July 31, 2006 August 7, 2006 August 14, 2006 August 21, 2006 August 28, 2006

Vol. 4, No. 14
July 31, 2006

Monday Memo returns after a month-long break, and there is much to share with you. 

First, I would just reflect on this month of July that ends today.

We have seen this month the outbreak of terrible violence in Middle East. Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, encourages us to pray for an immediate ceasefire of the hostilities between Israel and the Hezbollah and the establishment of a peaceful corridor in Lebanon and the beginning of negotiations to seek a long-term peace. These are troubling days, as the land precious to Jews, Moslems and Christians continues to be a place of bloodshed and violence.

These peoples have lived for generations of war and have developed intense hatred and distrust of one another. While there are no easy answers or solutions, we need to intensify our prayers for an immediate ceasefire. Our nation plays a critical role in the world, but especially in the Middle East.

The continuing violence in Iraq and the fighting and loss of life among Israelis, Palestinians and Lebanese disturbs and frightens us. This new millennium was to be a time of peace and tranquility, but it has been marred by much violence, suffering and death.

Here in Arizona, we continue to see the tragic consequences for migrants crossing the desert. Last week, the bodies of four people believed to have been migrants were found in the desert west of Tucson. Since October of last year, at least 128 persons have died after crossing the border into Arizona.

Hopes that comprehensive reform of immigration law might be achieved this year have faded. Bishop Nicholas Dimarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn and chairman of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, last week told a Congressional subcommittee that comprehensive immigration reform legislation is the best way to secure the nation's borders and ensure that its immigration laws are just and humane.

He went on to say, "Our nation stands at an important time in her history, where we need to remain vigilant against outside threats without sacrificing values which we hold dear, including our history as an open and democratic society which values hard work and opportunity. During the next few months, I ask that you work with your Senate colleagues to fashion a comprehensive immigration bill which is just, humane, and provides for the security needs of our country."

The bishops of the U.S. and the Holy See have continued to insist that a comprehensive policy would include an earned pathway to citizenship, a guest worker program with worker rights protections and an expedited process for reuniting families. Despite many setbacks, that remains our prayer and our hope.

While there are many diverse opinions about immigration among Catholics, I hope we could come together in our commitment to all the life issues that touch upon the dignity of human life.

1. Vocations
-- Last Thursday was an important day for our diocesan effort to promote vocations to the priesthood as the priests I have appointed as associate vocation directors for each vicariate met here at the Pastoral Center for the first time.

I would like to extend my gratitude to our Associate Vocation Directors:
Rev. Bardo Antúnez, Pinal West
Rev. John Arnold, Pima Central
TBA,   Pima North
Rev. Manuel Fragoso, Yuma-LaPaz
Rev. Alonzo Garcia, Pima South
Rev. Jay Luczak, Gila Pinal
Rev. Ariel Lustan, Graham-Greenlee
Rev. Edgar Magana, Pima West
Rev. José Manuel Padilla, Santa Cruz
Rev. Virgilio (Jojo) Tabo, Pima East
Rev. Bartolomé Vásquez, Cochise

They will be assisting Father Miguel Mariano, Vocations director, with the diocesan vocation programs and will be the contact person for any possible candidates in their vicariate. I sensed a great deal of enthusiasm among the group and a desire to assist in this important work as we work toward our goal in the coming year to recruit at least 10 candidates for admission to the seminary.

Father Miguel guided the group through "Fishers of Men," the new vocations promotion program from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that contains many helpful suggestions and directions for vocation promotion.

I look forward to what we will accomplish in the coming year. But, remember: vocations is a shared responsibility. All of us need to become vocation promoters, encouraging young people and older candidates to consider service in the Church.

The annual Vocations Benefactors' Mass and Dinner is this evening at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks. This event is an opportunity for me, Father Miguel Mariano, our Vocations Director, and our seminarians to thank individuals and organizations for their generous and prayerful support of our efforts to increase vocations to the priesthood. The entertainment for the evening is provided by our seminarians, and I always look forward to seeing what they will come up with next!

You are invited to join our seminarians tomorrow night for some fun and games at the Funtasticks Family Fun Park, 221 E. Wetmore, just east of Tucson Mall. When you enter, just say you are there for the Vocations event and you will get up to two hours of unlimited attractions for an admission of $10 to $12 per person. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Vocations Office.

2. Fact-finding Mission for Committee on Migration -- These past few years, my membership on committees and subcommittees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has provided me with opportunities to be engaged with moral, theological and spiritual issues that reflect the USCCB's purposes "to unify, coordinate, encourage, promote and carry on Catholic activities in the United States; to organize and conduct religious, charitable and social welfare work at home and abroad; to aid in education; to care for immigrants; and generally to enter into and promote by education, publication and direction the objects of its being."

Each of these opportunities has been unique, and I feel very honored to have been a part of some important initiatives.

Tomorrow, I set out on a journey that has come about through my membership on the Conference's Committee on Migration. The Committee sets broad policies and direction for the Church's work in the area of migration and oversees and provides guidance to Migration and Refugee Services (MRS), a department of the USCCB. The Committee promotes and addresses the migration-related interests and concerns of the USCCB with public policy-makers at the national and international levels. Committee members and MRS staff periodically testify before the U.S. Congress and meet with administration officials to advocate the bishops' positions.

Among the high priority policy concerns of the Committee is protection of refugees and advocacy of durable solutions to their plight. In this context, the Committee occasionally arranges fact-finding missions and visits to refugee areas of the world to witness the conditions of the refugees and to call for adequate responses on the part of the international community.

So, tomorrow, accompanied by Anastasia Brown, MRS director of Refugee Programs, and Lacy Wright, a consultant to MRS, I begin a 10-day fact-finding mission to New Delhi, India, and Katmandu, Nepal, that has these goals:

To study the situation of ethnic Chin refugees from Myanmar (Burma) in New Delhi, India, so as to inform the bishops' advocacy efforts for durable solutions for this population.

To study the protracted situation of Bhutanese refugees in Nepal so as to inform the bishops' advocacy efforts for durable solutions for this population. 

To study the protracted situation of Tibetan refugees in Nepal so as to inform the bishops' advocacy efforts for durable solutions for this population.

To study the situation of victims of human trafficking in Nepal and India so as to inform the bishop's advocacy efforts and service responses to victims.

Our delegation will attempt to meet with the refugee communities both in urban and camp settings to gain insights and to understand their needs. We also will meet with officials of programs assisting victims of human trafficking and with Church officials, government officials and officials of the United National High Commissioner for Refugees and non-government organizations that provide assistance to refugees and victims of human trafficking.

I hope this journey will give me insights about our own migration situation here in Arizona, and I begin the journey with these questions: What are the commonalities experienced by migrants and refugees into our country with those I will visit in India and Nepal? What can I learn on this journey that will help me be a more effective advocate for justice for immigrants and refugees?

If I have access to e-mail, I will try to send back reports beginning later this week on what I am seeing and experiencing for posting on The New Vision / La Nueva Visión Website at
www.newvisiononline.org.

