June 1, 2009 June 8, 2009 June 15, 2009 June 22, 2009 June 29, 2009

Vol. 7, No. 12
June 1, 2009

St. Augustine Cathedral was packed for the noon Mass yesterday on the Solemnity of Pentecost as people from all over the Diocese came to share in the festivities for the blessing and dedication of the new Msgr. Arsenio S. Carrillo Placita.

On Pentecost we remember our roots, our beginnings. The Church was born in the upper room, where the disciples were locked in for fear. Christ came into their midst and greeted them with, "Peace be with you!" Christ is our assurance in time of need -- our rock, our anchor, the One who brings peace. Having greeted them he breathed on them, and those frightened disciples received the Holy Spirit. The Spirit emboldened them to go out and preach God's Word.

Yesterday at the Cathedral, we remembered some of our own roots as the Cathedral's Placita, which years ago had been a gas station, was dedicated and blessed.

This placita tells some of our history. We are a community that remembers from whence we have come. Msgr. Carrillo was born in one of the oldest barrios, Barrio Anita, which along with Barrio Hollywood, holds some of the oldest memories of our city. These barrios were places where people knew each other, helped each other, cared for one another. In the barrios, people lived, worked and enjoyed being together.

My hope is that in a similar way our new placita will be a place where people will gather to sing, to dance, to share food, to enjoy one another's company. 

Many people worked very hard and sacrificed greatly to make this placita a reality. I am especially grateful to Father Pat Crino, Rector of St. Augustine, where Msgr. Carrillo served for forty years, and to Dr. Tony Carrillo, Gene Carrillo and all the members of the Placita Committee that worked so hard. I am grateful as well to John Shaheen, manager of our diocesan Property and Insurance Office, who worked tirelessly to see that the project would be ready for the blessing and dedication on time.

We all can be grateful to the architects, contractors, landscapers and all who had a part in the project. We owe a debt of gratitude to all who sacrificed and gave so generously to make the renovation possible. Everyone seems most pleased.

I was pleased that some of our civic officials could be present, including Tucson Mayor Robert Walkup, Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias, and Tucson City Council Member Steven Leal and Nina Trasoff. They were most gracious to join us.

As the sound of mariachi music performed by Chanquitos Feos resounded throughout the placita, the crowd of nearly 1,000 enjoyed food provided by seven restaurants. They applauded the performance of the Ballet Folklorico San Juan. It was our new placita's first fiesta, and it was obvious to me that the placita will find its place in Tucson as a place for people to gather and to enjoy themselves. I hope it will be used often.

Come by and visit the placita! Sit on one of the benches and look at the pavers that bear the names of generous donors. Get a sip of water from one of the new fountains. Come downtown when the placita is the site of concerts.

At the end of the Mass before the blessing and dedication, Msgr. Carrillo addressed the congregation just as he had as rector: "My dear people." He felt a rush of emotion as he expressed his gratitude for all that had been done in his name, and he asked that the dedication be not only to him but to all the priests of the Diocese of Tucson, especially those who have served at the Cathedral.
1. A Grateful Farewell -- All of us at the Pastoral Center are saying a grateful farewell today to two wonderful people -- Mary Ann and Ace Hendrickson.

Mary Ann is concluding nearly 35 years of dedicated service to Catholic education in our Diocese, including two and a half decades of teaching and, these last eight years, providing her expertise as program coordinator in charge of religious education certification, federal grants and staff development in our Department of Catholic Schools.

Now, you can't talk about Mary Ann without talking about Ace. When Mary Ann wrote a little about herself in the Monday Memo of January 2004, she said this about Ace: "My husband has always supported me in my work. He is like my shadow, but many of you may already know this. Ace is willing to help me and those in the office with anything that needs to get done."

Ace is a retired firefighter and paramedic who has volunteered in one capacity or another the past 25 years for Catholic schools and for the Diocese. For the past seven years, he has shared his training and expertise in crisis prevention and management as a leader of the Catholics Schools crisis team and the Pastoral Center's safety and security committee, teaching us CPR and CCC and organizing our fire drills.

Mary Ann and Ace were honored in 2005 for their dedication to Catholic Schools with the Salpointe Catholic High School St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award.

Today, with a Mass and a luncheon, we will thank Mary Ann and Ace for being the two wonderful people they are and we will extend to them our hopes and prayers for a happy, fulfilling and well-deserved retirement.

2. Communications Committee Meeting -- I will be in Washington this week at the headquarters of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for the spring meeting of the Communications Committee.

