Jan. 9, 2006 Jan. 16, 2005 Jan. 23, 2006 Jan. 30, 2006


Vol. 3, No. 37
Jan. 9, 2006

Every diocese, like every community, has certain individuals who stand out as exemplars, people who live their lives with such integrity and courage that you stand in awe. Msgr. Edward Ryle was one such priest in the Diocese of Tucson.

Last Thursday, he was laid to rest at a celebration attended by Gov. Janet Napolitano, a dear friend, former Gov. Jane Hull, a wide range of legislators from both sides of the aisle and members of the Arizona judiciary. They respected Msgr. Ryle for his persistent, determined efforts to inform them, with a moral perspective, about the issues facing our State and our Country.
 
Msgr. Ryle was an exemplar for a countless number priests from our Diocese and the Diocese of Phoenix, many of whom, along with lifelong priest friends from elsewhere, attended the Mass to pay their respects to a priest who made us proud.

Ecumenical guests, leaders from Catholic Community Services of Tucson and of Phoenix, many religious women involved in social issues, diocesan social mission representatives and the Arizona Catholic Conference came in respect to celebrate the life of a man who gave 49 years of dedicated service to the Church and to our community.
 
Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe, a friend of many years of Msgr. Ryle, delivered a marvelous homily recalling the life of a priest who loved people and wanted to help especially the littlest and weakest. Gov. Napolitano reflected at the end of Mass about the wide range of interests that Msgr. Ryle had and his desire always to help community leaders see their responsibilities from a moral perspective. His great nephew, Michael Petty, offered the reflections of a family member, helping us to see Msgr. Ryle not only a religious leader but as a brother and a beloved uncle.
 
I am grateful to staff members of our diocesan Pastoral Center and from St. Augustine Cathedral, especially June Kellen, our Chancellor, and Father Pat Crino, rector of St. Augustine, for their outstanding preparation and presence providing hospitality and welcome to the many who attended Msgr. Ryle's funeral Mass. State Deputy Michael Kingman and the Knights of Columbus provided an honor guard for the visitation and added solemnity and dignity to the ceremony. The Knights and the Catholic Daughters of the Americas hosted a reception afterwards, for which I am very grateful.

As you read the next two memo items, you might think about how Msgr. Ryle encouraged us to embrace with determination and hope the challenges to dignity and justice that we encounter.

1. National Migration Week -- Yesterday marked the beginning of the 25th annual observance by our Church of National Migration Week. The theme of this year's observance, "Journey to Justice," invites us to be in solidarity with migrants, immigrants, refugees, human trafficking victims and other people on the move seeking dignity, justice and peace. I have encouraged all parishes to incorporate the theme in the liturgies of next weekend. I also have suggested to pastors that this week and the coming weekend are opportunities to call attention to "You Welcomed Me," the pastoral letter on migration that the Catholic Bishops of Arizona released last month. The letter is available at www.diocesetucson.org.

Last week, we received a pamphlet edition of the pastoral letter, beautifully prepared by USCCB Publishing, that will be distributed to all bishops in the U.S., in Mexico and Latin America, as well as all legislators in Arizona and county and municipal leaders. It is hoped that the letter will encourage all of us to look again at how we can comprehensively address the border challenges.

2. Poverty in America Awareness Month -- The Catholic Campaign for Human Development has launched a new national awareness campaign to call attention to the 37 million Americans now living in poverty. Timed to coincide with the beginning of Poverty in America Awareness Month, this new campaign also is focusing greater attention on poor and low-income persons who are trying to break the cycle of poverty in which they find themselves. I encourage all parishes and schools to use the resources that are available at: www.usccb.org/cchd/focusonpoverty.shtml and www.usccb.org/cchd/povertyusa/povamer.shtml

3. Ordinary Time and Epiphany Moments -- With the Feast of the Epiphany yesterday and its call to meet Christ anew, we begin Ordinary Time. Sometimes in our lives we experience epiphany moments when God is strikingly present to us, when we are lifted up: moments when we realize the divine in our midst. But most of our lives are not lived at that peak. Most often life is routine, rather ordinary. But it is in just such "ordinary" moments that we need to look for the presence of God. As we begin Ordinary Time, we keep our eyes and ears open for the hints of God's presence among us.

It was a joy on the Feast of Epiphany to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Msgr. Thomas Cahalane's appointment by Bishop Green as pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson. As people stood in tribute to their pastor, you could see their respect and regard for him and his priestly service. This was apparent, too, on Friday when Father Rudy Rosales was installed as the new pastor of Holy Angels Parish in Globe. On both occasions, the people applauded their pastor and expressed their appreciation for his presence among them. We need priests. Moments like this make it obvious that people want pastors who are loving fathers, gentle shepherds and wise teachers of their people. We pray for more vocations to the priesthood to serve our Diocese.

4. Meeting of Communications Committee -- I am in Washington as this week begins for a meeting of the Communications Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. This will be the final year of my chairmanship of the committee, which meets twice a year and which holds frequent consultations with Msgr. Frank Maniscalco and the staff of the Department of Communications at the Conference. Archbishop George Niederhauer, recently appointed to the Archdiocese of San Francisco, is the chair elect of the committee and will take up his responsibilities after the Bishops' November meeting.

The agenda for this meeting includes a report on the status of the production of Catholic-funded television, radio and Internet programs, a report on the work of the Catholic Communication Campaign, a presentation on the media and their impact on society, a presentation on the Motion Picture Association of America by its president and CEO, Dan Glickman, and a presentation on Spanish language media by Robert Suro, director of the Pew Hispanic Center.

