April 2, 2007 April 16, 2007 April 23, 2007 April 30, 2007

Vol. 5, No. 4
April 2, 2007

We have entered this holiest of weeks, during which we will celebrate the beautiful and striking liturgies of the Triduum, the three day period that begins with the evening Mass of Holy Thursday and concludes on the evening of Easter Sunday.

On the evening of Holy Thursday, we commemorate the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood.

On Good Friday, the only day of the year without the celebration of Mass, we celebrate the liturgy of the Lord's Passion. We pray for the needs of the Church and the world and we venerate the Cross.

On Holy Saturday, our silence and prayer commemorate Christ in the tomb.

On the night of Holy Saturday, we celebrate the Easter Vigil, which begins with the lighting of the Easter fire. We sing the joy-filled Exultet. We witness the baptism of the catechumens, and we welcome the candidates into the fullness of faith.

On Easter, we celebrate the Lord's Resurrection, the hope upon which our faith is founded.

Tonight, of course, is our diocesan celebration of the Chrism Mass. We will come together from our 75 individual communities of faith to become one Family of Faith in St. Augustine Cathedral. Please join us tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Cathedral!

1. Holy Week and Triduum Schedule -- The Lenten Priests' Day of Prayer will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. today at the Hotel Arizona, after which we priests will gather in Cathedral Hall for the traditional Monday of Holy Week dinner that Father Dom Pinti will prepare for us.

This Wednesday, I will celebrate a Lenten Mass with the staff of Catholic Community Services at the CCS headquarters in Tucson. Wednesday evening, I will preside at the traditional Tenebrae Prayer and Penance Service at St. Augustine Cathedral at 7 p.m.

On Holy Thursday, I will preside at the 7:30 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral.

On Good Friday, I will preside at the noon Veneration of the Cross liturgy at the Cathedral. I will lead the annual Stations of the Cross procession up A Mountain (the 38th year under the sponsorship of Los Dorados) at 5 p.m. on Friday.

On Saturday, I will preside at the Easter Vigil Mass at the Cathedral at 7:30 p.m.

On Easter, I will preside at the 10 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral.

2. Child Abuse Prevention Month -- The national observance of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month is underway with many special events that are meant to call our attention to the societal problem of child abuse.

In our Diocese and in dioceses across the nation, there is a special prayer effort that is aligned to Child Abuse Prevention Month. Beginning at noon this Good Friday and continuing at noon for the remaining Fridays of this month, I invite you to join with many others in dioceses across the nation at that same time to pray this special prayer that invokes Christ's healing touch for all those harmed by the tragedy of child abuse within the household of the Church.

God of Endless Love,
Ever caring, ever strong,
Always present, always just:
You gave Your only Son
To save us by the blood of His cross.

Gentle Jesus, Shepherd of Peace,
Join to Your own suffering
The pain of all who have been hurt
In body, mind, and spirit
By those who betrayed the trust placed in them.

Hear our cries as we agonize
Over the harm done to our brothers and sisters.
Breathe wisdom into our prayers,
Soothe restless hearts with hope,           
Steady shaken spirits with faith.
Show us the way to justice and wholeness,
Enlightened by truth and enfolded in Your mercy.

Holy Spirit, Comforter of Hearts, heal Your people's wounds
And transform our brokenness.
Grant us courage and wisdom, humility and grace,
So that we may act with justice
And find peace in You.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

The idea for this prayer originated at a meeting of the National Safe Environment Leadership Conference in January and was shared nationally with diocesan victim assistance and safe environment coordinators with the blessing and help of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection.

3. Meeting of Sexual Misconduct Review Board -- The regular monthly meeting of the Board is this morning here at the Pastoral Center. The advice and council that the members provide to me are blessings as we continue to carry out the requirements of the Safe Environment Program in all our parishes and schools for background screening, child abuse awareness and prevention education, supervision visibility and accountability and formation of those in ministry.

I invite you to read Dr. Paul Duckro's column in this month's The New Vision in which Paul writes about the ways in which the Diocese is active in helping to maintain safe environments for children in our own community of faith and, through our diocesan Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, is a partner with other agencies and community organizations in addressing the problem of child abuse in the larger civic community.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See's permanent observer to the United Nations, spoke stirringly last month about the rights of children to equality and dignity. He reminded us of the importance of the Catholic Church's collaboration with civic organizations to promote the welfare of "abused and neglected children."

4. The New Vision Editorial Board -- The Board meets tomorrow morning here at the Pastoral Center. Our agenda includes a discussion of distribution methods and a report from managing editor Karl Bierach on the special supplement for Catholic Schools being planned for September.

5. Pastoral Center Staff and Directors Meetings -- The monthly meetings for staff and the directors of diocesan offices and departments will be held this Thursday morning here at the Pastoral Center.

6. Annual Catholic Appeal Update -- We are over the $3 million mark in pledges for this year's campaign! Last Friday's report from the parishes showed total pledges of $3,049,403 -- 92 percent of goal.

Parish reports are available at www.annualcatholicappearcmf.org.

7. Diocesan Seminarian Rite of Candidacy -- I presided at the liturgy last Wednesday at St. Mary of the Lake University Mundelein Seminary during which our seminarians Mario "Ricky" Ordonez, Ed Lucero and Emilio Chapa (below, left to right, between Father Miguel Mariano and myself) were admitted to candidacy for ordination.



8. Retreat for Bishops of Region XIII -- I will be with the bishops of Region XIII of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops next week in San Diego for our traditional Easter Week Jesu Caritas retreat. I will be returning to the Diocese on Easter Thursday.

9. Monday Memo Spring Break -- As I will be on retreat next week, Monday Memo will take a spring break next Monday.

Vol. 5, No. 5
April 16, 2007

Outstanding and astounding! That is how I describe the generosity of Catholics in the Diocese of Tucson to our 2007 Annual Catholic Appeal.

The Appeal has reached its goal of $3.3 million in record time. In past Appeal campaigns, the earliest that the goal was reached was in late May, but we reached the goal in this year's campaign by Easter Monday, just a week ago today.

And, pledges by last Friday had reached more than $3.4 million. Nearly half of our parishes have reached or exceeded their goals, and the average pledge is $231.

