Please note: Ascension Sunday will be celebrated on Sunday, June 2. See information below for more details on this solemnity.
Ordination on Saturday
I will ordain Deacon Jesus Haros-Mendez to the priesthood during a Mass of Ordination at St. Augustine Cathedral on Saturday, June 1. The ordination begins at 10 a.m.
A few days later and across the world, Deacon Justin Terna Agbir will be ordained a priest for the Via Christi society with service to the Diocese of Tucson. His ordination will take place June 8 in God the Father of All Mankind Parish in Makurdi, Nigeria, by Bishop Wilfred Chikpa Anagbe.
Deacon Jesus Haros-Mendez, 30, is the son of Celso Haros and Angela Mendez, and the seventh child in a devout family. His father was a railroad worker. Deacon Haros-Mendez attended public schools and as a child played at celebrating Mass.
During high school, he became friends with Fathers Viliulfo Valderrama and Abraham Guerrero, priests of the Diocese of Tucson, then assigned at San Felipe de Jesus Parish in Nogales, Arizona. “They guided me and recommended me to attend the youth group called Arcoiris,” he wrote in his autobiographical essay submitted with his seminary application.
Deacon Haros-Mendez’s journey to priesthood began after graduating from high school in 2007 and after he attended a discernment retreat for the Diocese of Hermosillo, Mexico. He was invited to join the seminary, but after a year, he felt he was being called to a monastic community and transferred to the Bethlehem Monastery in Livingston Manor, NY, and enrolled.
But he returned to Hermosillo. An injury, then his mother’s death, completion of studies in Hermosillo and then more studies at the Universidad Pontificia de Mexico in Mexico City took place. Father Bardo Antúnez, then a pastor in Nogales, Arizona, helped him connect with Father Jorge Farias Saucedo, diocesan Vocations director for Recruitment in Tucson. He was accepted as a seminarian for the Diocese of Tucson in September of 2014 and was enrolled at Pima Community College to attend English language classes.
He was admitted to Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois, in 2015 and ordained a deacon on June 9, 2018, in St. Augustine Cathedral. The transitional deaconate is one of the last steps needed before ordination to priesthood.
Deacon Justin Terna Agbir, 33, is the son of devout Catholics Linus Iornyagh Agbir and Patricia Mbanyaghen Adema in Mbama, Benue State, Nigeria. His family were farmers and he grew up in Vandeikya. He attended local schools, including St. Peter’s Secondary School, graduating in 2005. That year, he attended a vocations retreat held by the Via Christi society.
In his autobiographical essay submitted with his seminary application in 2013, Deacon Agbir wrote the following about his parents: “They took their time carefully by God’s assistance to see that we their children grew up in the fear of God and with the knowledge of societal values.”
“They never stop praying for our success; truly my family is a great divine gift to me!” he wrote.
As a youth, he was a member of a study group called the Catholic Biblical Movement. From a young age, he thought about becoming a priest.
“The attraction took me to a serious extent that I went as far as constructing a chasuble-like piece of cloth from my mother’s old wrapper, so that whenever I was left at home with my brother, I would set a table and imitate priests.”
He attended Mass regularly with his family growing up. His current spiritual practices include silent prayer, Liturgy of the Hours and the rosary.
Deacon Agbir was admitted to Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois, in 2015. He also was ordained a deacon on June 9, 2018, in St. Augustine Cathedral.
Please join me in praying for our new priests and in praying that their ministries be long and successful.
To learn more about the Ascension, visit: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/blog/index.cfm?id=134#
As mentioned at the top of this Update, the Solemnity of the Ascension will be observed on Sunday, June 2 here in our diocese. Other dioceses will celebrate this feast on Thursday, May 30. This solemnity commemorates the Ascension of Jesus into heaven.
This day marks the first day of the Novena in preparation for Pentecost. Let us pray daily for the following intentions as we bring our days of the Easter Season to a close.
Here is information on the novena, which takes place May 31 to June 8:
The Novena in preparation for Pentecost marks the nine days from the Thursday before the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord until Pentecost. Just as Mary and the Apostles waited for the promised Paraclete, we pray each of these days for the coming of the Holy Spirit in our lives, to our communities and to the whole world. A daily intention for the entire diocese is offered and you may add your own intercessions at the close of the prayer.
LEADER: Confident of God's promise of the Holy Spirit, we pray
|Friday, May 31 -||Day 1||For the Church throughout the world|
|Saturday, June 1 -||Day 2||For vocations to the Priesthood, Diaconate and Religious Life|
|Sunday, June 2 -||Day 3||For Peace in the world, in our neighborhoods, our homes and hearts|
|Monday, June 3 -||Day 4||For the protection of all the men and women in the armed services|
|Tuesday, June 4 -||Day 5||For all Families, especially those in our parish.|
|Wednesday, June 5 -||Day 6||For the Children and Youth of the World, especially the victims of war.|
|Thursday, June 6 -||Day 7||For the Confirmation Candidates throughout the Diocese.|
|Friday, June 7 -||Day 8||For all who pass on the faith through teaching and preaching.|
|Saturday, June 8 -||Day 9||For the needs of the people of our parish.|
ALL: Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.
And kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your spirit and they shall be created.
And you shall renew the face of the earth.
SCRIPTURE READING (see the daily readings for Mass)
INTERCESSIONS: ALL: Veni Sancte Spiritus ‑ Come, Holy Spirit
LEADER: Let us pray,
Father of light, from whom every good gift comes, send your Spirit into our lives. With the power of the mighty wind and by the flame of your wisdom, open the horizons of our minds. Loosen our tongues to sing your praise beyond the power of speech, for without your Spirit we could never raise our voice in words of peace and announce the truth that Jesus is Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
SIGN OF PEACE - Let us go forth in peace, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.
You’re invited to pray
Msgr. Raul Trevizo, Father Jorge Farias Saucedo, Sister Gladys Echenique, OP, Sister Jeanne Bartholomeaux, SC, and I recently recorded a recitation of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. The recordings in both English and Spanish now are available at your parish for no cost while supplies last. If you prefer, the recordings also are available as downloadable MP3 files, also at no charge, at our diocesan webpage at https://diocesetucson.org/communications/Rosary-Audio-Download.html If you had difficulty with the download in previous weeks, please try again as we made the process easier.
As I wrote in a letter to our priests, “As we journey through the season of Easter, I would like to focus attention on sharing the power of prayer with our brothers and sisters, specifically prayer for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. In the sh0rt time that I've been in our Diocese I have come to understand that the need for more priestly vocations is at the top of our most critical issues for the future. Addressing this need first and foremost with prayer is critical, and for that I need your help.”
Each CD or MP3 download includes a very brief introduction to prayer followed by me praying the first decade. The others follow me, each praying a decade or two. I encourage you to join us in prayer for priestly vocations.
This evening at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish, Tucson; on Thursday at Most Holy Trinity Parish, Tucson; and on Sunday at St. Christopher Parish, Marana.
Catholic Rural Life meeting
I will be in Minneapolis, Minnesota from June 3 to June 5 for this meeting.