5. Region XIII Bishops' Retreat -- Retreat is a privileged time, a chance to be in touch with the Lord in a deeper and fuller way apart from responsibilities and demands that so consume our time.
 
The Bishops of Region XIII took part in our annual retreat at Redemptorist Renewal Center last week. Father Tom Santa, C.Ss.R., and his staff were gracious to host us despite reconstruction from the fire that occupies much of their time now. They made us feel very much at home and fed us all too well!

Archbishop Thomas Collins of Edmonton in Canada gave the retreat on the Psalms and the Book of Apocalypse. A Scripture scholar, he did a marvelous job bringing us into the scriptures, especially the intensity of the Psalms and why it is so important for a priest and bishop to celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours and exercise our office to pray for the Church. He would make a good retreat master for a future priests' retreat.

6. Pro-Life Mass and Issues Presentations -- On Saturday, we held the first Life Issues Liturgy and Forum sponsored by our Diocesan Life Committee. The Liturgy and forum reflected on the constant teaching of the Church with regard to life and how all life from conception to natural death is sacred and is to be treated with dignity and respect. I am grateful to Deacon Russ Kingery and his committee for their work in preparing the day and to the speakers who made presentations on the right to life, capital punishment and euthanasia. While the attendance was smaller than we had hoped, it was a beginning, and I am grateful to all who were present.

7. Parish Incorporation -- As reported in this month's The New Vision, we are in the final stages of the incorporation of parishes. I have been so encouraged by the great cooperation of our pastors throughout the process, and I see in their cooperation a sign for the future of our Diocese: as we begin the New Year, I feel our parishes are all moving in the same direction, working together with the Diocese for a larger purpose.

While incorporation is important to reflect in civil law the relationship under canon law that exists between parish and the Diocese, the process of incorporation has had its own special importance as it has demonstrated what can happen when we work together to reach common goals.

The first meetings of the board of directors of the newly incorporated parishes will be this month. The first board to meet, on Friday of this week, will be that of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish. All other parish boards will meet next week on Thursday and Friday.

These first board meetings truly will be historic occasions for our Diocese!

I am so grateful to Father Al Schifano, Moderator of the Curia; diocesan attorney Gerry O'Meara; Property and Insurance manager John Shaheen; and Kathy Rhinehart, executive assistant for Corporate Matters, for their tireless work in preparing for these special days. Without their competence and generosity we would have been hard pressed to accomplish this momentous task.

8. New Year's Resolutions -- I invite you to read my column in this month's The New Vision in which I share my top three resolutions for our Diocese: to identify and invite those who may be called by God to serve as priests; to renew our parishes; and to reach out to the littlest and weakest among us. For each of those resolutions, I share points of emphasis and goals that I hope we can all work toward together. Regarding vocations, a diocesan prayer for vocations will be distributed very soon, and I will ask that the prayer be said at every Mass.

9. 2006 Annual Catholic Appeal -- "Remarkable wonders are done through you!" That is the theme of this year's Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA), which already is underway with the meetings for the Appeal's leadership (pastors, parish staff and volunteers) in each vicariate. Last week, Tom Smith, Nancy Gastellum and Irene Holguin were at St. George Parish in Apache Junction for the leadership meeting of the Pinal West Vicariate. This week's meetings will be at Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Green Valley tonight, at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish (for Tucson area parishes) on Wednesday and at Yuma Catholic High School on Sunday afternoon for the Yuma - La Paz Vicariate. Tom has identified these leadership meetings as one of the essential factors in the success of the Appeal campaigns of the past few years, including last year's record-breaking campaign.

For this year's Appeal, Tom, Fred Allison, our Communications director, and I have produced a video in both English and Spanish that allows me to highlight just a few of the "remarkable wonders" that the Catholic people make possible in our Diocese by their generosity to the Appeal.

The 2006 ACA will be conducted in every parish during February.

10. Yuma Pastoral Visit -- I will be in the Yuma area from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon. On Friday evening, I will celebrate Confirmation at St. Francis of Assisi Parish. On Saturday, I will celebrate Mass at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Yuma. Part of my ministry is to be present to people in need, and I especially appreciate the opportunity to be present to the inmates of the correctional facilities within the Diocese. I will be honored Saturday afternoon to bless the tabernacle in the Chapel of the Yuma Regional Medical Center. Father Xavier Perez, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Somerton, and Father Bernardo Iniesta, parochial vicar of Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma, have been providing Catholic chaplaincy services at the Center. On Sunday morning, I will celebrate Mass at Immaculate Conception Parish and will bless the new social center building at Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel, which is a mission of Immaculate Conception Parish. The chapel, beautifully restored after a devastating fire several years ago, is the pride of the community, and Father Bernardo has been doing wonderful pastoral service with the people who attend the mission. Sunday afternoon, I will attend the ACA Leadership meeting at Yuma Catholic High School.

11. Compliance Audit -- I am very pleased to report that the Diocese has again been found in compliance with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. While there certainly is a feeling of accomplishment in the finding of compliance, to me "compliance" represents recognition of the hard work that is being done at the parishes and schools. We do our part at the Pastoral Center by setting standards, developing resources and requiring audits, but it is the work of our parishes and schools that makes the Safe Environment Program a reality.

I have been impressed with the dedication and perseverance of our pastors, their compliance representatives and the pastoral teams of employees and volunteers throughout the implementation of the Safe Environment Program. It is hard to change systems, carry out programs and make reports. Nevertheless, they have made this project their own. They see its importance, both for the protection of those who serve in our parishes and schools and, ultimately, for the protection of children and vulnerable adults.

