Nov. 3, 2003 Nov.10, 2003 Nov. 17, 2003 Nov. 24, 2003
Vol. 1, No. 30
Nov. 3, 2003
A family gathered over the weekend, and they learned with shock and sadness of a serious situation faced by one of their brothers. With tears and hugs, they comforted and consoled one another and the brother who was in difficulty. They prayed for healing.
This may have happened in dozens or even hundreds of families in our Diocese over the weekend, but there is one family I know for sure experienced this. It is the parish family of our St. Augustine Cathedral.
Father Salvador Cazares Haro, parochial vicar at the Cathedral, made a very difficult announcement to the parish over the weekend. He acknowledged that he has fathered a child.
It was Father Salvador who brought the information forward to us some months ago. He recognized his grave failing in this matter. He has sought forgiveness and, although he can no longer undo what he has done, he is trying to do what is best and right.
After Father Salvador came forward with this information, we provided the mother the opportunity for independent counseling so that she could tell her own story. Her counseling relationship is rightly private, but we were assured that her statement was essentially the same as that provided by Father Salvador: that the relationship was between two consenting adults and that the relationship did not originate in connection with his role as a priest. The mother asked for privacy, and we continue to try to honor that desire. She made known her needs, and we have worked with Father Salvador to try to address them.
Our Diocesan Sexual Misconduct Review Board also studied the information available to us. They determined that the matter, although clearly a violation of Father SalvadorÕs commitment as priest and Catholic, was a consensual relationship with another adult that was apart from his priestly role, and, because there was no danger to minors there was therefore no immediate need to remove him from ministry. They determined that the Diocese must insure that Father Salvador meets his responsibilities. We are in the process of helping him to do that.
Father Salvador is engaged in therapeutic support and spiritual counseling to assist him in discerning his future. For the present, he has decided to take a leave of absence for the well-being of the parish and to continue his psychological treatment.
Father Salvador has said, to me and in his public announcement to the parish, that he deeply regrets his actions and that he accepts the responsibilities as father of this child. I feel very deeply for the mother and her child as well as for Father Salvador. I want to continue to support them in their healing.
I am grateful for the response of the parish family of St. Augustine Cathedral Parish to this situation. You have modeled for the entire community the compassion and forgiveness of Christ.
I especially am grateful to Father Francisco Maldonado, Father Gregory Okafor, Sister Paulette Shaw, C.S.A., all the deacons and all the staff and volunteers of the parish for their pastoral care shown to their community.
The attention that some of the news media brought to this situation emphasizes to all of us that in this day and time that because we minister in the name of the Church and the Diocese we are not private people.
Whatever our position -- bishop or bookkeeper, pastor or volunteer -- all of us are called, in the words of our new Code of Conduct, "to conduct our personal and public lives in a manner that is consistent with the highest standards of our faith."
We seek to live this Code, conscious of our weakness but assured of God's grace, which is sufficient.
1. Southern California Wildfires -- The people of Southern California remain in our prayers and thoughts. Last week's devastating wildfires are being brought under control, but the displacement of thousands of families and damage to the environment will have long term effects. The magnitude of these fires was far greater than that of the fires in our mountains over the summer, and we know how frightening an experience that was for us.
The disruption to life in Southern California has been widespread. Catholic schools and parishes had to cancel normal operations and activities, as did other public sector and religious denominations. Dioceses have suffered loss of property, including retreat centers in the mountains.
The social service and charitable agencies of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Dioceses of San Diego, San Bernardino and Orange are working closely with other relief organizations to provide counseling, emergency financial assistance, food, shelter and clothing to those who have been displaced by the fires.
Catholic Charities USA, which is commissioned by the U.S. Catholic Bishops to represent the Catholic community in times of domestic disaster, is responding through its Disaster Response Office.
Bishop Gerald R. Barnes of the Diocese of San Bernardino said in a radio address last week, "Words, at times, ring hollow in the face of such horrible circumstances. But all of us in some way can stand together in mutual support and solidarity."
We certainly do stand in solidarity with our sister dioceses in Southern California with our prayers, and I approve special collections in our parishes for the Catholic Charities USA Fire Disaster Relief Aid Program.
2. On the Road to Yuma -- I am on the road this morning to Yuma for a two-day visit that will culminate with the "Protecting Our Children" gathering for the Yuma/La Paz Vicariate.
Accompanying me are Dr. Paul Duckro, director of the Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, Richard Serrano, director of Human Resources, and Fred Allison, director of Community Relations.
While they prepare for tomorrow's "Protecting Our Children" information and training session at Yuma Catholic High School, I will make some pastoral visits and attend two important meetings.
I will be meeting with the Yuma Catholic High School Board and welcoming the school's new principal, Sister Adriana Schelton, O.S.F., who will assume her responsibilities in January.
Sister Adriana joins a wonderful tradition of service to the Diocese by the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity from Manitowoc, Wisconsin. They have a half-century of service to the Yuma Community. Think of the generations of children who have benefited from the mission and ministry of the Sisters!
Yuma Catholic High School graduates its first senior class this year. We take pride as a Diocese in the school's academic and athletic success, and I will communicate this in person to the Board's members. I will acknowledge the hard work and dedication of its members, past and present, who have helped to give the Catholic community and the larger community of Yuma such a wonderful educational opportunity.
I will be meeting with Bruno Dispoto, president of the Board of the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson. Bruno has been so faithful over the years in making the drive from Yuma to Tucson for various meetings in his volunteer ministries to Catholic Schools, the Catholic Tuition Support Organization and to the Foundation. Bruno, I am happy the Diocese can drive to you for a change!
I also want to meet with the priests of the Yuma/La Paz Vicariate to reflect and share with them on their ministry in this western-most vicariate of our Diocese.
3. President Vicente Fo---- I hope to have the opportunity Tuesday afternoon, if travel plans can be worked out, to fly from Yuma to Phoeni--for a meeting of leaders from various groups and organizations in Arizona with President Vicente Fo--of Mexico. The President is visiting several western states this week. I am pleased that religious organizations will be represented at the Phoeni--meeting. Obviously, in the short time that will be available, we wouldn't expect substantive discussion of the important issues of migration, but the mutual interest that religious and social organizations in our state have in addressing social justice and human welfare issues certainly can be communicated.
4. "Protecting Our Children" -- We conclude the initial phase of the introduction of our child abuse awareness and prevention program with information and training events in Yuma and Tucson.
