Feb. 1, 2009 Feb. 8, 2009 Feb. 15, 2009 Feb. 22, 2009
Vol. 7, No. 38
Feb. 1, 2010
What a way to begin our celebration of National Catholic Schools Week!
It was my joy last Friday to announce with the University of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) the designation of three of our parish schools in Tucson -- St. Ambrose, St. John the Evangelist and Santa Cruz -- as the nation's first Notre Dame Alliance for Catholic Education Academy Schools.
Father Joe Corpora, C.S.C., director of University-School Partnerships for the Notre Dame Alliance for Catholic Education, joined me in making the announcement at the Pastoral Center before the cameras of KVOA-TV Channel 4 news and KOLD-TV Channel 13 news and an audience of Pastoral Center Staff and representatives from Notre Dame and the three schools.
"Tucson is the perfect place for us to begin the Notre Dame ACE Academies," Father Joe said.
As Notre Dame ACE Academy Schools, St. Ambrose, St. John and Santa Cruz will implement a unique model of Catholic education, beginning with the 2010-11 school year, to achieve comprehensive excellence in academics and school administration.
The model emphasizes the enhancement of school leadership, curriculum, instruction, professional development, financial management, marketing and Catholic identity.
In a five-year partnership with the schools and the Diocese, ACE will provide the schools with expertise and resources that include an instructional coach for teachers, on-site support for principals and teachers from Notre Dame faculty and staff and a director of marketing and development who will be responsible for efforts to boost enrollment and raise funds for tuition scholarships.
A regional school board that will include the pastors and representatives of the schools will be responsible for the oversight of the schools' academic, administrative and financial operations.
Last year, I invited ACE to consider Tucson as the inaugural site for the Academy Schools' concept. ACE selected the three schools after a comprehensive feasibility study showed strong support for the partnership, the schools' capacity to serve area students effectively and opportunities for providing tuition scholarships that are created by Arizona's private school tax credit.
Notre Dame's efforts in the partnership are funded through a generous grant from the Walton Family Foundation and other partners.
In conjunction with Notre Dame's Catholic School Advantage Campaign that was launched last December, the partnership's efforts to boost enrollment in the schools will focus on Hispanic children. The Campaign has the goal of doubling in the next 10 years the percentage of Hispanic children enrolled in U.S. Catholic schools.
ACE and our Diocese have had a partnership since 2001 through the Alliance's Serving Through Teaching Program in which participants spend two summers studying in the Master of Education program at Notre Dame and two school years teaching in under-resourced Catholic schools across the country. Seven teachers in the Serving Through Teaching Program are teaching in four parish schools in Tucson this school year.
The partnership of ACE, our Diocese and the three schools will bring benefits to all our of parish schools in Diocese. Teachers in the three schools will be sharing the specialized training and education they receive with teachers in all our schools.
St. Ambrose, St. John and Santa Cruz school families are extremely pleased by the designation of their schools as ACE Academies, as are their pastors, Father John Arnold, Father Raul Trevizo and Father Bernard Perkins, O.C.D.
1. Celebrating Catholic Schools Week -- Our Catholic Schools go all out to celebrate Catholic Schools Week, and I am really impressed by all of the activities and special events they have scheduled for this week.
Among the activities and special events are community service projects, raising money for the relief of earthquake victims in Haiti, appreciation days for staff, volunteers, parents and grandparents, special spiritual activities and fun days like "No Homework Day" and "Crazy Hair Day."
Wednesday morning, I will join Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix and Bishop James Wall of the Diocese of Gallup in Phoenix for our annual Catholic Schools Week Mass and Rally at the State Capitol. Representing our Diocese will be students, faculty and parents from Holy Angels School in Globe, St. Charles School in San Carlos, Lourdes Catholic School and Sacred Heart School in Nogales and Immaculate Heart School, Santa Cruz, St. John and Our Mother of Sorrows in Tucson.
This Friday morning, I will celebrate Mass with the students, faculty, staff and parents of Santa Cruz Catholic School as part of their observance of Catholic Schools Week.
2. Arizona Catholic Conference -- Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix, Bishop James Wall of the Diocese of Gallup and I will meet as the Arizona Catholic Conference tomorrow in Phoenix.
Each year at this time, we discuss our public policy concerns and interests and set priorities. We also will meet tomorrow with Gov. Jan Brewer, House Speaker Kirk Adams and Senate President Bob Burns. This annual meeting allows us to communicate our concerns about issues facing our State, especially issues that arise from our State's huge budget deficit and the budget cuts that affect children, families and vulnerable persons. Wednesday morning, we will host our annual breakfast for state legislators.
3. Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries -- I will participate in this Thursday morning's meeting of the Board of Directors of our Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries.
4. Responding to the Needs of Refugees -- This Friday, Tucson Mayor Robert Walkup, Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias, Tucson businessmen and community leaders Jim Click and Ron Schoopman and I will meet a second time with agencies involved in refugee resettlement to consider how our community can be more welcoming and helpful to the many refugee families who have come to Tucson to escape violence, danger and displacement from their homes. Joining us will be some who have come to our community as refugees.
Federal government assistance to refugee families is totally inadequate today to address the needs of these families especially in the difficult economic times we are facing. In the past, these resettled refugees were able to find jobs and to get their lives on track, but today that is becoming more and more difficult.
At our first meeting last October, participants wrote to the Arizona congressional delegation to support legislation to increase aid to refugee families so they are not re-traumatized when they come to our community.
Mayor Walkup, Supervisor Elias and I have written an op-ed piece on the refugee situation in Tucson and Pima County that we hope will be published soon.
Jim Click and Ron Schoopman have been exploring ways to find employment and assistance for refugee families.
Carondolet Health System is working with other health agencies in the community to see what more can be done to assist refugee health needs.
I am working with religious congregations throughout our community to find ways for them to assist families in making them feel welcome and to help them with their many and varied needs.
Much more needs to be done, and this second meeting will focus on how our community can come together to assist these struggling families as we continue our efforts to support all in the community who are struggling in these difficult economic times.
I am grateful to Peg Harmon, chief executive officers of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arionza, for her help in organizing these gatherings.
5. Convocation of Parish Corporation Boards of Directors -- Members of our parish corporation boards of directors will gather for our fourth annual convocation this Saturday at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Tucson.
