Monday Memo, June 22, 2015. Vol. 13, No. 23
Please note: The Monday Memo will take a break until Aug. 3 In the meantime, please remember that the Bishop Manuel D. Moreno Pastoral Center will be closed Friday, July 3, in observance of Independence Day holiday.
Praise be to You
Last week, Pope Francis released a much anticipated Encyclical on the environment, titled Laudato Si’ (the first Encyclical titled in Italian and not Latin). I will quote directly from the rich text of the document, because I believe it very clearly illustrates the essence of the Holy Father’s sentiments. Throughout the document Pope Francis speaks of a connection between the care of creation and the call to bring to every human person the dignity each deserves.
“The Encyclical takes its name from the invocation of Saint Francis of Assisi, “Praise be to you, my Lord” which in the Canticle of the Creatures reminds us that the earth, our common home” is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us” (1).
We ourselves “are dust of the Earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters” (2). “This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her” (2). Her cry, united with that of the poor, stirs our conscience to “acknowledge our sins against creation” (8). Taking the words of the “beloved” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Pope reminds us: “For human beings… to destroy the biological diversity … by causing changes in its climate …; to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life – these are sins”(8).
These words outline very beautifully our relationship with our planet and its vast array of resources, bestowed on it by the Creator. These paragraphs also adeptly and boldly define how horribly we have treated this precious gift of God, our home, the garden.
The document is very detailed, as is the custom of most Encyclicals. Overall, it is wise to remember that the document is not a scientific treatise. Its goal is not to make a political statement, but the Holy Father speaks as a pastor from a moral perspective. The Encyclical re-emphasizes for us the age-old teachings of the Church grounded in the Word of God that call us to care for all of God’s creation; to gather and use resources wisely and with restraint and without exploitation for excessive personal gain, to preserve those resources and to share those resources with one another now, and to tend to safekeeping of the Earth and her treasures for the future.
Here are some other points from the Encyclical:
-The document is a call to conversion and action. While Laudato Si’
fits perfectly within Catholic tradition, it is saying with new force
that concern for the environment and for the poor are no longer “optional” for a
believer. Caring for the environment and respect for all human life are now even more clearly and surely part of Church teaching.
-Everything is connected, and nothing truly human is outside of the
Church’s concern. A person of faith should show even more
responsibility regarding creation, which is a gift from God. Climate
change isn’t a theoretical matter, it is already doing a lot of
damage, especially for the poor, those least able to adapt.
-Technology and finance have helped some people a lot more than
others. The Encyclical is not about moving backwards at all. It’s about moving
forward in a way that respects human dignity, doing everything
possible to reduce the numbers of those who keep on being
excluded from decent jobs, decent housing and decent healthcare.
It’s also about moving forward in a way that respects the planet.
-We all have to consume, to eat healthy foods, and to drink clean
water. What we don’t need is to foment an insatiable desire for more;
creating needs that aren’t really necessary at all. Think about
someone who has lost all control with drink or with drugs; it becomes
very violent, destructive behavior. There is a similar kind of addiction
with consumption. A constant desire for more things, more
possessions, becomes an obsession. Thinking about the poor, or
about future generations, can actually set one free.
-The Scriptures and the writings of Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict prior to Pope Francis all have spoken of the need to care for the garden given to us by God.
My friend and colleague, Dr. Carolyn Woo, president of Catholic Relief Services, was among those at the Vatican speaking last Thursday at the release of Pope Francis’ Encyclical. A great part of the document emphasizes the negative impact of pollution, of our throw away culture and resource destruction on the very poorest people in the world. It also calls attention to the need to share the bounty of God’s creation fully with all living in the world.
“It is an honor to be included in this important event,” Woo said. “Pope Francis recognizes that caring for God’s creation and caring for the poor are closely linked.”
