April 7, 2008 April 14, 2008 April 21, 2008 April 28, 2008

Vol. 6, No. 4 
April 7, 2008
Saturday evening's celebration of our fourth annual diocesan Pope John Paul II Youth Awards, held at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Tucson, was a wonderful experience.
Young people bring energy, enthusiasm and new ways of looking at things, so I look forward each year to the awarding of John Paul II Medallions to teens from throughout our Diocese who are using their gifts generously in our parishes. These young people are assisting in the teaching of the faith to little ones. They have distinguished themselves in their service and outreach to the poor and marginalized. They actively help in the celebration of the Eucharist as lectors, members of liturgical choirs and as Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist.
When Pope Benedict XVI comes to our country next week, he will have the opportunity to meet with young people. In a few months, he will travel to the other side of the world – to Australia – to be with more than a million young people. Clearly, young people matter in the Church. They have much to bring to the work of the Church, not only in the future but right here and right now.
I always enjoy seeing the pride and delight in the faces of the parents when their daughter or son receives this distinguished recognition. The cameras are flashing, and rightly so, because these young people are doing extraordinary things for others. I only wish our communities' secular news media would report their accomplishments. These young Catholics do much good, and I am delighted we can recognize that.
At the end of the evening, Kelsey Jane Cummings from St. Thomas the Apostle in Tucson, Chris Delgado from Our Mother of Sorrows in Tucson and Elena Corella from Lourdes Catholic High School in Nogales spoke. Their words were powerful and moving.
Kelsey talked about her work teaching seventh graders and wanting others to get to know Christ as she has found Christ in her parish teen group. Elena spoke of evangelization and trying to help peers to come to know Christ. Here is what Chris shared with us:
My name is Chris Delgado and I am a member of Our Mother of Sorrows Youth Group. I am a junior at Santa Rita High School where I participate in clubs and athletics as well as National Honors Society. Before joining youth group, I was in Confirmation and did not quite fully understand my faith and still don't.
While in Confirmation, I came across a teen who would later give me insight to life and living. Thinking back to the first time I saw him, I remember seeing him in class fiddling with his fingers. I did not know his name or who he was, but it just so happens his mom had come into class and told my mom, who was the teacher, that her son was diagnosed with cancer.
When I heard about this teen, I still did not know who he was at the time. However, I felt a connection to him.
Going into high school I experienced a lot of minor setbacks in my athletics. This was a very difficult time for me, considering my love of sports and my competitive drive. After having my appendix removed and several unfortunate injuries in a span of two years, I was finding myself being humbled. During recovery from each injury, I became closer to God. However, once I was healed I found myself falling farther away from my faith.
I started to blame God for what was happening. When in reality He was calling me to become closer to Him.
That is when I found Team in Training, an organization that raises money for cancer research. This non-profit organization does athletic events in honor of people who are suffering from blood cancers.
At that time the teen from my Confirmation class came to my mind again. During the two years that I complained and blamed God, that young teen was going through battles far greater than mine.
Through this organization, my first goal was to complete a marathon; however a running injury prevented me from completing this goal. While going through this injury that young teen, whose name was Stephen Placencia, was battling his toughest fight with cancer. My original date to run the marathon would have been Jan. 13, 2008. On Jan. 14, the day after, Stephen lost his battle, and this sparks a fire in me to live every day to the fullest and the best I can.
I am realizing I cannot participate in sports for myself but for God and for all those who are unable to. Like Mother Theresa once said, "To accept whatever He gives and to give whatever He takes with a big smile. This is the surrender to God. To accept, to be cut to pieces, and yet every piece to belong to only Him. This is the surrender."
This is a life style I am trying to implement every day.
My thanks to Father Bob Tamminga, pastor, and to Marian Gilbert and the more than 40 teens and volunteers from the St. Francis de Sales Youth Group who prepared and served the food for the 250 people who attended. Thanks also to Mike Berger, Michelle Benzenhoefer, Tere Scully and the youth ministers who planned the evening.
In all, 87 young people from 29 parishes and three Catholic high schools received the awards:
Catechesis and Evangelization:
Alexandria Alaniz, Andrea Alaniz, Angelica Alaniz, San Martin de Porres, Sahuarita; Matthew Archuleta, Infant Jesus of Prague, Kearny; Christopher Badilla, St. Mary of the Desert, Three Points; Louie Benitez Jr., Yuma Catholic High School, Allison Brice, Sts. Peter and Paul, Tucson; Madaleine Bustamante, Most Holy Nativity, Rio Rico; Cindy Cardenas, San Martin de Porres, Sahuarita; Elena Corella, Lourdes Catholic High School, Nogales; Kelsey Jane Cummings, St. Thomas the Apostle, Tucson; Colleen Flanagan, St. Francis de Sales, Tucson; Alexis Gomez, St. Joseph, Hayden; Peter Gonzales, Most Holy Trinity, Tucson; Michael Harnick, Sacred Heart, Tucson; Diego Hoyos, St. Michael's Mission, Naco; David Loeffler, St. Francis of Assisi, Yuma; Mary Elizabeth Lopez, Sacred Heart, Tucson Jessica Luebbering, Salpointe Catholic High School, Tucson; Kelsey Mart, St. Patrick, Bisbee; Michelle Nguyen, Our Lady of La Vang, Tucson; Sophia (Renée) Olivieri, St. Odilia, Tucson; Wesley Pallanes, Our Lady of Fatima, Tucson; Clarissa Quiring, Our Lady of the Valley, Green Valley; Suzette Ramirez, Lourdes Catholic High School, Nogales; Yovanka Rivera, St. Ann and Missions, Tubac; Joseph Robinson, Santa Catalina, Tucson; Jaqueline Serrano, St. Joseph, Hayden; Tara Sonderman, St. Mark the Evangelist, Tucson; Nicole Suarez, St. Michael's Mission, Naco; Sarah Tanberg, Our Mother of Sorrows, Tucson; Katie Tierney, Corpus Christi, Tucson; Jose M. Valadez, Jr., St. Francis of Assisi, Yuma.  
Community Service and Social Justice:
