Jan. 10, 2005 Jan. 18, 2005 Jan. 24, 2005 Jan. 31, 2005
These past few weeks have been a time of contradictory emotions.
While for most of us the days of the Christmas break were a time to celebrate with our families the joy of the birth of Christ, we know that it was a time of suffering as well.
Over the course of the past year, when I would learn from a parish that a family had experienced a death, I would write to that family to express my sorrow and to promise my prayers during their time of grieving. Over the holidays, it seemed I received many more such notices, and I reflected on how doubly painful it can be for a family when one of its members dies during Christmas.
The day after Christmas, while most of us were experiencing the glow of our family celebrations, we received the notice of the earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean. The enormous loss of life and the grieving and physical suffering of the millions of survivors have affected us greatly.
I was grateful for the opportunity to participate in the inter-faith community service held yesterday at St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Tucson. Times of disaster bring us together and break down divisions: the church was full, and there were representatives from many faith traditions.
Rev. Sumith DeSilva, an Episcopal priest from Sri Lanka, organized the prayer service. He gave a reflection on a dear friend, Soma Madawala, who died in the tsunami.
Prayer can heal and unite. I hope this service will draw all of us in the Tucson community more closely together.
I am very grateful to our parishes for their support of Catholic Relief Services, one of the many relief organizations responding to this disaster. I hope we can report next week the extent of that support.
CRS has more than a half-century of experience in responding, in the name of the Catholic People in the U.S., to people experiencing the ravages of war or natural disaster, and we appreciate greatly the presence of CRS here in our own Diocese, through the CRS Mexico Project that is working with dioceses in Mexico to address the many issues of the continuing immigration.
1. New Year's Resolutions -- As we begin this New Year, I have some personal resolutions to share with you, things that I have resolved to make priorities in my work and in my prayer during the coming year.
To continue the process of healing and restoring trust. I will work for and I will pray for the speedy, just and equitable compensation of abuse victims through the Chapter 11 process. I will be available and responsive to any person who has been abused by a worker for the Church, and I will pray for their healing. I will work for and I will pray for the full implementation in all our parishes and schools of safe environment programs.
To give as much of my time as possible to being present at our parishes and schools. I will be starting a second round of pastoral visits through the Diocese to listen to our priests, religious, deacons and laity about how things are going for them: what weighs heavily; what are the joys; what are their hopes. Programs and organization are important, but by far people are the most important.
To encourage and inspire all of us to focus on the Eucharist as the source of our communion. In this Year of the Eucharist, I want us to know in a deeper way the Body of Christ that unifies us in all the various dimensions of who we are as people. This focus will begin in Lent with a series of homilies on the Eucharist.
To reach out more effectively to young Catholic adults and to our Catholic youth. I will be engaging young adults in a special series of programs during Lent at the Cathedral. In the spring, we will begin a program that will help our Diocese and parishes to recognize the many important contributions of our Catholic teens to the life of the Church.
To intensify our efforts to address issues which diminish the sanctity of life. I will continue to call upon us to be aware of the prevalence of abortion in our communities and to support alternatives for pregnant women. I will continue to call upon our state and federal lawmakers to recognize the moral dimensions of abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment and immigration.
That is my "short list" of resolutions, and I hope at year's end that you and I both can say I met my expectations.
2. National Vocations Awareness Week -- I enjoyed reading in the January issue of Catholic Vision that Father Miguel Mariano's goal as diocesan Vocations Director for this year is "to make noise that Vocations in our Diocese is alive!"
Let's all make some noise!
My hope is that all of us in the Church -- priests, religious, deacons, laity -- will recognize our responsibility to call people to service in the Church.
If you speak with a priest, sister, brother or deacon about their vocation, they generally say something like this: "My vocation was partly inspired by the invitation that was given to me by someone who saw in me qualities that made them believe that I could serve well."
So, as a Catholic community, all of us bear the responsibility of calling those who may have been gifted by God to be of service to others to consider life in the Church, a life that is greatly rewarding and fulfilling, a life that people need to be invited to.
3. Communications Committee Meeting -- I am on my way to Washington, D.C., today for a meeting of the Communications Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. I am beginning my second year of a three-year term as committee chairman.
The committee provides oversight and guidance to the USCCB on a wide range of communication matters and issues, ranging from the Church's use of communications to advocacy for social responsibility in the secular news media.
Among the agenda items for our meeting are a look at how churches are using the Internet, a national campaign to tell inspiring stories of faith and a review of a resource guide for those who minister in diocesan offices of communication.
4. Dialogue with Arizona Daily Star -- I appreciated the opportunity to dialogue last week with the administration of the Arizona Daily Star regarding my perception of the Star's coverage of the Diocese.
I shared with editor and publisher Jane Amari and executive editor Bobbie Jo Buel my perceptions that the tenor of recent stories has been one sided and incomplete, pointing to the Star's front page story of Sunday, Jan. 2, which I feel wrongly and unfairly imaged the Diocese as being more concerned about paying the attorneys representing it in the Chapter 11 process than in compensating victims of abuse.
They told me that they too had concerns about the content of the story, the headline and the placement of the story on the front page. They indicated that a review of the Star's coverage of the Diocese would be conducted.
I found them to be attentive to my concerns and cooperative. I feel they listened and responded. They have taken some concrete and specific steps to address my concerns, for which I am grateful.
Saturday's "letters to the editor" in the Star included some very strong reaction to the Jan. 2 story. Debbie Kornmiller, the newspaper's reader advocate, reported on my concerns and that of another reader in yesterday's Star.
Clearly, all facets of the tragic story of abuse of children by priests in our Diocese should be reported. My concern with some of the coverage by the news media has been instances in which I feel the reports missed the marks for accuracy, balance, completeness and fairness.
Recognizing the important role they play in the communities within the Diocese, I want to continue to pursue an open and accessible relationship with the news media.
5. Catholic Vision, Our Newspaper -- We have stories to tell about the "Good News," and Catholic Vision, our diocesan newspaper, is one way we tell them. For instance, this month's issue shares the story of Barbara McDevitt, who is being honored by her parish, Sacred Heart in Tucson, this Sunday for 32 years of her ministry as a sign language interpreter for the deaf and hearing impaired. The story enables me to acknowledge how Barbara has graced both her parish and our Diocese with her talents.
We are looking for a Catholic journalist who can help us tell the many more "Good News" stories that are out there in our parishes by serving as Vision's managing editor. The complete position description is available at www.diocesetucson.org/editor.html.
6. Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus Exemplification -- I will be attending the exemplification for the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus this Saturday afternoon in Tucson. The exemplification will be followed by Mass and a dinner.
The primary purpose of the Fourth Degree is to foster the spirit of patriotism in members and the community at large and to encourage active Catholic citizenship.
A Fourth Degree Knight may become part of his assembly's color corps. These members are recognized widely by their distinctive attire of tuxedo, feathered hat (chapeau), cape and sword. The various colored capes and chapeau feathers denote different officer positions within the Fourth Degree.
I am grateful for the dedication of the Fourth Degree and their presence with me at special celebrations throughout the Diocese.
7. Diocesan Pastoral Center Staff Meeting -- If your call to the Pastoral Center goes to a voice message this Thursday morning, it is because our Pastoral Center staff will be in a meeting from 8 to 10 a.m.
The monthly staff meetings, chaired by Father by Al Schifano, Moderator of Curia, have been changed from Friday afternoons to Thursday mornings, effective this month.
8. CCS Planning Retreat -- I attended the Catholic Community Services planning retreat held on Saturday. Peg Harmon, CCS's chief executive officer, did a great job leading the Board and key division heads in planning for the future.
I was impressed by the dedication and commitment of all present. The needs in our community throughout Southern Arizona are immense. It is encouraging to know that as part of our Catholic mission so many needy people and families are finding help through Catholic Community Services. As they develop their plans for the future, even more will be done.
9. Diocesan Pastoral Council -- This Saturday's meeting of the Diocese Pastoral Council will be focusing on specific areas of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Dr. Paul Duckro, director of the Diocese's Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, will guide us through discussions on outreach to victims, compliance plans, zero tolerance and follow-up with priests against whom there are credible allegations.
The Presbyteral Council will have the same focus at its January meeting.
Our efforts to remain in full compliance with our policies and with the Charter are unceasing. For example, letters were mailed last week to all priests and deacons to review the requirements for background checks, fingerprint verification and signed statements attesting to training on the diocesan Code of Conduct and the Guidelines for the Prevention of and Response to Sexual Misconduct.
10. Remember in Your Prayers -- Please remember Father Sylvester Nwaogu, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Tombstone, as he recovers from recent surgery.
11. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish 25th Anniversary -- The community of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton this past weekend had a grand celebration of its 25th anniversary as a parish. It is amazing how this parish has grown from 85 people attending Mass at Butterfield School to more than 4,000 families in their beautiful church named for the great American saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton.
Everyone was involved in the celebration, from the founding families to the teens to the children from the new school. Kudos to Fr. Tom Millane for his outstanding work as founding pastor. He received a standing, thunderous ovation from the community at the anniversary celebration Mass on Saturday evening.
12. Combating Drugs in Our Communities -- This Friday, I will be attending a meeting at COPE Behavioral Services in Tucson that will address the challenge of drug availability in our communities and the harm that drugs cause in the lives of so many people, especially the young. I hope that we will be able to form a community-wide effort to confront this pressing problem. We cannot sit back and let drugs destroy the lives of our brothers and sisters.
This week's memo is coming to you on a Tuesday, due to yesterday's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, which I spent in Atlanta, Georgia, for the celebration of Archbishop Wilton Gregory's installation as Archbishop of Atlanta.
Archbishop Gregory comes to shepherd the Catholics of this great city of the South and its surrounding communities after serving the people of the Diocese of Belleville for 11 years and serving the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops as its president for the past three years.
I join the many, many Catholics who welcomed the Holy Father's appointment of Archbishop Gregory. He brings the gifts of his great experience and sensitivity to his new pastoral responsibility as Archbishop of Atlanta. And, of course, I am proud that he is from Chicago! I am so-o-o-o old that I even taught him when he was a seminarian at Mundelein.
The celebration of his installation on the anniversary of the birth of Dr. King emphasizes Archbishop Gregory's commitment to peace, unity and understanding among all peoples.
You may enjoy reading a profile of Archbishop Gregory that appeared last Sunday's Belleville News-Democrat (www.belleville.com/mld/newsdemocrat/10633349.htm) under the headline of "The Bishop of Everybody."