I give my congratulations and sincere thanks to all of them, and I appreciate their continuing collaboration as we move forward in our commitment for the protection of our children.

I also thank Dr. Paul Duckro, director of our Office for Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection; Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, C.F.M.M., Superintendent of Catholic Schools, and her staff; Mike Berger, director of the Office of Catechesis; and Human Resources director Richard Serrano, all of whom have guided us through this self audit and who, through their encouragement, have brought our parishes, schools and religious education programs into substantial compliance with the rigorous demands of the auditors.

12. Week of Prayer for Christian Unity -- This annual ecumenical observance begins a week from Wednesday. Initiated in 1908, these days of prayer around the world call Christians to pray "that all may be one…that all may believe." (John 17-21)

As part of local observances, I will be participating in a "Celebration of the Word" at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Tucson on Wednesday at 7 p.m. I hope that our Tucson-area parishes can be represented.

13. Remember in Your Prayers -- Pauline Levins, mother of Loretta Tracy, our diocesan liaison for ecumenical and interfaith activities, who died the week before last, and Marlin Mentzer, father of Belinda McGuire, our receptionist here at the Pastoral Center, who died last week.  Also, please keep in your prayers Father Paul Larocque, Father Charles Maloney and Father Tom O'Flannigan as they endure serious health challenges at this time.

Vol. 3, No. 38
Jan. 16, 2006

On this Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, we remember the tremendous impact he had on the struggle for civil rights in our nation. We remember that we all are members of God's family, no matter the color of our skin, the language we speak, the place we were born, the resources we may have. We remember that we are, all of us, sons and daughters of God, sisters and brothers to each other. We remember that despite Dr. King's momentous efforts to end discrimination and prejudice, those sins and failures still reside deep in human nature. This reality challenges us to continue to look deeply into ourselves, at our attitudes, and to free ourselves from the narrowness of any prejudice we may feel toward people who are different from us.

1. Today's Meetings  -- The Board of Directors of the Diocese of Tucson Cemeteries will welcome new member Patrick J. Farrell, who is a member of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish. I am grateful for his commitment to serve on the board. We also will receive an update from Jim DeCastro, Cemeteries director, on the Outreach Program to parishes. Family Service Counselors will be attending Masses this weekend at St. John the Evangelist Parish and will be available after Mass to provide information to families on the importance of pre-planning funeral and burial arrangements. We need to acquaint our people with the services of the Catholic Cemeteries through our parishes. I encourage our pastors and pastoral administrators to welcome representatives from the Catholic Cemeteries and even invite them to come to their parishes to make such presentations.

The Presbyteral Council meeting agenda includes several very important items: an update on parish incorporation (see #7); a discussion on the importance for incardinated priest of the Diocese of preparing wills, pre-planning of funeral and burial arrangements and determining medical and general power of attorney; a discussion on "You Welcomed Me," the Pastoral Letter on Migration from the Catholic Bishops of Arizona; and a report from Tom Smith on this year's Annual Catholic Appeal Campaign.

2. Diocesan Finance Council -- The Diocesan Finance Council meets tomorrow. The council will review the recently completed audit of diocesan finances. We anticipate publishing the audit on the diocesan Internet site next month to coincide with a Special Pastoral Report on Diocesan Finances in the February issue of The New Vision/La Nueva Visión. I have committed our Diocese to transparency in providing information on diocesan finances and I have encouraged our parishes to do the same. Each parish should make public its financial statements that have been reviewed by its finance council. People have a right and responsibility to know how their gifts are used.

3. Priests' Day of Prayer -- This month's Priests' Day of Prayer will be held today at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks. We all are very happy that Father Tom Santa, C.S.s.R., and staff can welcome us back as they continue to rebuild after last October's fire. I thank the Sisters of the Benedictine Convent for hosting our Day of Prayer these past few months.

4. Exploring the Issues of the Border and Migration -- Almost every diocese in the nation is responding to the increasing number of Spanish-speaking Catholics they serve, some of whom are undocumented, so it is very encouraging to see the commitment of Bishop Joseph Pepe of the Diocese of Las Vegas to become acquainted with the issues surrounding the continuing phenomenal migration from Mexico. Bishop Pepe and a group of his priests are in Tucson this week to learn more about the migration and how they can respond effectively and pastorally to the migrant people in the communities of their diocese.

They are hearing today from Chris West of Catholic Relief Services. They will travel to the border tomorrow in what is being called an "experiential" trip. On Wednesday, they will hear from Kevin Appleby of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Migration and Refugee Services. I will have the opportunity to address them tomorrow on our Diocese's experiences with the migration.

5. Week of Prayer for Christian Unity -- The Annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins this Wednesday and continues through the next Wednesday. A daily scripture and prayer guide has been sent to each parish, and I encourage you to use the guide and join Christians around the world in prayer "That all may be one…that the world believe." (John 17-21).

I hope that representatives from parishes will join me and members of other Christian churches and communities in the Tucson area for the "Celebration of the Word" at 7 p.m. on Thursday at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, 602 N. Wilmot.

6. Jesuit Volunteer Corps -- Representatives of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps will be visiting our Diocese this week to look at options and opportunities, through Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, for providing services, perhaps in the communities of Douglas and Nogales. The Jesuit Volunteer Corps offers women and men an opportunity to work full-time for justice and peace. Jesuit Volunteers are called to the mission of serving the poor directly by working and living among the poor and marginalized, by living simply and in community with other Jesuit Volunteers and by examining the causes of social injustice.

