Oct. 10, 2011 Oct. 17, 2011 Oct. 31, 2011
Vol. 9, No. 24
Oct. 10, 2011
Last week, Bishop George Murry, S.J., of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, and I made a pastoral visit to Baghdad, Iraq.
Responding to an invitation from the bishops of Iraq, we went as representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Bishop Murry as Secretary of the Conference and I as chair of the Board of Directors of Catholic Relief Services.
Our host in Baghdad was Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, the Apostolic Nuncio.
We visited the churches, convents, schools and hospitals of four Christian communities in Baghdad – the Chaldean, Latin, Armenian and Syrian Catholics.
In our visits and discussions with the bishops of the region, with others who serve the Church in Iraq and with staff of Caritas Iraq, we saw and heard the challenges and aspirations faced by all Iraqis.
Instability and the fear of violence permeate the city. People pray and long for peace. The sanctions, war and occupation have taken a heavy toll. The terrible condition of the roads and the concrete security walls around churches and buildings in the city reflect the fracturing of the community and the dire situation that exists. So many have fled the country or are internally displaced. Many live in desperate situations.
Christians in Baghdad have suffered greatly in the years following the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Their faith has been tested. They know that they are not safe even in their own churches and in their homes. A Chaldean priest told us the chilling story of his kidnapping and being held for ransom. We heard painful stories like his from others we met.
Many Christian have fled Iraq. Those remaining will stay only if there are opportunities to work and if greater stability and peace can achieved. This forced emigration of Christians concerns the bishops of Iraq greatly.
One of the most moving moments of our visit was our prayer with Archbishop Athanase Matti Shaba Matoka, Archbishop Emeritus of Baghdad, at the Syrian Catholic Church of Our Lady of Deliverance where so many were killed in the bombings and shootings that took place there on Oct. 31 of last year. We prayed at the tomb of the two priests killed in the siege and saw the damage to the church.
We celebrated Mass with Bishop Shlemon Warduni and the Chaldean Christian community at the Church of the Assumption. We celebrated Mass with Archbishop Jean Benjamin Sleiman, O.C.D., and the Latin Catholic community. We visited the small Armenian community served by Archbishop Emmanuel Dabbaghian.
We toured Caritas Iraq operations in Baghdad that serve Christian and Muslims and the Caritas programs for well-babies, for integrating people with special needs in society, victims of violence and displaced families and for peace building and reconciliation.
In every instance, we were impressed by the great good being done by the Caritas staff and volunteers. We saw that the poor have access to health care, that parents are assisted in caring for their children, including those with disabilities. We saw that women have opportunities to learn how to cook, to sew and to use computers. We witnessed the opportunities for dialogue that enable people of different faiths to understand one another better. We saw volunteers being trained to use their talents to assist others.
Bishop Murry and I will report to the U.S. bishops and the CRS Board about what we saw and experienced. We will offer our report to our government. As our country moves closer to the withdrawal from the Baghdad in the next months, we believe it is critical that a plan be in place for a peaceful transition.
1. Reuniting the Santa Cruz Parish Community – Santa Cruz Parish, established in 1919, is the third oldest parish in Tucson. Its beautiful church is one of Tucson’s architectural treasures.
The changing demographics within its near south side boundaries have brought many challenges to the parish in recent years. With the Discalced Carmelites who have been their priests for decades, the people of Santa Cruz Parish have been meeting those challenges with faith.
I was inspired and impressed by the faith I saw yesterday as the parish began a process to reunite with some of its members who over the years have lived their faith in two neighborhood chapels – San Antonio Capilla and the Guadalupana Capilla.
The San Antonio Capilla dates to the early 1960s when the original Guadalupana Capilla was moved to 34th Street and renamed San Antonio. A new Gauadalupana Capilla was constructed on 31st Street. Both chapels served as neighborhood catechetical centers.
Father Narciso Santamases, O.C.D., who resided at San Antonio, said Mass there regularly for the people of the chapel’s neighborhood, but after he died in 1984 it became more and more difficult for the Discalced Carmelites at the parish to serve the mother church and the two chapels. So, Mass began to be celebrated at the chapels every other week.
The years have been hard on the building of San Antonio Capilla. Its original structure was a wooden military barracks. Despite the heroic efforts of Deacon Frank Ramirez and his wife Martha and some others in the neighborhood, the building has deteriorated and needs extensive repairs. The neighborhood can’t support the repairs, and neither can the parish.
That was the situation that Santa Cruz Parish and Father Thomas Reeves, O.C.D., pastor, faced as this year began. After many consultations, Father Thomas and the parish have decided to reunite the parish family at Santa Cruz rather than having it remain segmented at three worship sites. Thus, San Antonio Capilla is to close. Because its building is in fairly good shape, the Guadalupana Capilla will remain open for prayer and reflection.
Yesterday, I was with the people of the neighborhood of San Antonio Capilla and Father Thomas for the final Mass there. At the end of Mass, Father Thomas invited them to come forward to touch the statue of St. Anthony and to offer their final prayers. There were tears, understandable since this chapel holds many fond memories for the people there. Father Thomas intends to bring the statues and art from the capilla to Santa Cruz. At this Sunday’s 8 a.m. Mass at Santa Cruz, the parish will welcome those who have been attached to San Antonio Capilla. The altar mantel bearing the image of St. Anthony will be used at the Mass.