1. An Announcement -- I made an announcement by letter last week to the parishes and consultative bodies that serve the Diocese. I share that announcement with you today.
As we all are well aware, the last six months have been a time of extraordinary challenges for those who serve the Church through their employment and ministry at the Pastoral Center of the Diocese of Tucson.
Clearly, among those at the executive level who have responded to the challenges with great personal sacrifice is Mary Huerstel, our chief financial officer.
Nearing the end of her five-year canonical term in that position, Mary has communicated to me that with the Chapter 11 reorganization case proceeding in a collaborative and cooperative manner, the time is right for her to seek another direction in her professional career and to devote more time to her family. Thus, Mary and the Diocese have mutually agreed that she will not pursue a renewed term of office as chief financial officer.
I am grateful to Mary for bringing to the service of the Diocese the gifts of her integrity, knowledge, and unflagging energy. She has contributed much in her five year term, including the computer conversion of diocesan accounting data, helping the Diocese and parishes apply for and receive grants, representing the Diocese and parishes on the boards of the Ordinary Mutual and the Bishops' Plan Insurance Company, leading the development of the new accounting manual for parishes, providing guidance and assistance to many of our parishes, especially those that have struggled financially, and guiding the preparation of diocesan financial information for the Chapter 11 filing.
Mary will be assisting us in the transition period as we pursue new executive level fiscal management for the Diocese.
I know I speak for all our pastors and the members of parish staffs in expressing to Mary our appreciation for her dedicated service and the prayers and best wishes of the Diocese of Tucson for her continued success and happiness in the future.
2. Priests Day of Prayer -- Our monthly mini-retreat of silence and prayer for all priests is tomorrow at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks. There may be a little less silence than usual, as the construction work continues on the new and safer main entrance.
For our priests and others who haven't been to the Center in a while, there is a temporary entrance, just around the curve, past the construction work.
3. Week of Prayer for Christian Unity -- Each year, Jan. 18 through Jan. 25 is designated as the worldwide Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This year's theme is "All things are yours...you belong to Christ...and Christ, the unique foundation, belongs to God." (1 Corinthians 3:1-23).
As part of the observance in Tucson, our Diocese is sponsoring a "Celebration of the Word" on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Benedictine Monastery on Country Club Road. I will preside, and joining me will be ministers from Christian denominations within the community.
I invite you to join us as we pray for Christian unity.
I want to thank Loretta Tracy for her service as my liaison to the multi-faith organizations in our Diocese. She is highly regarded and respected among representatives from all faiths.
4. Meetings This Week -- The Board of Directors of the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson meets today. The board meets collectively bi-monthly to ensure that the Foundation achieves its mission in a prudent and ethical way. This month, the board will review financial statements, the grant process and discuss potential new board members.
The Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries Board meets tomorrow. The directors will be discussing potential new board members.
The Sexual Misconduct Review Board meets on Thursday.
5. Southwest Medical Aid Awards Luncheon -- I am very honored to present recognition awards this Thursday to volunteers and supporters of Southwest Medical Aid (SMA), a Tucson-based humanitarian organization directed by Jan Izlar, a lay Salvatorian.
SMA has distributed medical supplies to people in need in Haiti, Guatemala and Mexico and in Arizona, too. The organization is dedicated to improving the quality of life of children and families. I serve as a special advisory consultant to SMA.
6. Tsunami Relief Collections for CRS -- A check representing the amount of collections for Catholic Relief Services' aid to victims of the tsunamis in the Indian Ocean should be sent immediately by parishes to the Diocese of Tucson Fiscal Services Office. The check should be designated for CRS Tsunami Relief. Instructions about this were communicated to pastors in a fax sent Dec. 29.
7. Annual March for Life -- The 11th Annual Tucson March for Life is this Saturday. I have asked all parishes and schools to send representatives.
The March will memorialize the 32nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Organized by the Diocesan Coalition for Life and supported by the Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries, the March is a prayerful witness to the sanctity of human life. (More information is available at www.tucsonmarchforlife.org.)
Events for the March begin at 9 a.m. at Salpointe Catholic High School, 1545 E. Copper St., with prayers and Mass. From 10 a.m. to noon there will be a Rally for Life and Teen Program with special guest Kerri Caviezel, a nationally-known Pro-Life speaker and activist who is married to actor James Caviezel, who played the role of Jesus in "The Passion of Christ."
The March begins at noon at Salpointe and will follow a three and half mile route to Holy Hope Cemetery. There will be a memorial service at 2 p.m. at the cemetery's memorial to victims of abortion. The service will include a "Rose Ceremony," during which a rose is placed at the memorial to represent each year that abortion has been legal.
I am grateful to Father Van Wagner, our Vicar General, for representing me at the March.
8. Father Frank McCarthy, O.Carm. -- We share in the sadness of the Carmelite Community and Salpointe Catholic High School in learning of the death of Father "Frank" Francis (Florian) McCarthy, O. Carm., on Jan. 7 in Florida, where he had been living in retirement.
The Mass of Christian Burial was held last Friday at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Sudbury, Massachusetts.
In July of 1953, Father Frank was assigned to Salpointe Catholic High School, and he served there the next six years as teacher of Latin, photography and geometry and as assistant principal, club moderator and athletic director. He returned to Salpointe in 1977 and served as principal until 1986. Father Frank placed a strong emphasis on discipline, values and the faith life of students. In 1989, he moved to Our Lady of Lourdes High School and Sacred Heart Parish in Nogales, before retiring and moving to Florida.