3. Welcoming Our New Catholic School Teachers -- Teachers who will be new to our Catholic schools for this coming academic year are being welcomed this week at meetings in Yuma today and in Tucson on Wednesday. I videotaped a welcome message last week to our new teachers that will be shown at the meetings. I expressed my welcome to them and I thank them for becoming a part of the mission of our Catholic schools.

4. Personal Safety Curriculum -- I am very pleased to announce that the new Diocese of Tucson Personal Safety Curriculum for Children and Youth is being distributed to our parishes and schools. It is the recommended curriculum in our Safe Environment Program for personal safety education for children and youth in our Diocese.

This curriculum represents a significant step forward in our Diocese for the education of children and youth in personal safety. It allows for the integration of personal safety education with the ongoing religious education of our children and their parents. Catechists can present the lessons in the curriculum and adapt them to the specific needs of the children they teach and know so well. The lessons can be connected with the general message of respect for self and others that is an important part of the teaching of our Faith.

I thank the team that developed the curriculum (Jean McKenzie, Mike Berger, Sister Elise Calmus, C.PP.S., Mary Ann Hendrickson, Laura Stehle and Dr. Paul Duckro) and the group of parents that reviewed a draft of the curriculum and offered valuable comments.

I hope our parishes and schools will find this curriculum to be a valuable resource and will use it effectively for the good of our children and youth. The "Personal Safety Curriculum for Children and Youth" is available at www.diocesetucson.org/ocaapresources.html.  
 
5. New Catholic Catechism for Adults -- Today is the first day of public availability of the "United States Catholic Catechism for Adults." The first official catechism produced by the Catholic Bishops of the U.S. since the issuance of the "Baltimore Catechism" ("A Catechism of Christian Doctrine, Prepared and Enjoined by Order of the Third Council of Baltimore," 1885) this 664 page catechism is aimed specifically at adults, promoting a command of Catholic faith, prayer life and morals through a more accessible writing style and numerous features.

The new catechism is an adaptation of the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1992.  At that time, the Pope urged that local catechisms be developed to better address specific situations in different countries. The adult catechism is meant to present Catholic teaching comprehensively and authoritatively but with a view to American culture and experience. 

The "United States Catholic Catechism for Adults" is available from USCCB Publishing (www.usccbpublishing.org).

6. The Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Ordination as Deacons -- I will be presiding at the noon Mass on Sunday, Aug. 13, at St Augustine Cathedral during which we will celebrate this beautiful rite. Twenty-six men, all of whom are married, and their wives and families will participate in this special rite that marks the continued journey of these men in preparation for ordination as deacons in ministry to our Diocese. 
The rite of admission to candidacy for ordination as deacons is celebrated when the aspirants have reached a maturity of purpose and are shown to have the necessary qualifications for this ordained ministry. 
Following my homily, I will invite the candidates to demonstrate their intention as I ask them,  "In response to the Lord's call, are you resolved to complete your preparation so that in due time you will be ready to be ordained for the ministry of the Church?" The candidates will answer "I am." I then will ask them, "Are you resolved to prepare yourselves in mind and spirit to give faithful service to Christ the Lord and His body, the Church?" Again, they will answer, "I am." 
On receiving their positive answers, I will conclude the rite by saying, "The Church receives your declaration with joy!" Prayers for the newly accepted candidates are then offered as part of the Prayer of the Faithful, which concludes with a special blessing for the candidates and their families. 
The candidates, their wives and their parishes are: Mario and Manuela Aguirre-Lopez, St. Cyril of Alexandria, Tucson; Leonel and Maria del Socorro Bejarano, Sacred Heart Parish, Parker; Joseph and Janet Bogushefsky, St. Christopher Parish, Marana; Kennard and Maria Soledad Brusoe, Jr., Holy Angels Parish, Globe; James and Mary Burke, Our Lady of the Mountain Parish, Sierra Vista; Thomas and Cindy Campbell, Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Tucson; Charles and Mary Chajewski, Our Mother of Sorrows Parish, Tucson; Oscar and Cindy Chavez, Immaculate Conception Parish, Yuma; Andy and Donna Corder, St. Francis De Sales Parish, Tucson; Rick Douglas  and María de Jesús, St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Yuma; Anthony and Rosemarie Geonnotti Jr., Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Tucson; Edward and Linda Gomez, St. Luke Parish, Douglas; Antonio and Susana Gomez, Immaculate Conception Parish, Yuma; Ken and Helen Hilliard, Our Mother of Sorrows Parish, Tucson; William and Debi Kmak, St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish, Tucson; Rodney and Colleen Kulpa, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Tucson; John and Marie Martin, St. Francis de Sales Parish, Tucson; Daniel and Adriana Nuñez, St. Jude Thaddeus Parish, San Luis; David and Jean Ouellette, Most Holy Trinity Parish, Tucson; Teodoro and Juanita Pérez, St. Joseph Parish, Tucson; John Scott and Nicole Pickett, St. Mark Parish, Tucson; Reynaldo and Elvia Romo, Our Lady of the Mountains Parish,  Sierra Vista; Scott and Susie Thrall, Our Mother of Sorrows Parish, Tucson; Ernest and Elizabeth Trujillo, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Florence; Thomas and Delia Willis, St. Luke's Parish, Douglas; and Guadalupe (Rocky) and Ana Laura Yanez, St. Luke's Parish Douglas.

We are very blessed in our Diocese to have many deacons who, along with their wives, render great service to the Church in most of our parishes. The new harvest of candidates will add to the growing number of deacons who preach, teach, work in prisons, visit hospitals, baptize and make the Church present in every area of our Diocese. They stand among us as icons of Jesus the Servant, reminding all of us of the call we have as the baptized to serve others, especially the littlest and weakest. 

I am grateful to Sister Lois Paha, O.P., and all of our formation staff who have been working hard to prepare these deacon candidates, their wives, and a new group of lay ecclesial ministers as well. They are doing great work. Deacon Jim Burns and the Deacon Council continue to resource our active deacons in encouraging their important contribution to our Diocese.

7. Bishop Moreno Health Update -- Bishop Moreno received his first chemo treatment for prostate cancer last week. He said he felt a little weak the evening following the treatment, but the following day he said he was doing just fine. He asked me to express his heartfelt gratitude for all of your thoughts and prayers.

8. Dedication of Cristo Rey Center -- Fr. Dan McLaughlin, S.T. and Fr. Abram Dono, S.T. have been working many years with the Pasqua Yaqui Tribal Council and people of the Catholic Community to complete their new religious education, youth center, and parish center named after San Juan Diego. The new facilities next to Cristo Rey Church are marvelous and will provide needed space for the many programs and activities of the community.
The blessing of the new facility was preceded by Mass in Cristo Rey Church which was built in 1976 thanks to the help of the Knights of Columbus led by Ben and Mary Lou Coronado who came to the celebration on Sunday.

I could sense the pride felt by the whole community in their new Center. As we entered the building we passed beneath the new mosaic of San Juan Diego donated by the architect Hank Krzysik. The new facility contains classroom space, offices, a new kitchen, and a youth center. Of course we were all treated to menudo after the celebration.

