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Wednesday Update

Farewell Msgr. Richard O’Keeffe


You may already have seen an obituary about our much-loved Msgr. Richard O’Keeffe, who passed away last Thursday at the age of 84.  Ironically, his death came just a few hours after we closed the annual Priests’ Convocation where he was recognized for his 6oth Jubilee of ordination to the priesthood.

To read about Monsignor’s service to our diocese, you can read his obituary on our diocesan homepage at

Visitation for Msgr. O’Keeffe will begin Sunday, May 12 at 7 p.m. in Immaculate Conception Church, 505 South Ave. B, Yuma, followed by rosary at 7:30 p.m. Visitation will continue
until 9 p.m. There will be two funeral Masses the next day in the church, one at 8 a.m., and the other at 2 p.m., to accommodate all who wish to attend.


 I will be presiding at the Masses, which also will be concelebrated by Bishop Emeritus Gerald F. Kicanas.  Father John Lyons, pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle, will present the homily.  Turns out that a much younger Msgr. O’Keeffe was Father Lyons’ first pastor.

As you read about the tremendous role Monsignor played in our diocese, I am sure you too will recognize the great gift he was to our diocese and to the thousands of people he assisted with his ministry.

God bless Monsignor, now in the presence of the Creator, and blessings to all that now mourn Msgr. O’Keeffe.

A big congratulations to Msgr. Pinti

I discussed our great news about Msgr. Pinti only briefly in the last Update.  Here is text from a letter I sent to the St. George Parish family when our diocese learned that Father Pinti, was now Msgr. Pinti:

                                                                                       3rd Sunday of Easter, 2019

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


It is with great joy that I inform you that your dear Pastor, Father Domenico Pinti,is the recipient of a most gracious papal honor. He has been named a "Chaplain to His Holiness" with the title of Reverend Monsignor.


As many of you may be aware, papal honors for clergy, including the naming of monsignors, has grown far less frequent in the Church in an effort to maintain a sense of humility among the clergy. Nevertheless, when an exceptional priest stands out for his rich love for the Church and exceptionally generous ministry, the Holy See deems it prudent and worthwhile to shine a light on such a man. It is in this spirit that Monsignor Pinti has been recognized.


It is my great hope that you will extend a gracious congratulations to him for this honor and I look forward to a time that we can celebrate together this blessing for your dear pastor. May God bless you and show you every grace and kindness throughout this Easter Season.


Very sincerely yours in Christ Jesus,


 +Most Reverend Edward J. Weisenburger

    Bishop of Tucson


Congratulations and blessing to Msgr. Pinti!



As I reported last week, our priest jubilarians were congratulated at the Priests’ Convocation. Jubilarian priests in our diocese this year are celebrating ordination anniversaries ranging from 25 years to 70 years.


Franciscan Father Peter Verheggen is celebrating 70 years as a priest.  He was ordained in 1949.  Father served this diocese working with the Tohono O’odham people in Topawa, but his life was rich in service to other Native American communities served by the Franciscans. We have a great photo of Father celebrating his 95th birthday back in November 2018.


Father Richard Landry, MS, is celebrating his 50th year of priesthood. Father is known here in our diocese for his faithful and compassionate prison ministry, which he began in 2015. Before coming to Arizona, he was a Catholic chaplain at St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne, Pennsylvania and worked at the Our Lady La Salette Shrine in Attleboro, Mass.  Father Landry wrote an online blog called “La Salette Reflections” about Restorative Justice and Climate Change.


Father Isaac Fynn is celebrating his 40th Jubilee.  Father Fynn has a long ministry as a hospital chaplain, both in the Western Region of Ghana where he was ordained, and with our diocese as a chaplain at St. Joseph’s Hospital.


Fathers John Ikponko, Joseph Esson, Cayetano Cabrera, Ariel Lustan and Miguel Mariano all are celebrating their 25th Jubilees.  Incidentally, each of these priests came to our diocese from afar: Ghana, Nigeria, Mexico or the Philippines.


Father Ikponko was ordained for the Diocese of Makurdi, Nigeria. In Makurdi, from 1994 to 2017, Father served as assistant pastor, coordinator, and pastor at seven parishes. In 2013, he was appointed Chancellor for the Diocese of Makurdi, a post he held for four years. He arrived in Tucson in 2017 and has been serving as a parochial vicar at St. Pius X Parish in Tucson.


Father Esson was ordained at Fatima Cathedral in Lafia, Nigeria by Bishop Gabriel G. Ganaka. During his early priesthood he served at parishes in Shendam, Jos, and Kabwir Kanke. He served as Cathedral Administrator at St. William Cathedral in Lafia for two years, then continued ministry as a parish priest in the towns of Garaku, Nasarawa, Toto, and Kaaba. He arrived in Tucson in June 2013 and has served as parochial vicar at Sts. Peter and Paul in Tucson.  He also served as administrator and pastor of St. Bartholomew Parish in San Manuel. In September 2017, he was assigned as pastor of St. Ann’s Parish in the community of Tubac.


Father Lustan was born in Barcelona, Sorsogon, Philippines. He attended Our Lady of Peñafrancia Seminary College in Sorsogon, and then the University of Santo Tomas Central Seminary in Manila from 1990 - 1993. He was ordained in June 1994. He served as parochial vicar at two o parishes in the Sorsogon region, before moving to Manila and serving as a guest priest between 1995 and 2003. He earned a Licentiate of Canon Law or JCL, in 1996 and he served as Vice Chancellor in Sorsogon for two years. He arrived in Tucson in July 2003. He was a parochial vicar at St. George Parish in Apache Junction, administrator and pastor at St. Rose of Lima Parish in Safford, and pastor of Our Lady of the Mountains Parish in Sierra Vista. In July of 2014 he was appointed pastor of St. Anthony de Padua Parish in Casa Grande.


Father Mariano was born in the Philippines.  He attended the Colegio de San Juan de Letran from 1980-84, and Maryhill School of Theology, from 1986-87. He attended St. John Seminary in Camarillo, California from 1989-93. Bishop Manuel D. Moreno ordained Fr. Miguel and he began his ministry for this diocese at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista as an associate pastor. After a year, he was assigned to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. While at SEAS, he also was appointed in 1997 as Liturgical Coordinator of the Diocese.  His first term ended in 2000, but he continues in this role as the Director of the Office of Worship. Father Mariano also serves as our coordinator of ecumenical work. His service to our Diocese also included acting as Vocations Director from February 2000 through July 2008.


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



 The Gala

On Friday our Catholic Foundation will host its 38th  Annual Cornerstone Gala at the El Conquistador Resort, Tucson. This fundraiser benefits the charitable works of the Foundation. This year, the planners of the event will remember the bravery and tenacity of the seven sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet who journeyed by train and horse-drawn wagon to arrive in Tucson in 1872 to start schools and St. Mary’s Hospital. Msgr. Jeremiah McCarthy, our Moderator of the Curia, will receive a Cornerstone Award, and another Cornerstone Award winner, Msgr. Robert Fuller, who passed away January 23, will be remembered.



I will confer the Sacrament of Confirmation at St. Ambrose Parish, St. Frances Cabrini Parish, St. Pius X Parish, Our Mother of Sorrows Parish, St. John the Evangelist (second group) and St. Joseph Parish in Tucson between today and next Wednesday.


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