The Committee has a number of responsibilities related to the five priorities of the Conference. Much of the meeting will be focused on taking up the work of communicating about the priorities of Faith Formation, Strengthening Marriage, the Life and Dignity of the Person, Vocations to Priesthood and Consecrated Life and Cultural Diversity.

While in Washington, I will meet with the President of Georgetown University, Dr. John DeGioia about the Center for Advanced Research in the Apostolate that is associated with the University. As chairman of the CARA Board, I will discuss our relationship and look to find ways to strengthen it.

Also while in Washington, I will meet with Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities (FADICA), a consortium of Catholic funding organizations that is directed by Frank Butler, to discuss the five priorities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and how FADICA might assist the Conference in its work.

3. On the Confirmation Trail -- I will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation this Saturday evening at St. Ann Parish in Tubac and on Sunday at Sacred Heart Parish in Tombstone for Sacred Heart, St. Jude Parish in Pearce-Sunsites, St. Francis and St. Patrick's Parish in Bisbee.

4. "Called To Serve" -- The first of two special summer retreats for men who are seniors in high school and older and who want to explore the possibility of a vocation to the priesthood is this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the La Purisima Retreat Center in Hereford.

"Called To Serve" will provide a retreat experience during which participants can meet some of our priests and seminarians and hear from them what it was like to hear and respond to a call to the priesthood.

I look forward to being with the group this weekend and to share my thoughts with them about how much priesthood matters in our Diocese.

The second "Called To Serve" retreat will be July 31 through Aug. 2 at St. John Neumann Parish in Yuma.

If you know of someone who would be interested in this opportunity, please direct them to our Office of Vocations. More information is available here.

5. 2009 Annual Catholic Appeal -- We are inching toward our goal of $3.4 million that is needed to fully fund the 26 ministries and charities that depend on the Annual Catholic Appeal.

My prayer in these last two weeks of the campaign is that every Catholic family might consider even the smallest gift. This would make a great difference in our efforts to fully fund the ministries and charities.

Our pastors and their teams have been working especially hard this year, in the midst of this recession, to help us reach our goal, and for their efforts I am most grateful. I know I can count on your help, and I am optimistic that we will make our goal!

6. Dedication of Corpus Christi Church -- The Catholic community of Corpus Christi Parish in Tucson could not have been prouder this past Saturday as their new church was dedicated. They characterize themselves as a community that cares, serves and provides a hospitable place to worship. I felt that deeply this as I dedicated their new church. Everyone pitched in to make this church a reality. They did a beautiful job in building a fitting place for their community to gather around the altar of the Lord. I hope you might stop by and visit. You will see what I mean.

Father Richard Kingsley, pastor, was presented with a beautiful rendition of the new church done by a parishioner. He expressed thanks to all who contributed their time, talent and treasure to make the church a reality. The community gave a standing ovation to Jim and Linda Wood and to Father Kingsley. Their leadership kept things moving, and despite some challenges, the project was brought to a beautiful conclusion.

7. Congratulations! -- Joe Perdreaville, associate director of our Pastoral Services Department has been awarded the Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Administration from St. Mary's University of Minnesota. Congratulations to Joe! 

Vol. 7, No. 13

June 8, 2009

I felt very encouraged this past weekend as I attended the "Called To Serve" retreat for men discerning a call to the priesthood.

My goal for some time has been for 10 men to enter the seminary each year to prepare for service in our Diocese, and this retreat gave me the encouragement that we are moving toward that goal.

The first of two special gatherings this summer, the retreat was held at the La Purisima Retreat Center in Hereford, just outside of Sierra Vista.

Joining Father Mike Bucciarelli and Father Vili Valderrama, our co-directors of Vocations, and 18 men thinking about becoming priests were Father Bardo Antunez, Father Bartolome Vazquez Johnston and nine of our seminarians. The retreatants came from Sacred Heart and San Felipe in Nogales, St. Mark, St. Monica, St. Joseph and St. Odilia in Tucson, St. Anthony in Casa Grande, Most Holy Nativity in Rio Rico and St. Andrew in Sierra Vista. They are very diverse in age and background, and blessed with many talents. At our closing liturgy, a number of the men sang a Communion meditation that they had composed during the retreat.

Four of these men are planning to enter the seminary in the fall for our Diocese, and nine others have signed up for participation in a discernment group to further explore the possibility of priesthood. These groups meet once a month, and provide participants with the opportunity to learn more about the priesthood and seminary life.