Father Thomas and the parish council will consider what should be done with the buildings at San Antonio’s location.
I will join the neighborhood community of the Gaudalupana Capilla next Sunday for Mass at 9 a.m. This will be the last Mass celebrated at the capilla.
2. Arizona Rosary Celebration – For the past 35 years, Rosary Sunday, hosted by the Diocese of Phoenix and celebrated in October, the Month of the Holy Rosary, has been one of the largest annual public Rosary celebrations in our country. This year, our Diocese will join the Diocese of Phoenix in the new statewide Arizona Rosary Celebration this Saturday and Sunday.
I invite all in our Diocese to gather this Saturday at 10 a.m. at St. Augustine Cathedral for our Arizona Rosary Celebration.
We will begin with the Bishop’s Procession that will be led by the Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree Honor Guard, the Columbian Squires escorting the Silver Rose, altar servers from parishes in our Diocese and representatives from our parishes and our Catholic ministries and movements. Our Diocesan Choir will lead our singing.
After the procession, I will welcome all to our celebration. I then will introduce our special guest, Father John Phalen, C.S.C.
Father Phalen, a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross and president of Holy Cross Family Ministries, continues the ministry begun in 1942 by Servant of God Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., the “Rosary Priest” and Catholic media pioneer.
Following Father Phalen’s talk, we will pray the Rosary. We then will have Adoration. Our celebration will conclude with Benediction.
Sunday’s celebration in Phoenix, led by Bishop Thomas Olmsted, will begin at 2 p.m. at the Phoenix Convention Center. Father Phalen is the guest speaker.
This statewide celebration in honor of our Blessed Mother is sponsored by the Arizona Knights of Columbus with the assistance of the Dioceses of Tucson and Phoenix, the Legion of Mary and many spiritual movements in the two dioceses.
More information about the Arizona Rosary Celebration is available here.
3. Annual Priests’ Retreats – Our Diocese of Tucson annual priests’ retreats traditionally take place in October. This week, the second retreat is being led by Bishop Daniel Flores of the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas. I will join our priests and Bishop Flores this evening at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks.
4. Meeting of Sexual Misconduct Review Board – I have noted many times here in the Memo how grateful I am for the service of the members of our diocesan Sexual Misconduct Review Board. The integrity that each member brings to this important ministry is essential in fulfilling the commitment we have made to the victims of sexual abuse by priests that we will do everything we can to prevent such harm from ever happening to another child.
At tomorrow’s meeting of the Board, we will recognize the service of George Robles, the first of the original members to complete an entire complement of three terms (nine years) on the Board.
We have been blessed by George’s background in law enforcement and by his gift of direct communication. I and all the members of the Board will express our appreciation for his long service through difficult times and for the help he has faithfully given in helping us to develop our Safe Environment Program.
5. Mass of the Holy Spirit, The Red Mass – We will celebrate our annual diocesan Red Mass tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. at St. Augustine Cathedral.
Dating to 13th century England when a Mass was celebrated to open the Judicial Year, the Red Mass, also known as the Mass of the Holy Spirit, is celebrated in many dioceses throughout our country to promote the unity of the judiciary and the legal profession and to pray that all in our justice system will be guided by the Holy Spirit in their work.
Judges, lawyers, public officials, law faculty members, law students, staff of justice system offices and all in our community who participate in and support our justice and legal systems are welcome to attend.
I am grateful to our diocesan St. Thomas More Society and our Catholic Foundation for Stewardship and Charitable Giving for their sponsorship of this beautiful liturgy.
At this year‘s Red Mass, I will present the St. Thomas More Society Award to the family of Federal Judge John Roll, one of the six persons killed in the terrible shootings of last Jan. 8, in honor of his years of service to our system of justice.
Judge Roll was an exemplary Catholic and a person of deep faith and devotion to the Lord. He was a regular communicant and an avid reader of the Word of God. He was a member of our St. Thomas More Society. It will be my joy to present this honor to Judge Roll’s beloved wife, Maureen, and to his three sons.
6. Sunny Sunday Blessing and Dedication – Congratulations to Msgr. Tom Cahalane, pastor, and the community of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish as they bless and dedicate the 350 solar panels that are phase one of the parish’s solar energy project this Sunday at the 9 a.m. Mass.
7. Congratulations to Father Raul Valencia – Father Raul Valencia, pastor of St. Monica Parish in Tucson, has been selected by Worldwide Marriage Encounter for a leadership role in service to its Section XVI (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Southern California, Southern Nevada and Utah).
Writing to inform me of Father Raul’s selection, Scott and Karen Seaborn and Father Tom Griffith, S.V.D., of the Worldwide Marriage Encounter’s U.S. Ecclesial Team, noted that Father Raul was one of seven priests nominated for the leadership role.
8. “Champions for Educational Opportunity” – The University of Notre Dame has recognized the leaders of the Tucson General Office of New York Life Insurance Company as “champions for educational opportunity” for New York Life’s recent contribution of $100,000 to our Catholic Tuition Support Organization.
Made through Arizona’s corporate tuition tax credit program, the contribution will provide scholarships for more than 100 children to attend St. John, St. Ambrose and Santa Cruz Schools in Tucson, our Notre Dame Alliance for Catholic Education Academy schools.