Each of our parishes is a non-profit corporation with a board of directors comprised of the pastor, two elected lay persons who serve as secretary and treasurer, Father Al Schifano, our Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, and myself.
The convocation is an opportunity for me to thank the pastors and the lay members for being attentive and diligent to the requirements for maintaining legal status as non-profit corporation. The lay members of our parish boards of directors are so generous in giving of their time and talents to their responsibilities.
The convocation is also an opportunity for us to focus on a particular pastoral or administrative area of parish life. This year, our focus will be on the impact, benefits and challenges of the Internet and its related technologies. Our special guest presenters will be Helen Osman, Secretary of the Department of Communications of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and her husband John.
6. Korean Catholic Community -- I will celebrate Mass this Sunday with our Korean Catholic Community in Tucson. This will be the first time I have been able to be with them for Mass, and I will express my gratitude to them for being an important part of our diocesan family. I also will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to seven of the adults from the community. Their letters to me about their desire to be confirmed tell of their desire to grow closer to the Lord and become more active in the Church.
Father Jinu Andrew Tae, a priest of the Diocese of Inchon, is serving the community. Fr. Andrew brings a wonderful pastoral zeal to our Diocese and serves his people with great dedication.
Our Korean family adds to the diversity that makes up our community. Each community has special gifts to bring to the Lord's work.
7. 2010 Annual Catholic Appeal -- Our Annual Catholic Appeal is underway!
Our Appeal campaign team -- Margie Puerta Edson, director of the Charity and Ministry Fund Inc., and director of stewardship and development for our Diocese, and her staff of Robin Evans, Lori Callas, and Nancy -- has been on the road these past weeks, traveling across 43,000 square miles that make up our Diocese, visiting every one of our vicariates and preparing the pastors and their staffs for this year's Appeal. Through their tireless efforts, all of our parishes are ready to begin this Appeal that is so necessary to fund the important 26 ministries and charities that depend on the Appeal.
The theme for the 2010 Appeal, "To Love and Serve One Another," reflects what the Appeal is all about. Through the generous gifts of our people, we are able to fund the seminary education of our 16 seminarians, to provide care for our retired priests, to form future deacons and lay ministers to serve in our Diocese and to assist the important work of Catholic Community Services in outreach to the littlest and weakest among us.
This year, we are asked to open our eyes to see Christ in those we serve, to hear Christ's voice in the needs of our brothers and sisters.
Our goal this year is $3.7 million. I am confident our people will get us to goal, and my hope is that we will exceed goal as we did in 2007 when our Catholic people pledged a record $4 million to fund our essential ministries and charities.
Making our goal can happen only if all of us pull together, pull in the same direction. Making goal will happen if each of us makes a sacrificial gift reflective of how good God has been to us. Making goal will happen if people who have never given to the Appeal give something this year. Encouraging those who have never given would make a big difference!
8. Blessings of Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future -- I had the joy yesterday of blessing the new chapel, offices and catechetical center at Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Green Valley. Part of this much-needed expansion was made possible by the generosity of parishioners to our diocesan renewal campaign, Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future. These new facilities will help immensely because Our Lady of the Valley, like so many of our parishes, has outgrown its facilities.
I have had the opportunity recently to ask most of our pastors what they have been able to accomplish by their parish's share of the renewal campaign (which was 20 per cent of every dollar raised up to goal and 50 per cent for every dollar above goal). It is amazing to see all that has been accomplished even in these terribly difficult economic times.
Our people's gifts to Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future are doing great good, causing a positive economic ripple as contractors and workers build new facilities like those at Our Lady of the Valley.
8. The New Vision February Issue -- The February issue of The New Vision, to be distributed at our parishes this weekend, includes stories on the Tucson March for Life and the Notre Dame ACE Academies, a reflection by one of our seminarians on his call to serve our Church as a priest and my column, which this month is about why Lent matters.
9. Appointment of New Vocations Director -- I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Father Ricky Ordoñez as our diocesan Director of Vocations, effective July 1 when the terms of Father Mike Bucciarelli and Father Vili Valderrama as co-directors end.
Father Ricky will bring to this important position a wealth of experience from his career in the tourism industry. He was a very successful executive in the tourism industry before answering God's call to serve the Church as a priest. Promoting and encouraging vocations and working with our seminarians will be a full time responsibility for Father Ricky.
Father Mike and Father Vili have served with distinction as part time co-directors of Vocations while also fulfilling their full time responsibilities as pastors.
10. Ordination of Father David Guzman, O.C.D. -- Our Discalced Carmelites who staff St. Margaret Mary and Santa Cruz parishes in Tucson came out in force with their Provincial, Father Matthew Williams, O.C.D., Saturday to be present as I ordained of one of their own, Father David Guzman, a native Tucsonan.
It was a day of joy for Santa Cruz Parish, where David was raised and where he went to school. He is the second ordinand from that parish. Father Gilbert Levario, O.C.D., was the first.
Father David is a "late" vocation, having entered the Carmelites at 46 years of age after having worked in retail and as an educator with the Tucson Unified School District.
Father David is from a large family, the oldest of seven children. His mom died some years ago, but she was certainly present in spirit. His dad, Alfredo, was beaming with joy at his son's ordination.
Father David will be serving at St. Therese Parish in Alhambra, California, where he has been working as a deacon. We pray Father David will serve with distinction
Our Diocese has been blessed with a number of second career priests. Father Mike Bucciarelli has been working with some second career men who are considering the possibility of being called to the priesthood.
I pray many more men will come forward to consider serving as a priest in our Diocese.
10. Well-Deserved Recognition -- The Roundtable Association of Diocesan Social Action Directors has announced that Joanne Welter, director of our diocesan Catholic Social Mission Office, is the first-ever recipient of the Roundtable Servant of Justice Award.
The Roundtable initiated this award to recognize persons in the ministry of diocesan social justice for their exemplary contributions to achieving the vision of Catholic social justice.
The Roundtable notes that Joanne's was selected for the award in recognition of her efforts to raise the awareness of Catholics about the moral dimensions of the migration from Mexico into the U.S.
Congratulations to Joanne for this well-deserved recognition. She will receive the award this Sunday at the Roundtable's annual Social Ministry Gathering in Washington, D.C.
