June 6, 2005 June 13, 2005 June 20, 2005 June 27, 2005

Vol. 3, No. 12
June 6, 2005

I recently shared with you a reflection by one of our parish youth ministers on some of the “small miracles” that she had witnessed in the course of her work and the joy that it brought her to see God moving in the lives of people.

I have a “small miracle” to share with you from my visit a couple of weekends ago to the western part of our Diocese for confirmations in San Luis, Somerton, Yuma and Wellton:

At St. Joseph the Worker in Wellton, in the group of young persons I would be confirming was Jean Morsette.

Jean is 80-years-old. For the last 37 years, while not a Catholic, she had attended Mass with her husband. Following his death earlier this year, she decided that she wanted to come into the Catholic Faith. She was baptized and received her First Communion during the Easter Vigil.

As I administered the sacrament of Confirmation to her, it was a joy for me to see Jean’s enthusiasm to receive the Spirit. In her enthusiasm, we see how powerfully the grace of the Spirit works.

Father Tomas Munoz, administrator of St. Joseph, and Lisa Voauax, director of religious education, joined me in congratulating Jean on this important step in her spiritual journey.

1. More from the West -- In my visit to Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Somerton that same weekend of confirmations, I had the chance to visit Casa Moreno, which is sponsored by the parish to assist persons in need in the community.

Outreach to the littlest and weakest strengthens the parish and reminds people of our mission to treat everyone as a brother and sister in Christ. I am grateful to Father Xavier Perez, pastor of Immaculate Heart, for his leadership in involving the parish in the outreach of Casa Moreno.

My visit to Somerton also included a stop at a new park taking shape just outside the city. This much-needed recreational space for the children has come about through the hard work and commitment of people from the community with the assistance of the Yuma County Interfaith Sponsoring Committee.

I also was encouraged to hear of the development of programs in the Yuma-La Paz Vicariate to involve young persons more fully in their faith and in community life, with the ArcoIris (rainbow) movement as one example.

Knowing that the high school age population in our state is expected to more than double over the next 10 years (the second largest growth expected among all the states) emphasizes the importance of youth ministry programs. This demonstrates the importance of the work being accomplished by our Diocesan Council for Youth and Young Adult Concerns (with the participation and support of Mike Berger of the Office of Catechesis) and by the Hispanic Commission of the Diocese that is focusing on outreach as a Diocese to youth. We are doing a lot, but we need to do much more!

2. Concern over Drug Use -- As I travel around the Diocese I hear so many people, especially in smaller communities, who are concerned about drug use by young people. That same concern was very evident at the most recent meeting of our effort in the Tucson area to address methamphetamine use. It is very clear that we must stand up and work together -- especially with our young people -- to take strong action to rid our communities of chemicals and other substances that rob people and families of a decent life. I invite your input on the best ways to do this.

3. Chapter 11 Update -- With the approval last Wednesday by Judge James Marlar in U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Diocese’s third amended and restated disclosure statement and plan of reorganization, creditors now will be voting on the plan. Creditors will be receiving a letter from me this week that will contain my personal encouragement to them to vote to approve the plan. The letter will include ballots for their voting. Confirmation hearings for the Diocese’s plan are scheduled to be held July 11-15.

In court last Wednesday, Judge Marlar told the attorneys for the major parties in the Diocese’s reorganization case, “Thank you everyone for keeping this case on track and working together so beautifully.” I certainly echo the sentiments expressed by Judge Marlar.

4. National Meetings in Tucson -- We are very honored that Tucson will be the site this July for two national meetings of Church affiliated organizations.

The National Assembly of Movimiento Familiar Cristiano will take place July 15-17 at the Tucson Convention Center. The organization is part of the International Confederation of Christian Family Movements.

Working through networks of parishes and small groups of families, Movimiento Familiar Cristiano and the Christian Family Movement reinforce Christian values by encouraging their members to reach out to others in ministries that include foster-parenting, detention ministry, refugee sponsorship, religious education and couple counseling. (More information at www.cfm.org.)

Freddy and Lisa Valenzuela are the Tucson area president couple of Movimiento. Contact information for them is available through Sister Charlotte Anne Swift, O.P., here at the Pastoral Center.

All priests are invited to attend the Assembly, and I encourage their participation. Bishop Moreno and Msgr. Carlos Romero of St. Augustine Cathedral will be celebrating liturgies at the Assembly.

As announced on the front page of this month’s Catholic Vision, the 66th Annual Tekakwitha Conference will be held July 20-24 at the Tucson Convention Center.

This is quite an honor for Catholic Native Americans in Arizona, and I share in their pride and excitement that the annual Conference will be held in Tucson.

Juana Casillas and Rosario Otero, both of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Tucson, are the co-chairpersons for the 2005 Conference. I very much look forward to participating in the conference.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Blessed Kateri: Bearer of Spiritual Rain from the Mountains to the Desert to All Nations.” On July 14, Blessed Kateri’s feast day, we are asked to pray in union with all dioceses in the U.S. for her canonization. 

5. Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries -- The Board of Directors meets this morning, and we are pleased to welcome two new members, Richard Grijalva of St. Ambrose Parish in Tucson and Mark Valentine of St. Demetrious Greek Orthodox Church in Tucson.

The members of the Board and I thank Frank Naughton, who is ending his term on the Board, for his dedicated work on behalf of the ministry of our Catholic Cemeteries, especially in his service as interim director of the Cemeteries.

I hope you have had a chance to the read the feature story in this month’s Catholic Vision about Our Lady of the Desert Cemetery, which is part of All Faiths Memorial Cemeteries on Tucson’s far east side. My walking tour of the cemetery with Cemeteries’ director Jim DeCastro, manager Deacon George Rodriguez and Board member Yvette Ensign last April gave me insight into the great potential that Our Lady of the Desert has for service to our Catholic families.

6. Pastor Installation -- I look forward to being with the community of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Superior this evening for Mass and the installation of Father Francis Iber as pastor.

