April 7, 2003 April 14, 2003 April 21, 2003 April 28, 2003
Vol. 1, No. 5
April 7, 2003
1. The headline in last Wednesday's Tucson Citizen read, "More young men becoming priests in local diocese." That's the kind of headline I really enjoy seeing in our local newspapers!
The story accompanying the headline said five priests will be ordained by the our Diocese this June, representing the most ordinations in a single year in more than a decade. The story also cited preliminary findings of a recent survey that 45 percent of dioceses across the nation are experiencing what we are experiencing; that is, more young men stepping up and saying they are interested in serving as priests. The story quoted one of our prospective seminarians, Ramon Salazar, about his interest in becoming a priest. "It would be awesome to do something to help people come closer to their faith," Ramon said. Thank you, Ramon, for that heartening and inspiring affirmation! Congratulations to our Director of Vocations, Father Miguel Mariano, for helping to get this "Good News" out. (You can read reporter Gabriela Rico's story in the Citizen at http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/local/4_2_03priests.html.)
The motto of our Office of Vocations is "Vocations -Our Shared Responsibility." It certainly is important that all of us in the Diocese take seriously our responsibility to invite others to consider serving as priests, religious, deacons, lay women and lay men in the Church. Remember, God communicates his call through us!
One of our efforts to promote vocations is the Andrew and Miriam Vocation Dinners in our vicariates. These dinners have been a great success. I am amazed at the number of young people in love with the Church and eager to share their gifts in the service of God's people. I am looking forward to the next dinner and vocation evening tonight in the Yuma/La Paz Vicariate.
We are planning a retreat to support those who have attended these dinners in discerning God's call in their lives. The retreat will be held the weekend of June 27, place and time to be announced.
2. Currently the Diocese of Tucson has seminarians studying at St. John Seminary in Camarillo, Assumption Seminary in San Antonio, the Josephinum in Columbus, the American College of Louvain in Belgium and at Loyola School of Theology in the Philippines.
I am grateful to these seminaries for their work in preparing future priests for our Diocese. I look forward tomorrow to visiting St. John's seminary in Camarillo. I will be giving a talk entitled, "Hope in these troubled times."
I have been talking with Father Miguel about the importance of reducing the number of seminaries with which we work so that we can maintain a closer contact and so that our seminarians can get to know one another during their seminary formation.
For the future we will be looking at two college seminaries and two theologates. At the present time we are discussing where those seminaries should be.
3. Last week, I sent a letter to pastors announcing the beginning of the screening process for new candidates for the permanent diaconate and lay ministry program of our diocese.
Information nights for prospective candidates have been scheduled around the Diocese. Location and dates are: *Sacred Heart, Nogales, April 24 at 7 p.m.; St. Anthony of Padua, Casa Grande, April 26, at 10 a.m.; *St. Augustine Cathedral, April 26, at 10 a.m.; *Our Lady of the Mountains, Sierra Vista, May 3, at 2 p.m.; St. Rose of Lima, Safford, May 6, at 6 p.m.; *St. Francis of Assisi, Yuma, May 9, at 6:30 p.m.; Infant Jesus of Prague, Kearny, May 10, at 9:30 a.m., St. Joseph, Tucson, May 24, at 9 a.m. (*English and Spanish Language Information Session.)
Careful screening of candidates is a critical first step in the process of formation that will begin in January 2004. I have asked Father Miguel and the Vocations Office to coordinate the screening of diaconate candidates. The Department of Parish Life and Ministry will continue to coordinate the screening of lay candidates.
4. And concerning the Department of Parish Life and Ministry, at my meeting last week with staff we talked about the possible reorganization of the department under three directorships: a director of formation whose responsibilities would include diaconate and lay ministry as well as ongoing formation for people in ministry and adult formation; a director of catecheses whose responsibilities would include catechist formation, support in formation of the DREs, catechumanate, youth ministry and young adult ministry; and a director of Hispanic ministry whose responsibilities would include development of a plan for Hispanic ministry in the diocese, coordination of Hispanic movements, evangelization and outreach. The staff is considering this possible restructuring and will make recommendations in the near future.
5. Last Saturday's Teen Day was great! Where do these wonderful young people get their energy and enthusiasm! (I suspect they get it from good parents and youth ministers.) A particular joy of this Teen Day was the opportunity to acknowledge the work of Mike Berger of the Department of Parish Life and Ministry. Bishop Moreno presented Mike the Benemerenti ("To A Well-Deserving Person") Award, which is recognition by the Holy Father of a person's service to Church and to community. Mike has served our Diocese for 32 years and he's still very young at heart. Congratulations to Mike!
