Feb. 6, 2012 Feb.13, 2012 Feb.20, 2012 Feb.27, 2012

Vol. 9, No. 35
Feb. 6, 2012

Mandate of Health and Human Services

Following the recent decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services not to expand the health insurance exemption for religious institutions regarding contraception, abortifacients and sterilization, I have made several public statements (in the Monday Memo, in one television news interview, and as chair of the Board of Directors of Catholic Relief Services) about why this decision is wrong and how it endangers our rights to act in accord with our consciences and our religious beliefs.

Because the deadline for this month’s New Vision did not allow an opportunity for me to communicate my reaction to the decision, I have written the following statement:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services decided recently not to exempt religious affiliated education and social services agencies and hospitals from requirements to provide contraception, abortfacients and sterilization in health insurance plans for employees. This decision has led to justifiable concern from within our Church and from many segments of our society.

In the time since that decision, I have communicated publicly why this decision is wrong and how it endangers our rights to act in accord with our consciences and our religious beliefs.

Allow me to express my concern and why it is important that we, as people of faith, must respond.

Historically in our nation, we have recognized as rights that religions may freely teach, preach and act on what is believed. Our Catholic Church has taught, has preached and has acted on what we believe. As individual Catholics, we have been free to act on what our Church teaches and preaches.

Now, in an unprecedented intrusion into the rights of religion, an agency of our Federal Government, with the support of the present Administration, has mandated that while religions are free to teach and preach what they believe, there is now a mandate that affects their freedom to act on what they believe in certain circumstances.

How does this affect our Church?

Our Church teaches and preaches care and compassion for the littlest and weakest among us. Catholic Charities throughout our nation – the largest network of social services in our nation – acts on what our Church teaches and preaches, serving millions of persons, regardless of race, creed or religion.

Our Church teaches and preaches that medical care and health services are basic human rights and that it is a duty and a responsibility for our Church to provide those human rights. Our Catholic hospitals and Catholic affiliated hospitals act on what the Church teaches and preaches, serving millions of persons, regardless of race, creed or religion.

Our Church teaches and preaches the responsibility to hand on the faith to our children and that education is essential to human development. Catholic colleges and universities act on what the Church teaches and preaches, providing a quality education based on the values of our faith to millions of students.

The Department of Health and Human Services, for reasons that are not clear, has decided that our Catholic Charities, our Catholic hospitals and our Catholic institutions of higher education – essential ministries of our Church – may, in some circumstances, no longer uphold what the Church teaches regarding the sanctity and dignity of all human life from conception to natural death.

Furthermore this decision would require the administrators and staff of those ministries to act against their consciences that are formed by what our Church teaches. This decision puts our Church in an impossible situation.
 
Being faithful to what our Church teaches and preaches is at the heart of our Church’s actions and at the heart of the Catholic identity of each of these ministries.
Our Church’s acts of care and compassion, of handing on the faith, and of human development through education are motivated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that compels us to cherish, preserve, and uphold the sanctity and dignity of all human life.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is exploring how best to respond to this situation including the possibility of litigation and advocacy for legislative action.

It would be important for the Church to continue to communicate with the Administration on the importance of this matter to us and that this mandate seriously jeopardizes the good work being done by the Church throughout our country and across the world.

What can you do about this situation?

You can be informed, you can speak out, and you can pray.

Please visit the Web site of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at www.usccb.org/news/2012/12-020.cfm There are many resources there that will explain why our Church is so concerned about this situation. You will see that it is not just our Church that is opposing this decision.

Also at that Web site, there is an opportunity for you to directly communicate to our elected representatives in Congress and to the Administration your concern about and your opposition to the decision.

Pray. Pray that this decision, which is an unprecedented aberration from the historic and traditional respect that our Federal government has had for religious liberty and the rights of conscience, will be rescinded.

(Pastors, Administrators and Pastoral Administrators can use this statement in ways that you feel would be helpful)

2. Annual Catholic Appeal
As I reflect on this past weekend’s launch of our annual Appeal, I begin with a phrase I hope is well known to you: We are co-workers in the Vineyard.

If you’re a regular Monday Memo reader, and I hope you are, then you may already recognize this as the theme for our Annual Catholic Appeal.

A wonderful video featuring beautiful images from a vineyard, and set to the music of Alex Navas, of Santa Cruz parish, introduced the Appeal with the following text:

We see the vine and the branches…the vine and the branches about which our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, tells us… “as the branches are joined to the vine, so do we belong to Christ, and as we belong to Christ, we belong to one another!”

And the vineyard in which we the branches are joined to Him, the vine… is His vineyard, our Church!

“Be Co-Workers in His Vineyard," is the theme for this year’s Appeal. We also are using similar wording as the theme of our upcoming Diocesan conference. I’ll tell you more about that shortly.
Working together is very much at the core of our faith. The sharing of time, talents and resources reinforces that we are one body in Christ.
Funds raised through the Appeal help finance the work of sustaining 26 ministries and charities across the Diocese. Our goal this year is to raise the same amount for these charities and ministries of as in 2011: $3.7 million.

With those funds we assist Catholic Community Services, educate our teachers of religious education and support Catholic Schools, support communication through the diocesan newspaper and web sites, and provide for other critical diocesan programs and services.

I ask that we all consider making a contribution to the Appeal. Combined, the resources can be shared to the benefit of thousands of people.

This Friday I will be in Sierra Vista at St. Andrew Parish for their annual dinner to reach their goal in the Annual Catholic Appeal. Fr. Greg Adolf, pastor, and Fr. Marco Basulto Pitol, parochial vicar, and the parishioners join together for an evening as they make their pledges for the Appeal. Fr. Adolf is always the first to make his contribution. The evening is marked by fellowship, good food, and a great spirit of stewardship as people do what they can to help make the Appeal at St. Andrew a great success. Great work, St. Andrew!
 

3. Views from the past: Our Arizona Centennial Project.
On Feb. 14, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Arizona’s Statehood. One great way to commemorate our state’s history is by viewing the exhibit, “The Sisters: Roman Catholic Women Religion in Arizona,” opening to the public on Valentines Day.

The exhibit is at the Diocesan Archives, 300 S. Tucson Blvd., on the campus of St. Ambrose Parish.