There is more information on the Corps at www.jesuitvolunteers.org

7. Parish Corporation Board of Directors Meetings -- All the requirements for their incorporation having been met, the boards of directors of 73 newly-formed parish corporations will meet in St. Augustine Cathedral Hall for their first meetings on Thursday and Friday of this week.

The pastor of each parish serves as the president of the board of directors of the parish corporation, and as president of the board will call the meeting to order. Present with the pastor will be the two lay members of the board who serve as treasurer and secretary. Father Al Schifano, diocesan Moderator of the Curia, and I serve on each parish's corporation, bringing the membership of each board to five. At the president's invitation, it will be my honor to offer the opening prayer.

While these first meetings are really organizational in nature, their importance of these meetings for each parish and the Diocese is emphasized because for the first time the relationship between parish and the Diocese is reflecting in civil law the relationship that is articulated in canon law.

Our Pastoral Center Staff has planned hospitality that will include music and food for all the members of the boards who will be arriving at Cathedral Hall for their first meeting. We will celebrate Mass at noon on each day in the Cathedral to pray that God will bless the continuing reorganization of the Diocese and each parish in its new civil identity as a corporation.

The first board of directors meeting was held last Friday here at the Pastoral Center, and it was a historic moment as Msgr. Tom Cahalane, president of the board of Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic Parish – Tucson, called the meeting to order.

Yesterday's edition of The Yuma Sun included a story by reporter Page Deiner that provided background on the incorporation process and that quoted Yuma-area pastors as being positive about and supportive of the individual incorporation of their parishes.

8. Tucson March for Life 2006 -- The 12th annual Tucson March for Life will take place this Saturday. I will preside at the opening Mass at Salpointe Catholic High School at 9 a.m. Following Mass, there will be a rally with special guest Eric Genuis, a composer, singer and songwriter. A simultaneous rally for youth will feature the music group Dragon Society. At noon, we will begin the march to Holy Hope Cemetery, where at 2 p.m. there will be a memorial service by the "Statue of Rachel" monument to the victims of abortion.

The March for Life memorializes the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion. It is a prayerful and dignified witness to the sanctity of human life. More information on the march is available at www.tucsonmarchforlife.org.

9. Pastor Installation -- I will be in Clifton and Morenci this Sunday morning to celebrate with the people of Sacred Heart Parish and Holy Cross Parish the installation of Father Matthew Asamagema as their new pastor. The ritual and symbols in the installation of a pastor teach us much about the close relationship between pastor and people, and it is a great joy for both the bishop and the people of a parish when their new pastor is installed.

10. Catholic Tuition Support Organization Tallies Record Contributions -- The Catholic Tuition Support Organization reports that contributions for the 2005 tax year reached $3.86 million, the most ever in the CTSO's six year history. The total represents an increase of $800,000 from 2004. Nearly 10% of the contributions were made on-line.

The CTSO provides thousands of scholarships to students with financial need who attend our Catholic schools. It gives many students the opportunity to receive a Catholic education. This is all made possible through the Arizona Private School Tuition Tax Credit Law and the generous contributions of the public.

Congratulations to Gracie Ramirez, CTSO director, Daneen Rivera, CTSO administrative assistant, and the CTSO board of directors.

11. Annual Catholic Appeal Leadership Meetings -- With this week's the emphasis on the board of directors meetings for parish corporations, there is only one leadership meeting, and that is this coming Saturday for the Cochise Vicariate at Our Lady of the Mountains Parish with a 9:30 a.m. breakfast followed by the meeting at 10 a.m. Tom Smith reports that there was excellent attendance at the meetings last week by pastors, parish staff and Appeal volunteers and that there has been a real spirit of pride when the results of last year's record breaking Appeal have been shared during the presentation.

12. Vocations -- It was my great joy this past weekend to accept Jesus Acuña as a candidate for the priesthood. The Mass of Candidacy at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Somerton was his public expression to the community of his desire to serve as a priest in our Diocese. The people extended their applause, supporting his commitment to serve. It is obvious to me that our people want priests to serve our parishes. Vocations are engendered in parish communities that identify, invite and encourage men and women to consider service as priests or religious. I hope each of our parishes will pray and work hard this year to invite at least one person to enter the seminary or a program for religious women. That is not an impossible goal. We have many young people and second career adults who are gifted and who have the desire to do something of value with their lives. They are waiting to be asked.

13. Knights of Columbus Benefit Dinner for Priests' Retirement -- The Msgr. Don H. Hughes Assembly will present their second Benefit Dinner for Priests' Retirement this Sunday evening at Skyline Country Club. Msgr. Bob Fuller will be the special guest speaker. The first dinner, held in November of 2004, raised nearly $10,000 for the Priests' Retirement Fund. I look forward to being with the Knights and their guests, and I deeply appreciate this effort of Knight Marty Ronstadt and his committee to improve the benefit that we provide our priests in their retirement years.

14. St. Gianna Latin Mass Community -- For a number of years, the Latin Tridentine Mass has been celebrated in two places in our Diocese: Holy Family Parish and St. Ann's Convent Chapel at Sabino Canyon. Beginning next month, these two communities will come together and form the St. Gianna Latin Mass Community, an informal association, for one year ad experimentum. The community will be located at St. Ambrose Parish in Tucson, and the Mass will be celebrated in St. Ambrose Church. Effective Feb. 1, Father Richard Rego, who has been serving as pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Ajo, will serve as Chaplain of the community. I am grateful for his willingness to form this community in Christ.

Information about the schedule for Mass, the Sacrament of Reconciliation and devotions is available at the community's Web site, http://fatherrego.com.
 
