Dec. 3, 2007 Dec. 10, 2007 Dec. 17, 2007

Vol. 5, No. 32
Dec. 3, 2007

This morning, we continue our Mondays of Advent tradition here at the Pastoral Center by gathering for prayer and to light the first candle on our Advent wreath.

For all of us in our parishes and schools, there is a mood of expectation and longing as we light a candle each of the four weeks of Advent.
 
There is much to do in these few weeks. We begin writing our Christmas cards, buying gifts, tidying up the house and decorating it. But, in the midst of all that must be done, don't miss out reliving the mystery we celebrate.
 
Recently, I received a book from the Liturgy Training Publications titled, "Build Your Own Bethlehem." The book invites families to re-enact the Holy Drama of these special days of Christmastime by reading and reliving the major events of the Nativity.
 
The book encourages families to read the pertinent Scripture passage and, aided by "pop-up" artwork in the book, to visualize the scenes in the passages. The book guides families through the Annunciation of Mary, the Journey to Bethlehem of the Holy Family, the Birth of the Lord, the Annunciation to the Shepherds, the Journey of the Magi, the Shepherds Glorifying God, the Adoration of the Magi and ends with the Presentation in the Temple. ("Build Your Own Bethlehem, A Nativity Scene and Activity Book for Christmastime," published by Liturgy Training Publications. Orders at 1-800-933-1800 or orders@ltp.org.) 
 
Why not take a few moments in the busy-ness of the season to pause and take each of these great mysteries, savor them, imagine them and reflect on their meaning in your life and the life of your community or family.
 
1. Saints of Advent -- We celebrate in this first week of Advent the feast days of four saints who are important patrons for our Diocese.

Today is the feast day of St. Francis Xavier, patron of Mission San Xavier del Bac and the patron saint of Padre Eusebio Francisco Kino, the great Jesuit missionary in Arizona in the 16th century. When he fell gravely ill at age 19, Padre Kino prayed for the intercession of St. Francis Xavier, vowing that if he recovered he would devote his life to being a missionary. Padro Kino named the first church at the site of today's "White Dove of the Desert" in honor his patron saint. It will be my joy this morning to celebrate the 10 a.m. Mass at the Mission with Father Steve Barnufsky, O.F.M., and Father Ed Sarrazin, O.F.M., as the parish community honors their patron.

This Thursday is the feast of St. Nicholas of Myra, the fourth century bishop in Asia Minor known for his devotion to the impoverished and for his protection of children and families. He is the patron of St. Nicholas of Myra Adoption Center in Tucson, a program of Catholic Social Services.

This Friday, the community of St. Ambrose Parish in Tucson will be celebrating the feast of their patron.

And, this Saturday, the Immaculate Conception Parish communities in Ajo, Douglas and Yuma will observe and celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Great Disciple.

2. Tour of Relics of the Nativity -- The Arizona Knights of Columbus are sponsoring a tour of relics related to the Nativity this week and next.

The tour includes relics of the Magi, the Manger, the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph and St. Elizabeth.

In our Diocese, the relics will be displayed for veneration on Sunday, Dec. 9, from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson and on Tuesday, Dec. 11, from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at St. Augustine Cathedral in Tucson.
 
These relics are on loan to the Knights from the Apostolate for Holy Relics. Arizona is the first stop in an international tour of the relics.

3. Youth Fest -- When you get 800 kids together in the same place, you get noise, unbounded energy and lots of spirit. That was the reality of Youth Fest '07, held Saturday at the Tucson Convention Center. I was impressed by the reverence with which the young people participated in the opening liturgy that was based on the theme, "What cha looking for?" Young people from the Spirit Choir at St. Thomas More Newman Center led the singing, and the participation was vibrant.
 
Father Tony Ricard from New Orleans had the young people in stitches -- he is quite the comedian. But in the next breath, he had them spellbound by the intensity of his faith as he described the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and the impact of that disaster on his parish and people. He witnessed how their faith in Jesus gave them hope amid this tragedy. (A concrete example of what the Pope is speaking about in his latest Encyclical).
 
My gratitude to Joe Perdreauville of Corpus Christi Parish in Tucson, Mike Berger, director of our diocesan Office of Catechesis, Michelle Benzenhoefer of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson and the Youth Fest Committee for their excellent work. My gratitude also to the Knights of Columbus, who cooked the mountains of hamburgers and hot dogs to feed 800 starving youngsters. We were so grateful that there was only a light drizzle for most of the day and not the predicted downpour.
  
4. Fiesta de Tumacacori -- Unlike the day before when it was cold, windy and rainy, we experienced bright sun and only a breeze for yesterday's Fiesta de Tumacacori, which is celebrated annually before the feast of St. Francis Xavier.
 
The procession was led by the sound of rattles and guitars and violins. Pascua Yaqui, Tohono O'odham and Navajo participated, dressed in their native costumes and dancing and singing traditional music. The procession wound its way through the newly planted orchard on a piece of land purchased by the National Park Service in 2005. They are replicating the orchard of quince, pomegranate and fig trees that was a part of the original mission. There, as the dancing and music subsided and all became still and silent, I blessed this holy ground before we processed to celebrate Mass in front of the remnant of the mission church. 

I am grateful to Lisa Carrasco of the National Park Service, whose staff worked very hard to host the fiesta and Mass. The presence of the Knights of Columbus added to the festivities. Ray Brown, who organizes the event, and all those who assist him worked very hard to make this celebration very special. Father Chris Corbally, Father Andy Whitman and Brother John Hollywood of the Jesuit community in Tucson joined me for the celebration -- so fitting as we recognized the great missionary Padre Eusebio Kino, S.J.
 