There you will see an amazing array of photos of sisters hard at work in a myriad of ministries. Many of us can remember the Sisters as teachers and nurses. In fact, Sisters became part of Tucson shortly after Bishop Jean-Baptiste Salpointe asked the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet to come to Tucson in the 1870s to start a school. Several years later, the Sisters went on to start the first hospital in Arizona.

Through the years we find the Sisters in all sorts of ministries, especially education and healthcare, but extending out to religious education at churches, working with those incarcerated in prisons, and as you will see at the exhibit, even serving in the Arizona Legislature.

I encourage you to visit the exhibit. Admission is free, and you will learn something new and delightful about these extraordinary chapters of Arizona’s history.

4. Jubilee Celebration for Religion Women and Men
One of my favorite events is the annual celebration of anniversaries of those in religious life, and the recognition of the dedication of these amazing people. This celebration took place yesterday at St. Augustine Cathedral.

I am grateful to Father R.B.Williams, O.P., Father Sean Carrol, S.J., Father Matthew Thayil, M.S.F.S., Father Alex Tigga, M.S.F.S, Father Peter Neely, S.J, and Msgr. Van Wagner who assisted as concelebrants of the Mass, and to Father Gonzalo Villegas, V.F., and the Cathedral staff.

Celebrating their 60th jubilees are: Sister Mary Bede Luetkemeyer, O.S.B. Sister Mary Jane Romero, O.S.B., and Sister Anita Valdez, O.S.B.

Celebrating 50 years in religious life are: Sister Maria Apalategui, O.P. of Catholic Community Services; Sister Elizabeth Ann Christensen, S.D.S., administrative assistant ; Sister Wilhelmine Galle, I.H.M.; and Sister MaryAnn McElmurry, O.P. , teacher and educational coordinator.

Celebrating 25 years of service is Sister Lynn Allvin, O.P.

We also remember the contributions of these Sisters who were unable to attend Sunday’s Mass: Sister Mary Dominic Pacheco, I.H.M.; Sister Clare Renquin, O.C.S.O.; Sister Ester Marie Scrivner, C.F.M.M.; and Sister Mary Julian Valdez, I.H.M.

Thanks to Sister Rina Cappellazzo, O.P., our diocesan Vicar for Religious, for organizing this annual celebration, and also to the Knights of Columbus and the Serra Club for their help at the celebration.

5. Hearing the call to priesthood
Today and tomorrow I will be meeting with our priests ordained five years or less. These gatherings are a chance for the priests to build fraternity and to be involved in continuing formation.

After doing a review of sharing what is going well and what the priests are finding difficult, they will prepare to visit four vicariates tomorrow night to talk to men thinking about the possibility of a vocation to the priesthood. Also tomorrow these recently ordained will go out to our Tucson Catholic high schools to meet young men identified as potentially having a vocation.

Please pray some will hear God's call to serve.

6. Operation Rice Bowl
I have seen the Catholic Relief Services display set up in the Pastoral Center, and I know Lent is approaching.

Catholic Relief Services holds its “Operation Rice Bowl” campaign every February to raise money to feed the hungry worldwide. This is the 37th year CRS has held the program. The iconic cardboard “rice bowls” in which people can drop their donations have been sent to many of our parishes and schools.

While helping to raise money, Operation Rice Bowl participants also learn about other countries, such as Vietnam, Zambia, India, El Salvador and Madagascar. My sincere thanks to Joanne Welter, director of the Office of Human Life and Dignity, who leads our efforts to support this mission for Catholic Relief Services.

7. Priest appreciation night
The Knights of Columbus will host their annual appreciation night for priests at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish tomorrow. It is always a delightful evening. This is just another example of what our Knights do for our Diocese.

I am glad we will honor our Knights this April at the Cornerstone Gala , sponsored by the Catholic Foundation, at the Marriott Starr Pass Resort.

8. Working at the Redemptorist Renewal Center
Our monthly day of prayer for priests will take place this Thursday at the Redemptorist Renewal Center in northwest Tucson. This is an excellent opportunity for our dedicated priests to step away, breathe and have some time to renew themselves. I hope a number of our priests will participate.

On Friday, I will be back at the Redemptorist Center for the Association of Graduate Programs in Ministry’s annual gathering, www.agpim.org/ . I look forward to discussing the importance of their work and describing for participants what I envision their candidates in training will be like when they go into ministry.

I hope these graduates will be people of prayer steeped in the Church's teachings, committed to social justice and able to work collaboratively with our priests and deacons and others in ministry.

9. Confirmations: This week I will be celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation at Sts. Peter Paul Parish, which will include students from Salpointe Catholic High School, Sacred Heart Parish, San Xavier del Bac Parish and candidates from Sts. Peter and Paul.

10. Be Co-Workers in the Vineyard
No, you’re not seeing double. Remember, I mentioned that the Monday Memo would have another reference to working in the vineyard.

So many of you here in the Diocese of Tucson volunteer or work at or for your parish. You might be involved in religious education, be part of a support group, or perhaps you’re an usher or a greeter. Do you manage your parish office? Belong to the Knights of Columbus, or sing in a choir?

If you answered yes to any of these or if you thought of other “jobs” you do for your parish, then you are involved in ministry, and we would like to see you at the upcoming “Be Co-Workers in the Vineyard” conference.

The conference will be held at the Tucson Convention Center March 15 to March 17. The Diocese has organized 80 workshops or presentations on a many different topics, all designed to revitalize and encourage you.

Come to the conference. Be inspired. Be informed. Be there! Registration is available online at http://www.workersvineyard.com/, or by using forms available at your parish office on in the New Vision newspaper.

11. Out of Town: I will be leading the annual Retreat for Priests in Boston next week. I appreciate the invitation to preach during this retreat for a group of 50 priests from the Archdiocese of Boston who have gone through some difficult times these past few years. Please pray that the retreat will lift their spirits.

Welcome
Join me in welcoming back to the Diocese, Father Peter Ukor Agema, who is assigned as Parochial Vicar at Sacred Heart Parish, and Father Changwoo Yoo, was has been assigned as Pastor for the Korean Catholic Community.

Please pray for
Sister Noelle O’Shea, C.S.J., and also for Julieta Gonzalez, program coordinator for our Catholic Tuition Support Organization, both of whom are recovering from recent surgeries.

Vol. 9, No. 36
Feb.13, 2012

Health and Human Services Mandate evolves
Dioceses across the country and people of other faiths have expressed their concerns
about the recent Department of Health and Human Services decision. Our combined
consternation helped move the Obama Administration to offer a revision of the mandate
last Friday.