I take the opportunity here to express again my thanks to the missionaries from Africa who, in addition to Father Francis, are serving in our Diocese with great generosity and dedication: Father Matthew Asemagema, pastor of St. Helen in Eloy; Father Sylvester Nwaogu, administrator of Sacred Heart Parish in Tombstone; Father Gilbert Malu Msubu (who was recently incardinated), pastor of St. Luke and Immaculate Conception Parishes in Douglas; Father Martin Atanga, pastor of St. Jude Thaddeus Parish in Sunsites-Pearce; and Father Joseph Nietlong, administrator of St. Bartholomew Parish in San Manuel.

7. Arizona Catholic Conference -- The quarterly meeting of the Arizona Catholic Conference will take place here at the Pastoral Center tomorrow.

The Conference is the public policy body of the three dioceses in Arizona. Through the work of executive director Ron Johnson, the Conference gives Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix, Bishop Donald Pelotte of the Diocese of Gallup and myself a way to provide input to legislators at the State Capital and to the Governor’s office.

Our agenda tomorrow includes discussion about immigration and the proposed marriage amendment. We also will consider when statements from the Bishops of the Conference are appropriate and what form they should take.

More information about the conference is available at www.diocesephoenix.org/acc.

8. Visit to Federal Correctional Institution Tucson -- I will be visiting the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) here in Tucson on Wednesday to celebrate Mass with inmates and to meet with the administration to learn more about the workings of this prison. FCI Tucson, near Interstate 10 and Wilmot Road, is a medium security facility housing male inmates with an administrative facility for male and female offenders.

9. St. Thomas More Society -- I will be celebrating Mass on Wednesday with members of the St. Thomas More Society. The mission of the Society is to provide a structure for lawyers, judicial officers and law students within our Diocese to foster fellowship and continued ethical formation in the spirit of St. Thomas More. In conjunction with the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson, the Society each year sponsors the annual “Red Mass” to invoke the Gifts of the Holy Spirit upon judges, lawyers, lawmakers and public officials.

10. Getting to Know Pope Benedict XVI -- I look forward this week to a gathering of the members of the Catholic Foundation and friends at which we will discuss our new Holy Father and what my be expected in his pontificate.

11. A Reflection on Our Common Commitment -- I hope you have had the opportunity to read Dr. Paul Duckro’s excellent reflection in this month’s Catholic Vision on our efforts to create safe environments for children.

By “our,” I mean our parishes, schools, Catholic agencies and institutions and the administration of the Diocese.

Paul has a column each month in Vision about our common commitment for the protection of children, and in the June issue he reviews the topics he has covered the past year.

While the Diocese’s Chapter 11 reorganization and the associated past scandals of abuse of children by priests in our Diocese continue to receive justifiable attention by the news media, the efforts that we all are involved in to create safe environments receive relatively little attention.

Great progress has been made in establishing safe environment programs, and as Paul has written, an entire culture and way of doing things within the Church are changing. Our efforts to prevent the failures and mistakes of the past from ever occurring again seem to me to be as newsworthy as the failures and mistakes of the past, and I thank Paul for helping us all to see the broad dimensions of our efforts.

The diocesan Sexual Misconduct Review Board (SMRB), which is certainly a prime example of our commitment to keep children safe, meets this Friday at the Pastoral Center. The input and advice of the members of the SMRB are invaluable resources for me, and the SMRB has played a major role in helping to restore trust.

12. Evaluation of Diaconate and Lay Ministry Formation -- I will be meeting this week with Father Rick Zamorano and Margaret Lordon of the diocesan Office of Formation to evaluate the progress of the joint formation program for diaconate and lay ministry formation that has been in process for one year. 

In addition to evaluating the overall program, we will review each of the candidates preparing for either the permanent diaconate or for lay ministry leadership. This evaluation will take place after each year of the formation program in recognition that ministry in the Church is not only one’s desire to serve but also is being called by the Church to serve.

13. Gathering with Diocesan Department Directors -- I have asked our diocesan department directors and their spouses to join me at my residence this week so that I can express my thanks for all their hard work over the past year.

As you know, it has been a year with many challenges in which many extra responsibilities have fallen on some to assist in the Chapter 11 process. The directors have worked with great dedication, not only in their pastoral responsibilities but also in giving “above and beyond” throughout the Chapter 11 process.

14. National Pastoral Life Center -- I will be New York this weekend for a meeting of the Board of the Pastoral Life Center. I was recently asked to serve on the Board, and this will be my first meeting.

Founded in 1983 by the late Msgr. Philip Murnion with the encouragement of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Center is an outstanding resource for effective pastoral ministry. The Center’s work is carried out through a variety of programs, projects and associations. The Center publishes CHURCH magazine, an award-winning professional quarterly of pastoral theology and ministry. Father Gene Lauer is the Center’s director.

More information on the National Pastoral Life Center is available at www.nplc.org.

15. Recognition by the Knights -- Father Dom Pinti, pastor of St. George Parish in Apache Junction, was honored by the Knights of Columbus in Arizona at their state convention in late May. The Knights selected him as the Arizona Chaplain of the Year for his ministry with the St. George Parish Pope John Paul I Council 7243. Congratulations, Father Dom!

16. Remember in Your Prayers -- Father Walter Holly, O.F.M., who died last week. Father Walt served for 37 years here in the Diocese in ministry to the Tohono O’odham. He was a dedicated and committed priest who loved his people deeply. He introduced them to the Lord through his own deep faith. His continued service even after his retirement was an inspiration. We are grateful for his priestly service. At the time this memo is being prepared, the funeral Mass was tentatively scheduled for next Monday, June 13, at 6 a.m. at Mission San Xavier del Bac. The vigil service will next Sunday at a time to be announced.

Also, please pray for the continued recovery of Alicia Corti of our Human Resources Office. Alicia had to be hospitalized last week due to complications from a reaction to medications, and we are hoping she will be able to return to work this week.

Vol. 3, No. 13
June 13, 2005

I am in Chicago this week to participate in the spring meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and to take part in the centennial celebration of the Catholic Extension Society, which has been of such great assistance to our Diocese and to many other "mission" dioceses.

The Extension Society was founded in 1905 in Chicago by Father Francis Clement in response to the poverty he saw in the rural and remote regions of the U.S. He envisioned the Society as a way that Catholics in the more affluent parts of the nation could extend the resources of the Church so that Catholics in poor areas could practice their faith.