A Mass in memory of Father Frank will be celebrated tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at Sacred Heart Parish in Tucson.
9. Sign Language Interpretation of the Mass -- Deaf and hearing impaired Catholics now have another resource in the Tucson area. In addition to the 10 a.m. Sunday Mass at Sacred Heart Parish signed by Barbara McDevitt, Neala Sillman is signing at the 10:30 a.m. Sunday Mass at St. Christopher Parish in Marana on Feb. 20, March 27, April 17, Mary 15 and June 19.
Please share this information with families that could benefit from the ministry of signing.
10. "Seeds of Hope" -- The 2005 Annual Catholic Appeal "Road Show" is underway. Tom Smith, director of the Diocese of Tucson Charity and Ministry Fund Inc., is making the rounds of the vicariates in the Diocese with co-workers Irene Holguin and Nancy Gastellum to prepare parish leadership for this year's campaign.
I am present at these Appeal leadership gatherings by way of a videotape presentation that Tom and Fred Allison helped to produce a couple of weeks ago on the theme of this year's Appeal, "Seeds of Hope."
Standing in the stunning desert surroundings in the foothills of the Tucson Mountains, I reflected on how the magnificent Saguaro Cactus grows from a tiny seed into a towering giant with its arms stretching out to the heavens. For that to happen, that tiny seed needs to be nurtured by just enough water, sun and protection.
I reflected how the Catholic people in the Diocese of Tucson are nurturing "Seeds of Hope" through their generosity to the Annual Catholic Appeal. Their generosity nurtures the 23 ministries and charities so critical for the work of the Church.
The goal set this year by the Board of the Charity and Ministry Fund is $3 million. To accomplish that goal, we need to work together, with each parish doing its part. Last year's Annual Appeal was the best ever. There were 6,100 new donors, and the average gift was $134.
This year's Appeal brochure, produced in English and Spanish, describes in detail how your contributions will be used only for the support of the 23 charities and ministries that truly are "Seeds of Hope."
Preparing to begin this year's Appeal, I am confident that you will help our Diocese to carry on the mission of the Church. I count on your support now even more than ever.
11. Counting Down to Lent -- Ash Wednesday is 22 days away, and preparations for Lent are underway in parishes, schools and here at the Pastoral Center.
I will be announcing next week a special Lenten series for young Catholic adults, and many of our parishes are announcing their special Lenten events.
One Lenten event that we were not able to announce in this month's Catholic Vision is a retreat evening with Sister Joyce Rupp, OSM, on Monday, Feb. 14, at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson. "Return With All Your Heart" is the theme of the retreat. The evening, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., includes opening and closing rituals, presentations by Sister Joyce, quiet reflection time and small group sharing. The cost of the retreat is $10, and registrations are due by Feb. 5. Call Sister Joan at Our Mother of Sorrows at 747-1321 for a flyer and registration form. You can learn more about Sister Joyce at her Web site, www.joycerupp.com.
12. A Surprise Visitor -- I missed all the excitement at the Pastoral Center last week while I was in Washington for the meeting of the Communications Committee. Last Tuesday afternoon, Sonya Gutierrez, Chancellor June Kellen, and Tom Smith each caught a glimpse, through their office windows, of a surprise visitor walking through our backyard -- a very hairy and handsome fellow who looked like he might be a skunk, but whose appearance was very different than the skunks many of us have seen, and much larger, too.
From the descriptions shared with him, our Pastoral Center skunk expert, Fred Allison, quickly identified our visitor as a Sonoran hog-nosed skunk, whom we all hope has moved on from our little piece of urban desert to a much safer (for him and us) habitat.
Catholics in the Diocese of Tucson witnessed to the sanctity of life last Saturday in the 11th annual Tucson March for Life.
The March memorialized the 32nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.
The March was preceded by Mass and a rally at Salpointe High School. The rally featured Pro-life activist Kerri Caviezel.
Led by a contingent from the Knights of Columbus and escorted by the Tucson Police Department, more than 1,000 people marched the 3.6 miles from Salpointe to Holy Hope Cemetery.
At Holy Hope, they gathered at the memorial that is dedicated to all victims of abortion. There, 32 persons came forward one at a time to lay a red rose on the ground. The roses represented the loss of more than 40 million children aborted in the 32 years of legalized abortion. The ceremony concluded with the release of white doves that circled the crowd before flying off, symbolizing prayers.
I am grateful to those who organized and facilitated the March, including Kelly Copeland and Barbara Copeland, Mike Mohr, Deacon Russ Kingery, Father Fred Tillotson, O.Carm., and the Salpointe community, the Knights of Columbus and Jim DeCastro and the staff of the Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries.
1. Friendships -- I am in Florida today with two of my oldest and closest priest friends as we continue the tradition we started several years ago of taking a short mid-winter break together. Our friendship goes back to when we were 13-years-old, and for all those years, through our teens, through seminary, our early days as priests and on into our "senior" years, we have stayed close.
Friendships are a great blessing in all our lives, and one of the great joys of my priesthood is the friendships I have with other priests. I am doubly blessed that I can share a few days with priest friends who know me inside and out.
I want all at the Pastoral Center to know that I won't use this time away to think up any new projects!