Our Mother of Sorrows Parish is planning a three person panel discussion on the Encyclical. The panel members all are OMOS parishioners: Katie Hirschboeck, Hank Krzysik, and Deacon Francisco Zamora. The discussions will take place on four consecutive Monday evenings in the early fall. All three panelists are eminently qualified to facilitate the sessions.
Katie Hirschboeck, an OMOS parishioner for 24 years, is a University of Arizona climate scientist in the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research with over 30 years of experience.
Hank Krzysik, an OMOS parishioner for 32 years, is a LEED-certified architect with 22 years of experience in energy efficiency and renewable energy design. He currently serves as a commissioner on the Pima County/ City of Tucson Metropolitan Energy Commission, as well as chairman and policy advisor for the Pima County Interfaith Council’s Green Team. At OMOS, he serves as chair for the Care for Creation Initiative and other committees.
Deacon Francisco Zamora, an OMOS parishioner for 13 years, has served as a deacon there since 2012. He also is a scientist and conservationist, with nearly 20 years of experience working on conservation and management of natural resources, particularly on water issues and river restoration. He is the Director of the Colorado River Delta Legacy Program.
For more information about the OMOS discussions, please call the parish at 747-1321.
I look forward to further discussing the Encyclical with priests and parishioners over the next months. The Monday Memo will keep you posted on upcoming discussion opportunities.
Diocesan Finance Council
The Council meets Tuesday morning at the Diocesan Archives. Discussion items will include diocesan financial statements and the progress of the Cathedral Square project. The Finance Council will approve the budget for the next fiscal year.
As you know all parishes are required by Canon Law to have a functioning finance council. It is not enough to have a council in name only; each Council needs to be taken seriously and involved in offering the pastor sound advice and counsel on all important financial transactions of the parish.
I have found the advice of the Diocesan Finance Council most helpful and I appreciate Tom Arnold, our Chief Financial Officer, for his staffing of this Council.
For the homeless
As we have read in newspapers and have seen on news broadcasts, those homeless people living in the downtown park have once again been cleared from the area.
There are two meetings being held this week to discuss the homeless situations in Tucson; one involving members of the faith community and another meeting of business leaders and government officials.
Loretta Tracy is working on the invitations for the Faith Community meeting. The second meeting is being organized by Buzz Isaacson and Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik at the Pastoral Center.
Catholic Schools Board meeting
After a long and exciting school year, the Diocesan School Board will hold it final meeting of this school year on Wednesday at the Pastoral Center. There will be some discussion of educational strategies and regular businesses items, and of course, reports from schools.
One of the agenda items is the discussion of new principals. Let me introduce you to those who will be leading three of our schools next fall:
Kathleen Chandler will start at All Saints Catholic School in Sierra Vista, taking over for Sister Carol Seidl,O.S.F., who has accepted the principal position at St. Anthony Parish in Casa Grande. Kathleen joins Catholic schools from Tucson Unified School District. She holds Master’s Degrees in Education Administration and Supervision and in Teaching and Teacher Education. Prior to her work with TUSD, she worked for the Amphitheater Unified School District.
Rosalinda Perez will start as principal at Lourdes Catholic School in Nogales. Rosalinda was assistant principal at the school, and has a long history at Lourdes – she taught at the school for 23 years!
Sandra Contreras will start as principal at Lourdes Catholic High School in Nogales. Sandra also has a long relationship with Lourdes High; she has been a teacher there for the better part of 14 years.
Congratulations to each of you!
To Eastern Europe
I will be traveling to Kiev in the Ukraine and to Bosnia-Herzegovina between June 28 and July 4. First I will be visiting the various projects headed by Catholic Relief Services in war-torn Ukraine. It is obvious from the news coverage that people are suffering greatly in the Ukraine from lack of supplies and shelter. Bosnia and Herzegovina still struggle with the after-effects of the war that took place in that region 18 years ago. According to CRS information, “The country continues to have 118,000 displaced people, 700,000 people living below the poverty line and an unemployment rate of 45 percent. Poor economic conditions coupled with divisive nationalistic political rhetoric, mono-ethnic communities and segregated schools continue to threaten the stabilization of the region. War victims, women victims of rape, their families and general citizens struggle to recover from the violent conflict that left 400,000 people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and 10,000 people still missing. “
Thank goodness for the amazing work of CRS!