5. Gathering of Religious Brothers-- I am grateful to Sister Rina Cappellazzo, O.P., Vicar for Religious, for helping me to host our Religious Brothers at the Bishop's Residence last evening.

Twelve of the 16 brothers ministering in our Diocese attended. They are involved in ministries of prayer, education, parish ministry and working with the homeless. Their ministry is a true blessing for our Diocese. This gathering was an opportunity for me to get to know our Religious in the Diocese and to thank them for their ministry among us. Some of the Brothers in Erlac, a contemplative community near Sonoita, have been in the Diocese for more than 20 years. We are blessed by their service.

6. "Saved by Hope" -- Pope Benedict XVI issued his second encyclical letter last Friday. Spe Salvi, "Saved by Hope," reflects the scholarship, depth of thinking and keen insights of this Pope, who sees hope not as naive optimism but rather grounded in the person of Jesus, Who is our Blessed Assurance that all will be well. How blessed we are having come to know Christ. Faith brings hope, and hope flows from faith.
 
I encourage you to read the encyclical letter. It is available at the Vatican Website. I look forward to holding an informational session and discussion next year on "Saved by Hope."

7. Sexual Misconduct Review Board -- The Board meets this morning here at the Pastoral Center, and we are pleased to welcome Dr. Kevin Leehey as a new member. In his private practice as a psychiatrist and in service to Salpointe Catholic High School and other institutions, he has been an active member of the Catholic community in Tucson. I am grateful to him for accepting my appointment to the Board.

8. Dedication of Memorial to Victims of Sexual Abuse -- Near the end of the Chapter 11 process, Father Al Schifano and I discussed with the members of the Torts Claimants Committee the possibility of a memorial to those who have been harmed in the household of the Church in the Diocese of Tucson.

After much searching, we located a beautiful sculpture created by Sister Esther Sawal, O.C.S.O., of Santa Rita Abbey in Sonoita. We will dedicate the sculpture as the memorial this Wednesday at 2 p.m.

In its place of prominence in the lobby of the Pastoral Center, this sculpture is a reminder to us of the children who were abused and the pain they and their families experience. For all of us who work in the Pastoral Center, each encounter with this sculpture is an occasion of prayer and recommitment to the safety of children. The sculpture is also a very visible reminder to all who visit the Pastoral Center that we will not forget what happened.

9. Priests' Day of Prayer -- The monthly Day of Prayer will be tomorrow at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks.
 
10. Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries Board of Directors Meeting -- The Board meets this Thursday. The agenda includes discussion of the need for a new mausoleum at Holy Hope Cemetery. 

11. The New Vision Editorial Board -- The Board meets this Friday morning here at the Pastoral Center. Managing Editor Bern Zovistoski will lead us in a discussion of the distribution of our diocesan newspaper. In a recent letter, Bern and I encouraged all pastors to promote each issue of The New Vision and to make every effort to get it into the hands of parishioners on the first weekend of distribution.

12. Parent and Family Listening Session -- I look forward to meeting with parents and families in the Yuma - La Paz Vicariate this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma to hear from them their concerns about parenting and family life and their ideas on how the Church and our Diocese can better pastorally support parents and families in their important spiritual responsibilities.  

13. Ordination to the Diaconate -- It is always a special joy for me to confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders in December, and in this respect this month will be especially joyous as I will ordain seminarians Robert Rodriguez, Emilio Chapa, Edward Lucero and "Ricky" Ordoñez to the transitional diaconate in service to our Diocese.

In their ordinations, I will confer upon them "important functions in the ministry of the word, divine worship, pastoral governance and the service of charity, tasks which they must carry out under the pastoral authority of their bishop." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1596)

The nomenclature of transitional diaconate is used because the seminarian is in transition to the priesthood. It is during the ordination that the seminarian makes the promise of celibacy and the promise of obedience to his bishop.

I will ordain Robert this Saturday during the 11 a.m. Mass at Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma. The ordinations of Emilio, Edward and "Ricky" will be on Saturday, Dec. 22, during 9:30 a.m. Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral.

14. Official Appointment -- I am very pleased to announce the appointment, effective Dec. 1., of Father Al Schifano as Vicar General. As with the assistance given so generously by Father Raul Trevizo, Vicar General, Father Al's assistance to me as Vicar General will be invaluable. Father Al will continue to provide the Diocese his considerable talents as our Moderator of the Curia.

15. New Executive Assistant to the Chancellor --AnnaMaria Mammen is the new executive assistant to Chancellor Eduardo Huerta.

AnnaMaria has been serving as executive assistant in the Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection. That position is now open. The position announcement and description are available at www.diocesetucson.org/employ.html.

16. Celebrating 60 Years of Priesthood
-- The community of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson will honor Father Ed Carscallen, their former pastor, this Saturday evening on the 60th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. What a gift Father Ed has been to our Diocese, beginning with his first appointment to Sts. Peter and Paul Parish 60 years ago.

17. In the Spirit of the Season -- Tomorrow evening I will host the annual Christmas Season appreciation dinner for the lay and priest volunteers who serve so generously in the Tribunal Office as Defenders of the Bond and as Auditors. The dinner also allows me to thanks the Tribunal Staff of Father John Lyons, Helen Evans and Martha Jordan for their dedication.