2. Diocesan Controller Position Announcement -- Father Al Schifano, Moderator of the Curia, and Richard Serrano, diocesan Human Resources director, along with several members of the Diocesan Finance Council, have started the search for new executive-level fiscal management for the Diocese in the position of Controller.
The Controller will be responsible for the overall financial management of the Diocese, including management of the Fiscal Services Department; financial reporting and interpreting; tax administration; budgeting; investments; internal controls and audits; and accounting systems.
We are hoping that a Catholic with deep personal faith, commitment to the Church and to the Diocese and with a depth and breadth of financial management experience will join us and assist us at this important and challenging time.
A position description is available on the diocesan Web site under "Employment Opportunities."
3. Jewish Christian Dialogue -- I am very honored to have been invited by Rabbi Samuel Cohon to participate in a dialogue this Saturday at Temple Emanu-El in Tucson with Rabbi Byron Sherwin, an internationally renowned Jewish theologian, ethicist and scholar of Jewish philosophy and mysticism.
In 1990, at the invitation of the Polish Episcopate, Rabbi Sherwin became the first rabbi to lecture at Polish-Catholic theological seminaries. In 1992, he was the first recipient of the "Man of Reconciliation Award" by the Polish Council of Christians and Jews, and in 1995 he was awarded a Presidential Medal by the Republic of Poland -- The Officer's Order of Merit.
The Holy Father has placed great emphasis on Jewish-Christian dialogue. Just last week, he received in audience a group of about 160 Jewish leaders, rabbis, cantors and their relatives.
The unprecedented meeting -- never before had so many rabbis gone to the Vatican for a private audience with the Pope -- commemorated the 40th anniversary this year of the Second Vatican Council declaration "Nostra Aetate," which marked a key turn in Jewish-Christian dialogue.
We are blessed in the city of Tucson and in southern Arizona to have a vibrant Jewish community that contributes in so many ways to the well being of all.
4. Drugs in Our Community -- I met recently with Pat Benschick, chief executive office of COPE Behavioral Services in Tucson, Dr. Lenoard Ditmanson, medical director of COPE, and Peg Harmon, chief executive officer of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, to reflect on the growing concern about the availability of drugs and their harmful impact on so many lives.
Of special concern in our discussion was the increasing availability and dreadful impact of methamphetamines, the highly addictive drugs that are taking a significant toll of individuals and families and that are responsible for so much crime.
An outcome of our discussion and reflection was the hope to establish in the Tucson area an effort by inter-faith religious leaders and community leaders to address drug availability and the great harm drugs cause. We anticipate a meeting in the near future with community and religious leaders to consider a focus and strategy for this effort.
5. "Check This Out! -- Mira Esto!" -- We are doing a mailing this week from the Pastoral Center to all parishes to help promote our special Lenten outreach to young Catholic adults in the Diocese, so be on the look out for some brightly colored posters and post cards that exclaim, "Check this out! -- Mira esto!"
For three consecutive Wednesdays during Lent (Feb. 16 and 23 and March 2), I hope to engage young (18 to 30-plus) Catholic adults in spirited dialogue about their concerns, their struggles, their joys and their hopes as people of Faith -- as the young Catholic adults that they are.
My hope is that young Catholic adults will fill Gramer Hall at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish at 7 p.m. on each of those evenings. I want to listen to them and respond to them. I want to be able to share with them the rich spiritual tradition of the Church and what that tradition has to say about what we believe, how we pray and how we live.
The evenings each will include a beginning presentation about some aspect of our Catholic spirituality, reaction from the young Catholics to the presentation and my remarks, small group discussions in Spanish and English, an open forum, praying together and celebrating together.
I ask your help in spreading the word about these evenings by extending your personal invitation to a young Catholic adult to attend. As attractive as we hope the promotional materials are, it is your invitation that will have the greatest impact.
I am grateful to the planning group for this special Lenten outreach: Father Bart Hutcherson, O.P., of St. Thomas More Newman Center; Sister Rosalie Esquerra, O.P., of Life Directions; Sister Patricia Vereb, O.S.B.; Mike Berger, our director of our Office of Catechesis; and a group of young Catholic adults.
6. Parish Weekend Masses -- I look forward to being with the community of Our Lady of Fatima Parish and Father Ray Ratzenberger this weekend to celebrate Sunday Mass.
I enjoy being at our parishes as part of their ordinary celebrations. Often it seems that I am only at a parish for special liturgical celebrations such as a parish anniversary, Confirmations or installation of a pastor, so my hope is to be able to celebrate Sunday Mass in our parishes more often.
7. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- Father Bill Dougherty, C.S.P., is recovering from a heart attack. Father Bill is a former pastor of St. Cyril Parish.
Father Ray Rochleau, a retired priest who has lived in our Diocese for many years, died last Wednesday here in Tucson. A funeral Mass will be celebrated this morning at 11 a.m. at Holy Family Parish in Tucson.
Rev. Martin C. Kelly, who served in the Dioceses of Tucson and Phoenix for 52 years, died last week. He had returned to Ireland in May of 2000 to stay with his sister. The funeral Mass will be held in Ireland.
Bishop Moreno will be undergoing some elective surgery this week. He will be back with us soon.