11. Catholic Committee on Scouting -- I am grateful to Jeff Hill, chairman of our diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting, for his dedicated service in that important volunteer position these last four and a half years.
About his service as chair, Jeff told me, "I truly enjoyed it, and had the opportunity to see many a young person become truly Catholic through the program. What an honor."
Until we appoint a new chairperson, Joe Perdreauville, associate director of our diocesan Department of Pastoral Services, will be the contact for the Scouting religious emblems.
12. Appointments – Father Richard Tomasek, S.J., is appointed parochial vicar at St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Tucson. Father Gregory Okafor is appointed parochial vicar at St. Pius X Parish in Tucson.
13. Remember in Your Prayers – Please pray for the repose of the soul of Terry Kellen, son of June Kellen, our former Chancellor, who died last week in Mesa.
June is a person of great faith. Her trust in the Lord is complete. Her health remains very fragile. I celebrated a Home Mass with June, her husband Vince and members of our Pastoral Center Staff last Friday. Please pray that Christ will comfort June and Vince and their family.
Please pray for the repose of the soul of Maria Garibay de Elquezabal, the grandmother of Father Manuel Padilla of St. Joseph Parish in Tucson, who died this past week. I remember meeting her at Father Manolo’s ordination. She was so thrilled to see her grandson ordained.
Vol. 7, No. 39
Feb. 8, 2010
More than 100 members of the boards of directors of our parish corporations gathered for their annual convocation Saturday at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Tucson. Joining us for the day were members of our Diocesan Pastoral Council and staff from the Pastoral Center.
I was very pleased that 12 of our pastors were able to be with us. Saturday is always a busy day at our parishes, so I appreciate all the more the presence of the pastors.
This was our fourth annual convocation since the incorporation of our parishes in 2005.
I took the opportunity of my time on the agenda to update the directors and Pastoral Council members on the status of Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future, our diocesan renewal campaign.
I expressed how inspired I am by the phenomenal generosity of our parishioners as they continue to fulfill their pledges to the campaign in these challenging economic times. I told them that from the pledges of more than $44 million toward the goal of $28 million we are optimistic that more than $34 million will be realized over the remaining two years of the pledge fulfillment period. I told them how encouraging it is to see our parishes using their share of the renewal campaign to enhance their facilities and augment their ministries. I told them how pleased our Catholic school principals were to receive the first grants from the campaign.
I shared with the gathering my optimism about this year's Annual Catholic Appeal, saying that our goal of $3.7 million is attainable if we all pull together to ensure the full funding of the 26 charities and ministries that depend on the Appeal for their resources.
I also gave an update on the progress of the renovation of St. Augustine Cathedral that was one of the seven major areas of need that are being addressed by the renewal campaign. (See item 10.)
I enjoyed responding to questions from the directors in the "Ask the Bishop" session.
Father Michael Shay, S.D.S., pastor of San Martin de Porres Parish in Sahuarita, asked how many seminarians we have in "the pipeline." I reported that we have 16 seminarians, and I gave the directors a thumbnail sketch of who they are. I talked about the priesthood discernment groups that Father Mike Bucciarelli and Father Vili Valderrama have started. And, I expressed my hope that our parishes might bring forward 10 new vocations to the priesthood each year.
Frank Pierson, a member of the board of directors of St. Helen Parish in Oracle, asked for my thoughts on what the biggest challenge our Diocese would face in the next 10 years. I said that revitalizing our parishes by generating enthusiasm for working together remains a priority now and in the future for our Diocese.
Our special guest presenters for the convocation were Helen and John Osman, who were delighted to be with us in Tucson while Washington, D.C., their home, was experiencing the effects of the huge winter storm. Helen is secretary of the Department of Communication of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. John is pursuing his doctorate in religious education and catechesis at Catholic University of America.
Their presentation -- their first as a wife and husband team -- focused on the potential of the social media (Internet-based applications like blogging, Facebook, My Space and Twitter that create opportunities for people to network with and relate to each other) in the ministries of the Church. John gave us a fascinating look at how our Church has used communication technology over the centuries, and Helen encouraged the directors to take back to their parishes the benefits the social networking technologies could bring to creating a greater sense of community and promoting ministries.
The directors had their choice of three break-out sessions to conclude the morning. Helen and John focused on social media. Kathy Rhinehart, executive assistant for Corporate Matters, talked about parish record keeping and data management and Margie Puerta Edson, executive director of the Diocese of Tucson Charity and Ministry Fund Inc. and our diocesan director of Stewardship and Development, presented on parish stewardship.
We concluded the convocation with Mass.
I am grateful to Msgr. Bob Fuller, pastor of St. Frances Cabrini, and his staff for hosting the convocation. I thank Father Al Schifano, Moderator of the Curia and Vicar General, and Kathy Rhinehart for organizing the day. Also, I thank AnnaMaria Mammen, executive assistant to Chancellor Ernie Nedder (who was present), Sister Lois Paha, O.P., director of our diocesan Department of Pastoral Services, Joe Perdreauville, associate director, Danny Alegria of our diocesan Property and Insurance Office, and Fred Allison, director of our Office of Communications, for their presence and support.
In the afternoon, Helen and John did another presentation on social media a group of nearly 50 youth ministers, directors of religious education and parish staff.
1. Mass with Korean Catholic Community -- We have been blessed to have a Korean Catholic Community among us in Tucson for the past six years. The Community uses the chapel and facilities of the Immaculate Heart Sisters on Sabino Canyon Road. Father Jinu Andrew Tae from the Diocese of Inchon in Korea serves as their pastor. He has been here two years and has made incredible progress in learning English.
I had the joy yesterday to celebrate Mass for the first time with the community and to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation on seven adults. The chapel was jammed with family and friends from as far away as Sierra Vista, where Father Tae celebrates Mass for the Korean community at Fort Huachucha several times a month.
Many of the ladies wore their traditional Korean dresses of bright, beautiful colors. After Mass, there was a group of musicians playing traditional Korean instruments to welcome me to the community. There was, of course, a full course meal served by the community with all the traditional Korean foods.
