Monday Memo, June 12, 2017. Vol. 15, No. 21

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas





Photo by Steff Koeneman — The traditional group photo taken after Deacon Ordinations. At left, the just ordained Permanent Deacons are to the left of Bishop Kicanas, and to the right of Deacon Rick Valencia, Vicar of Deacons. The others in the photo are those involved in the instruction of the deacons.

Permanent Deacon Ordinations
Saturday, I ordained six men (David Clark, Jorge Gonzalez, Carlos Hernandez, Benito Rodriguez, Jerry Conrad and William Justice) as Permanent Deacons at St. John Neumann Parish in Yuma.  Two of those ordained will serve at St. John Neumann Parish, three at Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma and one at St. Joseph Parish in Wellton. There will be a second such ordination in Tucson at St. Augustine Cathedral on June 17, also at 10 a.m.

Photo by Steff Koeneman


St. John’s is a beautiful church for such liturgies.  The magnificent songs of praise from the Diocesan Choir joined by the choir at St. John Neumann and led by Carlos Zapien made the ordination even more prayerful.


Preparation for the diaconate takes four years, during which time the wives of the future deacons also can receive formation. Deacon wives must give consent for their husbands to pursue the diaconate.


Photo by Michael Brown — A Permanent Deacon is assisted with vesting during his ordination.

As I reported last week, the formation to become a deacon is intense and involves human, intellectual, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation. In human formation, the Permanent Deacon candidates learn about themselves, their ability to relate to others and to deal with conflict and issues of personal growth. In intellectual formation they learn theology, church history, Canon Law and the Bible. In spiritual formation, they seek to grow in their relationship with the Lord and to become men of prayer. During pastoral formation, they learn the skills of ministry like preaching, proclaiming God’s word, how to baptize and conduct Eucharistic services, blessing of marriages and conducting funerals outside of Mass.   I should also mention that the Common Formation is held in Tucson, and so each of the deacons ordained for the Yuma/La Paz Vicariate drove the more than 500 miles roundtrip regularly from their homes in Yuma to Tucson and back during the years of their training — that is real commitment.


Deacons have become a critical part of clergy support at many of our parishes.  Deacons can lead rosaries, visit the sick, those in prison, and assist priests at Mass and preach as well as direct RCIA programs or other ministries needed by the pastor.  They cannot consecrate Holy Eucharist, hear confessions or give the Sacrament of the Sick.

Photo by Michael Brown — The Permanent Deacons circle the altar during the liturgy. This photo was taken from the choir loft at St. John Neumann Church.


My thanks to Father John Friel, pastor of St. John’s, and to his staff for being gracious hosts for this liturgy. Thanks also to Sister Lois Paha, O.P., D.Min., Ofelia James and Joe Perdreauville, Deacon Rick Valencia, Deacon Ken Moreland and the Common Formation instructors for their work in both the Common Formation and for arriving in Yuma to attend to all the details of the ordination.  Additional thanks to Steff Koeneman and Michael Brown of our Communications Department, and to the many members of the Diocesan Choir and to Carlos Zapien, Director, for bringing their talents to Yuma.



USCCB spring meeting
Catholic Campaign for Human Development
I will be in Indianapolis most of this week for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Spring General Assembly. The Assembly begins June 14, but I will be in Indianapolis a couple of days early working on several subcommittees on which I serve including Hispanic Affairs, Africa, CLINIC and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).


The theme of this year’s CCHD campaign is “Working on the Margins” under the leadership of Bishop David P. Talley of Alexandria, La., who is Chair of the Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.


Bishop Talley wrote in a letter for campaign directors: “The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) works to empower people who live in poverty to bring the transforming mercy of Jesus into their communities. By encouraging your parishes to support this collection you are extending the hand of solidarity to those living on the margins.”


If you would like to know more about the CCHD, I would read the rest of that letter at


As you may have heard, the US Bishops last week announced that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will offer Mass for Healing and Reconciliation, to be celebrated during the spring meeting. The Mass will commemorate the 15th anniversary of adoption of the USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.


A news release from the USCCB reported that the Mass of Prayer and Penance for survivors of sexual abuse within the Church, will take place at Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis Wednesday, June 14. The Mass is being held in response to a call from Pope Francis for all episcopal conferences across the world to have a Day of Prayer and Penance for victims of sexual abuse within the Church.


The bishops will gather together in solidarity to pray for victims and to acknowledge the pain caused by the failures of the Church in the past.


