Aug. 30, 2010

Vol. 8, No. 16
Aug. 30, 2010

After a two-month hiatus, Monday Memo returns. This has been the longest stretch without a memo in the seven years of this little epistle.

The hiatus was due to a combination of the memo's usual July time off and my trip to Australia earlier this month as a guest of the Archdiocese of Melbourne to give the annual Dom Helder Camara Lecture.

The lecture, now in its twenty fifth year, was first delivered by the legendary Archbishop of Recife himself, and I was honored to follow in the line of speakers that has included Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Ireland, Cardinal Oscar Rodriquez of Honduras, Cardinal Walter Kasper, recently retired from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Professor Mary Ann Glendon, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See.

My topic was "The Living Message: What the Church Can Do To Better Communicate Its Message." (You can hear my lecture at www.newman.unimelb.edu.au/camara.)

I write about my experiences in Australia (and my visit to New Zealand en route to Melbourne) in my column for the September issue of The New Vision, but I want to share with you some additional thoughts here.

It is exciting and energizing for me to experience another local Church to learn from them how we might better carry on our mission in the Diocese of Tucson, and that certainly was my experience visiting Auckland, New Zealand, and Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.
 
New Zealand is a fabulously beautiful place with lush green countryside and dense forests opening up onto marvelous views of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. It is mind-boggling to stand beside towering Kauri trees, some over a thousand years old.
 
While the scenery is striking, meeting the people is fascinating. The native Maori People have a rich culture. They have a love of nature as our own native peoples in our Diocese. They are close to the land and have a sense of the sacred. The Church on the North Island covers a vast territory like our own. They struggle with a shortage of priests and have benefited as we have from missionaries from other countries like Tonga, Vietnam and the Philippines.
 
Their Bishop, Patrick Dunn, shared with me the blessings and challenges of his diocese. Their recently renovated historic cathedral is a source of pride for the people. (My hope, as well, for our St. Augustine Cathedral.)
 
Sydney is a marvelously beautiful city with its sparkling bays. We (my two priest friends from Chicago) were mostly tourists there, but we appreciated seeing their gorgeous Gothic cathedral where Mass was celebrated with great reverence and solemnity. Their exceptional choir made the celebration very special. Cardinal George Pell, the Archbishop, obviously had real pride in their Sunday worship.
 
(We continue to make progress in developing our Cathedral Choir, and I hope all of our parishes continue our efforts to enhance the music that accompanies our liturgies throughout the Diocese.)
 
I spent the majority of my visit to Australia in Melbourne. Through the kindness of Brother Mark O'Connor, a Marist Brother and Director of the Office of Evangelization, I had the opportunity to meet some of the priests, parish staffs, seminarians, Catholic School educators, and the staff of a vibrant parish during my visit. What a marvelous Church in Melbourne!
 
Like us, they are home to a number of migrant peoples. Originally, many migrants came from Italy, Ireland, Malta and Greece. More recently, they have seen a huge influx of Asian peoples from Vietnam, China, Japan, India, and Sri Lanka. They are making great efforts to make each of these communities welcome in their archdiocese.
 
Their Catholic School system is something we could envy. But, of course, they receive substantial monies from the government to build and run their schools. They focus on the religious formation of their students.
 
Everyone in Australia seems thrilled that Pope Benedict XVI will canonize their first local saint, Mary MacKillop, a religious who founded many schools for the poor. Melbourne is proud of being her place of Baptism when she first became a disciple of Christ.
 
I was impressed by all the formation they provide for people in ministry. Brother Mark and his staff produce a number of marvelous formation pieces to assist people in ministry. The Faith Festivals they conduct in various parts of the Archdiocese are ways of stirring peoples' faith. I am thinking we might try such a weekend of events in one of our vicariates.
 
It certainly has been an eventful summer.

Just as I was leaving for Australia, Judge Susan Bolton issued her ruling on SB 1070. I was able to join Bishop Thomas Olmsted and Bishop Eduardo Nevares of the Diocese of Phoenix and Bishop James Wall of the Diocese of Gallup in a statement from the Arizona Catholic Conference about the ruling.

We noted that while Judge Bolton had enjoined some of the law's more problematic provisions of the law that we would continue our advocacy against the law and monitor the implementation of provisions allowed by the ruling. We said we would continue to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform.