The week before last, during my participation in the University of Notre Dame Forum Panel, “The Conversation: Developing the Schools Our Children Deserve,” I was very pleased to acknowledge and thank the Tucson General Office of New York Life Insurance Company for the contribution.
There is more information about the contribution here.
9. Domestic Violence Awareness Month – October is observed as national Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We take note of this observance to remind all in ministry in our Diocese about the prevalence of domestic violence in our society and to emphasize how important it for us to respond with compassion to victims of domestic violence.
You will notice on the homepage of our diocesan Website the Domestic Violence link. Clicking on that link will take you to a page with links to two resources that everyone in our Diocese who is involved in ministry to families and children should be aware of.
The first resource is the special “Domestic Violence” page of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Department of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. I ask our priests and deacons to access the comprehensive resources that provide guidance on how to respond to a victim of domestic violence.
The second resource is a list of safe houses, counseling and other services related to domestic violence that are available in the nine counties of our Diocese.
10. “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” – Last week, the Catholic bishops in our country reaffirmed our 2007 document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” as the “continuing teaching of our Bishops’ Conference and our guidance for Catholics in the exercise of their rights and duties as participants in our democracy.”
Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, joined the chairs of nine Conference committees in a new Introductory Note to the document for this coming election cycle.
“We urge our Catholic pastors and people to continue to use this important statement to help them form their consciences, to contribute to civil and respectful public dialogue, and to shape their choices in the coming election in the light of Catholic teaching,” the Note says.
At our next Presbyteral Council meeting, we will discuss how we can respond to this encouragement.
A recen tsurvey conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate and Knowledge Networks concluded that only 16 per cent of adult Catholics recalled hearing about “Faithful Citizenship” during the 2008 election cycle. Thirty per cent were unsure if they had heard of it or not and a majority, 54 per cent, said they were not aware of “Faithful Citizenship” in 2008.
The Conference has introduced a new Web page for “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” that offers a wide range of resources and tools to assist pastors and parishes. The resources include Do’s and Don’ts Guidelines during Election Season.
The document with the new Introductory Note is available here.
Vol. 9, No. 25
Oct. 17, 2011
Announcing to a community of the faithful that they are going to become a parish is a great joy for a bishop.
I felt that joy last week when I wrote a letter to the people of the Catholic community in San Tan in northern Pinal County to tell them that I have accepted their recommendation to name their future parish St. Michael the Archangel Parish.
Also in the letter, I told them that Father Dale Branson will be the temporary administrator of St. Michael the Archangel Parish effective Nov. 14.
After the formal canonical establishment of the parish and its incorporation as a non-profit corporation, Father Dale will proceed with the help of the parish council, finance council and the parish board of directors to form a plan of action for the building of their church.
St. Michael the Archangel will be our 77th parish.
1. Appointments – With the appointment of Father Dale, who is pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Hayden, as temporary administrator of St. Michael the Archangel Parish, I further have appointed Father Robert Rodriguez, parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception Parish and St. Luke Parish in Douglas and St. Bernard Parish in Pirtleville, as administrator of St. Joseph Parish in Hayden effective Nov. 14.
I communicated over the weekend in letters to the parish communities where Father Dale and Father Robert presently serve my gratitude for their ministry and their willingness to undertake their new assignments.
I have indicated to Father Gilbert Malu, pastor of Immaculate Conception, St. Luke and St. Bernard Parishes, that I hope we can replace Father Robert in the near future. Currently, there are seven priests who are completing visa applications to serve in our Diocese. They are from India, Nigeria and the Philippines. We are looking forward to their joining us.
2. Powered by the Sun and the Son – Msgr. Tom Cahalane, pastor, and the community of Our Mother Sorrows Parish blessed and dedicated the parish’s new solar panel arrays yesterday at the 9 a.m. Mass.
Msgr. Tom invited the people to pray the dedication prayer with him. Raising their right hands and facing their palms to the ceiling of the church, they prayed:
God of all Creation, You chose to create us in Your own image. You made us stewards of Creation, setting us over all the whole world in all its wonder, awe and mystery. Through our praying hands held aloft, bless the solar panels on this roof and on the new solar canopy. May this solar installation, catching Your power and energy streaming from the sky of mystery be for our good and always to Your honor and glory. Amen.
The two solar panel installations – 120 panels on the roof of the church and 240 on the roof of the carport – now supply 60 per cent of the total electrical usage of the church, parish offices, the parish activity center and the rectory. The power generated by the solar panels is enough to meet the average electrical needs of 14 homes.
I told the parish community in a video message that was shown during the Mass that I would be telling Pope Benedict XVI about their solar energy project when I met with him next year during my ad limina visit because the Holy Father is a strong proponent of solar energy and has directed its use at the Vatican and at his home in Germany. I said the Holy Father is even considering the possibility of a solar powered (hybrid) popemobile. And, I told them that as Pope Benedict XVI is now known as the first “green pope,” it makes good sense for us to call their pastor, “the Green Msgr. Tom.”
In a very informative flyer about the parish’s solar energy project, Msgr. Tom noted, “Our Mother of Sorrows gets its power from the “sun in the sky and from the Son in the sky of Redemption.” Beautifully said!
There are several other parishes in our Diocese that are looking into installing solar energy panels.