I am grateful to the nearly 15,000 Catholic families and individuals who have so generously made their pledge in support the 26 charities and ministries in our Diocese that depend upon the Appeal for their resources. I am grateful as well to our pastors, parish staff and Appeal lay volunteers whose efforts on behalf of the Appeal also have been outstanding and astounding.

Beyond making it possible for our charities and ministries to continue their services and to meet increased demands, a parish receives a direct benefit when it exceeds goal because half of all that is received over goal is returned to the parish.

The charities and ministries supported by the Appeal help to meet the spiritual, education and human needs of hundreds of thousands of people in our Diocese. The fast pace of growth that we are experiencing places even greater demands on our programs and services, and my hope is that those who have not yet made a pledge will join all those who have.

While it is encouraging that we have reached goal, my hope is that we can increase the number of those participating in the Appeal significantly this year. Let us keep our focus on the campaign for the next two months. Continue to encourage and invite those who have not yet given to help us "Light the Way" for the thousands across our Diocese who live in darkness.

The latest Appeal parish reports are available at www.annualcatholicappealcmf.org.  

1. Diocesan Master Planning Committee
-- As we look back on the history of our Diocese, we realize the vision of those who have gone before us. They chose places to build parishes and schools and hospitals. They constructed buildings that lifted up the human spirit and provided space for worship, education and care for those in need. They planned well.
 
We now bear the responsibility to plan for the future. Arizona is among the fastest growing states. As communities prepare plans to address growth, the Church, too, needs to look with vision to the future. As other parts of the country are considering the closing or merging of parishes, we find ourselves in a different mode. We lack sufficient parishes to provide places of worship and formation.
 
I have appointed a planning committee, directed by Father Michael Bucciarelli, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Benson, that will include real estate experts, business people and contractors from the communities within the Diocese, to assist us in looking to the future. John Shaheen, our Property and Insurance Manager, and David Miller, diocesan Real Estate Specialist who was hired recently to look at sites for future parishes, serve as staff for this committee.
 
As you know, we recently began a new parish, Our Lady of Grace, in the town of Maricopa, and there are other areas of the Diocese that are growing quickly. We need to consider ways to secure land and identify places where we will need to provide space for the future for worship and the Catholic education of our children.
 
Also in our Diocese, the Carondelet Health Network and Catholic Community Services also are looking to the future and considering ways to respond to the significant growth happening around us.
 
I pray we will plan for the future with the same wisdom and foresight our ancestors had.
 
We also need to preserve our past as we look to the future, and as our local civic leaders plan for the renewal of Tucson's downtown area, we continue to explore plans to renovate the historic Cathedral Placita, Cathedral Hall and the Cathedral itself. This renovation could help spark and support further downtown development.
 
Efforts to restore the Cathedral Placita (the small park area on the north side of the Cathedral) are progressing. The area will be dedicated to Msgr. Arsenio Carrillo, who served as Cathedral Rector for many years. Drawings have been completed and fund raising efforts continue. A grand concert is being planned for September to help raise funds. Vicki Carr and Mariachi Cobre have already committed to the event.  
 
Cathedral Parish is taking bids on the painting of the Cathedral's exterior, and I hope that the parish can begin that project soon. The renovation of the interior is a much more expensive and complex project. Any effort to restore the interior will need careful study.
 
Marist College, a former Catholic School, which is in serious disrepair, is the largest multi-story adobe structure in Arizona. We continue to work with the City of Tucson to secure funds for its preservation and to find a viable use for the facility. It could appropriately and fittingly serve as a Latino cultural center, as a starting point for visiting downtown Tucson or as an office building for a community non-profit organization.
 
In the near future, a mural donated by a anonymous benefactor will soon be installed on the Bishop Moreno Pastoral Center. Its theme reflects the historic development of our city and the religious roots of Tucson's founding. 

My hope is that we -- the Diocese, local governments and civic organizations -- cooperatively can enhance the downtown Tucson area and make it a place in which we can all be proud.

2. Pro-Life Legislation Action Alert -- I encourage you to take action now to support important pro-life legislation that is being considered by the Arizona Legislature. HB 2641 is a measure that will codify in statute the judicial bypass procedures a minor must follow before obtaining an abortion without parental consent. Essentially, this bill follows what the Arizona Court of Appeals has already ruled on in this regard.
 
You can communicate your support by going to the Arizona Catholic Conference Web site at www.diocesephoenix.org/acc. Follow the link under "Legislative Alert" to compose your message. 
 
3. Justice for Immigrants Campaign
-- Representatives from the dioceses that been implementing "Justice for Immigrants," the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform, are meeting this week in Washington. This gathering, under the theme of "Offering Hope, Promoting Justice," is taking place while the Congress is considering significant changes to our nation's immigration system.

The goals of the meeting include clarifying advocacy strategies and strengthening collaboration among Catholics who support comprehensive immigration reform. Participants will make visits to Capitol Hill to promote comprehensive reform. The meeting also will be an opportunity for Sister Jane Burke, S.S.N.D., who was named last week as the new national manager of the "Justice for Immigrants" Campaign, to introduce herself to the diocesan representatives. Joanne Welter, director of our diocesan Catholic Social Mission Office, and Rene Franco, director of the Immigration and Citizenship Program of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, will be representing our Diocese at the meeting.

As the discussions and deliberations continue regarding the components of immigration legislation, I urge that we continue to pray that our leaders will be guided to seek reforms that reflect the values that we hold as a nation and that recognize the great human needs that underlie this migration. I invite all in our Diocese to a special Mass during which we will pray together that the Holy Spirit will guide the process of crafting immigration reform. This Mass will be in the school courtyard at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Tucson at 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 29. Following the Mass, there will be an opportunity for those attending to fill out postcards supporting comprehensive reform that will be mailed to the members of the Arizona congressional delegation.

4. Catholic Legal Immigration Network 10th Annual Convening -- I am very pleased that Tucson will be the site of next month's 10th Annual Convening of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC). The nation's largest network of charitable immigration services with 161 affiliates in 262 field offices around the nation, CLINIC advocates for transparent, fair and generous immigration policies and provides support services to enhance and expand delivery, principally through diocesan immigration programs, of legal services to indigent and low-income immigrants.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) established CLINIC in 1988 as a non-profit organization to support a network of community-based immigration programs. CLINIC now includes 156 diocesan and other affiliated immigration programs with 255 field offices in 48 states. This network of some 1,200 attorneys and accredited paralegals serves more than 400,000 low-income immigrants each year. As a member of the CLINIC board of directors, I am very pleased that the convening is being held here May 9 through 11, and I look forward to welcoming the more than 300 participants.