The revision has been studied and discussed. I hope the following comments from the
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, (USCCB), will help keep you informed of
what is happening and the observations of the Bishops.

Late Friday the USCCB issued the following statement, indicating serious concerns about
the recent changes:

The Catholic bishops have long supported access to life-affirming healthcare for all, and the conscience rights of everyone involved in the complex process of providing that healthcare. That is why we raised two serious objections to the "preventive services" regulation issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in August 2011.

First, we objected to the rule forcing private health plans — nationwide, by the stroke of a bureaucrat's pen—to cover sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion. All the other mandated "preventive services" prevent disease, and pregnancy is not a disease. Moreover, forcing plans to cover abortifacients violates existing federal conscience laws. Therefore, we called for the rescission of the
mandate altogether.

Second, we explained that the mandate would impose a burden of unprecedented reach and severity on the consciences of those who consider such "services" immoral: insurers forced to write policies including this coverage; employers and schools forced to sponsor and subsidize the coverage; and individual employees and students forced to pay premiums for the coverage. We therefore urged HHS, if it insisted on keeping the mandate, to provide a conscience exemption for all of these stakeholders—not just the extremely small subset of "religious employers" that HHS proposed to exempt initially.

Today, the President has done two things. First, he has decided to retain HHS's nationwide mandate of insurance coverage of sterilization and contraception, including some abortifacients. This is both unsupported in the law and remains a grave moral concern. We cannot fail to reiterate this, even as so many would focus exclusively on the question of religious liberty.

Second, the President has announced some changes in how that mandate will be administered, which is still unclear in its details. As far as we can tell at this point, the change appears to have the following basic contours:
--It would still mandate that all insurers must include coverage for the objectionable services in all the policies they would write. At this point, it would appear that self-insuring religious employers, and religious insurance companies, are not exempt from this mandate.

--It would allow non-profit, religious employers to declare that they do not offer such coverage. But the employee and insurer may separately agree to add that coverage. The employee would not have to pay any additional amount to obtain this coverage, and the coverage would be provided as a part of the employer's policy, not as a separate rider.

--Finally, we are told that the one-year extension on the effective date (from August 1, 2012 to August 1, 2013) is available to any non-profit religious employer who desires it, without any government application or approval process.

These changes require careful moral analysis, and moreover, appear subject to some measure of change. But we note at the outset that the lack of clear protection for key stakeholders—for self-insured religious employers; for religious and secular for-profit employers; for secular nonprofit employers; for religious insurers; and for individuals—is unacceptable and must be corrected. And in the case where the employee and insurer agree to add the objectionable coverage, that coverage is still provided as a part of the objecting employer's plan, financed in the same way as the rest of the coverage offered by the objecting employer. This, too, raises serious moral concerns.

We just received information about this proposal for the first time this morning; we were not consulted in advance. Some information we have is in writing and some is oral. We will, of course, continue to press for the greatest conscience protection we can secure from the Executive Branch. But stepping away from the particulars, we note that today's proposal continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions. In a nation dedicated to religious  liberty as its first and founding principle, we should not be limited to negotiating within these parameters. The only complete solution to this religious liberty problem is
for HHS to rescind the mandate of these objectionable services.

We will therefore continue—with no less vigor, no less sense of urgency—our efforts to correct this problem through the other two branches of government. For example, we renew our call on Congress to pass, and the Administration to sign, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. And we renew our call to the Catholic faithful, and to all our fellow Americans, to join together in this effort to protect religious liberty and
freedom of conscience for all.

These concerns are evolving on a daily basis, and there is no clear conclusion at this time. I encourage all of us to study this matter, and to thoughtfully consider what is taking place. The USCCB website is a good resource for finding out where we Catholics standon this and many other issues. Their website is www.usccb.org/

Leading a retreat I will be in St. Petersburg, Florida, this week until Friday preaching a retreat to 55 priests from the Archdiocese of Boston. It is always an inspiration to pray with priests and to listen to their hopes and struggles in trying to live their priesthood faithfully .I was grateful for the opportunity a number of years ago to preach the retreat for our own priests in the Diocese of Tucson. It was a very special time being with our priests to pray
and to enjoy their fraternity, and so I am thankful to those who come to our Diocese to preach retreats for our priests.

Next year, Bishop Luis Zarama, Auxiliary Bishop of Atlanta, Georgia, and Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of the Diocese of Las Cruces in New Mexico will lead our retreats in
October. I ask your prayers this week that God may speak to these priests through me and assure them of His love and care.

Annual Catholic Appeal
As I announced in last week’s Memo, our parishes now are starting the Annual CatholicAppeal during weekend masses.

“Be Co-Workers in His Vineyard” is the theme of this year’s Appeal. This theme - a vine and its branches that together provide for a fruitful harvest - is very much illustrative how we work in our parishes and within the Diocese. We all work together to understand one another, to support one another’s ministries, and this sharing of work and effort reinforces that we are one body in Christ.Our goal for the Appeal is the same as last year, $3.7 million. Money raised through the appeal help supports the work and services of 26 charities and organizations in the Diocese.

As you view the Appeal video at Mass and receive the pledge materials from your parish, I ask you to remember that we have not raised the goal amount for the 2012 campaign, and that the ministries and charities receiving funding from the Appeal will do the same work, or more, with 2011 funding levels. Many of the ministries and charities assisted by the Appeal will provide services to more people in 2012. Any contribution you can make
will help.

On Saturday, I celebrated Mass at St. Andrew the Apostle in Sierra Vista The parish celebrated its 22nd annual dinner to raise pledges for the Appeal. They had a great turn out as always, and one of parishioners, Frances Lal, baked a cake decorated with the Appeal's theme. It was fabulous. During the dinner, Robin Evans and Nancy Kirk, staff of our Catholic Foundation for Stewardship and Charitable Giving, expressed thanks on
behalf of the Foundation for the parishioners’ generosity. (The Foundation oversees the operations of the Annual Catholic Appeal.)

At the gathering, we also paid tribute to Chuck Fisher, Director of Catholic Community Services in Southeastern Arizona for 11 years. He is moving to Terra Haute, Indiana.Peg Harmon Director of Catholic Community Services, Tucson, was on hand to congratulate Chuck.