Erica Aguirre, Infant Jesus of Prague, Kearny; Matthew Brian Calderon, Blessed Sacrament, Mammoth; Ryan Davis, St. Francis de Sales, Tucson; Christopher Delgado, Our Mother of Sorrows, Tucson; Adam Delgado, Salpointe Catholic High School, Tucson; Don Do, Our Lady of La Vang, Tucson; Bryan Earnest, St. Patrick, Bisbee; Jewelle Flores, Blessed Sacrament, Mammoth; Michael Harnick, Sacred Heart, Tucson; Isabelle Heilman, St. Odilia, Tucson; Diego Hoyos, St. Michael's Mission, Naco; Peter Le, Our Lady of La Vang, Tucson; Kelsey Mart, St. Patrick, Bisbee; Adrianna Rivero, Our Lady of Fatima, Tucson; Cheyenne Samorano, Most Holy Trinity, Tucson; Nicole Suarez, St. Michael's Mission, Naco; Vicente Vasquez, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Tucson; Tiffany Velez, Our Lady of the Valley, Green Valley; Jamie Vigil, St. Helen, Oracle; Andrew Vo, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Tucson; Kellie Wallace, Our Lady of the Valley, Green Valley; Matthew Wisely, Sts. Peter and Paul, Tucson; Lauren Worcester, St. Thomas the Apostle, Tucson; Alma Zaragoza, Yuma Catholic High School, Yuma.  
Prayer and Worship:
Andrea Alaniz, Angelica Alaniz, San Martin de Porres, Sahuarita; Valerie Andree, Sts. Peter and Paul, Tucson; John Bribiescas, Blessed Sacrament, Mammoth; Manuel Aristeo Chavez III, Blessed Sacrament, Mammoth; Jeremy Covell, Our Mother of Sorrows, Tucson; Benjamin Diehl, St. Francis of Assisi, Yuma; Bryan Earnest, St. Patrick, Bisbee; Alex Frankart, St. Francis of Assisi, Yuma; Teresa Frazier, St. Odilia, Tucson; Brittany Gender, St. Francis de Sales, Tucson; Michael Harnick, Sacred Heart, Tucson; Diego Hoyos, St. Michael's Mission, Naco; Christopher Kane, St. Ann and Missions, Tubac; Jacob Klein, St. Andrew the Apostle, Sierra Vista; Emily Kram, St. Helen, Oracle; Kylla LeCompte, Most Holy Trinity, Tucson; Kayla Leon, Immaculate Conception, Ajo; Paul Leonardi, Salpointe Catholic High School, Tucson; David Loeffler, Yuma Catholic High School, Yuma; Jessica Luebbering, St. Thomas the Apostle, Tucson; Kelsey Mart, St. Patrick, Bisbee; Andrew Maya, Immaculate Conception, Ajo; Savannah McCasland, Immaculate Conception, Ajo; David Navarro, St. Helen, Oracle; Carolina Perez, Sacred Heart, Tucson; Molly Powell, St. Andrew the Apostle, Sierra Vista; Edward Rivera, St. Ann and Missions, Tubac; Kyle Rohlik, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Tucson; Ricardo Romero, Most Holy Nativity, Rio Rico; Alberto Salazar, Most Holy Nativity, Rio Rico; Ignacio Sanchez, Lourdes Catholic High School, Nogales; Charles Schied, Santa Catalina, Tucson; Hans Sebastian, Mission San Xavier del Bac, Tucson; Jaqueline Serrano, St. Joseph, Hayden; Sarah Smith, Infant Jesus of Prague, Kearny; Nicole Suarez, St. Michael's Mission, Naco; Aaron Taylor, Corpus Christi, Tucson; Rita Weinzettle, St. Mark the Evangelist, Tucson; Steven Wilson, St. Andrew the Apostle, Sierra Vista; Chris Yanez, Holy Family, Tucson; Matt Yanez, Holy Family, Tucson.  
1. Arizona Catholic Conference Statement on Veto – Here is the statement that Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix and I issued Friday as the Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference:
We are deeply saddened with Governor Janet Napolitano's recent veto of HB 2769 relating to a state ban on partial birth abortions.  
This legislation was an important pro-life measure pertaining to a horrific procedure to which most people are opposed.  Even though there is a federal law banning partial birth abortions, a state ban would have allowed Arizona prosecutors to enforce such a ban without having to rely on the federal government.  
Additionally, any potential interstate commerce issues that federal prosecutors must face in bringing forth these charges could have been avoided through the creation of a state partial birth abortion ban.    
With the veto of HB 2769, the enforcement of partial birth abortions in Arizona is a matter of great uncertainty.  Consequently, we are extremely disappointed that Governor Napolitano has rejected this important legislation.  
2. Catholic Foundation Cornerstone Gala – The Marriott Starr Pass ballroom was filled to capacity Friday evening for the tribute to Ginny Clements and Msgr. Bob Fuller at the annual Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson Cornerstone Gala. The applause was strong and sustained when Nancy Kinerk introduced Ginny and when Jim Click acknowledged Msgr. Fuller and reflected on the contributions they have made for the well being of our community.
It was a proud night for St. Francis Cabrini Parish in Tucson, where Ginny worships and where Msgr. Bob serves as pastor.
The evening was made even more special as the Catholic Foundation awarded grants to a number of parishes and agencies and programs of Catholic Community Services. Grants totaling more than $800,000 have been made this past year. As Jeff Nordensson announced the grants, those gathered learned of the great work being done all around our Diocese to help others. We were all rightly proud.
Special thanks to Jane Kerr, Gala Committee Chair, and Joanne Jarvis, Silent Auction Chair and, their committees for a fantastic job in organizing the event. I am grateful to Martin Camacho, Clara Moreno and Michelle Antle, staff of the Foundation, for their hard work in helping to organize this successful evening. I could not believe the number of auction items. I was only disappointed I did not win the raffled trip. I held 66, my age. Oh, well.
3. On the Confirmation Trail – I had the joy yesterday of celebrating the conferral of Confirmation with two of our parish communities that are far away in the northeast corner of our Diocese in Greenlee County – Sacred Heart Parish in Clifton and Holy Cross Parish in Morenci.  
In my visits to Clifton and Morenci, I have learned a lot about copper mining and its importance in the past and present of our "Copper Belt" communities. I am sure it has been a learning experience for Father Matthew Asemegema, who came from the Diocese of Makurdi in Nigeria to serve in our Diocese. He had been a big help at Immaculate Conception in Yuma, where he was introduced to our Diocese. Now he serves as pastor of Holy Cross in Morenci, Sacred Heart in Clifton and St. Mary Mission in Duncan. He also is vicar forane of the Graham-Greenlee Vicariate. Each of our communities is very different, and a pastor needs to listen and learn in order to respond pastorally to our people. One of the young persons I confirmed, Ceara Guerrero, said it well in her letter to me: "My favorite thing during Sunday Mass is sitting on the pew and listening to Father Matthew teach me so many new things about our religion." We are all grateful.
This evening, I will confer the sacrament at St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish in Tucson. Next Friday, the Confirmation Trail takes me all the way to St. Leonard Parish in Berwyn, Illinois.
I will confer the sacrament at St. Pius X Parish in Tucson this Sunday evening.
4. Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre – I will celebrate Mass tomorrow evening with the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre in our Diocese and enjoy a dinner with them afterwards. This gathering will be an opportunity for us to share memories of our wonderful pilgrimage to the Holy Land last year. We appreciate so much the hard work and dedication of Chris and Jim Ronstadt who serve as councilors for the Order in our Diocese.