We emphasized that the tragic consequences of the failure of our nation's political leadership to enact reform have included the deaths of thousands of people – migrants who died trying to enter our country and citizens of our country killed by drug smugglers, people smugglers and weapons smugglers. We called for prayer for all victims and their families.

I look forward to continued dialogue on this important issue in our Diocese and in our State. I hope in the next months we can have a gathering of our parish pastoral council representatives and perhaps finance councils and boards of directors and other parish leaders to reflect together on the Church's teaching on the dignity of all human life and why the Church speaks on such issues as abortion, immigration, capital punishment, stem cell research, euthanasia and care for people with disabilities.

Articulating the "what" and the "why" of our Church's teachings on the dignity of human life is challenging because of the proliferation of blogs and Web sites whose authors claim to have the "real truth" of what it means to be Catholic and what the Church should or should not speak up about.

The rightful responsibility for articulating what the Church teaches remains the responsibility of bishops in dialogue with their priests and people.

1. Sgt. Martin A. Lugo Jr.
– The funeral Mass for Sgt. Martin Anthony Lugo, a young man of 24 who died in combat in Afghanistan, was celebrated Saturday at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Tucson. Father Pat Crino, pastor, and I saw the church filled to capacity as people came to express sympathy to Martin's mother, Maria, his father Martin, his stepfather Esteban, his sister Leslie and his brother-in-law Christopher. One cannot imagine the sorrow and pain his family must feel.
 
Martin had told his mother before he left for Afghanistan that should he be killed he wanted her to give his eulogy. Maria was eloquent in talking about her son's faith and love of the Lord Jesus. Her words touched all of us who were there.
 
Martin wanted to be a soldier since he was very young. His fellow Ranger described him as courageous, disciplined, a real leader.
 
We pray for our men and women in the Armed Forces. We pray for an end to war and the violence and terror that takes the lives of so many.

2. Gathering for Priests in Hispanic Ministry
– I will be joining the priests who minister to the Catholic Hispanic communities within our Diocese today at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks.

This will be our second annual gathering, and our focus for the day includes building on the cooperation and collaboration of our priests who minister to Hispanic Catholics, sharing with one another what is happening in our parishes and our outreach efforts to the Hispanic communities and furthering the development of our Pastoral Plan for the Hispanic Catholic Community.

I am grateful to Father Raul Trevizo, pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Tucson, who serves as our Vicar General and Episcopal Vicar for Hispanic Affairs, for coordinating and facilitating this gathering with our diocesan Department of Pastoral Services.

3. Mexico Catholic Bishops Conference National Workshop on Migrant Ministry – I will be participating tomorrow in the regional Migrant Ministry National Workshop being held in Nogales, Sonora. The Mexico Catholic Bishops Conference (Conferencia del Episcopado Mexicano) is sponsoring the workshop.

The agenda for the workshop states these objectives: "That the agents and laborers of Migrant Ministry, in the real context of insecurity and the rise of stronger migration policies, respond to the call of God in the building of the Kingdom and increase and professionalize actions of protection, incidences and collective defense of the human rights of migrants and their defenders."

In the liturgies that take place during the workshop, I am sure there will be prayers for the migrants who so tragically were massacred last week in Mexico.

The Bishops of Mexico issued a statement in response to the tragedy, deploring the "atrocious assassination of the 72 innocent persons" and calling for prayers for the victims and their families.

"This massacre fills us with sorrow, anxiety and indignation," the bishops said.

I will address the workshop tomorrow morning on "Migration and Response from the U.S. Church." I will be joining Archbishop Ulysses Macias of the Archdiocese of Hermosillo and Archbishop Rafael Romo Muñoz of the Archdiocese of Tijuana at the workshop.

As neighboring dioceses, we in Arizona and the States of Sonora and Mexicali and Baja California need to model a cooperative spirit showing the importance of dialogue and bi-national cooperation.

Our Dioceses without Borders initiative, including the Dioceses of Phoenix, Tucson and the Archdiocese of Heromosillo, attempts to do just that. Our ongoing efforts on behalf of farm workers with Bishop Isidro Macias of the Diocese of Mexicali attempts to do just that.