More vineyard work
Concentrating on that same theme of working in the vineyard, I invite anyone working or volunteering at their parish to attend our upcoming “Coworkers
in the Vineyard” conference. Already, hundreds of people have signed for this event.

The conference, that will take place March 15 – 17 at the Tucson Convention Center, will offer 80 workshops on topics ranging from ways to boost youth ministry, working in adult ministry, human resource tools, and even building and facilities topics. There is a workshop or presentation for anyone involved in Church work. More than that, the conference gives us all a chance to learn something new, and meet
others working alongside us in our parishes.

I like to sum up the conference with this: Be inspired. Be encouraged. Be Informed.Better yet: Be there. For more information, visit, http://www.workersvineyard.com/
You can register online, or by using the registration form available in the March edition of the New Vision, or by asking your parish office for a form.

Celebrate the Centennial
Tomorrow, we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the State of Arizona, the 48th state. Arizona’s Statehood occurred with flourish of the pen on a decree
from President William Howard Taft.

On the corner of our Pastoral Center you can see a mural, designed by the Tohono O'odham artist Michael Chiago. The mural depicts the history of the Church in our community, which began well before Arizona became a state.

Our Church has contributed so much to the development of Arizona. Catholics founded early schools here, opened the first hospital, and from the beginning have responded to and served the needs of our community. Today our Catholic Community Services, Catholic health care and the efforts of our Catholic parishes and schools still provide
great good day after day.

Bishop Henry Granjon, the second bishop of the Diocese, was Bishop at the time our state was established. He came to Arizona from France as did his predecessors, Bishop
John B. Salpointe and Bishop Peter Bourgade. How different the world was in 1912! Like me, Bishop Granjon traveled many miles, confirming candidates from around the Diocese. Unlike me, who travels in an
airconditioned car along paved highways, he traveled most often by train or horse through dusty desert terrain, not easy journeys. He had an even larger geographic area to cover than our Diocese today, since at his time the Diocese was all of Arizona plus parts of New Mexico. He kept a diary describing his journeys and the numbers of young people he confirmed in each place. He even referred to sitting down to have an ice cream after a
long day's work.

As we celebrate our Centennial, let us give thanks to God for His abundant blessings through so many years. Much good has been done. We stand on the work of those who have gone before us and we pray that our efforts today and in our time will continue the good they did through their sacrifices. Let's hope the people of the Year 2112 will look
back on what we accomplished and say, "Well done!"

Catholic Foundation Mardi Gras
On Friday, I will host a Mardi Gras party, sponsored by the Catholic Foundation forStewardship and Charitable Giving, at the Bishop’s Residence. It is always a delightful evening and a chance to thank some of those whose stewardship
provides so many benefits to our Diocese. Margie Puerta Edson, Director of the Catholic Foundation, and her staff will join me in thanking those who do so much to further the
work of the Church in our Diocese.

Seminarians visit
This Sunday evening, I will host a dinner for a group of seminarians from the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Ill., who are visiting our Diocese during their spring break to serve with Father Ponchie Vasquez, O.F.M., and the Franciscans servingon the Tohono O'odham reservation in Sells.

We always look forward to the seminarians’ visit. They do much good on the reservation and they learn so much from the people they meet. While they are serving, they are also
learning about the pastoral needs of others.

This year we will be joined by Father Gregory Boquet, O.S.B., rector of St. Joseph Seminary College in New Orleans, five of his seminarians, and Father Wayne Paysse, Director of the Bureau of Black and Indian Mission Office. They asked to join us for a portion of the mission trip to see what we do so they can perhaps begin a similar project
on their own.

I enjoy listening to the seminarians to hear how much they benefit from this service and how inspired they are by the faith of the people. Kate Wiskus, organizer of the visit, and Msgr. Dennis Lyle, Rector of the Seminary, are joining the seminarians on this trip.

Supporting Parish Pastoral Councils
There will be a meeting of our Diocesan Pastoral Council this Saturday. We will be discussing their role at next month’s “Co-Workers in the Vineyard” ministry conference. One of the areas covered by the workshops will be strengthening the work of our Parish Pastoral Councils. As you know, every parish in our Diocese is to have a Parish Council to assist the pastor in the important work of the parish. Some councils are effective, whileothers are striving to become stronger.


Outreach support for women
Also on Thursday, I will join supporters of Reachout Pregnancy Center at their annual
fundraiser at the Doubletree Hotel in Tucson. Angela Schneider, the Center’s director, does an incredible job letting pregnant women know they are not alone, and that many in our community want to help them to bring their baby to term and to care for their needs. I am grateful to all of our parishes that support the work of Reachout and their many volunteers.

The Church upholds the dignity of all human life from conception to natural death, and the work of Reachout is a good example of living the Word. The Center is a striking example of how people of faith are living our commitment to respect human life and stand with those who are in need.

Training leadership for the future
I will celebrate Mass on Saturday for our youth ministers who have been participating in a certification program sponsored through proceeds from our Capital Campaign, Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future. Few ministries are more challenging and important than youth ministry, which introduces young people to the Lord to share in the mission of Jesus Christ.Many youth programs are staffed by dedicated volunteers, parents and adults, who are
willing to give their time and talent to help young people grow in the faith. This program is meant to help them develop and augment the skills they have in leading our youth groups.

A Pastoral Center Welcome
Deacon Ken Moreland, our Vicar for Deacons, is working out of the Pastoral Center on a regular basis. He plans to be available at the Center most Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, unless meetings or other requirements require him at other locations. Deacon Ken will be concentrating on coordinating the efforts of the deaconate with other departments and working more closely with the Pastoral Services Department in formation of deacon candidates. at the Co-Workers conference will give council members a chance tolearn how to communicate with their pastors about addressing parish needs. The meetingwill also be an opportunity for us to discuss how as a Diocese we can respond to the HHS mandate mentioned earlier in this memo. I hope to discuss ideas members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council may have for this Lent, and any suggestions they may have about how we can begin to plan for the Year of Faith
which the Holy Father, Pope Benedict has called for beginning in October, 2012.

Vol. 9, No. 37
Feb.20, 2012

Our Lenten Journey
On Friday last I hosted the annual Catholic Foundation Mardi Gras at my residence. I enjoy this gathering, where I have a chance to meet and thank people who consistently and consciously give to the Foundation.