3. Arizona Rosary Celebration – What a wonderful, faith-filled and inspiring gathering Saturday morning at St. Augustine Cathedral for the first annual Arizona Rosary Celebration in Tucson!
We were a family at prayer, a family whose members are young and old and from the many cultures in our Diocese.
I was so proud to see so many parishes represented, so many Marian groups taking part and so many altar servers from all around our Diocese. The Knights of Columbus, sponsors and organizers of this event in Tucson on Saturday and yesterday in Phoenix, were present in big numbers, joined by many of the Knights’ Arizona State Officers, present and past. I was so pleased to see many of our priests and religious present. There was not an empty seat in the Cathedral!
Many families and parish groups presented roses to St. Juan Diego (in the person of Deacon Teodoro Perez of St. Joseph Parish in Tucson) as the Matichines (spiritual dancers who give homage to Our Lady of Guadalupe) performed their music and dances.
Father John Phelan, C.S.C., director of the Holy Cross Family Ministry, gave a powerful reflection on the Rosary, on Our Lady of Guadalupe under whose patronage the celebration took place, and about the Holy Cross Family Ministry. He reflected on Father Patrick Peyton, the Rosary priest, who after he was cured of tuberculosis by praying to our Blessed Mother, devoted his life to the Family
Rosary Crusade. (Father Peyton’s most famous sayings were, “A world at prayer is a world at peace," and, “The family that prays together stays together.”)
Emily Van Loan, a member of St. Mark Parish and a student at Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson, gave a powerful reflection on her experience at World Youth Day this past summer in Madrid, Spain.
The Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary were recited in English, Spanish, Tagalog, and the language of the Tohono O’odham. The celebration ended with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
Afterwards, we all gathered in the Msgr. Carrillo Placita, where I handed on the silver rose given me by the Columbian Squires from St. Christopher Parish in Marana to Squires from the Diocese of Phoenix who would take it to the Phoenix gathering for the Arizona Rosary Celebration.
For the past 35 years, Rosary Sunday, hosted by the Diocese of Phoenix and celebrated in October, the Month of the Holy Rosary, has been one of the largest annual public Rosary celebrations in our country. I am so pleased that our Diocese has joined the Diocese of Phoenix in the new statewide Arizona Rosary Celebration.
(You think I would have learned after nearly 10 years here in Arizona to drink a lot of water before a long liturgy on a warm day. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!)
4. Diocese of Helena Priests’ Convocation – I am honored to be the guest presenter for this week’s Convocation of Priests in the Diocese of Helena. I look forward to being with Bishop George Thomas and his presbyterate.
I will reflect in my presentations on the themes “Together in Mission,” “Together In Christ We Thrive” and “Together with Christ We Serve.” I will be emphasizing the importance for priests to not see themselves as “Lone Rangers,” but as members of a presbyterate in union with their bishop who share with him the responsibility of carrying on Christ’s work. That work can only be done in a close relationship with Jesus. After all, we simply carry out His work in serving His people.
5. Infant Jesus of Prague Parish Jubilee Celebration, Pastor Installation – What a joyous Saturday morning this will be for the community of Infant Jesus of Prague Parish in Kearney!
The parish is celebrating its 50th anniversary this Saturday, and during the 8:30 a.m. Mass I will install Father Thomas Dekaa as the parish’s thirteenth pastor.
Father Thomas came to our Diocese as a missionary. He has learned a great deal about ministry in our multi-cultural communities. Ministry in another country is not ever easy for missionaries; they have to adjust to a different culture. Father Thomas has worked hard to find ways to serve God’s people in our Diocese. He and the community of Infant Jesus of Prague are excited that he now officially will be their pastor. (I was happy to see Father Thomas and parishioners of Infant Jesus of Prague at our Rosary Celebration.)
6. Annual Convocation of Religious – The annual Convocation for Vowed Religious serving in our Diocese is this Saturday at the Benedictine Monastery in Tucson.
Brother Loughlan Sofield, S.T., is the guest presenter. Brother Loughlan is a well-known author and consultant on collaborative ministry, personal development and leadership. He will be presenting on “Models for the Gift of Discernment in Religious Communities.
Brother David Buer, O.F.M., will give a report on the Convocation for Vowed Men Religious that he attended in July in St. Louis.
I will share with our women and men religious my experiences and observations from my pastoral visit two weeks to Iraq.
7. Visit to Haiti – I will be leaving for Haiti this Sunday, making the visit that was postponed by Hurricane Irene in August.
I will be joining Ken Hackett, current president of Catholic Relief Services, and Dr. Carolyn Woo, the new president of CRS, to see the progress being made in earthquake recovery efforts that are made possible by the generosity of U.S. Catholics to CRS.
CRS, present in Haiti for nearly 60 years, responded to the devastating earthquake with immediate relief assistance and now is in the second year of a five-year commitment to help the people of Haiti recover.
To date, CRS has built 8,000 homes for people who were displaced. With the Catholic Health Association, CRS is providing funding for a new hospital to replace the hospital destroyed in the earthquake.
You can learn more about CRS’s efforts and programs in Haiti here.
We will visit with the bishops of Haiti, with the Apostolic Nuncio and with government officials.
I hope to be able to visit Joan Martin of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson. Joan has led the parish’s Haiti Project in Port au Paix for a number of years.