The development of relationships with our community partners in child abuse prevention and awareness has been an important and gratifying part of the implementation of our "Protecting Our Children" program.
In Yuma, Yuma County Attorney Pat Orozco And Chief William Robinson of the Yuma Police Department have been very supportive of our program. Roger Nelson, chief deputy county attorney, and Detective Jennifer Munns of the Yuma Police Department are presenting tomorrow's session on mandatory reporting of suspect abuse.
In Tucson on Thursday, our final information and training event will take place at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish. Our Pastoral Center Staff will be helping with registration. Erica Ortega of the Southern Arizona Child Advocacy Center, Detective Gerard Moretz of the Pima County Sheriff's Office and Jenny Zelt of Child Protective Services will be making presentations.
5. Cemeteries Board Meeting -- The Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries Board meets on Wednesday. This past weekend, with All Saints and All Souls, was extremely busy at our Tucson cemeteries of Holy Hope and Our Lady of the Desert. Our Catholic families have great expectations of our cemeteries on these special days, and I commend the staff of the cemeteries for the hard work and dedication they demonstrate in preparing for these days and for being present and available to families to answer questions and address any concerns.
6. Priests Day of Prayer -- Many of our priests will be spending this Wednesday in prayer and reflection at Picture Rocks for our Priests Day of Prayer. This monthly mini-retreat is an opportunity for our priests to nurture themselves and each other through prayer and meditation.
7. Religion & Ethics News Weekly -- Our Diocese is going to be on national television this coming weekend!
Although the video crews and correspondent from Religious & Ethics News Weekly think their feature is about me as Bishop, it's actually about all of us and the ministry we share in the Diocese. Crews have been present at the Closing of the Year of the Rosary at the Cathedral, at the "Bible Jeopardy" youth group gathering at St. Francis de Sales in Tucson, at our Pastoral Center and at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Florence for the visit of the relic of the Tilma.
Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, hosted by veteran journalist Bob Abernethy, is the only national TV newsmagazine program devoted entirely to the news of religion and spirituality and major ethical issues.
Produced by Thirteen/WNET New York, the program explores the top moral questions facing the country and profiles the most interesting people and groups in the world of religion and ethics. It is distributed to PBS stations nationwide and is broadcast in our Diocese on KUAT Channel 6, Sunday at noon. We plan to videotape the broadcast this coming Sunday so that those who aren't able to see the feature on TV can see it later on tape. You can learn more about the program at its Website: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics.
8. UA Faculty Reception -- I will be attending the annual UA Faculty Reception at the St. Thomas More Newman Center this Thursday afternoon. My thanks to Father Michael Fones, O.P., and all the staff for hosting this event, which furthers the relationship between the Center's campus ministry and the University community. Our Catholic Community within the Diocese and the University both are blessed by the presence of many dedicated educators who also are dedicated Catholics who serve both community and Church. UA President Peter Likins has brought his faith and his great educational experience to the service of our Diocese, and I am grateful for his leadership as a person of faith. Of course, Father Bob Burns, O.P., is an outstanding member of the UA Faculty as chairman of the Department of Comparative Religions.
9. USCCB Fall Meeting -- I will be leaving Friday for Washington and the annual Fall Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Nov. 10-13. I have some preparatory meetings to attend this weekend before the formal start of the meeting next Monday.
This Saturday, I will participate in the second consultation for the document on Lay Ecclesial Ministry that the Bishops' subcommittee on Lay Ecclesial Ministry is preparing. I am chairman of that subcommittee.
The focus of this consultation will be on issues associated with entry into Lay Ecclesial Ministry such as identification and recruitment of lay ministers and screening of potential candidates for lay ministry. Our own efforts in our Diocese to identify and screen candidates screen for lay ministry formation will be helpful for this consultation.
There is background about Lay Ecclesial Ministry and more information on the document our subcommittee is preparing in the Sept. 2 Monday Memo.
Other consultations subjects of the subcommittee have or will include formation of ministers, workplace issues, accreditation, commissioning and on-going formation.
On Sunday I will be attending a meeting of USCCB Committee on Doctrine. I am ending a three year term as a member of this committee, which is one of 35 standing committees of the USCCB.
The Committee on Doctrine has as its primary goals the support and promotion of the Pope's universal teaching authority and leadership and assistance to the bishops individually and collectively in fulfilling their roles as teachers in the faith community.
Part of the Committee's responsibility is to review any document of the Conference to make sure it is doctrinally correct. Of late, the Committee has been reviewing the document on priestly formation that is undergoing its fifth revision. This document provides guidelines for seminaries for the preparation of men for the priesthood.
(There is more information about the work of this committee in the Sept. 8 Monday Memo.)
The agenda for this committee meeting will include the document that articulates Church teaching on same-se--"marriage" and the document on devotions that will be presented at the general meeting of Bishops.
On Sunday evening, I will be attending a meeting of the National Association for Directors of Campus Ministry. I am Episcopal Liaison from the USCCB to this group, which is one of four national organizations that provides structure and guidance on campus ministry. I also am a member of the Subcommittee on Campus Ministry of the USCCB. The main topic for our Sunday meeting will be what are bishops looking for from programs of campus ministry.
I will write more in the next Monday Memo about the agenda for the Fall Meeting.
10. One of Us at 111 S. Church -- An encyclopedic knowledge of everyone and everything in the area of formation and catechesis makes the person who is this week's "One of Us" profile a treasure for all of us at the Pastoral Center.
She is Janet Towner, who provides administrative support to the Offices of Catechesis and Evangelization.
"I am originally from New York State, born in Queens but raised in the beautiful Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountain region, about 70 miles north of New York City. I also lived in the Boulder, Colorado, area for 13 years, and although now settled in Tucson, each summer I wonder why!
"The two most important and very special people in my life are my two children, Karen and David. Next in line are my two dogs, Ma--and Kanani. I love them dearly, and they think I'm the greatest person in the world. Talk about a win-win situation!
"In the more than 16 years I have worked for the Diocese, 15 were spent at Regina Cleri Center with the Department of Parish Life and Ministry. Although it was difficult to leave Regina Cleri, we were welcomed to our new Pastoral Center with open arms. No matter how many times you may hear this, the staff of the Pastoral Center really are the greatest!
"God's love is very powerful and very evident in our Diocese. Although we have experienced a lot of pain and sadness, disappointments and financial crises, we also have witnessed the strength, courage, determination and especially the faith to hold it all together.