I was inspired and impressed to witness the faith of the people. The Catholic faith came to their country in 1784 when lay people brought back Bibles and spiritual books that they had encountered while on a trip to China. The Catholic Church grew in Korea for many years before there were any priests to serve the community, and even during terrible persecutions the people remained faithful to Christ. The blood of martyrs like Father Andrew Kim and Paul Chong Hasang and the 103 Korean martyrs canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1984, whose feast is celebrated in September, strengthened the faith of the people.
The members of the Korean Catholic Community in Tucson are rightly proud of their efforts to strengthen their community. I look forward to their choosing a name for their community, which is now has the status of an association.
2. Meeting of Bishops of the Church in American -- I am en route to Montreal, Canada, today to attend the 37th Meeting of the Bishops of the Church in America. This gathering brings together the leadership of the episcopal conferences that represent the Church in 11 nations of the Americas.
Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., and I are representing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as the Conference's president and vice president. Our Conference contingent also includes Bishop George Murry, S.J., secretary; Msgr. David Malloy, P.H., general secretary; Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, C.S.S., associate general secretary; Bishop Jose Gomez, chair of the Subcommittee for the Church in Latin America; and Bishop Arthur Serratelli, chair of the Committee on Divine Worship.
The participating conferences are Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano, Conferencias Episcopales de America Latina, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and our Conference.
While we discuss many topics at these meetings, the greatest benefit is the fraternity that is experienced among the bishops. We are considering how the Aparecida document (formulated by the bishops gathered in Aparecida, Brazil, in 2007) can assist all of us in our pastoral outreach. I will be giving a talk to the group on what we can learn from Aparecida in fostering vocations.
3. Mardi Gras Celebration -- This Friday, I will host the 6th annual Mardi Gras Celebration at the Bishop's Residence. This event, sponsored by the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson, is an opportunity for me to thank the Foundation's board members, donors and volunteers for their leadership, dedication and service to the Foundation.
4. Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre -- I will be sharing a reflection on our preparations for the Lenten Season when the Knights and Ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre in our Diocese gather for a retreat this Saturday at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks.
6. "Sonata from the Heart" Concert -- The Two Hearts Prayer Group of Casa Grande and the Sacred Heart Prayer Group of Tucson are going to the "heart" of Valentine's Day by offering a special benefit concert at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Casa Grande at 7 p.m. this Saturday.
The concert will be a musical reflection on the hearts of Jesus and Mary. Proceeds from the concert will benefit our diocesan Vocations Office and the Tradition of Faith program at St. Anthony Parish. You are welcome to call 520-835-0601 for more information and to purchase tickets.
7. Jubilee Mass and Celebration for Women and Men Religious -- It is always a joy for me to be with the women and men religious who serve in our Diocese, especially when they celebrate their jubilee anniversaries.
This year's Jubilee Mass will be at 11 a.m. this Sunday at St. Joseph Parish in Tucson. The celebration luncheon will follow. I can't think of a better way to celebrate Valentine's Day! Our women and men religious truly have their hearts in their many ministries they carry out with such dedication in our Diocese.
I will tell you about our 2010 jubilarians in next week's memo.
8. Our Lady of LaVang Parish Tet Festival -- Father Dominic Trung Nguyen, C.Ss.R., pastor, and the Vietnamese Catholic Community of our Lady of LaVang Parish in Tucson invite all to join them for their 2010 Tet Festival this Sunday with Mass at 10 a.m. and the celebration at 11 a.m. with food (including sticky rice cakes), Lion Dances, Karoke, Kung Fu and carnival games. I hope to be able to drop by the festival after the Jubilee Celebration for our women and men religious.
9. Ordination Anniversaries -- We will be celebrating the jubilee anniversaries of our priests during our Convocation this April, but it is always a joy for a priest to celebrate an anniversary of ordination with the people he serves.
Father Domenico Pinti and Father Joseph Lombardo were ordained in February of 1985, and they have been celebrating this silver jubilee in the parishes they pastor.
I was delighted to join in the celebration for Father Dom at St. George Parish in Apache Junction. It was great to see the appreciation of the people expressing their thanks to him for his 25 years of service as a priest. There were a number of standing ovations. There was quite a party thrown by the parish to mark the event. Father Pinti is known as a master chef, and the parish came through with quite a feast.
Father Joe will be having his celebration at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson this weekend. Regretfully, I am not able to attend because of the Jubilee Mass and Celebration for our women and men religious. I have written a letter to Father Joe and the people of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton expressing my thanks and high regard for their pastor and for all he has done in service of our Diocese. I know it will be quite a celebration.
In the spring, Father James Hobert, pastor of St. Monica Parish in Tucson, and Father Ray Ratzenberger, pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Tucson, will be celebrating their 25th anniversaries.
10. St. Augustine Cathedral Renovation Update -- "Transformative" is a fitting word to use for the progress of our Cathedral's renovation.
The beautiful designs that artist John Alan has created are being applied by John himself and volunteer Noe Badillo, a graduate student in art at the University of Arizona and a member of St. Thomas More Newman Center Parish at the University.
John is a master of the tromp l'oeil (fool the eye) technique. The decorative elements are amazing, especially when you learn that they actually are a special type of wallpaper!
I wish I could tell you for sure when the renovation will be complete, but I can only say we hope it will be complete before summer begins. (Meanwhile, our Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion liturgies at the beginning of this Lenten Season will take place at St. Joseph Parish in Tucson. I also will preside at the first Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion Liturgy for the Yuma-La Paz Vicariate in Yuma on the first Sunday of March. This year's Chrism Mass on the Monday of Holy Week also will be at St. Joseph Parish in Tucson.)
I greatly appreciate the patience of Father Pat Crino, rector, his staff and the community of St. Augustine Cathedral Parish. Disruption is never easy, and they have been most understanding.
Meanwhile, in meeting room Cathedral Hall that has been turned into their studio, Maltilde Rubio and Timothy Lewis are making wonderful progress on the restoration of the Pamplona Crucifix.
The last time I reported on their work, they were working on the back of the corpus. Last week, the corpus was placed supine on the supports.
Maltide says she and Timothy have determined that the floral designs and trim on the loincloth were not original, and as they are going to restore as much as possible the Crucifix to the original, we won't be seeing the flowers or trim again.
Vol. 7, No. 40
Feb. 15, 2010
This week, on Ash Wednesday, we will become people of Lent, people who look within.