9. Welcome to Katherine Preble -- Our new Internal Auditor, Katherine Preble, joined us on July 18. Katherine has more than 20 years of experience in accounting, with a primary expertise in internal audit.  She is a CPA and has earned a Masters in Education to enhance the training skills so often demanded in the internal audit function. Katherine and her husband Bob are members of St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Tucson and have family in numerous parishes across the Diocese.  She comes to us from the American Red Cross and asks everyone to "Help save lives by giving blood."
 
The Internal Audit function is an additional service provided by the Diocese to support good management practices in our parishes. Katherine will perform audits to provide an objective review of parish policies and procedures. Katherine then will work with parish staff to assist them in augmenting their efforts. The focus of these audits will be the priority areas of finance administration, human resource administration and compliance with the Safe Environment Program and the requirements of the Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection. Katherine thanks everyone for their warm welcome and support, and she is honored to be a part of the Diocese of Tucson.

10. What I Did on My Summer Vacation -- In early July, I went on vacation with Father August Belauskas, vice rector of Mundelein Seminary. We have been good friends for some time and have made a number of summer trips together. We enjoy visiting places where we can experience a different culture and learn about another area of the world. I marvel that he can bear with me. I am not an easy traveler.

This year we visited four cities, including Belgrade in Serbia, Bucharest in Romania, Sophia in Bulgaria, Kiev in the Ukraine and Dublin in Ireland.

Belgrade, Bucharest and Sophia are post-Communist countries that are trying to recover from the devastation they experienced under Communism. Not only was it a disaster economically and politically, but architecturally as well. The Soviet-style block houses very prominent in each of the cities are striking reminders of the lack of ingenuity, beauty and creativity of the Communist rule. Cardinal Lustiger, former Archbishop of Paris, once said that beauty is a way to come to know God. Perhaps a godless society has no sense of beauty and art. At least it was true of the Communist era.

Kiev, in the Ukraine, was, of course, part of Russia and is still struggling to find its independence. The city was alive with demonstrations in the parts of the city we visited. Various political parties set up camps around government buildings. They represented the competing forces at play in trying to form a government. Since the Orange Revolution in 2004, the ruling party has been unable to form a coalition government, leaving all the parties competing for power. It was encouraging to see the commitment of the people to the political process and their desire to get involved. Happily, the demonstrations remained peaceful.

All of the cities we visited are primarily Orthodox in their religious tradition. It was inspiring to see the many Orthodox churches whose towers reach to the sky. The interiors are filled with icons and frescoes. Orthodox churches do not have statuary as we would in our Roman Catholic churches. The frescoes were used to teach an often-illiterate people the truths of the faith. The depictions are striking and beautiful to look at.



The liturgies in the Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian and Ukranian Orthodox churches are beautiful, mysterious and very moving. One can see the longing of so many Catholics for reverence and mystery as part of the liturgy.

In every country, one could see the struggle between old, traditional, religious values and an emerging secularism that is sweeping through Europe. We found the people very welcoming and delighted to meet Americans. They have grave reservations about the politics of the U.S., but seem to love and value Americans -- a strange anomaly.

We ended in Dublin on our transit home. I had never been to Ireland, and was amazed at the green of the countryside. It is even more striking than I would have imagined. We met up Father Harry Ledwith, pastor of St. Pius X Parish in Tucson, who was home visiting his relatives. He gave us a grand tour of Dublin.

We had a bit of a scare after our flight took off from Dublin. An hour and a half after take off, we had to return because the flight crew discovered an unopened package from which a ticking noise seemed to be coming. It turned out a member of the ground crew had put the box, filled with magazines, on board without letting the flight crew know. The box was sitting next to a defibrillator whose battery had run down, thus the ticking noise. Glad it was only that!

11. The Months Ahead -- Here at the Pastoral Center and where you are at all our parishes and schools, it feels like summer is already over as we find ourselves with schedules filled with meetings and events that herald the start of school, religious education programs and the resumption of many ministries after the summer break. I hope you had some time away to renew your energy and pump up your spirit. We have some busy months ahead (How quickly this year is passing!), and I pray that God will bless us all as we work together to fulfill the mission of Christ's Church. 

Finally, what wonderful respite those days of rain last week gave us from the heat! We thank You, God, for the blessing of the rain.

Vol. 4, No. 15
August 7, 2006

Bishop Kicanas travels to Bhadrapur, Nepal, today as part of a 10-day fact-finding mission to India and Nepal that is sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration.

Bishop Kicanas is e-mailing reports about the mission to The New Vision. You can access the reports at:

http://www.newvisiononline.org/bishoptravelblog.html

Vol. 4, No. 16
August 14, 2006

We have been praying for a cease-fire in the fighting between Israel and the Hezbollah, and it now appears that implementation of the United Nations cease-fire resolution is underway in Lebanon. Pope Benedict XVI has encouraged all of us to pray for peace and for a durable solution to the pressing problems of the Middle East. He has remarked that the loss of life on all sides is deeply regrettable and moves all of us to work even harder to resolve our differences in non-violent ways. We continue to pray, in the words of Pope Benedict, that governing leaders and international organizations will not "spare any effort to obtain this necessary halt to hostilities and so to be able to begin to build, through dialogue, a lasting and stable concord for all the people of the Middle East."
 
1. Fact-finding Mission to India and Nepal -- I returned to Tucson on Saturday after a 15-hour flight from New Delhi, India, to Chicago. The 10-day tour of refugee camps in India and Nepal was for me both an educational and spiritual experience.

Some brief reflections:

Meeting people whose lives are filled with struggles due to lack of freedom and lack of resources and yet who still demonstrate a kind of a joy in their lives is humbling. The work of the Church among the refugees is impressive given that these are primarily non-Christian countries and the refugees are primarily non-Christian. Visiting the various institutions that have been established by the Church gives you a real sense of pride in the involvement of the Church in people's lives. The Church plays a significant role in education and healthcare in response to the needs of the poor and the displaced. The turbulence of the world strikes you: countries are really struggling to establish governments that respect human rights and dignity of people. The dichotomy of the evil and good of power: evil in the sense of the misuse of power -- the very ugly dimensions of marginalizing people, extorting and trafficking -- yet, power being used for good and the work of so many people trying to help people whose lives are desperate.

I did experience some very powerful moments, and I tried to share some of my experiences in the daily reports I was able to e-mail back for posting on The New Vision Web site (at www.newvisiononline.org/bishoptravelblog.html. Managing editor Karl Bierach loaned me a digital camera (the batteries for which were confiscated as part of the stepped-up airport security), but I was able to bring back some photos to share with you. Here are two for now:


Approximately 35,000 children go to school in several Bhutanese Refugee Camp schools in India that are supported by Caritas-Nepal and Catholic Relief Services. All of these children were born in the refugee camps where their families have been held for 17 years. I was asked to speak to them after their morning prayer to the Goddess of Knowledge. All of the children are Hindu.


Pre-schoolers in the camp were a delight to be with. Their beautiful smiles and energy give hope that someday there will be a durable solution to the Bhutanese refugee situation.