Margie Puerta Edson, Director of the Catholic Foundation for Stewardship and Charitable Giving, along with her staff members, Lori Callas, Robin Evans, Nancy Kirk, and Clara Moreno, reconfigured my home into New Orleans with streamers, masks, balloons and Mardi Gras feathers. Everyone was given Mardi Gras beads to wear and a Jazz musician entertained us. It was a delightful evening.

Mardi Gras, as we all know, is a sure sign that Lent is almost here.  As we begin our Lenten journey this Ash Wednesday, I ask you to consider our Diocesan theme as a guide.

Our Lenten theme this year, “Change our Hearts,” reflects on the most basic trait of Lent: Conversion.

Conversion means leaving behind ways that prevent us from imitating Christ and embracing new ways and new attitudes to draw us closer to Christ.

During the weeks of Lent, we will ask you to ponder different types of conversion: to be more compassionate; to be more forgiving; to be more accepting; to be more welcoming; to be more generous; and to be more zealous.

Each parish last week received a letter introducing our Lenten theme, along with a logo to highlight Lent at their parish. Parishes also now have bulletin announcements that can be used for each of the weekends in Lent, as well as prayers of the faithful. The response to the prayer of the faithful during Lent will be "Change our Hearts, O Lord,"  so that all of our parishes will join in a common response.

Change our hearts: Make us more compassionate.

Compassion coupled with forgiveness can be a powerful means of conversion.

Some of you may have heard me tell the story of a man I once met.  This man’s daughter was killed in the horrible bombing at Oklahoma City in 1995. For some time, he was filled with anger at the man who set off that terrible bomb.  Then, he had the chance to meet the bomber’s father.  He told me that he and the other man embraced, and during their conversation, an amazing thing happened:  forgiveness.

The man telling me the story said he came to understand that the other father was suffering too. That the shame and pain of what the man’s son had done was pain much like his own pain of  losing his daughter. They both shared a pain that would never completely go away.

He said the anger began to melt away. The hate left, and he was filled with a compassion and peace that has been with him, guiding him ever since.

I encourage all of us to focus our hearts on compassion this week. Look around in your life and your relationships, and let compassion convert your heart and your life to peace.

Our Holy Father Benedict XVI, delivered his Lenten message earlier this month. It is a message that calls us to “be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works".

In his message, the Pope tells us that Lent provides a good opportunity to “reflect upon the very heart of Christian life: charity.”

Charity and compassion work together.  I hope all of us will look for ways to bring both of these into our lives during Lent, and always.  To read more about the Papal message, visit http://visnews-en.blogspot.com/2012/02/popes-lenten-message-charity-as-means.html

Here is the bulletin announcement sent to all parishes for this first week of Lent:

Change Our Hearts, our Lenten theme this year, calls us to be a people of compassion who see where love is needed, and when we see where love is needed to respond.

This week open your eyes and ears to see and hear the pain of others. Among your family and friends, among those you work with and study with there are people hurting, people in need. Open your heart to be available to those in need, to care for those struggling personally or spiritually, financially or emotionally. If our hearts are open in compassion, we imitate the God of compassion whom we serve. Make our hearts more compassionate this Lent.

Annual Catholic Appeal
On Sunday we invited all in our Diocese to commit their support to our Annual Catholic Appeal.  The Appeal’s goal is the same as last year and the year before, $3.7 million.

Your generosity never ceases to amaze me. I have seen that in the early returns for the Appeal. The response has been very encouraging. I will be pledging my gift this year and I know many of our priests have already made their pledge. I hope you will join us.

Monies raised during the Appeal supports the work of 26 charities and ministries across the 9 counties of our Diocese.  The goal is based on the bare minimum support for these ministries and organizations to continue the services they provide.  With the economy still waning, we are certain that these services will be needed to help even more people than before.

The Sisters, a centennial exhibit

Many of our women and men religious gathered at the Archives yesterday to view “The Sisters: Roman Catholic Women Religious in Arizona,” our exhibit for Arizona’s centennial of statehood. You should have heard all the stories they had to share as they walked among the pictures and displays that mark the contribution of our religious to the mission of Christ in our Diocese. They chuckled as they viewed the made up tiny bedroom that many of these sisters lived in their convents during the years depicted by the displays.

The sisters and brothers have worked in schools, hospitals, community services and many other ministries. They delighted in seeing many of those they knew who were part of their communities, and enjoyed seeing the display of habits worn by the various communities.

Great work by Sister Rina Cappellazzo, O.P., in planning the wine and cheese gathering for the religious to see this marvelous exhibit. You are welcome to view the exhibit at the Archives, 300 S. Tucson Blvd., weekdays except Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., as a way of celebrating the centennial of the State of Arizona.

Presbyteral Council
Today we meet to discuss several key topics involving the Diocese, beginning with the Priests Retirement Plan. (more info here?)  Sister Lois Paha, O.P., of our Pastoral Services Department, will be giving us an update on the current registration for the upcoming “Co-Workers in the Vineyard” Ministry Conference, and I look forward to hearing about how the vendor exhibition and the Diocesan offices exhibit areas are coming along. We also will be working on the details of our Lenten services, especially the Chrism Mass and hearing our Vicariate Reports.

This meeting will include discussions on assignment changes for priests. I am grateful for the wisdom and counsel of the Presbyteral Council in this most important work of assigning pastors and parochial vicars.

Visit to Death Row, Arizona State Prison in Florence
Tomorrow, I will join Deacon Ed Sheffer, who works with death row inmates, and with Deacon Ken Moreland, Vicar for Deacons, to meet with Robert Moorman and Robert Towery, both of whom have been sentenced to death and who are awaiting their executions pending commutation of their sentences to an alternative such as
life in prison.

The visit will be an opportunity to pray with these two men and provide them with the Sacraments as they await their executions.

There is no condoning the crimes of the violent and horrific taking of innocent life. This cries out for punishment.  But Pope John Paul II emphasized in his teaching that there is no longer a need for society to protect itself by taking the life of another person. Today, a life sentence serves to protect society and to punish serious crime. Still, we continue to execute people in the State of Arizona.

Let us pray for enlightenment, not only in the cases of these two men whose executions are imminent, but also for solutions as to how we can punish crime and protect society without, as Pope John Paul II said, contributing to the culture of death.

Equally important, we remember that families of victims need comfort and care. In the fall, we are planning a Mass for victims of violence in our community as a way of standing with people whose lives have been shattered.