"I truly believe that so much of this is due to all the many dedicated and faith-filled individuals who so graciously and generously agree to serve on various Boards, Councils, Task Forces, Committees, as well as those who willingly coordinate events or who have carried on programs almost single-handedly to further God's work in our Diocese. We could never do all we do without them! Thank you for your love and support and may God continue to bless you for all you do."
Janet, you truly are among those dedicated and faith-filled individuals, and we appreciate all that you do and the spirit with which you do it.
11. Another One of Us at 111 S. Church -- I know Bishop Moreno is grateful for your thoughts and prayers as he continues his recovery from Bell's Palsy. Bishop experienced this condition that causes some paralysis of the facial muscles last week. This condition is caused by a viral infection of a nerve in the head. Full recovery is very probable, and I am sure we will be seeing his beautiful smile in its full intensity quite soon.
Vol. 1, No. 31
Nov. 10, 2003
I am in Washington this week through Thursday for the fall meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The agenda for this meeting includes the release of several important documents and statements: "Catholic Reflections on Food, Farmers, and Farmworkers" prepared by the bishops' ad hoc Committee on Agriculture; "Stewardship and Young Adults;" a revised set of Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines; and a pastoral statement on popular devotional practices prepared, in question and answer format, by the Doctrine Committee.
There also will be various presentations and discussions, including a discussion of how the bishops can be of assistance to the Church in Africa; short presentations by prelates from Africa and from the Vietnam Episcopal Conference; a one-hour panel on war and peace; a presentation by the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs on Christian Churches Together; and a discussion of the continuing work of the Office of Child and Youth Protection, the National Review Board and the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse.
So, it's a busy week ahead! I will reflect on our meeting in next week's memo.
1. National Catholic Youth Conference -- From Washington, I will be going to Houston for this conference at which some 23,000 Catholic teens from all over the U.S. will be gathering to celebrate, pray and reflect with each other on the joys and challenges of being young and being Catholic. I am very pleased that our Diocese will be represented by teens from several of our parish youth groups, and I look forward to joining our teens there. We have our tee-shirts and placards ready to proudly proclaim our presence!
2. Youth Summit Follow-Up -- I met on Nov. 1 with a representative group of youth ministry leaders in a very productive dialogue about the positive trends in youth ministry as well as the concerns and the need for development within our diocese.
Also attending were representatives of three of our offices here at the Pastoral Center: the Office of Vocations, the Office of Catechesis for Children, Youth, and Families and the Office of Evangelization and Hispanic Ministry.
I was impressed with the commitment and long term faithfulness of those present, many of whom described their ministry with youth as a calling from the Lord.
Among the issues and concerns surfaced at the summit were increased training and formation for youth ministers and youth leaders; retreat development and need for a diocesan youth retreat center; emphasis on catechesis of our youth; greater unity within our cultural diversity; clergy support; improved communication; and clear diocesan policies on Sacraments and the safety and protection of our youth.
As a result of this meeting a new "umbrella" youth ministry development board will emerge at the diocesan level from existing leadership groups. This will be a mechanism for addressing how we can better work together to move youth ministry forward in the Diocese.
3. "Protecting Our Children" -- The introduction of our child abuse prevention and awareness program was completed last week with two gatherings in Yuma and in Tucson.
Including the first meeting last September, more than 2,000 personnel of the Diocese -- parish and school staff members, teachers, administrators, priests, deacons, religious women -- have received this introduction to the program, which included education on the mandatory child abuse reporting law and child abuse awareness.
(For all parish and school staff who were not able to attend the introductory sessions, there will be a special make-up session on Saturday, Nov. 22, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Tucson. The location of the session will be communicated to all parishes and schools as soon as possible. All parish and school staff who did not attend the Sept. 15 session at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, the Nov. 4 session at Yuma Catholic High School or the Nov. 6 session at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish are expected to attend this special make-up session. You are asked to please notify the Human Resources Office at 792-3410 who will be attending from your parish or school.)
I am grateful to all our community partners for their participation in the introductory sessions. I especially am grateful to the staffs of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Yuma Catholic High School and St. Thomas the Apostle for their assistance and their hosting of the sessions.
It is now important for all our parishes and schools to complete their local compliance plans.
I call to your attention the remaining meetings for those who accepted the position of compliance representative:
Cochise Vicariate: tonight, Sacred Heart Parish, Tombstone, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Santa Cruz Vicariate: Wednesday, Nov. 12, Sacred Heart Parish, Nogales, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Graham/Greenlee Vicariate: Monday, Nov. 17, St. Rose of Lima Parish, Safford, 7-9 p.m.; Pinal West Vicariate: Wednesday, Nov. 19, St. Helen Parish, Eloy, 7-9 p.m.; Gila/Pinal East Vicariate: Thursday, Nov. 20, Holy Angels Parish, Globe, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
4. Meeting with President Fo---- Msgr. Tom Cahalane, Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe and I were in the delegation representing the major denominations and faiths in Arizona in a meeting with Mexican President Vicente Fo--during his visit to Phoeni--last week.
I found the President to be very affable and attentive during this meeting, which provided the opportunity to communicate the concerns of faith communities about migration from Mexico into the U.S. through Arizona.
President Fo--took notes as we addressed concerns such as the humane treatment of migrants and the need to move prudently and judiciously to address the systemic economic realities in both nations that affect the migration. We expressed our hope that he and President Bush, in their Texas meeting, would be able to address the issues that have paralyzed efforts for substantive resolutions of border issues since Sept. 11, 2001.
5. Hispanic Evangelization -- There is a special Eucharistic Celebration at 3 p.m. this Sunday at St. Augustine Cathedral the members of Hispanic Charismatic movements in our Diocese.
I am inviting all members of Ministerio SHALOM and Voz en el Desierto, two of the most active movements, to attend this special Mass to worship together and to recognize and thank Horacio Trujillo and Salvador and Juanita Gonzalez for their years of dedicated leadership and service to the movements.
I also want to share a vision for a reorganization of the Charismatic movements at a diocesan level. We anticipate that a committee will be formed from members of both movements in order to discern the best way this reorganization can come about.
6. Father Charles Polzer, S.J. -- Father Charles W. Polzer, S.J., died last week at Regis Infirmary, Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, in Los Gatos, California. He was 72 years old.
The Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated this Wednesday at
the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center Chapel in Los Gatos. We will remember Father Charlie at the celebration of a memorial Mass on Friday, Nov. 21, at 7 p.m. at St. Augustine Cathedral.