On Wednesday, I will celebrate the traditional Advent Mass with the staff of Catholic Community Services at their headquarters in Tucson at noon. In the evening, I will join the staff for their annual Christmas Dinner.

18. Don't Forget the Tax Credits! -- This is my annual reminder and encouragement for you to support our Catholic Schools and the mission of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona (CCS) through two special tax credits for Arizona taxpayers.

The deadline for making contributions to the Catholic Tuition Support Organization (CTSO) and to CCS that can qualify you for the tax credits is Monday, Dec. 31.

Your contribution to the CTSO can qualify you for the "Private School Tuition Tax Credit." Information on this tax credit is available at www.ctso-tucson.org, through each of our Catholic Schools and from Gracie Quiroz of the CTSO Office at 520-838-2571.

Your contribution to CCS can qualify you for the "Arizona Charitable Tax Credit." For more information about this tax credit opportunity, you can visit www.ccs-soaz.org (click on "Giving").

Both these tax credits are effective ways to either reduce the amount of state income taxes you need to pay or to increase the amount of the refund you receive.

19. Southwest Liturgical Conference Study Week 2008 -- Next Monday, Dec. 10, is the "early bird" registration deadline for the SWLC Study Week 2008, Jan. 16 - 19, at the Hotel Arizona in Tucson. The full registration cost is $115 if made by next Monday and $130 afterwards. 

You can register on line at www.swlc.org or by contacting the Office of Formation at pegid@diocesetucson.org or 520-838-2545.  Hosting this prestigious conference is an honor for our Diocese, and I hope all our parishes will be represented.
 
20. SWLC Priests' Luncheon -- All priests in the Diocese of Tucson are invited to the luncheon on Thursday, Jan. 17, at which Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta will share his knowledge and insights into the upcoming revisions of the Roman Missal and other issues of liturgical interest for the priest presiders. There is no charge for the priests of our Diocese to attend this luncheon, but priests wishing to attend should RSVP through the Office of Formation at pegid@diocesetucson.org or 520-838-2545.

21. "Pride of Safford Award" -- My congratulations to Father Ariel Lustan, pastor, and the people of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Safford for being recognized with a "Pride of Safford Award" last month. The monthly awards are given in recognition of efforts to make Safford a nice place to live, work and visit.

According to the Eastern Arizona Courier, the commendation to the parish read:

"St. Rose of Lima Parish is being recognized for the outstanding community involvement of the church's parishioners. Participation in community events such as the Graham County Fair and Parade and the Cinco de Mayo Parade and celebration are but a couple of the many activities in which St. Rose of Lima Church is a major participant. In addition, extensive improvements within the church and its grounds have added to the aesthetic appeal of the community."

My thanks to Deacon Carl Vessels for sharing this good news with Monday Memo.

22. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- Please pray that Msgr. Arsenio Carrillo and Father Charles Maloney will recovery quickly and be returned to full health following recent surgery.

Vol. 5, No. 33                                                                                                           
Dec. 10, 2007


As we light the second candle marking our journey through Advent, we prepare, we await, we long for the coming of Christ more fully into our lives. Many things seek to fill us, satisfy our longings. But only Christ brings fulfillment. To live like Him, to love like Him, to serve like Him brings fulfillment and the deep sense of joy and peace that nothing else can give.
 
As the shepherds and the kings sought to find the newborn Savior, we seek the One Who can calm our restless spirits.

Go in search of Christ this Advent. Read the Scriptures, spend time in silent prayer in the presence of the Eucharist and strive to live and love and serve as He did.

1. Ordination of Deacon Robert Rodriguez -- It was my joy on Saturday to ordain Robert Armando Rodriquez to the transitory diaconate for service to the Diocese of Tucson.

As Saturday was the Solemnity of Immaculate Conception and as his ordination took place at his home parish of Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma, Deacon Roberts's ordination was an occasion of great celebration for his family and the parish community. So many in Yuma were delighted to participate in his ordination Mass. You could feel the pride of the community.

Deacon Robert grew up in Yuma, one of 13 children of Robert and Connie Rodriguez. Deacon Robert went to Sacred Heart Seminary in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. Before entering seminary, he worked for his parents in the family business.

Deacon Robert was inspired to consider the priesthood by Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe, his pastor at Immaculate Conception Parish, by the Manitowoc Franciscan Sisters who teach at Immaculate Conception School in Yuma where he went to school, and also by Father Martin Martinez, Father Gonzalo Villegas and Julie Espinoza.
 
Deacon Robert will serve at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson beginning Jan. 15. He will remain there following his priesthood ordination in May for his first assignment as a priest.

2. Father Ed Carscallen's 60th Ordination Anniversary -- The community of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson celebrated the 60th 0rdination anniversary of their former pastor, Father Ed Carscallen, with great festivity Saturday evening. The turnout of priests and people was wonderful. Imagine all that Father Ed has done in those 60 years to influence the lives of thousands of people through his priestly ministry and through the Sacraments.
 
Thanks, Father Ed for your dedicated and generous service. Ad Multos Annos, gloriosque annos! (May you have many more years, glorious years, as a priest!)
 
3. Parent and Family Listening Session
-- I was delighted that 60 people from several parishes in Yuma and Somerton and Wellton attended the listening session Friday night at Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma.