Across the nearly 43,000 square miles of our Diocese, we will gather in our parishes and missions to present ourselves to be signed with ashes to signify that we are people of Lent, that we identify ourselves with Christ and His mission.
We will hear the striking, sobering words, "Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return." We will be reminded of our mortality and of the call Christ gives us to live our lives as He lived, helping and serving others.
The penitential season of Lent invites us to look within -- to examine through the lens of Lent how we are living our lives. The liturgies of Lent provide this lens, calling us to look within, to consider those areas in our lives that need the light of Christ.
Looking within ourselves can help us bring into the light those areas of our lives that are disoriented. We can see dimensions of ourselves that need conversion, renewal, metanoia. Like the Prodigal Son who looked within himself and decided to return home to give himself to his father's love and mercy, we look within ourselves and decide to return to our Father's house. He is waiting for us, with His mercy and love. He is watching for us.
During Lent, we are invited to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation from which we receive God's pardon and forgiveness and the grace to begin again. It is this Sacrament that helps us focus the lens of Lent to look within.
Our parishes will all be holding penance services and providing opportunities for the Sacrament during Lent. You are most welcome. The Father will welcome you home as he did the Prodigal Son.
I want to share my experiences of this Lenten Season with you on two special pages (in English and in Spanish) on our diocesan Web site. The pages will include my Lenten reflections for Monday Memo and my encounters with you -- the people of Lent -- as I walk with you through the 40 days that begin this Wednesday.
1. Rite of Election, Call to Continuing Conversion -- We celebrate these beautiful liturgies at the beginning of each Lenten Season to welcome the men and women, young children and even entire families who have answered the call of Christ to follow Him as members of the Catholic Church.
This year, we will have 184 catechumens, the Elect, who will be baptized, confirmed and receive Holy Communion at the Easter Vigil in their parishes, and 300 Candidates, the already baptized, who will renew the promises of their Baptism and continue their conversion by receiving the sacraments of the Eucharist and Confirmation at the Easter Vigil in their parishes.
Joining them for this important event in their lives will be their families, their sponsors, their pastors and the directors of the Rite of Christian Initiation and teams from the 42 parishes where the Elect and the Candidates have been in preparation.
This is the first time we will have three Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion liturgies. Due to the renovation of St. Augustine Cathedral, this also will be the first time we will have this beautiful liturgy away from our Cathedral. I am grateful to Father Miguel Mariano, pastor, and the community of St. Joseph Parish for hosting two liturgies on Feb. 21 and Feb. 28 in Tucson and to Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe, pastor, and the community of Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma for hosting the liturgy on March 5 for the parishes of the Yuma-La Paz Vicariate.
2. Operation Rice Bowl -- Each year during Lent, Catholic Relief Services' Operation Rice Bowl calls us to pray, fast and give alms in solidarity with those who experience hunger around the world.
This year, parishes and schools from more than 12,000 communities, including ours in the Diocese of Tucson, will participate in Operation Rice Bowl's 40 opportunities to learn about, pray for and help those who don't have enough to eat.
Once again, we will be participating in Operation Rice Bowl as a community of faith here at the Pastoral Center.
Since its beginning in 1975, Operation Rice Bowl has raised more than $191 million to fund CRS development projects.
You can find excellent resources to promote and support your parish's and school's participation in Operation Rice Bowl here and here.
3. Jubilee Anniversary Celebrations -- Each year, I enjoy so much recognizing the anniversaries of the women and men religious who serve in our Diocese.
This year, our jubilarians represent 1,260 years of service. Astounding! These ministers of the Lord have worked in education, health care, parish ministry and a wide range of other ministries in our Diocese all over the world. Our own Vicar for Religious, Sister Rina Cappellazzo, O.P., is one of this year's jubilarians celebrating her Diamond Jubilee.
As I looked out on these jubilarians during Mass at St. Joseph Parish yesterday in Tucson, I could only feel a sense of gratitude for their years of service. One could only imagine the many people whose lives they have touched through their ministries. They could not possibly know all the good that they have done. I could sense the appreciation shown by those who joined us for the anniversary Mass.
As these jubilarians processed into the church, they must have held many memories of the places where they have served and the people they have helped. Together, we gave thanks for their ministry.
I hope there are women and men -- young and even not so young -- in our Diocese will be inspired to consider a vocation in the Church. If they could see in these jubilarians the joy they still feel in their ministry and how fulfilled they feel for a life well lived, they would be mightly inspired!
Here are this year's jubiliarians:
Silver Jubilee (25 Years): Sister Corrine Fair, O.S.B.
Golden Jubilee (50 Years): Sister Geraldine Brady, S.C.; Sister Diane Bridenbecker, O.P.; Brother Michael Graf, O.F.M., Cap.; Sister Ann Mary Hart, O.S.F.; Sister Leila Mattingly, M.M.; Sister Mary Catherine Moran, O.P.; Sister Carolyn Nicolai, O.S.F.; Sister Noelle O'Shea, C.S.J.; Sister Anna Quigley, R.S.M.; and Sister Barbara Sullivan, C.S.J.
Diamond Jubilee (60 Years): Sister Rina Cappellazzo, O.P.; Sister Dolores Dowling, O.S.B.; Sister Bernard Mary Herlihey, M.S.B.T.; Sister Mary Elizabeth Krone, O.S.B.; Sister Janet Kunkel, O.S.F.; Sister Anne Lorraine Mahlmeister, C.S.J.; Sister Corina Padilla, O.P.; Sister Luisa Maria Valdez, C.F.M.M.; and Sister Patricia Winder, M.S.B.T
Diamond Jubilee (65 and More Years): Sister Margaret Mary Bielinski, O.S.B.; Sister Barbara Donohue, S.F.C.C.; and Sister Therese Martin, S.F.C.C.
I had the opportunity to thank members of the Serra Club of Tucson for their support of the Jubilee Celebration. And, I also thanked them for the vocations promotion campaign they are sponsoring in Tucson. You might have seen the story in Thursday's Arizona Daily Star about the Club's creative campaign to promote vocations to the priesthood and to religious life.
Over the weekend, Father Joe Lombardo, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson, celebrated his 25th anniversary with the parish community. Father Joe has contributed mightily to our Diocese in those years of service. He is highly respected and loved, and has served with distinction, for which I am most grateful. I hope he sensed at the Jubilee Mass the great regard people have for him in all the places where he has served.