 
5. St. Augustine Catholic High School -- I will be meeting tomorrow with the members of the St. Augustine Catholic High School Board of Directors. Now that the school is in its fourth year, we will review and discuss the work of the board and will consider new members and a new set of bylaws.

The board has had a particularly important responsibility in guiding St. Augustine in its early development. I am grateful to Jo Ann Sayre, who has served this past year as board chair, and to the founding members still serving on the board, Dan Quigley, Dr. Don Ewing and Jim Harkin.

I recognize and am grateful for the work of the many laity, priests and religious who serve on our school boards across the Diocese. These boards are tremendously important for providing oversight for the academic and spiritual formation programs of our Catholic Schools.

6. Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) -- I am very honored to have the opportunity to serve CARA as the new chairman of its board of directors, and I will be at Georgetown University in Washington later this week, where CARA is headquartered, for my first meeting as chairman. I succeed Bishop John Leibrecht of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, who had served as chairman since 2003.

Founded in 1964, CARA conducts social science research about the Catholic Church and offers a range of research and consulting services for parishes, dioceses, religious communities and institutes and other Catholic institutions and organizations. Its activities are focused on increasing the Church's self understanding, serving the applied research needs of Church decision-makers and advancing scholarly research on religion, particularly Catholicism.

On its Website (http://cara.georgetown.edu), CARA cites as its inspiration this statement from the Second Vatican Council Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium Et Spes): "In pastoral care, sufficient use must be made not only of theological principles, but also the findings of the secular sciences, especially of psychology and sociology, so that the faithful may be brought to a more accurate and mature life of faith." 

7. Catholic Foundation Cornerstone Gala -- The Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson 2007 Cornerstone Gala and 21st Annual Dinner is this Friday evening at the J. W. Marriott Starr Pass Resort in Tucson. The theme of this year's celebration is "A Choice Well Made: A Century of Priesthood." The "century" refers to Father Ed Carscallen's 60th anniversary of ordination and my 40th anniversary of ordination that we are observing this year. While Father Ed and I are the official honorees, we gladly share this recognition of "A Choice Well Made" with all our brother priests. Last year's Cornerstone Gala raised nearly $65,000 for the Catholic Foundation.

8. Diaconate Candidate Preaching Seminar -- Sister Lois Paha, O.P., director of our Office of Formation, members of the Jordan Ministry Team I will be meeting with our 24 candidates for the permanent diaconate this Saturday at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Tucson for the second preaching seminar in this semester of their formation program. We will be focusing on storytelling. One of the exercises that I have asked the candidates to prepare for is to tell a story from a scene in a Gospel from the viewpoint of one of the participants.

9. Confirmations -- I will administer the sacrament of Confirmation this Sunday at St. John Neumann Parish in Yuma and at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Somerton.

In this Easer Season, many of our parishes are celebrating the sacrament of Confirmation. It is really one of the joys of the office of bishop to bestow the gift of the Spirit in the sacrament of Confirmation.  I always am encouraged to see the faith and idealism of our young people and adults who are embracing the Lord in a deeper way in this final sacrament of Initiation.

I am very grateful to our vicars forane who will be helping me this year with Confirmations. I have been exploring with the vicars the possibility of holding vicariate confirmations in which smaller groups of those to be confirmed may gather for one celebration. We also are considering the possibility of having Confirmation at St. Augustine Cathedral annually for parishes that may want to share in that celebration.

10. Pastor Installation
-- It will be my joy this Sunday to install Father Chris Orndorff as the twelfth pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Yuma. The installation will take place during the 12:30 p.m. Mass.

11. 2007 Safe Environment Compliance Audit
-- Last week, the USCCB released its 2006 Annual Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The report reflects both the progress that has been made and the continuing challenges that characterize the ongoing efforts of dioceses to create safe environments for those they serve, especially our young, and for those who provide service.

Our Diocese was not included among those that were audited in 2006 because of our positive results in the previous three audits. Nevertheless, we did conduct an internal audit to continue our efforts to identify strengths and weaknesses in the implementation of our Safe Environment Program Plan.

We now are preparing for the 2007 audit by the USCCB that will begin Oct. 8. There will be presentations about the audit to pastors and compliance representatives this month and next.

While the audit is an enormous undertaking for all involved, it is a critical part of our efforts to prevent harm and to reduce risk. Only by reviewing performance are we able to identify what is going well and what needs improvement.

I thank all of you, particularly our pastors, compliance representatives and compliance teams, for your collaboration in and cooperation with these efforts.

12. St. Thomas More Society of Southern Arizona
-- I encourage all Catholic attorneys, active as well as retired, and Catholic law students to consider membership in the St. Thomas More Society of Southern Arizona. The mission of the Society is to provide a structure for lawyers, judicial officers and law students to foster fellowship and continued ethical formation in the spirit of St. Thomas More in support of the Catholic Church and the Diocese of Tucson.

The Society invites Catholic attorneys and law students to its annual membership breakfast meeting on Tuesday, May 15. The meeting begins with Mass at 7 a.m. at St. Augustine Cathedral. More information on the Society and the meeting is available by calling 520-620-6222.

13. Happy 100th Birthday to Sister Constanza Rivera, C.F.M.M.
-- Sister Constanza celebrated her 100th birthday on April 7. At a birthday party for Sister and the other residents of Holy Cross Nursing Home in Nogales, she was serenaded by her Minim Sisters with "Happy Birthday" and "Las Mañanitas."

Sister Constanza professed as a Minim Sister on Feb. 11, 1933, and on that same day she began her ministry at St. Joseph Hospital on Sonoita Street in Nogales. After receiving her nursing degree from St. Mary's Hospital in Tucson, Sister Constanza became the administrator of the hospital in 1950. In the 10 years that followed, Sister worked with the hospital's board, the Minim Sisters and the Nogales community to build a new hospital for Nogales, which was opened on March 19, 1960, on Target Road as St. Joseph Hospital. (When administration of the hospital was transferred from the Minim Sisters to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 1981, the hospital became Holy Cross Hospital.)