I asked the men what they liked best about the retreat. They had many observations, including the food which was lovingly prepared by women from St. Andrew's Parish in Sierra Vista and from Fort Huachuca, the beauty of the retreat center at La Purisima, which is surrounded by beautiful mountains, seeing the vocations video "Fishers of Men" that shows how much priests matter to people, being with others who were thinking about the priesthood, being a part of a community that prayed together and enjoying some fun times together, meeting the seminarians and hearing their stories, Eucharistic adoration and praying the Rosary. 

I was delighted to see many of the families of these men join us for the closing liturgy on Sunday afternoon. Their parents reflected on the importance of priests for our community as spiritual guides, as those who make the Eucharist possible, as leaders of prayer and as those who are there for us in time of need.
The second "Called To Serve" retreat will be at St. John Neumann Parish in Yuma from July 31 to Aug. 2. I encourage our parishes in the Yuma-La Paz Vicariate to invite young men to participate in this retreat. Registration information is available here in English and here in Spanish.

Kudos to Father Mike, Father Vili and the Vocations Office staff for this successful first "Called To Serve" retreat!

1. "Amen!" -- This coming weekend marks the conclusion of this year's Annual Catholic Appeal, "Share God's Gifts to Do God's Work," as we say "Amen!" to affirm and thank all those who have made pledges.

Our pastors and their staffs have worked very hard under very challenging circumstances to make this years Appeal a success and to reach our goal of $3.4 million. We are inching toward that goal, and with a united effort in which we ask every Catholic to give even a small amount we could make or even exceed the goal.

I recently read that 30% of all Catholics and 8% of Catholics who regularly go to Mass never give anything to support the Church. I have invited our pastors and priests to encourage their people to participate this year in the Appeal especially because of the difficult economic times and because we have just finished a very successful capital campaign in which so many of our Catholic people made great sacrifices to strengthen our Diocese for the future. If every Catholic family gives even the smallest amount, we would be able to fully fund the 26 ministries and charities so critical for the mission of the Church in our Diocese.

2. Diocesan Finance Council
-- Our Diocesan Finance Council meets tomorrow morning at the Msgr. Don Hughes Pastoral Center at St. Ambrose Parish in Tucson. The Council will review the budget for the Administrative Offices of the Diocese for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The proposed budget shows no increase in salary for the lay employees, priests and women religious who work at the Pastoral Center. Like all institutions, we are tightening our belts. We have not had to lay off any personnel at the Center because we are already a small group. In some instances, unfilled positions will not be filled during this next fiscal year.

3. Arizona Catholic Conference
-- Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix, Bishop James Wall of the Diocese of Gallup and I will meet tomorrow as the Arizona Catholic Conference. Our meeting will be here at the Pastoral Center.

Our agenda includes a discussion about the new Arizona tax credit that will allow children with disabilities and in foster care to attend a private school of their choice. We will welcome Gracie Quiroz, director of our Diocese of Tucson Catholic Support Organization, to our discussion. Last Friday, Gracie was elected president of the Arizona Tuition Support Organization that is comprised of all the tuition support organizations in the state.

4. Pastor Leadership Development Program -- The fourth of eight sessions in our diocesan Pastor Leadership Development Program (PLDP) is this week at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks.

Initiated last year, the PLDP is our first comprehensive program to help priests develop the competencies and skills that pastors need today. The PLDP focuses on five key areas of competency: leadership; parish community; management and operations; ethics; and spiritual, social and cultural context.

I will have dinner Wednesday with the PLDP participants who have been ordained five years or less. (The Mentoring Program for the Recently Ordained has been incorporated into the PLDP.)

5. Common Formation Program -- With sessions this past weekend at St. Thomas More Newman Center Parish in Tucson, the Class of 2012 in our Common Formation Program has concluded its first year.

The 40 aspirants for the permanent diaconate and 26 candidates for lay ecclesial ministry now have three more years of formation remaining.

This first year was one of orientation in the four main areas of formation --Human, Spiritual, Pastoral and Intellectual. Their studies included Cultural Diversity and Ministry, Public Speaking and Proclaiming the Word, Liturgical Prayer, Personal Prayer and the Spiritual Life, Church History, Human and Faith Development, Introduction to Scripture, the Creed, and Introduction to Liturgy and Sacraments.  

The candidates are from 28 parishes in the metropolitan Tucson area and from parishes in Yuma, Wellton, San Carlos, Sierra Vista, Benson, Bisbee, Casa Grande and Mammoth. 

Please keep these candidates in your prayers as they continue to discern their call to ministry and their service to the people of our Diocese.  For information about the Common Formation Program, please visit our Office of Formation Web page.

6. Safe Environment Program -- All our parishes and schools are very busy this month preparing their reports for the annual audit of our Diocese's Safe Environment Program.