Father Charlie came to our Diocese in 1969. He retired as curator of ethnohistory at the Arizona State Museum in Tucson several years ago. He had served as director of the Documentary Relations of the Southwest, a project that researched the Spanish colonial Southwest. He was an author and an expert on Padre Eusebio Francisco Kino and the historic Jesuit missions of northern New Spain.
Father Charlie had participated in a recent "brainstorming" session here at the Pastoral Center in our discernment effort for a pastoral letter next year that would be issued under the title of "Church with a Mission." Father Charlie shared with our group, with great conviction and passion, the mission and vision of Padre Kino as an explorer and evangelist.
If you would like to get a sense of the relationship that Father Charlie had with Padre Kino, I recommend that you read "Padre on Horseback: To obscurity and back: Toward the beatification of Eusebio Kino, SJ," at this Internet address: http://www.companysj.com/v194/padre.htm.
7. Lay Participation in the Life of the Church -- This is an update on what I reported to you in the Monday Memo of Aug. 8.
I shared with you then that I had met with a group called Laity Involved in Catholic Affairs (LICA) that was developing at Santa Catalina Mission, and that the goals of the group were to develop better structures of communication in the Diocese and to encourage continued transparency and openness, especially in the area of sexual abuse and ensuing costs. They also wanted to develop structures for greater lay involvement.
I encouraged them to offer suggestions, and I asked them specifically how we could communicate more effectively and in what ways the Diocese appears not to be transparent or open, since we are making every effort to do that.
I had a very productive follow-up meeting with LICA last week. The gathering with a group of 35 people resulted in some positive reflections and suggestions.
Among the suggestions: promote parishioner reading of Monday Memo through bulletin announcements; mail Catholic Vision to homes of parishioners; publish names of the members of all major councils and committees annually in Catholic Vision; the Bishop should issue an annual "State of the Diocese" report; continue to share the annual financial audit of the Diocese in Catholic Vision; parishes should issue annual financial reports; the Bishop and Pastoral Center Staff should go to parishes for listening sessions; the Bishop should communicate more often through parish bulletins; the meetings of diocesan boards and councils should provide access for the attendance of parishioners; the Bishop should use diocesan communication channels first when possible over secular news media; and parish and finance councils should be strengthened.
When you ask for suggestions and ideas, it's especially gratifying to receive them when they are so well thought out and presented in a spirit of collaboration and teamwork. I think most all of these all are "can-do" suggestions.
8. "One of Us at 111 S. Church" -- This week's profile of a Pastoral Center staff member is actually "Two of Us." Ruben Davalos is director of the Office of Evangelization. Maria, his wife, provides administrative support in that office.
"Ruben was born in Puebla de los Angeles, Mexico, and was sent to study in the U.S. after he graduated from high school. Maria was born in Los Angeles and was raised in the Mexican border town of Mexicali, but all her schooling took place in California.
"We met at the end of Maria's freshman year, went steady for si--years and have both endured and enjoyed 43 years of marriage.
"Throughout our lives we have been exposed to and have belonged to most of the existing movements in the Catholic Church, but it was a special moment of personal conversion 21 years ago that prompted Ruben to spend the rest of his earthly life serving God. We came to the Diocese 13 years ago when Ruben was employed as Director of Evangelization.
"We have lots of paper work to handle during our hours at the Pastoral Center, but our real work is out there where the people of God are. We try to introduce them to the presence of a living Jesus and steer them towards a personal encounter with Him. Needless to say, there are not enough hours in the day, nor days in the week to do it, but we try to sow the seed, water and weed the plants and hope through the Grace of God for an abundant harvest."
Thank you, Maria and Ruben, for your dedication to the Diocese and its mission of evangelization. We know the two of you not only as workers for the Lord, but also as the loving parents of your four children and the doting grandparents of your si--grandchildren (with one more on the way).
9. Maybe Next Sunday -- The Religion and Ethics Newsweekly television program that included a profile of our Diocese and me was not broadcast as scheduled on KUAT-TV on Sunday. The station informs us that it may be broadcast next Sunday at noon, but there was no certainty about that. At any rate, you can read the profile at the program's Internet site: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/week710/profile.html. And, if you have the right Internet "player," you can watch and listen to the profile.
Vol. 1, No. 32
Nov. 17, 2003
I want to give you a "Bishop's View" of last week's fall meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington. It was a very busy three days, and while there is a wealth of information about what happened at the conference in news media reports and at the USCCB website, let me cover some of the highlights as I experienced them.
¥ Bishop Wilton Gregory, conference president, began our meeting by calling us to work to build communion within our dioceses. He impressed upon us that the challenges our Church faces can only be addressed by our working together. Bishop Gregory encouraged us to continue to do what is right, to reach out to victims, to continue our efforts to establish policies and procedures on how to respond to misconduct, to care for priests and to train people who work for or volunteer for the Church to provide safe environments.
¥ The presence at this meeting of a number of bishops from around the world certainly gave us a sense of the global nature of our Church.
Among the bishops were Bishop Paul Hoa President of the Vietnam Episcopal Conference; Bishop Diarmuid Martin, Coadjutor Archbishop of Dublin in Ireland, who gave a talk on the Vatican position on Iraq; Cardinal Fredereic Etsou, Archbishop of Kinshasa and President of the Catholic Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Bishop Nicolas Djkomo, Bishop of Tshumbe of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
¥ We dealt forthrightly with our efforts to rebuild trust. We learned that the probable date for the Audit Report from the National Review Board is Jan. 6. This report will be on the individual audits that all Dioceses from around the nation underwent this year. This report will identify progress made by dioceses in implementing the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
(We were encouraged by the preliminary report from our audit last August that our Diocese is in compliance with the letter and spirit of the Charter. The auditors commended us for transparency and the exemplary effort to make the changes necessary to address the issue of sexual abuse of minors more effectively.)
We also learned that the much-anticipated study on the nature and scope of child sexual abuse by priests will be made public by the National Review Board on Feb. 27. This study will provide a scientific analysis of information from all dioceses gathered by the John Jay College of Criminal Law. We cooperated with the study. This study spans 50 years and the entire Church in the U.S.
Child abuse statistics in our country tell a terrible story -- one in three girls has been abused; one in si--boys. Most of this abuse happens in families. Nevertheless, we must understand the extent of abuse within the institution of our Church.
This independent study will be helpful in knowing the extent of child abuse by priests over this 50 year period: the number of those who have been abused and their ages, the number of priest abusers, how many were repetitive abusers and the costs of treatment, legal expenses and settlements.