4. Monthly Priests' Day of Prayer -- Our monthly gathering of priests to spend some time together in prayer is today at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks.
5. Mundelein Seminarian Immersion Experience -- We are delighted to welcome nine seminarians from Mundelein Seminary to our Diocese. During their quarter break, they have come to learn more about ministry with our Native American Catholics. They come from a number of different dioceses.
I am grateful to Father Ponchie Vasquez, O.F.M., pastor of San Solano Mission Parish, and Cathy Kent, the parish's director of religious education, for facilitating this experience. I will host the seminarians and Dr. Kate Wiskus, associate dean of Formation, and Father Dennis Lyle, rector of Mundelin, for dinner at the Bishop's Residence this evening.
6. Priests' Appreciation Dinner -- Each year, the Knights of Columbus in Tucson and in Yuma hold an appreciation dinner for priests and deacons. This year's Tucson dinner is tommorw evening at the Knights Hall on Tucson Boulevard. I will be attending the dinner in Yuma in early March.
The support and encouragement of the Knights means a lot and is especially appreciated during this Year for Priests. The Knights help out in so many ways in our Diocese by their support of seminarians, by their presence at major events in the Diocese in which they serve as an honor guard and by their efforts to raise funds for all those in need. We can be very proud of our Knights in the State of Arizona.
Members of the Knights' State Council, under the leadership of our State Deputy, Sir Knight Herb Maddock, always makes an effort to participate in the significant events sponsored by the Knights in our Diocese. For that we are most grateful.
7. Conference of Major Superiors of Men -- The National and Joint Board of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) is meeting this week at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks. I appreciate very much the invitation to be with the members this Wednesday.
CMSM is an association of the leadership of men in religious and apostolic institutes in the U.S. that represents U.S. male religious and apostolic communities before a number of national and international Church bodies.
8. Meetings of Pastoral Center Directors -- Father Al Schifano, our Moderator of the Curia and Vicar General, and I will hold our monthly meetings with the directors of diocesan offices and departments this Thursday at the Pastoral Center.
9. Santa Cruz Vicariate Meeting -- I look forward to being with Father Alex Mills, pastor of St. Ann Parish in Tubac and Vicar Forane of the Santa Cruz Vicariate, and the priests of the vicariate this Thursday. I appreciate very much the invitations from our vicariates to attend their meetings, and I try to make as many of the meetings as my schedule will allow.
10. Lenten Day of Recollection -- I am honored to have been invited to give a Lenten Day of Recollection this Saturday for the community of Dominicans at St. Dominic Priory near the St. Louis University campus in St. Louis. The community consists of the "Senior Community" composed of those who have completed their initial formation and the "Formation Community" comprised of those still being formed as Dominican priests and the student brothers. They are members of the Central Province of St. Albert the Great, headquartered in Chicago.
11. 2010 Annual Catholic Appeal -- This was Commitment Weekend for our Annual Catholic Appeal.
I am grateful to our pastors who gave their encouragement to their parishioners "To love and serve one another" by supporting the Appeal.
I am grateful to each of you who are working with such dedication to reach your parish goals.
Early results are boosting my optimism that we will reach our $3.7 million goal thanks to the generosity of our parish communities.
We will begin later this week to post weekly parish pledge reports on the Diocese of Tucson Charity and Ministry Fund Web site so that our parishes can share the progress toward goal weekly in their bulletins.
12. Bishops of the Church in America -- Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., and I represented the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as the Conference's president and vice president at last week's meeting in Montreal of the Bishops of the Church in America. This gathering brought together the leadership of the episcopal conferences that represent the Church in 11 nations of the Americas. Also in our delegation were Bishop George Murry of the Diocese of Youngstown, secretary of the Conference, Archbishop Jose Gomez, Archbishop of San Antionio and chair of the Committee on Cultural Diversity, and Bishop Arthur Serritelli of the Diocese of Patterson.
Here is the communiqué that we issued last Thursday after our meeting:
Bishops from Canada, the United States and Latin America gathered in Montreal, 8-11 February, for the 39th annual Meeting of the Bishops of the Church in America. The discussions focused on the situations and challenges facing priests today throughout North and Latin America. This theme was chosen because of the current Year for Priests, declared last June by the Holy Father.
More than 20 delegates took part in the Montreal meeting, including Bishops and senior staff of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and the Episcopal Council of Latin America (CELAM). The CELAM delegates also included representatives from several Episcopal Conferences of South and Central America which are not currently on the CELAM Executive.
Of particular concern at this meeting was the tragic situation of the people and the Church in Haiti, after the recent earthquake. They remain daily in the prayers of the Bishops. Each Episcopal Conference and the religious communities of every country have responded with humanitarian aid and are now involved with the Haitians in cooperating in the rebuilding of the society and the Church in Haiti. An agreement was reached at this meeting to coordinate these efforts through the General Secretariats of the CCCB, USCCB and CELAM.
The meeting is part of a series of informal gatherings previously known as the Interamerican Meeting of Bishops, held every few years since 1967. At the 1999 meeting in Cuba, however, in view of the Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America earlier that year by Pope John Paul II, the Bishops decided to change the name to the Meeting of the Bishops of the Church in America, to emphasize the unity of the Church in the Western hemisphere.
The now annual gatherings have also discussed the family (San Antonio, Texas - 2004), the media (Bogotá, Colombia - 2005), the laity (Toronto - 2006), new evangelization and the growing secularism of society (Huntington, New York -- 2008) and the personal encounter with Jesus Christ in evangelization and catechesis (Buenos Aires -- 2009).
13. What in the World (and the Universe) is the Vatican Observatory Up To? -- The Vatican Observatory Foundation invites you to attend a special presentation by the Jesuit astronomers of the Vatican Observatory on their current research and the impact their research has on our understanding of our World and the Universe. This comprehensive seminar on the research of the astronomers, who are based in Tucson, will be from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25, at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, 1946 E. Lee St., in Tucson. You will have the opportunity to meet the astronomers after the seminar.
14. To the Heart of Valentine's Day -- The communities of St. Joseph Parish in Tucson and St. Rose of Lima Parish in Tucson celebrated Valentine's Day with the weddings of 29 couples.