2. Confirmation at Our Lady of La Vang Parish -- Returning to the Diocese and celebrating confirmation at Our Lady of La Vang Parish in Tucson yesterday morning was a beautiful experience as I saw the faith of the people, their love of the Church and their pride in their parish. The Catholic Vietnamese Community has made a lot of improvements at the parish: new fences and a new parking lot -- hoping also to put in new pews. I saw vibrancy in their faith and the pride they have in their children who were confirmed and the leadership of their pastor, Father Francis Dang Phuoc Hoa, C.S.s.R.

One of the great fears that I heard from people in the refugee camps in India and Nepal about resettlement was what would it mean to go to a different world: that they might lose their identity, their language, their culture; that they might even become slaves.

You see in our Catholic Vietnamese Community people who have been refugees who have resettled here and who are preserving their faith, their culture, their traditions and language --even in our society like ours.

3. The Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Ordination as Deacons -- I presided at the noon Mass at St Augustine Cathedral yesterday during which we celebrated this beautiful rite.

What an encouragement it was to see the 26 men, all of whom are married, and their wives and families will participate in this special rite that marks the continued journey of the candidates for the permanent diaconate in preparation for their ordination as deacons in ministry to our Diocese. 


I encouraged the candidates to be open and alert to the needs of the world and to the struggles and needs of so many people, whether people in hospitals or prisons right here in our own Diocese. It was a joy to see them so eager to take up the work of Christ and it was striking to hear them say "Present!" when their names were called, demonstrating their resolve to serve the Church and to continue their formation to serve as deacons.

The concluding prayer of the rite of candidacy is beautiful: "The Church accepts your resolve with joy, and may God who has begun the good work in you bring it to fulfillment." I saw the resolve of these men now to serve the Church, and what a great joy that is!

I am grateful to Sister Lois Paha, O.P., director of the Office of Formation, members of the Jordan Ministry Team and to the others who have helped in the formation of the deacon and lay ministry candidates in the Common Formation Program. Their work is critical and difficult. They have worked hard to get our candidates midway through their formation. I know they will continue to work hard to prepare them well for ministry in our Diocese.


Deacon candidates and their wives following yesterday's Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral. Photo by Earl Mueller.

4. Back to School! -- The new school year begins this week. I express to our teachers, principals, and staff in the 28 Catholic schools in the Diocese my gratitude for their dedication and sacrifice to the ministry of passing on the faith to our young people.

Another reflection on my journey to India and Nepal: The Catholic school systems in both of these predominantly non-Christian nations have had a significant impact on society and culture. Parents are eager for their children to attend the Catholics schools -- even in Nepal that has just 7,000 Catholics. The Catholic schools also are havens for the most vulnerable children, the parentless children who live in the streets.

Sometimes, we here in the U.S. take for granted the value of a Catholic education. To see how valued and important the Catholic schools are where I visited in India and Nepal was very affirming.

5. Solemnity of the Assumption -- We celebrate this great feast of our Blessed Mother tomorrow, and I will be in Florence for Confirmation at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish -- a very special way to observe this holy day. I know Father Chuck Cloud, pastor, is very pleased that the Confirmation can take place on the feast of the parish's Patroness.

Yet another reflection on my journey to Nepal: The first Catholic church built in Nepal is named after the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It cannot be publicly named a church because of government restrictions, so instead is called a community center. A week ago Sunday, I had the joy of celebrating Mass in the Assumption church. Built only 10 years ago, it is a beautiful space with murals depicting scenes from Christ's life. As the photo below shows, there are no pews; instead there are slim pillows on the floor upon which the people sit in the lotus position.




6. Immigration Reform -- "Justice for Immigrants," the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform, is emphasizing the importance this month of constituent contact with members of the U.S. House of Representatives regarding comprehensive immigration reform.

The House and the U.S. Senate have passed different versions of immigration reform. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is opposed to the House legislation because it represents an enforcement-only approach to the immigration crisis. The Senate legislation, which includes a program for legalizing the undocumented in the nation and a temporary worker program, is more comprehensive in nature. The USCCB has called the Senate bill the right approach because it includes many of the elements needed to address a flawed system.

The House has been conducting field hearings this month (including one in Yuma) to consider provisions of the Senate legislation not yet considered by the House. However, the House has announced that it is likely that a conference committee  to reconcile the House and Senate bills will not convene until September, at the earliest.

I urge you to contact your senators and representatives with the following message:
 
"I ask that you support the enactment of a comprehensive immigration reform measure before the end of the year. Such a measure should include a path to citizenship for the 11-12 million undocumented in the country; a temporary worker program that protects the rights of both U.S. and foreign born workers; family-based immigration reform that shortens waiting times for family unity; and the restoration of due process protections for immigrants."

You can e-mail your representative through the "Justice for Immigrants" Web site at www.justiceforimmigrants.org/action.html.

7. Welcome to Father Angus Fraser, C.S.Sp.
-- We welcome Father Angus, Master General of the Via Christi Society, to the Diocese this week. Father Angus is looking forward to meeting with the four Via Christi priests from Nigeria who serve in our Diocese: Father James Aboyi of Infant Jesus of Prague Parish in Kearney, Father Sabastine Bula and Father Richard Kusugh of St. Bartholomew Parish in San Manuel, and Father Samuel Odeh of Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma.

8. Priests' Day of Prayer -- A reminder to all priests that our monthly Day of Prayer resumes after the summer break this Wednesday at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks.

9. This Week's Meetings -- The monthly meeting of the Pastoral Center Staff and diocesan directors will be this Thursday morning.

The Sexual Misconduct Review Board meets this Friday at the Pastoral Center.

The Diocesan Pastoral Council meets on Saturday at the Pastoral Center. We will welcome new members Bonnie Irr (Yuma-La Paz), Manuel Martinez and Martin Peña (Pima West) and Veta and Adam Estrada (Graham-Greenlee).

10. Tucson Association of Lay Ministers -- The Tucson Association of Lay Ministers will meet this Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. at St. Joseph Parish in Tucson. All involved in parish ministry -- laity, clergy and religious -- are invited to attend. I will share a reflection on "Co-workers in the Vineyard," the foundational document on Lay Ecclesial Ministry. You can contact Pegi Dodd in the Office of Formation for more information.

On Saturday morning, I will be joining the parish ministers of Corpus Christi Parish in Tucson for a retreat.

11. Diocesan Teen Leadership Experience "Graduation" -- Teens who took part in the second annual Diocesan Teen Leadership Experience this summer will hold their "graduation" exercises this Sunday at St. Augustine High School in Tucson. After the teens participated in the June program at the high school, they each chose a service project. Many of the teens participated in a service project in a poor neighborhood in Nogales, Sonora. We will celebrate the "graduation" with a presentation by the teens on their service projects and with Mass. I thank the Diocesan Teen Leadership Team for organizing this summer experience for our Catholic teens.

12. Sharing Our Reorganization Experience -- Father John Lyons, our diocesan judicial vicar and pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson, has been invited to speak to the presbyterates of the Diocese of Memphis and the Diocese of Orange about our experience of reorganizing the Diocese and forming our parishes as individual non-profit corporations.

