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Wednesday Update


Above, the new Conference and Educational Center at Cathedral Square, sitting next to another early resident of the Square, St. Augustine’s Cathedral.
Photos by Steff Koeneman

Grand Opening!

Our diocese will hold a Mass of Celebration, ribbon-cutting and blessing of the Conference and Educational Center at Cathedral Square on Sunday, April 28.

 Bishop Emeritus Gerald F. Kicanas and I will offer the Mass of Celebration at noon at St. Augustine Cathedral. There will be many local civic, religious, and organizational leaders on hand for our Mass.  We also expect to host many of the skilled tradesmen and workers that built this magnificent structure.

The ribbon cutting and blessing of the new building, immediately north of the Cathedral, takes place after Mass.  Speakers at the celebration will include Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Fletcher McCusker, chairman of the board for Rio Nuevo, myself and Bishop Emeritus Gerald F. Kicanas. It was Bishop Kicanas who envisioned Cathedral Square and the restoration of four historic structures and the construction of the new building.

Our Lady’s Chapel, left, and the Marist. Both have stood in Cathedral Square since 1916, but both were restored and brought back to service over the last three years.

The new four-story building houses the parish offices for St. Augustine Cathedral Parish on the first floor. This floor also includes several meeting rooms with big screen technology to host educational or other meetings for parishes, ministries and other groups. The second floor of the building has a large, dividable conference center room, capable of hosting groups from 50 people to 500 people and also is equipped with a warming kitchen to use for banquets.  The third and fourth floors of the building are the new home for the Pastoral Center offices that serve the parishes and ministries of the Diocese of Tucson.  The offices are energy efficient, boast sound reducing mechanisms and the offices are filled with natural light.

The 55,000 -square foot building, that stands in the place of a former parish hall, is the last of several buildings that comprise a block of historic and new construction surrounding St. Augustine that now is called Cathedral Square.

The Cathedral Square project began in 2007 with the creation of a placita in honor of Msgr. Arsenio Carrillo to the north of the Cathedral.  That was followed by extensive redesign of the Cathedral’s interior.


I reported a while ago about our Catholic Schools Superintendent Sheri Dahl being selected as a recipient of a “Lead. Learn. Proclaim” Award from the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) for dedication and commitment to excellence in Catholic education.  That award ceremony is this week. Sheri was chosen as one of 27 recipients from among more than 150,000 teachers, administrators, diocesan leaders and organizations dedicated to Catholics schools nationwide. 

Priest Convocation

Next week, our diocese will host its non-retired priests for their annual Convocation.  This very important gathering gives our priests a chance to rest, socialize and to attend retreat-like presentations apart from the hectic daily activities of parish and other ministries.  In addition, the Convocation gives Pastoral Center staff the chance to make sure our priests receive updates on Human Resource policies, insurance changes, and to ensure that information needed by the Chancellor’s office is collected.  We also celebrate the jubilees of priests celebrating milestone anniversaries of their ordinations.

I offer a reminder that parishes will be short staffed during the Convocation, but that our Permanent Deacons and retired priests will be assisting with needed ministries.

The main speaker for our priests this year is Christopher A. Hall. Ph.D. He will offer a presentation focusing on our theme, “Worship with the Church Fathers.”

Hall was  Director of Academic Spiritual Formation and Distinguished Professor of Theology at Eastern University and serves as President of Renovaré, an organization that “publishes print and online resources, including books, articles, messages and podcasts. Retreats, spiritual formation groups, and educational initiatives like the two-year Renovaré Institute provide community and experience where that knowledge can move from head to heart.”

Hall also is the author of several books, including The Mystery of God (with Steven D. Boyer; Baker Academic), Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers, Learning Theology with the Church Fathers, Worshiping with the Church Fathers (InterVarsity Press), and  The Trinity (with Roger Olson; Eerdmans). His most recent   publication is entitled Living Wisely with the Church Fathers and is the fourth volume in his Church Fathers series.

Priests will be leaving parishes to attend the Convocation on April 30, and the gathering ends on Thursday, May 2 after lunch. 

Jubilarian priests in our diocese this year are celebrating ordination anniversaries from 25 years to 70 years:

Father Peter A. Verhegeen, OFM, 70 years

Msgr. Richard O’Keeffe, 60 years

Father Richard Landry, 50 years

Father Isaac Fynn, 40 years

Fathers Joseph Esson, John Ikponko, Ariel Lustan, and Remigio “Miguel” Mariano, Jr., all celebrating 25 years

Please join me in congratulating our jubilarian priests, and in praying for the continued health and well-being of all our priests.



The 27 candidates for becoming Permanent Deacons and 16 candidates seeking to become Lay Ecclesial Ministers will be gathering in Yuma for their retreat.  The retreat will take place May 3, 4 and 5.

Our Permanent Deacon training is concluding its second year of a four-year program.


Downloadable photos for John Paul II Awards

As I reported in the Update last week, we held our Tucson area John Paul II Awards Mass and ceremony on April 13.  Photographs taken of the award winners now are available for download on our diocesan webpage at  Look for the information in the upper right hand column of the homepage, or visit the photos page directly at