Knights of Columbus Priest Appreciation Dinner
I am grateful to the Knights of Columbus in Tucson for hosting their annual priest appreciation dinner tomorrow evening at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson. The event is always well attended, and the priests of the Diocese feel the support and affirmation of the Knights.

This year we will be honoring the Knights of Columbus in the State of Arizona for their constant and dedicated support of the work of our Diocese at our Cornerstone Gala sponsored by the Catholic Foundation for Stewardship and Charitable Giving to be held on April 20 at the Marriott Starr Pass. I encourage you to join us in recognizing the Knights who do so much to support our priests and our community.

 

Knights of the Holy Sepulchre
On Saturday I will say Mass for members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre Retreat at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish here in Tucson.

After Mass it will be my privilege to conduct the Order's retreat.  I will reflect with them on three themes: The teachings of Jesus, the mystery of the Liturgy and of the Eucharist, and prayer and the life of the Spirit.

Lent is a time when many of our parishes and groups hold missions and retreats. How important these times of stepping away are in the life of a disciple. I pray this retreat will enliven the faith of our Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre and their important mission of supporting the Church and Christians in the Holy Land.

I am grateful to Ernie and Kathy Nedder for their leadership in this area, and for all they do to enhance the work of the Order.

This week the Order will be giving a number of new members their orientation, including the mission of the Order.

Rite of Election
It will be my great joy this Sunday to preside at first of three liturgies the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion for those joining our Catholic faith through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, or RCIA. 

This year, about 600 new members are participating in the process to join the faith, which ends with initiation during the Easter Vigil, where those in preparation, who are called Catechumens, are baptized, and those who are Candidates will be confirmed and all receive Holy Eucharist.

Sunday’s liturgy will take place at St. Augustine Cathedral, and there will be other Rites of Election held in Yuma at St. Francis de Assisi Parish on March 2, and back at St. Augustine’s Cathedral on March 4.

I am deeply grateful to Sister Lois Paha, O.P., and her committee who organize these beautiful celebrations, as well as to all the RCIA directors and sponsors in our parishes that walk with the Catechumens and the Candidates in their journey this Lent. It is a marvelous program that brings new life and energy into the Church and into our Diocese.

Co-Workers in the Vineyard Ministry Conference
Registrations are flowing in for our upcoming Ministry Conference to be held at the Tucson Convention Center March 15-17. Everyone is excited by the star-studded speakers and workshop presenters coming to this gathering of priests, religious, deacons, laywomen and laymen from all around our Diocese.

Bishop Blase Cupich, Bishop of the Diocese of Spokane and a strong advocate of lay ministry, along with Matthew Kelly, an internationally known author and speaker who published the very popular book “Rediscovering Catholicism,” will be the keynote speakers.

Each person attending will find a workshop or presentation just right for them, since there are presentations covering each of the ministries in the Church.

How fitting it is that the event is taking place during Lent of 2012! It will be an occasion for everyone from around the Diocese to pray together, to laugh together, and to learn together. If you have not registered, do so today by visiting our diocesan website, www.diocesetucson.org,  or get a registration form from your parish.

Reachout luncheon
I was encouraged to see such a marvelous turnout at Saturday’s Reachout Pregnancy Center luncheon and fund raiser. Angela Schneider and her staff and volunteers had to be pleased with the presence of so many of our Catholic parishes and others church communities that are pro-life.

Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., spoke at the gathering and had us laughing and crying at the same time. She gave a powerful witness of her own life. She disclosed that she was almost aborted by her mother but thanks to her grandfather she was brought to term. She acknowledged several frustrated marriages and decisions that she said led her to abort some of her children. She greatly regrets those decisions and is now active in encouraging young people to find alternatives to abortion. Reachout Pregnancy Center gives women hope that there are alternatives. Thanks to their work women bring their children to term and know they are not alone.

Congratulations to St. Cyril Catholic School
Congratulations to Christopher O'Connor of St. Cyril School in Tucson for finishing second in a classic spelling bee duel with Elliott Groce of Flowing Wells Junior High School. Both students will represent Tucson in the Arizona Spelling Bee next month. I am sure Principal Ann Zeches, Father Ron Oakham, pastor, and all the faculty, students and parents of St. Cyril are proud.

 

Welcome
We welcome Father Jaya Bhaskar Gade (get his first name from Ernie) a member of the MSFS (get words from Ernie) community who joins his brothers, Father Matthew Thayil at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, and Father Alex Tigga serving at St. Thomas the Apostle. We look forward to welcoming a fourth member of the community, Father George Kunnel, in the near future.

Please remember in your prayers
 Please remember Father John Malley, O.Carm., who died Friday. He served as Superior General of the Carmelites and most recently lived at Salpointe Catholic High School where Kay Sullivan, President, says he was the heart of the school. Father John was always at every sports game and every major event at Salpointe. He was loved by all.  Father John was found in his room when he did not appear for a  basketball game. He was sitting in his chair reading his breviary. 

Father John’s wake and vigil service will be held Thursday night at St. Cyril Parish. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday at 10 a.m., also at St. Cyril Church. Condolences to his brother, Father Vern Malley, O.Carm., and all the Carmelite and Salpointe communities.

 

 

 

 

Vol.9, No. 38
Feb. 27, 2012

Rite of Election
We held the first of three liturgies for the Rite of Election and Call for Continuing Conversion at St. Augustine Cathedral yesterday. This year, 600 persons are participating in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) process that will conclude with their complete acceptance into the faith during the Easter Vigil.

Yesterday, I was again reminded of how important this process is and how seriously those who are on their way to becoming Catholics immerse themselves in their preparation. I am grateful to our RCIA Directors and their staffs and the sponsors whose witness inspires our Catechumens and Candidates and encourages them on their journey. The RCIA is such a wonderful opportunity for these searchers to grow in their knowledge of the Church's teaching and to deepen their relationship with the Lord.

A second Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion will be held at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Yuma on Friday, with the last Celebration to take place at St. Augustine on Sunday.

It is a thrill for me to greet each one of these Catechumens and Candidates personally and to remind them of the significance of what they are deciding in choosing to be disciples of Jesus Christ. When they hear the thunderous applause of the assembly at the time they are presented, they cannot help but feel welcome and loved. We pray that they will stay the course during Lent and arrive at the Easter Vigil ready to embrace the Lord.