This study points out that no organization or group of professionals in our country has been scrutinized to the extent that our Church and the priesthood are being examined in this study. Yet, we need to understand what happened and why. It is expected that the results of the study will be disturbing and upsetting.
In addition to the study on the nature and scope of the issue, the National Review Board also will release a preliminary report on the causes and context of the problem. The Review Board interviewed 60 people, including victims, bishops and others, to identify possible causes that led to the abuse. The report will identify causes that will be researched further to see how they contributed to what happened.
Many people have different theories on why the crisis happened. Some blame celibacy. Some see homosexuality or dissent as the root causes. Some question the psychosexual development seminarians experienced in the decades of the 1940s, 50s and 60s.
¥ A number of new committee chairs were elected at the meeting, including Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe as Secretary of the Administrative Board; Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany as Chair-elect of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development; Bishop Fred Campbell of St. Paul-Minneapolis as Chair-elect of the Permanent Diaconate; Bishop Gerald Barnes of San Bernardino as Chair-elect of Migration; Bishop Jerome Listecki as Chair-elect of Pastoral Practices; Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore as Chair of Pro-Life; Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn as Chair-elect of Domestic Policy; Bishop Blase Cupich of Rapid City as Chair-elect of Vocations; Bishop Joseph Pepe of Las Vegas as Chair-elect of Women in Society and in the Church; and Bishop Dan Walsh of Santa Rosa as Chair-elect of World Mission.
¥ I was elected to the Board of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), which operates as a legal support agency for a rapidly growing national network of Catholic immigration programs.
CLINIC organizes national programs for particularly needy populations and directly represents vulnerable groups that its local partner agencies cannot.
CLINIC advocates for transparent, fair and generous immigration policies while expressing the Church's commitment to the full membership of migrants in U.S. society. The work of CLINIC and its network focuses on the most vulnerable, such as INS detainees, refugees, asylum-seekers, families in need of reunification and victims of trafficking and domestic violence.
Clearly, our Diocese is an epicenter for many of the most pressing issues around migration. I hope I can be of service to CLINIC, and I hope CLINIC can help us address many of the issues we face here.
There is more information about the mission and work of CLINIC at its website, http://www.cliniclegal.org.
Also, with this November meeting, I now begin my three year term as Chair of the USCCB Communication Committee.
¥ There was an important discussion on the growing encroachment of government into matters of conscience. For example, in the State of Arizona legislation requires the church to provide contraceptive coverage for employees of Catholic Community Services and Catholic Hospitals. We have opposed this legislation as contrary to our conscience. The issue is being challenged in New York and in California. We await the outcome of those judicial actions.
¥ Several documents were approved by the Bishops, including:
Popular Devotional Practices: Basic Questions and Answers encourages the practice of private devotions while emphasizing the Liturgy as the source and summit of our life in Christ.
"For I was hungry and you gave me food" -- Catholic Reflections on Food, Farmers, and Farmworkers has value and importance for many areas in our Diocese.
Between Man and Woman: Questions and Answers About Marriage and Same-Se--Unions explores the meaning of marriage and the Church's concern about same se--unions. This document emphasizes that while people of homosexual orientation are human beings to be respected and treated with dignity, same se--unions cannot be equated with marriage, which by God's design can only happen between a man and a woman. Marriage is that unique relationship that is open to procreation of children, which same se--unions are not.
I encourage you to read these documents and the other documents approved at the meeting. You can access the documents at http://www.usccb.org/bishops/index.htm.
¥ We heard a disturbing report on the textbooks used for High School Catechetical work. Many of the texts used around the country are seriously flawed. I will share the report with Mike Berger, Director of the Office of Catechesis, to make sure we are using texts that prepare our young people well in the faith. There is every hope that publishers of catechetical texts for high school will hear the concerns raised and respond.
1. National Catholic Youth Conference -- More than 23,000 young people gathered in Houston for the National Catholic Youth Conference.
Our Diocese was well represented at the Conference. There were 81 youth and adult chaperones from si--parishes and one of our Catholic high schools: St. Thomas the Apostle, Corpus Christi, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Cyril, St. Francis de Sales, Our Lady of the Mountains in Sierra Vista and Salpointe Catholic High School. The young people from our Diocese were easily identifiable. They wore a green head piece reminiscent of the saguaro cactus that was the envy of the Conference. We stood out!
The theme of this year's gathering was the Social Justice Teachings of the Church. Bud Welch, who lost a daughter in the Murrah Building bombing in Oklahoma City, talked about his initial rage which turned to forgiveness when he met the father and sister of Timothy McVeigh.
Part of the Conference is a youth congress where young people and bishops dialogue together. This smaller group involved two teens from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. It was inspiring to an "old" bishop to experience the enthusiasm, energy, and deep faith of these young people. They bring hope.
2. Principals Retreat -- All the principals of our Catholic Schools are on retreat today at Picture Rocks Retreat Center. This annual retreat started yesterday and concludes this afternoon. I will be greeting the principals this morning and praying with them.
Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, CFMM, our Superintendent of Catholic Schools, realizes how important it is for the principals to spend some time reflecting on their vocation and commitment to a life of service through the ministry and mission of our Catholic Schools.
Father Greg Adolf of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierria Vista is leading this retreat with the theme "Sustaining the Spirit, to Teach, Lead, and Serve." Principals will spend some time reviewing the characteristics of people who lead lives of commitment.
The position of principal in a Catholic school is challenging and demanding, but it also is a position that creates many opportunities to be of service to the members of a school community. I continually am impressed by the talents and commitment of our principals. They are a gift and a blessing to our Diocese, especially in their leadership. I am glad they are taking time for prayer and reflection.
3. Mass for Movements -- On Pentecost, 1998, at the invitation of the Holy Father, members of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities from all around the world gathered in Saint Peter's Square.
The Holy Father addressed the crowd and said, "The Holy Spirit is here with us. He is the soul of this marvelous event. You present here are tangible proof of this outpouring of the Spirit." He asked all to use their gifts and charisms for the benefit of the whole Church. He desired that the movements would get to know, love, and support each other in order to help build up the Church. Their response was immediate.
In October of 2000, we began a process to establish unity among the lay movements and ministries of our Diocese. Since then, leaders and members of many movements have come together to explore the different charisms and works that they bring to life in our Diocese. As a Diocese, we will conclude another year of this exploration with two special events.