I have met on several occasions with Catholics who want to celebrate Mass in Latin according to the 1962 ritual, which is allowed through an indult from the Holy See with the approval of the local bishop. They are dedicated people who love the Church and its tradition. I have reminded them that the indult by the Holy See and my approval have been given with the understanding that those who prefer to celebrate the Mass in Latin according to the pre-Vatican II ritual must accept fully the teachings of the Vatican Council II and its liturgical guidelines and must remain in union with their bishop. I have every confidence that this community will further reflect the unity of the Church in all its diversity.
 
It should be clear that St. Gianna Latin Mass Community is different than the Pius X Society and other groups that are not in union with Rome. The Community is in union with the local bishop and accepts all the teachings of the Church in the Second Vatican Council. It remains clear that the ordinary and encouraged ritual in our Diocese and throughout the world is that of the Second Vatican Council.
  
It is my hope that the enhancement of liturgical life in each of our parishes will be one of our priorities this year. That means we work together to make our celebrations welcoming and reverent, that we provide beautiful and prayerful music and that our priests and deacons work hard to provide homilies that nourish us spiritually.

I am grateful to Father John Arnold and the community of St. Ambrose Parish for welcoming the St. Gianna Latin Mass Community. Thanks to Father Joseph Baker and the community of Holy Family Parish and the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart for having provided space for the celebration of the Mass in Latin over the past years.

St. Gianna Beretta Molla was canonized in 2004 by Pope John Paul II. A saint of our times, she was a physician and surgeon who had considered a call to religious life. Married to Pietro Molla in 1955 at Magenta, Italy, she became a mother of three and continued her medical career, treating it as a mission and gift from God. During her pregnancy with her fourth child, she was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst. Her surgeon recommended an abortion in order to save her life, but she refused and died a week after childbirth.

15. Remember in Your Prayers -- Paul A. Welter, brother of Joanne Welter, director of our Catholic Social Mission Office, who died last week in Minnesota.

Also, please continue to pray for our priests facing health challenges and infirmities: Father Paul Larocque; Father Charles Maloney; Father Tom O'Flannigan; and Father Alfred Greenwald.

Vol. 3, No. 39
Jan. 23, 2006

Thursday and Friday of last week were truly historic days for our Diocese as the first meetings of the boards of directors were held for 67 newly incorporated parishes. All of the requirements for incorporation having been met, each parish now has its own individual identity in civil law, reflecting canon law's identification of a parish as a "juridic person" separate and unique from the identity of the diocese.

The meetings took place one after another and practically non-stop from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days in the north meeting room of St. Augustine Cathedral Hall.

Pastors and parish administrators, who now civilly are the presidents of their parish corporation's board of directors, first called to order the meeting of the incorporators, who are for each parish the pastor or parish administrator, myself and Father Al Schifano, Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese. It was during this very brief meeting that the incorporators approved the appointment of the two lay members selected by the pastor or parish administrator to serve on each parish's board.

Immediately after adjourning that meeting, each pastor or parish administrator then called to order the very first meeting of the board of directors of the parish corporation. It was during this meeting that each board voted its approval of the model by laws, the parish services agreement with the Diocese and the corporate resolutions. Each of these meetings also was very brief, and after adjournment I had the opportunity to communicate to the pastor or parish administrator and to the two lay board members my encouragements, recommendations and expectations for the future:

-- That each parish recruit more vocations for the priesthood. I told each board that while we have the blessing of 15 seminarians presently in formation, if each parish in this coming year could invite and encourage just one vocation to the priesthood, we would have 89 seminarians next year! I also shared my hope that each parish also would encourage and invite parishioners -- young and old -- to consider vocations to religious life and the permanent diaconate or participation in lay ministry formation.

-- That each parish renew and reinvigorate its liturgies so that each experience of worship has an atmosphere of genuine hospitality and welcome, homilies that are well-prepared and spiritually nourishing and music that engages and inspires.

-- That each parish discern how best it can reach out to the littlest and weakest among us with programs and services that reflect our response to the call of Christ to see Him in the least of our sisters and brothers.

-- That each parish emphasize participation in the Annual Catholic Appeal and work hard to meet and even exceed its goal.

-- That each parish participate in the new Pooled Parish Investment Program (PPIP) for parish savings. The PPIP is a trust established separately from the Diocese as part of reorganization that provides parishes three options for investing their savings. (There will be a story about the PPIP in the February issue of The New Vision.)

-- That each parish continue the challenging and hard work of implementing the Safe Environment Program so that we can ensure, as much a humanly possible, the safety of children and vulnerable adults. I am so pleased that our parishes and schools are supporting the Safe Environment Program and are committed to being diligent and thorough about background screening for all clergy, religious, employees and volunteers and to providing continuing education for our children, their parents, parish and schools staffs, volunteers and our priests, deacons and religious about child abuse awareness and prevention.

-- That each parish have a parish council and finance council and, in solidarity with the Diocese, be open and transparent in its finances and publish a detailed financial report each year.

After each meeting, we were very happy to be able to present to each president, secretary and treasurer an incorporation commemorative plaque upon which a photo of their meeting was placed.

At the conclusion of each of the meetings, I asked the lay members to share just a little about themselves. Our pastors and parish administrators truly have chosen exceptional people to serve on their boards! These women and men will bring many gifts and talents to the work of their parishes and will assist their pastors and parish administrators in the work of Christ.