8. “Take the Food Stamp Challenge” – Could you live for one week on the average food stamp allotment of $4.50 a day for one person?
That is the “Food Stamp Challenge” that parishioners all across our nation will be taking with members of faith communities in their towns and cities on Thursday, Oct. 27.
Are you up to the challenge? I invite you to join me in experiencing what it is like – even for just one week – to live on food stamps. I have asked our parishes to promote participation in this national effort co-sponsored by Catholic Charities USA to raise awareness of how poverty affects our brothers and sisters who don’t have the blessings and resources that most of us have. Our Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona is a partner with faith communities here in Tucson to promote the challenge.
To learn how you can take the challenge – and to find out more about hunger and poverty in our nation – visit www.fightingpovertywithfaith.com.
9. New Co-Councillors for Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre – Congratulations to Ernie and Cathy Nedder, who were installed as Area Co-Councillors of the Knights and Ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in our Diocese during the Order’s recent meeting in Las Vegas.
Ernie, who is our interim Chancellor, and Cathy succeed Jim and Christina Ronstadt. I am grateful to Jim and Christina for their exemplary service as Co-Councillors.
10. Looking Ahead – Because of my trip to Haiti, there won’t be a Monday Memo for Oct. 24. Here’s a look ahead at that week:
Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries – I will participate in the retreat for the members of the Board of Directors of our Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries on Friday, Oct. 28.
Pastor Installation of Father JoJo Tabo – It will be my joy to install Father JoJo as the fourteenth pastor of St. James Parish in Coolidge during the 6:30 p.m. Mass on Friday, Oct. 28.
Seeing a parish welcome and embrace a new priest and seeing the priest who is new quickly become a member of the parish family is such a joy for me. That is certainly what I have seen at St. James in Coolidge where Father JoJo has served this past year as administrator. Father JoJo has begun some wonderful new pastoral initiatives in the parish.
YouthFest 2011 – I am looking forward to being with the hundreds of our Catholic teens who will be gathering on Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Tucson Convention Center for this year’s YouthFest. The theme for this year’s gathering is “Planted in Mission.”
Joe Perdreauville of our diocesan Department of Pastoral Services and his team have been working hard to make this year’s YouthFest a success. I will be giving one of the workshops and celebrating the Mass.
It is so encouraging for me to see our young people active and involved in the Church. I hope our teens will experience what the youth who go to World Youth Day experience – that our Church is larger than their parish, larger than their diocese, larger than their country.
It’s not too late to register!
Pastor Installation of Father John Arnold – It will be my joy to install Father John as the tenth pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Casa Grande during the 1:30 p.m. Mass on Sunday, Oct. 30. After Mass, I will bless the new parish hall.
Father John has brought many talents and gifts to his new parish community. He is a lawyer and a canon lawyer, but far more importantly, he is a loving and caring priest who takes a deep interest in his people as he strives to serve them faithfully.
Vol. 9, No. 26
Oct. 31, 2011
Nearly 1,000 teens from 37 of our parishes and schools demonstrated their joyful enthusiasm for their faith Saturday at our annual diocesan YouthFest.
“Planted in Mission” was the theme for this year’s gathering at the Tucson Convention Center, and our teens showed that they are planted deeply as they were challenged to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and to service of one another.
Keynote speaker Jesse Manibusan, nationally known for his evangelization with music and humor, energized the teens. His music and his powerful words of encouragement to them to become beacons of hope, bringing their gifts to care for those most in need, incited their singing, shouting, clapping and praying.
The teens could choose from three workshops.
The workshop led by students from San Miguel High School in Tucson reflected on a key message of our Church on the dignity and sanctity of all human life. They focused especially on the harm caused by bullying, how what teens say and do has an impact on their peers.
The workshop conducted by Nameless Ministries helped the teens to see how they can safely navigate the digital world as disciples of Christ.
In our workshop, Marcos Martinez of Catholic Relief Services and I took our group through an experience of unequal resources between those in first, second, and third world countries. I think the teens came to see that some have much and others very little and how the gap between the haves and the have-nots stirs strong feelings.
We were delighted and honored to have a surprise visitor drop by. Archbishop John Oneiyekan of the Archdiocese of Abuja in Nigeria, was visiting his brother in Tucson and stopped by to see us. His words were inspiring reminders to our teens about how important they are in the life of the Church.
Our celebration of Mass was very moving. In my homily, I told the teens about my experiences last week in Port au Prince, Haiti, (see item 14). I shared with them our Holy Father’s encouragement to youth that he communicated last month in Germany: “Dare to be glowing saints, in whose eyes and hearts the love of Christ beams and who thus bring light into world.” The teens gave generously to the offertory collection to support the work of Catholic Relief Services.
If anyone doubts the faith of young people, I wish they could have been present with us Saturday at YouthFest. The fervor of the teens’ faith and their desire to do great things for Christ was apparent. I am sure their youth ministers, parents and chaperones felt very proud of them.
I thought to myself as I experienced the energy and enthusiasm of these young people how great it would be if from among their number some – many – would step forward to serve as priests and religious. What great good they would accomplish! We keep praying for more vocations, realizing that our young people have much to offer in service to others.
It was a fabulous day! I hope all of our parishes will be represented at next year’s YouthFest.