I know Father John will be including in his talks how impressed we are by the talents and dedication of the parishioners who serve as the lay members of the board of directors of the parish corporations who are working now with our pastors in the administration of their parishes.

13. "Rebuild Church, Rebuild Hope" Special Collection -- This special collection on the weekend of Aug. 26-27 focuses on rebuilding churches, schools, and other essential parts of the infrastructures of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and Diocese of Biloxi.

These two dioceses, so devastated by the ravages of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, are still in a state of unimaginable need. Collections in 2005 right after the hurricanes focused on immediate humanitarian relief, and only scratched the surface of the needs involved.

Rebuilding the Church and her structures is critically important now, as many civil jurisdictions declare that they are no longer able to assist those who were displaced by the 2005 hurricanes, and will be unable to do so in the future.

The theme of the national collection is inspired by Bishop Thomas Rodi of Biloxi, who proclaimed to the bishops of the U.S. that to "rebuild the Church is to rebuild hope itself."

 



14. Oblates of St. Martha
-- I am grateful for the service of the Sisters of the Oblates of St. Martha from Mexico who serve at the Bishop's Residence. They have ministered in our Diocese for many years. Sister Francisca and Sister Carmela have returned this year.  Sister Gabriella has been transferred, and I am pleased to welcome Sister Maria back to the Diocese. The prayers and work of these Sisters are a blessing for our Diocese and the Bishop!

Vol. 4, No. 17
August 21, 2006

As we begin this new ministry and program year at our parishes and schools and here at the Pastoral Center, I am encouraged by the enthusiasm that I sense in our pastors, in our parish and school staffs and in those who minister in the administration of the Diocese.

This time last year, we all were awaiting the resolution of the Chapter 11 and preparing for the reorganization of the Diocese that the Chapter 11 plan would be bringing about.

Now that the plan of reorganization is being realized, for the first time in years we find ourselves looking at a horizon that is filled with new possibilities as we seek to carry out the mission that Christ has given us.

We have called this time of reorganization the "New Dawn," and truly it is a beautiful sunrise for which we praise God and give Him thanks!

This "New Dawn" helps us to see things in a new light. Especially, it helps us see the challenges we face as we work together on our six diocesan priorities: to restore trust; to reenergize our priests and all in Church service; to renew our parishes; to reach out to the littlest and weakest among us; to re-garner our resources; and to recruit more vocations to ministry, especially to the priesthood and religious life.

Our emphasis this coming year will remain on enhancement of liturgical life in our parishes, on recruitment of more vocations to the priesthood and on re-garnering resources.

-- Enhancement of Liturgical Life -- I am very encouraged to see the attention that our parishes are giving to music and hospitality and to increasing participation in the Sunday liturgy.

On Saturday, I was at Corpus Christi Parish in Tucson to participate in a retreat for parish ministers. It was encouraging to hear people talk about how meaningful their Sunday worship is and the wonderful spirit of welcome parishioners feel. They work hard at reaching out and making people feel at home.

To bolster our efforts to enhance liturgical life, we are holding "Enhancing the Sunday Liturgy: Full, Conscious, Active Participation," our day-long liturgy conference on Saturday, Sept. 30, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson. Registration information is available on-line at the diocesan Web site and from the Office of Formation. We also will be offering quarterly workshops on various aspects of the liturgy throughout the coming year.

-- Recruitment of More Vocations to the Priesthood -- Sometimes I hear from people who are frustrated at not being able to have the presence of a priest at a time of crisis for a family and for administration of the Sacrament of the Anointing of Sick. I know how stretched our priests are. We really do need more priests to serve our local Church. That's why we have set the ambitious goal of recruiting at least 10 new seminarians over this next year. We have recruited three new seminarians, but unfortunately four of last year's seminarians are not returning this academic year. It is a hard road. I am very hopeful that our new "Fishers of Men" Program and the efforts of our new corps of associate vocations directors (see the memo of July 31) will help us reach our goal.

-- Re-garnering Resources -- I am more and more conscious of the need to re-garner resources at diocesan and parish levels. As I visit parishes, I learn about their deferred maintenance projects and special needs. For example, Santa Cruz Parish in Tucson is looking at a bill of nearly $1 million to fix its church roof and to repair its community center. Many of our parishes, including our Cathedral, face similar, if not as expensive, challenges. While I am grateful for the generosity of our parishioners to their parishes and to the Annual Catholic Appeal, the needs are significant. We must spend more time and be more effective on stewardship and being creative in our approaches to developing financial resources. We also must make every effort to be open and transparent about parish and diocesan finances. The Diocese continues to expect our parishes to have finance councils and to make an annual report of finances to the parish for greater accountability and transparency.

While we focus on these three priorities, we will maintain our attention to restoring trust, to reenergizing our priests and to reaching out to the littlest and weakest among us.

-- Restoring Trust -- The Safe Environment Program in our parishes and schools represents our commitment to protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse. As I noted in the Monday Memo earlier this summer, the annual audit of compliance by our parishes and schools with the Safe Environment Program is underway and the new Personal Safety Curriculum for Children and Youth has been distributed.

One requirement of the Safe Environment Program is that each parish and school provides annual training on the Arizona law that mandates the reporting of suspected child abuse. We also provide that training for the staff here at the Pastoral Center, and just last Thursday we held our annual training session. We were privileged to hear from Caroline Tompkins of the Child Advocacy Center in Tucson. Caroline has been most generous with her time in providing training at parishes as well. The Child Advocacy Center is a very supportive partner to the Diocese in our child abuse awareness and prevention efforts. It was gratifying to hear from Caroline her perception that the parishes at which she has made presentations are embracing the importance of child abuse awareness and prevention. The training session at the Pastoral Center also was the occasion for the annual attestation that each staff member must sign that they understand and follow the Diocese's Guidelines for the Response to and Prevention of Child Abuse.

-- To Reenergize Our Priests and All in Church Service -- Two programs for the on-going formation of priests will be offered this coming year at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks. On Sept. 29, Father Leon Strieder will speak on "The General Instruction (GIRM): Theology and Pastoral Practice." On Feb. 6, Father Ronald Rolheiser will speak on "Naming the Present Moment with Our Priesthood: The Timeless Struggles and the Timeless Invitation." In addition, priests are expected again this year to participate in one of the diocesan priest retreats during October. Archbishop John Quinn and Rev. Charles Wehrley, C.Ss.R., will be the retreat directors. In the Spring, we will hold our Diocesan Convocation at which Bishop Joseph Pepe of Las Vegas will lead our gathering on "Ministering in a Burgeoning Church."

I was pleased to meet on Saturday with a number of our lay ecclesial ministers in our Diocese at a meeting sponsored by the Tucson Association of Lay Ministers. I appreciated the chance to reflect on the recent Bishops' Conference document "Co-Workers in the Vineyard," which emphasizes the importance of their work in collaboration with our priests, deacons and laity. I am glad to see our lay ministers gathering for prayer and personal growth.

Our deacons are in the process of planning their annual convocation, which will have a special focus on preaching. I look forward to spending time with our deacons.