A number of priests from the area, including Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe, Episcopal Vicar and pastor of Immaculate Conception, Father John Friel, pastor of St. John Neumann Parish, Father Xavier Perez, Vicar Forane and pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Somerton), Father Tomas Munoz, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Wellton) and Father Richard Kusugh, V.C., parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception Parish. Father Al Schifano, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, who accompanied me on the trip to Yuma and a number of deacons from area parishes were also present.

The discussion in English and Spanish was lively and engaging and covered a wide range of topics. Here is a sampling of the areas of concern that I heard:

--  We need more programs for the young such as those offered to youth in Protestant and Mormon congregations.
--  We need to engage our young people. Too often the Catholic Church seems indifferent to the youth. 
--  Arco Iris, a program in Spanish for youth is engaging and helpful and should be expanded.
--  It is a challenge to raise children with values and morals when the culture and even what is taught in their schools differ from what we value.
--  Messages of media are often anti-God and propose values opposed to what we believe.
--  Our Catholic Schools need to be more faithful in teaching the values we hold.
--  Parents working and trying to manage economically keep people from being present with their children.
--  Prevalence of divorce and its impact on family. The Church needs to do more to help struggling families.
--  Impact of drugs and alcohol leads to deterioration of the family
--  Impact of gangs and the draw on our children to join gangs
--  Pressure on children to be sexually active
--  Apathy of young to religion
--  Young people leaving the Church in their teens.
--  How do you get grandchildren to practice the faith?
--  The decay of moral standards.
 
Here's a sampling of what the parents thought our Church might do to help support them and their children in their faith lives:
 
--  Have youth Masses, retreats and other youth activities
--  Provide instruction on Sacred Scripture and what the Bible says to families.
--  Develop family activities.
--  Put Christ at the center of the family.
--  Provide more social activities.
--  Help children who have lost a parent to death or divorce.
--  Provide family counseling.
--  Clearer teaching of moral values.
--  More effective catechism teaching on our moral values.
--  More education of parents.
--  Make Catholic education in Catholic Schools more accessible financially.
--  Give better guidance than was provided in the movie review of Golden Compass.
--  Make young people know we value and respect them.

4. Dedication of Memorial to Victims of Sexual Abuse
-- The staff of the Pastoral Center gathered last Wednesday afternoon in the Center's lobby for the blessing and dedication of the memorial to victims of sexual abuse by Church personnel in the Diocese of Tucson.

The memorial is a beautiful statue of Christ with children that was created by Sister Esther Sawal, O.C.S.O., of Santa Rita Abbey in Sonoita. We were honored that Sister Esther, accompanied by Sister Miriam Pollard, O.C.S.O., and Sister Rita McCarthy , O.C.S.O., could be with us for the blessing and dedication.

We also were honored by the presence of one of the victims.

I share with you the prayer that we prayed at the dedication, and I ask that you pray it as you read it.

God of endless love, ever caring, ever strong, always present, always just: You gave Your only Son to save us by the blood of His cross.

Gentle Jesus, Shepherd of Peace, join to Your Own suffering the pain of all who have been hurt in body, mind and spirit by those who betrayed the trust placed in them.

Here our cries as we agonize over the harm done to our brothers and sisters. Breathe wisdom into our prayers, soothe restless hearts with hope, steady shaking spirits with faith: Show us the way to justice and wholeness, enlightened by truth and enfolded in Your mercy.

Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts, heal your people's wounds and transform our brokenness. Grant us courage and wisdom, humility and grace, so that we may act with justice and find peace in You.

We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
("A Prayer for Healing," U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops)

In my remarks, I noted that the sculpture, in its place of prominence in the lobby of the Pastoral Center, is a reminder to us of the children who were abused and the pain they and their families experience. I said that for all of us who work in the Pastoral Center each encounter with the sculpture is an occasion of prayer and recommitment to the safety of children. I said that the sculpture is a reminder to all who visit the Pastoral Center that we will not forget what happened.

I also asked for all to remember and to pray for Veronica Porter, whose love of children was demonstrated in her generous gift to the Diocese that made acquisition of the statue possible.

5. National Pastoral Life Center
-- I am in New York City today for the quarterly meeting of the Center's Board of Directors.

Father John Hurley, C.S.P., the new director of the Center, is eager to work with bishops and dioceses to help provide ongoing formation for priests and people involved in pastoral ministry. He brings many new and creative ideas to the work of the Center.

The Center serves the leadership of the Church's pastoral ministry, particularly in parishes and diocesan offices. Founded in 1983 by the late Msgr. Philip J. Murnion with the encouragement of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Center promotes best practices in pastoral ministry through a variety of programs, projects, and associations. More information about the Center is available at www.nplc.org.

6. Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe -- We celebrate this Wednesday the feast of the Patroness of the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is so much in the hearts of the Mexican People, who is venerated with great respect and affection in our region of the Sonoran Desert and who is beloved universally for the message of hope she brought centuries ago.

In our churches and missions and in countless home shrines in all the communities of our Diocese this Wednesday, statues and images of Our Lady of Guadalupe will be decorated with roses.

I will celebrate the traditional Mass of the feast day with the students, faculty and staff of Salpointe High School in Tucson at 9 a.m. At 7 p.m., it will be my joy celebrate the feast day Mass with Father Raul Trevizo, pastor, and the people of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Tucson.

7. Vicariate Meeting -- I am very happy to have the opportunity to attend the Pima South Vicariate meeting this Friday, and I look forward to being with Father Gonzalo Villegas, Vicar Forane, and the priests of the vicariate.