I was at Salpointe Catholic High School bright and early this morning for the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award ceremony. The award is presented annually at the beginning of National Catholic Schools Week by Salpointe in recognition of exceptional contributions to Catholic education in the Diocese of Tucson. The award was initiated in 1992 by Salpointe.
The award ceremony was attended by faculty, staff and administrators from many of the Catholic schools in our Diocese.
Receiving the award this year were Mary Ann and Francis "Ace" Hendrickson and, posthumously, Sister Lauren Moss, O.S.F.
Mary Ann and Ace were honored for more than a quarter century of dedication to Catholic education and Catholic schools in the Diocese. Mary Ann taught for more than 25 years at St. Ambrose and St. Joseph and has served since 2000 as Program Coordinator in charge of religious education certification, federal grants and staff development in our Department of Catholic Schools. Ace is a retired firefighter and paramedic who has volunteered in one capacity or another the past 19 years for Catholic schools and for the Diocese. For the past three years, he has shared his training and expertise in crisis prevention and management as a leader of the Catholics schools' crisis team and the Pastoral Center's safety and security committee.
Sister Lauren, who died last October after a valiant struggle with cancer, was honored for her decades of service to Catholic schools, to the Diocese and to the community. She truly dedicated her life to motivating young people toward achieving high goals and developing their God-given talents. Sister Jeanne Carrigan, O.S.F., accepted the award in memory of Sister Lauren.
1. "Faith in Every Student" -- This being Catholic Schools Week, we remember the sacrifice and dedication of the many lay persons, clergy and religious whose ministry over the years and through today has enabled our Church to provide excellent academic experiences and nurturing in faith and values for children in our Catholic schools.
The theme of this year's national celebration of Catholic Schools Week aptly describes the mission and ministry of our Catholics Schools: "Faith in Every Student."
I am grateful that, even with the daunting challenges we face as a Diocese, we are trying to expand the availability of Catholic education. All of us owe a huge debt of gratitude to teachers, principals, staff and parents for their sacrifices to make our schools "Catholic schools."
I also am very grateful for the dedication of the Catholic educators here at the Pastoral Center -- Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, C.F.M.M., Jean McKenzie, Mary Ann Hendrickson (and Ace) and Mary Gioco.
Our Catholic schools are being acknowledged this week by the communities they serve. Mayor Ray Borane of Douglas, Mayor Stanley Gibson of Globe and Mayor Bob Walkup of Tucson each issued proclamations in honor of Catholic Schools Week.
My Catholic Schools Week activities include attending tomorrow night's Salpointe Lancers boys basketball home game against Mountain View and participating this Thursday in the Third Annual Catholic Schools Rally at the State Capitol with more than 1,200 teachers, parents and students from all over the state. Bishop Olmsted and I will celebrate the Catholic Schools Mass in the morning at Sts. Simon and Jude Church in Phoenix.
2. Presbyteral Council Meeting -- Tomorrow's meeting of the Presbyteral Council at the Pastoral Center will include an update from Jim de Castro, the new interim director of the Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries, on the ministry of the Cemeteries, especially how the staff wants to assist pastors in responding to families experiencing loss and grieving.
Also, we will continue the consultation on the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The vicars will offer their insights on the implementation of the Charter in our Diocese. This is similar to the consultation with the Diocesan Pastoral Council and the Sexual Misconduct Review Board at their meetings earlier this month.
3. Arizona Catholic Conference -- The Arizona Catholic Conference is the public policy voice for the Dioceses of Tucson, Phoenix and Gallup. Bishop Pelotte, Bishop Olmsted and I will gather for a meeting and dinner with Catholic legislators on this Wednesday in Phoenix. This meeting will provide an excellent opportunity for us to become better acquainted and to dialogue on important issues.
After Thursday's rally at the State Capitol for Catholic education, we will have meetings with Governor Janet Napolitano, Senate President Ken Bennett and Speaker Jim Weiers to become more familiar with each other and with the needs of our State.
The dioceses in Arizona and the interests of the Catholic Church are ably represented at the State Capitol by Ron Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference. We appreciate greatly Ron's knowledge of and expertise with the mechanics of the State Legislature.
4. Bishop Moreno's Gratitude -- Bishop Moreno communicates his gratitude for the thoughts and prayers so many of you expressed last week. Bishop is on the mend from last Thursday's surgery, and he assures you of his prayers.
5. Remember in Your Prayers -- Please remember in your prayers Sister Carmella of the Sisters of St. Martha and Sister Ann Patrick Adams, S.C., principal of Sts. Peter and Paul School, both of whom are meeting health challenges.
6. Knights of Columbus Priests' Appreciation Dinner -- The annual Priests' Appreciation Dinner sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Councils is this Thursday evening at St. Pius X Parish in Tucson. This dinner really does make us priests feel appreciated, and I am very grateful for the encouragement this event and others sponsored by the Knights give to our priests.
7. Winter Residents and Visitors -- The annual presence in our parishes of winter residents and visitors is at its highest point over these next few weeks. Looking at the terribly cold weather back east, we all the more respect the good judgment of our winter parishioners
We know that many of our winter residents regard their parishes as their spiritual "homes away from home." I am grateful for special events that many of our parishes have to recognize and thank our winter residents and visitors for the generosity of their time, talents and treasure.
8. "Check this out!" "Mira esto!" -- A reminder that the posters and post cards promoting our Lenten outreach to young Catholic adults are being delivered to parishes. If your parish hasn't received them by the end of this week, please call Mike Berger here at the Pastoral Center, 792-3410.