Last year, Father Miguel Mariano, pastor, married seven couples in a Valentine's Day Mass at the St. Joseph Parish. Saturday, he married eight couples.
And, at St. Rose of Lima Parish yesterday, Father Ariel Lustan, married 20 couples and renewed the vows of one couple! Father Ariel said it was a wonderful celebration.
I was delighted to learn from Father Miguel and Father Ariel of these celebrations. I hope that more of our parishes will reach out to couples to encourage them to have their marriages blessed in the Sacrament of Matrimony.
15. Happy New Year! -- Yesterday was the celebration of the Lunar New Year for our Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean communities in our Diocese. The celebrations to mark the Year of the Tiger were full of food, fireworks and festivities. Congratulations to Father Dominic Trung Nguyen, C.Ss.R, pastor of Our Lady of LaVang Parish, and Father Jinu Andrew Tae, pastor of the Korean Catholic Community, and their people as they welcome in the New Year. Let's pray that it will be a blessed one for all.
16. Visit by Father Silas Bogati -- Father Silas Bogati, a priest of the Vicariate Apostolic of Nepal, is visiting in our Diocese until March 14. While here, he is living at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish, thanks to Msgr. Thomas Cahalane's hospitality. Father Silas will be speaking at one of our parishes each weekend during his stay to invite contributions for the fledgling Church in Nepal.
I had the joy to meet Father Silas and to celebrate Mass in the beautiful church that serves the small Catholic community in Nepal during my visit there three years ago for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. I shared with you last year the tragedy that ensued when a woman came into the church and planted a bomb. When the bomb exploded, three persons were killed and many were injured. The church was damaged.
Father Silas looks forward to meeting with a number of the Bhutanese refugees who are living in Tucson. They had originally stayed in the refugee camps in Nepal where Father Silas, the head of Caritas Nepal (their Catholic Charities) helped with their care and education.
Father Silas hopes to raise funds for their seminarians and to help in the building up of the Church in Nepal. Anyone interested in helping can let me know. Your assistance would be much appreciated.
17. Welcome Back, Father Tom Santa! -- We welcome back Falther Thomas Santa, C.Ss.R., director of the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks. He has just completed a sabbatical and returns reenergized and recommitted to the important ministry of the Center. It's good to have Father Tom back!
18. Our Winter Visitors and Residents -- Our Winter Visitors and Residents are a great blessing for our Diocese. Many of our parishes hold special events this time of year to acknowledge their gifts of their time, talent and resources that they share so generously with our parishes. You might thank a Winter Visitor and Resident this week for choosing to be with us!
Vol. 7, No. 41
Feb. 22, 2010
As we "Look Within" during this first full week of Lent, remember this message from Deuteronomy that we heard yesterday at Mass: All that we have and all that we are is a gift from God for which we should be grateful.
As a Lenten exercise this week, you might list the gifts God has given you.
Think of the people in your life who have been there for you, inspired you, supported you. If you can, call or write or talk to them and express your gratitude for what they have meant to you. If you can reach them, or, if they are deceased, pray for them in gratitude for what they have shared with you.
Think of the talents and abilities that you have. Name them and give thanks to God for them. They, too, are blessings given to you, entrusted to you.
Think of the opportunities you have been given and that have happened for your family. Give thanks!
Think of the times you struggled, failed, suffered and how the Lord was there at your side, loving, supporting, accompanying you.
Give Him your thanks by loving and serving others.
1. Rite of Election, Call to Continuing Conversion -- Yesterday's celebration at St. Joseph Parish in Tucson of this beautiful liturgy rang out with joy as catechumens seeking Baptism and candidates seeking full communion in the Church were called forth.
The Books of the Elect were brought up in which the names of the new catechumens had been enrolled. The catechumens and candidates came from 18 parishes from all around our Diocese. Young and old, they expressed their desire to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ. I could see the enthusiasm and the excitement they were feeling.
Our Diocesan Choir joined the choir of St. Joseph to lead us in song. Father Miguel Mariano, pastor of St. Joseph who also served as Master of Ceremonies, and his staff from St. Joseph were great hosts, making all feel welcome in their church. I am grateful to Sister Lois Paha, O.P., and Ophelia James of the Office of Formation, and the team led by Ann Dixon for their hard work in organizing and planning our celebrations of the Rite and Call.
This year's 184 catechumens (the Elect) and 300 Candidates, inspire us to live out our faith more fully and to make this Lent a time to grow in our love of the Lord.
Including yesterday's liturgy, we will gather three times this Lent to celebrate the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion. This is the first Lent since the institution of the modern Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion in the 1970s that we have not held this liturgy in our Cathedral. And, with the celebration on Sunday, March 5, at Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma for six parishes in the Yuma -- La Paz Vicariate, this is the first Lent that we will have celebrated this liturgy outside the see city of our Diocese.
2. Special Programs for the Lenten and Easter Seasons -- The Hispanic Pastoral Planning Committee of the Diocese of Tucson is sponsoring two special programs for the Lenten and Easter Seasons.
Starting this Thursday and continuing for the next four Thursdays, Msgr. Carlos Romero, parochial vicar at St. Augustine Cathedral, will lead a five week session on "The Creed: The Great Truths of Our Life and Catholic Faith." His presentations, in Spanish, will take place at 7 p.m. in the San Miguel High School Gym in Tucson. More information is available here.
On Saturday, April 10, I will join Bishop Ricardo Ramirez, Bishop of the Diocese of Las Cruces, and Father Juan Sosa, president of the Instituto Nacional Hispano de Liturgia, for "To Love and Serve One Another: Living the Call of Christ in the World Today." This day of faith formation for the Hispanic Catholic Community, from 9:30 a.m. 3 p.m., will take place in the San Miguel High School Gym in Tucson. The registration fee of $10 includes lunch. More information is available here.
3. Lenten Resources on the Web -- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has some excellent resources for Lent on its special Lenten Season Web Page. The page has a number of features that focus on the theme that Pope Benedict XVI selected this year for his Lenten reflection, "the great theme of justice."
The features include:
"Questions to examine conscience in light of Catholic social teaching." Meant to be used as a supplement to your traditional examination of conscience, this resource can be distributed for use during Penance services and private confession.