The breadth and depth of experience that the lay members have in their professions, their commitment to their vocations as fathers and mothers, their close relationships with their parishes and their pastors and administrators, their care and concern for the Church and their communities and their love of Christ all were very evident. There were accountants, strategic planners, miners, lawyers, law enforcement officers, owners of beauty salons and construction companies and others with a wide range of backgrounds. The directors were involved in many parish activities, including service on pastoral councils, finance councils, Extraordinary Ministers of Communion, lectors and members of choirs. I hope in the future that we can assemble all the lay directors so that we can learn more about each other and how things are going in this new experience of the parish corporation. What a great resource they can be! 

While Father Al and I were in the meetings, there was a fiesta in Cathedral Hall! Each of our diocesan offices and departments, along with the Diocese of Tucson Charity and Ministry Fund and the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson, had a table with information and gifts. Under the banner of "A New Dawn," Cathedral Hall was beautifully decorated. As they arrived for their meetings, the pastors and parish administrators, pastoral administrators, lay members of the board, parish staff and parishioners could learn about the services provided from the Bishop Moreno Pastoral Center, which, as I reminded each of the board members during our meetings, exists only to serve the parishes. There were snacks and a great lunch each day, and we were entertained on Thursday by the wonderful Folklorico dancers from Lourdes High School in Nogales and on Friday by the keyboard and singing of Mary Ann Luini of St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Tucson.

On both Thursday and Friday, we gathered for noon Mass in the Cathedral, to thank God for the many blessings we enjoy and to pray for guidance as we continue the reorganization of the Diocese.

When the last of the board meetings had been completed late Friday afternoon, I joined the staff of the Pastoral Center in Cathedral Hall for a heartfelt singing of "Now Thank We All Our God." I thank God especially for the Pastoral Center Staff, and I am so proud of how they worked together with so much energy and joy. I heard many comments from pastors, parish administrators and lay members of the boards about how well-organized their experience was. I thank especially Father Al, corporate affairs executive assistant Kathy Rhinehart, diocesan attorney Gerry O'Meara and John Shaheen, diocesan Property and Insurance Manager, for their leadership in helping make the two days a meaningful and positive experience. And, to all of the wonderful volunteers from our Pastoral Center volunteer corps, the Catholic Daughters of the Americas and the Knights of Columbus who guided each of the parish boards and helped out in so many ways, you have my deep gratitude!

The few parish boards of directors that were not able to meet last Thursday and Friday will meet in the very near future.

These first organizational meetings of the parish boards of directors represented another step forward in our implementation of the Plan of Reorganization that was confirmed last July as part of the Chapter 11 proceedings.

I emphasize that this plan is not just about "reorganization," important as that is. The plan encompasses two essential purposes: creating the possibility of healing for those harmed by abuse and continuing the mission of the Diocese. In continuing that mission, we do so now with a new attitude of openness, transparency and accountability and with the new mechanism of parish corporations.

1. Retreats for Chaplains in the Military -- I made a commitment several years ago to the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA to conduct three retreats for chaplains to our armed services, but with all that has been going on in our Diocese I haven't been able to meet that commitment until now.

So, I am on my way to Orlando today to give the first of the three retreats on spiritual renewal of priests. The second retreat will be in Hawaii in early February, and the third will take place in April in Germany. I am very honored to be able to give these retreats, and I am grateful to Archbishop Edwin O'Brien of the Military Services for this opportunity.

The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA is the ecclesiastical structure by which the Roman Catholic Church provides spiritual and pastoral services and support to members of the U.S. Armed Forces. With more than 1,000 priests and lay associates and support staff, the Archdiocese serves more than 1.4 million Catholics, including nearly 400,000 in uniform and their family members and Catholics who serve in the Reserves and the Coast Guard and civilians in Government Service overseas and in Veterans Administration Hospitals.

2. Annual March for Life -- The March for Life on Saturday drew the largest crowd in the history of the march. The marchers, carrying banners and praying the Rosary, spanned almost a mile. The march began after Mass and several presentations on our need to respect life.
 
This event was not a parade or a fitness walk, but a prayer and statement that calls our community to rethink its position on abortion and establish law that protects human life from conception to natural death.
 
Kelly Copeland, Deacon Russ Kingery and their committee did an outstanding job getting the word around and planning this event that helps to inform people why we stand against abortion and why we seek alternatives for women who find themselves facing a decision of whether or not to continue their pregnancy to birth.

3. Installation of Father Matthew -- We are blessed in our Diocese to have wonderful people with whom to share faith. I experienced that again in Morenci, Clifton and Duncan yesterday when I joined them in welcoming their new pastor, Father Matthew Asemagema, one of the missionary priests from the Diocese of Makurdi in Nigeria, who has been serving in Yuma and in Eloy. As a sign of people's regard for Father Matthew, some friends from each of his former parishes came to Morenci for the celebration. The people of the Morenci, Clifton and Duncan communities received him with open arms and prepared two delicious banquets to honor him.

4. Annual Catholic Appeal -- The Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) leadership meetings conclude this week with these gatherings: today, 5:30 p.m. dinner and 6:30 p.m. meeting for the Gila-Pinal East Vicariate at Blessed Sacrament Parish, Miami; Wednesday, 6 p.m. dinner, 7 p.m. meeting for the Pima North Vicariate at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Tucson; Saturday, 8:30 a.m. breakfast, 9 a.m. meeting for the Pima East Vicariate at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish, Tucson.

During each of the parish corporation boards of directors meeting last week, I pointed out to the directors the "remarkable wonders" represented by the work of the diocesan offices and departments that receive support from the ACA.