In its 100 years, the Society has helped to build some 12,000 churches, chapels and parish buildings, has helped to educate thousands of priests for mission dioceses and has made subsidies available to support a pastor or pastoral minister.

Our Diocese has benefited in all of those as areas through the generous support of the Society. Over the years, we have received nearly $3.5 million in aid from the Society for church construction and repair, salary subsidies for priests and religious, seminarian education and religious education. Without the support of the Extension Society and that of the Catholic Home Missions, our Diocese would not be able to provide a basic level of support for many of our ministries.

We are grateful to the Extension Society, and I will be communicating our gratitude to Bishop William Houck, president of the Society, on behalf of our Diocese.

The centennial observances include a Mass of Thanksgiving at Holy Name Cathedral on Wednesday and a dinner on Friday.

More information on the Society's centennial is available at www.catholicextension100.com.

1. USCCB Spring Meeting -- The spring meeting of the USCCB is an opportunity for many committees to meet and for the full body of bishops to gather.

Included on this meeting's agenda is the consideration of proposed revisions to the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" and the "Essential Norms" that implement the charter legislatively.

The proposed revisions in the "Essential Norms" are few and limited. They would bring about more precision in legal terminology, such as inserting "canonical" before "due process" at one point and, at another point, inserting a note that an accused cleric "enjoys the presumption of innocence" during the investigation of the allegation.

Regarding "zero tolerance," a proposed revision remains firm in intent: "For even a single act of sexual abuse of a minor ... the offending priest or deacon is to be permanently removed from ministry and, if warranted, dismissed from the clerical state."

We also will consider whether to approve spending up to $1 million from the Conference's reserve funds to fund a major study into the causes and context behind the sexual abuse of children by priests that we have experienced within the Church in the U.S.

I will be attending two meetings that relate very closely to the concerns we have in our Diocese about the continuing migration from Mexico.

The Wednesday meeting of the Committee on Migration will include discussions that will be very helpful in developing a better understanding of the challenges to communicating the social teachings of the Church regarding migration.

The Committee on Migration sets broad policies and direction for the Church's work in the area of migration and also oversees and provides guidance to the four offices of the USCCB Migration and Refugee Services.

Each June at the spring meeting, the Committee on Migration reviews and approves the annual plans for the work of Migration and Refugee Services for the following calendar year, reviews and approves the annual budget for Migration and Refugee Services.

I also will be attending a meeting of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) on which I serve as a board member. CLINIC's primary mission is to provide a full range of legal and other support services to immigration programs of Catholic Charities and dioceses in the U.S. These local Catholic programs directly represent poor immigrants and focus on reunification of families and protection of those fleeing persecution or civil unrest.

This spring meeting also will mark another step forward for the foundational document on Lay Ecclesial Ministry that I and the other members of the Subcommittee on Lay Ecclesial Ministry have been working on the past five years. Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk of Cincinnati and Bishop Gregory Aymond of Austin will give a panel presentation at the meeting about the theological foundations of laity working in the ministry of the Church, the call of the laity to serve in the Church, the authentication of that call by the bishop and the importance of formation of laity for ministry in the Church. The panel presentation and discussion will be a final step in preparing the foundational document for a vote by the full body of bishops in November.

2. Celebration in Superior -- I wanted to share with you my experience of a celebration that was "Superior" in many ways. The celebration on Monday, May 6, was for the installation of Father Francis Iber as pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Superior and for 25th anniversary of priesthood. It was wonderful to see the nearly 30 people who made the trip from Yuma, where Father Francis had served, to celebrate these special occasions. I was very happy to see the number of priests who came to show their support for Father Francis. In these days, it is important that we priests support and affirm one another, and that certainly was evident in the celebration for Father Francis.

The warmth with which Father Francis was received speaks volumes about his ministry and about faith and commitment of the people of the St. Francis Parish community.

At the Mass, when I asked how many had been present in the community for more than 25 years, almost three quarters raised their hands. The parish is blessed to have so many people whose faith runs so deep and whose commitment is steady and sure.

3. Mary Lebron -- The members of the diocesan Sexual Misconduct Review Board and I were very happy last Friday to welcome Mary Lebron as the twelfth member of the Board. You may recall the Monday Memo of two weeks ago in which I wrote that Mary was retiring from Catholic Social Service and that she had been instrumental in the work of the Victim Assistance Program.

4. A Spiritual Summer -- There are probably many of us who can remember our summer experiences as children in "Vacation Bible School" or whatever the counterpart was called where you were growing up.

Well, we're never too old to spend some of summer in spiritual pursuits.

The Institute for Spirituality, sponsored by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, invites parishioners of the Diocese of Tucson to participate in weekend retreats in Santa Fe this summer, at the College of Santa Fe. Visit www.sfis.org for the schedule.

Closer to home, the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks has some very interesting summer retreats on its calendar. There's more information at www.desertrenewal.org.

And, of course, you are always welcome to inquire about retreat opportunities at Holy Trinity Monastery in St. David (www.holytrinitymonastery.org) and Santa Rita Abbey in Sonoita (www.santaritabbey.org).

5. "Faithful Citizenship" Opportunity -- Here's an opportunity for Catholics in the Tucson area to exercise their responsibilities as "Faithful" citizens:

The City of Tucson is recruiting persons to work in City polling places on election days. Though many people assume that polling positions require a substantial time commitment, training actually requires only a few hours and a commitment to serve a full day at the polls on election days. For more information, call 791-5957.

6. Congratulations to Father Miguel Mariano -- And speaking of citizenship, Father Miguel, our director of Vocations, became a U.S. citizen on Friday.

Returning to the Pastoral Center after taking the oath of allegiance at the Federal Building in downtown Tucson, Father Miguel, a native of the Philippines, walked into a surprise reception in the Pastoral Center Lobby. Each of the staff held a little American flag, and they serenaded him with a rousing "God Bless America!" Father Miguel shared a brief reflection on what becoming a citizen of the U.S. means to him, and Chancellor June Kellen presented him with a beautiful statue of the American eagle.