I am grateful to all who planned and facilitated the day, especially: Joe Perdreauville, assistant director of our diocesan Department of Pastoral Services; Ophelia James and Isabel Madrid of the Department of Pastoral Services; our diocesan Youth Ministry Team; our youth ministers, parents and chaperones who help our teens connect with our faith and who help them see that our Church is much larger than they could have imagined; the Arizona State Council of the Knights of Columbus for the generous donation of the food for lunch; the Knights of Columbus of Corpus Christi Parish in Tucson for cooking the thousand-plus hot dogs and hamburgers that got the young people (and adults) through the day; musicians of the Ike Ndolo Band and Come Thirsty; and to Deacon Ed Sheffer of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Tucson, Father Ricky Ordonez, director of our diocesan Office of Vocations, Father Abram Dono, S.T., of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Tucson; and Father Miguel Mariano, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Tucson, who concelebrated Mass with me.
1. In the Halloween Spirit – I encountered a young pope, a young cardinal, a young bishop, a young monsignor and a number of young priests, sisters and brothers when I visited Our Lady of LaVang Parish in Tucson for Confirmation yesterday morning.
I was delighted to be with Father Dominic Pham, C.Ss.R., pastor, and the parishioners of our Vietnamese Catholic Community. The children’s costumes were beautiful replicas of clerical and religious attire in the style of various religious orders.
Having made visits to our Catholic Schools on past Halloweens, I know that many students come to school costumed as their favorite saints. This is a great way to learn about those men and women who have lived their lives in exemplary ways.
As today is Halloween, I know our teachers are dealing with more than “saints” in costumes. Maybe a little Halloween humor will help our teachers get through the day:
What do you get when you cross Bambi with a ghost? Bamboo.
Where do ghosts go to water ski? Lake Erie.
I did say “a little” Halloween humor.
2. All Saints Day, All Souls Day – Tomorrow is the Solemnity of All Saints. Wednesday is All Souls Day, the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed.
For your reflection, I share these excerpts from homilies of Pope Benedict XVI:
On this day let us revive in ourselves an attraction toward Heaven that calls us to carry on in our earthly pilgrimage. Let us lift in our hearts the desire to always unite ourselves to the family of the saints, of which we already have the grace to be a part. As a celebrated spiritual song says: “When the saints go marching in, oh how I’d want, Lord, to be in their number!” (Homily for All Saints Day, 2008)
Christian hope is never something merely individual, it’s always a hope for others. Our lives are deeply linked, one to another, and the good and bad each one does always impacts the rest. So the prayer of a pilgrim soul in the world can help another soul that continues purifying itself after death. And for this, today the Church invites us to pray for our beloved dead and to spend time at their tombs in the cemeteries. (Homily for All Souls Day, 2008)
3. Pastor Installations – I have had the joy these past two weeks to be with our Catholic communities in Kearney, Coolidge and Casa Grande to celebrate Mass and to install their new pastors.
A week ago Saturday, I installed Father Thomas Dekka as pastor of Infant Jesus of Prague Parish in Kearney. It was a double celebration, as the parish was observing the 50th anniversary of its establishment.
This past Friday evening, I installed Father JoJo Tabo as pastor of St. James Parish in Coolidge. I also blessed the rectory that is being remodeled with the help of the Knights of Columbus and the people of the parish. Father JoJo is looking forward to moving in soon.
And, yesterday, I installed Father John Arnold as pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Casa Grande. I also blessed the parish’s new hall and gym. What a marvelous facility! It would be the envy of any pastor. This spacious new building houses classrooms for religious education and RCIA and adult formation. It has a full gym and a restaurant-quality kitchen. The parish community packed the building for the blessing.
Much thanks is due to Father Kevin Clinch, the former pastor, to Father John, permanent deacon candidate Steve Name for their leadership and to the people of St. Anthony for the sacrifices they are making provide this facility that will serve the community for many generations to come.
At all the parishes at which I installed new pastors, and I was inspired to see how warmly the people responded. I enjoy these celebrations so much because they are opportunities for our priests to see how important they are in the life of their people. Too often, they hear criticisms or complaints, so it means so much for these good priests to know they are valued and appreciated.
I look forward to installing Father Vili Valderamma as the third pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Tucson this Saturday during the 5 p.m. Mass.
4. Presbyteral Council Meeting – The Presbyteral Council meets this morning at the Pastoral Center.
Our agenda includes a report from Margie Puerta Edson, executive director of the Catholic Foundation for Stewardship and Charitable Giving, on preparations for next year’s Annual Catholic Appeal and the progress of this year’s appeal and our diocesan renewal campaign, Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future.
We will discuss how our parishes can promote greater awareness of “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” the statement of the Catholic bishops in the U.S. that provides guidance on how Church teaching applies to the choices before us on election day.
We will discuss the needs of our Catholic Schools, especially how our Catholic Schools can better promote the benefits of a Catholic education. We will discuss a proposal from our Diocesan School Board on building closer bonds between and among parishes with schools and those that don’t have schools. (We will be examining the financial needs and marketing of our Catholic Schools at a diocesan summit in January.)
And, we will discuss the gathering in March for the pastors of parishes in the smaller communities within our Diocese. I hope this gathering will help us to surface ideas on how we can better support our priests and serve the parishes and people in these communities.
5. Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate – I will be at Georgetown University this week for a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). The fall meeting of the Board is traditionally the time for the presentation of the annual CARA Awards: the Rev. Louis J. Luzbetak, S.V.D., Award for Exemplary Church Research and the Cardinal Cushing Medal for the Advancement of Church Research. I will share the names of this year’s recipients with you next week.
6. Pastoral Center Staff Service Day – Once a year, we at the Pastoral Center offer our maintenance, custodial, office and general clean-up skills for a day to a parish or Catholic School that could benefit from a willing crew of workers. This Friday, we will be the guests of Father “Ponchie” Vasquez, O.F.M., and his staff at San Solano Missions Parish on the Tohono O’odham Reservation. I know Father “Ponchie” will keep us busy!
7. Jordan Ministry Team “Spirit of Harvest” Celebration – I look forward to being with Sister Jane Eschweiler, S.D.S., director, and the members of the Jordan Ministry Team this Friday evening for the “Spirit of Harvest” fundraiser and concert.
Jordan Ministry Team provides so many formational opportunities for our parishes, teachers, candidates for the permanent diaconate and lay ecclesial ministry, youth ministers and catechists. We are blessed by the Team’s ministry with us.
This year’s celebration will feature the presentation of the Team’s first “Alive in the Savior” Awards to three persons recognized by Team for exemplifying “the mission of love of the Savior through apostleship and collaboration in their life’s work.”
The first recipients indeed are exemplars for us. You can find out who they are here.
Tickets for the dinner and the concert (by the wonderfully talented Father Joe Rodrigues, S.D.S.) are available here. I hope all of you who know and appreciate the Jordan Ministry Team will be there Friday evening!
8. Diocesan Pastoral Council – Our Diocesan Pastoral Council meets this Saturday at the Pastoral Center.
We will be discussing our priorities for this year, one of which is to promote and participate in our diocesan “Co-workers in the Vineyard” Diocesan Conference in March. I hope all our priests, religious, deacons, lay ministers and parishioners will attend. Workshops will include opportunities for parish council representatives to learn and discuss how they can be even more effective in assisting their pastors and parishes.
9. Thanking the Knights – The Sisters of the Benedictine Monastery in Tucson so appreciate the Knights of Columbus for their continuing support. The Knights have been helping (including manual labor) the Sisters with all sorts of needs at the monastery, which is a priceless treasure for the Tucson community and for our Diocese. I will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving this Sunday morning at the Monastery Chapel. Sister Ramona Varela, O.S.B., prioress, and the Sisters will host a reception after the Mass in gratitude for the Knights’ outstanding work.
10. On the Confirmation Trail – I will celebrate Mass and confer the Sacrament of Confirmation this Sunday evening at St. Thomas More Newman Center Parish in Tucson. The young adult confirmandi, students at the University of Arizona, did not receive the sacrament when they were in high school and now, knowing the importance of faith in their lives, want to receive the graces of the Sacrament of Confirmation.
11. Congratulations, Father Al! – Father Al Schifano, our Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, was honored last week by the Sacred Heart School of Theology with its Dehon Distinguished Ministry Award.
Named after Father Leo John Dehon, founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, the award recognizes an alumnus of Sacred Heart who has given distinguished service to the Church.
The award citation noted that since his ordination in 2001, Father Al’s career and experience in the corporate world and his pastoral formation have come together to make a significant impact in our Diocese. Soon after beginning his ministry in our Diocese, Father Al served on the committee that developed our diocesan Guidelines for the Prevention of and Response to Sexual Misconduct. Then, after accepting the opportunity to serve as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, Father Al applied his leadership abilities to our Chapter 11 reorganization and the incorporation of our parishes. He helped to establish our Parish Pooled Investment Trust, and he supported the development of our first two-year Pastor Leadership Development Program. He is a member and past-Chair of the Diocesan Finance Council.
Joining Father Al at the award presentation dinner at Sacred Heart in Hales Corners, Wisconsin, were his daughter Allyson James and his fellow alumni from our Diocese, Father John Lyons, pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Tucson, and Father Jens-Peter “Jay” Jensen, pastor of San Martin de Porres Parish in Sahuarita.
Our Diocese is blessed by the ministry of priests who received their formation at Sacred Heart, which is so respected in our country for welcoming “second career” priests. Among the alumni now serving are: Father Joe Lombardo, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson; Father John, Father Jay and Father Al; Father John Arnold, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Casa Grande; and Father Dale Branson, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Hayden-Winkleman. The dearly departed alumni of Sacred Heart who served in our Diocese include Father Frank Carr, Father Bill Taft and Father Larry Kasper.
12. Welcome to Father Arnold Aurillo – I am very happy to welcome Father Arnold, a priest of the Archdiocese of Palo in Leyte Province of the Philippines, to ministry in our Diocese. I am grateful for his willingness to minister among us.
Last year, when Archbishop Jose Serofia Palma of the Archdiocese of Palo was visiting our Diocese, he promised to send two priests to help us with our pastoral needs. Several months after his visit, he was appointed as the Archbishop of Cebu. Nevertheless, the Archdiocese of Palo is keeping Archbishop Palma’s promise by sending Father Arnold. We hope another priest of the Archdiocese will join us in the near future. Father Arnold is receiving his undergoing orientation to the Diocese and our Safe Environment Program and will be assigned to a parish soon.
