Monday Memo, April 14, 2014
Vol. 13, No. 15






Please note: The Diocese Pastoral Center will be closed this Friday in observance of Good Friday.

The Monday Memo will take a break following Easter Sunday, and will return Monday, April 28.


We enter Holy Week, the most sacred time of the Church year. Yesterday, we walked with Christ in His entry into Jerusalem, hailed as a king with palm branches waved along His path. Quickly the crowd changed its sentiments and called for Him to be crucified.


Today we celebrate the Chrism Mass, one of the most powerful liturgies, when I have the privilege of blessing the oil of catechumens and the oil of the sick and consecrating the Chrism that will be used this coming year in Baptisms, Confirmations, and the ordination of our two priests, Marco Carrasco and Albert Miranda in June. At the Chrism Mass the priests serving in our Diocese will renew their priestly promises to serve God’s people, seeking their prayers and support.


This year’s Chrism Mass picks up the theme of Pope Francis that “We are anointed for service to the poor”. We will join in a Litany of the Saints as we especially remember saints who have witnessed care of the poor. The booklet for the Mass will contain quotes from the Holy Father challenging us to become more aware of the needs of others.


The time of the Chrism Mass on April 14, 2014 has been changed from previous years and will take place at 2 p.m. The Mass will held at St. Augustine Cathedral. 


The sacred Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday) brings us close to Christ as He undergoes His passion, death, and resurrection. I invite you to attend the services at your local parish to fully immerse yourself into these special days. Our parishes work very hard to make these days special for parishioners. I remember attending the services at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish with the Pascua Yaqui one year. The ceremonies are so special and moving, rich in symbols and  members of the community take on various  roles in the  ceremony.


Holy Thursday recalls the Lord’s witness of what it means to serve as: Christ washes the feet of His disciples; as the Blessed Sacrament is instituted at the Last Supper; and the early beginnings of the ordained priesthood are established. For me, and I know for many priests, it is very humbling to remove the chasuble and kneel before 12 parishioners to wash their feet. One cannot ignore the Lord’s command, “What I have done, you also must do.”


On Good Friday as on Palm Sunday, we listen to the Passion of the Lord, in which we participate by voicing the views of the crowd. We hear again about Judas’ betrayal, turning Christ over to the authorities with a kiss. We cry out, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him” prodding Pilate to put Christ to death. We respond to Pilate that “We have no king but Caesar.” Christ is beaten, stripped and given His cross to carry. His suffering is embraced because of His love
for us.


One of the powerful moments of the Good Friday Liturgy is the procession of the Cross into the community and our opportunity to reverence the cross by kissing it in gratitude for what Christ endured for us.


After the Good Friday services in the Cathedral, members of the Cathedral Parish family will hold the living Stations of the Cross beginning at 3 p.m. at the San Cosme Chapel, 460 W. Simpson Street, just west of the Cathedral.  People in period costumes will follow an actor portraying Christ carrying the cross. Stops are made at points representing each of the 14 Stations of the Cross.


Holy Saturday, a long liturgy, contains so  many powerful  moments; from the lighting of the Pascal Candle as the sole light in a darkened church, to singing of the Exsultet with its haunting melody, to listening to readings of our salvation history and the blessing of the baptismal  water. This year 206 people from around the Diocese will be washed in that holy water to become daughters and sons of God. More than 310 people will make their profession of faith and become fully initiated into the Church.


On Easter Sunday we rejoice in the news that the Lord is risen. If Christ is not risen, St. Paul says, our faith is in vain. Easter is the great feast, our blessed assurance that death has no power over us for we will rise with Christ.


I promise these celebrations will draw you closer to the Lord.


Immigration close to home
For some days now, a mother has been living in St. Augustine Cathedral, anxious and distraught that her older daughter, who along with her mother, a younger sister and a sister-in-law, entered illegally into the United States, is being detained at the Detention Center in Eloy for six months now. That separation tears at her mother’s heart.


The good news is that her daughter has a bond hearing this week, and that the daughter is expected to be released. She will be back with her family and perhaps her mother’s fear will be relieved.


I mention this case as just one example of how so many families are separated under our current immigration and deportation policies. Yes, they have crossed into this country illegally. Yes, they are undocumented. But the majority of these people have committed no crimes against people or property. They simply seek a better life.