6. Among the many fraternal organizations and spiritual movements that we are blessed to have in our Diocese is the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, whose members are known as the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre. Dating back to the 11th century, the Order is committed to sustain and aid the charitable, cultural and social work of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land, particularly in Jerusalem. Members of the Order in our Diocese, who also are very supportive of our diocesan mission, are part of the Western Lieutenancy.
Please join the Order's members in prayer for Christians in the Church in the Holy Land, especially in these perilous times. Our entire Church is grateful to the Knights and Ladies for the support they have given to Patriarch Michael Sabbah in Jerusalem. I am honored to be the guest speaker for this week's meeting of the Order's members in Tucson.
7. I am having a "Rice Bowl" for lunch on Wednesday. Actually I am joining Catholic Relief Services/Mexico and our Diocesan Catholic Social Mission for a CRS Rice Bowl Lenten Lunch with the Pastoral Center staff.
Erica Dahl-Bredine of CRS/Mexico will present CRS's work in the world, and, more specifically, in Mexico and our border with Mexico. We are blessed to have Erica, CRS/Mexico Program Director, and Lourdes Aguilar, CRS/Mexico Administrative Assistant, here at the Pastoral Center. Their presence is one of the responses of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to our work to bring expertise in support of peace and justice on our border with Mexico. We are working with CRS to develop an approach to border issues that will include humanitarian efforts, education and social policy.
Catholic Social Mission Director, Joanne Welter, is grateful to CRS for being here to increase our capacity to work bi-nationally and to strengthen Border Ministry. I am grateful to CRS for choosing our border area and diocese for this work.
CRS couldn't work unless we all gave generously of treasure in the annual CRS Overseas appeal, and for your generosity, I am grateful. I thank all those who carry out the Lenten Rice Bowl program in our parishes and those who share CRS Food Fast with our teens.
8. Our April Priests' Day of Prayer is this Thursday at Picture Rocks Retreat. I am encouraged by the number of our priests who are finding these brief times of quiet prayer to be an "oasis in the desert" of the many demands that can distract us all from talking to the Lord.
9. This is my second spring in the Sonoran Desert with you. I am struck by the beautiful "greening" that is taking place. The yellow and blue wildflowers by the sides of the highways are a delight. Spring is here in our own back yard at the Pastoral Center, where the landscaping and beautiful prayer garden is tended so well by Father David Reinders, who is Catholic chaplain at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Tucson.
We certainly appreciate his gardening talent here at the Pastoral Center, but I want you to know what Father David is doing the Lord's backyard. He was honored as the February employee of the month at the VA Hospital, and, last Sunday, he learned that he was selected at the national VA Chaplain of the Month for March. Congratulations, Father David!
10. I had a wonderful trip this past week to one of our state's beautiful "sky islands." With Father Chris Corbally, S.J., as my guide, I visited Mt. Graham near Safford and toured the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope, which is part of the Mt. Graham International Observatory comple--on the mountain. We are very proud of our Diocese's connection to the Vatican Observatory through its presence in the Vatican Observatory Research Group headquartered at the Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona. We are grateful to the Jesuits for their presence, and we are enriched by their priestly ministry as well as their scientific expertise. You can learn more about the Vatican Observatory at the website Father Chris maintains: http://clavius.as.arizona.edu/vo/.
11. Spring brings thoughts of "spring cleaning" and the opportunity to look at our workplaces in our parishes and schools to identify maintenance and other structural needs. With that in mind, Father Francisco Maldonado, rector of St. Augustine Cathedral, Mary Huerstel, our Chief Financial Officer, John Shaheen, our Property Manager, June Kellen, our Chancellor, and I will be doing a walk-around soon through the Cathedral comple--to look at renovation needs and how we can enhance the beauty of the area around the Cathedral.
12. I will be meeting with my brother bishops from Phoeni--and Gallup on Friday at the Arizona Catholic Conference (ACC) meeting in Phoenix. The ACC is the organization of the three dioceses in our state which enables the bishops and the Church to have a voice in social policy development and social issues. The ACC is the means by which we apply Catholic social teachings to public policy. It is a vehicle by which we live out the values we believe in. The new director of the ACC is Ron Johnson. I invite you to visit the ACC website at http://www.diocesephoenix.org/az_cath_conf/index.html to learn more about the conference.