I greatly appreciate the way in which our pastors and principals work with the compliance representatives and their team members to accomplish the tasks necessary to maintain a safe environment and then each year to take the time to produce reports of their efforts for the audit.

This Friday, I will meet with the members of our Sexual Misconduct Review Board. The Board, under the leadership of Charlotte Harris and David McEvoy, continues to offer me counsel as to how we can best respond to concerns about maintaining proper boundaries in ministry and how we can continue to improve our Safe Environment Program. I am very grateful for their ongoing contribution.

I am confident that we are doing everything we can to prevent harm to those we serve, especially minors, and certainly to prevent any possible abuse from going unreported.

7. On the Confirmation Trail -- I will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation this evening at St. Bartholomew Parish in San Manuel and this Saturday morning at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Superior.

8. Parish Listening Session -- I will have a listening session with the parishioners of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Superior this Saturday afternoon. This session is in anticipation of the assignment of a new pastor. Father Francis Iber, who has ministered with great dedication to the parish, is returning to his home diocese in Nigeria.

9. Appointments -- I am pleased to announce appointments, to welcome two priests to our Diocese and to recognize two priests who have served our Diocese and who will be returning to their home dioceses.

Effective June 8:

Father Felix Rodriguez of the Diocese of Yakima is appointed parochial vicar of St. Anthony Parish in Casa Grande. We welcome Father Felix.

Effective July 1:

Father Bardo Antunez, parochial vicar at St. Anthony Parish in Casa Grande, is appointed administrator of Holy Cross Parish in Morenci, Sacred Heart Parish in Clifton and St. Mary Mission in Duncan. Father Matthew Asemagema, who has served these past few years as administrator, is returning to his home Diocese of Makurdi in Nigeria.

Father Mark Long, parochial vicar at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson, is appointed administrator of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Superior. Father Francis Iber, who has served these past few years as administrator, is returning to his home Diocese of Makurdi.

Father Jose Padilla, parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Parish in Nogales, is assigned as parochial vicar at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Tucson.

Father Clement Agamba
, parochial vicar at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Tucson, is appointed parochial vicar at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson.

Father Walter Balduck, O.F.M. Cap., administrator pro-tem at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Mammoth is appointed administrator. Father Walter will be taking some time off, and in his absence Father Joseph Nietlong of Mundelein Seminary will serve as administrator pro-tem. I am happy to welcome Father Joseph back to our Diocese.

Father Chuck Cloud, who has served his 12-year term as pastor of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Florence, is extended as pastor. I am grateful to Father Chuck for the ministry he provides to his rapidly growing area.

Father Jens-Peter "Jay" Jensen, parochial vicar at St. Odilia Parish in Tucson, is appointed parochial vicar at St. Augustine Cathedral Parish.

Father Frank Cady, parochial vicar at St. Augustine Cathedral Parish, is appointed parochial vicar at St. Odilia Parish.

10. Year for Priests -- This special year, announced last March by Pope Benedict XVI, begins on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Friday, June 19.

The Holy Father has said his intentions for this year are to encourage priests to strive for spiritual perfection and to make more clearly perceived the importance of the priest's role in the Church and in contemporary society.

The Holy Father also has designated St. John Vianney, who is the patron of parish priests, as the Universal Patron of All Priests. This Aug. 4 will mark the 150th Anniversary of his death.

I encourage our parishes to participate in the spiritual activities of the year.

The Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is providing resources to assist parishes in observing the Year of the Priest.

11. Closing Masses for the Year of St. Paul -- The conclusion of this Year of St. Paul in our Diocese will be observed with the celebration of two Masses at which I will preside. The first Mass will be celebrated at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 27, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, and the second Mass, on Monday, June 29, the last day of the Year of St. Paul, will be celebrated at noon at St. Augustine Cathedral.

12. Sixth Hispanic Pastoral Musicians Conference -- The Southwest Liturgical Conference will hold its Sixth Hispanic Pastoral Musicians Conference at the Hotel Arizona in downtown Tucson this Aug. 6 through 8.

This bi-annual conference provides numerous workshops that are presented by nationally known liturgical music experts. Information and registration is available here.

13. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- Let us remember in our prayers the children who died as a result of the day care center fire in Hermosillo. I called Archbishop Ulises Macias of the Archdiocese of Hermosillo to express our concern and to offer our condolences to the families who lost their children in the fire. 

Also, please pray for those who died and who were injured in the highway accident late Saturday near Sonoita.