People of good will on both sides of the border need to speak out and stand up against drug cartels and those that breed violence and foster fear among peoples in Mexico and our country. While groups fostering violence wield much power and have immense resources, people of good will cannot sit back complacent or frightened. We wholeheartedly believe that good always triumphs over evil. We need to continue our bi-national efforts to foster peace and harmony between our two nations.
 
4. "Maximilian" Gives His Witness
– This Wednesday will be a very special day for a young inmate at the Arizona State Prison in Florence.

He will stand and kneel behind the door of a locked visitation room as I give him the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist.

He has chosen "Maximilian" for his Confirmation name. He chose it after reading about the life of St. Maximilian. He was inspired by how St. Maximilian overcame evil with love.

Just like his patron saint who became a martyr for love, "Maximilian" too will now be called to be a witness to the love of Jesus Christ.

How fitting the reading is for this Wednesday from 1 Corinthians: God causes growth; we are God's co-workers; we are God's field; and we are God's building.

"Maximilian" will give his witness to God's amazing grace this Wednesday.

I am grateful to Deacon Ed Scheffer, who ministers at the Arizona State Prison in Florence, for introducing me to "Maximilian."

5. Gathering of Directors of Religious Education – Directors of religious education and catechetical leaders from 45 of our parishes gathered Saturday at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson for their annual convocation sponsored by the diocesan Office of Catechesis.

The featured morning presentation, "Catechesis and Re-Making a Catholic Culture," was Peter Poppleton of Our Sunday Visitor Curriculum Division.

The convocation is an opportunity each year for parish catechetical directors to come together for mutual support, professional development and identifying needs in the vicariates of our Diocese. The convocation is also an opportunity for me to dialogue with them.
 
We talked about some of the daunting challenges they face, from recruiting and training catechists to conducting a wide range of sacramental preparation programs in at least two languages to trying to find ways to involve parents in the religious formation of their students and helping their students understand the Scriptures and Church teachings.
 
I could not help but feel proud at the dedication and commitment of these ministers to whom an important part of the Church's mission has been entrusted. They work hard and oftentimes without adequate compensation or recognition, yet their work is essential.
 
I encouraged them to have meetings between DREs in various vicariates to share ideas and create pilot programs and efforts that might enhance their effectiveness. We talked about the sacramental guidelines recently distributed to our parishes and encouraged them to read them. We talked about finding a way to personally support all those who preparing to join the Church and those who are reconnecting to their faith.
 
Also at this convocation, three members of the diocesan Catechesis Advisory Board presented a new proposal to establish a diocesan-wide association of parish catechetical leaders to provide more structured and member-driven activities, resources and networking for parish leaders.

I hope people in each of our parishes will step forward to be catechists and commit themselves to their own formation so they can be effective in their ministry.

6. Pastoral Center Welcomes and a Farewell
– We are very happy to welcome Sheri Dishong, Felicia Vesper and Lisa Nanez to the Pastoral Center.

Sheri is our new assistant superintendent of Catholic Schools.

"Where are you from and how did you wind up in Tucson?" is a question I have heard a lot since beginning my new job July 1 as assistant superintendent! My vocation in Catholic education began about 17 years ago in Lincoln, Nebraska, where I was an elementary teacher (taught 3rd grade, K-8 reading specialist, junior high math/algebra) and then principal. From Nebraska I moved to Kansas City to be principal of a large Catholic school (600-plus students) and for the last two years as associate superintendent in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.  My love for Tucson took seed several years ago when I began spending a couple "holiday" trips per year here visiting my daughter and son-in-law. The more I visited, the more I grew to love the climate, the skies, the mountains, and the quietness of the desert in all its beauty.  Now, I am also growing to love the Catholic Schools and all the hard working people that make each one of them their own unique family of God. I am very thankful for the opportunity to work with all the wonderful people in the Diocese of Tucson.  My son will graduate as a Nebraska State Patrolman in November and will be stationed somewhere in Nebraska, so my Husker roots will remain as I grow desert ones here in Tucson!

Felicia has joined the Fiscal and Administrative Services Office as an accounting clerk.

I am very happy to be a part of the Fiscal and Administrative Services team. I have experience in special education at a charter school and in the Tucson Unified School District. I have two teenage sons, and our parish is St. Pius X.