7. Another "Small Miracle" -- I share this e-mail that I received recently from Maeve Robertson of Tucson as another example of how God moves in the lives of people:

Dear Bishop Kicanas:

I volunteered, with a friend, to head up a group to do major cleaning and minor repairs to Cathedral Hall (at St. Augustine). We met with Father Pat Crino in April. Father Pat gave us the date of July 16 to do the initial clean up. We will do repairs later.

We would like to have as many volunteers as we can round up so we can get a lot done. Our long-range plans include getting different parishes to volunteer monthly to do deep cleaning.

We hoped that you would consider putting our request for volunteers in your Monday Memo because it reaches so many people and your support would add weight to our request. We will also be e-mailing our bulletin insert directly to the parishes in Tucson.

Of course, getting this e-mail made my day, and the spirit behind this project certainly lifts my spirit!

Cathedral Hall is one of the historic buildings in the Cathedral Square area that the Diocese and the Friends of St. Augustine hope to rehabilitate and preserve, so this project really is a God-send.

For more information on the project, you are welcome to contact Maeve, who is a parishioner of Our Mother of Sorrows, at 628-6678 or Linda Bednarek, a parishioner of St. Augustine, at 628-6927.

8. Chapter 11 Update -- There will be a hearing tomorrow in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on the settlement that has been entered into between the Diocese and 30 claimants. Judge James Marlar will review the settlement, and we are optimistic that the settlement will be approved.

Meanwhile, creditors are voting on the Diocese's disclosure statement and plan of reorganization. Ballots are due to be returned by July 1. A report on the results will be made to the court by July 8. Confirmation hearings are scheduled for July 11-15.

I am communicating to David Stoeffler, the editor and publisher of The Arizona Daily Star, my hope to meet with him to address concerns about the editorial in Saturday's edition. I believe strongly the editorial mischaracterized the intent of the Diocese in entering the Chapter 11 reorganization process. I feel the editorial demonstrated a misunderstanding of what the Diocese is trying to accomplish with the cooperation of the Tort Claimants Committee.

9. Hands of Christ Healing Ministry -- The world witnessed the suffering of Pope John Paul II and the peace that he demonstrated throughout his final days. I was reminded of this when I celebrated Mass last week for the Hands of Christ Healing Ministry in Tucson. It was moving to anoint people suffering from many forms of illness. Life for many is very difficult, and it was encouraging to meet people who want to care for the sick, pray with them and help them to heal and come to peace about their infirmities. I am grateful for the care the Hands of Christ ministers show others.

10. Visit to Federal Correctional Institution Tucson -- My visit to the FCI Tucson was a very moving experience, and I am grateful to Warden Carolyn Sabol, who welcomed me and gave me the opportunity to visit the facility. I was impressed by her staff and by the sensitivity they show to those who are incarcerated. They have a very difficult job and are trying to do it with compassion.

Father Vidal Robles, the facility's chaplain, had worked with the inmates to prepare the liturgy. The music and singing were beautifully performed, and I was encouraged to see seven of the inmates receive their First Communion. The fervor of their faith was obvious.

After Mass, we celebrated an interfaith service that began with the Native American inmates welcoming me by drum and song. Those of the Muslim faith read in Arabic a welcome to me. Some members of the Protestant group sang a song, and one of the inmates sang a song he had composed for me encouraging me in my efforts to care for migrants and to work for immigration reform.

I wish you could have been with me to see the struggle of these men and women to face their addictions, to atone for the harm they have done others and to find some meaning in their difficult lives.

11. Formation -- I met last week with Father Rick Zamarano, who has served as Interim Director of our diocesan Office of Formation, and with others who have been involved in our joint Permanent Diaconate and Lay Ministry Leadership Formation Program. It was a very helpful session in which we identified the strengths of the first year of the program, along with areas that need improvement. We had an opportunity to review each candidate's progress and to identify some goals for each of them. I hope to meet with each of the candidates during their August retreat to provide them feedback on the first year.

I met later with Sister Jane Eschweiler, S.D.S., who works on the Jordan Ministry Team. I was encouraged to hear all the ways that Jordan Ministry has assisted in the formation of people in our Diocese.

Over the last year, they have helped with the Level One Certification for Catechists and Youth Ministry. They have worked with our Schools Office to train teachers to provide religious education in our Catholic Schools. They have helped to staff the joint Diaconate and Lay Ministry Formation Program and have performed a large number of ad hoc services for many of our parishes throughout the Diocese, including retreats, assistance to married couples, RCIA retreats, Confirmation retreats, formation of parish councils, training of volunteers for detention ministry and offering programs to assist seniors in facing the challenges and gifts of later life.

If you are interested in having Jordan Ministry assist in your parish formation efforts, you are invited to contact Sister Jane and the Jordan Ministry Team at 623-2563 in Tucson or 1-866-9-JORDAN (toll free) outside of Tucson. More information on Jordan Ministry in our Diocese is available at www.jordanministry.com.

Father Miguel Mariano and I met this past week with 13 of our 16 seminarians to review their formation this past year. Each seminary provides grades and an extended formation report on the strengths and concerns of each candidate. All of us can profit from feedback, whether it be positive or a challenge. I enjoyed hearing the seminarians' perspective on their year. Overall, our seminarians did very well on their grades at Mt. Angel Seminary for college and Mundelein Seminary for theology. Most of these men are working in parishes this summer, where they will get more experience on what pastoral ministry is like.

12. Remember in Your Prayers -- Please pray for the repose of the soul of Rosa Kollannorr, mother of Father Andrews Kollannoor, MS.

And, please pray for the continued recovery of Father Al Schifano, our Moderator of the Curia, who was taken ill while he was on vacation visiting his family in North Carolina last week. We hope Father Al will be able to be back at his desk here at the Pastoral Center very soon.

Vol. 3, No. 14
June 20, 2005

It was nice to be back in Chicago for a few days to attend the spring meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and to celebrate the Catholic Extension Society's centennial celebration.

The weather was perfect: crystal clear, crisp and no humidity. Sounds like Tucson. The Arizona Diamondbacks were in town to play the White Sox, which presented some conflicting emotions.

I was very happy to see my mother and family, especially as my mother was celebrating her 93rd birthday. She has more energy than me. God bless her!

I have discovered of late that when I am back in Chicago I feel like a visitor, and I find myself looking forward to returning home.