Vol. 7, No. 14

June 15, 2009

I am very pleased to announce that four of the finest priests in our Diocese have received from Pope Benedict XVI the papal honor of "Chaplains to His Holiness" in recognition of their service to the Church. With this honor, Fathers Van Wagner, Tom Millane, Ed Carscallen and Todd O'Leary now have the ecclesial title of "Reverend Monsignor."

I presented our new monsignors with their "diplomas" (the official document issued by the Vatican Secretariat of State that designates the title) last Friday in the Bishops' Conference Room in the Pastoral Center. As they looked at their diplomas, Msgr. Van said, "Our mothers would be so proud."

It was a historic moment, as they became the first priests in our Diocese to receive this recognition since the late Msgr. Ed Ryle was so honored some 15 years ago for his exemplary service as executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference.

"Exemplary" is the best way to characterize and describe how our new monsignors have ministered during their combined 208 years of service in our Diocese.

Each of them received the news of the honor with great humility. For all of us who know them, that is no surprise.

I had nominated them for this honor several months ago, and it made me very happy to be able to give them the news of the honor just a week before we begin the Year for Priests.

(This Friday, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we begin this special year proclaimed by Pope Benedict, and we will respond to his intention that this year will be a time to encourage priests to strive, as the Holy Father said, "for spiritual perfection upon which, above all, the effectiveness of their ministry depends." Also during this year, the Holy Father hopes the Church will launch spiritual and pastoral initiatives that will make "the importance of the priest's role and mission in the Church and in contemporary society ever more clearly perceived." I sent a letter last Friday to all priests and parishes in our Diocese announcing our preliminary plans for spiritual and pastoral initiatives in line with the Holy Father's intentions. It is my hope to begin these initiatives in August as the summer vacation break ends and our schools and parishes resume their schedules and activities.)

I pray that the Holy Father's recognition will be a reminder to all of our priests and to the people of our Diocese of how much priesthood matters and how the pastoral ministry of our priests influences and touches the lives of so many people.

Not long after I became Bishop of Tucson, I discussed with our Presbyteral Council the advisability of honoring some of our priests by inviting the Holy Father to name them as Chaplains of His Holiness. There was general agreement that if we were to do that it should be for priests who would be seen by their brothers as worthy of that honor. I asked all of our priests soon after that to suggest names of those priests who would make us all proud. Our four new monsignors are well respected by their brothers and by the people of our Diocese. They have served the Diocese faithfully over a number of years for which we all can be grateful.

The news of the honors was announced at the parishes of our new monsignors over the weekend: at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Tucson where Msgr. O'Leary is pastor; at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson where Msgr. Millane is pastor emeritus; and at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson, where Msgr. Wagner is in residence and where Msgr. Carscallen, who at 86 years of age is our oldest (and still very active) diocesan priest, is pastor emeritus.

We will celebrate a Mass with the Rite of Investiture for our new monsignors at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 9, at St. Augustine Cathedral. During the rite, I formally will present them their diplomas and their sashes. It will be a grand celebration for these four fine priests!

The August issue of The New Vision will have many details about our new monsignors and their service to our Diocese.

1. Retreat for Mundelein Seminary Class of 1969 -- One of the good things that accompany getting older is the joy of reconnecting with friends from long ago. Today, I am in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, reconnecting with my friends from St. Mary of the Lake Mundelein Seminary who were members of the Class of 1969. I was a member of the Class of 1967. Gathering to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their ordinations, the priests have asked me to lead a retreat for them, and it is my joy to do so.   

2. Spring Meeting of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops -- The Conference's annual spring meeting will be held Wednesday through Friday of this week in San Antonio.

Items on the agenda include approval of the annual diocesan assessment that supports the work of the Conference, a progress report on the pastoral plan for marriage, approval of the Mass of Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life and approval of liturgical translations. 

I will report to the bishops our progress on the Conference's five priorities: Cultural Diversity in the Church, Faith Formation and Sacramental Practice, Life and Dignity of the Human Person, Strengthening Marriage and Promotion of Vocations to the Priesthood and Consecrated Life.

3. 2009 Annual Catholic Appeal -- We said a big "Amen!" over the weekend to mark the conclusion of the parish phase of this year's campaign. I am grateful to our pastors who this past weekend helped me communicate my thanks to all those who pledged to the campaign by playing the special audio message I recorded.

I remain optimistic that by the time we make a final report in September we will be close to our goal of $3.4 million.

4. Eucharistic Procession -- St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista observed yesterday's Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ with a Eucharistic Procession in which more than 500 persons participated. The parish also yesterday marked the third anniversary of it's "new" church.