Lisa is administrative coordinator in the Stewardship and Development Office.

I am very excited to join the Stewardship and Development Office. I come to the Pastoral Center after more than eight years of service with American Family Insurance, where I worked in claims. I have a 13-year-old son, and St. John the Evangelist is our parish. I enjoy spending time with family and working out at the gym.

We said farewell at the Pastoral Center last week to Jean Yanes, who has served the past year as a receptionist and secretary in the Human Resources Department.

7. Labor Day Statement
– For several decades, the U.S. Catholic Bishops have used the occasion of Labor Day to issue a statement, from the perspective of Catholic Social Teaching, about our nation's economy and labor.

This year's statement is authored by Bishop William Murphy, chair of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"America is undergoing a rare economic transformation, shedding jobs and testing safety nets as the nation searches for new ways to govern and grow our economy," writes Bishop Murphy. "Workers need a new 'social contract.'"

Bishop Murphy writes that creating new jobs would require new investments, initiative and creativity in the economy. He draws on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI that call for placing the human person at the center of economic life and emphasizing the role of civil society and mediating institutions such as unions in pursing the common good.

I encourage you to read Bishop Murphy's statement.

8. September Issue of The New Vision – The September issue of The New Vision will be distributed this weekend at our parishes. Because this is the Labor Day Holiday weekend, there may be more parishioners than usual out of town, so I encourage our pastors to promote this issue and to distribute it both this weekend and the next.

There are two stories in this issue written by Patricia Zapor of Catholic News Service that I especially encourage you to read and to reflect upon, both dealing with the immigration.

One is a very moving portrait of Sue Krentz, whose husband Rob was murdered on their ranch near Douglas last March. In a sidebar to the story, I write that as Sue struggles deeply with the senseless violence done to her husband and feels a deep sadness and grief she reflects all of our struggles and feelings around the complex issues of immigration.

In the other story, Patricia gives us insight as to how Douglas Mayor Michael Gomez and Father Gilbert Malu, pastor of St. Luke and Immaculate Conception Parishes in Douglas, find themselves "trying to address the sometimes conflicting interests of the people they serve" in the context of the challenges that immigration presents to their border community.

And, I hope you will enjoy reading about my visit to "The Town To Tough To Die" for the 130th anniversary celebration for Sacred Heart Parish.

9. Dedication of House of Hope – I had the joy last week to bless the new House of Hope in Douglas, a domestic violence shelter under the auspices of Catholic Community Services in Southeastern Arizona. 

The shelter houses 20 women and their children who are victims of domestic violence in both short term and longer-term transitional housing.

Present at the blessing and dedication were members of our Catholic Community in Douglas, deacons, priests and sisters who are involved with various ministries, members of the Advisory Board for Catholic Community Services in Southeastern Arizona, the "Patrons of Hope," who are a group of supporters who have helped financially with the building, and staff of the shelter.

We prayed together that the House of Hope would provide a welcoming and safe place for its residents while we look forward to the day when violence no longer drives women from their homes.  

The project for the House of Hope was funded by a combination of resources from the State Department of Housing, the Federal Government through the collaboration with U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' office and Our Faith, 
Our Hope, Our Future, our diocesan renewal campaign.

This spacious facility is already full, indicating it is meeting an important need in the community. It has several transitional apartments for women and children seeking to reestablish their lives after the trauma of domestic violence.

10. Back to School – While in Douglas, I had a chance to visit our beautiful Loretto School, sponsored by our Carmelite Sisters, as the Lestonnac Pre-School. It is always a delight visiting with the young people and taking in their enthusiasm and excitement as the school year begins.
 
I also had a chance to visit Douglas High School. I was encouraged to see how well they are serving the diverse needs of young people, especially the students with disabilities. While economic challenges have reduced their resources, the administration, teachers and staff continue to serve their students as best they can.
 
I applaud our Catholic and Public School teachers, staff and administrators for their dedicated work so critical for our communities' well being.
 
Also last week, I had the opportunity to speak to all the Catholic School educators in the Diocese of Orange. We gathered at the beautiful Santa Margarita high school facility. There were about 1,500 teachers and administrators present. Many have worked in Catholic education for more than 30 years. Some were in their first year of service, and a bit nervous, for sure.
 