1. U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Spring Meeting -- This meeting of the USCCB went well. Much of what was discussed has been under consideration for some time. The bishops overwhelmingly approved some changes in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and the Norms that implement the Charter. Some have expressed fear that the revised Norms and Charter will weaken the bishops' commitment. I do not see that. The minor changes that were made simply bring these documents into closer harmony with how the Church's structure works and clarify some points that were not clear.

The Norms and Charter make it clear that there is no room in the priesthood for someone who has abused children. It asserts what we believe as Americans that one is innocent until proven guilty. It reaffirms the need for healing and expects bishops to be active in reaching out to victims.

In our Diocese, I remain committed to do whatever is necessary to heal the past and to put into place policies and procedures that establish and maintain safe environments for children. I am grateful to all of our pastors, principals, directors of Religious Education, youth ministers, parish and school staff and compliance representatives for the hard work that has been done and that will continue to be done to educate our staffs, volunteers and, especially, children about child abuse prevention and awareness.

Also at the meeting, the bishops approved the allocation of $1 million, subject to other funding from outside sources, to conduct a study to determine what factors contributed to the tragic fact that some priests and other workers in the Church abused children. The results of this study will assist the bishops in making sure that this situation does not repeat itself.

The Subcommittee on Lay Ecclesial Ministry's presentation on the new proposed document, "Co-workers in the Vineyard of the Lord: A Resource for Guiding the Development of Lay Ecclesial Ministry," went well. Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., spoke on the theological foundations of lay ecclesial ministry; Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk spoke on the call and authorization of lay ecclesial ministers; and Bishop Greg Aymond spoke on formation. There was strong interest expressed by the bishops, and this was an important step toward getting the document approved in November.

The Fifth Edition of the Program of Priestly Formation was passed with strong support. There was some disagreement over the requirement for two years of pre-theology for those entering theology without having been in a college seminary. The final document changed the text from pre-theology must be two years to pre-theology should be two years. There was strong agreement for strict admission requirements and thorough screening for all candidates. This document will now go to Rome for recognitio (approval).

There was discussion among the bishops about the size and focus of the USCCB itself. The Committee on Priority and Plans is responsible for reviewing the priorities of the Conference, and it will be determining where cuts and savings can and should take place.

The Bishops reaffirmed their support for Catholic education and its importance in passing on the faith through the new statement, "Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium." In my recent letter to parishioners and parents about Catholic education, I urged them to consider sending their children to Catholic Schools. While we can be very proud of our religious education programs in our parishes, the environment of Catholic Schools is very formative and important for inviting and encouraging young people to accept Christ.

 2. Chapter 11 Update -- There was a significant step forward in the process of the Diocese's Chapter 11 reorganization case last Tuesday when Judge James Marlar approved settlements between the Diocese and 30 persons who said they were victims of sexual abuse by priests.

I was encouraged by the comments of the attorneys representing these persons that while no amount of money could ever really make up for any harm that was experienced, the settlements do represent an opportunity for them to move on with their lives. We pray that this will be a beginning for healing.

We are hoping to enter into other settlements with other claimants who have credible claims as we approach the hearings in July to confirm the Diocese's reorganization plan. In the meantime, voting continues by creditors on the Diocese's third amended and restated disclosure statement and plan of reorganization. A report on the balloting will be made to the court by July 8.

3. New Diocesan Director of Formation -- I am very pleased to announce that Sister Lois Paha, O.P., is the new Director of Formation for the Diocese of Tucson. An Adrian Dominican, Sister Lois comes to us from the Diocese of Austin where she has been serving as Director of the Worship Office since 1989.

Her responsibilities will include directing the joint formation program for the permanent diaconate and lay ministry leadership, overseeing the RCIA program, especially the Rite of Election, developing ongoing formation programs for priests, religious, deacons and lay women and men and overseeing the development of adult formation opportunities in our parishes.

Sister Lois holds a master degree in theology from Notre Dame University, and she soon will be receiving her Doctor of Ministry degree in Supervision of Ministry from the Oblate School of Theology.

I am enthused that Sister Lois has accepted this position. She brings many gifts to her new responsibilities, as well as diverse experience in ministry as an elementary school educator, principal, vocation director and lay ministry coordinator. She impresses me as an affable, faithful and energetic person.

Sister Lois will begin full time in September, but is planning to be in Tucson on June 30 to meet with the Formation Team to make final plans for the new program year. She will return in August for the retreat that begins the second year of the joint ministry formation program and will begin her full time ministry on Sept. 1.

I am grateful to Father Rick Zamarano and Margaret Lordon who, along with many others, stepped in to begin this program. Last year went well, and I am confident Sister Lois will enhance the program even further.

4. Carondelet Health Network -- I will be meeting this afternoon with Sally Jeffcoat, president and chief executive officer of Carondelet Health Network, and Dr. Jose Santiago, the Network's senior vice president and chief medical officer.

Carondelet Health Network is a member of Ascension Health, the nation's largest, religious-sponsored not-for-profit health care system. The Network includes St. Mary's Hospital and St. Joseph's Hospital in Tucson, Holy Cross Hospital in Nogales and an array of services at the Medical Mall in Green Valley and the Medical Mall at Rita Ranch.

This is an annual meeting that allows the Bishop of Tucson to review the practices and ethics of the Network's medical services in respect to Catholic teaching and how those practices and ethics reflect the philosophy of the Network that health care is a healing ministry and a personal witness of Christian faith which respect the life and dignity of each person. I am grateful for the care and fidelity demonstrated by all in the Network in respecting the sanctity of life and the dignity of the human person. We are blessed to have the Network and its more than 3,000 employees as health care providers in our community.

5. Bi-national Conference on Migration -- I will be in El Paso later this week for this important conference that is sponsored by the Migration Committees of the U.S. and Mexican bishops' conferences. This is the first such bi-national conference on migration.

I am very pleased that Joanne Welter of our Catholic Social Mission Office and Erica Dahl-Bredine of the Catholic Relief Services Mexico Project (headquartered in our Diocese) also will be attending the conference.

"Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope," is the title of the conference, and its goal is to build on the pastoral letter on migration issued jointly the bishops' conferences of Mexico and the U.S. in 2003.