It is so important that our priests meet regularly to be informed about what is happening in the Diocese and to consider pastoral responses to the challenges they face today in parish life. Vicariate meetings also are an important opportunity to build fraternity among our priests, and I encourage our priests to make these gatherings a priority on their schedules.
 
I am grateful to the Vicars Forane for their leadership in our vicariates. Their assistance is a great aid to me in reaching out to and caring for our priests.

8. Arizona Ecumenical Council Retreat -- I am very pleased to be able to join representatives of the Council's member denominations at this Thursday's retreat at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks.

Under the direction of Rev. Jan Flaaten of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Council coordinates the ecumenical work of churches, organizations and individuals in Arizona who are committed to the unity of Christian churches through prayer, study, dialogue and action.

9. Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre -- The Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre in our Diocese will begin the process of welcoming new members with an orientation session this Thursday afternoon here at the Pastoral Center.

10. Santa Cruz Vicariate Catholic Schools Task Force -- I will meet this Friday with pastors, principals and school board members of our Catholic schools in the Santa Cruz Vicariate to discuss the future needs of Catholic education in the vicariate.

11. Diocesan Pastoral Council -- The Council meets this Saturday here at the Pastoral Center. We will discuss our diocesan goals and priorities and those of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the areas of supporting marriage, ministry to persons of homosexual orientation, catechesis of the young and outreach to Catholics who feel alienated from the Church and the practice of their faith.

12. Ministry of Acolyte
-- I will confer the Ministry of Acolyte on the 24 candidates for the permanent diaconate this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at the St. Augustine High School Chapel. As they continue on their journey toward ordination, the candidates receive this second of the reformed minor orders. 

As this ministry is conferred, each candidate will approach me and I will give him a vessel with bread or wine to be consecrated saying,  "Take this vessel for the celebration of the Eucharist. Make your like worthy of your service at the table of the Lord and of his Church."

The responsibilities of the acolyte include attending to the service of the altar and to assist the deacon and the priest in liturgical celebrations, especially in the celebration of Mass. The acolyte is also to distribute Communion as a special minister when needed. 

13. Bi-national Advent Posada on the Border -- This annual special Posada will take place this Saturday in Nogales beginning at 3 p.m. at the border fence at the Morley Street entrance to Nogales, Sonora.

The flyer for this year's event states very well the message the Posada hopes to communicate:

"The steel and barbed wire fence that separates the U.S. and Mexico will become a powerful symbol again this year -- not of division, but of unity and solidarity as pilgrims on both sides of the border will meet in Nogales to re-enact, with music and prayers "La Posada" or journey of Mary and Joseph as they went from house to house, seeking shelter and hospitality on the first Christmas. The ceremony is designed to strengthen social, religious, economic and cultural bonds in both countries and to counter the virulent anti-immigration sentiment that currently permeates the atmosphere."

The Posada is sponsored by our diocesan Catholic Social Mission Office, the Archdiocese of Hermosillo Migrant Ministry, the Catholic Relief Services Mexico Project, the Diocese of Phoenix Office of Peace and Justice, the League of Young Missionaries in Nogales, Sonora, and Diocese without Borders of Hermosillo, Tucson, Phoenix.

All are welcome to attend the Posada. Bus transportation to Nogales is being arranged. For more information, please contact Joanne Welter in our Catholic Social Mission Office, 792-3410 or socialmission@diocesetucson.org.

14. Catholic Physicians Mass -- I will be celebrating the fourth annual Mass for Catholic Physicians and their families at St. Mary's Hospital Chapel in Tucson this Sunday at 10 a.m.

15. Gathering with Women Religious -- The second of the special gatherings with Religious servicing in our Diocese will be this Sunday evening at the Bishop's Residence. I look forward to being with the Sisters and hearing from them the joys and challenges of their ministry.

16. In the Spirit of the Season -- Tomorrow evening, I will be attending the 11th annual Christmas concert by the Tucson Boys Chorus and the Sons of Orpheus at Mission San Xavier del Bac.

This Friday at 5:30 p.m., I will preside at the annual Advent Mass and Tree Lighting Ceremony at Holy Hope Cemetery in Tucson.

I am happy to bring to your attention these special events for Advent and Christmas:

The Choir of the Church of Our Lady of the Desert at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks will present the 5th Annual Festival of Lessons and Carols at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 18. You are welcome to contact Gerry Murphy at 520-744-3400, extension 122, and gmurphy@desertrenewal.org for more information. It will be a delightful evening and a beautiful way to welcome in the Christmas season.

St. Christopher Parish in Marana will present the "Joy of Christmas" on Saturday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. Members of the parish's youth group will reenact, with music, the scenes of the Nativity from the Annunciation to the Birth of Jesus. Also, the teens will present a "Live Nativity" before the Christmas Eve Masses at 7 p.m. and midnight and before the 7, 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. Christmas Day Masses. Father Abran Tadeo, the teens and the entire parish community are very excited about these presentations and invite all to attend.

17. Eparchy of Van Nuys -- The Vatican announced last Thursday that Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation Bishop Andrew Pataki of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic (New Jersey) and appointed Bishop William C. Skurla of the Byzantine Eparchy of Van Nuys (California) as his successor.

The Holy Father also named Very Reverend Gerald N. Dino, protosyncellus (chancellor) of the Passaic Eparchy and pastor of St. George Parish, Linden, New Jersey, to succeed Bishop Skurla as Bishop of Van Nuys.