5. A New Ministry for Father Charlie Knapp -- Father Charlie Knapp has announced to the community of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson that he is retiring from parish ministry to take up the ministry for which he has a special devotion: support of marriage. Several months ago, Father Charlie shared with me and with Msgr. Tom Cahalane his desire to do this ministry, and he has my wholehearted support. The parish will host a retirement reception for Father Charlie after the 9 and 10:45 a.m. Masses this weekend.

6. "Intelligent Design" and Evolution -- Jesuit Father George Coyne, eminent astronomer and director of the Vatican Observatory, will address the controversial issues of faith and science that surround "intelligent design" and evolution in a special presentation at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 5, at Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church in Tucson.

Father Coyne, who is a member of the Council of the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences, divides his time between the Vatican Observatory headquarters in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, and the Vatican Observatory Research Group at the Steward Observatory, University of Arizona.

The proceeds from a $3 donation at the door will support the missionary activities of the Our Mother of Sorrows Haiti Project.

7. Managing Editor for The New Vision/La Nueva Visión -- I am pleased to announce that Karl Bierach of Tucson is the new managing editor of our diocesan publication. Karl's background is in broadcast journalism. He has worked as a reporter and meteorologist at stations in Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois and, most recently, here in Tucson at KVOA-TV. He and his wife are members of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson.

Omar Rodriguez, graphic designer and layout specialist, will continue in that capacity and as facilitator of the Spanish section of the publication, La Nueva Visión.

I thank Fred Allison, diocesan Communications Director, for his contributions to the publication this past year.

8. Knights of Columbus Benefit Dinner for Priests' Retirement -- Saturday evening's Knights of Columbus benefit dinner at Skyline Country Club in Tucson to raise money for our Priests' Retirement Fund was a wonderful success! Every seat was taken, thanks to the hard work of Marty Ronstadt and his committee of the Msgr. Don Hughes Assembly. Msgr. Robert Fuller gave a marvelous talk that reminded people of the contributions of our priests and of our responsibility to support our retired priests who have been there for us during their priestly service in our parishes. It was obvious that people who attended have a great respect for priests and have experienced first hand the sacred ministry of priests for them and their families.

9. 6th Annual "Fun"-Raiser Night for Vocations -- Father Miguel Mariano, Vocations Director, invites you to participate in the 6th annual "Fun"-Raiser Night for Vocations on Tuesday, Jan. 31. With the cooperation of the two Sweet Tomatoes Restaurants in Tucson, you can have a great meal with great company in support of our "emergency" fund for seminarians. For information on how to participate, call Marty Hammond in the Vocations Office at 520-792-3410.

10. Remember in Your Prayers -- Mrs. Mary Adams, mother of Deacon Thomas Adams, who died Jan. 9 in California.

Also, please continue to pray for our ailing priests: Father Paul Larocque; Father Charles Maloney; Father Tom O'Flannigan; and Father Alfred Greenwald.

Vol. 3, No. 40
Jan. 30, 2006

Character. Compassion. Values.

In those three words you find the foundation of the curriculum that is taught in our Catholic Schools, a curriculum for an education that goes beyond preparation for success in the secular world. It is the curriculum for an education that prepares our young people to lead the Christian life.

This week in our Diocese and across the nation, we are observing National Catholic Schools Week, and the theme of this year's observance is those very same three words.

In our Diocese this week, our 22 Catholic elementary and six high schools are raising awareness of the benefits and blessings of a Catholic education and highlighting the contributions that our Catholic Schools make to their communities in so many ways.

I am grateful for the dedication and professionalism of the principals, faculties and staffs in all of our Catholic Schools. They are continuing the wonderful legacies of Catholic Schools that we have enjoyed in our Diocese for nearly 150 years.

This morning at Salpointe Catholic High School, two persons who are deeply committed to Catholic education and our Catholic Schools are being honored with Salpointe's annual Seton Award. Initiated by Salpointe in 1992, the award, which draws upon the inspiration of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, is presented for exemplary and unselfish contributions to Catholic education in the Diocese of Tucson.

This year's honorees are Sister Jackie Koenig, O.S.F., and Father John Lyons. Sister Jackie has done many wonderful things during her time as principal at San Xavier Mission School. Father John, pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson, is truly dedicated to the mission of Sts. Peter and Paul School. Congratulations to them!

Also being honored in this Catholic Schools Week are the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity who are observing the 75th anniversary of their service to the Yuma Community. Immaculate Conception Parish is having a special anniversary event for the Sisters this Thursday. We are grateful to the Sisters, who are beloved in the Yuma Community.

1. Reflecting on Parish Incorporation -- While much work and wonderful spirit accompanied the historic first meetings of the board of directors of the newly constituted 501(c)3 not for profit parish corporations, parish life this past weekend remained unchanged: Masses were held, confessions heard, the sick were visited, children taught religious education and Catholic schools continued with their excellent education and formation of our students.
 
The Church, like the triune God we proclaim, remains a unity in diversity. It is difficult for people to fully understand how the Church operates. After all, the Church is a mystery founded by Christ. While parishes have always been juridic persons with their own identity as described in canon law, we form one body – the Body of Christ. While the Church has always prized and valued subsidiarity, giving recognition and respect to the local level, we are branches of the one vine, who is Christ.
 
The bishop, representing Christ through Apostolic Succession, holds us in a unity of belief. So while parishes now hold title to their property and have a board of directors, our parishes remain joined through the bishop to the Universal Church and continue to strive to live the faith we have received and to proclaim that faith in our works for others.
 
We have titled this new moment in our history as a diocese a "New Dawn." It will be a new dawn if we live our faith with greater fidelity and proclaim that faith with even more zeal. While organization and programs are important in an institution, people, who they are and what they do, matter most.