Workshops throughout the conference will cover such topics as pastoral outreach to agricultural workers, migration policy developments on both sides of the border, the rights of the undocumented and serving victims of human trafficking. Ten bishops and approximately 150 diocesan staff from the two countries are expected to attend.

Last month, the bishops of the U.S. launched a three-year campaign to bring about comprehensive immigration reform. For more information on the campaign, go to www.justiceforimmigrants.org.

6. "God trusts you!  Do you trust God?" -- This coming weekend's Vocations Retreat for single men and women, ages 18 through 35, will invite participants to reflect on how some are called to a life of service in the Church.

This weekend is intended to help participants discover vocation possibilities, specifically religious life and priesthood, in the relaxed and prayerful atmosphere at Holy Trinity Monastery in St. David. The retreat will be staffed by sisters, brothers, seminarians and priests ministering in the Diocese of Tucson.

It's not too late to register. For more information, call the Vocations Office at 520 838-2531.

7. Sts. Peter and Paul Parish 75th Anniversary -- I am looking forward to being with the community of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson this Saturday for the celebration of the parish's 75th anniversary.

There were just five other parishes in all of Tucson when the parish was established in 1930 by Bishop Daniel Gercke. The parish's second and third pastors (James Davis and Francis Green) both became bishops.

Father Van Wagner, our vicar general, is a former pastor, and Father John Lyons, the present pastor, is our former chancellor. Father Al Schifano, our moderator of the curia, was raised in the parish, attended Sts. Peter and Paul School, and now is in residence at the parish.

We will celebrate Mass at 5:30 p.m. The anniversary dinner that will follow will be held in Gramer Hall (named after Msgr. Arthur Gramer, who served as pastor from 1960 to 1986). Following the dinner, there will be tours of the school given by alumni. After the tours, everyone will gather in Gramer Hall for a presentation by Father John Lyons and Father Ed Carscallen, a former pastor, that will include photographs from over the years.

More information about the parish and its wonderful history is available at www.sspp.k12.az.us.

8. New Principal for St. Augustine Catholic High School -- We welcome Velma F. Castañeda-Titone as the new principal of St. Augustine Catholic High School.

Velma has a 25-year career in education, and she comes to St. Augustine after serving as principal of Laura Banks Elementary School in Tucson for the past three and a half years.

In addition to her education background, she is a social worker who has been interested in helping all children to succeed, especially those in danger of being "left behind." She is a product of Catholic School education herself, and she will bring energy and commitment to her new work.

She has always felt that faith plays an important place in the education of our children, and she is delighted that she can now speak unabashedly about her faith while working in education.

I am confident that the faculty, staff, students, parents and Board of St. Augustine will find her to a strong principal with a vision of what Catholic education should be.

I am grateful to Tyler Bangert, who served as principal last year. He enhanced the program of St. Augustine, which will begin its third year in September. We wish him well in his new responsibilities.

9. Congratulations to Our Very Own "Hidden Hero" -- It was a happy coincidence that as I was back in Chicago last week for the centennial celebration of Catholic Church Extension Society that the Society recognized Father Tom Frost, O.F.M., who ministers to the Tohono O'odham Catholics in the huge territory of San Solano Missions Parish, as its "Hidden Hero" for the month of June.

The "Hidden Heroes" series, established last year by the Society, highlights the inspiring work of a different missionary in the U.S. each month.

"Father Frost travels long distances to small groups of the faithful to celebrate Mass and the sacraments in someone's home, or standing beside his truck or wherever he can find an appropriate place -- and then he moves on down the dusty desert roads to the next village, the next mission. There are 40 villages and 18,000 Catholics who are blessed by his ministry," said Extension Society President Bishop William Houck in announcing the honor to Father Tom.

For 100 years, the Chicago-based Catholic Church Extension Society has supported Catholic missions in the U.S. by funding church construction, religious education and seminary formation, outreach ministries, evangelization, salaries and operating expenses in needy parishes and missions in dioceses such as ours. Catholic Extension is the leading supporter of Catholic missions in the U.S. and last year distributed more than $14 million.

To learn more about Catholic Extension and the recognition for Father Tom, visit www.catholicextension.org.

10. Summer Activities for Our Teens -- I am very pleased to learn of the summer activities for teens being sponsored by parishes.

For instance, the Points of Life Youth Leadership Retreat next month at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson will involve teens in both fun and learning as they explore Catholic Social Teaching. For more information, contact Teresita Scully at 520-219-7628.

And, on their way to Notre Dame University this week are 50 teens from St. Francis de Sales Parish in Tucson. Parish youth minister Marian Gilbert shared the purpose of this trip with me in a recent e-mail: 

"We believe each teen needs to experience such an event at least once in their four years here. Notre Dame Vision is a five-day retreat that includes dynamic music, teen-friendly worship, Mass with hundreds of other youth from across the country, service opportunities, social activities and national speakers who will talk about vocation, service, how to listen for God's calling and ways to discover and live your own unique calling in life. Fifty Notre Dame undergraduates will serve as counselors, mentors and small-group facilitators.

"The Notre Dame campus is a great location for retreats, with idyllic lakes, walking paths, athletic facilities and food courts. Teens will be housed in student dorms and will eat in the college dining halls.

"If each one of our 50 teens gets a small idea of what they can give back to God, the time will be well spent. I firmly believe that God has created a very large puzzle, and if each one of us understands what a special piece we are and how we fit in God's plan, His puzzle will come together to show us a very peaceful world."

11. Día de San Juan Fiesta -- The annual tradition of celebrating the beginning of the monsoon season continues this Friday at Tucson's 8th annual Día de San Juan Fiesta.

Tucson's modern-day Día de San Juan Fiesta was started in 1998 to help the community remember the importance of water in the desert. St. John the Baptist is the patron saint of water, and because Tucson's early settlements were highly dependent on food grown locally, celebrations were held to honor him and to ask that there be enough rain in the summer months to produce crops.

The fiesta will feature the traditional procession and blessing and charros and escaramuzas performing on horseback. Family entertainment will include children's games and activities, dance groups and live music.