-- Reaching Out to the Littlest and Weakest: While immigration remains a front burner issue for us, it's one of a number of life issues that we need to be sensitive to and involved with. I hope this coming year to restructure our diocesan Respect Life ministry to find a way that will assist and encourage us to stay focused on the broad range of life issues.

Concerning our diocesan Respect Life ministry, Deacon Russ Kingery has informed me that it will not be possible for him to continue to facilitate and organize our Respect Life activities. I have appreciated greatly Deacon Russ' commitment and dedication to this important ministry, and we will be looking for someone with the same passion and talents to help us restructure the ministry.

Looking at what I have just written about our priorities, what a busy year we have ahead of us! To be effective on working on these priorities and toward their associated goals will take a lot of teamwork, and I am grateful to have all of you on the team!

1. Priest Conferences -- This week, I begin a series of individual meetings with priests assigned to our parishes, starting with the parishes in the Pima South Vicariate.

These visits allow me to hear from the priests about what is going well at their parish and what some of the challenges are. I also am able to ask their counsel and advice on life in the Diocese and to update them on diocesan priorities. In the vicariates outside of the Tucson area, these visits also are an occasion to spend some time in the community, to meet parish staff, parishioners and community leaders and to become more aware of the challenges a particular area might be facing.

The visit is also my opportunity to review with the pastor the annual pastoral report of the parish, which includes the report on the previous year's religious education program and the parish's financial situation.

2. Diocesan Finance Council Meeting -- The Finance Council meets tomorrow here at the Pastoral Center. We will hear a report on the annual audit of the Administrative Offices of the Diocese that is beginning this week. When that audit is completed and presented to us, we will include it as part of our annual diocesan financial report that we expect to publish in The New Vision and on our diocesan Web site by the end of this year.

3. Open House at St. Augustine Catholic High School -- I will be with the families, students, faculty and staff of St. Augustine in Tucson tomorrow evening for the Open House to mark the beginning of this school year, which will be a historic one: St. Augustine has its first senior class!

4. Diocesan School Board Meeting -- The School Board meets on Wednesday morning here at the Pastoral Center. A priority for the Board this year will be working toward the financial stability of all our Catholic schools. As I noted in last week's memo, sometimes in our country we Catholics seem to undervalue the gift of a Catholic education. The financial struggles that many of our schools experience is evidence of that. We have many dedicated principals, teachers and staff members who make financial sacrifices to work in our Catholic schools, and compensation is just one of the financial issues we need to look at.

5. Our New Seminarians -- As I mentioned above, we do have three new seminarians this year. Timothy Pearson of Sacred Heart Parish in Clifton and Gabriel Romero of San Felipe de Jesus Parish in Nogales are beginning their college studies at Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon and Deacon Carlos Gelabert of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Tucson is beginning his theology studies at Mundelein Seminary in Illinois. We express our best wishes and prayers for them and our 10 other seminarians as they begin this academic year.

6. Parish Corporations -- All parishes are making sure that they will have held the required annual meeting of their boards of directors by the end of September. The annual meeting includes approval of the parish fiscal yearend financial statement and the annual report to the Diocese. The annual meeting is required by the State of Arizona and is necessary for the maintenance of the parish corporate identity.

I am grateful to Father Al Schifano, our Moderator of the Curia, who has been attending meetings of the parish corporations' boards of directors in his role as a member of each board. Father Al's presence at these meetings also allows him to communicate the interest of the Pastoral Center in assisting pastors and boards in the work of leading their parish communities.

7. A Most Meaningful Gift -- On behalf of the Diocese, I express my gratitude to Major Gen. (Ret.) Gene Renzi for his gift of land (4.25 acres) in Sonoita to the Diocese.  Gen. Renzi, the father of Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi, is donating the land in memory of his late wife, Faye Maria Renzi. Mrs. Renzi was very active in religious education as a teacher for more than 15 years at parishes around the country.

The property will be the future home Our Lady of the Angels Mission, a mission of St. Theresa Parish in Patagonia. Presently, the mission holds Mass at the fire station in Sonoita. Though the worship environment may sometimes be more exciting at the fire station, the parishioners, I am sure, are looking forward to the day when they can worship in their own space.

8. League of Arizona Cities and Towns -- I am honored to give the opening invocation at the 2006 annual conference of the League that begins tomorrow at the Marriott Starr Pass Resort here in Tucson.

The League provides an important link among the 90 incorporated cities and towns in Arizona. Its primary mission is to advocate for home rule and local determination and for its belief that local decisions are best made by local decision makers and not by officials at some other level of government.

9. Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries -- I will be share a reflection with the staff of the Cemeteries at their retreat this Friday. I am grateful for leadership of Cemeteries' director Jim De Castro in helping the staff to see their work as a ministry to grieving families. Our Cemeteries continue the outreach program to parishes to inform parishioners about the various programs and services available to them. I encourage our pastors to invite the Cemeteries to make these presentations.

10. Meeting of Hispanic Commission -- At this coming Saturday's meeting at the Pastoral Center, the Hispanic Youth Pastoral Committee will present a plan to initiate diocesan leadership formation programs for youth leaders in the Hispanic community.

This plan is supported by the Hispanic Pastoral Commission, which has been working for the last two years on three priorities in the Hispanic community: Youth, Unity and Formation. The Hispanic Pastoral Commission is composed of Hispanic parishioners from different vicariates and meets on the fourth Saturday of each month. 

The plan includes two programs: RESPETO, a year-long program for Christian leadership formation for Latino Youth Leaders, geared especially for Mexican-American teenagers whohave shown potential leadership qualities; and Instituto Fe y Vida´s Leadership Formation System (LFS), which assists dioceses in forming Hispanic young adults as peer ministers, in identifying a cadre of leaders who may establish a well-organized ministry with young Hispanics and offering continuous and progressive formation until there is a group of young adults capable of teaching basic level courses.
 
11. Fiesta de San Agustín -- This next Monday is the Feast of St. Augustine, patron of our Diocese and, of course, of our Cathedral parish. In advance of the Feast, I will celebrate the 5:30 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral this Saturday in honor of St. Augustine.

12. Annual Mass with the Florecitas -- Each year, up to 24 young ladies in Tucson who are turning 15 are presented as Florecitas (little flowers) at the annual Fiesta en Xochimilco. The League of Mexican American Women has presented this modified version of the traditional Mexican Quinceañera since 1971. The Quinceañera Mass is held at St. Augustine Cathedral on the last weekend of August. I will preside at the Mass this Sunday at 2 p.m. The League sponsors the events of the Florecitas to both honor and preserve Mexican history and heritage and to raise funds for scholarships.

13. New Director of the Vatican Observatory -- The Vatican has announced the appointment by Pope Benedict XVI of Father José G. Funes, S.J., as director of the Vatican Observatory. He succeeds Father George Coyne, S.J., who is retiring as director after 28 years of exceptional leadership.

Father George has been a great friend of the Diocese dating back to 1966 when he came to Tucson as a visiting assistant professor at the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. Father George became director of the Vatican Observatory in 1978. During 1979-80, he served as acting director and head of the UA Steward Observatory and the Astronomy Department. He oversaw the establishment of the Vatican Observatory Research Group at the UA Steward Observatory in 1981.

