Cluster Staff

Penny Merhout

Bookkeeper, Office Manager Sacred Heart

Penny has been employed at Church of the Sacred Heart since July 2000 as part time bookkeeper. And in April 2005, she became Church Secretary and Bookkeeper full time.

Penny, a Master Catechist taught the Christian Formation 2nd grade class (First Eucharist) for 13 years, and was the youth minister from 2003-2005. Penny worked at Saint Joseph School in Petersburg as bookkeeper, for 4 ½ years as well as the kindergarten religion teacher for 2 years. And has served as adult leader for Christian Awakenings and Confirmation retreats as well as the Cursillo movement. Penny and her husband, Jim reside in Prince George County and they have 6 adult children. (3 sons & 3 daughters).

Marissa Ayala

Coordinator of Religious Education

My name is Marissa Ayala and I am the Coordinator for the Religious Education Program. If you wish to contact me regarding Christian Formation inquiries, you may call the office in the afternoons or email me at Check out the Christian Formation link to find out more information about the program.

Sacred Heart Staff

Mary Langford


Mary Langford has been a member of Sacred Heart since birth! She has been involved with music ministry since high school first as choir member and cantor and then as organist from about 1983 – 1987. After returning to the area upon college graduation, Mary resumed her music ministry first as choir member and cantor and then in January 1996 Mary became the accompanist for the 3 weekend Masses (English). A few years later she joined to sing in the Spanish choir. In November 2015, Mary took over leading the Spanish choir and accompanying them on piano.
Mary has also been a catechist, first as a “music” teacher and later with her husband as the 9th grade catechists. Currently she is teacher for the pre-school class. Mary has been married to her husband Joseph since 1995 and their son Isaiah was born in 2007. They are excited to be active members and ministers of this parish family.

Karen D. Phares

Director of Music

St. James Staff

Janice Petet

Office Manager