Diocese of Phoenix appoints new BenU at Mesa chaplain

September 8, 2015

Mesa, Arizona ~ Fr. James Aboyi, V.C., a parochial vicar at the Holy Cross Parish in Mesa, was recently appointed Benedictine University at Mesa’s next chaplain by Diocese of Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted.

Fr. James replaces Fr. Dan Vanyo, who was appointed as the school’s first campus chaplain. Fr. Dan currently serves as parochial vicar at St. Anne Roman Catholic Parish in Gilbert.

As a part-time chaplain at Benedictine, Fr. James is responsible for providing access to the sacraments for the University’s Catholic students and spiritual counseling for students of all faiths. He will also celebrate Mass, hear confession and plan a retreat in collaboration with St. Procopius Abbey, home to the Benedictine monks who founded the University in 1887.

Fr. James celebrated his first Mass as chaplain July 15, and said he is eager to serve as a resource for students looking to explore and further develop their faith.

“I am looking forward to joining and guiding students on their spiritual journey and working with students who are here to learn and live the values of Benedictine,” Fr. James said.

Fr. James, who was born and raised in Makurdi, Nigeria, is one of four pioneer priests of the Via Christi Society and one of four newly arrived priests serving the Diocese of Phoenix.

He previously served as a priest for 11 years in the Diocese of Tucson at five parishes with increasing leadership roles, most recently as pastor in Superior.

Fr. James earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Makurdi in 1996 and a bachelor’s degree in Theology at the National Missionary Seminary in 2004. He also earned a master’s degree in Human Relations and Counseling from Northern Arizona University and is currently working on a doctorate in Psychology.

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Benedictine University at Mesa is a branch campus of Benedictine University, an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine is ranked No. 2 among the country’s fastest-growing campuses between 2003-2013 in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of private nonprofit doctoral institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among “America’s Top Colleges” for the fifth consecutive year in 2015.

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