Monday Memo, Nov. 24, 2014. Vol. 15, No. 17

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image006Please note: The Diocese of Tucson offices will be closed Thursday and Friday in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

 

I was reading online recently and found an interesting article by Archbishop Jose H. Gomez written when he was Archbishop of San Antonio.

 

He wrote that Thanksgiving is very much a “Catholic” holiday because explorers that arrived in this country in April 1598 to what we now call Texas – before the pilgrims arrived in 1621, had already declared officially a “Day of Thanksgiving,” commemorated with the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

 

Those explorers, led by Don Oñate, did what is essentially Catholic: to celebrate the Eucharist, a word which comes from the Greek word which means, precisely, “thanksgiving.”

 

He went on to write about how giving thanks is discussed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church “living in thanksgiving: if God is the only One, everything we are and have comes from him: ‘What have you that you did not receive?’ ‘What shall I render to the Lord for all his bounty to me?’”(CCC 224).

 

Now, I do not wish to be misunderstood. Thanksgiving, of course, belongs not only to Catholics but to all of us since all are called to have grateful hearts.

 

But it is a wonderful thought that the idea of giving thanks to God is a long-standing part of our faith tradition, not just an act that began with the pilgrims.

 

Catholics and members of many other faiths certainly can agree that giving thanks has been a strong basis of every faith tradition. It’s in our nature to give thanks to God; not just this week, but every day.

 

It is indeed gratifying to know that amid all the differences we keep trying to put between one another, that we can agree to give thanks and praise to God together in family and friendship on at least this one day of the year.

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Bishop Ricardo Ramirez, one of the Conference speaker, participates in another part of the conference.

 

May you strengthen your bond with God this Thanksgiving by giving thanks for your many blessings.

 

Recap: Men’s Conference
Last Saturday we held our first Men’s Conference at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. Over 400 men attended from 21 Tucson Diocese parishes and five Phoenix Diocese parishes. It was a very moving day to see so many men learning and praying together. It was inspiring to see a number of men humbly seek God’s mercy and forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

 

The presentations were challenging, encouraging the men to keep learning about the faith, stay striving to live their faith and to be ever eager to teach the faith.

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Photos by Victor Calderon
A view of just some of the more than 400 men participating in the first-ever conference.

 

The Knights of Columbus, the Diaconate community and our Pastoral Center staff did us proud in planning and organizing the event. Gratitude to Father Joseph Lombardo and the SEAS parish community for hosting the event. Heartfelt thanks to the Men’s Conference Planning Committee that included Mike Berger, Joe Perdreauville Mario Vassallo, Bill Breen, Craig Cook, Dcn. Ken Moreland, Frank Yanez, Ken Gallagher, Sister Lois Paha, O.P., D.Min., Tom Camenish and Tony LoMonaco

 

I look forward to next year’s Conference on Nov. 21, 2015.

 

On immigration
As you have heard, President Barack Obama issued an executive order that allows some portion of undocumented immigrants who are our neighbors, working and contributing to our community, to be able to come out of the shadows assuring that some undocumented will not be separated from their families. We have seen far too many families separated with tragic consequences.

 

While it would have been preferable that our Congress would have worked in a bi-partisan way to pass comprehensive immigration reform, that was not going to happen. Even now, we find little cooperation “across the aisle” on this matter, but at least a step has been taken.

 

Let us pray that the president’s action will not be met by more partisan politics and divisive rhetoric, but that the move made will prod out legislators, as true statesmen and stateswomen, to pass a comprehensive bill that will protect family unity, provide legal ways for people to come to this country to work, and to provide an earned pathway for citizenship for those who are participating in our community. If that were to happen we could focus our energy on criminal activity happening along the border.

 

Confirmations
This week I will be conferring the Sacrament of Confirmation on young people at St. Cyril of Alexandria parish in Tucson; and adults from the parishes of Most Holy Trinity, Sacred Heart, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, San Martin de Porres (Sahauarita) and St. Anthony de Padua (Casa Grande) all together at St. Augustine Cathedral. Last week, I celebrated Confirmations at the Newman Center at the University of Arizona Campus and for members of the St. Gianna Tridentine Mass community at Holy Family parish.

 

Confirmation sends these young people and adults into the community as missionary disciples. They are disciples in that they are invited by Christ into a deep personal relationship. They are missionaries in that those confirmed are to go out to tell others about Christ.

 

Knights of Columbus
I celebrated Mass today at the Benedictine Monastery on Country Club Road in Tucson with the Knights of Columbus and the Sisters. Each year, Sr. Ramona Varela, Superior and the Sisters living at the Monastery request the Mass to celebrate and give thanks for the hard work the Knights of Columbus members do around the Monastery all year, such as yard and maintenance work, picking oranges, and painting. The grounds and the Church really are beautiful, and thanks to the Knights that beauty is maintained for all.

 

The volunteer work of the Knights reflects the high regard all of us have for the Sisters. Their constant prayer for us and the needs of the Diocese are such a blessing and gift.