5. Good News about The New Vision -- I am very happy to report this well-deserved recognition for our diocesan newspaper. The Catholic Press Association has awarded The New Vision with the second place award for "General Excellence" for Catholic newspapers with a circulation of 17,001-40,000. The award was made at last month's Catholic Media Convention in Anaheim.

The judges made these observations about The New Vision: "This paper has many spiritually uplifting features. We particularly liked the story about the 10 inmates confirmed by Bishop Kicanas. You serve your multicultural community well with stories in Spanish."

Congratulations to Bern Zovistoski, managing editor, and Omar Rodriguez, graphic designer, for this recognition.

6. Year of St. Paul -- Our Diocese will observe the conclusion of this Year of St. Paul with two Masses at which I will preside, the first at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 27, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, and the second at noon on Monday, June 29, the last day of the Year of St. Paul, at St. Augustine Cathedral.

The Redemptorist Renewal Center invites you to celebrate the end of the Year of St. Paul with a one-day retreat on Saturday, June 27, at the Redemptorist Renewal Center. Father Bill Parker, Redemptorist biblical scholar, will lead the retreat on "The Spirituality of St. Paul." Topics will include "The World Really Changed -- St. Paul's Vision of Jesus," "Human Beings Can Change Too -- St. Paul's Vision of the Holy Spirit," and "Praying with St. Paul." The cost for the retreat is $45, which includes lunch. Reservations are required. For more information and to make reservations, please contact the Center at 520-744-3400 or office@desertrenewal.org.

7. Appointment -- Effective July 1, Father Gustavo Benitez, parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma, is assigned as parochial vicar of Sacred Heart Parish in Nogales.

8. Father's Day -- We pray this week for our fathers living and deceased and those who have mentored us as fathers do. My father died on Sept. 12, 1985. I miss him. He was a letterpress printer who took great pride in his work. He grew up in an orphanage and faced many struggles and challenges. He was a gentle man who loved his family and worked hard for us. That is probably true of most of our fathers. While none are perfect, they do their best to love and care for their families. We honor them this week by telling them how special they are to us or by praying that the Lord would grant them eternal rest.

In each of our lives there are others -- maybe a priest, a teacher, an uncle, a neighbor -- who, while not our biological fathers, have helped, nurtured and supported us in significant ways. We give thanks to God for them and for their love and support that strengthen us.

9. Remember in Your Prayers -- Please pray for the repose of the soul of Father Pete McGloin, pastor emeritus of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Tucson, who died this morning in Tucson after a long illness. The Chancellor's Office will send an advisory as soon as plans for the Funeral Mass are complete.

Also, please pray for Father Jim Travis, a retired priest living in our Diocese, who is very ill.

Vol. 7, No. 15

June 22, 2009

I am very happy to share with you my visit on Saturday to the community of Sacred Heart Mission on the Tohono O'odham Nation.

"A Franciscan Farewell" is the best title I can think of for this visit, although some other titles came to mind, such as, "32 Times around the World" and "The Many Hats of Father Tom."

The occasion of my visit to the mission, which is in the small village of Covered Wells and a nearly two hour drive from Tucson, was the farewell Mass and celebration for Father Tom Frost, O.F.M., who is leaving his ministry to the people in dozens of small villages on the Tohono O'odham Nation after 26 years.

Father Tom, who is 78-years-old, embodies the gentleness and humility that are the characteristics of the Franciscan Friar. And, characteristically, Father Tom would just smile, shake his head and say, "Oh, boy!" if you were to tell him that.

Father Tom greeted me at the small rectory that is adjacent to the beautiful stone church of the Sacred Heart and invited me in.

The living room, the tiny bathroom, the closet size walk-in shower and bedroom of his rectory speak volumes of the life of simplicity that Father Tom has led these past 26 years.

His bedroom doubles as an office. On a filing cabinet in the bedroom/office is an old TV set. Of course, the set doesn't get any signals after the change to digital transmission.

The living room is a well-organized conglomeration of books, boxes and belongings. Every surface has something on it. On the corner of a cabinet is a stack of five straw hats that Father Tom has worn over the years for sun protection. He gave a sixth hat, a gift years ago from Bishop Moreno, to a visitor who didn't have one.

The rectory is cooled by two small wall air conditioners and is heated by an ancient wood stove that is by the front door. A PC tower in front of the stove makes quite a contrast of technologies.

The community of Sacred Heart is celebrating its feast day on Saturday, a day after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart. Traditionally, the people celebrate the feast day with a Mass, procession and a big fiesta. This feast day, the people have the joy of their traditional gathering and also the sadness of saying farewell to Father Tom.

For this special occasion, the people have erected a big tent, brought all the way from Tucson, and they have prepared huge pots of chili, menudo and beans on grills fueled by mesquite.