13. I have asked Deacon Jim Burns, our newly appointed Vicar for Deacons, to conduct a survey of our parishes about the permanent diaconate. I ask our parish receptionists to help Deacon Jim connect with our pastors when he calls, and I ask pastors to give Deacon Jim a few minutes so that he can complete this survey for me.
14. This Saturday, I will be meeting with our Diocesan Pastoral Council. We are beginning the process to surface new members for the council, which represents and illustrates the importance of lay participation in the life of the Church.
15. Congratulations to Kerry Demers of Salpointe Catholic High School for recent recognition. Kerry received the "Disney American Teacher Award" and the National Catholic Education Association's "Catholic Secondary Education Award."
16. We are nearly on the threshold of Holy Week. On Palm Sunday, Bishop Moreno will preside at the 8 a.m. Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral, and I will preside at the 10 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral. Monday, of course, is our celebration of the "Chrism Mass," during which the holy oils are blessed and distributed to our parishes for the coming year. Once again, I sincerely invite you to be with me Monday, April 14, at 6:30 p.m., at St. Augustine Cathedral, for this beautiful and important liturgy, which this year is an occasion for us to ask God's mercy for our sins as we move forward in carrying on the mission of Christ.
By now, I am sure that your preparations for Holy Week are coming together. Yes, it is a very hectic and sometimes stressful time, but let's pray for extra energy and patience so that we all will keep our focus on the importance of the Sacred Triduum and the care with which we conduct these liturgies.
17. Where will we be as a nation on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday? As I write this memo, our troops have encircled and entered Baghdad. Please pray that peace will come soon, and that it will come justly and without harm to the innocent.
Vol. 1, No. 6
April 14, 2003
My dear co-workers in the mission of our Diocese, welcome to Holy Week!
In every sense, this week is the center of our Christian year. The liturgies, services and ceremonies of this week re-enact our Lord's Passion, Death and Resurrection. They ground our hopes, and they are moving and powerful experiences.
It is this week in which we fulfill our responsibilities to support and present liturgies that bring our people to the realization of Christ as suffering Redeemer and Christ as triumphant Messiah.
I know and appreciate how much care and attention goes into the preparations for the sacred liturgies of Holy Week. This is a week that calls for great energy and patience, and I pray that you will have both in abundance.
This week also joins us in a beautiful way with our "Catholicity." We identify with all communities of faith around the world in their observances of Holy Week as we walk with Christ through this week.
1. Our vicars will gather this morning at the Pastoral Center for the April meeting of Presbyteral Council. This afternoon, St. Ambrose Parish will host our Priests Lenten Day of Prayer, during which our priests will hear reflections from some of their brothers on our unity as a presbyterate and encouragement to work together to carry out Christ's mission.
2. I look forward to being with you this evening at St. Augustine Cathedral for the "Chrism Mass." This is a special opportunity for us to gather, as bishops, priests, deacons, religious and laity, to participate in this special liturgy that incorporates the blessing of the oils and our commitment and re-commitment to our lives as disciples of Christ.
3. Tuesday, I am going to San Francisco to preach at the Cathedral of St. Mary as part of the Archdiocese's day of prayer for priests.
4. I acknowledge and appreciate the special efforts of our parishes and the cooperation of our priests to make the sacrament of Reconciliation available to our people during Lent. I will be participating in the Wednesday evening penance service at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson.
5. Our Diocesan Sexual Misconduct Review Board meets Thursday at the Pastoral Center. The board is beginning a review of the "Guidelines for the Prevention of and Response to Sexual Misconduct" that were promulgated last July. The review will include the input of many people, including some staff of our parishes.
We continue to try to respond to needs of victims and to follow up on any allegations brought to our attention. Dr. Paul Duckro encourages you to contact him if you have any questions or suggestions about policies or procedures. Also, he is the best resource for our parishes and schools should there be any questions about what do to in circumstances or situations that may involve the possibility of misconduct.
I ask your prayers this week for the staff and parishioners of Immaculate Conception Parish in Douglas. We learned last week that Father Julian Sanz, who was pastor at Immaculate Conception for the last two years, had pled guilty to a criminal charge that had resulted from sexual misconduct years ago. Sentencing for Father Sanz is scheduled in May. Please pray for all involved.
