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Wednesday Update


Arizona Catholic Conference

This week has been very busy for the Conference, which released two statements about issues affecting all of us.  The first statement was issued Monday morning and concerns the current immigration policy of separating children from their parents as they are trying to immigrate into this country.  The second statement, issued in the late afternoon Monday, reflected our Conference bishops solidarity with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) regarding  the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on  religious liberty.

Mother and ChildImagine trying to leave your homeland to seek better opportunities and safety in the United States, only to have your family torn away from you only because of this zero-tolerance policy recently adopted.  How terrifying. First the parents are taken into custody for immigration hearings, and at the same time, their children are removed to a shelter without any assurances or without having committed any crime.

The Office of the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights on Tuesday called on the Trump administration to end this policy.   UN spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani is reported as saying"the practice of separating families amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child."

"The use of immigration detention and family separation as a deterrent runs counter to human rights standards and principles," she said. "The child's best interest should always come first, including over migration management objectives or other administrative concerns."

"The US should immediately halt this practice of separating families and stop criminalizing what should at most be an administrative offense -- that of irregular entry or stay in the US," Shamdasani continued. "We call on the US authorities to adopt non-custodial alternatives that allow children to remain with their families and fulfill the best interests of the child, their right to liberty and their right to family life."

Late last week, the USCCB released a statement decrying the policy, and Monday the Arizona Catholic Conference of  Bishops added our own voices about the critical need to protect immigrant children and families seeking safety from violence.

If you wish to read the Arizona Bishops’ statement please visit our home page at

The second statement also can be viewed at our website.

Transitional Deacon ordination
We will ordain three theology students as Transitional Deacons on Saturday. This is one of the last major stages before these men will be ordained to the priesthood next year. From June 9 on, they will be called Deacon Justin Agbir, Deacon Jesus Haros-Mendez and Deacon John Peter Pedrasa.

While the ordinations may appear very similar, there are key moments that distinguish between a deacon ordination and a priest ordination.  Following ordination there are differences in what each may do.

Deacons, transitional or permanent, receive faculties to preach, to perform baptisms, and to witness marriages. They may assist at the Eucharist or the Mass, but may not preside over the Eucharist. After at least six months as a transitional deacon, a man will be ordained to the priesthood. 

Priests can preach, perform baptisms, witness marriages, hear confessions and give absolutions, anoint the sick, and celebrate the Eucharist or the Mass. 

Please pray for Justin, Jesus and John as they continue their journey to priesthood.

Schedule for the next seven days:
June 7:  Attend Ordination of Msgr. Marc V Trudeau as Auxiliary Bishop of Archdiocese of Los Angeles.  Trudeau will be one of six auxiliary bishops in the archdiocese.  He is a native of the archdiocese, was born in Hollywood, was a former dentist and is a cancer survivor. Pope Francis named him an auxiliary bishop in April.

June 13 to 17:
In Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for the Spring Assembly of the USCCB. One part of the sessions is the lunch and workshop: #ShareJourney/DACA Luncheon Workshop for Bishops

June 17: 10 a.m. in Tucson at the PCIC Hispanic Leadership Group. I will say the opening prayer and stay briefly.

To Father Marcel Emeh, SDS, who was ordained May 20at Most Holy Trinity Parish by Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas.  You may know one or more of the Salvatorian Fathers that serve in our Diocese, such as Father Tureman and Father Remmel.  Father Emeh will start off his priesthood serving in Sacramento. 

More Congratulations

Formation Ministry Program Level I

Sixty-one lay people committed to their local parish and said “yes” to service to God. The “yes'”refers to them having taken part in the Level I Ministerial Formation Program for Hispanic Ministry. This training program is to prepare people to carry out ministerial functions in their parishes. The program covers 44 hours of classes, and includes Sacred Scripture, Fundamentals of Theology, Liturgy and Sacraments, Christian Morality, Methodology and Spiritual Formation.

Formation Ministry ProgramTwenty-four people were from the Yuma-La Paz Vicariate: 15 people from Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma, three people from St.  John Newman Parish in Yuma, one person from Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Somerton, four people from St.  Jude Thaddeus Parish in San Luis, and one from St.  Francis of Assisi Parish in Yuma. 

Seventeen people were from the Pinal-West Vicariate: Three people from Our Lady of Grace Parish in Maricopa, and 14 from St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Casa Grande.

Twenty people were from the Tucson Area: three people from Our Lady of Fatima Parish, one person from St.  John Evangelist Parish, nine people from Our Mother of Sorrows Parish, two people from Santa Monica Parish, one person from St.  Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, and two people from Santa Margaret Parish.

Congratulations to you all and may your service be blessed.

We have one photograph of these amazing people in the Update, but please visit the Hispanic Ministry page at to view all the photos.

Catholic Bible Institute of Southern Arizona

The first group of students in the Catholic Bible Institute of Southern Arizona (CBISA) has completed the requirements for Certification.  Eighty-two students from 33 parishes have fully participated in the three-year program that involved a comprehensive study of the Sacred Scriptures, with focus on methods of biblical study, sharing and praying with scripture, and application of skills in Bible-study leadership.  

Catholic Bible Institute of Southern ArizonaThe students’ efforts were brought to fruition as they completed the four goals of the program: to Growin understanding and appreciation of the revealed Word of God ~ Learnthe basic principles of Catholic interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures  ~  Integrate Bible study with Christian prayer and daily living  ~  Receivetraining for parish-based Bible study leadership.  They are ready, willing and able to continue to offer their gifts to their parishes and throughout the diocese for opportunities to work with others to bring a deeper love, prayer and understanding of the Sacred Scriptures to the People of God.

All are welcome to celebrate their graduation on Sunday, June 10 at 2:30 p.m. at St. Augustine Cathedral.  

The Office of Formation will begin the second three-year cohort in August 2018. For more information and to register contact Isabel Madrid at 520-838-2544, Request the CBISA Registration Form which has the dates and topics for all three years.  See the website at more information about the topics and other information.