Monday Memo, Jan. 30, 2017. Vol. 15, No. 4             

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas

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March for Life
On Friday, Jan. 27 thousands gathered in Washington to participate in the 43rd annual rally for life. Young people and seminarians from all around the country gathered along with others to pray and walk for life. This year Vice President Mike Pence, the highest ranking White House representative to take part in the rally, said, “Life is winning …we will not rest until we restore a culture of life in America.” President Trump tweeted “The March for Life is so important. To all of you marching—you have my full support.”


The present administration strongly supports an end to abortion and the importance of upholding religious liberty in which people of faith will not be mandated to surrender what they value and uphold. However…



Photo from

The Border Wall
Arizona Catholic Conference statement
Last week President Trump signed a series of executive orders that dealt with situations important to all of us as citizens and people of faith. These included plans to move forward with the Border Wall between the United States and Mexico, to increase the number of border patrol agents, to suspend the acceptance of refugees especially from Muslim countries, to rescind the “catch and release” policy, enlarge the detention facilities for those apprehended at the border and to withhold funding from “Sanctuary Cities.” The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and many bishops from around the country continue to call for comprehensive Immigration Reform, and do not agree with the most recent path taken by the White House.


As you can see neither the Republican nor the Democratic parties’ priorities are in line with the priorities of the Church to defend human life from conception to natural death.


The Arizona Catholic Conference issued a joint statement on Thursday from Bishop Eduardo Nevares, Bishop Thomas Olmsted, Bishop James Wall and me.


Here is that statement:


January 25, 2017


In light of recent and expected federal executive orders, the Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference (ACC) reaffirm our commitment to accompanying and supporting the vulnerable in our society, including immigrants and refugees.


We have long believed, and continue to maintain, that comprehensive immigration reform is the best and most appropriate solution for addressing immigration issues.


Accordingly, we urge our elected officials to seek solutions that will not only help with national security, but also facilitate family unification and assist immigrant “dreamers” who, although born elsewhere, were brought to this country at a young age and know no other country.  Similarly, our hearts and prayers go out to refugee families who have faced terrible violence and lost their own homes and now need a new place to live.


Focusing on building a new border wall has the potential to take us away from these important considerations that impact vulnerable families and will ultimately be useless.  Pope Francis has called for bridges, not walls, between people.


It is our fervent hope, therefore, that the federal government refocuses its efforts on comprehensive immigration reform that will benefit not only these families, but also our entire country.


Pope Francis has called us to build bridges, not fences.  Fences divide people and often create fear and anger.  As is pointed out in the above statement, the concentration of interest in building could distract the president and others away from more important human considerations.


Late last week, the Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto had been scheduled to meet with the president this week, but because the executive order, cancelled the visit.


In our border diocese we know the economic importance of trade between Mexico and the United States. We need to work to build bonds with one of our closest neighbor and not grow farther apart.


Let us pray that our representatives in the U.S. House and Senate will work to pursue Comprehensive Immigration Reform and that they will be committed to work to resolve so many of our border concerns, and not be distracted by actions that can lead to fear and anger.


 Arizona Catholic Conference Meeting
I will be meeting with my brother bishops in the State of Arizona during our regular meeting of the ACC on Tuesday and Wednesday in Phoenix.  On Tuesday we will meet at the Diocesan Offices to hear from Mr. Ron Johnson, Director of the Catholic Conference. He will discuss legislative action and lead us in a discussion of legislation we would support and oppose. Later that day we will meet individually with the Speaker of the House, J.D. Mesnard, the Senate President, Steven B. Yarbrough and Governor Doug Ducey. These yearly discussions have been very helpful in articulating the bishops’ concerns to our elected officials.


On Wednesday we will host a breakfast for members of the House and Senate. These informal gatherings are an opportunity to talk informally with our elected officials.


Later on Wednesday we will gather for Mass at Sts. Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix and then gather on the capitol lawn for a rally on behalf of parental school choice in education of their children. It is expected the Governor and representatives from the House and Senate will speak briefly. Many of our own diocesan schools participate in this awareness boosting event each year, and I always find that I am very proud of our schools, the faculty and especially the students that participate.




Superior Shined
Last Saturday, at the recent installation of their pastor, Father Samuel Jandeh, V.C. So many priests and people gathered at St. Francis of Assisi parish to welcome their new pastor. A delicious supper was served at the parish before Mass. The African Choir from St. Cyril Parish sang providing a joyful sound for the Mass and a number of people came from St. Patrick in Bisbee where Father Samuel had served as parochial vicar prior to being appointed as Pastor in Superior.



Photo courtesy of Jorge Flores — Newly-installed Pastor Samuel Jandeh, V.C. with many parishioners, brother priests and Bishop Kicanas following the Mass of Installation.

It is always a joy to hear the enthusiastic applause as the parish receives its pastor. Father Samuel gave a powerful talk on the role of the priest as pastor and shepherd. He was moved by the phrase in the installation rite where the bishop says to the new pastor, “Always be a loving father, a gentle shepherd and a wise teacher of your people so you can lead them to Christ who will strengthen all that you do.” He promised the people he will work hard to be a good pastor and shepherd.




Above, Bishop Kicanas and Fr. Joseph Hung Le, pastor at Our Lady of LaVang are surrounded by dragons at the New Year celebration. Asian

Asian New Year
It is my joy each year to participate in the Asian New Year celebrations at Our Lady of LaVang. This is the Year of the Rooster. Hopefully the celebration of Mass followed by lunch, fireworks, lucky money in red envelopes and the every-vigilant dragon on guard against bad spirits will bring forth a happy year.  My thanks to Fr. Joseph Hung Le and our Vietnamese Catholic Community for inviting me to the celebration!