14. Happy 80th Birthday to Pope Benedict XVI -- You are invited to e-mail your personal greetings to the Holy Father as he celebrates his 80th birthday today. Just go to www.vatican.va. You might also include in your message your pledge of prayers as he marks the third anniversary of his election this Thursday.

Coinciding with the Holy Father's birthday, his new book on the life of Jesus is being released in German, Italian and Polish. According to Catholic World News, he has indicated that "Jesus of Nazareth" is a personal effort, not an authoritative doctrinal statement, that he has authored because of his concern over what he feels is confusion about the identity of Jesus. The English edition is expected to be released on May 15.

15. idiocese.org -- Our new multi-media platform for diocesan communications, www.idiocese.org, is up and running. Designed by Omar Rodriguez and Karl Bierach of The New Vision, idiocese.org brings a new dimension to our use of the Internet. You will find a number of features, including podcasts for downloading and audio and video programs. I hope that our parishes and schools will take advantage of the invitation to share their digital photos. To access all the features of idiocese.org, you will need the Adobe Flash Player, which you can get at www.adobe.com/downloads.  

16. Emphasizing Two Excellent Opportunities
-- I want to add my emphasis to the invitations being extended by the Office of Formation to attend these two excellent formation opportunities:

"Sunday and Weekday Celebrations in the Absence of the Priest" is the topic of our next liturgy workshop to be held at Mission San Xavier del Bac Parish in Tucson from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 5. I encourage pastors to send deacons and lay ministers who lead Communion Services on Sundays or weekdays in the parish, nursing homes, prisons or hospitals. The workshop, to be presented by Father Miguel Mariano, Sister Lois Paha, O.P., and Msgr. Carlos Romero on Saturday, will focus on the revised Rite on the Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of the Priest, which is available at www.usccbpublishing.org. To register for the workshop or for more information, please contact Pegi Dodd at the Office of Formation at 520-838-2545 or pegid@diocesetucson.org.
 
The North American Forum on the Catechumenate will present a "Beginnings Plus Institute" Aug. 23 through 26 at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks. The institute will assist parishes with the implementation of the Rite of Christian Initiation for adults and children. I encourage our parish catechumenate directors and team members, pastors, parochial vicars, deacons and catechists to participate in this formation opportunity. To register or for more information, please contact Pegi Dodd at the Office of Formation at 520-838-2545 or pegid@diocesetucson.org. Additional information is available at the Forum's Website, www.naforum.org.

17. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- We pray for the repose of the souls of Father Paul Larocque, who died Thursday, April 5, at age 86, and Father Roland Bedard, M.S., who died Wednesday, April 4, at age 89.

Father Paul Larocque gave 61 years of faithful priestly service to our Diocese, including 16 years of dedicated ministry following his retirement in 1991. His ministry in the Diocese included assignments as an assistant pastor at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Tempe, Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson, and St. Agnes Parish in Phoenix. He served four parishes as pastor: St. Rose of Lima Parish in Safford from 1949 to 1961; Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish in Miami from 1961 to 1971; Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Green Valley from 1971 to 1984; and St. Phillip the Apostle Parish in Payson from 1985 to 1991.

Father Bedard gave 61 years of faithful priestly service to the Missionaries of Our Lady of LaSalette, including 26 years of pastoral ministry in the Diocese of Tucson. In addition to assignments as a teacher, vocations director, superior, master of novices and pastor, he served his Order as provincial superior from 1970 to 1972. In the Diocese of Tucson, he served as assistant pastor at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson from 1981 to 1982, pastor of St. Bernard Parish in Pirtleville from 1982 to 1984 and pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Elfrida from 1982 to 1988. After retiring from pastoral ministry in 1988, he continued to provide priestly service to many parishes, including Santa Catalina Parish. With his brother LaSalette priest, Rev. Henry Dauphinais, Father Roland established the Shrine of Our Lady of LaSalette in Double Adobe.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Sister Georgina Marie Bowers, O.P., who died during Holy Week at the Dominican Life Center in Adrian, Mich., at age 88 and in 71st year of her religious profession in the Adrian Dominican Congregation. Sister Georgina ministered for 31 years in Catholic education, including serving as principal for six years of St. Anthony Catholic School in Casa Grande and as a teacher at Loretto Catholic School in Douglas.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Rosa Rhinehart, mother-in-law of Kathy Rhinehart of the Pastoral Center, who died last week.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Pvt. Damian Lopez Rodriquez, 19 years old, who was killed in Iraq and who will be buried from St. John the Evangelist Parish in Tucson today. His death brings close to us the terror and cost of this war. Please remember in your prayers his parents, Ana and Rafael, and brother, Rafael, and sister, Karla. We continue to pray for peace and a resolution to the suffering and death happening to those in our Armed Services and to the people in Iraq.

Vol. 5, No. 6
April 23, 2007

We all were shocked and saddened by the tragedy that took place at Virginia Tech University a week ago today. It is hard to comprehend the pain felt by the parents, families and friends of the slain students and by the university's community. Our hearts and prayers go out to them.
 
The devastation that the perpetrator's family feels is very obvious in the statement the family released last Friday.
 
Tragic experiences like this bring home the frailty of human life and our reliance on God, who is our Rock and our Salvation in the midst of such immense sadness.
 
I served as a principal of a high school and as a president of a seminary university, and I can only imagine how the administrators and faculty of Virginia Tech must feel about the events that transpired.
 
I appreciate the prayers offered around our Diocese this past weekend for all involved.
In a letter to Bishop William S. Skylstad, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Roman Catholic Bishops of Korea expressed the profound shock and sorrow of all Catholic people in Korea over the tragedy.
"We ask you kindly to convey our heartfelt condolence and prayers for all the innocent young victims and the wounded, to their families and dear ones, and indeed to all the good people of the United States at this hour of their deep grief," the bishops said in their letter.
"We are particularly pained, as Koreans ourselves, to learn that this incomprehensible, dreadful act of violence was committed by a Korean student," they wrote. "But we sincerely hope also that this tragedy does not generate new prejudice or violence among people, but rather be an occasion for all of us today to reflect anew on the suffering of our neighbors and the supreme dignity and value of human life.
"We also hope it moves us to look with a caring heart whether (if) people around us live in isolation and desperation, and embrace them with brotherly love."