Entertainment begins at 5 p.m., with the traditional procession, ceremony and blessing honoring St. John the Baptist taking place at 6:30 p.m. on site in front of the stage. Persons interested in walking in the procession are asked to gather at the southeast corner of the festival site at 6 p.m. Attendance is free. Parking will be available off West Congress Street.

Vol. 3, No. 15
June 27, 2005

The Binational Migration Conference in El Paso last Thursday and Friday was well attended. This gathering was sponsored by the Bishops' Committee on Migration and was attended by nine bishops from Mexico and four from the U.S. In addition to the bishops, many social mission directors, including our own Joanne Welter, and directors from agencies involved in immigration matters, including Erica Dahl-Bredine of the Catholic Relief Services Mexico Project, participated.

The Conference involved a number of workshops addressing various aspects of immigration as well as a tour of the Detention Center in El Paso. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick gave a powerful talk, calling upon dioceses to change the heart of our Catholic community to welcome strangers, action that is rooted in the Gospel. He also challenged dioceses to work for immigration policy change and to develop opportunities for the pastoral care of people on the move.

Our Diocese will begin an education program in parishes connected to the national campaign, Justice for Immigrants, launched by the Bishops' Conference this year. I will be discussing the campaign in the fall with the Presbyteral Council and other priests, as well as with Deacon Jim Burns and the Deacon Council and with the Diocesan Pastoral Council.

The Scriptures, the teachings of the Church, and the writings of Pope John Paul II and our new Pope Benedict XVI all call us to see the migrant as our sister and brother. I look forward to this opportunity to educate ourselves in the social teachings of the Church.

I want to direct your attention to a very illuminating new report about the people who constitute the migrant population in our country. The report, "Unauthorized Migrants: Numbers and Characteristics," was made public June 14 by the Pew Hispanic Center.

The report says that contrary to the stereotype of undocumented migrants as single males with very little education who perform manual labor in agriculture or construction, most of the unauthorized population lives in families, a quarter has at least some college education and illegal workers can be found in many sectors of the U.S. economy.

The immigration pattern, the report says, is tied to the better economic conditions in our country than in the home countries of the immigrants.

You can access the report at http://pewhispanic.org/reports/report.php?ReportID=46.

On July 26, our interfaith group of religious leaders will be meeting with Chief Michael Nicley of the U.S. Border Patrol Tucson Sector. This is a follow-up to last April's meeting at which some 30 religious leaders from Christian, Jewish and Moslem traditions dialogued with Chief Nicley and his staff about the migration and related humanitarian concerns. Another meeting of religious leadership with Chief Nicley is planned for the fall.

1. Chouinard Hall Dedication at La Purisisma -- I was with a small but enthusiastic group that gathered yesterday afternoon at La Purisima Retreat Center in Hereford for the blessing and dedication of the recently added "Chouinard Hall," a beautiful new center that can accommodate a meeting for 300 persons and that includes two new guest wings with housing for 90 retreatants.

"Chouinard Hall" recognizes the generosity of Jerry and Pat Chouinard, whose vision and financial support has made La Purisima Retreat Center a reality and who have given many volunteer hours.

La Purisima Retreat Center opened in April of 2000 and has hosted a wide variety of retreat groups, especially youth groups. It operates as a non-profit corporation with a board of directors under the chairmanship of the Bishop of Tucson. My thanks to Father Greg Adolf, Judge Charles Irwin and Ann Dickson, whose leadership, along with the other members of the Board, have helped to make this new facility a reality.

I encourage you to consider having your group use La Purisima Retreat Center. It is a beautiful facility that has already been used by youth groups, the St. Thomas More Newman Center, Vine of Grace and other groups. There is more information about La Purisima at www.lpretreat.org.

While in Sierra Vista this past weekend, I had a chance to visit the new church building going up at St. Andrew Parish. Father Greg Adolf and all the community are rightly excited to see the progress that has been made. The outline of the building is up, and even the floor on the altar pedestal. They are hoping to be in the new church by Lent of next year or sooner. Father Greg and all his community have worked hard to make this new church a reality.

2. Pastor Installations -- I was very happy to be with the community of Our Lady of the Mountains Parish in Sierra Vista yesterday for liturgy and to install Father Bob Brazaskas as pastor. Father Bob, who is vicar forane of the Cochise Vicariate, begins his new work with a great deal of enthusiasm and spirit. We continue to pray for the continued recovery and return to good health of Father Bob Bryerton, former pastor of Our Lady of the Mountains.

I look forward to being with the community of St. Jude Thaddeus Parish in Sunsites-Pearce on July 25 for the installation of Father Martin Atanga-Baabuge as pastor.

3. Chapter 11 Update -- There is a hearing scheduled this Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Tucson to hear and determine the objections to certain claims that were filed by the Tort Claimants Committee, the Unknown Claims Representative and the Guardian Ad Litem.

Beyond that hearing, the next significant event in Court will be the hearings scheduled for July 11-15 for the confirmation of the Diocese's reorganization plan. Voting on the plan by creditors will end this Friday. A report on the voting will be made to the court by Friday, July 8.

4. News from the Salvatorian Community -- News from the Salvatorian Community brought both joy and sorrow this past week.

First, Sister Darlene Pienschke, SDS, who ministers here in Tucson, is among the Salvatorians who are celebrating jubilee anniversaries this year. A Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated Saturday at the Sacred Heart School of Theology Chapel in Hales Corners, Wisconsin, for all the Salvatorian jubilarians. Sister Darlene is celebrating her 40th jubilee. She has ministered here as a coordinator of the family practice unity and nurse at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Clinic. We thank God for the blessing of the religious women who minister in our Diocese with such commitment.

We also received word that Sister Patricia Koehn, SDS, died last Thursday in Milwaukee.  Sister's last hours and moments were very peaceful, with some of her Sisters in attendance. Because there was a national assembly of Salvatorian priests, brothers and sisters in progress there in Milwaukee, the funeral was held on Friday. Her burial will be today.

Sister Patricia contributed much to us here in Tucson. Please keep her family, friends and the SDS community in your prayers.

5. A Song That Makes a Difference -- What liturgical song has really made a difference for you? It might be a song that has helped to form or strengthen your faith; has played a significant part in the life of your parish or community; is associated with a noteworthy event; or is simply your favorite liturgical song.