5. Quarterly Board Meeting of CARA – I will be in Washington, D.C., this Wednesday and Thursday for the quarterly meeting of the Board of Directors of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. I presently serve as chairman of the Board. CARA is a national, non-profit research center affiliated with Georgetown University that conducts social scientific studies about the Catholic Church.
6. Celebrating a First Communion – I am honored to have been invited to preside at the Mass this Saturday at St. Mary Parish in Riverside, Illinois, at which my great niece, Zoe Jacquat, will receive her First Communion.
7. Encountering Christ in a Multicultural Church – Our diocesan Website now features special pages in English and Spanish about our first Diocese of Tucson Pastoral Encuentro (Encounter) that will take place on Saturday, May 3, at the Tucson Expo Center. Just click on the logo for the Encuentro on the upper right hand side of the home page at www.diocesetucson.org.  
There you will find the schedule for the day and a profile our very special guest, Cardinal Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
I hope that all of our parishes will be represented at this special day as we welcome Cardinal Maradiaga, who will give two keynote addresses during the day: "Encountering Jesus in a Multi-cultural Church" (for adults) and "Challenges Faced by Today's Youth and the Response of the Church" (for youth).
Because we expect great interest in hearing the Cardinal's messages and so that we can ensure a seat for each person who commits to attending, admittance to the Encuentro will be by ticket. Each person who makes a $25 donation to defray expenses of the day will receive a ticket. Tickets are available at parishes, at religious book and goods stores in the Tucson area and at the Yoly's Music Shop outlets in Tucson.  
8. Please Remember in Your Prayers – Please keep Father Joe Lombardo, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson, in your prayers. Father Joe is undergoing further diagnosis and treatment for what has been identified as a possibly malignant growth in a kidney. Pastor emeritus Father Tom Millane is serving as interim administrator at the parish.
Please pray for the repose of the soul of Antonia Trevizo, mother of Father Raul Trevizo, who died Thursday. The Funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. Joseph Parish in Hayden.
9. Visit of Pope Benedict XVI – Anticipation is rising in advance of Pope Benedict XVI's first visit to the U.S. Last week, I received a call from the Chicago Tribune asking for comments on what I thought the Pope would say while he is here. I said that it is the Pope who will decide what he wants to say and what he wants to emphasize. I also said that the Vatican did ask bishops to submit ideas on issues and topics they hoped the Pope might address, and I shared my hopes for what he might address:
• That he would reflect on his new encyclical, Spe Salvi ("Saved by Hope"). The world and our country in particular yearn and long for hope. I am glad to see that hope is the theme of the Holy Father's visit.
• That he would express the sadness and pain he feels for those who were victims of sexual abuse within the Church. He knows that sad chapter in the life of the Church well since it was the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that had to deal with these situations. Pope John Paul II had felt such confidence in then Cardinal Ratzinger that he moved authority for these cases from the Congregation for the Clergy to his congregation.
• That he would reflect on the Church's strong and determined defense of human life from conception to natural death. Included in such a reflection, I encouraged him to challenge our nation and our culture to see all life, including the unborn, as precious. I said that there was great concern over the too frequent deaths in our Sonoran Desert as people risk a dangerous trek as they try to find work to provide for their families.
• In meeting with youth, that he would challenge them to consider using their gifts to work in the Church as priests or religious. We need them.
My greatest hopes for his visit are: that his presence will invigorate priests, religious, deacons, and laity; that his example will shake us from any apathy or tiredness and will help us to focus again with renewed spirit on the mission Christ has entrusted to us; and that we will feel a new sense of joy in being Catholic as we witness the passion, dedication, competence and spirituality of the person we will greet as Pope Benedict XVI, our Holy Father.
10. Painting St. Augustine Cathedral – Last Friday, with the application of the beautiful stencil patterned cross on the south tower's south wall, the painting of St. Augustine Cathedral was nearly completed. John Alan of John Alan Design and George Carranza of Golden Brush did masterful work in transforming our Cathedral.
Late Friday morning, just before they completed the stenciling, I had a chance to get a bird's eye view of the Cathedral.  
First, George strapped me in to the safety harness. Then, he took me on a white-knuckled ride 12 stories high above the towers' gleaming domes. What a view!
I also got a close-up look at the strips of blunt spikes that were installed last week on the ledges of the towers, domes and cupolas to deter pigeons from landing and doing what pigeons do.
I was happy to get my feet back on the ground!
Another phase of the Cathedral project started last week – the refinishing of the wrought iron fencing, low walls and the supporting pillars along Stone Avenue. The fencing dates back to 1928, and the wrought iron is the "real thing," not made of alloys. We contracted with Elegant Iron to sandblast off all the years of layered paint and to resize the fencing. Golden Brush will then refinish the wrought iron with a primer and a new black coat of paint. Professional Patching is re-facing and stuccoing the pillars. The renovated structure will grace both the Cathedral and the Msgr. Carrillo Placita.
11. St. Augustine High School's First-Ever Service Trip – This memo begins with acknowledgement of our young Catholics and it ends that same way. I thank Peter Corrigan, assistant principal at St. Augustine High School in Tucson, for sharing this with me.
During this time (Easter Week), I took nine juniors and seniors from Saint Augustine on the school's first ever service trip. Our group traveled over 100 miles to St. Charles School, a K-6 grade school located on the San Carlos Reservation. Sleeping on sleeping bags in the parish hall and engaging in student led prayer each night, our group led a spring break camp for the students during the day. The activities included religion, math, art, and reading. Our group purchased and prepared lunch for the students each day. We also took a tour of the reservation and learned about Apache traditions and the difficult challenges that they face living on the reservation in the twenty-first century.
On the whole, I felt our group grew tremendously in their integration of faith, service, and justice. I look forward to their chance to share their experience with our entire school community. 

Vol. 6, No. 5 
April 14, 2008

On this eve of Pope Benedict XVI's historic visit, the Catholic Church in the U.S. is poised to welcome the Vicar of Christ to our Nation.

Anticipation and excitement are the words of the day in Washington, D.C., and in New York City, as all the preparations and planning for the Holy Father's visit are soon to be realized.

I am so happy that nearly 40 Papal Visit Pilgrims from our Diocese will be attending the Pontifical Masses at Nationals Park in Washington and at Yankee Stadium in New York City. Our pilgrims are from parishes in Yuma, Safford, Nogales, Queen Creek, Apache Junction, Coolidge, Sahuarita and Tucson.

The youngest of the pilgrims is 16-year-old Art Sanchez of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Yuma. Art designed a special T-shirt for the group of 20 from our Diocese to wear when they go to Sunday's Mass at Yankee Stadium.

The front has our diocesan shield and the names of the communities the pilgrims are from. The sleeve has my coat of arms. The back has the logo of the Papal Visit and the Papal coat of arms.
I invited the pilgrims to share their thoughts on the visit with all of you readers of Monday Memo, and let's begin with Art:

When I heard of the Holy Father's visit to the U.S. I pictured myself going, then I thought to myself, "…but how can a 16-year-old teenager who lives hundreds of miles away go to see the Pope, and more importantly how can I get tickets to the event?" I think this historic event will change our lives forever and give us a profound vision of hope. This visit is the single most important event in my life, due to the fact that Pope Benedict XVI is a great theologian, a great communicator, and HE'S THE POPE!

At 21, Alan Valencia of Sacred Heart Parish in Nogales, who will be Art's traveling companion to New York City, is the second youngest pilgrim.

I never thought I would have the privilege to see the Pope. This day will be an unforgettable day and a gift from God. By Benedict XVI visiting different countries he will gain the world's trust, and with his visit to us he will plant peace and trust in everyone's heart. We will get his blessing for us to go out and preach the Word of the Lord, and, only "when needed use words."

Mike Lillie and his wife Amanda of St. Melanie's Byzantine Parish in Tucson (Mass at Yankee Stadium):

The Papal visit to the U.S. means a great deal to me. It means that the Catholic Church in America will be in the spotlight and have a chance to gain followers and re-evangelize members who do not attend Sunday Mass or who have left the Church all together. On a more personal note, I think of my visit to New York to attend the Papal Mass as a spiritual pilgrimage. I don't expect to ever be able to make it to Rome or the Holy Land in my lifetime, but this event will be just as enlightening.

Adam and Veta Estrada of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Safford (Mass at Yankee Stadium):

We feel very blessed to have the privilege to see and hear the Holy Father. It is important that he come to the U.S. at this time. Many members of the Church are becoming selective about which teachings to accept in order not to disrupt their lifestyles. Their "faith" is becoming too individualized. Pope Benedict is rigorous in his mission to bring all Catholics closer to a renewal of the faith and a return to the basic fundamentals on which the Church was founded, the teachings of Jesus. His presence will serve as a visible reminder of not only the love the Church has for her members, but also the love of a Father for his children.
Jill Leon and her husband Robert of St. Joseph Parish in Tucson (Mass at Yankee Stadium):

It was the motion of the Holy Spirit in our selection to receive Papal Mass Tickets. Reading the Monday Memo inspired me to e-mail for a chance of any tickets left!
The visit of Pope Benedict XVI to USA is an incredible event – one the whole world will be watching. As a member of the congregation of the Papal Mass, it gives me the possibility not only to witness the Vicar of Christ on earth but also to be involved with the faith of the Catholic community! I have great honor to be part of this historic event.

Our Pastoral Center staff will be represented at the Mass at Yankee Stadium by Ann Suto, who will be attending with her husband Joseph:

When I found out there were tickets available for the Mass I jumped at the opportunity to attend. I have always watched on TV the Papal Visits around the world – now I'll be there myself.  When you visit someone's home or attend their celebration you show how important they are to you – that is how I see his visit. I also see the Pope's visit as a "shepherding of his flock," making sure we do not stray, keeping us aware of the forces of evil that threaten us daily, showing the world our solidarity with the teachings of our Church. I like the idea that he will be visiting leaders of other faiths, to understand and respect one another. The theme of Hope during his visit is so appropriate. My personal hope is that our society and leaders will be moved to work hard for respect for all life and that those who have little hope will accept Jesus Christ in their lives and let Him be their guide. I hope to walk away inspired to see what more I can do in my daily life to realize these hopes.

Rosemary Seidler of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Tucson is taking her father William to Washington for the Mass at Nationals Park. Her pilgrimage is about thanksgiving and love:

The most important thing in my life is my faith. I had a devastating accident and became totally disabled and was bed ridden for a long time, but through prayers and the support of my faith I am now back to work fulltime and have been so blessed by God. For me, being able to go and watch the Holy Father celebrate Mass is a dream of a lifetime. My father has given me two great gifts: love of God and love of the Catholic Church. My father is 77 and is no longer able to travel long distances. I can't take him to Italy to see the Holy Father, so this is the greatest gift I can give him for all of the love he has given me.

Also among our pilgrims will be Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe, Episcopal Vicar of Yuma - La Paz and pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma, Father Abraham Guerrero, parochial vicar of San Felipe de Jesus Parish in Nogales, Father Alonzo Garcia, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Tucson, Father Ariel Lustan, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Safford, Father Dom Pinti, pastor of St. George Parish in Apache Junction, and Deacon Nieves Hernandez of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Yuma.

Our diocesan delegation to the Papal Visit events and Masses includes Father Al Schifano and Father Raul Trevizo, our Vicars General, and Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, C.F.M.M., Superintendent of Catholic Schools.

I will be participating in the events and Masses both as a diocesan bishop and as vice-president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

With Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago and president of the USCCB, I will be present at Andrews Air Force Base when "Shepherd One" lands tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. President and Mrs. Bush will welcome the Holy Father. (All times Tucson time.)

With Cardinal George, I will be present at the arrival of the Pope at the White House at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday when the Pope is to be greeted by President and Mrs. Bush.

I will be among approximately 350 bishops at a private prayer service and meeting at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

I will be a concelebrant at the 7 a.m. Thursday Pontifical Mass at Nationals Park in Washington.

I will be present at the 2 p.m. Thursday meeting of the Pope with Catholic educators at Catholic University. Also present will be Sister Rosa Maria.

With Cardinal George, I will be present at the Pope's address to the United Nations at 7:45 a.m. Friday.

I will be a concelebrant at the 6:15 a.m. Saturday Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral with priests, deacons and members of religious orders. Also present will be Father Al, Father Raul, Father Abraham, Father Alonzo and Deacon Nieves.

I will attend the 1:30 p.m. Saturday rally and prayer service at St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers with the Pope, youth and seminarians.

I may be present at the 6:30 a.m. Sunday visit of the Pope to Ground Zero.

I will be a concelebrant at the 11:30 a.m. Sunday Mass at Yankee Stadium.

And, I will be present at the 5 p.m. Sunday departure of the Pope at JFK Airport.

While in Washington and New York this week, I will be praying especially for our Diocese: its priests, religious, deacons and laity. My prayer is that the visit of the Holy Father will reinvigorate our faith, move many to return to active involvement in the Church and inspire others to encounter Christ.
I will be praying for more vocations to serve in our local Church. My prayer is that our young people will listen attentively to God's call in their lives. Surely, He is calling some of our young people to use their gifts in the service of the Church. As young people see, hear and meet the Holy Father, they will realize the joy that comes to someone serving the Lord generously.
And, I will be praying that through Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future, our diocesan renewal campaign, we will be able to carry on the mission of Christ in our burgeoning Diocese with greater dedication, fidelity and enthusiasm. The presence of the Pope reminds us of our history from the very time of Christ, who first chose Peter. Since then, countless Catholics have sacrificed through the ages to strengthen the mission of Christ. Now it is our turn to pass the faith on to the next generations.
Please join me in prayer this week that the Holy Father's visit will bring many blessings on the Church in the U.S.
When I get a chance to speak to the Holy Father personally, I will express to him your greetings, our love and our prayers that God will work powerfully through him to touch the lives of many.

At the invitation of the Archdiocese of Washington, dioceses across the U.S. videotaped messages of welcome to the Holy Father. These messages will be shown on the big screens at Nationals Park before Thursday's Mass. You can see the message from our Diocese at www.idiocese.org.

1. Common Formation Class of 2008 – This past weekend marked the final session of preparation for the Common Formation Class of 2008. The 22 candidates for the permanent diaconate and their wives and the 22 candidates for Lay Ecclesial Ministry have been meeting since 2004, and most of their 40 sessions have been held at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Tucson.

A great support for these sessions has been the service of the St. Francis de Sales Parish Youth Group. Under the direction of Marian Gilbert, the teens set up the meeting spaces and prepared and served lunch and refreshments during the weekends as part of their service hours. "They are terrific young people! Their presence has been a special gift to the participants, and we hope that we have also given them a glimpse of possibilities for Church leadership," says Sister Lois Paha, O.P., director of the diocesan Office of Formation.

On behalf of all participants in the Common Formation Program, Sister Lois presented (below) Marian and the teens with individual thank you notes and a plant for the Youth Office.

We look forward to the ordination of candidates for the permanent diaconate on Saturday, May 31, and the Certification of the Lay Ecclesial Ministers on June 8.

2. "Encountering Christ in a Multicultural Church" – Our first Diocese of Tucson Pastoral Encuentro (Encounter) will take place on Saturday, May 3, at the Tucson Expo Center.

I hope that all of our parishes will be represented at this special day as we welcome Cardinal Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Cardinal Maradiaga will give two keynote addresses during the day: "Encountering Jesus in a Multi-cultural Church" (for adults) and "Challenges Faced by Today's Youth and the Response of the Church" (for youth).

Because we expect great interest in hearing the Cardinal's messages and so that we can ensure a seat for each person who commits to attending, admittance to the Encuentro will be by ticket. Each person who makes a $25 donation to defray expenses of the day will receive a ticket. Tickets are available at parishes, at religious book and goods stores in the Tucson area and at the Yoly's Music Shop outlets in Tucson.

For more information about the Encuentro, visit www.diocesetucosn.org and click on the Encuentro log on the upper right hand side of the home page. You will find the schedule for the day and a profile our Cardinal Maradiaga.

3. Please Remember in Your Prayers – Father Joe Lombardo thanks all for their prayers. He tells us that the growth in one of his kidneys apparently is not malignant. Thanks be to God! Father Joe will be undergoing surgery soon to remove the growth.

4. Bowled Over for a Good Cause – For the second year in a row, the Diocese of Tucson was represented by a team in the Southern Arizona Children's Advocacy Center Annual Charity Bowling Tournament. By all accounts, this third iteration of the tournament, held yesterday in conjunction with National Child Abuse Prevention Month, was the most successful fund-raiser yet for the Center.
Since 2003, Dr. Paul Duckro, director of the diocesan Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, has represented the commitment of our Diocese to support community efforts in child abuse awareness and prevention. Paul serves on the Governing Board of the Children's Advocacy Center. The year, he sponsored the team that consisted of Julieta González, Mike Gutierrez, Eduardo Huerta, John Shaheen and Nancy Siner.
Our diocesan team joined representatives from local law enforcement, social service agencies and many fine businesses to give their Sunday afternoon to help the Children's Advocacy Center raise funds to support its mission of collaborating with law enforcement and Child Protective Services to provide a coordinated response to child abuse that does not further traumatize the child.
The work of the Child Advocacy Center is important, and I am glad that our Diocese is active in supporting it.

5. Pastoral Center Mural Project – The installation of the panels of the mural on the northwest corner of the Pastoral Center has resumed.

The mural is a rendering in tile of a painting by Tohono O'odham artist Michael Chiago, "A City and a Church Arise Together." The painting pays tribute to Padre Kino and Bishop Salpointe and to the People who were the first to receive the faith in what is now our Diocese. The painting also depicts the pilgrimage of faith in our Diocese from the missionary era to today.

The painting was turned into tiles by Steve Farley. The tiles then were mounted on 25 panels. Bob Vint and Mike and Dan Wilhelm are installing the panels, which on average weigh 100 pounds each.

Vol. 6, No. 6 
April 21, 2008

I am on my way back to Tucson from New York this morning, a little tired and at the same time wonderfully energized by the sights and sounds and the emotion and inspiration of the last six days!

I hope you had the opportunity to read my daily blog entries during the Holy Father's historic visit to Washington and New York. 

The blog will stay up for the next few days at www.newvisiononline.org/bishopblog.html. I thank Omar Rodriguez of The New Vision and Fred Allison, diocesan Communications Director, for their assistance with the blog.

I share with you here what I filed late last night:

This last entry of my Papal Visit blog begins with the arrival of our buses (filled with bishops) at Yankee Stadium for the final Mass of the Holy Father's visit. Our caravan was escorted by New York's Finest. We were dropped off just outside the stadium in the midst of thousands of people of all ages, cultures and ethnic backgrounds who were clearly very excited about seeing the Holy Father.

We bishops were led into the lower area of the stadium, past life-size photos of Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle and down a hallway decorated with quotes from Joe Dimaggio.

We vested in the batting cages. I think that was a first-time experience for most of us! With a little time before Mass was to start, I called Father Ariel Lustan and Father Dom Pinti on my cell phone to get directions to where the Papal Visit pilgrims from our Diocese were sitting – Section 34, rows G and H. I trekked up the ramps to find them – their seats were at the farthest end of the stadium, down the left field line. It was a joy for me to see some of our own people among the thousands and thousands. After visiting with them for just a few minutes, I returned just in time to join the bishops' procession onto the field.

Yankee Stadium had been made over by yellow and white ribbons, yellow and white flowers and yellow and white bunting. A huge altar took up most of the infield.

The sun broke through the gray clouds just as the Holy Father entered the stadium in the Popemobile to the cheers and shouts of the nearly 60,000 people who were present. I doubt any Yankee ever received such a welcome. After the Holy Father vested, he processed in to begin the Mass. The Archdiocese of New York had worked very hard to make this liturgy a true celebration of hope and joy, and that it was.

To share Eucharist with people from the 195 dioceses, archdioceses and eparchies in our Nation was a wonderful experience. It was as stirring for me as when our Diocese gathers its 74 parishes for the Chrism Mass or other special diocesan liturgies. Everyone felt proud to be Catholic!

The Holy Father's homily was uplifting and joyful. I was especially moved that his concluding words were again addressed to young people, reminding them of Christ's encouragement that they can do works even more marvelous than He. This homily, as with all the talks and homilies that preceded it, was filled with hope and thanksgiving, even as he forthrightly acknowledged the challenges we face.

After the Mass, it was back on the buses for a caravan to JFK Airport for the Holy Father's departure. Nearly 5,000 people gathered in a cavernous hangar, singing and praying the rosary in anticipation of his arrival.

To cheering and applause, the Holy Father stepped onto the stage surrounded by U.S. and Vatican flags to stand with Vice President Richard Cheney and his wife Lynne.

After the playing of the anthems of the Vatican and the U.S., the Vice President offered words of gratitude to the Holy Father for his visit and the good it had accomplished. The Vice President emphasized his gratitude and that of the Nation for the Holy Father's visit and prayer at Ground Zero. The Vice President marveled at how the nation had opened its arms to the Holy Father.

The Holy Father expressed the joy he felt and his gratitude for the welcome he had received and the kindnesses shown to him. He said that his opportunity to speak to the world at the United Nations was one of the high points of his visit. He said that his visit to Ground Zero would remain firmly etched in his memory. Concluding his remarks, he smiled and said joyfully, "May God bless America!"

We left the hangar to line up beside the red carpet leading to Shepherd One, the Alitalia jet that would take the Holy Father back to Rome. When he arrived at the red carpet, the Holy Father shook the hands of the cardinals, bishops and dignitaries. When he came to me, I kissed his ring and thanked him for bringing a new Pentecost to the Church in the U.S.

I hope in our Diocese we can build on the spirit and pride the Holy Father's visit generated. I pray the inspiration and encouragement he gave us will encourage us to become missionary disciples who invite others to meet Christ. I pray more young people will hear God's call to serve as priests and religious. I pray we will work even harder to build communities in our Diocese and in our State of Arizona that respect all human life, from conception to natural death. I pray we will recommit ourselves to right injustices, to heal hurts and to care for the littlest and weakest among us.

1. On the Confirmation Trail – I look forward to sharing the Holy Father's messages as I celebrate the conferral of the Sacrament of Confirmation this week: tonight at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson; tomorrow night at Santa Cruz Parish in Tucson; Friday night at St. Rose of Lima Parish in Safford; Saturday morning in Douglas for Immaculate Conception Parish, St. Luke Parish, Loretto School and St. Bernard Parish, Pirtleville; Sunday morning at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament in Miami; and Sunday afternoon at Holy Angels Parish in Globe.

2. Mass at Villa Maria Care Center – I will celebrate Mass at 10 a.m. tomorrow with the residents and staff of the Villa Maria Care Center in Tucson.

3. 2008 Convocation of Priests – Our annual Convocations of Priests will take place this Wednesday through Friday in Phoenix.

Our special guest presenter is Dr. Dean Hoge, who has researched and lectured on religion in the U.S. for more than 30 years. He is president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Books he has authored or co-authored include: "The First Five Years of Priesthood;" "Evolving Visions of Priesthood;" and "International Priests in America."

Dr. Hoge will make two presentations: "Building a Lively, Diverse and Sustaining Presbyterate" and "Challenges Today for Priestly Ministry."

Also on the convocation schedule is a presentation by Dr. Paul Duckro, director of our diocesan Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection on our preparations for the 2008 Safe Environment Program audit of our diocese, parishes and schools. 

4. Remember in Your Prayers – Please pray for the repose of the soul of Richard "Dick" George, a retired employee of the Diocese of Tucson who died last Friday in Tucson. He rendered faithful service in property and insurance management to Bishop Francis Green and Bishop Manuel Moreno for 24 years. Visitation and Rosary will be at 9:50 a.m. this Wednesday at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, followed by the Funeral Mass at 11 a.m.

From Holy Trinity Monastery in St. David, Sister Jeanne Hill, O.S.B., has shared with me that Sister Corinne Fair, O.S.B., will undergo surgery tomorrow here in Tucson for her Parkinson's symptoms. Let us pray for the success of the surgery and Sister Corinne's full and rapid recovery.

Vol. 6, No. 7 
April 28, 2008

I am very pleased to announce the appointments of pastors at two of our parishes, the appointments of two new co-directors of our Office of Vocations, the appointment of a new part-time director of the new Office of Worship and the appointments of our four soon-to-be ordained priests.  

Effective July 1, Father John Allt, pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Tucson, becomes pastor of St. Rita in the Desert Parish, Vail.

Effective Aug. 1, Father Miguel Mariano, director of the Office of Vocations, becomes pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Tucson, and part-time director of the new diocesan Office of Worship.

Effective July 1, Father Mike Bucciarelli, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Lourdes, and Father Vili Valderrama, pastor of San Felipe de Jesus Parish in Nogales, become co-directors of the diocesan Office of Vocations while retaining their positions as pastor of their respective parishes.

I am very grateful to Father Allt for providing 14 years of pastoral leadership at St. Joseph Parish. The parish and St. Joseph School are a model community. I was impressed recently to hear the heartfelt comments of the people of the parish about the excellent pastoral leadership Father Allt has given their community. Father Allt will leave the parish at the end of May. We have made provisions for priests to serve the sacramental and ministry needs of the parish on an interim basis until Father Miguel takes responsibility for the parish.

Father Bob Wicht, S.D.S., who has been pastor of St. Rita Parish these last 12 years, is retiring this summer. Under his leadership and with the support of the Salvatorians, St. Rita has grown from a small parish into a large and dynamic community of faith. I ask God's choicest blessings for Father Bob as he begins his retirement. Although the Salvatorians are leaving St. Rita, I am delighted that they will remain in the Diocese, continuing to serve at Most Holy Trinity Parish in Tucson and San Martin de Porres Parish in Sahuarita.