Following the visits to those areas, I will take a short vacation, returning to the Diocese July 15.
Annual Catholic Appeal
“…for where your treasure is, there will be your heart also” (Matthew 6:21)
As good stewards, we believe that everything we are and everything we have is a gift from God. We aren’t “owners,” but merely “stewards” of God’s gifts. We are responsible for not only our lives but also the lives of others.
All God asks is that we return a small portion for all that He has given us. We do this out of love, freely and joyfully, not out of obligation. Being generous with our money is a matter of our faith, just like spending time in prayer or participating in parish ministries. God calls us to be generous with all our gifts — our time, talent and treasure, not just the gifts we pick and choose to be generous with.
Please consider sharing your gifts by supporting the Annual Catholic Appeal. When you give to the Annual Catholic Appeal you support the ministries, programs, agencies and schools that serve the spiritual, education, and physical needs of the people of the Diocese of Tucson.
Secure online gifts can be made through the Catholic Foundation website at www.cathfnd.org/annualcatholicappeal or to set-up a multi-month pledge, contact the Annual Catholic Appeal office at 520.838.2515.
Come one, come all
Celestial Soccer Match
Saturday, June 27
St. Augustine High School
8800 E. 22nd St.
Match play begins at 8 a.m.
Besides good fun, this soccer match is a way to create awareness for the need for priests and inspire future generations of priests by attending one or more of the family vocations events taking place in our diocese.
This match between the Men in Black (a team of seminarians) versus the Padres … you know, some of our parish priests.
Guests are invited to cheer on their favorite cleric and have fun at the same time.
Families and parishioners all are invited to attend this match of skill and sports moxie. A 5k run also is in the planning stages, so stayed tuned for information on that event. We believe the run will take place in the fall.
A pilgrimage under the Spiritual Direction of Bishop Kicanas
12-Days: Oct. 26 to Nov. 6, 2015.
In the Footsteps of Saints Peter and Paul
Join with Most Reverend Gerald F. Kicanas, Bishop of Tucson to walk some of the holy places traced by Saints Peter and Paul in the lands of Turkey and Rome.
The days of the pilgrimage will be an opportunity to explore the richness of early Christian life, art and history of Istanbul, Ephesus and the other treasures of Turkey.
We will then travel to Rome to continue in the footsteps of these wonderful saints and the many others who followed them. The registration deadline is June 30, 2015. Sign up NOW!
Information brochures are available at the Diocese of Tucson Pastoral Center. You can contact Sister Lois Paha, O.P. at 520-838-2542, email@example.com or see the brochure at www.GoCAtholicTrael.com/Kicanas
A weekend for married couples
August 7 to 9
La Quinta Inn and Suites, Reid Park
102 N. Alvernon Way
Retrouvaille is a wonderful program that offers healing and support for married couples.
The word Retrouvaille™ (pronounced re-tro-vi with a long i.) is a French word meaning rediscovery. The program offers tools needed to rediscover a loving marriage relationship. Thousands of couples headed for cold, unloving relationships or divorce have successfully overcome their marriage problems by attending the program.
The Retrouvaille Program consists of a weekend experience combined with a series of six to 12 post-weekend sessions over three months. It provides the tools to help put your marriage in order again. The main emphasis of the program is on communication in marriage between husband and wife. It gives couples the opportunity to rediscover each other and examine their lives together in a new and positive way.
You are invited to the next Retrouvaille weekend: August 7 to 9, in Tucson at the LaQuinta Inn and Suites-Reid Park.
For more information, please contact Valerie and Art Flores at 520-216-0360.