6. Triduum is Latin for "a space of three days." The last three days of Holy Week that begin with Thursday are known formally as the Sacred Triduum. I will celebrate Holy Thursday liturgy at St. Augustine Cathedral at 7:30 p.m. The liturgy of Holy Thursday is a sacred treasure of our Faith. We receive from our Lord the gift of the Eucharist. We mark the anniversary of the priesthood. In the "washing of the feet," we recall how our Lord humbled himself in example to his disciples.
I ask that you include in your prayers on Holy Thursday all our priests who are infirm or who are dealing with particular health challenges at this time.
7. On Good Friday, Bishop Moreno and I will celebrate the noon Service of the Cross at the Cathedral. Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. in Tucson, I will walk in prayer with hundreds of the faithful in the annual Good Friday Pilgrimage up "A" Mountain. This is the thirty-fourth annual pilgrimage, and we are grateful to David Herrera, the founder of the pilgrimage, and all the members of Los Dorados who so faithfully plan this inspiring event each year.
8. I will preside at the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral beginning at 7:30 p.m. What a wonderful and happy night this is!
In parishes across our Diocese, 154 catechumens will be baptized into the faith, and 259 of our sisters and brothers will continue their faith journey by receiving the sacraments of the Eucharist and Confirmation. I am grateful to all parish staff and sponsors who have made the commitment to support our newest Catholics.
9. Easter, I will preside at the 8 a.m. Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral. After the joyful liturgies of Easter, I hope you will immerse yourself in the sharing and celebration of the Resurrection with your families and friends.
10. Our "walk around" the Cathedral last week was very beneficial. While it remains a great treasure for downtown Tucson and for our Diocese, our Cathedral Church building is showing some age. I don't think the interior has been painted since the re-building and re-dedication of the Cathedral in 1969! The banners high on the walls could use a dry-cleaning. The landscaping and parking lot need attention. The "walk around" highlighted the need to develop a comprehensive plan for the Cathedral and the historic buildings that surround it.
We are anticipating that the "old" Chancery building on the Cathedral' south side may become much needed office space for Cathedral Parish.
The old Marist College Building and the Immaculate Mary Chapel are architectural treasures for our Diocese and for Arizona. The College, the Chapel and the perimeter adobe wall are associated with a major Diocesan building program, in the early 1900s, by Bishop Henri Granjon, the Diocese's second bishop and its last French bishop, who also was a skilled architectural and ornamental designer. It is probable that Bishop Granjon executed the original sketches for the buildings and the wall, and partnered with contractor Manuel Flores in their construction.
From 1915 until the 1960s, the Marist College building served generations of Tucsonans as a school, first as the college and then as St. Augustine Cathedral School. In the 1960s, the structure was converted for use for needed additional office space for Diocesan administration and was designated as the "Chancery Office Annex."
The Immaculate Mary Chapel was constructed in 1916. Intended to serve "English-only" parishioners of St. Augustine Cathedral, its service as a chapel was brief, perhaps only a few years, as the nearby All Saints Parish began to accommodate Anglo parishioners. Between periods of vacancy, the building was used for various purposes until it was remodeled in the early 1980s to function as the Fiscal Office of the Diocese. It was renamed as the Marian Data Center.
What does the future hold for these historic buildings? I hope we can attract some government grant funds to deal with some immediate needs for the exteriors. I would welcome any ideas you may have! I am grateful for the interest and expertise of architect and historian Harris Sobin. He has a true appreciation for these buildings.
I do want to point out the beautiful "new" doors of the Cathedral. Actually, the brown paint that had covered the doors for years was removed recently, exposing the grain of the wood underneath. A good cleaning and some good varnish have made the doors look new. A generous parishioner donated resources for the rehabilitation of the doors.
11. "Who Would You Rather Kiss? A Dog, A Cat or Your Mother?" That is actually the title of an entry in the 2003 Middle-school Southern Arizona Science and Engineering Fair held last month in Tucson. I think I want to know more about this entry, and I can tell you it was one of the first-place award winners for Sts. Peter and Paul School, which won the overall first place award and a trophy in the fair. So, congratulations to the school's team and to Sister Ann Patrick, principal, and all the teachers and parents who supported the team.
Our Catholic schools did great in the competition. Holy Angels in Globe, Immaculate Heart, Our Mother of Sorrows, St. Cyril and St. Joseph in Tucson also received awards. Tania Hasselbach from Our Mother of Sorrows was named top teacher.
