The Wednesday Update

Hello, and welcome to the Wednesday Update.

The plan is to publish this informational blog every Wednesday to give its readers – parishioners, pastors, priests and lay ministers – brief descriptions, announcements, invitations and occasionally, my thoughts and plans about our diocese and the events taking place or affecting our work.

My hope is that you will read it, share it, and use it as a means of staying in touch with the Diocese of Tucson. Wednesday Update readers also can use this link:  to email me with their thoughts or ideas.

We begin.

Diocesan news
My thanks to all who were involved in my Installation Mass on Nov. 29. There were so many involved in the Mass planning and who completed many tasks needed for the day: some  picked up the visiting bishops and archbishops at the airport, others hosted our guests, and so many others were involved in every detail of the Mass, the music and in guiding people from one place to another. 

Our guests repeatedly commented to me on how well everything was done, and I am gratified for both the wonderful outcome of all the work done and even more so for the help of the Pastoral Staff, the Diocesan Choir, the Knights of Columbus, members of the Tucson Police Department and the St. Augustine Cathedral staff for their tremendous work.

KOLD-TV 13 livestreamed the entire Mass on its internet site, and I believe it still is possible to view the Mass by visiting  We soon will post a video of the Mass on our Facebook channel as well.  I encourage you to visit the KOLD site to watch our own Father John Arnold, pastor of St. Mark’s Parish, as he shared professional commentary on each part of the liturgy and on many aspects of the Catholic Church.  Thank you, Father Arnold! 

Second collection for Seminarian Education
This very important second collection will take place the weekend of Dec. 9 and 10.  It takes about $40,000 per seminarian each year to cover tuition, housing and related-expenses. Our diocese also has seen a decline in Catholic Extension funds for seminarian education, just as we are experiencing what seems to be an increase in the number of men interested in pursuing vocations.

I encourage everyone to watch a very brief video on this topic. Many parishes presented the video at Masses Dec. 2 and Dec. 3, The video also can be viewed on our Facebook pages and on our diocesan website at

Last Sunday, we began Advent, the season of preparation for the arrival of Christ, the newborn king.  Advent is an appropriate time to assess ourselves and to strengthen our relationship with God.  Most often, we have allowed ourselves to drift away from our Lord, and Advent provides an opportunity to renew our connection with our faith.  The Gospel of Mark relayed the message that we need to be watchful for the presence of God.
Work to keep focused on God and His constant
love for each of us presented through Jesus during this Advent.

In Yuma
I visited with the priests of the Yuma/La Paz Vicariate on Dec. 1 as part of my first and brief visit to Yuma to join Bishop Kicanas with the annual Mass for Farmworkers.  It was the first Mass I celebrated after the Installation. The Mass at St. Jude Thaddeus Parish in San Luis took place at 5 a.m., a nod to the very early hours kept by farmworkers in their grueling work.

In Tucson
My first Mass as Bishop in Tucson took place Sunday, Dec. 3, back at St. Augustine Cathedral during the festive Mariachi Mass.  I met with many parishioners and was warmly welcomed. 

Program for the recently ordained priests
I have attended all three days of this week’s program for our recently ordained priests. As you may have heard or read in one or more of the recent media interviews with me, I try to be attentive to our priests, and their ongoing mentoring is critical.  I enjoyed having time to meet each priest and to talk with them at length. The session included a trip to Sells to observe the ministry of the Franciscans in this vast Native American community. We visited Sacred Heart Church, St. Catherine of Bologna and the Tohono O’odham Cultural Center and Museum, listened to heartfelt stories from several lay ministers and got overview information from Father Alfonso “Ponchie” Vasquez, OFM and Father William Minkel, OFM.

The priests participating in this week’s sessions
were Fathers Albert Miranda, John Paul Shea, George Holley, Robert Neske, Alan Valencia, Martin Moreno, Callistus Iyorember, Amana Edoke and Rajeev Bobba.

Omar Rodriguez, multi-media coordinator in the Communications Department at the Pastoral Center, is leaving the Diocese to continue his education. Omar has been with the Diocese for 12 years, and before becoming our diocesan webmaster, was our graphic artist. We thank Omar for his dedicated work over the years.  Good luck with your studies Omar!

Other items

  1. Regular meeting of the Sexual Review Board: Dec. 7
  2. Meeting with senior Pastoral Staff members: Dec. 7
  3. Feast of the Immaculate Conception: Dec. 8

       Please note that Pastoral Center will be closed.