1. Pastoral Visit to the Yuma - La Paz Vicariate -- On Saturday night, I enjoyed Yuma Catholic High School's annual "Field of Dreams," which this year had the theme of Arabian Nights, complete with sultans and sultanas (young people from the school) who greeted us and made us feel welcome. The Yuma community works very hard for this event, and it was enjoyable meeting so many people who have worked so hard to support this impressive Catholic School.
 
The Manatowoc Franciscan Sisters, with Sr. Adriana Schouten, O.S.F., as principal, contribute greatly through their dedication and talents to further the Yuma Catholic's mission of providing Catholic secondary education. Their service is a great blessing and gift to our Diocese.
 
Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish and Episcopal Vicar of the Yuma - La Paz Vicariate, who along with a number of Yumans began Yuma Catholic, was proudly in attendance. He seems to know everyone in Yuma! I was pleased to hear the high regard the community has for Yuma Catholic, its faculty and staff. The young people are always inspiring, and I enjoyed hearing and seeing them share their musical and artistic talents to make the evening very special.
 
All of our parishes and schools work hard at raising needed money to carry on Catholic education. It is a challenge to raise money today, and I admire the efforts being made by our parishes and schools to provide resources for their programs. I am grateful to all who support our efforts. Their generosity makes a difference.

It was my joy yesterday to confirm more than 100 young persons at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Somerton and at St. John Neumann Parish in Yuma.

Also yesterday, I installed Father Chris Orndorff as the 12th pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Yuma. The celebration took place at the 12:30 p.m. Mass in Spanish, bringing together the various groups represented in the community, showing the unity of the parish. Father Chris brings many gifts to his ministry. He has been well received in the school and parish. It is always a delight for me to see the people eager to support their new pastor and to welcome him with open arms. Father Chris may be the only priest in the Diocese who owns and rides a motorcycle. He proudly showed me his motorcycle, but he did not offer to give me a ride.

Today, I will attend a special luncheon to thank corporations and businesses in the Yuma area for their donations last year to the Catholic Tuition Support Organization for the Diocese of Tucson through the Arizona Corporate Tax Credit. This credit allows corporations to direct a contribution to a qualified school tuition organization for which they receive a dollar-for-dollar credit on their state tax liability. I thank Gracie Quiroz, CTSO director, for facilitating this "thank you" opportunity. There will be a similar event in Tucson next month.

This evening, I will administer the sacrament of Confirmation at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Yuma.

2. Diocesan Finance Council -- The Council meets tomorrow at the Pastoral Center. Chief Financial Officer Tom Arnold will report on the preparation of the budget for the Administrative Offices of the Diocese. There also will be a report and discussion on the health care benefit for priests, diocesan employees and the employees of parishes and schools.

3. Annual Convocation of Priests -- The theme of this year's convocation is "Ministry in a Burgeoning Church." We are expecting nearly 100 priests to gather at the Hotel Casa Grande in Casa Grande for our annual gathering, which begins tomorrow and concludes on Thursday.

Our special guest for the convocation is Bishop Joseph Pepe of the Diocese of Las Vegas. Bishop Pepe will facilitate our discussions about how we can respond to the many pastoral and ministry needs resulting from the growth that is taking place in our Diocese. We will benefit from his experience with the challenges of growth, as the communities in the Diocese of Las Vegas also are seeing phenomenal growth.

4. Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist -- We join in prayer this Wednesday with Father Liam Leahy, pastor, and the community of St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Tucson as they celebrate the feast of their patron saint.

5. Confirmations -- I will administer the sacrament of Confirmation this Thursday evening at St. Rita in the Desert Parish in Vail and at St. George Parish in Apache Junction this Saturday afternoon.

6. Diocesan Pastoral Council -- The Council meets this Saturday at the Pastoral Center. Our agenda includes a discernment exercise for the consideration of new officers and a continuation of our discussion on the pastoral priority of marriage and family life.

7. Tucson International Mariachi Conference 25th Anniversary Mass -- I will preside at the Eucharistic Celebration this Saturday at 9 a.m. at St. Augustine Cathedral in observance of the 25th Anniversary of the Conference.

A front page story in last Saturday's Tucson Citizen by Daniel Buckley headlined "Why do we love mariachi?" takes note of the impact that this wonderful event has had on music and culture. Daniel points to 15 benefits the Conference had brought to Tucson, to Arizona and to our nation. The annual Mass, which features the spiritual music of Mariachi, is always inspiring, and finding a seat in the Cathedral for this Mass is always a challenge!

8. JustFaith Reception -- I look forward to attending a reception this Sunday afternoon at in Tucson for the graduates of the JustFaith Program that has been taking place in some of the Tucson area parishes.
The program, an outgrowth of the nationally known and respected JustFaith Ministries, offers education and formation on the Church's Social Teaching. The graduates will assist and support their parishes in social justice ministry.

9. Comprehensive Immigration Reform -- Writing to the U.S. Congress on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop's in his capacity as chair of the Migration Committee, Bishop Gerald Barnes of the Diocese of San Bernardino today expressed concern over the proposals for immigration reform announced by President Bush in his visit to Yuma two weeks ago.

"While we are encouraged by the direction of the immigration debate with the introduction of the STRIVE Act, we are deeply concerned by the Administration's most recent proposal for comprehensive immigration reform," Bishop Barnes wrote. "Unlike the STRIVE Act, which promotes family reunification and has a realistic plan for bringing undocumented immigrants out of the shadows, the Administration's proposal would make cuts to family-based immigration as well as impose fines and wait-times for legalization that are far beyond what most immigrants could bear. As we understand it, the Administration's proposal would effectively leave many immigrants seeking to legalize their status in a permanent underclass and would encourage family breakdown in immigrant communities. Although we appreciate the President's initiative in encouraging comprehensive immigration reform, we see this proposal as a step in the wrong direction."

This Friday, Bishop Thomas Olmsted and I, accompanied by Ron Johnson, director of the Arizona Catholic Conference, will meet with U.S. Sen. John Kyle to discuss the need for comprehensive reform and the components of reform that the U.S. Catholic Conference believe will bring about just and effective changes in the immigration system.

