Monday Memo, June 23, 2014
Vol. 13, No. 24
Please note: The Monday Memo will take a break until August 4. Enjoy your summer.
A reminder that the Bishop Manuel D. Moreno Pastoral Center will be cl\osed on Friday, July 4, In observance of Independence Day.
In the Philippines . . .
While in Manila last week, I got to see the Catholic works of many organizations in the area. I have always thought of the Filipino people as a faithful and joyful people, and my visit here soundly confirmed this observation. The people of this country are indeed joyful and faith-filled, even amid great need in their poverty.
Early in the week, I said Mass for the theologian seminarians and faculty at San Pablo House of Formation, and I have toured St. Joseph Academy with its 2,000 students in grade school and in high school. Their energy and enthusiasm was amazing. I gave Father Ricky a goal to increase his enrollment at St. Joseph in Tucson to 2,000 students.
Father Ricky Ordonez, vocation director, Father Lalo Baragan, a friend and classmate of our own now- Albert Miranda, Albert and I visited with Msgr. Mario J.F. Martinez, pastor of St. Joseph in Manila. He was rightly proud of his community and had a great relationship with the students and teachers of his school. His parish has a famous bamboo organ from the 1800′s and there is a very famous annual bamboo organ festival that takes place at the parish each year drawing hundreds of people.
Later, we visited with the parishioners of Risen Christ Parish in the “Smokey Mountain” area, a region of great poverty, literally at the foot of a dump. Its pastor is Father Freddy Sabato, S.V.D. , who told me that in order to work in this troubled community , people have to live by the “Four P’s”: poverty, perseverance, patience and persistence.
Father Freddy organized some livelihood programs that allow people to earn a little money. One program involves learning to make useable items from trash (most of his people wander through garbage dumps looking for sellable or useable articles). Another program involves laundering clothes for pay. Father also organized a program to provide safe drinking water.
Father Freddy’s work reminds me a great deal of the types of programs Catholic Relief Services, CRS, provides in over 100 countries around the world. These programs take local resources or needs, and with a very little amount of startup money, launch micro-businesses that help the local people earn money for food and necessities. Having some ability to help themselves, people in these dire circumstances retain their dignity and their sense of hope.
Another highlight of this trip was a meeting with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila. He is one of the Presidents for the upcoming Synod on the family. He is a deeply respected spiritual leader. During our 45-minute meeting we talked about a wide range of topics including the Synod and the needs of our churches.
Ordination and First Mass
Welcome to our newest priest, Father Albert Miranda, who was ordained Saturday in the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat, a magnificent Benedictine Monastery in Manila. Father Albert’s family and friends were so proud, and the joy of those attending was abundantly clear. Father Albert’s mother Marival was present along with two aunts, Lucy and Jocelyn, who helped raise him.
I can see why Father Albert wanted to be ordained in his homeland. First, to have his family close at this special time and then to be ordained in such a beautiful sacred space. The church was built in 1904 and raised to an Abbey in 1924, and functioned for a long time as a Benedictine Monastery for Men.
There was a combined choir of seminarians from the college Seminary of San Pedro and the Theologate of San Pablo. The music was magnificent. Besides Father Ricky Ordonez, our outgoing vocations director, others that concelebrated during the ordination were: Father Lawrence Lugo, who serves at St. Joseph Parish in Tucson; Father Ron Hicks, the Dean of Formation at Mundelein Seminary, where Father Albert received his instruction; Father Lalo Baragan; Father Henry, who was Albert’s godfather; Father Anton, who was Albert’s Novice Master when he was with the Dominicans; and Father Larry Ramos, who is pastor of Albert’s home parish and the rector of San Pedro Seminary.
Our group from Tucson included Mercy Ortiz, who works in our Vocations Office and who made her first trip to the Philippines where her father was born. She had a chance to be reunited with some of her family and described her joyful occasion. Anna Marie Mammen, a former employee of our Pastoral Center, and Don Romero also attended.
Father Albert celebrated his first Mass in San Pedro, Lacuna, about a two-hour drive from Manila. The Mass was festive. You would have thought Albert had already been ordained for 25 years. His words of gratitude to his family were very touching. We all look forward to his service in our diocese. I know Father Joseph Lombardo and Father Madhu George are looking forward to welcoming him to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish where he will be serving, and I know Father Joe will keep Father Albert busy assisting in one of our largest parishes with one of our largest schools.
New Entrance for Diocesan Pastoral Center
I wrote about the new entrance to our Pastoral Center last week, but wanted to update you on the progress of the project. As of the end of last week, the former patio and one small office have been removed, and the project area cleared of most debris. The next step will be construction of a “bulkhead” or overhang that will become part of the ceiling for the first part of the new lobby. The goal of the project was to provide a more secure entrance to the Pastoral Center, and to make the entrance more appealing and more functional.
This project was one of the most requested improvements I have heard from our Pastoral Center staff. When completed, it will provide a two-step entrance. Those with appointments at the Center will enter the front door, where there will be some seating and
a window where they will be able to speak to our receptionists. The receptionist will then be able to open the secure door into the second lobby area with access to our building.
My thanks to John Shaheen, diocesan director of Property and Insurance, who has moved swiftly to get this project underway, and to Pastoral Center employees for seeing a need for enhanced security and working with John to make it a reality.
