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Wednesday Update

Summer camp with a mission

 Prayer and Action in Yuma
 Prayer and Action in Yuma

I was in Yuma yesterday and part of today to experience our diocese’s first-ever Prayer and Action session.

About 15 young people registered for this first program, which emphasizes service to others during a week-long session of fun and games, hard work and prayer. It is a program that I saw yield great results in the Diocese of Salina, teaching teens that came away with a better understanding of the needs of others, what they could do to help, and how awesome it can feel to be of service. For many, it forms the foundation of an awareness for others and can, I think, lead to ministries and careers dedicated to others.

This is an overnight camp experience open to both girls and guys in the ninth through 12th grades. 

Participants in Pray and Action are involved in a mission service retreat where they will help people. This may include yard work, painting or cleaning homes for the elderly or people with disabilities.

Attendance requires a non-refundable registration fee of $70.For more information, please contact Father Jorge at 520.838-2531 or email

The next Prayer and Action Session will take place at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson from July 15 to July 20.  Perhaps there is a teen you know that would benefit from this experience.

Read on for information about another event for teen Catholics:

Steubenville Conference

We are fortunate in this diocese to have access to one of 25 Steubenville Youth Conferences each year. These conferences, “help teens encounter the love of Christ every summer,” with a mission of building the Church by evangelizing, equipping and empowering God’s children to become joyful disciples.

While registration for the 2018 Steubenville Conference now is closed, many of our parish youth ministry programs take part in this activity every year. They will gather at the University of Arizona July 11 to July 13, listening to speakers with messages geared to teens from incoming high school freshmen to recent graduated seniors.

The theme for this year’s conference is “Revealed”. The conferences employ dynamic presentations, music and prayer for an expansive experience of faith.


Sister Donna Markham, president of Catholic Charities USA, who is visiting our diocese today and tomorrow. This afternoon, Sister, who heads the 105-year-old organization that serves 10 million people each year, is visiting the Nogales International Border, hosted by Peg Harmon, executive director of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, and Father Sean Carroll, S.J., founder and executive director of the Kino Border Initiative.

Sister is interested in learning more about how border dioceses handle immigration and related refugee services around the nation, and can provide a national perspective in the overall depth of services offered by the Catholic Church nationwide.

US Conference of Catholic Bishops Border visit update

In a letter dated July 10, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the USCCB,  gave bishops an update on a visit to the US-Mexico border near Brownsville, Tex. The visit had been requested by Cardinal Joseph Tobin during the Spring Meeting of the Conference to better understand the Administration’s policy of separating children from their parents while crossing the border that was taking place at that time. While lengthy, I encourage you to read this information as it is a detailed description of what was observed.

The USCCB presidential delegation on the visit included Archbishop Jose Gomez, from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles,  Bishop Joseph Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, Penn.,  Bishop Mark Brennan, Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore, MD, and myself joined Bishop Daniel Flores, of Brownsville, Tex., and Bishop Mario Avilés Campo, C.O., auxiliary bishop of Brownsville for a pastoral visit to the Diocese of Brownsville.

The visit took place July 1 and July 2, beginning with Mass for several thousand people  at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle National Shrine. The delegation then volunteered at the  Humanitarian Respite Center run by Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley where members met with families recently released from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) processing center.

“We listened to their stories, shared their pain, and their hopes; we prayed with them for God’s strength and mercy,” DiNardo wrote. “The Cross was heavy in the room, but so many generous volunteers who are present everyday serve as sign of the Resurrection. The immigrants themselves, though anxious, were also positive.”

The following day the delegation went to the  Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement (HHS/ORR) child shelter, Southwest Key Casa Padre in Brownsville.

“Celebrating the Eucharist for nearly 300 children on a former loading dock was a humbling reminder of the power of Christ’s humility. Afterward, they eagerly came forward for a rosary.. Many of the children that we ministered to are considered “unaccompanied children” by the government, in the sense that they arrived at the U.S./Mexico border without their parent or legal guardian,” DiNardo wrote. “However, some of the children in this facility were indeed separated from their parents due to the implementation of the “zero tolerance” policy by the Administration. Separated from their family, these children looked expectantly toward our Holy Mother for protection. A tour of the facility followed. Though the children are cared for decently, there is no overlooking their instance anxiety.”

The group then went on to the  U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) “Ursula Processing Center.” This is the point where the Border Patrol agents work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to process and screen the unaccompanied children and families that come through the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol sector, where DiNardo reporting seeing “men, women and children housed in necessarily stark surroundings, including the fenced-in holding areas that have been seen on the national news.

Here is the remainder of DiNardo’s report:

“We also met with Border Patrol agents doing the best they can to adhere to orders in the provision of service to their country and the migrants in the facility.

“At each stop, I was left with a lingering impression. The children’s physical needs may be taken care of, but no institution of this sort can replace the spiritual nourishment of faith and family. As I said at the press conference that night, the question of family reunification is urgent.

It is equally urgent we find an alternative to family detention altogether. In the short term, I suggested a return to family case management. We have long advocated for reforms to the immigrant detention system and proposed alternatives to detention, particularly for vulnerable individuals who should not normally be detained, such as children. Alternatives to detention have historically had high compliance rates, and cost savings to the American taxpayer. The family case management program was specifically designed for arriving families. In the long term, the USCCB continues to insist on comprehensive immigration reform.

“Our brothers and sisters in Christ are making a dangerous journey north in search of safety for their family. As a Church – as the Body of Christ – we must always be ready to do more. Please continue looking for ways to help in your diocese as I will in mine. This might mean everything from meeting with your Member of Congress to visiting shelters in your diocese more frequently.

“Let us keep inviting the whole Church to share the journey with migrants and refugees. As Bishop Bambera said, “when you meet with the families, labels melt away.” And of course, we will keep each family close in prayer.”

Fraternally yours in our Lord,

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
Archbishop of Galveston-Houston
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Please remember

Estrella Corvera, mother of Father Jose Maria Corvera, pastor of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Florence. Ms. Corvera  died Monday in the Philippines. Father Corvera has traveled to the Philippines to join his family there.  Join me in remembering Mrs. Corvera and her family in our prayers.


Back to School: Catholic schools begin their fall semesters on various dates:

July 30    San Miguel High School, Tucson
Aug. 1   All Saints, Sierra Vista; San Xavier, St. Augustine High School
Aug. 2   Yuma Catholic High School, Yuma
Aug. 6   Our Mother of Sorrows, Immaculate Heart, Immaculate Heart High School and Loretto School, Douglas, Sacred Heart School, Nogales; St. Anthony, Casa Grande, St. Charles, San Carlos
Aug. 7   Salpointe High School; St. Ambrose, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton; Sts. Peter and Paul
Aug. 8   Lourdes Elementary and Lourdes High School, Nogales; Santa Cruz, St.Cyril, St. John and St. Joseph, all in Tucson.
Aug. 9   Immaculate Conception, Yuma
Aug. 13   St. Francis of Assisi, Yuma; and St. Thomas the Apostle Preschool, Tucson


Aug. 15:  Holy Day of Obligation. Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary