April 6, 2009 April 20, 2009 April 27, 2009

Vol. 7, No. 5
April 6, 2009

We begin the holiest of weeks.

Yesterday, we heard the passion of Jesus Christ proclaimed as we held the same palms used by those who welcomed Christ in his triumphant entry into Jerusalem. That same crowd would be calling for His death just a few days later. Like them, we can be so fickle in our discipleship. I pray that as we walk with Christ through His passion, death, and resurrection again this week we will confirm and strengthen our faith. One cannot be unmoved by such a powerful demonstration of love seen in the suffering and death of an Innocent One who chose to die on our behalf. As we gaze on the Pierced One, know His love for each one of us.

At the Easter Vigil, many will come into the Church by being baptized and by professing their faith in Jesus Christ and His Church. We rejoice with them. They have prepared long and hard for this significant spiritual moment in their faith lives. They inspire us in striving to live our faith even more.

St. Paul spoke powerfully of Christ's love seen in His passion and death. He noted that if Christ has not risen, in vain is our hope. The Paschal Mystery, which includes Christ's passion, death and resurrection, has been preached since the time of Christ. It was the heart of the apostles' teaching after they left the upper room. It remains the core of our teaching.

In my column for this month's The New Vision, I write of the power of Holy Week and how the liturgies of this week immerse us in the Paschal Mystery.

I celebrated the entry of our Lord into Jerusalem yesterday with the community of Cristo Rey, a mission of Blessed Kateri Tekekawitha Parish in Tucson. Many participate in the Yaqui Palm Sunday celebration, making a manda, a pledge or promise, to take a certain role during the festivities. The Chapayekas don masks and wear blankets and trinkets. They carry wooden knives and swords that they bang against each other and shake their bodies to rattle the beads they wear. They represent evil. They try to distract those praying, and they rejoice at the death of Christ on Good Friday only to be rebuffed by the Lord's Resurrection.

The Anhelesim are young children, the angels, who resist the lure of the Chapayekas and wind their way with their parents through the field to the cross where they gather to pray.

The Vanteareom or flag girls participate in the procession of the palms waving their flags. The Mantechinas play their instruments and dance along with the deer dancer.

The symbols and ceremony are rich with meaning. The focus is on the blessing and procession with the palms. Latin hymns are sung as the statues draped in purple are led around in procession.

All of Holy Week, the Pascua Yaqui take part in the services carrying out their roles and reliving the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.

It was a privilege to celebrate with Father Dan McLauglin, S.T., pastor, and to see the faith of the people.

We will gather this evening at 6:30 in our Cathedral for the Chrism Mass, which is a tradition in our Diocese on the Monday of Holy Week.

In this Pauline Year, a banner depicting an icon of St. Paul will lead our entrance procession, and the Mass will reflect the theme, "Forming Missionary Disciples in the Footsteps of St. Paul." 

Recognizing the struggles of so many people during these challenging economic times and the struggles as well of the ministries that serve the needy, we have invited members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society in our parishes to be present as living symbols of Christ's care and compassion. We will represent the penitential practice of almsgiving through a collection that will be for the benefit of the St. Vincent de Paul Society in our parishes and for Catholic Community Services and other agencies in our Diocese that provide assistance to persons in need.

Also, during this Mass, I will consecrate the Holy Oils that will be used this coming year at our parishes for the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Anointing of the Sick.

I am grateful to Sister Lois Paha, O.P., Father Miguel Mariano and Father Alex Mills for the planning of this beautiful liturgy. I thank our Diocesan Choir, Father Pat Crino, rector of the Cathedral, the Cathedral staff and our volunteers from the Pastoral Center for helping to make this liturgy so meaningful for our Family of Faith.

Holy Thursday, I will preside at the 7 p.m. Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper at the Cathedral. "This Mass is, first of all, the memorial of the institution of the Eucharist, that is, of the Memorial of the Lord's Passover, by which under sacramental signs he perpetuated among us the sacrifice of the New Law. The Mass of the Lord's Supper is also the memorial of the institution of the priesthood, by which Christ's mission and sacrifice are perpetuated in the world. In addition, this Mass is the memorial of that love by which the Lord loved us even to death…" (from Ceremonial of Bishops).

During the liturgy, I will wash the feet of parishioners to symbolize how Christ washed the feet of His disciples to model for them the importance of serving others.

The Holy Thursday Liturgy ends with the procession of the Blessed Sacrament, Christ present among us. I am always humbled carrying the monstrance in procession around the Cathedral as people kneel and pay respect to the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Through the night, people kneel in adoration before the Eucharistic Lord, offering prayers of gratitude for His gift of this Sacrament of His love.
Returning to the Cathedral, the altar has been stripped. The sanctuary and side chapels barren. The tabernacle empty. Christ left the upper room and walked with His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane where He prayed as the disciples slept. The Church moves from the joy of receiving the Blessed Sacrament to the sadness of Good Friday.

On Good Friday at noon at the Cathedral, I will preside at the Adoration of the Cross. At the beginning of this solemn liturgy, the veiled Cross is brought to the center of sanctuary. I slowly uncover the Cross, singing, "This is the wood of the Cross." We kneel in awe of Christ's love as demonstrated in His embrace of the Cross. Then, all are invited to approach the Cross. Following our adoration, we receive our Lord in the Eucharist.

At 3 p.m. on Good Friday, the Hispanic Community of the Cathedral will present its annual reenactment of the Stations of the Cross. The procession to the Cathedral will begin at San Cosme Chapel just several blocks away.

At 5 p.m. on Good Friday, I will lead the annual Stations of the Cross Procession up A Mountain. This is the 40th year of this beautiful tradition under the sponsorship of Los Dorados 

On Saturday, I will preside at the Easter Vigil Mass at the Cathedral at 7 p.m. Called by the Church the "mother of all vigils" and "greatest and most noble of all solemnities," this liturgy is filled with powerful symbols and actions, especially the Service of Light, the presentation of the Paschal Candle and the Baptisms and First Eucharist for our new brothers and sisters in the Faith.

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

1. Visit to Parker – I enjoyed very much spending two days in Parker with Father Manuel Fragoso and the people he serves in the faith communities in the far northwestern area of our Diocese that is bordered by the Colorado River.

My visit on Thursday and Friday was an opportunity to meet people from each of the missions served out of Sacred Heart Parish in Parker. Father Manuel drives many a mile each weekend serving his people. I accompanied him to Wenden, where I had the joy of blessing the new large cross and Stations of the Cross that were erected by the parishioners of St. John the Baptist Mission.

The people of the Parker area communities came together for Deacon Leonel Bejarano's ordination on Friday. I am sure his wife Maria, his daughter Bianca and son Ivan were thrilled, as were all of Leonel's family. Leonel is from a family of 10 children. His father-in-law Manuel was able to attend the ordination from Mexicali.

The Sacred Heart Parish community expressed their great delight in Father Manuel's service as administrator, and Father Manuel told me he is enjoying the community very much. He is doing a wonderful job, and I was very pleased at the ordination celebration to announce that I was appointing him as their pastor. Applause and cheers resounded. Congratulations, Father Manuel, on becoming pastor of Sacred Heart and its missions!

I was moved by the faith of the people At St. John the Baptist Mission and at Queen of Peace in Quartzsite, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha in Poston - Ehrenburg and Sacred Heart in Parker. The faith is so vibrant in many of our small outlying communities. That was evident in my visit to Parker and the surrounding area. 

2. Experiencing the Border
– A group of students from Saint Mary's College in Moraga, California, will be visiting our Diocese this week as part of a special course, "Mission and Ministry: Border Lives Immersion."

Saint Mary's College was founded in 1863. Administered by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, it is known for its liberal arts education.

From the course description:

This immersion aims to introduce students to the complex reality of immigration, particularly as experienced in the deserts outside of Tucson, AZ. Throughout the week students will see and experience the migrants' perspective and will be challenged to inquire further into the effects of immigration on the state of Arizona, the wilderness preserve (the desert), the residents of Tucson, and the residents of the Tohono O'odham and the Pascua Yaqui Native American Reservations through which migrants cross daily. Some of the questions guiding this immersion are:

• To what degree is the building of the fence (wall) responsible for the increase in the number of migrant deaths in the desert?
• What is the long-term environmental impact of thousands of migrants crossing through the desert wilderness, especially in light of the vast amount of clothing that is left behind?
• How can immigration reform adequately address the human rights issues that arise on the border?
• What is the day-to-day experience of border patrol agents who work on the Arizona-Mexico border, and how does this personal experience reconcile with the goals of the Department of Homeland Security and their duties as officers?
• How have communities of faith responded to immigration on the Arizona-Mexico border?
• What programs are currently in place by the Catholic Diocese of Tucson and the Catholic Diocese of Hermosillo, Mexico to address the needs of migrants?

I look forward to meeting with the students and Leo Guardado, director of the course, tomorrow morning here at the Pastoral Center for a discussion about the last two questions. Joining us will be Erica Dahl-Bredine of the Catholic Relief Services Mexico Project.

3. Meeting of Directors – Father Al Schifano, our Moderator of the Curia, and I will meet with the directors of our diocesan Pastoral Center offices and departments for our regular monthly meetings this Thursday morning.

4. Annual Catholic Appeal – As of this past weekend, our Annual Catholic Appeal was at 61% of goal. St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Tucson, St. Jude Parish in Pearce-Sunsites and Holy Angels Parish in Globe have now reached and exceeded their goals.

I am grateful to our pastors and pastoral administrators and their staffs for keeping the needs of the Appeal before their communities. The generosity of our parishioners is inspiring.

The Appeal's weekly parish report is available here.

5. Please Remember in Your Prayers – Please pray for the repose of the soul of Sister Jose Hobday, O.S.F., who died Sunday. Sister Jose, who made Tucson her home, was a nationally known author and speaker on prayer and spirituality.

A 2003 story in Canada's Western Catholic Reporter, headlined "Spirituality transcends culture," will tell you much about Sister Jose. Reporter Bill Glen wrote:

Christ set the example, says Sister Jose Hobday, of how we must recognize the special virtues within all of us and disregard cultural differences.

"If, as Christians, we can remember the kingdom of God is within us and all around us, then the difference we make doesn't have to be glorious or well known – even appreciated," she said.

"The greatest influences in life don't always come from glitz and superstars. They come from the goodness of people."

Sister Hobday is a Native American and a Franciscan sister and educator who was shaped by her father's teachings rooted in Native American spirituality.

"When we look at cultural awareness, we have to transcend the differences of viewpoint and see if we can find a way that is so inclusive so as not to exclude anyone. We would actually learn how to walk joyfully and in peace in our own lives. Then we are available to the reality of everybody's worth," she said.

"The truth is you are always doing something that is making a difference in someone else's life."

We pray Sister Jose will enjoy the Paschal celebration this year with the Lord.

There will be a celebration of her life in a special Memorial Mass at Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Tucson on Wednesday at 2 p.m. A public celebration of her life will be held at a special Memorial Mass at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish at 6:30pm on Wednesday, April 15.

Please keep Tee Tran of the Diocese of Tucson Catholic Charities and Ministries Office in your prayers. Tee is taking medical leave because of her asthma condition. She also will undergo surgery in June.

6. Monday Memo Spring Break – The memo will be on spring break next week. Taking a look ahead at Easter Week:

I am honored to be giving the keynote address at the National Catholic Education Association Convention (NCEA) on April 14 in Anaheim. Also at the convention, we all will be very proud to see Leslie Shultz-Crist, principal of St. Ambrose School in Tucson, receive the NCEA's Dr. Robert J. Kealey Distinguished Principal Award. This annual award honors a Catholic school principal who demonstrates exceptional qualities of leadership and commitment to the profession and ministry of principal. Leslie is leaving St. Ambrose School at the end of this term to begin her new responsibilities as president of San Miguel High School in Tucson.

I will be attending the installation on April 15 in St. Patrick's Cathedral of Archbishop Timothy Dolan as the new Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York. Many of you will remember well Archbishop Dolan's visit with us several years ago for the Cornerstone Gala Celebration of the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson.

I will be attending the 2009 "One More Victory, Ara!" Gala Celebration on April 17 in Tucson. The gala benefits the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to funding medical research projects to find a treatment for Niemann-Pick Type C (NP-C) disease. The Parseghian Foundation is named in honor of Ara Parseghian, the much beloved and well-known Notre Dame football coach, whose three youngest grandchildren were diagnosed with NP-C in 1994.
I look forward to being with the Knights of Columbus on the evening of April 18 as they gather at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Tucson for a dinner to benefit the Sisters of the Benedictine Monastery in Tucson.

I will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation on April 19 at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Casa Grande.

Vol. 7, No. 6
April 20, 2009

As Catholics, we do not just celebrate a major feast – we celebrate and celebrate and celebrate! This is especially true of Easter, which will extend to the end of May with the celebration of Pentecost.

Our focus during Lent was on sacrifice. Now, we are called to reflect during this Easter Season on the significance of Christ's Resurrection. As St. Paul has said, "If Christ is not risen, in vain is our hope!" Christ's Resurrection grounds our hope, assures us that death will not have the final word.
In the Eastern Rite of the Catholic Church, a disciple is to say to everyone during this Easter season, "Christ has risen!" and the other person is to respond, "Indeed, He is risen!" In that spirit, let us remind one another during this Easter time of the meaning of Christ's Resurrection for us. It grounds our faith and sustains our hope.

1. Arizona Catholic Conference Letter to Governor, Legislators – Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix and I, as the Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference, have written a letter to Governor Jan Brewer and our State's legislators to express our prayerful support for them as they address the budget deficit crisis. Also in the letter, we express our concerns for the most vulnerable among us who are feeling most directly the consequences of cut backs in social services that have resulted from the crisis.

You can read our letter here.

2. 2009 Annual Catholic Appeal
– We are nearly at 75% of our goal! Twelve parishes have met or exceeded their goals and another three parishes are within a percentage point or two from reaching their goals.

Please continue to encourage those who not yet have given to the Appeal to make a pledge or to give a gift. Emphasize that the 26 charities and ministries supported by the Appeal take on even greater importance in people's lives in this time of economic struggle and that to enable these charities and ministries to do God's work we need all our Catholic families to give to the Appeal.

The weekly parish Appeal reports are available here.

3. High School Religious Education
– The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has laid out some guidelines for teaching high school religion classes in Catholic Schools and religious education programs.

Our diocesan Catholic Schools Department has been working hard to distribute these guidelines to our Catholic High Schools throughout the Diocese. Each school and our parish religious education programs will be expected to implement the suggestions of the guidelines. Our diocesan Committee to support this effort meets this morning to discuss how to support them in this implementation.
Effective religious education programs in Catholic Schools and religious education classes call for teaching what we believe as Catholics and to help form young people as disciples and to deepen their spiritual lives. This is a daunting task, especially in the materialistic and secular world in which we live.
I am grateful to our teachers and catechists who work so hard to hand on the faith. This, of course, often happens less by what they do than by who they are. Their example of faith is the most effective way to fascinate and influence the young to encounter Jesus Christ in their own lives.

4. Multi-Faith Leaders Summit – A group of leaders from many of the faith traditions in the Tucson area are gathering today at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks for a day with the theme of, "Rest, Relax, and Reflect."
The gathering will allow the leaders in our community to meet one another, to pray together and to reflect and plan together on how we can work more collaboratively to enhance life in our community.
The Multi-faith Alliance that was established in our community after 9/11 has lost some of its momentum. This gathering will invite leaders of faith communities to consider what ways we can work together in bringing the religious voice to the pressing issues of our day.
I am grateful to Loretta Tracy, my liaison with faith communities in the Diocese, for her hard work in organizing the team that has planned the day.

5. On the Confirmation Trail – I will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation at St. Christopher Parish in Marana this evening, at Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Green Valley this Sunday morning and at St. Odilia Parish in Tucson this Sunday evening.

6. Presbyteral Council Meeting – Our meeting will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow morning in Chandler before the beginning of the annual Priests' Convocation.

Our agenda includes: a report on our diocesan Lenten reconciliation and "come home" efforts; a report and discussion on the possibility of initiating Web-based education for our Safe Environment Program; and a discussion about the 2010 Census and how our Diocese and our parishes might encourage people to participate.

7. Annual Priests' Convocation – The annual Convocation is tomorrow through Thursday in Chandler.

We are very pleased to have Father Robert Schreiter, C.PP.S., an internationally-recognized expert in the areas of enculturation, reconciliation and the world mission of the Church, as our special guest presenter. He will be speaking to us on "Pastoring in a Multi-cultural Church."

A priest of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Father Robert is the Vatican Council II Professor of Theology at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and director of the Program in Reconciliation and Peacebuilding at the Cardinal Bernardin Center for Theology and Ministry. He serves as a consultant to Caritas Internationalis on programs for building peace in the world. He is also a much-published author.

A highlight of the Convocation is our annual Celebration of Priesthood Dinner, at which we honor our priests who are celebrating jubilee anniversaries of ordination. More about this year's jubilarians next week.

8. Consecration and Installation of Bishop James Wall, Diocese of Gallup – It will be my joy this Thursday afternoon to be present at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Gallup for the consecration and installation of Bishop Wall as the Fourth Bishop of Gallup.

I look forward to working with Bishop Wall to help improve and enhance life in our State. He will be joining Bishop Olmsted and myself in the Arizona Catholic Conference to consider ways to bring our convictions and moral values to the deliberations of our State Legislature.
As he begins his service in the Diocese of Gallup, Bishop Wall will be among the youngest bishops in the U.S. He grew up on the reservation in the Gallup Diocese because his parents were teachers on the Reservation.

As a priest of the Diocese of Phoenix, he knows the challenges and blessings facing the Church in our State, and he will bring valuable perspectives and contributions to our Arizona Catholic Conference.
9. St. Augustine Catholic High School Gym Groundbreaking – I will join the community of St. Augustine Catholic High School in Tucson this Friday morning for the groundbreaking ceremony for the school's new gym.

In the blessing and prayer for the groundbreaking, we will thank God for the anonymous donor whose generosity provided the leading gift of $1-million for the gym's fundraising project.

The nearly 9,000-square-foot multipurpose gym will include a theater, basketball courts, a weight room, a kitchen, lockers and classrooms.
10. 2009 Cornerstone Gala – The annual Cornerstone Gala to benefit the programs and activities of the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson is this Friday evening at the J.W. Marriott Starr Pass Resort. 

The Cornerstone Gala has become a wonderful tradition in our community. This year, we will honor three persons of deep faith who share their gifts generously for others: Jannie Cox, Elena d'Autremont and Ann S. Dickson.  Each of these outstanding women has made an impact on our community and our Diocese. They inspire us to live our lives even more generously in the service of others.

11. 2009 La Frontera Tucson International Mariachi Conference – This is the 27th year for this wonderful celebration of culture and music that attracts mariachi and baile folklórico groups and aficionados from around the country.

It has been a tradition of for many years for the Bishop of Tucson to preside at Mass in St. Augustine Cathedral on the Saturday morning of the Conference, and this Saturday it will be my joy once again to celebrate this joyful liturgy at 9 a.m. 

12. Pope John Paul II Youth Awards – Our fifth annual Pope John Paul II Youth Awards dinner and celebration will be this Saturday evening at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Tucson.

I will join family members, youth ministry leaders and pastors to honor our young people from around the Diocese who have been selected by their parishes to receive the Pope John Paul II Youth Award in recognition of their leadership in one or more of three categories: Catechesis and Evangelization; Community Service and Social Justice; and Prayer and Worship.

We will introduce a new tradition at this year's gathering when we honor a priest who has been dedicated to and involved in working with youth in our Diocese. This was a suggestion of the Awards committee, and next Monday you will know the first recipient.

I am grateful to the many parish youth ministers, pastors, leaders and parents who guide and minister to our youth, and I look forward to meeting them this Saturday. Because there are no walk-in registrations at this event, parishes that have not yet sent in names and reservations must do so by this Wednesday in order to participate for this year.

13. "Prayer is a Thirst" Retreat – Deacon Ken McNealy of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Tucson wants to bring to your attention this retreat that will be led by Father Tom Ryan, C.S.P., on May 1-3 at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks.

"I spent four days in 2006 with Father Tom in Austin, Texas, on the subject of 'Taking Time to Savor Your Life.' That retreat was very meaningful for me," says Deacon Ken.

You can find out more about the retreat and Father Tom here.

14. New Congregation of Dominican Sisters – The Eucharistic Missionaries of St. Dominic, whose Sisters have served in our Diocese for 70 years, are one of seven U.S. congregations of apostolic Dominican Sisters who have united to form one new congregation, the Dominican Sisters of Peace.

In addition to the Eucharistic Missionaries, the other congregations of Dominican Sisters in the new congregation are: Congregation of St. Rose of Lima;
Congregation of St. Mary; St. Mary of the Springs; Dominican Sisters of Great Bend; Dominicans of St. Catharine; and Sisters of St. Dominic of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The decision to form a new congregation was made through a formal discernment process begun in 2002, where the seven communities explored ways they could more closely collaborate in their common mission of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ through their many ministries.  A petition was sent to the Holy See in 2007 and approval for the new congregation was received that fall.  The official decree from the Rome, authorizing the establishment of the Dominican Sisters of Peace on Easter Sunday, was received this spring.

15. Remember in Your Prayers – Please pray for the repose of the souls of: William Patrick Knapp, brother of Father Charlie Knapp, who died April 5; Avelino Lustan, father of Father Ariel Lustan, who died on Good Friday; and Agustin Solis, father of Jean Yanes, secretary at the Pastoral Center, who died last week.

This note is from Sister Rina Cappellazzo, our Vicar for Religious: Sister Joachim Kaufmann, S.C.C., told me that she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Her final tests reveal the cancer has grown in the liver as well. Sister Joachim called to tell me that her visit with the oncologist on Thursday was devastating; she has been given three to six months. She will be returning to her Motherhouse in Wilmette, Ill., on Wednesday. Sister Joachim has been a very willing, cooperative, faithful member of the Council for Religious who always took on any task with great enthusiasm and vigor and followed through to the end. I knew I could always depend on Joachim to do anything for the Sisters through the Council. She is also respected highly as an excellent Director of Religious Education at Our Lady of the Valley parish in Green Valley. I am at a loss to say any more; what else can I possibly say or do other than to beg you to please, please keep her in your prayers! She'll be missed greatly!

Please pray for Jack Paha, brother of Sister Lois Paha, O.P., who continues to battle a life-threatening health condition.

Many of you in our parishes had the pleasure of working with Pegi Dodd, who retired last year from our Department of Pastoral Services. Pegi has told us that she has been diagnosed with cancer and is beginning chemotherapy. Please pray for her.

We beg the Lord to grant a miracle for Sister Joachim, Jack and Pegi. Please implore your favorite saint or possible future saint (like Padre Kino, Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa) for that miracle.

Vol. 7, No. 7
April 27, 2009

I recently was visited by three young people from the University of Arizona who shared with me their concern for our Church to do more in speaking up about life issues. I was impressed by their passion, their love of the Church and their desire to lend their time and talent to further Christ's mission. I saw this same passion and commitment in the many young people that joined us in this year's Tucson March for Life. I hope we can find more ways to elicit the involvement of our young people.

Saturday evening at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Tucson, it was my privilege to bestow our diocesan Pope John Paul II Award on each of 74 teens from 26 parishes and three Catholic high schools in our Diocese. Again, I was inspired by these young people who have distinguished themselves by their service in handing on the faith to others, in their community service and commitment to social justice and life and in leading others in prayer and worship. It is amazing to consider all that these teens have done to further the work of the Lord.

We can all be proud of the accomplishments of these young people. Clearly, their parents, grandparents and families were rightly proud. This was among the biggest group of teens recognized since we began the Awards program five years ago.

This year, for the first time, we honored an adult who has demonstrated distinguished service to young people. The first recipient of this recognition was Father Bob Tamminga, pastor of St. Francis de Sales Parish. Father Bob has a vibrant youth ministry in his parish. He supports the ministry by his presence. He knows and supports his young people in so many ways. He also serves on the Board of Directors of St. Augustine Catholic High School, which is St. Francis' next-door neighbor. In receiving the award, Father Bob represents many other priests who encourage and support youth ministry in our Diocese.

Here are this year's recipients of the Pope John Paul II Award:

Catechesis and Evangelization: Benjamin Aguilar, Our Lady Queen of All Saints, Tucson; Crystle Burruel and Nicholle Burruel, St. Augustine Cathedral, Tucson; Rosa Carbajal, Our Lady Queen of All Saints, Tucson; Jessica Clark and Justeen Clark, Santa Catalina, Tucson; Araceli Cornidez, St. Joseph, Tucson; Julie Crusa, Our Mother of Sorrows, Tucson; Sabrina Dohman, St. Augustine Catholic High School, Tucson; Hugo Durazo, San Martin de Porres, Sahuarita; Anthony Fiori, St. Anthony of Padua, Casa Grande; Kirsten Freeh, St. Francis de Sales, Tucson; Stephanie Gonzales, St. Francis of Assisi, Yuma; Brandon Good, St. Thomas the Apostle, Tucson; Natalie Harnick, Sacred Heart, Tucson; Holly Higgasen, St. Cyril of Alexandria, Tucson; Shannon House, Most Holy Trinity, Tucson; Andrew Katsinas, St. Thomas the Apostle, Tucson; Kevin Klug, St. Odilia, Tucson; Cindy Lopez, St. Augustine Cathedral, Tucson; Lacee Lopez, St. Rose of Lima, Safford; Mckayla Pate, Blessed Sacrament, Mammoth; Marie Robillard, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Tucson; Ashley Saldivar, Most Holy Trinity, Tucson; Jaqueline Serrano, St. Joseph, Hayden; Ginelle Suarez, Lourdes Catholic High School, Nogales; Jesus Vega, Our Lady Queen of All Saints, Tucson; and Alejandra Villa, St. Francis of Assisi, Yuma.