I invite all in our Diocese to a special Mass this Sunday during which we will pray together that the Holy Spirit will guide the process of brining about comprehensive reform of our nation's immigration system. This Mass will be in the school courtyard at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Tucson at 7 p.m.

Following the Mass, there will be an opportunity for those attending to fill out postcards supporting comprehensive reform that will be mailed to the members of the Arizona congressional delegation.

10. U.S. Supreme Court's Decision on "Partial-Birth Abortion" -- I join with my brother bishops of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in welcoming last Thursday's 5-4 decision by the Court that upheld the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.

Speaking for the Conference, Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia and chairman of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities, noted that while the decision does not reverse past decisions claiming that there is a constitutional right to abortion, the decision does provide reasons for renewed hope and renewed effort on the part of pro-life Americans.

"Especially welcome is the Court's explicit recognition of certain key facts: that abortion is the taking of a human life, and that government has a legitimate interest in protecting and preserving this life at every stage; that 'respect for human life finds an ultimate expression in the bond of love the mother has for her child'; that abortion may also cause grief and sorrow for women, which is only made worse when the reality of the procedure has been withheld from them until it is too late; and that the ethical integrity of the medical profession, as well as the fabric of our society, is threatened by the acceptance of practices that are difficult to distinguish from infanticide," Cardinal Rigali said.

In an insightful analysis of the decision, Richard Doerflinger, deputy director of the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities of the USCCB, observed that, "From a legal viewpoint, the new decision is narrow in its impact.  Roe v. Wade still stands, and the vast majority of abortions remain legal. But this Court has begun to take off the blinders and see abortion, recognizing its harm to children, women, the medical profession, and all of society. Advocates for the sanctity of human life should take encouragement from this clearer vision."

11. Catholic Foundation Cornerstone Gala -- More than 500 people gathered at the Marriott Starr Pass last Friday evening for the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson Cornerstone Gala. Martin Camacho, director of the Catholic Foundation, Ann Dickson and Bill Bowen, co-chairs of the event, the Foundation Board and the staff did a fantastic job in planning a delightful evening for which Dave Sitton served as master of ceremonies. More than 160 silent auction gifts were secured for the event by Joanne Jarvis.
 
It was impressive to hear the grants made by the Foundation to parishes, schools and programs in our Diocese to help respond to a particular need, including a retaining wall for St. Francis Parish in Superior, technology assistance for St. Augustine Cathedral and support for Holy Angels Catholic School in Globe and St. John the Evangelist School in Tucson. Jeff Nordensen, a member of the Foundation Board, reflected on the decisions made by a number of individuals to establish endowments in the Foundation that make these grants possible. If people could only realize what their generous gifts can accomplish, they, too, would want to be good stewards and share their resources for others.
 
A grant of $50,000 was given to help in the painting and renovation of St. Augustine Cathedral. This will make it possible to begin much needed renovation at the Cathedral (see below).

The theme of the evening was "A Choice Well Made." It was an honor for me to have my 40th anniversary as a priest celebrated with Father Ed Carscallen, one of the great priests of our Diocese, who is celebrating his 60th anniversary as a priest this year. We were both born on the same day, August 18, and we were both humbly grateful to receive the Foundation's Cornerstone Award.
 
It is so good when our community gathers!

12. St. Augustine Cathedral Renovation -- My prayer and hope is that we will soon begin to see the results of the work of so many generous persons who very much want to renovate and improve Cathedral Square (historic Cathedral Hall, the Placita, the Cathedral and its grounds). This renovation and improvement can contribute to the enhancement of Tucson's downtown area that is so needed.
 
A concert is being planned for Saturday, Sept. 8, that will include Mariachi Cobre, Vicki Carr and Aida Cuevas at the Tucson Convention Center. Proceeds from this concert will be used to complete the work on the Placita in honor of Msgr. Arsenio Carrillo, longtime rector of St. Augustine. I hope all of our parishes will help to promote this concert, which is being organized by Tony Carrillo and his committee. Information and order forms for concert tickets or special commemorative paving stones for the Placita are available from the Cathedral Office, 520-623-2351.
 
We continue to explore alternatives for the future of the Marist College. The building is the largest adobe structure in the Arizona and is part of our community's history.

13. 2007 Annual Catholic Appeal -- By last Friday, pledges from parishioners to this year's campaign totaled more than $3.5 million towards the goal of $3.3 million. Pledge reports from the parishes are available at www.annualcatholicappealcmf.org.

Inviting and encouraging participation in this year's Appeal remains very important in this phase of the campaign because parishes that exceed their goals will receive a rebate of half of the overage for the support of their ministries and services.

14. A Fond Farewell -- We say a fond farewell and express our prayers and best wishes for the future to Belinda McGuire who has served as receptionist here at the Pastoral Center the last several years. I thank Belinda for her service to our Diocese. Belinda's husband is being transferred to Phoenix.

Vol. 5, No. 7
April 30, 2007

Nearly 1,000 people attended yesterday evening's outdoor Eucharist at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Tucson for parishioners in the Pima South Vicariate.
 
We prayed for guidance for our elected officials as they continue discussion of a comprehensive immigration policy for our country. We prayed that the Holy Spirit will inspire our legislators to make right judgments and to have the courage to provide an earned pathway to citizenship for the 12 million undocumented persons living and contributing in our country, to make provision for new workers to use their talents to fill needed jobs and to provide them with adequate protection of their rights. Most importantly, we prayed that the new legislation will provide opportunities to unite families in an expeditious way. Clearly, separation of families harms society and leads to problems within a community.

At the end of Mass, several people gave witness to their struggle coming to this country and their desire to use their gifts to build up our community. Rene Franco, director of the Catholic Social Services Legalization Program, offered some helpful advice on how to begin planning and saving documents necessary to seek legalization if new legislation that would provide an earned pathway to citizenship is passed.
 
Finally, people were invited to fill out cards addressed to each of the members of the Arizona Congressional Delegation and to President Bush urging them to act now to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation. People were urged to call their representatives this week to tell how their leadership is needed now and that they can pass legislation that will ameliorate the painful and fractious struggle in our country over immigration. 
 
We trust the Lord will hear our prayers. Now is the time for our community to raise its voice. Now is the time to express our desire that our nation resolve the question of immigration in a just and comprehensive way. Now is the time to bring people out of the shadows, to unite families and to recognize the contributions that immigrants are making to our society.