Bishop Skurla's enthronement will take place at the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel, in Passaic, on Jan. 29. Bishop-elect Dino will be ordained and enthroned at St. Helen Catholic Church in Phoenix on March 27.

We extend our prayerful best wishes and congratulations to Bishop Skurla and Bishop-elect Dino.
 
18. Congratulations! -- Congratulations to Father Raul Trevizo, pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Tucson and Vicar General, who will be recognized this Thursday by the Hispanic Professional Action Committee.

Each year, the Committee presents awards to acknowledge leadership and service contributions for positive change in the social, economic or cultural conditions of the Hispanic Community. Father Raul will be receiving the Committee's "Man of the Year" Award.

As a non-profit organization, the Committee's mission is to promote activities that affect the well being and culture of Hispanics in the fields of education, health, business, finance, equity in employment, youth programs, international affairs and law.

Congratulations to Father Gilbert Malu, pastor of Immaculate Conception and St. Luke Parishes in Douglas and St. Bernard Parish in Pirtleville, and Father Xavier Perez, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Somerton upon the recent completion of degrees in counseling through Northern Arizona University.
 
It is important that our priests continue to learn and educate themselves in areas important for their pastoral work. This degree in counseling will support Father Gilbert and Father Xavier in their efforts to be sensitive to people's needs and to assist them in their struggles and challenges.
 
19. Our Cathedral Gets a Bath
-- The exterior of St. Augustine Cathedral received a through power spraying last week in preparation for painting. It was quite a sight as workers used an articulated lift to access the higher reaches of the Cathedral's walls. It is possible, depending on the weather, that painting could begin as early as next week.

20. Remember in Your Prayers -- Please continue to pray for Msgr. Arsenio Carrillo, Father Charles Maloney, and Father William Dougherty, C.S.P., all of whom are recuperating after recent surgeries.
 
Please pray for the repose of the soul of Mike Montijo, nephew of Marty Hammond of our Vocations Office, who died in a car accident last week. We pray for him and for the comfort of his family.

Vol. 5, No. 34
Dec. 17, 2007


Gaudete Sunday, which we just celebrated, marks the beginning of the final days of our preparation for Christmas. Three candles are now lit in the Advent Wreath. The Lord is near.
 
Parishes begin their hectic planning for the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Masses. Much planning goes into these special celebrations. Our churches will be packed, standing room only.
 
Christmas is an occasion to welcome back to the Church many who have not been regular Mass-goers. We strive to make them welcome, to invite them to become active in their faith and to live out their Baptismal Call. They have so many gifts to bring to the mission of Christ.
 
This past Sunday's readings talk about the lame who walk, the deaf who hear, the blind who see. Christ is found in the many acts of healing, compassion and kindness that we show each day. Gaudete means joy. There is no greater joy that one can know than the joy that comes from helping others and assisting others in need. In all the busyness of these final days before Christmas, see and hear the needs of others and open your hearts in response.
 
1. Diocesan Pastoral Council -- The members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council were enthusiastic at Saturday's meeting about extending the parent and grandparent listening sessions (two of which I have held, in Tucson and in Yuma) to each vicariate. They agreed to conduct gatherings in their homes or at their parishes to identify concerns of parents and grandparents in the raising of their children and to hear from them suggestions on ways that the Church could be more responsive and helpful to them.
 
These sessions, by invitation, would take place during January, and members would report on their experiences at the February meeting of Council.
 
Father Bart Hutcherson, O.P., pastor of St. Thomas More Newman Center Parish in Tucson, conducted a training session at our meeting for the members to prepare them to conduct the gatherings.
 
I will be talking about this effort with the vicars forane at today's Presbyteral Council meeting and will ask their support and cooperation in identifying participants.

2. A Joyful 100th Birthday Celebration
-- Pastora Felix from the Florence - Coolidge area was honored Saturday with a 100th birthday celebration that began with Mass at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Florence celebrated by Father. Marco Basulto Pitol, pastor of St. James Parish in Coolidge.

Pastora was the mother of four sons: Fernando, Paul, John, and Rudy. After the Mass, the family and friends gathered in the parish hall for a grand party, so well deserved. Paul and Kathleen Felix and John and Carol Felix had much to celebrate with their mother, who, while delighting in all the attention, admitted to being only 50-years-old.

3. Gathering with Women Religious -- I am enjoying the opportunity to meet in small groups with some of our women and men Religious of the Diocese. The second gathering, held last evening at the Bishop's Residence, was attended by the Minim Sisters, who have such a rich history in our Diocese, especially in the ministries of education and health care. Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, C.F.M.M., a member of the community, is our Superintendent of Catholic Schools.

It was fascinating for me to hear the places where these sisters have served. Some had served in various parts of Mexico, which is where the Minim Sisters Motherhouse is, and in Cuba. The Minim Sisters began serving in Nogales at Sacred Heart Parish, where the Adrian Dominicans and Sisters of Mercy had served before. They began their own school in Nogales in 1940 and operated that school and their school at the parish for many years. Sacred Heart is now a parochial school.
 
Also joining us at the gathering was Sister Rosemary Cummins, O.P., a member of the Kentucky Dominicans, who is serving at the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Florence Service Processing Center.
 
I am grateful to Sister Rina Cappellazzo, O.P., our Vicar for Religious, for organizing these gatherings. It is inspiring to hear the diversity of ministries in which our Religious are involved and to hear the history of their service in the Church.
 