The sweet pungency of the burning mesquite and the wafts of smells arising from the bubbling pots of food are a treat for the nose!

Father Tom does a few last minute ministries before the Mass begins: the "ministry" of moving chairs and the ministry of preparing the parents of little Kayla, who is going to be baptized during the Mass.

Father Tom opens what he calls his "suitcase sacristy" and props it open with a smooth stick that has served this purpose many, many times. He removes the implements and cloths for the Mass, including the beautifully woven baskets that are so culturally important to the Tohono O'odham. Father Tom is not sure how many suitcases he has gone through over the years; maybe this suitcase is the third or fourth to serve as his sacristy.

The suitcase is an essential tool of his ministry. Each week, he drives hundreds of miles to the isolated villages to say Mass, to administer sacraments and, for what he says has been the hardest part of his 26 years of ministry on the Nation, to comfort grieving families and to bury their dead. The number of funerals he has presided at reflect the toll in the Nation from health problems such as diabetes and substance abuse.

Hundreds of miles each week for 26 years: more than 200,000 miles in his first pickup; more than 200,000 miles in his second pickup; and, in his third and current white pickup, more than 400,000 thousand miles. That's more than 32 times around the world! When your parish (San Solano Missions Parish) is a big as the state of Connecticut, that's how much you would drive in 26 years.

Father Tom told me that he changed the oil for the last time last week on his trusty white pickup. The pickup will be retired, but not Father Tom. He is going to be the director of the Franciscan formation house in Santa Barbara starting next month.

One other thing about all those miles: Father Tom says he had driven for 25 years without a collision with an animal -- not a single coyote or jackrabbit or deer or cow -- until just a few weeks ago. He was on the road and spotted some cattle on his left, and while he was keeping his eye on them and slowing down, a cow suddenly moved in front of him from the right, hitting the pickup's right headlight and bumper. Father Tom looked in the rear view mirror and saw the cow was lying down. "Darn it," he thought, "now I am going to have to butcher it." But by the time he turned around and returned to the spot of the collision, the cow had disappeared. Father Tom said he hoped St. Francis had intervened and that the cow would be OK.

Deacon Alfred Gonzales, Father Tom and I vested in the church.

Sacred Heart truly is a beautiful church. Your eyes are drawn to the ceiling made of hundreds of segments of sahuaro cactus ribs.

People from many villages in the Nation were present for Mass, including the choir from St. Seraphin Mission in the village of Ak Chin.

Father Tom's homily was a message about God's all encompassing love for us and how our respect for ourselves and respect for our brothers and sisters are a witness to His love. He concluded his homily by telling the people that he hoped he had not caused hurt to anyone, and that if he had caused hurt, he asked their forgiveness.

The baptism of little Kayla (I think she is a year-and-a-half old) was beautiful to witness. Father Tom was patient and good humored as she squirmed, and after Kayla wailed when he dripped water on her face from a shell, he told the people that from his time in the Philippines he learned that when a child cries during baptism it means the evil one is no longer present, so it was a good sign for Kayla when she cried.

After Communion, Father Tom invited me to speak, and it was my joy to share these feelings and thoughts:

"This is the year for priests that Pope Benedict has asked us to celebrate. How fitting on this feast of the Sacred Heart, when we begin the Year for Priests, that we give thanks to God for a good priest who has been a wise teacher, a gentle shepherd and a loving father to his people for 26 years!

"The saint that Pope Benedict has asked us to remember in this Year for Priests is St. John Vianney, who is the Curé of Ars, and while the Curé of Ars, St. John Vianney spent about 17 hours a day in the confessional. Father Tom has spent about 17 hours every weekend traveling from mission to mission, from church to church, to celebrate the Eucharist and make the Lord present to us.

"Father Tom, you mentioned in your beautiful homily on this feast of the Sacred Heart, that the heart of Jesus reminds us of His great love for each one of us. That love has been communicated to us for these 26 years by a priest named Father Tom Frost, who came to our community here a much younger man, but has worked day after day after day after day bringing God's love and God's forgiveness to God's people.

"Father Tom, in the name of all of your people and my own name, we want to express to you our thanks and our love for you.

A priest, St. John Vianney said, is not a priest for himself. A priest doesn't absolve himself; he doesn't say Mass for himself; he doesn't baptize himself. He does his service for others. And that's what Father Tom has been: a priest for us. For that we are deeply grateful.

"Father Tom, if you might come forward in front of the altar so that all of us might extend to you our blessings and best wishes, as you have blessed us for these 26 years.