Father Raul Trevizo, Vicar General and pastor of St. John, Father Gonzalo Villegas, pastor of Our Lady Queen of All Saints Parish and Vicar for Pima South, Father Bob Gonzalez, parochial vicar at St. John, Father Jim Hobert, pastor of St. Monica Parish, Father Bob Kose, serving at Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Rio Rico, Father Jose Luis Ferroni, O.C.D., parochial vicar at Santa Cruz Parish, and Father Pat Gavin, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Tucson concelebrated the Mass with me.

Joanne Welter, director of our diocesan Catholic Social Mission Office and Rene Franco attended last week's special conference in Washington, D.C., on the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform, "Justice for Immigrants." This gathering offered diocesan representatives the opportunity to carry the recommendations of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on the need for comprehensive immigration reform to senators and representatives on Capitol Hill.

As Congress nears possible deliberation of immigration legislation, I urge you to stay informed and connected with the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform. You can access updated information on the process of the legislation and send e-mail messages to senators and representatives in support of reform at www.justiceforimmigrants.org. They want to hear from us.

1. Diocesan Pro-Life Activities -- Father Dom Pinti, pastor of St. George the Apostle Parish in Apache Junction and our recently appointed diocesan liaison for Life Issues, will meet this Friday evening with leaders of pro-life activities from parishes and the Catholic community of Tucson.

I have asked Father Dom to harmonize the efforts in our Diocese on behalf of life. It is my hope that we might have an annual celebration during Respect Life Month and that each month we might reflect as a diocese on an important life issue, remembering that life from conception to natural death is a gift of God to be treated with dignity and respect.

2. "JustFaith" -- I met yesterday afternoon with nearly 40 people from four Tucson area parishes (St. Augustine Cathedral, Most Holy Trinity, St. Pius X and Our Mother of Sorrows) who have participated in the Catholic Charities program, "JustFaith."

I was inspired to hear what happened to them during this 30-week study of Catholic Social Teaching. They want to get involved. They want to find a way to bring the Gospel values to the biting questions of our society. They are trying to live a simpler life, to become more sensitive to human need and to act more directly to realize justice within our community.
 
During their extensive study, they read books, discussed Catholic Social Teaching, prayed together, visited Our Lady of Guadalupe Soup Kitchen at Casa Maria, visited prisons and learned about the border and its challenges.
 
We spoke about the importance of the Lay Apostolate and the need for laity to take a more active role in the public arena to proclaim Christ. I encouraged them to see the importance of all the life issues and I communicated my hope and desire that as a diocese we can enhance our efforts on behalf of life to create a more just and humane society.

3. Possible Border Initiative -- I will meet this Thursday with representatives of the Jesuit Refugee Services, priests of our Diocese (especially from the Santa Cruz Vicariate) and staff from our Diocese and the Archdiocese of Hermosillo to discuss a possible border initiative in Nogales that would be staffed by the Jesuit Refugee Services.

We have had several discussions about the possibility of a ministry to migrants, and it is encouraging to hear a growing interest on the part of Jesuit Refugee Services to such a possibility. While more discussion and planning is necessary, it is becoming clearer what might be possible along the border and how this could be staffed and funded. More information about Jesuit Refugee Services is available at www.jrsusa.org.

4. Mentoring Program for Recently Ordained – This quarter's session of our mentoring program for priests ordained five years of less is today and tomorrow at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks.

The theme of this session is "Developing People Skills in Pastoral Ministry." Topics include Team Building, Facilitating/Running Meetings, Review of Life (five of the newly ordained priests have been asked to initiate the session), and Dealing with Difficult Situations and People (during this session they will explore conflict management styles and do some role playing) . These gatherings are important opportunities for our recently ordained to get to know one another and share their experiences.

5. Annual Priests' Convocation – More than 100 priests in our Diocese gathered last week in Casa Grande for the annual Convocation, which this year had the theme of "Ministry in a Burgeoning Church." Bishop Joseph Pepe of Las Vegas was our guest presenter, and he startled us with the statistics about the growth that the Diocese of Las Vegas is experiencing. He gave us an overview of how they are trying to respond to the many challenges brought by this growth. They, like us, are scrambling to find land for parishes and schools as prices escalate. Like us, they face a shortage of pastors. They are planning to build very large parish complexes so that more people can be accommodated with fewer Masses.
 
After hearing about situation in the Diocese of Las Vegas, we looked more directly at our own growth, especially in the area of Pinal County. Father Kevin Clinch, pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Casa Grande, Father Charles Cloud, pastor of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Florence, and Father Dom Pinti, pastor of St. George Parish in Apache Junction, gave excellent presentations on what they are experiencing in their parishes and the efforts being made to respond to the huge influx of people that Pinal County is experiencing.
 
Following their presentations, each Vicariate met to consider the growth that is taking place in their areas and what they believe are the top three pastoral challenges they face. Lively and engaging conversations took place.
 
On the Convocation's last day, we broke up into six groups to explore creative ways in the parish, the vicariate and in the Diocese that we employ to respond to these pastoral concerns: Working with Seniors (led by Father Joseph Lombardo), Working with Young Adults (led by Father Bart Hutcherson, O.P.), Working with Youth (led by Father Raul Valencia), Vocations (led by Father Miguel Mariano), Working with Families (led by Msgr. Tom Cahalane) and Responding to the Multi-Cultural Dimensions of our Diocese (led by Father Raul Trivizo). These discussions, too, were very stimulating. It was great to see our priests wrestling with pastoral challenges with a wonderful energy and spirit.
 
One of the highlights of the Convocation was the "Celebration of Priesthood" dinner honoring this year's jubilarians. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of their ordination are Father Bill Remmel, S.D.S., pastor of Most Holy Trinity Parish, Tucson; Father Tim Travis, M.M., retired; Father Bob Wicht, S.D.S., pastor of St. Rita in the Desert Parish, Vail; and Father Stuart Wilson, retired. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of their ordination are Msgr. Gerald Brynda, retired; Father Ted Lobo, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Parker; Father Charles Maloney, retired; Father C. Thomas Moore, O.P., retired; and Father Ed Pietrucha, C.S.P., retired (but still very actively involved in ministry at St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish in Tucson). Celebrating his 60th anniversary of ordination is Father Ed Carscallen, retired. Father Ed reflected on his choice of priesthood in a video that was very moving and inspiring.
 