To view the prayer to be used during the Mass, please visit:


The USCCB’s  2016 annual report, which documents diocesan compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, was released last week. This report indicates that while great progress has been made, more work is needed in the area of preventing sexual abuse.


We continue to work diligently in our diocese to provide safe environments for children and vulnerable adults. Any priest, deacon, religious or laity involved in ministry with children must have fingerprint clearances, be educated in safe environment protocols and pass reference and background checks. In all our parishes. children are educated on how to stay safe and the importance of bringing forward any boundary concerns. In each of our parishes and schools a compliance representative works to assure all safe environment protocols are being honored and implemented. All are educated on the responsibility to inform police about any suspected physical or spiritual abuse.


Yet we need to stay vigilant. Introductory remarks in the latest report urge church leaders not to assume that “sexual abuse of minors by the clergy is a thing of the past and a distant memory. Any allegation involving a current minor should remind the bishops that they must rededicate themselves each day to maintaining a level of vigilance,” wrote Francesco Cesareo, Chair of the National Review Board that oversees the audits.


In the most recent audit conducted during 2015-16, the Diocese of Tucson received a very favorable report and auditors determined our diocese to be in full compliance after the auditors reviewed our documentation. (Next year, we are scheduled for an on-site visitation).


In the most recent national report of audits by the National Review Board for that period, 1,232 survivors of child sexual abuse by clergy were brought forward with 1,318 clerical abuse allegations in 132 Catholic Dioceses and Eparchies.  The vast majority of these allegations represent reports of abuse that occurred many years ago. Very few recent reports of abuse have surfaced and these are primarily boundary violations with no overt behavior.


The report is issued by USCCB Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection and its National Review Board each year after completion of an audit of US dioceses and eparchies. The audit assesses compliance with the USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, developed in 2002.


Other Spring Assembly information:
One of the opening presentations for the General Assembly will be from John Cavadini, University of Notre Dame professor of theology and McGrath-Cavadini Director of the McGrath Institute for Church Life.


His presentation will focus on “the baptismal call and the theology of vocation in relation to young people in the Church,” and will dovetail nicely with our discussions as we bishops begin preparation for the 2018 Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops convening and the Synod’s emphasis on young people, faith and vocational discernment.


We bishops also will be discussing issues of immigration and refugees, religious freedom and health care policy developments.


Our Lady’s Chapel
I was delighted to learn that the Diocese of Tucson’s newly renovated Our Lady’s Chapel will receive a Governor’s Heritage Honor Award for the beautiful work done John Alan, designer and artist, who renovated this sacred space. The recognition will take place Friday, June 16 at the Hilton El Conquistador Hotel in Oro Valley.  John Shaheen, our director of diocesan property and insurance, oversaw the chapel project and will be there along with John Alan to receive the award. Everyone who has seen the chapel marvels at its beauty. It is acoustically perfect which is a blessing for liturgical celebrations and small concerts that are held there.


I will confer the sacrament of Confirmation for adults at Holy Cross Parish in Morenci on Saturday.


Happy Father’s Day
Congratulations to all fathers and priests who father their communities as we celebrate Father’s Day on June 18. Make this day an opportunity to thank your father for his love and care. If your father is deceased, pray for him especially on that day. If your father has hurt or disappointed you, try to find the path of forgiveness or at least hold him in prayer. Thank your priests for their service on your behalf as they try to provide fatherly care to the people they are privileged to serve.


Annual Catholic Appeal
As of June 8, our Catholic Foundation received $3.69 million in pledges and donations to the annual Appeal.  Happily, I have been told that contributions include those from 1,439 new donors – another key part of our 2017 campaign goal of increasing the number of stewards participating in the Appeal.


The Foundation reports that we have reached 96 percent of the total fundraising goal of $3.85 million and at this point in the campaign we are $112,000 ahead of last year.


I urge everyone to consider contributing to the Appeal. If you take a look at my Facebook page at , you’ll see images from Saturday’s ordination of two priests for our diocese; contributions to the Appeal help make the training of new priests possible.




Ordination of Permanent Deacons for non-Yuma/La Paz parts of the Diocese
Saturday, June 17
St. Augustine Cathedral
10 a.m.


Also, I will ordain seminarians Tom Quirk and John Gonzales as transitory deacons, one of the final steps in preparation of ordination to priesthood at the June 17 liturgy.