First, there will be a gathering of all of the movements and ministries at St. Augustine Cathedral this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. to pray the Mysteries of Light of the Rosary.
This Sunday, I invite all members of all ministries and movements to join me at the Cathedral at noon for the celebration of the Mass of Christ the King.
I am truly looking forward to this extraordinary celebration of our unity. If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact Michael Johnson 296-9921, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Rose Loughran 722-8399, email@example.com.
4. Interfaith Thanksgiving Service -- People of all faiths are invited to join together for the ninth annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service sponsored by the Interreligious council of Southern Arizona and the Multi-Faith Alliance of Tucson.
The service will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 25, at Dove of Peace Lutheran Church, 665 W. Roller Coaster Road in Tucson. Participating in the service will be representatives of the Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Isalamic, Zoroastrian, Sikh and Sufi religions. A reception will follow in the church fellowship hall.
I thank Loretta Tracy for representing our Diocese in the very important ecumenical and interfaith efforts in Southern Arizona.
5. Welcome to Newcomer Priests -- Please join me in welcoming these priests to our Diocese:
Father Richard Zamorano is on the faculty of Salpointe Catholic High School; Father Francisco Nunez Martinez, S.T., is at Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Tucson; Father Bede Wilks, O.P., joins the community of the St. Thomas More Newman Center in Tucson; Father Gerardo O. de la Torre, S.X., will serve at St. Jude Thaddeus in San Luis; Father Joseph Punnakunnel, M.S., joins his brother priests of the La Salette Missionaries serving in the Diocese; Father James Moran, C.S.P., serves at St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish in Tucson; Msgr. Carlos Romero Moreno serves at St. Augustine Cathedral; and Father Kim Seung-Wook serves the Korean Catholic Community here in Tucson.
6. Pinal Fact-Finding -- The Casa Grande area is one of the fastest growing areas of our Diocese. We are continuing to monitor the growth there, and as part of that effort, I will be taking a fact-finding tour today with John Shaheen, diocesan property manager, and Mary Huerstel, Chief Financial Officer. We will meet with Father Kevin Clinch, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Casa Grande, to discuss the pastoral dimensions of growth in that part of Pinal County.
There is considerable growth taking place in the Diocese, and it is important that we plan for the future. We reap the benefits of the vision and planning of our predecessors, and we want succeeding generations of Catholics to benefit from the planning we do today.
7. Catholic Vision Editorial Board -- The Catholic Vision Editorial Board meets tomorrow. The Board serves as an advisory committee to Vision's managing editor, Maggie Burnett, and to myself as editor and publisher on matters regarding Vision's marketing, distribution, content and direction.
The Board meets every other month, and its members are Claudia Borders, Conchita Collins, Msgr. Bob Fuller, Jack Jacobsen, Larry Schnebly, Jack Skog and Steve Nunez.
Among the agenda items for the meeting will be the distribution of Vision, which as you know, is monthly and through the parishes. Having Vision mailed directly to the homes of all registered Catholic families would be the preferred and most effective means of distribution, but how can that be accomplished with so many demands on our resources. If you have ideas, please share them with me so I can in turn share them with the Editorial Board.
8. Forum for Women Religious -- We are blessed to have more than 250 women religious in our Diocese. For more than a century, our Diocese has benefited greatly from the richness and selflessness of women religious in their response to the call to make real the "Coming of the Kingdom" here in Southern Arizona.
The ministries of women religious are critical to the mission of our Diocese, and I am encouraged that our women religious want to be in dialogue with the priests our Diocese regarding the collaborative model of ministry in the Church.
That dialogue begins this Saturday with a special forum at the Benedictine Monastery. The dialogue will take place through a round table discussion between and among representative sisters and invited priests. That discussion will be followed by questions to the round table participants from the other sisters in attendance. I will share with you a summary of this dialogue in a future memo.
9. "One of Us at 111 S. Church" -- Many members of our staff here at the Bishop Moreno Pastoral Center know exactly what it is like to meet the challenges of ministry in our parishes and schools because they have been there themselves.
For example, JoAnn Sayre, Assistant Superintendent of Catholic Schools, can draw upon her 21 years of parochial school experience. JoAnn is this week's "One of Us" profile.
"My life is filled with many blessings, starting with my husband Jerry, a most special man to whom I have been married for 41 years. We have five children, two sons--in-law, three daughters-in-law and 12 grandchildren. I am so proud of all of them! Usually, we gather together for Sunday dinner with my twin brother, my sister-in-law and our son and his four children who live in Tucson.
"My love for Catholic schools began in elementary school where I attended Judge Memorial for si--years in Salt Lake City, Utah. I graduated from Mount Saint Mary's College in Los Angeles where I majored in Social Studies and Education. When my two youngest children were in fifth and seventh grades, I resumed teaching and taught Math and Science to junior high students at St. Cyril School for 10 years, was the principal for 11 years, retired, and couldn't say no to Sr. Rosa Maria with whom I have worked for the past four years in the Schools Department.
"Four years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The St. Cyril community and the diocesan community, through their prayers and support, were a wonderful source of encouragement and healing to me.
"Hobbies include: backpacking the Grand Canyon five times, taking students on overnight hikes to Esperero Canyon seven times and rafting the Colorado River once. I belong to a book club of women who meet once a month to discuss books we've read; I try out recipes from Cooking Light on my family; and I play bunco once a month! I love musicals and music in general, and, finally, I am an avid Arizona Wildcat fan. Jerry and I have attended football and basketball games since 1965, and, yes, this is the worst football season ever, but we did beat Washington, which was a great surprise. Then again, basketball is just around the corner.
"It has been especially enjoyable for me to get to know and work with all of the people at the Pastoral Center since we made the big move downtown."
In addition to her responsibilities as assistant superintendent of our Catholic Schools, JoAnn also helps guide the Catholic Tuition Support Organization (CTSO). Thank you, JoAnn, for the many contributions you make to the mission and ministry of our Catholic Schools.
And speaking of the CTSO, there are only seven weeks left for you to become eligible for a $625 ta--credit through a contribution to the CTSO. Contact any of our Catholic Schools or JoAnn for information on how to make your contribution.
Vol. 1, No. 33
Nov. 24, 2003
Today finds us on the threshold of the beginning of a new Liturgical Year as we make our final preparations for the beginning of the Season of Advent.
Today also is the first day of what for many of us will be a three-day workweek because of Thanksgiving Day.
So, I begin this memo with two brief reflections.