Community Service and Social Justice: Stephanie Aguirre, Infant Jesus of Prague, Kearny; Audrie Coker, Our Mother of Sorrows, Tucson; Jessica Cornidez, St. Joseph, Tucson; Sarah Daniels, St. Odilia, Tucson; Alyssa Dimas, Corpus Christi, Tucson; Kailee Evangelista, St. Ann's Parish & Missions, Tubac; Rene Garayzar, Lourdes Catholic High School, Nogales; Haily Glass, Blessed Sacrament, Mammoth; Natalie Harnick, Sacred Heart, Tucson; Joe Haro, St. Augustine Catholic High School, Tucson; Jacob King, St. Therese of Lisieux, Patagonia; Hazel Lopez, St. John the Evangelist, Tucson; Alma Montijo, Immaculate Conception, Ajo; Patrick Moore, St. Francis de Sales, Tucson; Melody Pham, St. Cyril of Alexandria, Tucson; Natalie Rohlik, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Tucson; Sammy Ruiz, St. Cyril of Alexandria, Tucson; Nicholas Shald, Yuma Catholic High School, Yuma; Kurtis Startt, St. Odilia, Tucson; Luke Phi Tran, Our Lady of LaVang, Tucson; Jose Roberto Vasquez, St. Bartholomew, San Manuel; and Darien Villegas, St. John the Evangelist, Tucson.

Prayer and Worship: Francisco Antonio Bejarano, St. Bartholomew, San Manuel; James Birkett, Infant Jesus of Prague, Kearny; Berenice Cabrera, St. Therese of Lisieux, Patagonia; Krysta Diaz, Most Holy Trinity, Tucson; Heather Diehl, St. Francis of Assisi, Yuma; Devon Graham, Yuma Catholic High School, Yuma; Nicole Gutierrez, Santa Catalina, Tucson; Natalie Harnick, Sacred Heart, Tucson; Greg Islas, St. Francis de Sales, Tucson; Max Jimenez, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Tucson; Jonathan King, St. Therese of Lisieux, Patagonia; Cindy Lopez, St. Augustine Cathedral, Tucson; Carl McKenna, San Martin de Porres, Sahuarita; Hector McKenna, San Martin de Porres, Sahuarita; Angel Medina, Blessed Sacrament, Mammoth; Elizabeth Norton, Yuma Catholic High School, Yuma; James Nowak, Corpus Christi, Tucson; Dominique Pacheco, Immaculate Conception, Ajo; Tucker Pudwill, St. Thomas the Apostle, Tucson; Andrew Rhoades, St. Odilia, Tucson; Osvaldo Rivera and Matthew Rivera, St. Ann's Parish and Missions, Tubac; Renise Rodriguez, Our Mother of Sorrows, Tucson; Arturo Sanchez, St. Francis of Assisi, Yuma; Christopher Schott, St. Joseph, Tucson; Angelica Serrano, St. John the Evangelist, Tucson; Jaqueline Serrano, St. Joseph, Hayden; and Clariza Silva, Lourdes Catholic High School, Nogales.

1. 2009 Annual Catholic Appeal -- With the passing of Holy Week and the great festivities of Easter, we begin the final phase of our 2009 Annual Catholic Appeal 2009, "Share God's Gifts to do God's Work." In this final phase, we are reaching out to people who have given to the Appeal before, asking for their help this year in reaching our goal of $3.4 million to fund the 26 ministries and charities so important for the work of the Church in our Diocese.

We will also be seeking the help of those who have never given to the Appeal, asking them to consider even the smallest gift to help us reach our goal. The Appeal has shown steady progress toward goal, but this final phase is critical. With a united effort by all in our parishes, we will reach the goal and maybe even exceed it.

I need your help more than ever in this year's Annual Catholic Appeal. These are very difficult times economically for many, but it is a time when our Diocese and its ministries and charities need to respond to the great need felt by many. Your support will help us to be able to meet those needs.

As of this past weekend, the Appeal was at 77% of goal. The weekly parish Appeal reports are available here.

2. 2009 Priests' Convocation
-- A number of our priests commented to me that they enjoyed the Convocation this year very much. They liked the presentations by Father Robert Schreiter, C.PP.S., on "Pastoring in a Multi-cultural Church." They enjoyed the fraternity. They liked the accommodations. I look forward to reading the complete evaluation.

I am grateful to six members of our pastoral center who helped coordinate the event: Fred Allison, Dr. Paul Duckro, Eduardo Huerta, Ofelia James, Anna Maria Mammen, and Sr. Lois Paha, O.P. Father James Hobert, Father Dom Pinti and Father Richard Troutman of our Ministry to Priests Committee did a great job. 

It is so important for us as priests to gather from time to time. I know it is a great sacrifice of time, but the benefits are many. This year's attendance was among the best ever. 

Thursday evening of the Convocation, we enjoyed our Celebration of Priesthood evening during which we honored priests in our Diocese who this year are marking jubilee anniversaries of their ordinations.