4. Presbyteral Council Meeting
-- The Council meets this morning here at the Pastoral Center. Our agenda includes a presentation by Richard Serrano and Alicia Corti of the Human Resources Department on the importance of complying with the requirements of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Richard and Alicia also will brief the vicars forane on how the Human Resources Department will assist parishes and schools in the electronic verification of the Form I-9 information that is now a requirement under Arizona law.

5. Priests' Advent Day of Prayer -- Our priests will gather this afternoon at St. Ambrose Parish in Tucson for our annual Advent Day of Prayer. This opportunity for prayer and reflection is a great support for priests as they enter the last few days of Advent and prepare for the great liturgies Christmas. Father Chris Corbally, S.J., one of the Vatican Observatory astronomers serving in our Diocese, will direct our afternoon. I thank Father John Arnold, pastor of St. Ambrose, for hosting the day and Father James Hobert, pastor of St. Monica Parish in Tucson and director of our Ministry to Priests Program, for organizing the day. We all are looking forward to another sumptuous meal prepared by Father Dom Pinti.

6. Ordinations to Transitional Diaconate -- It will be my joy this Saturday to ordain Emilio Chapa, Edward Lucero and Mario "Ricky" Ordoñez to the transitional diaconate in service to our Diocese.

Their ordinations will take place during the 9 a.m. Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral, and I invite you to join us.

Emilio, a Tucson native, is the son of Ricardo Chapa and Delfina Landeros. His home parish is St. John the Evangelist in Tucson. Before entering the seminary, Emilio was pursuing an engineering degree.
 
Edward, a native of Glendale, California, is the son of Yolanda Cohen of Tempe. His home parish is Our Mother of Sorrows in Tucson. Before entering the seminary, Edward served in the U.S. Army. He graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Magna Cum Laude degree in finance.
 
Mario "Ricky"Ordoñez, a native of the Philippines, is the son of Delfin and Maria Lourdes Ordoñez. His home parish in our Diocese is St. Francis de Sales in Tucson. Before entering seminary, "Ricky" had a career in the travel industry and served as president of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association.

We anticipate ordaining Deacons Robert Rodriguez (who was ordained on Dec. 8), Emilio, Edward and "Ricky" to the priesthood next spring.

7. In the Spirit of the Season -- On Thursday, the staff here at the Pastoral Center will hold our annual Christmas luncheon. This luncheon is an opportunity for me to thank the staff members who have reached significant anniversaries of their service to the Diocese.

I will be joining our Asian Catholic Community for the second annual Simbang Gabi Mass and Celebration this Thursday evening at St. Joseph Parish. The Simbang Gabi ("Night Mass") is the most important Filipino Christmas tradition.

On Friday evening at the Bishop's Residence, I will host our seminarians and their families for the annual seminarian Christmas dinner.

I will join the community of St. Augustine Cathedral Parish this Sunday at 7 p.m. for the parish's celebration of Las Posadas, the beautiful tradition that commemorates the search of Joseph and Mary for shelter in Bethlehem.

8. Arizona Illustrated -- I will be the guest for this week's Arizona Illustrated "Friday Roundtable" segment on KUAT-TV at 6:30 p.m. I thank managing editor and anchor Bill Buckmaster for inviting me to be the pre-Christmas guest for the segment.

9. Christmas Eve Morning Mass
-- I will celebrate Mass this Monday morning at 10 a.m. at the Pima County Detention Center. This is the fourth annual Christmas Eve Mass at the Center.

I am grateful to the Center's administration for the opportunity to celebrate this Mass and to Barb Mattus, director of Detention Ministry, Annie Lopez and the other regular volunteers at the Detention Center for their ministry at the Center.

10. Christmas Eve Mass -- I will be celebrating the 5 p.m. Vigil Mass with the children of St. Augustine Cathedral Parish and the 7:30 p.m. Vigil Mass with the Cathedral Parish Community.

I deeply appreciate the time and effort of rector Father Pat Crino, Father Frank Cady, Msgr. Carlos Romero, the Cathedral's Deacons and the staff to prepare for these liturgies.

11. Southwest Liturgical Conference Study Week 2008 -- We are only weeks away from the Southwest Liturgical Conference Study Week 2008, set for Jan. 16-19 at the Hotel Arizona in downtown Tucson. 

It is not too late to register, and I strongly encourage participation by all of our parishes. As our Diocese is the host, I hope all our parishes will be represented.

To date, about 100 people from 24 parishes in our Diocese have registered for the full Study Week or for one-day participation. Also, more than 400 of our Catholic School teachers are registered for their in-service day on Friday, Jan. 18. 

I urge our parish catechists and musicians to attend the Saturday sessions that are aimed at supporting their areas of ministry. Catechists and Catholic School teachers will earn credits toward certification by their attendance. Deacons also can use this opportunity for on-going formation hours needed for this year.

Father Miguel Mariano, director of our Office of Vocations, Sister Lois Paha, O.P., director of our Office of Formation, and the Study Week Planning Committee are working hard to make this a memorable event for the SWLC and for our Diocese. 

Registration information is available on line at www.swlc or from the Office of Formation, 520-838-2454 or pegid@diocesetucson.org

12. Five-Year Report On Church Handling Of Clergy Sex Abuse Of Minors -- The National Review Board, which reviews the compliance of dioceses in the U.S. with the requirements of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a five-year report last Thursday.



Addressed to the U.S. Catholic faithful, the Board says the report is "a record of accomplishments, unfinished work and challenges that lie ahead."