12. We have been witnesses these past few days, through the news media's coverage of the war in Iraq, to events that pull our emotions in so many different directions. We share in the nation's joy that seven American prisoners of war have been recovered safely. And we share in the sorrow of the community of San Luis, where there is mourning for a young Marine sergeant who died last week in combat. Pray for peace, for the safety of the Iraqi people, for the safety our troops, and for the consolation of sorrowing families.
Vol. 1, No. 7
April 21, 2003
The Lord is risen! Alleluia!
On this Easter Monday, I pray that you are experiencing the hope and joy of the Resurrection.
1. I will have many lasting memories of my first Holy Week as Bishop of Tucson. I was struck many times by the great faithfulness and devotion of our Catholic people as they immersed themselves in the spirituality of our Lord's Passion and Death.
I am deeply appreciative of the wonderful attendance and participation of my brother bishops, our priests, deacons, religious and laity in the liturgy for the blessing of the holy oils at St. Augustine Cathedral on Monday evening of Holy Week. I am especially grateful to the parishioners of the Cathedral who portrayed the Stations of the Cross during the meditation that began the liturgy. I thank all who helped plan this liturgy, especially Father Miguel Mariano, our Vocations Director; Father Ale--Mills, pastor of St. Ann Parish in Tubac; Sister Paulette Shaw of St. Augustine Cathedral, Claude Haynes, director of the Diocesan Chorale; and Fred Allison of our Diocesan Pastoral Center Staff.
The week brought sadness as well, with the news that Father Juan Guillen of Yuma had pled guilty to charges of attempted molestation. We absorbed the pain of this situation into our Holy Week observances, praying for all who were harmed, for Father Juan and for the community of Immaculate Conception Parish.
2. Those of you who read the Tucson newspapers may have noticed a special ad in the editions on Holy Saturday. The ad was headlined, "Easter Hope, Easter Joy," and it informed readers that our parishes across the Diocese were welcoming, in their Easter Vigil celebrations, 154 new Catholics and 295 Catholics who have answered the call to continuing conversion. The ad listed all the Tucson area parishes and their Holy Saturday and Easter Mass times. And, it included this message: "If you've been away, know that you have been missed and that seeing you will ad to our Easter joy!" The ad was made possible by the special generosity of a Tucson parishioner who told me several months ago that she wanted to support her Church and our Diocese by letting the community know that we are proud to be "Easter People." This was a wonderful act of evangelization, for which we all are grateful.
3. The Holy Father had a surprise for us on Holy Thursday. On every Holy Thursday of his pontificate, the Holy Father had written a special letter to all priests, using the anniversary of the establishment of the priesthood as an opportunity to teach and encourage his priests. This year, the twenty-fifth Holy Thursday of his pontificate, he issued an encyclical letter, "Ecclesia De Eucharistia." This letter is for all of us bishops, priests, deacons, men and women in the consecrated life and all the lay faithful.
As is too often the case, the first news media coverage of this letter isolated from the letter what the news media thought were controversial and negative topics.
Please read this letter yourself. It is a beautiful and inspiring letter in which the Holy Father writes to rekindle our "amazement" in the Eucharist.
He shares with us a very personal reflection on the Eucharist in his priesthood as he writes, "When I think of the Eucharist, and look at my life as a priest, as a Bishop and as the Successor of Peter, I naturally recall the many times and places in which I was able to celebrate it. I have been able to celebrate Holy Mass in chapels built along mountain paths, on lakeshores and seacoasts; I have celebrated it on altars built in stadiums and in city squares... This varied scenario of celebrations of the Eucharist has given me a powerful experience of its universal and, so to speak, cosmic character. Yes, cosmic! Because even when it is celebrated on the humble altar of a country church, the Eucharist is always in some way celebrated on the altar of the world. It unites heaven and earth. It embraces and permeates all creation."
The letter is on the Internet at the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at this address: http://www.nccbuscc.org/pope/euchengl.htm
4. I will be in San Diego through Wednesday of this week. It has been the custom of the bishops of Region XIII of our U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to gather in prayer and fraternity during Easter Week. The region consists of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. There are several new bishops in the region, so this retreat will help us to know each other better.
I emphasize for all of us in ministry the importance of recharging our physical energy, remembering that our Lord took his disciples away from the fray from time to time.
5. We here at the Pastoral Center are beginning the important work of budget preparation for the next fiscal year. All of our departments are working this year to make their budgets the tools by which we will work to realize the goals I have proposed for our Diocese: restoring trust; reenergizing our priests and all in Church service; renewing our parishes; reaching out to the littlest and weakest among us; re-garnering our resources; and recruiting more vocations to ministry, especially the priesthood and the religious life.