This year's jubilarians are: Father Isaac Fynn, 30 years; Father Harry Ledwith and Father Joseph Saba, 35 years; Father Fred Tillotson, O.Carm., 40 years; Father Donald Bahlinger, S.J., Father John Coady, Father James Geaney, O.Carm., Father Don Huntimer, C.S.V.,  and Father Vernon Malley, O.Carm.

It was a joy for us to recognize two of our senior diocesan priests who are celebrating jubilee anniversaries this year: Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe, 50 years, and Father Fred Curry, 60 years. 

Both of these priests have served our Diocese, their communities and our nation with distinction.

For example, Msgr. O'Keeffe, in addition to his long service as pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma, his many years of service as Vicar Forane of the Yuma - La Paz Vicariate and his present service as Episcopal Vicar for Yuma - La Paz, has ministered for more than 30 years as a chaplain for the Catholic Community of the Yuma Army Proving Ground.

Father Fred Curry, who is pastor emeritus of St. Joseph Parish in Tucson, in addition to leading the community of Amado in building their chapel and helping to establish St. Thomas More as the first Newman Center at the University of Arizona, served as chaplain in the Air Force during the Cuban Missile Crisis and during the Vietnam War.

Both received standing ovations from their brother priests as we recognized them at our Convocation.

3. Consecration, Installation of Bishop James Wall -- Father Miguel Mariano, Father Ed Lucero, and Rev. Jan Flaatan of the Arizona Ecumenical Council joined me for the 11 hour roundtrip to Gallup for Bishop James Wall's ordination Mass at which he was installed as the fourth Bishop of Gallup. He is the youngest bishop ordinary in the country. The Diocese of Phoenix was proud that one of their own was ordained a bishop. Many of Bishop Wall's classmates from St. John's Seminary in Camarillo and a number of priests from the Diocese of Phoenix were present. Bishop Wall had served as Vicar for Priests in Phoenix and was well liked and respected. 

The Diocese of Gallup expressed appreciation for all that Bishop Thomas Olmsted had done as their administrator for over a year. Bishop Olmsted was steadfast in visiting the parishes throughout the Gallup Diocese while attending to his responsibilities as Bishop of Phoenix. It will be a relief to concentrate now on his responsibilities in Phoenix without making a weekly trip to Gallup. 

I look forward to working with Bishop Wall in the Arizona Catholic Conference. While I do not know him well, I am impressed by the sincerity, spirituality and pastoral manner I saw in him at the ordination and installation. I expect the priests, religious, deacons and laity of Gallup will be well served.

4. St. Augustine High School Gym Groundbreaking -- A new sign, a new gym and a renewed commitment to Catholic education were celebrated last Friday at St. Augustine Catholic High School in Tucson. Because of the generosity of an anonymous donor, funds are available to break ground for the new gymnasium that has been a long term dream since the days of Sr. Lauren Moss, the first principal. Her motto, now the motto of the school, "Persistence Pays," has been realized. 

Principal Kevin Kiefer, development director Theresa Baker, assistant principal Peter Corrigan, the School Board, donors, parents, members of our diocesan Catholic Schools Department were present to celebrate with the entire student body. As we dug into the ground, there was a big cheer. 

5. 2009 Catholic Foundation Gala -- Friday evening's Catholic Foundation Cornerstone Gala honored three wise women. Like the wise men, Jannie Cox, Ann S. Dickson, and Elena d'Autremont have been on a life-long journey following the star that is Christ. They have shared their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, symbolized by helping and serving, doing and giving. They well deserved the honor given them from the Catholic Foundation.

I always enjoy the chances we have as a community to recognize those who are making a difference by their lives. Behind the scenes, Martin Camacho, Clara Moreno and Michelle Antle of the Foundation staff, Jane Kerr, Gala Chair,, Joanne Jarvis, Silent Auction Chair, and Margo La Barr, Silent Auction Co-Chair, and their committee worked very hard to make this among the most successful Galas. A great time was had by all. Thanks to all who made the event so special.

6. National Workshop on Christian Unity -- I will be participating in the National Workshop on Christian Unity that is taking place this week in Phoenix.

Tomorrow, I will join Bishop Minerva Carcano of the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church for a presentation on "How Christian Faith Speaks to the Issue of Immigration."

This is the 41st annual National Workshop on Christian Unity. The Workshop has its origins in the interest of a group of Catholics in the U.S. who were inspired in 1963 by Vatican II's emphasis on ecumenism to prepare themselves for ecumenical ministry. In 1969, they invited leaders of other Christian communions to join in developing a structure to support the spirit of ecumenism in our country.

You can learn more about the mission of the National Workshop here.

7. Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) Board of Directors Meeting -- I am very happy to welcome my fellow directors to Tucson this week for our quarterly meeting, which will be held at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks. It should a beautiful week to enjoy the spectacular desert surroundings of the Center!

8. On the Confirmation Trail -- I will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation this week at St. Helen Mission in Oracle on Thursday evening, at San Felipe de Jesus Parish in Nogales on Friday evening and at St. John Neumann Parish in Yuma this Sunday morning.

9. Diocesan Planning Meeting -- Father Al Schifano, our Moderator of the Curia and Vicar General, and I will be meeting this Friday with the directors of our diocesan offices and departments for our annual planning meeting.

This is an opportunity for us to review our progress on the goals we have set for our diocesan ministries that take place from the Pastoral Center.