Father Miguel will complete his studies for a master's degree in liturgy this summer at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein. The creation of the new diocesan Office of Worship and Father Miguel's appointment as its part-time director emphasize the importance that we place on liturgies that engage our participation and enhance our worship of God.

The appointments of Father Mike and Father Vili as co-directors of the Office of Vocations represent a new direction in our efforts to identify and invite candidates for vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

Here is the structure that will support this new direction:

Father Mike will be responsible for the application and admission process for college seminarians. Father Vili will be responsible for the application and admission process for theologate and pre-theologate seminarians.

Father Mike will work with the vocations support groups in our Diocese, including the Knights of Columbus, Serra International and Catholic Daughters of the Americas, and the vocation support prayer groups. He also will develop and oversee the budget of the Office of Vocations and will coordinate the work of Marty Hammond and Grace Lohr in the Office of Vocations.

Father Vili will work with the Office of Vocations to prepare candidates for conferral of ministries and ordination to orders and will coordinate preparations of the liturgies for conferral of ministries and ordinations with the Office of Worship.

Father Mike will oversee the summer ministry work of our seminarians and supervise their placements. Father Vili will oversee the ministry work of our seminarians and placements in the Pastoral Quarter and Pastoral Year programs.

Together, Father Mike and Father Vili will maintain regular contact with candidates and seminarians and will conduct visits to colleges and seminaries to see our seminarians at each seminary once a year. They will attend annual meetings of the National Conference of Diocesan Vocations Directors, will encourage prayer for vocations throughout our Diocese and will attend Presbyteral Council meetings.

They will work with Marty, Grace and Rene Franco of Catholic Community Services to deal with questions regarding visas for our seminarians from overseas. Father Vili will work with dioceses in the Philippines, Mexico and Central and Latin America when candidates from those dioceses indicate interest in serving in our Diocese.

Each will work with teams of our Associate Vocation Directors in the vicariates: Father Mike with Father John Arnold of Pima Central, Father JoJo Tabo of Pima East, Father Abran Tadeo of Pima North, Father Jay Luczak of Pinal East and Father Ariel Lustan of Graham-Greenlee and Pima West; Father Vili with Father Jose Padillia of Santa Cruz, Father Manuel Fragoso of Yuma-La Paz, Father Alonzo Garcia of Pima South, Father German Vasquez of Cochise and Father Bardo Antunez of Pinal West.

The Associate Vocation Directors will be responsible for hosting an Andrew and Myriam Dinner annually in their vicariates, for visiting each parish and Catholic elementary and high school in their vicariates annually to give a presentation on vocations and for participating in the career days at the schools. They also will conduct monthly InSearch meetings in their vicariates for persons discerning the possibility of a vocation.

Father Mike and Father Vili will hold a weekly conference call to coordinate their work.

Our new direction to encourage and support vocations to the priesthood and religious life echoes the call to action to the Church in the U.S. to increase vocations that was communicated by Pope Benedict XVI in his visit.

Finally, here are the appointments of our four soon-to-be ordained priests who will begin their ministry in our Diocese on July 1.
Deacon Emilio Chapa will be assigned to St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Yuma. Deacon Ed Lucero will be assigned to Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma. Deacon Ricky Ordonez will be assigned to Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson. Deacon Robert Rodriquez was assigned previously to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson.
I have every confidence that they will bring new energy and firm commitment to their new communities.

1. 2008 Convocation of Priests -- How good it is when brothers gather!

This year's convocation was very well attended by the vast majority of our priests -- diocesan and religious, active and retired.

The highlight of the convocation was our Mass and dinner to celebrate the jubilee (25th, 40th, 50th and 60th) anniversaries of priests in our Diocese.

This year's jubilarians are:

25th Anniversary: Father John Ancharski, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Solomon; Father Kevin Clinch, pastor of St. Anthony Parish, Casa Grande; Father Richard Kingsley, pastor of Corpus Christi Parish, Tucson; Father Bill Kohler, Catholic Chaplain at Tucson Medical Center; Father Gilbert Levario, O.C.D., pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish, Tucson; and Father Godfrey Oparaekwe, parochial vicar at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Tucson.

40th Anniversary: Father Michael Higgins, O.Carm., parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Parish, Tucson; Father Joe Krause, retired, Diocese of Tucson; Father Stan Nadolny, parochial vicar at St. George Parish, Apache Junction; and Father Richard Troutman, pastor of St. Odilia Parish, Tucson.

50th Anniversary: Father James Fuemmler, retired, Diocese of Jefferson City; Father Alfred Greenwald, retired, Diocese of Galveston-Houston; Father Angelo Mastria, O.Carm., Pastoral Ministry Program of Catholic Community Services; Father Todd O'Leary, pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Tucson; and Father Ray Palcisko, retired.

60th Anniversary: Father Paul Hogarty, retired priest of the Diocese of Mobile.

It was a delight at the celebration dinner to hear some of the recollections of Father Richard Troutman of his years at Regina Cleri High School Seminary. Father Richard is the sole remaining member of the first class at the former preparatory seminary.

Also at the dinner, we viewed a video in which Father Todd O'Leary shared the joy of his 50 years of priesthood and the support and inspiration he experienced from the priests, religious and laity at the eight parishes in which he has served.  Father Todd's prayer for priests that concluded the video was a very moving moment for all of us. He received a standing ovation from us when the video ended.

Dr. Dean Hoge of the Catholic University of America made two presentations at the convocation, giving us summaries of some of his important research on priests, including the recently ordained and international priests, and on the identity and commitment of Catholics in the U.S.

Dr. Hoge's presentations were very thought provoking. Clearly, there are no easy or simple answers to the challenges we face in our Church in the U.S., but it was good to be together as priests of our Diocese to share ideas and experiences about the challenges.

I thank Dr. Paul Duckro for his presentation on the Safe Environment Program, Chancellor Eduaro Huerta, AnnaMaria Mammen and Martha Jordan for organizing and facilitating such an enjoyable and relaxing event and Fred Allison for coordinating the audio-visual needs.
2. Serra Club of Tucson -- I look forward to being with the members of Serra International for today's lunch to acknowledge the winners of this year's Serra Club of Tucson Essay Contest. The topic for this year's contest was "Why Young Catholics Should Become Active and Involved in Their Church."

This year's winners are:

Grades 9 through 12: Casey Hoyack, St. Luke Parish, Douglas, 1st place; Kristen Ayres, St. Augustine Catholic High School, Tucson, 2nd place; Brittany Baechler, St. Augustine Catholic High School, 3rd place; Julie Crusa, St. Augustine Catholic High School, 4th place.