In a statement accompanying the report, Judge Michael R. Merz, chair of the Board, commended the efforts of dioceses to date and said that these efforts for prevention, healing and vigilance will be "demanded for the rest of our days." He said, "The price of this crime (abuse of children by clergy) is steep both in the pain felt by victims and the shadow cast on the reputation of innocent Catholic priests. Most priests never have abused a child or even someone's trust in them, but they bear shame by association. It's not right, but that's the fact."



"Bishops have taken a strong approach to dealing with this crisis," Judge Merz said. "Sexual abuse of children is not a problem in the Church alone, but bishops as moral leaders must stand in the forefront of protecting children. The Board is proud to collaborate with the bishops in the protection of children and young people."



The Board cited the need to keep Church members better informed on the positive responses the bishops have made and the importance of more active observers of the programs and processes for safe environments in their parishes and dioceses.



"Such communication is vitally important, since the work of the National Review Board is strengthened by vigilant parents and parishioners who investigate the presence and quality of the programs in their parishes and dioceses," the report said. "The obligation to provide safe environments that prevent damage to children, young people, families, parishes, dioceses, and the Church rests with all Catholics." 



I urge you to read the report, which you can access at www.usccb.org/nrb/nrbreport2007.

13. Santa Cruz Vicariate Catholic Schools Task Force -- In Friday's meeting to consider the needs of Catholic education and Catholic Schools in the Santa Cruz Vicariate, we organized a task force to consider how Catholic education can flourish in Santa Cruz County, especially in Nogales and Rio Rico.
 
Father Al Schifano, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, and Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, C.F.M.M., Superintendent of Catholic Schools, are leading the task force.

14. Pope Benedict XVI's Message for World Day of Peace  -- As we prepare to begin the New Year of Our Lord 2008, I join Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago and president of the USCCB, in encouraging all to read "The Human Family, a Community of Peace," Pope Benedict XVI's message for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace on Jan. 1.

In his official statement about the message, Cardinal George said, 

"It points out that every one of us, individually and as a nation, bears responsibility for peace-making, which begins at home both in how we treat one another and how we use all the earth's resources."

You can read the Holy Father's message at www.vatican.va.

15. An Angel Seen on High at Mission San Xavier del Bac -- I thank Bunny Fontana, parishioner of the Mission, for sharing this photo:



Here is Bunny's explanation of this marvelous image:

The angel's wings are composed of the piled-aside black cloth that had been used to envelop the scaffolding to prevent materials from falling beyond the scaffolding's confines and to afford the workers some protection from sun and weather. Work on the lantern -- which became the angel's head -- and the topmost portion of the dome on the west bell tower was completed on Dec. 4, and that's when scaffolding removal began. Danny Morales noticed the angel when he was driving east toward the mission on his way to work on Dec. 5. He called me on Dec. 5 to say if I wanted to see the angel I needed to get over there at dawn on the 6th because more of the scaffolding, as well as the cloth, was coming down that day. And the silhouette could be seen only at sunrise. The picture I sent, taken with a very inexpensive digital camera, is the result. I could hardly believe what I was seeing, and found myself laughing in awe the whole time I was there. Also coincidentally, the book written by me and illustrated with Edward McCain's color photographs which chronicles virtually all of the Mission's art, is titled "A Gift of Angels: The Art of Mission San Xavier del Bac." A huge coffee table tome, it will be published in the Southwest Center Series by the University of Arizona Press either in 2008 or 2009.

Bunny knows and loves the Mission from his unique perspective as an ethno-historian. Although retired after many years of teaching and research at the University of Arizona, Bunny still works very hard at helping us appreciate and learn about the culture and history of this unique region we are blessed to call "home."

16. Don't Forget the CTSO, CCS Tax Credits -- Monday, Dec. 31, is the deadline for making your contributions to the Catholic Tuition Support Organization and Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona so that you can qualify for credits on your Arizona income tax for this year.



Your contribution to the CTSO may qualify you for the Private School Tuition Tax Credit. Information on this tax credit is available at www.ctso-tucson.org.



CCS is recognized as a qualified agency under the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit Program for the Working Poor. Your contribution to CCS can make you eligible for the "Arizona Charitable Tax Credit." For more information, you can visit www.ccs-soaz.org (click on "Giving").

17. Memorial Mass for Msgr. Edward Ryle -- The second annual Memorial Mass and Reception remembering Msgr. Edward Ryle, will be celebrated on Thursday, Jan. 3, at Brophy Chapel in Phoenix, sponsored by the Msgr. Ryle Fund Committee.

Since his death two years ago, the Committee has been working to carry on Msgr. Ryle's legacy by raising funds to support social justice causes. Msgr. Ryle was the long-time director of the Arizona Catholic Conference. He was a priest of our Diocese

In its invitation to the Mass, the Committee wrote, "Msgr. Ryle was a stalwart, kind and convincing advocate, forever remembering the poor and disadvantaged, and always working to make the world more just."

18. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- Please pray for the repose of the soul of John Balduck, brother of Father Walter Balduck, O.F.M. Cap. Father Walter is administrator of St. Theresa Parish in Patagonia.

19. Christmas and New Year's Break -- As next Monday is Christmas Eve, this will be the last Monday Memo for 2007.

I will be spending Christmas with my mom and family in Chicago. I will be on retreat the first week of the New Year with my brother bishops of Region XIII at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks. Our retreat will be conducted by Father Robert Barron, a professor of systematic theology at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein. We are delighted that Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, will be making the retreat with our region.

Monday Memo will return on Jan. 7.