As we pray for a speedy resolution for the family of the woman in our Cathedral, we as a Church also continue our efforts to prevent the separation of families that undercuts and breaks up the core unit in our society.  That was one of the reasons for the Mass on the Border two weeks ago (to review information on the Mass, visit or read the New Vision at


Criminal behavior that harms people or damages property must be punished and curtailed. But our nation must stop criminalizing the dreams of people to find a better life, a more decent, dignified life. Detention and deportation of parents, grandparents or children with no history of committing crimes and who present no danger to the community results in the breakup of families leading to dire consequences for the family and for our communities. We need comprehensive immigration policy reform. Such legislation reform would allow legal paths for  people to come to the U.S. to work. It would allow us to intensify our border enforcement against criminal behavior such as drug trafficking, human trafficking and weapons trafficking.



Parish visit
This week I have the opportunity to visit at St. Pius X to see the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program in action.


The Catechesis is an approach to the religious education of children that is “based on the conviction that God and the child are in relationship. Our role as adults is to protect and nurture this bond. The Catechesis gives age-appropriate themes from the Bible and our liturgy with materials the children use to embrace the great mysteries of our faith.”


The program was created by Sofia Cavalletti, an Italian Hebrew scripture scholar, building on the work and methods of Maria Montessori, the catechist.  According to one web resource, this program “seeks to give children the guidance and vocabulary which enable them to become aware of their relationship with God and give expression to it. With the catechesis we help each child to continue to fall in love with God while building community among peers.”


I am anxious to see how this program is working at St. Pius Parish.


image007Off to Topawa
On Wednesday, many of us from the Pastoral Center will be doing various service jobs at St. Catherine Mission in Topawa.


St. Catherine is one of the many San Solano Missions established by Father Bonaventura Oblasser, O.F.M.,  beginning in 1908 to minister to the Tohono O’odham people living in Sells and the other towns and villages of the nation about 62 miles west of Tucson and beyond.  There are 13 churches or missions across the reservation, and about 29 chapels.  Some of the chapels in the tinier villages are quite small, and on occasion Mass is celebrated at the Missions. St Catherine’s, located in Sells, is a sort of headquarters for the Franciscans in the area.


One account I read about the Missions was that by the middle of the 20th century there were 54 churches in the Pima/Tohono O’odham lands and “The people took pride in keeping them immaculate – Ventura visited them all – each one named after one of his favorite saints.”


Photo by Steff Koeneman
Deacon Alfred Gonzales at the chapel in Santa Rosa.

In recent times, another small group of Franciscan priests and brothers have been serving the Tohono O’dham people.  Led by Father Alfonso “Ponchie” Vasquez, O.F.M., these new missionaries celebrate Mass, administer sacraments and visit those in need.  They are assisted by our only Native American deacon, Alfred Gonzales.


Father Ponchie asked us to assist with a number of jobs at St. Catherine’s during our day of service, including yard work, cleaning up and painting in St Catherine’s, and scanning the San Solano Mission’s numerous historic photos and documents into a digital format.



Director Meetings
On Holy Thursday, the Department and pastoral directors will hold their monthly meetings. Thursday’s meeting will be one in which each department or ministry leader will be asked to give an update on progress for their annual goals.


We also will discuss how well we are meeting our Diocesan goals, which include:  Inspiring and increasing vocations; improving communications and the use of technology; informing people in the faith; increasing student enrollment in our Catholic schools; and increasing a sense of stewardship among Catholics in our diocese.


We have had a very busy year in our diocese and I am anxious to hear from the directors about our progress in these areas.



Recap: Strong Catholic Families Training
Mike Berger, Director of our Office of Catechesis, reported that the Strong Catholic Families Training  that took place a week ago Saturday at Most Holy Trinity Parish in Tucson was attended by 140 parish leaders including pastors, parish staff, parents and key catechetical leaders.


Participants in the discernment session that took place in Sierra Vista


The training is part of  a pilot project involving 14 of our parishes across the Diocese, and the day included sessions in both English and Spanish that were presented by Michael Theisen of the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry, and Christina Lamas of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. We hope this project yields many ideas and strategies for our parishes and Catholic schools to partner more effectively with parents in the religious education of our children and youth.


The parishes involved are:  Most Holy Trinity, St. Cyril, Our Mother of Sorrows, Santa Catalina, St. Thomas, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, and St. Monica – all in the Tucson area.



Eight women gathered at the Diocesan Pastoral Center as part of discernment session on Saturday. Sisters at the Tucson session included: Sister Lucy Nigh, S.S.N.D., Sister Christian Garcia, S.S.N.D, Sister Eileen Mahoney, C.S.A., Sister Graciela Garcia, C.F.M.M., Sister Esther Calderon, O.P., Sister Lois Paha, O.P., D.Min., and Sister Jeanne Bartholomeaux, S.C., our Vicar for Religious in Tucson.