Grades 7 and 8: Victoria Mariscal, Loretto School, Douglas, 1st place; Samantha Cardenas, Loretto School, 2nd place; Brooke Hardy, St. Joseph School, Tucson, 3rd place; Sara Ditmanson, Immaculate Heart School, Tucson, 4th place.

Grades 4, 5 and 6: Annie Matty, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School, Tucson, 1st place; Katie Martinka, Immaculate Heart, 2nd place; Herman Oviedo, Loretto School, 3rd place; Grecia Rojas, Loretto School, 4th place.

At the lunch, we will hear the first place winners read their essays.

3. On the Confirmation Trail --I will be conferring the Sacrament of Confirmation tonight at Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Green Valley, tomorrow night at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Somerton , Wednesday night at St. Jude Thaddeus Parish in San Luis, Thursday night at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Yuma, Friday night at Sacred Heart Parish in Nogales and on Sunday morning at Blessed Sacrament in Mammoth, Sunday afternoon at St. Joseph Parish in Hayden and Sunday evening at Infant Jesus of Prague Parish in Kearney.

4. "Encountering Christ in a Multicultural Church"
-- Our first Diocese of Tucson Pastoral Encuentro (Encounter) is this Saturday at the Tucson Expo Center.

Cardinal Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, is our very special guest presenter. He will give two keynote addresses during the day: "Encountering Jesus in a Multi-cultural Church" (for adults) and "Challenges Faced by Today's Youth and the Response of the Church" (for youth).

Admittance to the Encuentro will be by ticket. Each person who makes a $25 donation to defray expenses of the day will receive a ticket. Tickets are available at parishes, at religious book and goods stores in the Tucson area and at the Yoly's Music Shop outlets in Tucson.

For more information about the Encuentro, visit www.diocesetucosn.org and click on the Encuentro log on the upper right hand side of the home page. You will find the schedule for the day and a profile of Cardinal Maradiaga.

5. Annual Convocation of Compliance Representatives -- Our second annual convocation for compliance representatives from each of our parishes is this Saturday at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson. This convocation will help the compliance representatives prepare for the annual audit that required by the Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth.

A critical part of the audit process is the annual collection of data that will constitute part of the report of our Diocese on its compliance with the Charter.

This reporting process involves a great deal of work on the part of the compliance representatives, the pastors and other members of the pastoral team. It is my pleasure to encourage them at this gathering and to listen to their experiences. They are the people who have done so much of the hard work to create loving and safe environments in our parishes and schools by helping them to remain in compliance with the requirements of our diocesan Safe Environment Program.

I thank Father Joe Lombardo and his team at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish for hosting this convocation for the second year in a row and Father Dom Pinti, pastor of St. George Parish in Apache Junction, who once again is offering his culinary skills to provide a delicious salad for the attendees.

6. May Issue of The New Vision -- Managing Editor Bern Zovistoski tells me that this issue, to be distributed at parishes this coming weekend, will be 36 pages -- the largest single edition ever.

This issue will feature extensive coverage of Pope Benedict XVI's U.S. visit. A feature story with photos will tell about the efforts of a Tucson group called "Poverty 24/6" to help the people who live in "a human dump" in Nogales, Sonora. There is a story and photo about San Miguel High School's first graduating class and other stories and photos about the achievements of our youth. This issue will introduce a new feature -- a cartoon.


7. Pastoral Statement on "Freedom of Conscience" -- As the Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference, Bishop Thomas Olmsted and I this weekend are issuing a pastoral statement on the important topic of the rights and freedoms associated with following our consciences.

We were prompted to address threats to the rights and freedoms of conscience by legislation that would force persons to go against what their conscience tells them is right. You will be able to read the pastoral statement in the May issue of The New Vision and on-line at www.diocesephoenix.org/acc and at www.diocesetucson.org under "Reports, Statements, Letters."

8. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- Please pray for the repose of the soul of Olga Valenzuela, wife of Deacon Carlos Valenzuela of St. Augustine Cathedral Parish, who died April 13 in Tucson. We pray for the comfort of Deacon Carlos and daughter Barbara. Olga served the Cathedral with great dedication in the ministry of religious education.

Also, please pray for Deacon Jesus Castillo of St. Philip Parish in Payson who is experiencing some worrisome health issues.

9. National Migration Conference -- Registration for this year's National Migration Conference, scheduled for July 28-31 in Washington, is underway. The conference is co-sponsored by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Migration and Refugee Services.

Under the theme of "Renewing Hope, Seeking Justice," the conference will focus on the challenges and abuses faced by refugees, immigrants, migrants, trafficking victims and other persons on the move in the U.S. and throughout the world. 

The goal of the conference is to increase public awareness on migration questions and to educate public policy makers and those interested in related public policy issues. The conference also will help dioceses and parishes develop their capacity to welcome and provide hospitality to newcomers and their families.

The array of issues to be addressed includes global migration trends, identifying and supporting survivors of traumatic events, immigration law and crimes, detention, employment, ethnic information on new refugee populations and family-based immigration.

Ambassador Johnny Young, Executive Director of Migration and Refugee Services, says the timing of the conference is "particularly important given that it falls in an election year that will usher in a new presidential administration. We have a real opportunity through this Conference to begin shaping the debate on issues related to migration for the next four years."

More information about the conference is available at www.nationalmigrationconference.org.

10. Re-enacting the Trek of the Seven Sisters -- On April 19, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and their lay associates in Tucson welcomed six Sisters who arrived after a journey in which they remembered and retraced the historic 1870 "Trek of the Seven Sisters" from San Diego to Tucson.

The Sisters of the Trek departed from St. Louis on April 20, 1870, at the invitation of Bishop Salpointe to come to the Vicariate Apostolic of Arizona. The journey was arduous. They traveled by train to San Francisco; by boat to San Diego; and by horse and carriage (often on foot) through the desert to Tucson. They first opened St. Joseph's Academy, followed by a school at San Xavier del Bac. Not long after, St. Mary's Hospital was opened, followed by a much needed orphanage.

The re-enactment brought home both the faith and courage of the original Sisters as well as the realities of the current border issues. The original Trek passed through Mexico at various points that could not be crossed today.

I am glad that Dr. Paul Duckro and his wife, both Associates of the Sisters, were able to be part of the welcoming group.

I value very much the many and important contributions that the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet have made to the people of the Diocese of Tucson since their arrival almost 140 years ago. I join them as they, along with all the Sisters who serve with such dedication in the Diocese, invite others to join them in the journey of service that continues today.

Re-enacting the Trek were Sisters Mary Quinn, Sarah Heger (novice), Anne Davis, Pat Quinn, Mary Murphy and Andrea Mazon (novice).