The National Association of Pastoral Musicians invites you to share what songs have made a difference for you. The association has launched a short survey on its Web site at www.npm.org. The survey asks people to identify a liturgical song that has made a difference in their own faith journey and to give the reasons that song has had an impact.

"The words and melodies of songs used in the liturgy often create a profound sense of God's presence and action in our midst," the association said in a press release announcing the survey. "This experience can be even more powerful when people are a part of a singing congregation."

The survey -- open to all American Catholics, not just musicians -- will be available until Sept. 30 and the results will be published later in the fall on the Web site and in the association's journal, Pastoral Music.

 6. The Church in Latin America -- Starting today and for the next two weeks, I will be visiting Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Brazil. This personal time for me will be an opportunity both to experience the diverse and rich cultures of these countries and to learn more about the Church in this most Catholic region of the world.

As I prepare for this journey, I note a new survey of Catholics in Latin America by the Chilean polling firm Latinobarometro. The survey indicates that the number of Catholics in the region has dropped off slightly, but the Church's credibility in Latin America remains high among people of all faiths.

In a region buffeted by corruption scandals, economic crises and social unrest, the report says, many people view presidents, legislatures and political parties with distrust. The Church, however, enjoys the confidence of 73% of Latin Americans. Because of that credibility, Church leaders are often called in to mediate political and social conflicts.

Although nearly three-quarters of the region's people consider themselves Catholic, only 40% said they practice their faith. The rate is highest, about 48%, in Central America, and lowest, 37% in the southern countries of Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay.

There has been a significant drop in the past decade in Mexico, where 31% of the country's Catholics said they practice their faith, compared to more than 60% in 1995. In Venezuela, the number of practicing Catholics has fallen by 14 points over the last 10 years, to 37%. In contrast, 70% of Latin Americans who belong to other Christian churches said that they practice their faith.

The Church in Latin America has played a significant role in understanding and living out the preferential option for the poor. The Church in these nations also has done much to develop small faith communities, and I hope that this visit will provide me with a better understanding of how the Church is developing and meeting challenges in Latin America and how the experience there relates to the Church in the U.S. and to our own Diocese.

In advance of this journey, I enjoyed a long talk with Father Jose Funes, S.J., of the Vatican Observatory, about his native country of Argentina.

I will be back in the Diocese to be present for the confirmation hearings on July 11 for the Diocese's Chapter 11 reorganization.

7. 66th Annual Tekakwitha Conference -- I look forward to participating in the 66th annual Tekakwitha Conference, July 20-24, at the Tucson Convention Center. The Kateri Circles in Arizona have done a wonderful job in preparing for the Conference. Our diocesan Web site home page communicates our welcome to the Conference and to the hundreds of Catholic Native Americans who will be attending. The Conference is a wonderful opportunity to share in the gifts of culture and spirituality of Catholic Native Americans, and I encourage your participation!

I am asking all in the Diocese to join in the national day of prayer for the canonization of Blessed Kateri on July 14. To facilitate this participation, I am asking our parishes to print a prayer for her canonization in their bulletins on the weekend of July 9-10.

8. Spring/Summer Official Appointments -- Sister Maria Cañez, O.P., who has served as pastoral administrator at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Mammoth, has completed her term of service and will be beginning new ministry responsibilities outside the Diocese. I am grateful for her service and dedication. We have been very blessed with religious women who have exercised responsibilities as pastoral administrators and who have helped to carry on the work of the Church in absence of a priest-pastor. Father Dale Branson, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Hayden, will assume additional responsibilities as pastor of Blessed Sacrament, and Father Richard Kusugh, V.C., will become the parochial vicar and priest in residence.

Father Bernard Perkins, O.C.D., is completing his service in the Diocese, most recently as pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Tucson. Father Bernard is becoming director of the Discalced Carmelite retreat center in Alhambra, California. Father Bernard has been deeply committed to detention ministry and his service will be missed.

The new pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish will be Father Fernando Pinto, O.C.D., who has served in the Diocese before. We welcome him back to the Diocese.

Father Mike Stallings, pastor of Holy Angels Parish in Globe, has asked for sick leave so that he can continue to recuperate from surgery and other health challenges. Father Mike has done dedicated work at the parish in the face of the community's economic challenges, working hard to continue Holy Angels School with very limited resources. Father Jay Luczak, pastor of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament in Miami, will be serving as administrator pro tem of Holy Angels Parish while Father Mike recuperates. Msgr. Ambrose Nwoh will serve as parochial vicar and priest in residence.

A complete list of the Official Appointments for Spring/Summer 2005 is available on the Diocesan Web site under "Official Appointments."

9. Our Catholic Schools -- We all are very happy that Sister Jackie Koenig, O.S.F., is able to return to San Xavier Mission School to serve as principal. Sister Ann Mary Hart, O.S.F., who served as principal this past school year, is going to Immaculate Conception School in Yuma to serve as assistant principal there.

Sister Jackie's return as principal began with a trip to Boston where she is attending the 2005 Conversations in Excellence of the SPICE Program at Boston College, together with Margie Butler, the counselor at San Xavier Mission School.

The SPICE Program, sponsored by the National Catholic Education Association and Boston College, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. SPICE is a project that identifies, validates and systematically diffuses Catholic elementary and secondary school programs that work, so that school communities around the nation can benefit. Every year the SPICE Planning Committee chooses 10 educational programs according to the conversation theme for that specific year. In 2003, San Xavier Mission School was one of the 10 programs accepted for the theme "Catholic Schools for Children and Youth in Poverty." In 2004, St. Thomas Pre-School was chosen for the theme "Early Childhood Education in Catholic Schools."

For the 2005 Conversations in Excellence, SPICE has chosen one program from each of preceding Conversations. San Xavier was honored to have been chosen (from 100 Conversations) as one of the 10 top programs to be presented. This project can help as a catalyst program for other Catholic mission schools in the U.S.

We are very grateful for what the community of the San Xavier District has done and is doing to help the students at San Xavier Mission School.

10. A Brief Summer Break -- Monday Memo is going to take a short summer break beginning next Monday and will return on July 18.

I hope your summer vacation will be blessed with an opportunity to escape the heat, with safe travel and with plenty of rest and relaxation.