10. Jubilee Anniversary Celebration -- I will join the Catholic communities of the Yuma - La Paz Vicariate this Saturday evening for a celebration of Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe's 50th anniversary of ordination.

11. Year of St. Paul Presentation -- In this Pauline Year, I feel like I have gotten to know St. Paul far better than I ever had thanks to a presentation that I have been giving around the Diocese.

It's not only the information about Paul that I prepared for the presentation that makes me feel that way; it's the enthusiasm and interest that our parishioners who attend the presentations demonstrate for Paul.

This Sunday at 3 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma, I will give the second of two diocesan presentations on St. Paul.

Our diocesan celebration of the conclusion of this Pauline Year will be at 7 p.m. on the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Sunday, June 29, at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson.

12. May Issue of The New Vision -- The May issue of The New Vision that will be distributed this weekend includes stories about: the initial distribution of $1.8 million in "rebates" to parishes from Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future diocesan renewal campaign, with a parish-by-parish breakdown of the numbers; steps being taken to increase "affordable" housing in the Tucson area; a collection drive organized by the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre in our Diocese to provide musical instruments for children at a school in Jordan; and the efforts of student volunteers to repair St. Anthony Chapel in South Tucson.

13. Meeting Our Refugee Newcomers -- Fourteen Iraqi families have found their way to Tucson through agencies, including our own Catholic Community Services, that find homes for refugees. I appreciated the chance to meet with them Saturday over lunch to discuss their experiences, including the blessings and challenges of being relocated. All the families are Chaldean Catholic, part of the Catholic Church.
Peg Harmon, chief executive officers of Catholic Community Services, and Ron Dankowski, executive director of Catholic Social Services, joined me, Sister Charlotte Ann Swift, O.P, Father Ron Oakham, O.Carm., pastor of St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish in Tucson, Father James Geaney, O.Carm., pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Tucson, Sister Geri Brady, S.C., of Sacred Heart and Carol Tierney and her family for the lunch meeting.
Traditional Iraqi food was served, thanks to Father Richard Kingsley and the people of Corpus Christi Parish, where Carol and her family are members.
One of the refugees, Hussein, served as translator and reflected the feelings of his fellow refugees. They expressed grave concern about their plight. They have no work, little resources, and carry with them many emotional burdens from their flight from Iraq. They have had to flee their country because of the war, and yet once here they have had to struggle to make a new life.
Most speak Arabic and some Aramaic, but very little English, which complicates everything. The children who are in school and a few of the adults are working hard to learn English.
They need help. They want to pray and worship in their language. They want their children to learn about their faith. They look to the Church as a place to find help and support them.
The greatest and most pressing need is for jobs. If you know anyone interested in hiring, please contact Ron Dankowski at Catholic Community Services (ronccs@ccs-soaz.org) or me (bishop@diocesetucson.org). People are hoping for any kind of a job. They want to care for their families.  
We plan to attend a meeting of the agencies currently placing refugees to see what more could be done to help people struggling to survive.
14. World Day of Prayer for Vocations -- This Sunday is Good Shepherd Sunday, the day that parishes around the world join with the Universal Church to honor all Christian vocations, to ask for God's blessings that we may be strengthened in our own vocation and to pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.

In his message for this year's observance, Pope Benedict XVI writes, "I want to invite all the People of God to reflect on the theme: Faith in the divine initiative -- the human response. The exhortation of Jesus to his disciples: 'Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest" (Mt 9:38) has a constant resonance in the Church. Pray! The urgent call of the Lord stresses that prayer for vocations should be continuous and trusting. The Christian community can only really 'have ever greater faith and hope in God's providence' (Sacramentum Caritatis, 26) if it is enlivened by prayer."

Let us respond to the Holy Father's entreaty for us to "Pray!" Let our diocesan "Prayer for Vocations" be continuous and trusting:

Loving and generous God, we need more vocations to the priesthood. Send us faith-filled servants to minister as dedicated and loving priests in the Diocese of Tucson. Inspire us with your Holy Spirit so that we will encourage and foster a culture of vocations in which many will hear your call to serve your people. Bless our Diocese with men and women who will work together with your priests as deacons, religious, and lay ministers to bring to life the Gospel and to realize the Church's mission in our Diocese. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Information will be sent to our parishes this week about "Called To Serve," two special retreat opportunities in our Diocese this June and July for single men who are high school seniors and older to explore the possibility of a vocation to the priesthood.

Information about "Called To Serve" is available here. Please help promote these retreats.

15. JustFaith Presentation
-- Jack Jezreel, executive director of JustFaith Ministries, will give a presentation on "The Call To Transform Our Hearts and The World" on Wednesday, May 6, at 6:45 p.m. at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson. This is a return visit by Jack to our Diocese, and we are happy to welcome him back.

Six of our Tucson-area parishes have been involved with JustFaith, and more than 100 parishioners have graduated from the JustFaith program.

JustFaith Ministries works to enable people of faith to develop a passion for justice, to express this passion in concrete acts of social ministry and to expand the work of social ministry in their faith communities. JustFaith Ministries creates and supports faith formation processes and resources that emphasize the Gospel message of peace and justice, Church social teaching and the intersection of spirituality and action. You can find out more about JustFaith here.

Jack's presentation is being sponsored by our Department of Pastoral Services. Registration for the evening is required, and more information is available here.