church in Sonora were being made, Fr. Pedro worked fervently visiting Hayden daily where he was preparing the First Communion children and ministering to the other needs of the Catholic faithful.
From the very beginning, Fr. Pedro had seen the importance of the town of Hayden, which in those days had a population of 2,500 inhabitants. A mile away was Winkelman with another 1,000. He felt it was of upmost importance that he build a chapel in Hayden, though it would be a temporary one.
Fr. Pedro communicated to Fr. Lucas, Provincial-vicar of Catalonia that the mining superintendent desired a Catholic chapel that would serve the needs of the miners and had offered a lot and a certain amount of money for the said construction.
Fr. Pedro had a twin brother, Fr. Pascasio, who was also a Discalced Carmelite and belonged to the Province of Navarre. He had been a missionary in English India for 14 years.
Fr. Pedro asked the Propagation of the Faith and the Provincial of Navarre for Fr. Pascasio to be incardinated into the Province of Catalonia in order to serve missions in Arizona.
In January of 1913, consent was given and in March of the same year Fr. Pascasio arrived in Sonora and immediately left for Hayden to pick up the donations to build the new chapel.
While the chapel was being built Fr. Pascasio would celebrate two masses on Sundays, one in Hayden at 8:30 a.m. and then he would walk to Winkelman for the second mass at 10:30 a.m. When he finished it would be 12 noon.
Near the end of April, 1913, the exterior walls of the chapel were completed. The cost was $2,850 and a few years later more space was added.
Fr. Pascasio not only took care of Hayden and, but also ministered to the people in Aravaipa, Mammoth and Oracle. In order to see to the spiritual needs of these towns, Fr. bought a horse for $60 with a saddle and all that went with it.
He wrote in June of 1913, “ At times I travel 35 miles in one stretch. At first I would get very tired, but now I’m used to it, except for the heat. It is so intense that one feels like one is being fried. Since I’ve been here I have lost 12 pounds”.
Perhaps Fr. Pascasio became an excellent rider, but he soon bought a small four-wheel carriage which was safer for visiting the towns that were along the San Pedro and Gila Rivers.
During this time the chapel was near completion and later construction began on the main church.
Fr. Basilio Delgado took charge of the Hayden Parish in July of 1914 and continued the building process. The church building would have a basement that served as the parish hall and a kitchen with the chapel being incorporated as the altar. Also built were three rooms, a bathroom, bedroom and a parlor and a Church bell was bought for the price of $26.50.
As if he didn’t have enough to do Fr. Basilio was also overseeing the building of a chapel in Superior, while still serving the various communities.
The fate of these missions took a turn in April of 1921 when the mines closed down and most of the Mexican workers returned to Mexico.
The priests at Sonora and Hayden no longer resided in town. They did not return to Hayden until 1940, but the communities were still served with priests traveling the circuit out of Florence. When the priest came to town he would perform marriage, First Communions, Confirmations and bury the dead. Most old-timers told of the various priests traveling on donkeys to get from one town to the other and many would gather to receive the sacraments.
Fr. Basilio was sent to Florence but still administered to Hayden and Winkelman until 1926 when Fr. Eliseo Costa took over the circuit. He was followed by Fr. Clement Lluent and later by Fr. Angel Esteve.
In October of 1940 Fr. Andrew Bayer was appointed to the Hayden Parish as the residential priest. His successor was Fr. Amancio Manubens. Successive priest included Fr. Juan M Paradero, Fr. Albert Balcells, Fr. John Marti and then again Fr. Albert Balcells. Fr. Patrick Perjes took over in September of 1966 and served until July of 1971. Fr. Alex Machain, a Secular Priest came to Hayden in July of 1971 and was instrumental in getting the drive going for The New Church.
Fr. Pedro left the area in 1914 and went on to serve 22 years of serious work in the Diocese of Tucson. He returned to Spain as Novice Master of the Barcelona Province. This saintly priest was murdered by the Communists in Tarragons, Spain in November of 1936 at the age of 77. He is currently being considered for beatification as a martyr.
In the meantime, the chapel in Winkelman was to become the Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission and work on the building began in 1923. Parishioners donated labor and some money and helped with fund raising projects. Abobe bricks for the church were made in the area.
The church was dedicated in October of 1927, although it was not completed until the next year.
The mission did not have priests in residence and was served by the clergy of St. Joseph’s who offered Mass and all the sacraments. The mission was eventually absorbed within the St. Joseph Parish.
Please look for the next two installments of the trinity concept in future issues. I want to acknowledge Homer Ortega for providing such great material and pictures, Msg. Raul Trevizo and Fr. Dale Branson for allowing me to pick their brains and most of all Fr. Anastasio G. Font, OCD, who did the research and put together the booklet called Carmelites Among the Miners where the majority of my information came from.