13. “A Sugar Fix and a Smile” – Sometimes, the smallest things make a big impression. For instance, the “small act of Samaritan niceness” that occurred on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 15, after we had concluded the Arizona Rosary Celebration at St. Augustine Cathedral.
Dear Bishop Kicanas:
I went downtown last Saturday to walk down the hot sidewalk with the Occupy Tucson people. We went past the Tucson Meet Yourself, and yelled at the empty banks and federal buildings. By the time we came marching past St. Augustine's everybody was hoarse and sweaty. You guys were having your own event in the courtyard, but a bunch of Catholic girls with big boxes of cookies made it a point to come out onto the sidewalk to make sure everybody got a sugar fix and a smile. This small act of Samaritan niceness was not lost on the people with the megaphones back at Armory Park, who made sure you got a round of applause for it.
Christianity is a tough sell to today's progressive young people, and a lot of overeducated fossils like myself as well, but demonstrations of gratuitous good will such as this are what attract souls.
14. A Decade Ago – I cannot believe that it was 10 years ago yesterday that I first entered St. Augustine Cathedral to see those I would be working with and serving.
I had met Bishop Manuel Moreno several weeks before when I came to Tucson “incognito,” not having been announced as the new co-adjutor bishop. We met at the Bishop’s Residence, and he was so gracious and welcoming. We sat for hours talking about his impression of the Diocese and what he felt needed to be done. I learned a lot. I shared with Bishop Moreno that I had asked the Papal Nuncio when he called to tell me the Holy Father had appointed me as co-adjustor whether the Diocese of Tucson had any troubles. “Oh, no,” he said. “It’s a wonderful diocese.” Well, it was and it is, even with the challenges that we all know. Together, we have been able to address those challenges.
I remember how nervous I was walking into the Cathedral that morning to be introduced by Bishop Moreno. I had prayed more fervently that morning than I had ever prayed. I felt immediately welcomed by all who were there. Now, 10 years later, I know all of you – priests, religious, deacons and lay people – as co-workers who share their gifts so generously to carry on the work of the Lord.
We all miss Bishop Moreno, whose gentle manner and fatherly care we all knew. He could not have been a better support to me in my first days and through the time we worked together. We were brothers who had the chance to walk together for a while. What a blessing that was.
I have prayed – and will continue to pray – that I will be able to serve you and our Diocese with the same dedication and love with which Bishop Moreno served. Being a bishop is not always easy, but being your bishop has been a true blessing for me.
15. Visit to Haiti – On the plywood interior wall of a small temporary shelter in Port au Prince, Haiti, I saw these words scrawled in chalk: “God is good.”
The members of the family whose shelter, one of thousands provided by Catholic Relief Services, I was visiting were among those displaced by the devastating earthquake in January of 2010. The words on their wall represent the deep faith of Haitians whose lives were so tragically affected by the earthquake. So many lost loved ones. It is estimated that 300,000 died. So many were injured: more than 300,000. So many – some 1.5 million – lost their homes.
Yet, the Haitians are a joyful people who live in hope and trust in God.
Last week, with Ken Hackett, the out-going president of CRS, and Dr. Carolyn Woo, the new CRS president, I saw the devastation the earthquake caused and how slow the recovery has been. I saw the ruins and the skeletal frame of the Cathedral of the Assumption. I saw the leaning and crumbling remains of the Presidential Place. I saw streets clogged with debris and garbage. I saw pools of filthy water.
I was very encouraged to see the work being done in the name of Catholics in our country by CRS. More than 8,000 temporary homes have been built so that people can move out of the tents in which they have been living since the earthquake.
I saw the public latrines that are being built to address the sanitation issues that have resulted in the world’s worst cholera epidemic.
I saw the CRS and Caritas projects that are helping people begin micro-businesses. (Only 14 per cent of Haitians are formally employed.)
I met a man who was using a sewing machine to make clothes that he can sell to care for his family. He has grown his micro-business and now has two employees.
I met a woman whose micro-business is a bakery. The specialty cakes she showed us looked delicious. She, too, has been able to hire employees.
I met a woman whose micro-business is using a hand-operated machine to crush rubble into sand and small stones that can be used in reconstruction.
They have their micro-businesses because of the generosity of Catholics in our country.
I visited Christ the King Parish and School. The church and school roof collapsed in the earthquake. Mass is now held in the basement. The school’s classes now meet outside, under tents. Only 50 per cent of children go to school in Haiti. Providing education is a priority for Haiti’s President Michel Martelly and his wife Sophia, whom we met.
I was delighted to see Joan Martin, a former teacher at Our Mother of Sorrows School in Tucson, who nine years ago went to Haiti to work as a missionary for the parish’s Haiti Project in Port du Paix. It was great to see her and to hear from her about the ministry of the project.
Haitians are a proud people deeply rooted in their faith. They believe that God is good.
16. Remember in Your Prayers – Please pray for Deacon Andy Corder of St. Francis de Sales Parish in Tucson. Deacon Andy serves as campus minister at St. Augustine Catholic High School. He recently was diagnosed with cancer. Many of us know Deacon Andy and his wife Donna through their bookstore in Tucson, Fr. Kino’s Corner.