As director of the Vatican Observatory, he has been a driving force in several new educational and research initiatives, including the establishment of the Alice P. Lennon Telescope with its Thomas J. Bannan Astrophysics Facility, known together as the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT), at the Mount Graham International Observatory.

Father George is beginning a year's sabbatical. With his active mind and great drive and focus, we can't envision him as ever being retired!

I congratulate Father Funes on his appointment. He joined the Vatican Observatory Research Group as staff astronomer in 2000. He has helped out in many parishes, including Our Lady of All Saints. He also has ministered with Spanish-speaking persons dealing with divorce situations. He is a scientist-scholar who has a real pastoral sensitivity.

Our Diocese has been so blessed over the years by the priestly ministry of the Jesuit astronomers assigned to the Vatican Observatory Research Group.

14. Update on Bishop Moreno's Health
-- I share this e-mail that Chancellor June Kellen sent to the staff of the Pastoral Center last week:

"I spoke with Bishop Moreno last evening. He had undergone his second chemotherapy that morning and was feeling rather poorly when I called, yet he retains his wonderful sense of humor. He told me, 'June, I was losing my hair so I just shaved the rest of it off.' He said, 'I didn't know I had that much hair until it began to fall out in clumps.' I know he is praying for all of us, and I assured him that we, too, were keeping him in prayer. He did say that prayer, the good friends in the Pastoral Center and elsewhere, as well as his family, keep him going. May God be with him on his journey of treatment and healing."

15. Remember in Your Prayers -- I visited last week with Father Conrad Pytlik, a retired priest from the Diocese of Las Cruces, who had been providing assistance at Holy Family Parish in Tucson until illness intervened. Father Conrad has a great love of the Hispanic Community, and had learned Spanish so that he could better minister to parishioners. Father Conrad is in hospice now, in the last stages of pancreatic cancer. He is a person of great faith.

Vol. 4, No. 18
August 28, 2006

"What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of people. That is what love looks like."

On his feast day, I share these words that St. Augustine of Hippo wrote some 17 centuries ago.  The hundreds and hundreds of years that have passed have not diminished the power and intensity of this great saint's impact on theology and philosophy.

The patron saint of our Diocese and of our Cathedral Church, he also is the patron of the Dioceses of Bridgeport, Kalamazoo, Saint Augustine, Superior and Cagayan de Oro in the Philippines. He also is the patron saint for people who suffer from eye ailments, for theologians, for printers and, for all who appreciate a cerveza now and then, for brewers.

I will be celebrating Mass on this feast day with the students and faculty of St. Augustine High School in Tucson.

1. Priest Conferences
-- My annual visits to parishes to meet with priests continue this week. Today and tomorrow I will be visiting the parishes in the Pima North Vicariate. I appreciate very much the opportunity to be with our priests without any agenda and just to listen to what is going well for them and what have been some of their challenges. Priests work hard in our Diocese, and these visits give me a chance to affirm their efforts, offer them encouragement and, when necessary, give them a nudge. Trying to visit each of our 74 parishes is time consuming, but to me it is well spent.

2. Diocesan Cursillo -- The diocesan Cursillo Movement welcomes Ceferino Aguillón, National Coordinator for Cursillo in English, to the Diocese today as part of his visit to Cursillo Region 10, to which our Diocese belongs. Members of the diocesan Cursillo Secretariat will report to him on the activities of the Movement during the past year, including the four weekend Cursillo retreats offered recently in Yuma. I will meet with Ceferino tomorrow here at the Pastoral Center, and I look forward to sharing with him the experience of my first Cursillo, which will be the subject of my column in the September issue of The New Vision/La Nueva Visión, which will be distributed at the parishes this coming weekend.

3. Visit to Diocese of Cheyenne -- I look forward to being with Bishop David Ricken and the clergy, religious and laity of the Diocese of Cheyenne this Wednesday and Thursday for a diocesan celebration. This is my first visit to Cheyenne, which is in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Region XIII, the region our Diocese is in.

4. Holy Angels School 50th Anniversary -- I will be in Globe this Sunday to celebrate this golden jubilee with Father Rudy Rosales, pastor, with the Holy Angels Parish and School communities and with the Presentation Sisters. After Mass, we will have a great fiesta and share memories of the last half-century and celebrate the school's important role in the life of the parish and the entire Globe community.

It was 50 years ago this coming Saturday that Mother Mary Ita, Sister Mary Carmel, Sister Patricia and Sister Mary Francis arrived in Globe, after traveling from Ireland, to begin their ministry at the school, which began with 90 students in kindergarten, first and second grade. There will be some sadness with the joy in this celebration, for this year is the last year the Presentation Sisters will minister at the school.

We are blessed now to have a lay principal at Holy Angels School, Deborah Leverance, who continues the dedication and commitment the Sisters have lived during these 50 years.

5. Diocesan Liturgy Conference -- "Have you registered yet?" I am asking that question of just about everyone I encounter or talk to on the phone, so I will ask it rhetorically of all you readers, too: "Have you registered yet?" I am strongly encouraging the participation of all priests, deacons, religious, parish and school staffs and all in our parishes who are involved in liturgical ministry, no matter what the role.

 "Enhancing the Sunday Liturgy: Full, Conscious, Active Participation," will take place on Saturday, Sept. 30, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson. Registration information is available on-line at the diocesan Web site and from the Office of Formation.

6. Detention Ministry -- In his retirement, Father Cyprian Killackey, O.C.D., has taken on a new and important ministry. He is celebrating Mass every Sunday evening at the Pima County Juvenile Detention Center in Tucson. He is available for counseling after Mass to the young persons. I am grateful to Father Cyprian and to all those who serve in detention ministry. They are present to the incarcerated at a time in their lives when they seek hope and guidance.

7. Announcement of Appointment -- Msgr. Ambrose O. Nwohu is appointed as administrator of St. Bartholomew Parish in San Manuel and St. Helen Mission in Oracle effective this Oct. 1, replacing Father Joseph Nietlong, who has accepted a position on the faculty at Mundelein Seminary in Illinois, where he will teach philosophy and formation.

Father Joseph, from Nigeria, had been planning to return to ministry in his home diocese early next year, but with the blessings of his bishop and with my encouragement, he is taking up the important role of seminary professor. He will be maintaining his connection to our Diocese through our seminarians at Mundelein.

Msgr. Ambrose, also from Nigeria, has been serving as parochial vicar the past year at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Tucson. A priest with great pastoral experience, I know that he will carry on the good work that Father Joseph began at St. Bartholomew and St. Helen. Msgr. Ambrose will live at St. Helen and work with Father Sebastian Bula, V.C., who will continue to serve as parochial vicar and be in residence at St. Bartholomew.
 
8. Meeting of the Hispanic Commission -- This past Saturday's meeting included a presentation from a number of young adults on how we can enhance our outreach to Hispanic youth and young adults. These young adults participated in the Encuentros here in Tucson at St. Cyril Parish, in Colorado Springs for Region XIII and at the University of Notre Dame. They came back enthused and excited about how we might enhance our diocesan outreach to Hispanic youth.
 