Blessings to all in our schools and religious education programs in this new school year!
 
11. Recognitions for Father Abran Tadeo, St. Christopher Parish – The Marana Community Correctional Treatment Facility has honored Father Abran Tadeo, pastor of St. Christopher Parish in Marana, with its "Celebrating Excellence Award" for his selection as the facility's 2010 "Community Supporter of the Year."

And, the Arizona State Council of the Knights of Columbus has honored St. Christopher Parish's Council 14089 with its "Council of the Year Award."

Congratulations to Father Abran and the Knights of Council 14089.

12. Catholic Relief Services Pakistan Flood Response – From Catholic Relief Services:

Catholic Relief Services teams are hiking through mudslide areas to reach survivors of massive floods that have killed more than 1,200 people and affected an estimated one million people in Pakistan.

CRS is organizing shipments of humanitarian aid to Balochistan, where the flooding struck earlier. The aid packages include water purification tablets, soap, cookware, jerry cans and more.

In the areas of Kohistan and Shangla, CRS will provide emergency shelter kits and hygiene supplies. In several areas including Swat, CRS is also planning cash-for-work projects, paying people affected by the disaster to build irrigation channels, pathways and retaining walls.

CRS has worked in Pakistan since 1954. In the last two years, CRS Pakistan has enhanced its emergency activities to respond to the drought, the Afghan refugee crisis and earthquake emergency response and rebuilding process. The CRS office is located in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, and has 227 staff.

Parishes are welcome to make donations to the CRS Pakistan relief effort. Individuals can make donations at http://crs.org/pakistan/pakistan-floods-ravage-north-and-south.

13. Appointment
– Father Robert Rodriguez, parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Tucson, is appointed parochial vicar at St. Luke Parish and Immaculate Conception Parish in Douglas and St. Bernard Parish in Pirtleville.

14. Sculpture of "The Risen Christ"
– The sculpture of "The Risen Christ" on the back wall of the sanctuary of St. Augustine Cathedral was removed last week.

The sculpture, carved from cedar in Spain, was a gift to the Diocese that was placed in its prominent position in June of 1981.

For 29 years, the sculpture was part of the environment of the Cathedral. Even though the face did not look even vaguely Semitic (some have remarked that the face was that of a Viking), the sculpture did communicate a powerful impression.

At nearly 14 feet in length and with a hand-to-hand span of nearly 11 feet, the sculpture immediately drew your eyes when you walked into the Cathedral.

I found it even more imposing when I was sitting on the cathedra with it hanging above me. I remember Bishop Moreno pointing out the cracks that had developed in the sculpture and joking that he was happy to give up the honor of sitting below it.

Last year, after we began the renovation of our Cathedral's interior, I felt that the sculpture, which was appropriate to the austere effect created by the Cathedral's reconstruction in 1968, was not in harmony with our vision of a renovated Cathedral and with the design elements that artist John Alan was applying to the Cathedral's walls and ceiling. The sculpture just did not feel right when I saw how our Cathedral's interior was being transformed.

I am confident that the decision to remove it for esthetic reasons was the right decision. Learning from John Shaheen, our diocesan Property and Insurance manager, that the cracks in the sculpture presented a safety concern made me feel better about the decision. (Close examination after it was removed showed the cracks were even worse that we had thought.)

Nevertheless, removing the sculpture was like saying good-bye to an old friend that you know you will see again, even though you don't know when or where. The sculpture is being stored in an environment that we hope will reduce the drying that caused the cracks. We also will determine what will be involved in its repair. Jim De Castro, executive director of our Catholic Cemeteries, has suggested that the sculpture would be a beautiful addition to one of our cemeteries where it would have special meaning.

As I wrote in June when I announced the decision to remove the sculpture, we're going to keep "under wraps" for a while exactly what will go in its place. I think you will be very pleased when we show you what the sanctuary will look like.

Right now, there is a very obvious blank space on the back wall – just like the feeling when an old friend has left. I think we will come to know a "New Friend" who will be a beautiful and inspiring addition to the sanctuary.

The removal of the sculpture was quite a feat of engineering. You can click here to see how it was accomplished.

15. Labor Day Holiday – Because of the holiday, Monday Memo will be coming to you on Tuesday of next week. Enjoy the holiday!