"Check this out!" "Mira esto!" is for young Catholic adults (age 18 to early 30s). We will gather on three consecutive Wednesday evenings (Feb. 16, Feb. 23 and March 2) at 7 p.m. during Lent at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish's Gramer Hall to dialogue about faith and their experience of Church. I encourage you to personally invite the young Catholic adults you know to attend one of the evenings.
9. On the Threshold of Lent -- The Vatican issued the Holy Father's message for Lent 2005 last Thursday. His message asks us to reflect on the role that the elderly have in society and in the Church. He said that in the context of the many threats to the dignity of life it is necessary to raise awareness of the great resource that the elderly represent.
As one of the "elderly" himself -- 84-years-old -- he writes, "If growing old, with its inevitable conditions, is accepted serenely in the light of faith, it can become an invaluable opportunity for better comprehending the Mystery of the Cross, which gives full sense to human existence."
The Holy Father urges all to uphold the dignity of life by extending a hand of kindness to the older people in their families and in their communities.
You can read the Holy Father's message for Lent at:
10. Rite of Election, Call to Continuing Conversion -- This coming weekend and the next, we will be celebrating the Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion at St. Augustine Cathedral.
The Call is given to candidates who have been baptized but who have not yet received the Sacraments of Confirmation and the Eucharist. The Rite of Election is for the catechumens who have embraced the Catholic faith but who have not yet been baptized. The bishop receives the catechumens and candidates on behalf of the Church.
The Rite and Call are beautiful liturgies. It is always a very moving experience to see the many people -- young and old -- from all across the Diocese gather as for this important step in their search for life in Christ. These liturgies also are a time for our community to applaud and celebrate their search and to stand with them in their journey, for we all need to return to the Lord.
This year, there will be 141 catechumens and 303 candidates gathering at 2:30 p.m. with their sponsors and their families on Sunday, Feb. 6, and Sunday, Feb. 13. I will be presiding at this Sunday's liturgy. Bishop Francis Quinn will preside at the liturgy on Feb. 13.
We are very grateful to Regina Sassen for bringing her gifts in service to the Diocese as coordinator for the liturgies.
11. Jewish - Christian Dialogue at Temple Emanu-el -- It was my privilege and joy Saturday night to participate in an inter-faith dialogue with Rabbi Professor Byron Sherwin at Temple Emanu-el in Tucson. This dialogue was made possible by the invitation of Rabbi Samuel Cohon.
Rabbi Sherwin has written a book on Pope John Paul II and inter-faith dialogue. In his book, Rabbi Sherwin suggests that this Holy Father has done more than any before him to restore a positive relationship among our faith traditions. Pope John Paul grew up in Poland and counted many Jews as his friends. Rabbi Sherwin told of a Catholic and a Jewish soccer team in Poland. Karol Wojtila (later to be Pope John Paul) played goalie for the Jewish team when it needed players. The Pope saw first hand the destruction of Jews in Poland. That profoundly affected him.
In 1979, Pope John Paul II visited Auschwitz on his first return visit to Poland. He was the first Pope since Peter to pray in a synagogue. In 1998, he issued a document called "We Remember, A Reflection on the Shoah" (Holocaust). In the year 2000, he went to Jerusalem and prayed at the Wailing Wall, seeking forgiveness for the harm done by Christians to Jews. He visited the Holocaust Memorial Yad Vashem outside Jerusalem. Earlier this month, a group of 160 rabbis, cantor, and their families had a special audience with the Holy Father and praised him for his leadership in inter-faith dialogue. They called for continued dialogue and joint social action between our two faiths.
In October of this year, we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate (In our time), which was a groundbreaking work putting an end to speaking of the Jewish faith as a failed religion replaced by the new covenant, stating that God's covenant with the Chosen People endures. It also spoke against the notion of deicide, that the Jews had put God to death. These erroneous opinions were reversed."
Rabbi Sherwin shared some powerful stories of his work for decades on fostering inter-faith dialogue. He spoke of the leadership of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin and reminded us that on the Cardinal's death the Jewish community in Chicago asked to hold a service at the Cathedral to remember this great religious leader.
Our dialogue was friendly and open, an example of the great strides that have been made in these 40 years of bringing our faith traditions into conversation with one another. More needs to be done.
We need to help our young people, our teachers and catechists to understand the Shoah and what it can teach us. Recently, some of our teachers went to Washington to learn more about how to tell the young about the Holocaust. That defining, tragic human event has much to teach us. Some have questioned whether the Church and especially Pope Pius XII did enough to confront Nazism. The Vatican has opened up the archives to allow scholars to study the Church's response to the Holocaust. How the Church and others responded is a complex question that needs to be unraveled carefully. This was a complex and confusing time that does not admit of simple analysis. The Holy Father has asked God to forgive the failings of the Church.
We need to learn more about how our Liturgy had its beginnings in Jewish ritual. We need to appreciate more the sensitivities of the Jewish people in how we speak about the Passion of Christ and the relationship between the Church and non-Christian religions.
I was pleased to see so many Catholics at the Temple listening to and participating in the dialogue, including some young people from the Newman Center with Father Bart Hutcherson, O.P., Father Rick Zamarano of Salpointe and at least one of his students and several members of a number of parishes.