 

Presbyteral Council
This morning our Presbyteral Council meets at the Pastoral Center. Topics under discussion this month are: the Annual Catholic Appeal and Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future Capital Campaign update by Ernie Nedder of the Catholic Foundation; plans for the Year of Consecrated Life by Sister Jeanne Bartholomeaux S.C., Vicar for Religious; progress on and for Cathedral Square; Benefit Plans 2015 and an update on the 2014 Wellness Program by Alicia Corti of our Human Resources Department ; Advent and the upcoming Vicariate Listening Sessions on Marriage and Family, discussed by Sister Lois Paha, O.P. , our Director of Pastoral Services; Update on corporate matters by Msgr. Jeremiah McCarthy, our Moderator of the Curia; Review of Compensation Policies – Stipends and Stole Fees; Confirmation Delegation and Vicariate Reports


ACE Academies
Tomorrow Sheri Dahl, our Superintendent of Catholic Schools, all of the principals and pastors of parishes of the three ACE Academies (St. Ambrose, Santa Cruz and St. John the Evangelist) and I will be meeting with Academy leadership from Notre Dame to discuss the new Memorandum of Understanding between the Academies and the University since we are nearing the end of the five year original agreement.

 

Clearly, the University has been so beneficial to these three schools as well as all the Catholic schools in our diocese. Notre Dame’s assistance in oversight of curriculum, marketing and financial operation has made a big difference in stabilizing and growing these schools.

 

Go Yuma Catholic!
Yuma Catholic will get to defend its state football championship after this past weekend’s victory. The Shamrocks defeated Phoenix Northwest Christian 56-29 on Saturday to advance to the Arizona Interscholastic Association Division V State Championship. YCHS (13-0) will play No. 2 Tempe Prep at 2 p.m. this upcoming Saturday at North Canyon High School in Phoenix. More details here:

 

http://www.yumasun.com/sports/rodriguez-accounts-for-tds-in-yc-win/article_c89ac992-72e2-11e4-9196-5fb36ea7825e.html

 

Please pray . . .
for the soul of Father Thomas Walsh, who passed away early Friday morning at Blessed Sacrament rectory in Scottsdale.  He was 98 years old. The information below came from the Diocese of Phoenix:

 

Father Walsh  was  ordained to the priesthood on June 13, 1942 for the Archdiocese of San Francisco.  He  was incardinated to the Diocese of Tucson in 1962 and served at St. Cyril of Alexandria in Tucson and Sacred Heart parish in Nogales; St. Thomas the Apostle, Phoenix, and St. Maria Goretti parish in Scottsdale.  He was a counselor at Catholic Social Services and the Franciscan Renewal Center.  He also served the Newman Center at ASU as the Director from 1963 to 1969.  In retirement Father Walsh continued to serve God’s people especially at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Scottsdale where he resided.

 

He will be missed by many for his dedication and sense of humor, especially his self wit.  In 2005, Father Wash was quoted in the Arizona Republic as saying, “I read the Bible every day, but tell people I don’t need to because I’m so old I was there for most of it.”  Father Walsh was a priest who wanted to be available for his people.  Let us pray for the happy repose of his soul.  He served the people with a sense of humor and love.  May he receive the reward of a good and faithful servant.

 

The visitation for Father Walsh will be held at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Scottsdale, 11300 N 64th Street,  on Monday Nov. 24  beginning at noon, Divine Mercy at 3 p.m. Rosary at 5:30 p.m. and Vigil Service at 7 p.m.  The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Blessed Sacrament Church, 11300 N 64 Street, in Scottsdale on Tuesday Nov. 25th at 10 a.m.  He will be buried at Holy Redeemer Cemetery.

 

Concelebrating priests are asked to please bring an alb and white stole.

 

Upcoming

 

Interreligious Thanksgiving Prayer Service
Monday, Nov. 24

The annual Inter-religious Thanksgiving Prayer Service will be held at the Foundation for Intercultural Dialogue Center, 2841 N. Campbell Ave., at 7 p.m. The religions represented will be: Muslim, Christian (Catholic & others) Baha’i, Sikh, Zoroastrian, Jewish. Everyone is welcome to attend.
(Please note: The center is behind and to the left of the Cricket Store. There will be free valet parking.)

 

image013Cathedral Concert Series
Tuesday, Nov. 25, 6:30 p.m.  
TONIGHT! Don’t miss this first concert by an amazing and gifted artist!

St. Augustine Cathedral
192 S. Stone Ave in Tucson  

Donation is $25 / student donation is $10

 

The Cathedral, along with its music director, Carlos Zapien, is planning a series of exceptional musical opportunities for the Tucson community. The first of the series will present Pianist William Wolfram, an internationally recognized pianist and a medal winner of Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow. William Wolfram has appeared with premiere orchestras throughout the United States and abroad. Don’t miss this marvelous opportunity to hear works by Mozart, Chopin and Liszt being performed by William Wolfram on the new Cathedral piano. Additional information at info@tucsoncathedralconcerts.org