I do express thanksgiving to all of you who serve so generously and faithfully in the Diocese. I will remember in a special way in my Mass on Thanksgiving Day all of you who share in the mission of the Diocese -- at our Pastoral Center, our parishes, schools, Catholic Community Services and its si--members agencies, our Catholic Foundation, our Catholic Cemeteries, our Catholic Hospitals, and, of course, all of you who volunteer at our parishes, schools and Catholic institutions. Without your generosity and care the work of the Church could not happen. God's choicest blessings on you and your families! I will be spending Thanksgiving Day with my Mother and the Kicanas Family in Chicago.
This coming weekend begins Advent, a time of hope and expectation; a time of joy and penance.
This is a time to intensify our prayer. With all the distractions of the secularization of Christmas and with all the challenges of preparing for the liturgies of Christmas, it is so important to find time for prayer. The Advent readings can help us focus on our relationship with God. The readings not only are reflective of the time in which they were written, but reflective as well of our own time and our own inner waiting for the deeper awareness of the presence of God in our lives.
Advent is the reminder of God's incredible love and promise to always be with us.
As we begin a new liturgical year, we will walk again through the mysteries of God's love in the Incarnation.
Truly, this is a time to stand in awe of God's graciousness.
Advent Resources: I can recommend to you a wealth of resources for Advent that are easily accessible on the Internet.
There are some well-written reflections on Advent at http://www.catholic.org/clife/advent.
If you start your workday at the computer, you can spend a few minutes in mediation at http://www.cptryon.org/prayer/adx/admedit.html.
And, the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has a special web page with many good Advent resources for parishes, school and families at http://www.usccb.org/publishing/advent2003.
1. Liturgical Changes -- This weekend marks the implementation of changes, rubrical and non-rubrical, that were introduced into the 2002 General Instruction on the Roman Missal.
I thank all our parishes for their cooperation in helping to communicate the changes through the series of letters published in bulletins over the past few weeks.
2. Presbyteral Council, Diocesan Finance Council -- The Presbyteral Council and Diocesan Finance Council meet this week at the Pastoral Center.
The Presbyteral Council meeting is this morning. Among the agenda items is Catholic Vision, our diocesan newspaper, and its role in communicating to our parishes. We will be discussing the possibility for finding funding for the mailing of Vision to our Catholic families. We also will have a general discussion about the effectiveness of Vision as a major tool for pastoral communication. Vision's managing editor, Maggie Burnett, will join us for that discussion.
The Diocesan Finance Council meets on Tuesday. The Council will welcome two new members.
Maureen Dallago is Vice President, Branch Manager of Wells Fargo Bank at Tucson Medical Center. She has been a Board Member of Las Familias Center for Child Sexual Abuse. She is a member of St. Joseph's Parish.
Nancy Stephan is a CPA partner in Parsons, Dooley & Stephan, an accounting firm of long-standing in Tucson. She serves on the Catholic Community Services Board of Directors. She is a member of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish.
I am very appreciative of their willingness to serve on the Diocesan Finance Council.
3. New Diocesan Attorney -- I am very pleased to announce that Gerard R. "Gerry" O'Meara will become our Diocesan Attorney effective Jan. 1, 2004.
Gerry is a partner in the Tucson law firm of Gust Rosenfeld.
A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Arizona School of Law, his practice is in the areas of civil litigation, insurance defense law, real estate, corporate and commercial transactions, probates, wills and trusts.
He has practiced law in Tucson since 1969. He served in the Pima County Attorney's Office for two years, and has served as a judge pro tem with the Pima County Superior Court.
His commitment to his profession and his community is reflected in his memberships in legal and civic organizations. He is a past president of the Casa de Los Ninos, and a past president of the Casa de Los Ninos Foundation. He is a current member of the Board of Directors and a trustee at Casa de Los Ninos. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of Mobile Meals of Tucson and a former advocate in our diocesan Marriage Tribunal.
Gerry has been married to Maryanne for 36 years. They have two children, Stephen, a graduate of Salpointe Catholic High School and the University of Arizona, and Anne, also a Salpointe graduate and a graduate of Loyola Marymount University.
Gerry will begin his orientation to the responsibilities of a diocesan attorney with the guidance and support of Tom Murphy, who ends his service to the Diocese as its attorney at the end of this year.
Once again, I acknowledge with gratitude Tom's years of service and dedication to the Diocese.
4. Sells Pastoral Visit -- I will be meeting in Sells this week with our priests, deacons, religious women and laity who minister on the Tohono O'odham Nation. Their ministry encompasses the parishes and missions that serve an area the size of Connecticut. Every time I think of that geographic fact, I am deeply grateful for their dedication and commitment. One of the distinguishing characteristics of Native American Catholicism is the involvement of the laity in ministry, and our Franciscan priests and sisters support this involvement with a true spirit of collaboration.
5. Santa Rita Abbey Visit -- I will spend a little time this week with some wonderful people who live the spirit of "Thanksgiving" everyday in silence, solitude, prayer and great joy -- the Cistercian Nuns of Santa Rita Abbey. I am the third Bishop of Tucson to experience the blessing of their presence in our Diocese. They are women of great talent and faith, and I am deeply grateful for their prayers for our Diocese.
I want to acknowledge and thank Sister Esther for the design of the Bishop's 2003 Christmas Card. It is a work of art! (Look for it on our Diocesan website the week before Christmas.)
You can visit the Sisters on-line at http://www.santaritabbey.org. When you feel the need for some inspiration and peace, I recommend that you visit their on-line journal at http://www.santaritabbey.org/abbey_journal.htm.
6. Work of the Sexual Misconduct Review Board -- You have probably learned by now of my announcement last Friday that our Sexual Misconduct Review Board has determined as "credible" two separate allegations of sexual misconduct involving minors against two Church personnel who formerly ministered in the Diocese.
I sent letters last week to the parishes in the Diocese at which the personnel served to inform parishioners of the Board's determination. The letters identify the two Church personnel as Rev. George Pirrung and Sister Rosaria Riter, OSB. Rev. Pirrung and Sister Riter never ministered at the same parish in the Diocese of Tucson.
The letters serve two purposes. The first is inform parishioners that there is a credible allegation against someone who ministered at their parish. The second is to encourage any person who may have experienced abuse to come forward so that a report can be made to law enforcement and counseling support can be offered.
I communicated in the letters that I had expressed my sorrow and apologies to the persons who reported the allegations and that the Diocese has offered counseling support to them.