"Way of the Cross toward Justice and Peace." This new resource, available on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development homepage, includes scripture, prayers and reflection on issues facing communities across the United States.
You also can take a Lenten retreat right in front of your computer monitor, or you can take a retreat with you on your iPod or other mp3 player.
4. 2010 Annual Catholic Appeal -- The first report on pledges to this year's Annual Catholic Appeal demonstrates the continuing amazing generosity of our parishioners in their support of the 26 charities and ministries that enable our Diocese to carry on the mission that Christ has given us.
Just a week after Commitment Weekend, pledges totaled $1,063,446, nearly 29% of our goal of $3.7 million.
I hope our parishes this year will emphasize the hope that we can raise the percentage of participation in the appeal from 30% to 50%. What a difference that would make! If we might encourage those who have never given to give even the smallest amount it will help immensely in realizing our goal.
The weekly report on the progress of our parishes toward their goal in pledges is available here.
5. Presbyteral Council -- The Council meets this morning here at the Pastoral Center. Our agenda includes an update on our Annual Catholic Appeal, a report on the plans for the implementation of the revised Roman Missal, an update on our diocesan and parish observances of Lent, a report on the planning for this year's Priests' Convocation scheduled for April, plans for renewed advocacy on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform and a report on our efforts to promote vocations to the priesthood.
6. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Prayer Breakfast -- I am honored to have been invited to be the keynote speaker for this Thursday's 2010 National Prayer Breakfast at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson.
I am very grateful for the ministry provided to our Catholic Air Force members and their families through the Christ the King Catholic Community at Davis-Monthan by chaplains Father Timothy Butler and Msgr. John Cusak, Nancy Rambaran, pastoral coordinator, and Father John Allt, pastor of St. Rita Parish in Vail.
7. Italian Catholic Federation -- Branch 434 of the Italian Catholic Federation at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson is hosting me for "Bishop's Day" this Sunday. We will gather for the celebration of the parish's Sunday evening Mass at 5 p.m. and then enjoy a wonderful Italian meal.
Branch 434 was formed in 2008 and is the third branch of the Federation in our Diocese, along with Branch 425 at Our Lady of the Valley in Green Valley and Branch 433 at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson.
It has been my experience of the Italian Catholic Federation branches in our Diocese that their members are dedicated to the Federation's founding principle of being "a primarily parochial society upon which the local pastor could rely on for his work."
The history of our Church in the U.S. -- indeed, the history of our Nation -- owes much to fraternal organizations founded by new citizens who came here as immigrants.
I encourage you to read the history of the Federation. I think you will be inspired by how this lay apostolate has worked for nearly 100 years to unite Italian Catholics in their faith, community and pride in shared heritage.
8. Vatican Observatory Foundation -- We welcome the members of the board of directors of the Vatican Observatory Foundation to Tucson this week for their annual meeting. The Foundation brings together scientists, philanthropists and the Catholic Church to facilitate and promote scientific research of the heavens through support of the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope and educational initiatives around the world.
In conjunction with this year's meeting, the Foundation is hosting a comprehensive seminar on the current research of the Jesuit astronomers of the Vatican Observatory who are based in Tucson. The seminar is from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. this Thursday at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Tucson. You will have the opportunity to meet the astronomers after the seminar.
9. The Resilient Caregiver -- Last week, the Carondelet Health Network and our Diocese announced a jointly sponsored workshop, "The Resilient Caregiver: Embracing the Spiritual Journey."
The workshop will be held on Saturday, March 13, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Tucson Convention Center.
I have learned in the experience of my family and from so many who have confided in me of the stresses that persons feel when they are called to care for elder parents or chronically ill family members. Yet, I know also of the rewards that follow when that role is understood from a spiritual perspective and embraced willingly.
Very often, it is the support of the community that makes all the difference. "The Resilient Caregiver" aims to provide support to caregivers and to inform them of support resources in our communities.
Experts from the University of Arizona and Carondelet Health Network with personal and professional experience in caregiving will share their wisdom. There will be valuable handouts and resource tables staffed by local agencies.
Please share the news of this workshop with any caregivers you know. The registration is only $10, which includes parking and a light breakfast.
To reserve a place, contact Mary Louise Luna at 520-873-5006 or register by mail using a brochure that is available at all Carondelet Hospitals, Carondelet Medical Group Offices and Catholic parishes in and around Tucson.
I thank all those from Carondelet Health Network and our Diocese who have worked hard to make this opportunity available to the communities of Southern Arizona.
10. "Por Tu Matrimonio" Web Site -- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops launched this past week a new Web site in Spanish for couples, Por Tu Matrimonio. This site is the Hispanic version of the popular For Your Marriage site that was launched two years ago as part of the Conference's National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage. (There are links to both sites on the home page of our diocesan Web site.
Advice, stories, testimonials and other resources to liven up the daily life of couples are found on the site, along with valuable information about common challenges for couples and how to overcome them in healthy and respectful ways.
11. Five Priorities Web Page -- I encourage you to visit the new Five Priorities resource at the Web site of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that provides a wealth of information on the five priority goals the Bishops in the U.S. have set: strengthening marriage; faith formation focused on sacramental practice; priestly and religious vocations; life and dignity of the human person; and recognition of cultural diversity.
Our Diocese, joining dioceses and archdioceses across the country, is in solidarity with the Bishops of the Conference in working to realize these goals locally.
As vice president of the Conference, I have been very involved in the process of the Five Priorities, and I am pleased to see this informative Web resource.
12. Remember in Your Prayers -- Please pray for the repose of the soul of June Kellen, our former Chancellor, who died Friday after a long illness.
The vigil service will be at 7 p.m. this Friday at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Tucson, which was June's and her husband Vince's parish for many years. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. this Saturday at St. Augustine Cathedral.
June suffered mightily in her last months, and Vince was her constant and loving partner throughout. Just two weeks ago, they lost their son suddenly, even as June was preparing for her death.
Throughout her struggle, June was grateful to God for the strength He gave her to face the challenges in her life. She lived her life with an attitude of gratitude, seeing everything as God's gift. She died peacefully, trusting in our loving God.
Also, please pray for the repose of the soul of Consuelo Contreras, mother-in-law of Richard Serrano, director of our diocesan Human Resources Department, who died last week.