 

Change our Hearts: Make Us People of Compassion
Having been signed with the ashes in the form of a cross on Ash Wednesday we are called to make changes in ways that can bring us closer to Christ.  This week, I encourage all of us to ponder how to be more compassionate in our lives.
lent image color.jpg
Compassion was truly one of Jesus’ most visible characteristics.  So often in scripture, we learn of His ability to set aside the bias and the customs of His time to see the human being before Him and to take pity to hear that person’s needs, or tend to the person’s soul.  We learn of the miracles He performed to restore health or peace of mind, despite criticism the Lord knew his detractors would use against Him.

Compassion is so powerful.  Remember the example of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.  Her empathy for the weakest and most vulnerable people throughout the world saved so many desperate people from illness, hunger, poverty and despair.  It mattered not to Mother Teresa what position these people held in society; she cared only for their humanity and caring for their well-being.

Here is a prayer that Mother Teresa used daily.  Perhaps it can be your prayer during Lent.

Dear Jesus,
Help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus. Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others.

Mother Teresa’s compassion did amazing good. May we be inspired by her example of following Christ this week and always.

 


In Yuma

I always look forward to time in Yuma/La Paz Vicariate. I will be there all this week. The Vicariate is far from Tucson, yet it is among the most alive and vibrant. Each time I go I return energized and inspired. I expect it will be the same this year.

Tonight, the Knights of Columbus in Yuma/La Paz will sponsor their clergy and religious appreciation evening. It is always quite a party. They invite all the priests, deacons and religious serving in the area for dinner with the Knights and their families and friends. They always have a full house.

On Tuesday, I will have a chance to join members of Arco Iris, the youth program that is so strong in the region and in other parts of our Diocese. The movement has inspired some to enter the seminary to discern a vocation. It has been an opportunity for the young people to evangelize their parents and to get them more active in the Church. I am grateful to Father Martin Martinez, pastor of Sacred Heart in Nogales and Chaplain of the program, and to the priests, deacons and adults who assist in the program.

On Thursday, I will be at the Yuma Regional Medical Center for Mass and to commission the Eucharistic Ministers who serve there, bringing the Eucharist to the sick. This important ministry brings consolation and hope to people during some very low points in their lives.  My visit also will be an opportunity to meet with the Chaplaincy group at the hospital that is directed by Dr. Earl Cooper. Father Javier Perez, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, went through the Clinical Pastoral Training Program with Dr. Cooper, and Father and the priests and deacons do a wonderful job serving the hospital pastorally.

While in Yuma I will celebrate Mass with our three Catholic Schools there: Yuma Catholic High School, Immaculate Conception School and St. Francis of Assisi School. I am very proud of our principals, teachers and staff at these three schools who work so hard to provide Catholic education in this area. One of the first Catholic Schools in Arizona was in Yuma thanks to the interest of parents who wanted their children to attend children Catholic School.

I will be confirming hundreds of young people in Confirmation liturgies at Immaculate Conception, St. Francis of Assisi and St. John Neumann Parishes in Yuma, in St. Jude Thaddeus Parish in San Luis and Immaculate Conception Parish in Somerton.
What a force for good these newly confirmed will be. Let us pray they stay active and involved in the Church.

This June at St. John Neumann Parish in Yuma it will be my joy to ordain eight new deacons who will serve in the area. Deacon Dave Sampson organizes the deacons of the area and makes sure they are not only helping in their parishes but also working in the hospital and prisons and in so many other places. They do great work.

 

appeal image.jpgAnnual Catholic Appeal
Our Annual Catholic Appeal, “Be Co-Workers in His Vineyard” is on a steady track to meet the overall goal of raising $3.7 million to support 26 charities and ministries working in our Diocese.

Since Commitment Sunday in mid-February, $902,096 has been pledged by 3596 donors. We know that parishes are committed to making their goal for this year, which is the same as last year. We also have heard wonderful stories of strong parish support from across the Diocese.

I have included the wonderful drawing by Hollister (Hop) David of Immaculate Conception Parish in Ajo. It is a drawing depicting the theme of this year’s Appeal with parish emphasis. In one leaf, there are all the surnames of Immaculate Conception parishioners as part of the vine in relation to the branches.

 

Ministry Conference Countdown

It is just short of three weeks before our diocesan wide Co-Workers in the Ministry Conference takes place. 

DOT__Vineyard_Final_Final_526x600.jpgWe are truly excited about the many learning and enriching opportunities we have planned for all religious and lay workers and volunteers during the conference.

The event takes place March 15 to 17 at the Tucson Convention Center.  There are workshops, presentations and keynote addresses by Bishop Blase Cupich, Bishop of the Diocese of Spokane and a strong advocate of lay ministry, along with Matthew Kelly, an internationally known author and speaker who published the very popular book “Rediscovering Catholicism.”

Since the event is so close, we have several ways for people to register: 
Online at http://www.workersvineyard.com/

Use a registration form available in the New Vision newspaper. Mail the completed form to the Pastoral Services Department, Diocese of Tucson, P.O. Box 31, Tucson, 85702.

Get a registration form from your parish office and mail
The completed form and payment to the Pastoral Services Department, Diocese of Tucson, P.O. Box 31, Tucson, 85702.

If you have any questions at all about the conference, call the Pastoral Services Department at 792-3410.  Many of the workshops qualify for credit in religious education programs.

 

Remember In Your Prayers
Please pray for Father Liam Leahy who is undergoing a medical procedure; for Deacon Andy Corder as he undergoes additional medical treatment; and for Blasita Nuñez, mother of Sonya Gutierrez, Executive Assistant in the Office of the Bishop, and Chris Barrios, Financial Operations Assistant in the Diocese Office of Fiscal and Administrative Services, who was hospitalized last week for pneumonia.


Appointments

Father Jaya Bhaskar Gade, a member of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales, has been assigned to work at Our Lady of Fatima Parish to assist Father Viliulfo Valderrama for one month.

Vol.9, No. 38
Feb. 27, 2012

Rite of Election
We held the first of three liturgies for the Rite of Election and Call for Continuing Conversion at St. Augustine Cathedral yesterday. This year, 600 persons are participating in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) process that will conclude with their complete acceptance into the faith during the Easter Vigil.

Yesterday, I was again reminded of how important this process is and how seriously those who are on their way to becoming Catholics immerse themselves in their preparation. I am grateful to our RCIA Directors and their staffs and the sponsors whose witness inspires our Catechumens and Candidates and encourages them on their journey. The RCIA is such a wonderful opportunity for these searchers to grow in their knowledge of the Church's teaching and to deepen their relationship with the Lord.