I am grateful to Father James Hobert, Dr. Paul Duckro, Judy Richins, Nancy Siner, Fred Allison, Sister Lois Paha, O.P., and Father Miguel for the hard work that went into preparing for these important and special days.
 
6. Tour of Yuma Proving Ground
– Before leaving Yuma last week for the Convocation, Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma, and I had an opportunity to tour the U. S. Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) where the Army conducts a wide variety of military tests. (Msgr. O'Keeffe also serves as a Catholic chaplain at YPG.)

We flew in a helicopter -- my first time, and, yes, I was nervous. YPG's area is larger than the Rhode Island and one-third the size of Massachusetts. Rick Douglas, a deacon candidate and a civilian administrator at YPG, arranged for our tour and accompanied us.


Msgr. O'Keeffe and I buckle up as we prepare to take off for our tour of YPG.


Rick Douglas of YPG shows us one of the training areas that replicate what our troops will find in Iraq.

Our tour included stops at "Little Baghdad" and "Sadr City," replicas of their namesakes in Iraq that were developed by the Army to train and prepare troops for what they will experience during their deployment in Iraq or Afghanistan. The terrain and weather conditions in the YPG area are very similar to those countries, which adds to the realism for the training of those who will serve in these troubled areas.
 
The experience helped to bring home to me the danger faced by our men and women in the Armed Forces, as well as Iraqi civilians. It is nearly impossible to know what is innocent and what might be a deadly bomb in a pile of garbage or a replaced curb on a street. It was especially informative to hear all that is being done to develop technologies for detecting and defeating the roadside bombs that take so many lives and leave so many wounded in Iraq.
 
I am grateful to those who arranged this tour and who helped us to understand better the troubling situations faced by our troops and the randomness of the dangers they face.
 
7. Serra Club of Tucson Golf Tournament -- This annual tournament -- always fun and always a challenge to my golfing skills -- is this Wednesday.

The tournament is a benefit for our Vocation Office's programs, and I am very grateful to the Serrans for all they do to promote and support our vocation efforts.

8. On the Confirmation Trail -- I will be administering the sacrament of Confirmation at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Tucson tomorrow evening, at Holy Angels Parish in Globe this Wednesday evening, at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Casa Grande this Saturday evening, at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Mammoth this Sunday morning and at St. Joseph Parish in Hayden this Sunday afternoon.

9. Liturgy Workshop -- Here is a final reminder about this Saturday's workshop on the timely topic of "Sunday and Weekday Celebrations in the Absence of the Priest." The workshop will be held at Mission San Xavier del Bac Parish in Tucson from 9 a.m. to noon.

I strongly encourage pastors to send deacons and lay ministers who lead Communion Services on Sundays or weekdays in the parish, nursing homes, prisons or hospitals. The workshop will focus on the revised Rite on the Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of the Priest, which is available at www.usccbpublishing.org.

To register for the workshop or for more information, please contact Pegi Dodd at the Office of Formation at 520-838-2545 or pegid@diocesetucson.org.

10. Special Dedication at Our Lady of the Desert Cemetery -- The Vietnamese Catholic Community of Our Lady of La Vang Parish will dedicate a section of Our Lady of the Desert Cemetery (All Faiths Memorial Park) in Tucson this Saturday. Father Hoa Francis Dang, C.Ss.R., and the people of the parish have worked hard to purchase sites for future burials in an area that will reflect their culture, including statuary of Our Lady of La Vang.

11. 2007 Annual Catholic Appeal -- Pledges to this year's campaign have now approached last year's record-breaking amount. As of last Friday, pledges totaled $3,630,555 -- 110 percent of this year's goal of $3.3 million -- and 41 of our 75 parishes have met or exceeded their goals. Outstanding!

In these last eight weeks of the campaign, it is important to invite parishioners who have not yet made a pledge to do so -- whatever amount they can give. For parishes that have made their goal, half of the funds over the goal will be returned to parishes for the support of their programs and services.

12. Our Winter Residents -- This past weekend, when I visited St. George Parish in Apache Junction, Father Dom Pinti mentioned that many of the winter residents are headed back to the Midwest and points East. We will miss them. We look forward to the return of the many people who find their winter home here in our Diocese. Their presence adds to the life of our parishes. They bring varied gifts to our community and I am grateful for their presence among us.

13. St. Augustine Catholic High School, San Miguel Catholic High School -- I am pleased that Sister Barbara Ann Stowasser, C.S.J., has accepted my appointment to serve as the chair of the St. Augustine Catholic High School Board for next year.

San Miguel High School is preparing to break ground on its third and final phase of campus construction this spring. The new additions will include a classroom building, a multi-purpose building and landscaping that will include recreation areas and a prayer garden. San Miguel hopes that construction will be completed in time for the first class of graduates to walk across the new stage to receive their well-earned diplomas in the Spring of 2008.

14. Feast of St. Joseph the Worker -- We join in prayer tomorrow with Father Tomas Muñoz, pastor, and the community of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Wellton as they celebrate the feast of their patron.

15. Mary's Month -- Tomorrow also is the first day of Mary's Month. Why is May considered Mary's Month?

Father Johann Roten, S.M., director of the Marian Library-International Marian Research Institute, offers this explanation on "The Mary Page" Internet site:

"Since medieval times, we have the combination between Mary and the month of May. Among the earliest witnesses are: Alphonsus X, King of Castille, Spain (1221-1284), with his "Cantigas de Santa Maria," in which Mary and the month of May are greeted, welcomed and celebrated on specific days. Later, the whole month of May became the month of Mary. On each day of this month, special devotions to Mary were organized. This custom originated in Italy (for example: Ferrara, 1784). It was spread widely during the 19th century."

I am very pleased that many of our parishes and Catholic Schools continue the beautiful tradition of the May Crowning.

"The Mary Page" (http://campus.udayton.edu/mary) is an excellent resource about our Blessed Mother.

16. Remember in Your Prayers -- Please pray for Father Peter McGloin, who is recovering from surgery; for the mother of Barbara Mattus, director of our Detention Ministry Program, who is hospice at Tucson Medical Center; and for Lita Barfus of the Diocesan Pastoral Council.