School Mass
St. John the Evangelist, a Notre Dame ACE Academy
This morning I will celebrate Mass with and will visit with the students at St. John the Evangelist School.


The school, with 425 kindergarten through eighth grade students, is guided along by Principal Mrs. Minh Solorzano  This school really is about meeting academic standards and learning the faith.


I can’t wait to hear the stories from the students!


National Catholic Schools Week 2017 will be observed in dioceses around the country January 29–February 4. This year’s theme, “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service,” focuses on the important faith-building, academic and societal contributions provided by a Catholic education.


A press release sent out by the USCCB reported that:1.9 million students are currently educated in 6,525 Catholic schools in cities, suburbs, small towns and rural communities around the country. Students receive an education that prepares them for higher education, a competitive work environment, and most importantly, living a Christian life of virtue in a challenging society.”


If you are the parent or grandparent of a student or students, and you are looking for new educational options for those you love, please check into Catholic schools.  Many of our schools are holding or will be holding open houses, where you can learn more.


Seton Award
On Thursday it will be my honor to receive the 2017 St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award. The Salpointe Catholic High School Elizabeth Ann Seton Award is presented during National Catholic Education Week and honors those who have made a positive difference in Catholic education in Southern Arizona.


This is the 25th Annual event.


My deepest thanks for the recognition and for all the hard work everyone at Salpointe does to educate students with excellent academic schools and deep faith.


Welcome Benedictine Sisters
The Conference of Benedictine Prioresses is taking place in our diocese at the Redemptorist Renewal Center. I will be visiting with the leaders and will celebrate Mass with them on Friday.  I am thankful to Sister Patricia Crowley, O.S.B, president of the Conference for her invitation.   I just hope our weather warms up a bit to welcome our visitors.


Magnificat Women’s Group
Members of this group, a woman-to-woman ministry within the Roman Catholic Church, work to follow the example of Mary and Elizabeth and to generate a lively faith in God and His action in our lives along with a love for Mary and the Church.


The Tucson chapter members will be gathering at the Viscount Suites on Saturday.  It will be my joy to speak with the group as I have done several times in the past. They are deeply committed women to the mission of the church.


Go Kino Teens
On Saturday at Salpointe Catholic High School I will get a rare opportunity to visit with members of the Kino Teens from Nogales, Tucson and Phoenix.  The amazing young people work with the Kino Border Initiative and work hard to spread information among others their age about concerns and about immigrants and what be done to help.


The organization started five years ago at “Lourdes Catholic School in Nogales, Ariz., a couple of miles away on the other side of the border. The group supports the Catholic-run Kino Border Initiative, working in Mexico and the U.S. for more humane and viable migration solutions. In Mexico, the initiative operates the center and a nearby shelter for deported women and children.


The Kino Teens have a three-pronged approach – service, education and advocacy.”


I am so proud these young people.  Maybe you would like to get involved.   Check out the Kino Teens Facebook page at


First ever dinner for a Catholic Schools Endowment
Members of our Diocesan School Board will host their first-ever dinner to raise funds for Catholic Education in the Diocese.  The event will take place at St. Augustine Catholic High School, 8800 E. 22nd St.  The reception and Silent Auction begins at 5 p.m.
6 p.m. Dinner and concert by Catholic school performers
Cost $50 per person or $400 for a table of eight guests
To purchase tickets, please visit:


This is a great way to support Catholic schools, this is the first annual dinner dedicated to an endowment just for schools.


Please pray
For the rapid healing of Msgr. Richard “Dixie” O’Keeffe, E.V., who has been hospitalized in Yuma.


A Shepherd guides his Flock
St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish
4725 E. Pima St.
Tuesdays: Jan. 31 and Feb.7.

In collaboration with The Jordan Ministry Team, St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish is hosting a series on Pope Francis’ writings.


The next series, will focus on his encyclical On Care of Our Common Home. The three sessions will be on Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. Presentations will be offered both in English and on Spanish. Sessions begin in Dougherty Hall; a free will offering will be taken up to cover the costs.


St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish

Exploring Laudato Sí:

From Science and the Spirit

In Spanish on Feb. 7

English on Feb. 8


St. Cyril’s Parish, 4725 E. Pima, will host two evening sessions exploring Pope Francis’ encyclical on the Care of Our Common Home. The presentation, sponsored by the Carmelites’ Peace, Justice & Integrity of Creation Commission, will be in Spanish of Tuesday, Feb.7 and in English on Wednesday, Feb. 8 starting at 7 p.m. in Nicholson Hall. Both evenings are open to all in the Diocese. A free-will donation will be accepted.


The presenter will be Father Eduardo Scarel, O.Carm. from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is the Director of The Climate, Environment and Economics Center at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina (a center begun by Pope Francis when he was the Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires) and was one of the collaborators on the encyclical.


Parish Festival
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church
221 E. 8th St, Florence
Sat. Feb. 11
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Everyone is welcome to 5th Annual Parish Festival at the parish be held on Saturday, Feb. 11, at Phelan Hall. Come enjoy delicious foods and beverages, music, a silent auction, raffles with great prizes and arts and crafts for sale.


Cathedral Concert Series
Feb. 21
Our Lady’s Chapel
St. Augustine Cathedral
7 p.m.
Requested donation is $15

A performance by Jorge Luis Prats, pianist

For information contact 623-6353.

If you haven’t yet attended a concert in Our Lady’s Chapel, you will be joyfully surprised; the chapel has amazing acoustics and is a magnificent setting for concerts.