A second Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion will be held at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Yuma on Friday, with the last Celebration to take place at St. Augustine on Sunday.

It is a thrill for me to greet each one of these Catechumens and Candidates personally and to remind them of the significance of what they are deciding in choosing to be disciples of Jesus Christ. When they hear the thunderous applause of the assembly at the time they are presented, they cannot help but feel welcome and loved. We pray that they will stay the course during Lent and arrive at the Easter Vigil ready to embrace the Lord.

 

Change our Hearts: Make Us People of Compassion
Having been signed with the ashes in the form of a cross on Ash Wednesday we are called to make changes in ways that can bring us closer to Christ.  This week, I encourage all of us to ponder how to be more compassionate in our lives.

Compassion was truly one of Jesus’ most visible characteristics.  So often in scripture, we learn of His ability to set aside the bias and the customs of His time to see the human being before Him and to take pity to hear that person’s needs, or tend to the person’s soul.  We learn of the miracles He performed to restore health or peace of mind, despite criticism the Lord knew his detractors would use against Him.

Compassion is so powerful.  Remember the example of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.  Her empathy for the weakest and most vulnerable people throughout the world saved so many desperate people from illness, hunger, poverty and despair.  It mattered not to Mother Teresa what position these people held in society; she cared only for their humanity and caring for their well-being.

Here is a prayer that Mother Teresa used daily.  Perhaps it can be your prayer during Lent.

Dear Jesus,
Help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus. Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others.

Mother Teresa’s compassion did amazing good. May we be inspired by her example of following Christ this week and always.

 


In Yuma

I always look forward to time in Yuma/La Paz Vicariate. I will be there all this week. The Vicariate is far from Tucson, yet it is among the most alive and vibrant. Each time I go I return energized and inspired. I expect it will be the same this year.

Tonight, the Knights of Columbus in Yuma/La Paz will sponsor their clergy and religious appreciation evening. It is always quite a party. They invite all the priests, deacons and religious serving in the area for dinner with the Knights and their families and friends. They always have a full house.

On Tuesday, I will have a chance to join members of Arco Iris, the youth program that is so strong in the region and in other parts of our Diocese. The movement has inspired some to enter the seminary to discern a vocation. It has been an opportunity for the young people to evangelize their parents and to get them more active in the Church. I am grateful to Father Martin Martinez, pastor of Sacred Heart in Nogales and Chaplain of the program, and to the priests, deacons and adults who assist in the program.

On Thursday, I will be at the Yuma Regional Medical Center for Mass and to commission the Eucharistic Ministers who serve there, bringing the Eucharist to the sick. This important ministry brings consolation and hope to people during some very low points in their lives.  My visit also will be an opportunity to meet with the Chaplaincy group at the hospital that is directed by Dr. Earl Cooper. Father Javier Perez, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, went through the Clinical Pastoral Training Program with Dr. Cooper, and Father and the priests and deacons do a wonderful job serving the hospital pastorally.

While in Yuma I will celebrate Mass with our three Catholic Schools there: Yuma Catholic High School, Immaculate Conception School and St. Francis of Assisi School. I am very proud of our principals, teachers and staff at these three schools who work so hard to provide Catholic education in this area. One of the first Catholic Schools in Arizona was in Yuma thanks to the interest of parents who wanted their children to attend children Catholic School.

I will be confirming hundreds of young people in Confirmation liturgies at Immaculate Conception, St. Francis of Assisi and St. John Neumann Parishes in Yuma, in St. Jude Thaddeus Parish in San Luis and Immaculate Conception Parish in Somerton.
What a force for good these newly confirmed will be. Let us pray they stay active and involved in the Church.

This June at St. John Neumann Parish in Yuma it will be my joy to ordain eight new deacons who will serve in the area. Deacon Dave Sampson organizes the deacons of the area and makes sure they are not only helping in their parishes but also working in the hospital and prisons and in so many other places. They do great work.

 

Annual Catholic Appeal
Our Annual Catholic Appeal, “Be Co-Workers in His Vineyard” is on a steady track to meet the overall goal of raising $3.7 million to support 26 charities and ministries working in our Diocese.

Since Commitment Sunday in mid-February, $902,096 has been pledged by 3596 donors. We know that parishes are committed to making their goal for this year, which is the same as last year. We also have heard wonderful stories of strong parish support from across the Diocese.

I have included the wonderful drawing by Hollister (Hop) David of Immaculate Conception Parish in Ajo. It is a drawing depicting the theme of this year’s Appeal with parish emphasis. In one leaf, there are all the surnames of Immaculate Conception parishioners as part of the vine in relation to the branches.

 

Ministry Conference Countdown

It is just short of three weeks before our diocesan wide Co-Workers in the Ministry Conference takes place. 

We are truly excited about the many learning and enriching opportunities we have planned for all religious and lay workers and volunteers during the conference.

The event takes place March 15 to 17 at the Tucson Convention Center.  There are workshops, presentations and keynote addresses by Bishop Blase Cupich, Bishop of the Diocese of Spokane and a strong advocate of lay ministry, along with Matthew Kelly, an internationally known author and speaker who published the very popular book “Rediscovering Catholicism.”

Since the event is so close, we have several ways for people to register: 
Online at http://www.workersvineyard.com/

Use a registration form available in the New Vision newspaper. Mail the completed form to the Pastoral Services Department, Diocese of Tucson, P.O. Box 31, Tucson, 85702.

Get a registration form from your parish office and mail
The completed form and payment to the Pastoral Services Department, Diocese of Tucson, P.O. Box 31, Tucson, 85702.

If you have any questions at all about the conference, call the Pastoral Services Department at 792-3410.  Many of the workshops qualify for credit in religious education programs.

 

Remember In Your Prayers
Please pray for Father Liam Leahy who is undergoing a medical procedure; for Deacon Andy Corder as he undergoes additional medical treatment; and for Blasita Nuñez, mother of Sonya Gutierrez, Executive Assistant in the Office of the Bishop, and Chris Barrios, Financial Operations Assistant in the Diocese Office of Fiscal and Administrative Services, who was hospitalized last week for pneumonia.


Appointments

Father Jaya Bhaskar Gade, a member of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales, has been assigned to work at Our Lady of Fatima Parish to assist Father Viliulfo Valderrama for one month.