2. Retreat for Chaplains in the Military
-- Fifty U.S. Army Chaplains participated in last week's retreat in Florida that I presented for priests who serve in the Archdiocese for the Military Services USA. They serve around the U.S., and some have been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The stories they shared were moving. I was inspired by their desire to serve the men and women in our Armed Forces. Chaplains at Walter Reed Army Medical Center spoke of serving those seriously wounded in the Iraq war. They spoke of the pain they feel in having to communicate with families that their son or daughter has been hurt or killed. They prayed hard, and it was good to see them taking some time to relax before going back to their strenuous ministry.
 
At the Masses during the retreat, we prayed for peace and especially for those who have lost their lives. These priests spoke often of their desire to bring hope to those they serve who face the fear and violence of war. Let us continue our ardent prayers for peace.

3. Episcopal Ordination of Bishop-elect George Rassas -- After a short break in Florida with my childhood chums for our annual winter get-away, I will be returning via Chicago, where on Thursday I will be a co-consecrator, with Cardinal Francis George, for the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop-elect George Rassas in Holy Name Cathedral. I am grateful to Cardinal George for the invitation to serve as co-consecrator. Bishop-elect Rassas and I have been friends for a long time: he was a year behind me in seminary. He has been serving as the vicar general of the Archdiocese for nearly a year. He is very gifted, and he will serve with great dedication as an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese.

4. Pope Benedict XVI's First Encyclical -- The Holy Father's first encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est"("God Is Love"), is receiving some thoughtful coverage in newspapers I have had a chance to read. According to reports from the Catholic News Service, the Holy Father presents the faith in a clear and positive perspective and identifies the core mission of Christianity as to help people accept God's love and share it, recognizing that true love involves a willingness to make sacrifices.

The Holy Father emphasizes that the Eucharist is where we encounter the self-sacrificing love of Christ, whose body was broken and blood poured out in love for us. This is an encouragement to us in trying to make the Eucharist even more central to the life of our parishes. This year, we are trying to enhance music, the sense of hospitality and welcome, as well as making homilies by our deacons and priests as spiritually nourishing as possible.
 
The second half of the Holy Father's letter emphasizes the importance of reaching out to the littlest and weakest. We are to love others as Christ loved us. This fundamental dimension of our faith remains one of our diocesan priorities. Our communities encounter many in need throughout Southern Arizona, and as disciples of Christ we are moved to respond.

There will be a full-page report on the encyclical in the February issue of The New Vision, which will be distributed at parishes this weekend. You can access the encyclical in English and in Spanish at www.vatican.va/latest/latest_en.htm.

5. New Year in the Chinese Calendar -- The New Year in the Chinese Calendar began yesterday and will be observed for 15 days. This Saturday, I will be celebrating this important cultural festivity with the Vietnamese Catholic Community of Our Lady of La Vang Parish in Tucson. It is always a joy for me to celebrate the unique traditions of the many cultures we have in our Diocese.

6. Guest Preacher at Catalina Methodist Church -- I appreciate very much the invitation from Pastors Tom Wick and Raven Gaston to be the guest preacher at their congregation's 11 a.m. Sanctuary Worship Service this Sunday in Tucson. Catalina Methodist has a long history of service to the Tucson Community, and I am very much looking forward to this important ecumenical opportunity.

7. Confirmation at Salpointe Catholic High School -- I will be celebrating Mass with the Salpointe Catholic High School Community this Sunday and administering the Sacrament of Confirmation for students. We are entering the peak time for Confirmations, and I am grateful to Bishop Moreno and Bishop Quinn for all the help they give me in covering our big Diocese!

8. Congratulations! -- To Daneen Rivera, administrative assistant in the Catholic Tuition Support Organization Office, for her recent recognition as the "Davis-Monthan Air Force Spouse of the Year." 

9. Annual Catholic Appeal -- The vicariate leadership meetings for the 2006 ACA campaign are complete, and Tom Smith tells me the attendance was super for all of the gatherings. The mailing of ACA brochures and pledge forms to all registered Catholic families begins this week. Announcement Weekend is the weekend after next.

10. "Fun"-Raiser Night for Vocations -- Tomorrow night is the 6th annual "Fun"-Raiser Night for Vocations. With the cooperation of the two Sweet Tomatoes Restaurants in Tucson, you can have a great meal with great company in support of our "emergency" fund for seminarians. For information on how to participate, call Marty Hammond in the Vocations Office at 520-792-3410.

11. Pastors National Development Congress -- With scholarship assistance from the Diocese of Tucson Charity and Ministry Fund, six of our priests were able to attend last week's Pastors National Development Congress in Phoenix. Attendees were Father Joe Lombardo and Father Francisco Maldonado of Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Green Valley, Father Ray Ratzenberger of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Tucson, Father Dominco Pinti of St. George Parish in Apache Junction, Father Marco Basulto-Pitol of St. James Parish in Coolidge and Father Dale Branson of St. Joseph Parish, Hayden-Winkelman. Tom Smith was able to participate in one of the sessions with our priests.

The congress is offered by the Catholic Organization of Development Executives for the purpose of advancing better understanding of the ministry of development. 

12. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- Father Martin Atanga, pastor of St. Jude in Pearce-Sunsites informed Chancellor June Kellen last week that his sister, Veronica, and her unborn baby had died in Nigeria due to a sudden illness. Please remember Veronica, her husband, Aduraye, their baby and all the family in your prayers.

I appreciate very much your continued prayers for our ailing priests: Father Paul Larocque; Father Charles Maloney; Father Tom O'Flannigan; and Father Alfred Greenwald.