Our budget preparation highlights the importance of our Diocesan Finance Council (DFC), which meets this Friday for its monthly meeting. The DFC, under canon law, must give approval for our budget.
Just as the DFC is essential to our Diocese, I believe it's critical for our parishes to have finance councils and to make annual financial reports to their people. I hope any parishes without finance councils will move towards establishing them in the coming year.
6. We meet as the staff of the Pastoral Center on Friday, first as department heads and then as the whole staff. These gatherings have been helpful to keep everyone informed and working together.
7. Beginning Friday night, I have a full schedule of parish visits to confer the sacrament of Confirmation. I will be at Sacred Heart Parish in Nogales on Friday night and Saturday morning. (I hope to enjoy our beautiful spring weather the rest of the Saturday, God willing!) On Sunday, I will be at Corpus Christi Parish, Most Holy Trinity Parish and St. Thomas the Apostle Parish for confirmations. Pray that these young people stay active and involved in the Church. We need them!
8. Nineteen priests, religious, deacons and lay people have graciously accepted to be part of the "screening board" that will facilitate the application process for the new diaconate class of 2004. Screening candidates for ministry is the critical step in any formation process.
In order to equip this group with the skills necessary to carry out this ministry, they have been invited to attend a Screening Workshop on Thursday, April 24, that will be facilitated by Dr. Paul N. Duckro, the director of our Office of Child, Adolescent, and Adult Protection, and Hector J. Fernandez-Barillas, PhD.
9. Even though the combat in Iraq has subsided, please continue to pray for the safety of our troops, for the consolation and comfort of our military families, for the people of Iraq and for the humanitarian efforts that are so desperately needed. Please contact Joanne Welter of our Catholic Social Mission Office for information about Catholic Relief Services' efforts. Joanne can be reached at 520-792-3410 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Vol. 1, No. 8
April 28, 2003
1. I am fulfilling two commitments this week that will have me touching down in North Carolina and in Chicago.
My involvement in the activities that require this travel is linked to the goals we all share for reenergizing ourselves in our various ministries, for renewing our parishes and for recruiting more people to ministry positions within the Diocese.
Today through Wednesday, I will be at the Research Triangle Park near Raleigh-Durham as a "Church Leader" participant in "Pulpit & Pew," an interdenominational project aimed at strengthening the quality of pastoral leadership (clergy and lay) in churches, parishes and other faith communities across America.
The project entails 20 research projects that are now underway to answer the following:
What is the state of pastoral leadership at the new century's beginning? What do current trends portend for the next generation? What is good pastoral leadership? Can we describe it? What is the relation of good pastoral leadership to the ministry of all of God's people? How has understanding of good pastoral leadership varied historically? By denominational tradition? By congregational size and context? How does good pastoral leadership come into being? What can be done to enable it to come into being more frequently, and how can it be nurtured and supported more directly?
The Church Leader group of which I am a part meets twice yearly to assist the Project Staff in identifying key issues regarding pastoral leadership, to review research reports created by Project researchers, to provide critical feedback and to assist with disseminating the research information within their denominations.
Denominations represented in the project include Free Church, Reformed, Wesleyan, Sacramental (Protestant and Catholic), and Pentecostal traditions, as well as African American and other ethnic traditions.
Father Cletus J. Kiley, Executive Director of the Priestly Life Committee of the U.S. Catholic Conference, and I are the two Roman Catholic members of the Church Leader Group.
This projects holds real promise for some very significant and beneficial results, and I am honored to represent our Church and our Diocese in this effort. This project is funded by the Lilly Endowment and is being undertaken by the J.M. Ormond Center at the Divinity School at Duke University. (There's more information about the project available at www.pulpitandpew.duke.edu/index.html.)
On Thursday, I will be in Chicago for a meeting of a new magazine's editorial board. The magazine, Preach Enlivening the Pastoral Art, will launch this fall. Preach will offer reflections from some of our Church's most celebrated preachers, renowned biblical scholars, storytellers and the all-important "person in the pew" who will share hopes for the art of preaching.
The magazine is not intended to tell you what to preach, but to help you become even more competent in knowing how to preach in your particular pastoral context, while respecting and highlighting the great diversity of our Church.