Catholic School Board Meeting
Diocesan funding of our 25 Catholic Schools will be the focus of tomorrow’s Diocesan School Board meeting. We will welcome Charlene Roll, the Principal of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School, as a new board member, and we also will be electing new officers.
This is the first Board Meeting in which Sheri Dahl will attend as Schools Superintendent. Sheri has officially taken over the reigns as superintendent following the retirement of Sr. Rosa Maria Ruiz, C.F.M.M. earlier this month after 17 years as superintendent.
Migrants in need
I return to Tucson from the Philippines on Monday, and Tuesday is full of meetings. On Wednesday, I will lead a follow-up meeting of leaders about how our community can assist with the needs of migrants being transferred to Nogales from Texas. The goals of the meeting are to discover how to best help both the unattended minors coming into our country from places such as El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala; and to discuss how to assist the mothers with children who also are arriving.
As I wrote in my last Memo, the federal agencies charged with tending to these very desperate migrants- refugees really – have worked very hard to improve conditions well over what existed in the first few days of the emergency transference of people from Texas. Many leaders – federal, governmental, consulate, and community aid organizers – attended a first meeting on June 13 to discuss what could be done about various concerns.
At this meeting, we will re-evaluate what has taken place, and we will assess how well our initial steps of coordinating donations and establishing lists of resources for the federal agencies working with migrants have succeeded. We then may be able to add more assistance or look for additional ways for our community to ensure that all the humanitarian needs of these people are being met.
I will confer the sacrament of Confirmation on the young people at St. Bartholomew Parish in San Manuel.
Happy Birthday! I will take brief trip back to Chicago to visit my mom, Eva Kicanas, for her 102nd birthday. I hope to be as spry as she is if I get to be her age – she still has the energy to ride the stationery bicycle every day, often for 90 minutes at a time!
I also will be taking some personal time off during July.
Annual Catholic Appeal update
We are now at 98 percent of reaching our annual goal, and each day our diocese moves a little closer to the 2014 goal of $3,721,840.
We are pleased that 14,438 families have contributed to this year’s Appeal, but know that
there are so many more families who could also contribute to insure that the charities and ministries supported by the Appeal are fully funded. We would love to see 100 percent participation from every parish! What a blessing that would be for our diocese.
I am also very pleased to list the 28 parishes that have reached 100 percent of their goal for this year: Immaculate Conception, Ajo; Immaculate Conception, Douglas; Most Holy Nativity, Rio Rico; Our Lady of La Vang, Tucson; Our Lady of Lourdes, Benson; Our Lady of the Mountains, Sierra Vista; Our Lady of the Valley, Green Valley; Our Lady Star of the Sea, Tucson; Picture Rocks, Tucson; Sacred Heart, Clifton; Sacred Heart Tombstone; Sacred Heart, Tucson; San Carlos Mission, San Carlos; St Andrew, Sierra Vista; St. Ann, Tubac; St. Bartholomew, San Manuel; St. Francis Cabrini, Tucson; St. Francis, Superior; St. Francis de Sales, Tucson; St. Helen, Oracle; St John Neumann, Yuma; St Joseph, Wellton; St. Jude, San Luis; St Luke, Douglas; St. Michael the Archangel, San Tan Valley; St. Patrick, Bisbee; St. Therese, Patagonia; and St. Thomas the Apostle, Tucson.
Fourth of July
On this holiday that marks the birth of the United States of America, I encourage all of us to reflect on the many blessings we have living in this country. Truly, our way of life – the general safety and protection of freedom of religion, of the right to speak and to gather to express our views, and the ability to seek health and wealth and peace – all are gifts of God and gifts not enjoyed by all countries.
On this holiday, let’s remember those gifts, and think about those trying to join us in this country that they and their families may also enjoy those blessings.
God our Father, Giver of life, we entrust the United States of America to
Your loving care.
You are the rock on which this nation was founded. You alone are the true source of our cherished rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Reclaim this land for
Your glory and dwell among Your people.Send Your Spirit to touch the hearts
of our nation´s leaders.
Open their minds to the great worth of human life and the responsibilities that accompany human freedom.Remind Your people that true happiness is rooted in seeking and doing Your will. Through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, Patroness of our land,grant us the courage to embrace the weakest and poorest, to help those in need among us, and to bring the light of Christ’s love to all.We ask this through Christ
Our Lord. Amen
For the health of Dorothy Arnold, mother of Father John Arnold and Tom Arnold, chief financial officer for our diocese, who has been critically ill.
24th Annual Vocations Golf Tournament
Sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Council 1200
Saturday, July 12
Haven Golf Course in Green Valley
Golfers, mark your calendars! This annual tournament to benefit vocations in the Diocese of Tucson features a 7 a.m. shotgun start.
The tournament is open to all, and the format is 2 man low net “pick your partner” to make a foursome. The entry fee is $60 and includes golf, cart, prizes, gift certificates festivities and dinner at Council 1200Hall (601 S. Tucson Blvd.) following the tournament.
This is the biggest fundraising event of the year and all of the money generated goes directly to the vocations fund for diocesan seminarians.
All donations will be greatly appreciated and put to good use.
For more information please contact: Andy Herreras at 321-0669; Abe Aragon at 743-3670; Andy Diaz at 603-8531; Gil Bravo at 792-9795; or Art Kingman at 349-1183.