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish in Miami, Sacred Heart Parish in Nogales and Immaculate Conception Parish in Douglas received the letters about Rev. Pirrung. Sacred Heart Parish in Tucson received the letter about Sister Riter.
While such announcements are sad occasions for us, they do reflect our commitment to openness, honesty and transparency and our emphasis on the healing of those have experienced abuse. Furthermore, such announcements are opportunities for me to communicate what we are doing now to create safe and loving environments for children.
I urge you to read my column in the December issue of Catholic Vision in which I address many of the issues associated with our continuing efforts to restore trust.
7. Humanitarian Response to Migrants -- A story in the Monday, Nov. 17, edition of The Yuma Sun highlighted the efforts of Father Javier Perez, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Somerton, to provide humanitarian aid to migrants who have crossed from Mexico into the U.S.
You can read the story at http://yumasun.com/artman/publish/articles/story_8256.shtml
The gist of the story was that Father Javier and the parish have established a house where migrants may go to receive food or shelter.
The story has stirred some controversy in the Yuma area. The controversy really is about the balance the Church has to maintain between respecting the right of government to protect borders and the mission of the Church to care for those who are in need. The story emphasized our belief as Church that a humanitarian response is not and should not be a violation of law, but is a reflection of what Christ has called us to do for any person who is in need.
The story quoted Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe, Episcopal Vicar of Yuma/La Paz, as saying, "We don't want to break the law. But if a person comes in hungry, we are going to feed him."
"Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope," the pastoral letter produced by the Bishops of Mexico and the U.S., articulates the Church's view of this very situation in these words:
"The Church recognizes the right of a sovereign state to control its borders in furtherance of the common good. It also recognizes the right of human persons to migrate so that they can realize their God-given rights. These teachings complement each other. While the sovereign state may impose reasonable limits on immigration, the common good is not served when the basic human rights of the individual are violated."
As a Diocese, we are trying to work for and support the balance that is necessary. We want to work with local, state and national agencies to ensure that what we are doing to fulfill our Christian responsibility is also fulfilling our legal responsibility.
8. Forum for Women Religious -- The Forum for Women Religious about which I wrote last week brought more than 100 women religious to a daylong gathering Saturday at the Benedictine Monastery in Tucson. These sisters teach, nurse, advocate and live simple lives that contribute substantially to the work of the Church in our Diocese. They work on reservations, in prisons, parishes, hospitals and schools. The theme of the gathering was collaborative ministry.
A panel of seven initiated a dialogue on collaborative ministry. The panel's members were Sister Guadalupe Jurado, OP, pastoral administrator of St. Theresa in Patagonia; Sister Carolyn Nicolai, FSP, who works in nursing homes; Sister Maria Cañez, OP, pastoral administrator at Blessed Sacrament in Mammoth; Sister Clara Streng, OSF, who works on the Tohono O'odham reservation; Father Joe Lombardo, pastor of Our Lady of the Valley; Msgr. Tom Calahane, pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows; and Msgr. Bob Fuller, pastor of St. Frances Cabrini.
The panel reflected on their experience of collaboration between priests and religious, what the stresses have been for them and the benefits. They discussed how we could have greater collaboration. Suggestions included: inviting sisters at times to attend Vicariate meetings; improving communication between priests and religious, especially on the local level; a need to get beyond fear and to treat each other as adults with respect; clearer job descriptions and work agreements that diminish clericalism and extreme feminism that can set us against each other; stay focused on the mission given us by the Church; and to know that we all have more to learn.
The conclusion of the day was that we cannot not collaborate and that we need to expand the conversations on collaborative ministry to include deacons and laity.
Thanks to Sister Jean Olmstead, SBS, our Vicar for Religious, for planning the day.
9. Counting Our Blessings -- Among the blessings that we as a Diocese count as we near the end of this year is the blessing of the tremendous support that we receive from the Catholic Extension Society.
Catholic Extension raises funds to extend the faith into the poorest and most remote regions of the United States and its territories. The Extension Society allocates more than $16 million annually to assist outreach programs, missionary salaries, church building and repair, seminarian education and disaster relief.
Catholic Extension was founded on October 18, 1905, in Chicago by Father (later Bishop) Francis Clement Kelley and was originally mandated as a Papal Organization by Pope Pius X in 1907. This approval and spiritual blessing has been conferred by each succeeding Pope, including Pope John Paul II.
Catholic Extension receives no Church, government or United Way funds. It attracts annual contributions from more than 90,000 concerned Catholics who want to further the mission and ministry of the Church. These funds are allocated only after written approval of the local bishop, rigorous evaluation by a field representative of the Board of Governors and a review by the Allocations Committee.
Our Diocese presently is in the second year of a four-year, $1 million grant from the Extension Society. This grant is enabling us to continue our efforts in the education of seminarians, formation for candidates to the permanent diaconate and lay ministry, priest salary subsidies and detention ministry.
We are grateful for the Extension Society's continuing support of our Diocese, and I ask that we all remember in our prayers the donors who make this support possible.
(There is more information on the mission of the Extension Society at http://www.catholic-extension.org.)
10. One of Us at 111 S. Church -- This week's profile of a staff member here at the Pastoral Center lets Chris Ober of our Fiscal Office introduce himself to you.
"I was born at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma and raised in Tigard, Oregon. My family moved to Tucson in 1986. I graduated from Marana High School in 1990, and I have earned an accounting degree at Pima Community College.
"I have been employed by the Diocese since August of 1998. I had read a newspaper ad for the position of accounting clerk in the Fiscal Office at the Diocese, was interviewed for the position, but then was offered an accounting position at a local auto dealership. Three months later, I received a call from the Diocese inquiring if I was still interested in the job. I really felt that working for the Diocese was what I wanted to do.
"My main tasks in the Fiscal Office are cash receipts, invoicing for statements and batch accounting. I also help manage the Catholic Vision billings based for advertising contracts.
"In my free time, I enjoy playing league tennis at Fort Lowell Park and Pima Community College. I also enjoy golfing, hiking, biking and bowling. I am definitely an Arizona Wildcat fan. I have a cat named Princess who enjoys watching me watch the Wildcats.
"The opportunity to work and communicate with the people of the Diocese has been a blessing. I'm looking forward to many more years of being a part of the Diocese of Tucson."
Thank you, Chris, for your support of our parishes in batch accounting and for your teamwork with Maggie Burnett on the advertising revenues for Catholic Vision.