I am one of 16 editorial board members for Preach. We have promised as a board, under the leadership of editor Father Edward Foley, Capuchin, to produce a magazine "that is thought-provoking, eminently practical and presented in a lively professional style." I am honored to be a part of this effort.
2. Friday evening is the seventeenth annual Catholic Foundation Benefit Dinner, which this year is a tribute to all the religious women, past and present, who have been so important to the mission of our Diocese.
With the theme of "Honoring Generations of Sisters," the dinner will be well-deserved recognition for the generous and tireless ministry of the religious women of the past who have left such a wonder legacy of service that is being built upon by the Sisters of today.
I hope to see a "full house" for the dinner, with all our parishes represented. It's not too late to be a part of this important evening. You can call the Foundation office at 520-838-2507 to make a table reservation.
3. As we have entered the annual cycle of preparing the budget for the Diocesan administrative structure, I have asked the directors of our Diocesan departments and offices to each come up with three goals for the coming year that very clearly will support the priorities of our Diocese -- restoring trust, reenergizing all who minister in the Diocese, renewing our parishes, re-garnering our resources, reaching out to the littlest and weakest among us and recruiting more vocations to ministry, especially to the priesthood and religious life.
Matching our goals to these priorities will help us to focus our time, talents and resources.
Several of our department directors shared their goals at our staff meeting last Friday, and we'll hear from the rest at our next meeting. I look forward to sharing all the goals with you soon. In the meantime, our Pastoral Center Budget Committee (Father Van Wagner, Chancellor June Kellen and Chief Financial Officer Mary Huerstel) will be meeting over the next two weeks with the directors individually to review their budget proposals.
We all share in the mission of our Diocese, and with that in mind I invite you to be a part of our "focusing" effort. If you have ideas on how we can best approach and achieve our Diocesan priorities, please share them with me by writing me or e-mailing me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
4. I am pleased to pass on to you acknowledgment by the Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for Casa San Juan, a project of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Tucson.
A recent letter from the Office for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees to Aida Rios, Casa San Juan center coordinator, said, "The Diocese should be commended for the excellent work it has put forth to date in the execution of its Diocesan action plan and in carrying forward the objectives set forth in its grant application. We are very impressed with the impact Casa San Juan has had in the community thus far."
Casa San Juan serves the community around St. John Parish as a center where undocumented parishioners and residents can access a variety of services, including religious education and information on social services and citizenship.
Casa San Juan receives funding support from the parish, our Diocese, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Pima County Interfaith Council, Derechos Humanos, Humane Borders, Border Links, Casa Maria Catholic Worker Community and the Mexican Consulate.
I commend all who have made Casa San Juan a visible example of how we can work together to achieve one of our important pastoral goals as a Diocese -- reaching out to the littlest and weakest amongst us.
5. Congratulations to Bob Ashford of Holy Angels Parish in Globe on the design of the parish's new website at www.holyangelscatholiccommunity.org. The home page communicates a beautiful message about the parish's identity: "United as a people of gratefulness for God's countless blessings, we are committed to educate ourselves and others in our faith heritage, support one another in times of need and share generously with the poor."
The Holy Angeles website brings to 16 the number of our parishes with presence on the Internet. You can access those sites through our Diocesan website (www.diocesetucson.org) under "Links."
I am very pleased to see our parishes using this tool of communication, and I hope the Diocese can be a resource for other parishes that would like to join them.
6. Congratulations to all our "100% Parishes" -- the 20 parishes and missions that have reached 100% or more of their goals for this year's Annual Catholic Appeal!
The parishes are: St. George, Apache Junction; Our Lady of Lourdes, Benson; St. James, Coolidge; San Felipe de Jesus, Nogales; St. Helen, Oracle; St. Theresa, Patagonia; San Carlos Mission, San Carlos; St. Jude, San Luis; St. Bartholomew, San Manuel; St. Andrew and Our Lady of the Mountains, Sierra Vista; St. Ann, Tubac; St. Cyril, St. Frances Cabrini, St. Thomas the Apostle, Corpus Christi, St. Margaret and Our Lady of Fatima in Tucson; St. Francis of Assisi and St. John Neumann in Yuma.
Going into this week, the Appeal is at 86% of goal. The generosity of our people and the support that our pastors and parish staffs have given to the Appeal are heartening signs for our Diocese.
Our Diocesan website posts weekly progress reports on the Appeal each Monday. Just click on the Annual Catholic Appeal logo on the website's home page.