12. Our Lady of La Vang -- There is a very special celebration this Sunday morning at 9:15 a.m. at Our Lady of La Vang Parish in Tucson. The parish will be dedicating a statue to its patroness, Our Lady of La Vang. I look forward to being with Father Peter Mau Nguyen, C.Ss.R., and the parish community for Mass and the dedication.
Our Lady of La Vang first appeared to the Vietnamese people in 1798 during the great persecution of Vietnamese Catholics and missionaries. There is more information about Our Lady of La Vang at http://www.udayton.edu/mary/questions/yq/yq106.html.
13. Youth Ministry Leadership Training -- I was very pleased to hear from Ruben Davalos of our Office of Evangelization and Hispanic Ministry about the two workshops presented on youth leadership to youth ministers and youth leaders last Thursday and Friday evenings at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Tucson and Saturday and Sunday at Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma.
Marcos and Martin Martinez (no relation) from the Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC) in San Antonio presented the workshops. There were 61 participants in the Tucson workshop and 35 in Yuma.
The young people, identified as leaders in their parishes, and their youth ministers learned that culture is the foundation of leadership in youth ministry. They also heard that as the Hispanic presence in the Catholic Church grows, the U. S. Bishops ask us to reflect on what model of leadership Hispanics will share with the larger Church and how will this model can unite the Body of Christ in the U.S.
One phrase that impacted the participants was: "Cultures are neither good nor bad, but all cultures need conversion." The document from the U.S. Bishops, "Renewing the Vision," was recommended as guidelines for all youth groups to read and put into action.
14. "Seeds of Hope" Annual Catholic Appeal 2005 -- The leadership meetings have taken place, the mailings are ready to go out and I hope we all are ready to plant some "Seeds of Hope" as the 2005 Annual Catholic Appeal begins.
The theme of this year's campaign points to the hope that is generated in the lives of so many people through the 23 charities and ministries that depend on the Appeal.
One of the traditional starting events of the campaign is the big dinner that St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista holds on behalf of the Appeal. Everyone gathers at the Knights of Columbus Hall for delicious food, inspiring talks and some entertainment. I look forward to being with Father Greg Adolf and the community of St. Andrew this Saturday night for the big event.
Of course, this year's Appeal campaign will be taking place as our Diocese continues the process of the Chapter 11 reorganization. Now more than ever, we need the support of our Catholic people. Please communicate as often as you can that all gifts to the Appeal will only be used to support the 23 charities and ministries.
15. Chapter 11 Proceedings -- After a hiatus of several weeks, the public proceedings in the Diocese's Chapter 11 reorganization case are scheduled to resume next week with a hearing on Feb. 10. It is our hope that cooperation demonstrated by all parties thus far in the process will continue so that those harmed can be equitably and fairly compensated without undue delay.
As you know, my decision to voluntarily enter the Chapter 11 process came only after we were not able to reach a settlement in suits that alleged sexual abuse of children by priests. Our Diocese entered the Chapter 11 process with these goals: healing the hurts of the past by providing equitable and fair compensation to victims; ensuring the ability of the Diocese to continue the mission of the Church.
I had said consistently and frequently that settlement was the preferred option for the Diocese, but in the course of negotiations for settlement, it became apparent that the cost of settlement was far beyond the resources of the Diocese. Also that settlement would have resolved only the current cases, leaving the Diocese without the means to deal with any future cases -- a detriment both to the Diocese and to those with legitimate claims.
The cost associated with litigation of the suits and possible verdicts against the Diocese could not be determined, and judgments could very well have been in amounts that would have been far beyond the means of the Diocese to ever meet.
Thus, Chapter 11 became the only option.
Throughout the process of consultation that led up to my decision to enter Chapter 11, I consistently and frequently said that while Chapter 11 would not be inexpensive, it would be the best way to ensure, to the very most possible extent, that victims would be compensated equitably and fairly.
Clearly, one of the challenges of Chapter 11 is the cost, including the fees that must be paid to the attorneys that guide the various parties in the case through the process.
Our hope has been and is to keep the costs associated with the Chapter 11 to the very minimum for the very purpose of providing as much as possible to a settlement pool that will provide equitable and fair compensation to those who have been harmed. This can happen only if the process remains cooperative and without unnecessary legal and professional expenses.
I believe strongly that is the same goal of all those who are involved in the process of the Chapter 11. These are professional people of great integrity and experience who are seeking a consensual plan that will provide for the equitable and fair compensation of victims as well as the ability of the Diocese to continue its mission.
Two recent stories in the Arizona Daily Star have focused on the fees that must be paid to the attorneys representing the Diocese and attorneys representing minor claimants and unknown claimants.
It certainly is not news that a Chapter 11 proceeding can be expensive. It is news, as noted in the Star's story of yesterday, that costs so far in our case, including legal fees now approaching $800,000, have been less than in many cases that have involved complex issues and multiple constituencies.
We are hard pressed for every dollar that has been required and will be required for the Chapter 11 process, including the dollars spent to advertise the public notice required by the Court in the Star and in other newspapers. We have carefully budgeted the funds available to the Diocese for administrative operations so that we can meet the estimated costs associated with the Chapter 11 process.
We have not and will not use any dollar for the Chapter 11 process that is given to the Annual Catholic Appeal or for any other designated purpose to support the charitable and spiritual ministries of the Diocese.