They encouraged the formation of a Pastoral Juvenil Hispana to help advise our Office of Catechesis (which promotes and facilitates youth ministry) on possible programs and outreach. They also asked that the Diocese consider adding the position of a youth ministry coordinator.
 
I will speak with the Presbyteral Council about their suggestions and encourage Father Al Schifano, Moderator of the Curia, to include the suggestions in his study on the structure of the Pastoral Center. I will be meeting with Mike Berger, director of our Office of Catechesis, and Ruben Davalos, director of our Office of Evangelization and Hispanic Ministry, to consider reorganizing our advisory group for youth and young adults to make it representative of the Diocese and to spell out more clearly the responsibilities of the members of the advisory group.
 
We will also be looking at the RESPETO program out of San Antonio as a possible pilot program in several parishes next fall. RESPETO is a year long, bilingual formation process that fosters spiritual growth and skills for Latino youth leaders so that they can take an active role in the life and mission of the Church.

I am deeply grateful to Ruben Davalos, Father Raul Trevizo, pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Tucson and Vicar General, Father Marco Basulto Pitol, pastor of St. James Parish in Coolidge, and the members of the Hispanic Commission for the work they are doing to enhance unity, formation and youth outreach in the Hispanic community. 

9. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- Deacon Pedro Grimaldo of San Martin de Porres Parish in Sahuarita, who is recovering from kidney transplant surgery.

10. Labor Day -- Because next Monday is the national holiday, this memo includes a look at next week.

I encourage you to read the annual Labor Day Statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued this year by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, chair of the USCCB Domestic Policy Committee. The statement highlights the yearning that immigrants to our country have for work and their longing for freedom.

"Many immigrants come because they want to live out the values we celebrate this Labor Day -- hard work, providing a decent living for one's family, contributing to the community, a life of dignity and opportunity gained through hard work," Bishop DiMarzio writes.

"I have seen the daily struggles and dreams of immigrants in my diocese and throughout the country," he writes. "I understand their desire to give their children a better life. That is why I believe we must and we can find reasonable and responsible ways to welcome those seeking a new life and opportunity. I believe we can help newcomers without legal status to come out from the shadows and contribute more fully to our communities. When we do this, I believe we can also increase the security of our nation and the vitality of our Church."

Noting that our nation is engaged in a divisive political debate, Bishop DiMarzio asks that we look at the complex question of immigration from a viewpoint other than our own.

"We all bring our own perspectives, biases, even prejudices to this discussion. I hope as we approach Labor Day, each of us might try to see these difficult questions through the eyes and experiences of someone very different from ourselves: a father in Mexico who cannot feed his family, or a rancher on the border whose land has become a dangerous path for desperate people, threatening their lives and his livelihood."
 
He also points out that more than 80% of those who have entered our nation illegally are working part-time or full-time and are contributing to the common good of our country through the work they perform and the taxes they pay.

You can read the full statement at www.usccb.org/sdwp/laborday2006.htm.

11. "Justice for Immigrants"
-- Our planning for implementation in our Diocese of "Justice for Immigrants," the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform, continues. Our planning group will meet Tuesday, Sept. 5, here at the Pastoral Center, and we will be refining the content of the presentations that will be made in our Catholic schools in November and during Mass in all parishes on the second, third and fourth weekends of November. The theme we have selected is "A Journey of Hope in the Company of Saints."  

12. New Vision/La Nueva Visión Editorial Board
-- The newly formed editorial board will meet for the first time on Tuesday, Sept. 5, here at the Pastoral Center.

The members are: Bob Scala from Our Mother of Sorrows Parish, Tucson; Vivian Anderson, Santa Catalina Parish, Rubén Dávalos, director of the Office of Evangelization and Hispanic Ministry, Sister Rina Cappellazzo, O.P.; Father John Arnold, pastor of St. Ambrose Parish, Tucson; Lee Oser and L. P. Hermes of St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish, Tucson; Virlane Torbit of Our Lady of the Valley Parish, Green Valley; Father Michael Bucciarelli, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Benson; Father Kevin Clinch, pastor of St. Anthony Parish, Casa Grande; Father Bart Hutcherson, O.P., pastor of St. Thomas More Newman Center Parish, Tucson.

As editor and publisher, I welcome their advice and counsel on how our newspaper can serve and support the mission of our Diocese. At our first meeting, we will be discussing the role of the editorial board and the mission of the newspaper. The board will be of invaluable assistance to managing editor Karl Bierach and graphic designer Omar Rodriquez.

13. Priest Conferences -- I will be visiting with priests in the parishes of the Pima Central Vicariate on Wednesday, Sept. 6.

14. Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries -- The Cemeteries' board of directors holds its monthly meeting on Thursday, Sept. 7.

Last Friday, Cemeteries' executive director Jim DeCastro gathered all the staff of the Catholic Cemeteries for a retreat. Present were all the employees who work in administration, grounds keeping, family service counselors and Cemeteries' attorney Dan Quigley. They spent the day together under the able direction of the facilitator, Cheryl Bakari, who will be working with them several times during the year.
 
Diocesan Communications Director Fred Allison gave a presentation that included some of the history of our Catholic Cemeteries, giving the staff a perspective on the blessings and challenges our Diocese has faced in caring for grieving families and providing a sacred place of rest for loved ones.
 
My presentation to the staff included my encouragement that what they do matters very much and my hope that they will carry out this ministry well and do it together.
 
Father Ed Carscallen, long time chaplain to the Cemeteries, gave a personal reflection. The day was well spent. I appreciate all that Jim is doing to build a sense of teamwork among the staff, a sense of pride and a commitment to their important ministry.
 
Training of staff and time together can strengthen how people work together. We are trying to offer more training opportunities for those who work for the Diocese, and I encourage our pastors to do the same for their staffs. Training can make a big difference in our effectiveness.

15. Confirmation and Pastoral Visit at St. Philip Parish, Payson -- I look forward to being with Father William Gyure, administrator, and the parish community of St. Philip for conferral of the Sacrament of Confirmation on Thursday, Sept. 7. I also will be visiting with Father William as part of my priest conferences.

Payson, as you know, is a long drive from Tucson, but even though the parish is so far away from the See City of Tucson, I have always found the people of St. Philip a joy to be with. I take care to remind them that while they are a long distance from Tucson, they are just as important to our Diocese as any parish.

16. Convocation of Deacons -- Permanent deacons of our Diocese will gather for their 2006 convocation on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 8 and 9, at St Odilia Parish in Tucson. On Friday, the deacons will receive refresher training from Dr. Paul Duckro, director of the Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, on the Safe Environment Program. On Saturday, I will join them to focus on preaching, with a special emphasis on the power of story in transmitting the Word of God. This is another example of how we are working toward our diocesan goal to enhance liturgical life. I trust this will help bolster our efforts in this important area of the liturgical life of our parishes. Please pray for me and for our deacons as we gather to pray and grow in our preaching ministries.