Parishes outside of Tucson included St. Francis and St. John Neumann, Yuma; St. Jude, San Luis, St. Anthony, Casa Grande; Sacred Heart, Nogales;  and St. Andrew and Our Lady of the Mountains in Sierra Vista.


Pondering Religious life
Listening to God While Making Life Decisions was the theme for the Women’s bilingual discernment retreat held Saturday.


Sister Jeanne Bartholomeaux, S.C., and her committee members hosted 18 women between 18 and 40 years of age. The retreat was held in two locations, St. Andrew’s Parish, Sierra Vista and the Diocesan Pastoral Center in downtown Tucson. The retreat leaders included Sister Lucy Nigh, S.S.N.D., Sister Christian Garcia, S.S.N.D., and Sister Marilyn Bever, C.S.A., in Sierra Vista and Sister Eileen Mahoney, C.S.A., Sister Graciela Garcia, C.F.M.M, Sister Lois Paha, O.P.,
D. Min., and Sister Esther Calderon, O.P.


The goal of this retreat is to provide time for prayer and reflection for women considering a religious vocation, and also looking for ways to increase their relationship with God as they make decisions for their lives. The Women’s Vocation retreats are offered in the Fall and Spring each year. For more information, please contact Sister Jeanne in the office of Religious at


Annual Catholic Appeal update
In these days of Lent, our annual time of prayer, fasting and alms-giving, our Lenten theme, Give Praise, Make Change guides our journey and is also reflected in the theme of the 2014 Annual Catholic Appeal, Live in Faith, Give in Love. Both themes call us as Disciples of Christ to take action and bear witness to how God is revealing himself to us through our lives, in what we say and do. As Catholics, we profess our faith each time we reach out to the poor and marginalized in our community. We make our lives a living sacrifice through our service to others. We understand that we have been called by Christ Jesus to consider the poor among us, mindful that whatever we do for “the least”, we do for Him.image007


I am grateful that we are off to a wonderful start with this years’ Annual Catholic Appeal. I am confident that we will reach goal for the second year in a row! But this can only happen when people from every parish in the diocese take action and make a gift to help get us to the goal. So far, 11,854 faithful have pledged $3,126,040 to help us reach 84 percent of this years’ goal. This is wonderful news and means that we are less than $600,000 away from reaching goal.


If you are among those who have already given, you have my heartfelt thanks and gratitude. Please help us by encouraging a member of your family or one of your friends to also participate. Together we can reach our goal of $3.7 million dollars. Together, we give praise, we live in faith, we give in love, and we are changed – transformed by our discipleship



Father Barnabas Radke

Please pray
For the soul of Father Barnabas Radke, a priest of the Diocese of Amarillo who had worked in our diocese as a Permanent Deacon, who, passed away April 4 after a brief illness. He was 80 years old. The following information came from the West Texas Catholic:
After the completion of his military obligation, Radke, who had become Catholic as an adult, felt the desire to become a priest. In 1954, he was admitted to Immaculate Conception Diocesan Seminary in El Cajon, Calif. After additional discernment, Radke felt a deeper calling to religious life and was transferred and accepted as a postulant at the Congregation of the Sacred Heart in Great Barrington, Ill. It was in 1964 with this congregation that Radke received his habit and also the name of Barnabas.

He later decided to pursue married life and on Nov. 25, 1965,  married Patricia Kay Walsh In 1987, Radke was approached by his pastor at Holy Angels Church in Globe, Az., who encouraged him to become a Permanent Deacon, and he was ordained June 11, 1989  for the Diocese of Tucson.  His assignments in Arizona were: Holy Angels Church in Globe; St. Helen’s Mission in Oracle; Blessed Sacrament Church in Mammoth; and, St. Francis de Sales Mission in Maricopa. He served in Prison Ministry and the Food Bank.


His wife passed away in 2003 and in 2006, Deacon Radke moved to the Diocese of Amarillo In 2007, then-Bishop John W. Yanta accepted Deacon Radke as a candidate for the priesthood for the Diocese of Amarillo. He entered Assumption Seminary in San Antonio in September 2007.

Deacon Radke was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Amarillo on Feb. 21, 2009 by Bishop Patrick J. Zurek at St. Laurence Cathedral (now St. Laurence Church), Amarillo.