"So, we raise our hands, Father Tom, over you now and ask God's blessings: Loving and gracious God, we ask your choicest blessings for Father Tom Frost, who has served so generously and faithfully our communities here on the Reservation for 26 years. We thank you for his service. We thank you for his words and his comfort. We thank you for the forgiveness you have shown us through him. We thank you for the love you have given us through him. We ask you now, Lord, to bless him and to fill him with joy and gratitude for 26 years served so faithfully, so generously and so well. 

And may the blessings of Almighty God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, come upon you, Tom, and remain with you forever and ever."

And all the people said, "Amen!"

Following the closing prayer and blessing, Isidro Lopez, vice chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation, expressed to Father Tom the thanks of the nation for his ministry. Father Tom related that when he first arrived in the Nation he had met a little boy who was just about to go to school off the Reservation and that the little boy was Isidro.

On behalf of the Nation, Isidro presented Father Tom with a beautiful blanket of the Tohono "Man in the Maze" symbol.

Then, it was time for the procession with the statue of the Sacred Heart.

Carrying the statue were members of the community who are Samoan. What a beautiful joining of cultures!

It was a joy for me to walk in the procession with Father Tom.

Truly, what a wonderful way to begin this Year for Priests! 

I am going to write next week about another Franciscan to whom we are saying farewell: Father Max Hottle.

We are in the last week of the special Year of St. Paul and in the first week of the special Year for Priests.

Our closing liturgies for the Year of St. Paul are at 5:30 p.m. this Saturday, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson and at noon on Monday, June 29, at St. Augustine Cathedral. I hope you will be able to be with us for both these special liturgies.

I encourage you to read Pope Benedict's letter about the Year for Priests.

In his letter, the Holy Father writes that he hopes priests would use the year and its special events to deepen their commitment to their own renewal "for the sake of a more forceful and incisive witness to the Gospel in today's world."

Pope Benedict writes that he hopes people will keep in mind "the countless situations of suffering endured by many priests, either because they themselves share in the manifold human experience of pain or because they encounter misunderstanding from the very persons to whom they minister."

Even as we think about and pray for those priests, the Holy Father writes, our Church must acknowledge that some priests have done great harm to others. Despite those tragic failings, Pope Benedict says we should thank God for the gifts the majority of priests have given to the Church and the world.

Certainly, Father Pete McGloin was a priest who gave many gifts to our Church and to our Diocese. Father Pete died last week at age 79, having served faithfully and generously in our Diocese for 53 years as an educator, as a journalist and as the founding pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Tucson.

Among the remembrances posted by his parishioners for his online obituary were these:

"I am very blessed to have known Father McGloin. He was the reason I have been a parishioner at Our Lady of Fatima for 34 years. He was an excellent spiritual leader and very compassionate towards his congregation. God bless such a wonderful priest."

"What I loved the most about Father McGloin was his dedication and appreciation towards his parishioners. He was always there for you when you needed him and he was always grateful for what you did for the Church."

The Funeral Mass for Father Pete is at 10 a.m. today at Our Lady of Fatima. I will preside, with priests of the Diocese as concelebrants.

1. Southwest Medical Aid -- A Salvatorian lay ministry headquartered here in Tucson, Southwest Medical Aid is a distributor of humanitarian medical supplies that focuses on improving the quality of life of children and families with medicine, educational materials and personal care products. Under the leadership of founder Jan Izlar, Southwest Medical Aid has responded to the needs of suffering people in Haiti, Guatemala, Mexico and Arizona. I serve its the advisory board, and today I will join Jan and her board of directors to honor the volunteers who assist the ministry. You can learn more about Southwest Medical Aid here.

2. Meeting for Refugee and Immigrant Service Providers -- I will meet tomorrow with representatives of Tucson area service providers for refugees and immigrants in our community. A recent tragic highway accident involving some refugees who had come to our community demonstrated for us the need for greater collaboration by the agencies and organizations to respond to the needs of refugees who relocate here as they rebuild their lives.

3. El Día de San Juan Fiesta -- Tucson's 12th Annual El Día de San Juan Fiesta is this Wednesday, the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. The fiesta continues the tradition of celebrating the beginning of the "season of el chubasco," the summer rains. The fiesta takes place at West Congress Street at the Santa Cruz River from 5-10 p.m.

4. National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management -- I am honored to participate in a forum this week in Philadelphia that is sponsored by the Leadership Roundtable. The topic is communication.

The Leadership Roundtable is an organization of laity, religious and clergy that focuses on promoting excellence and best practices in the management, finances and human resources development of the Catholic Church in the U.S.

5. Santa Catalina Parish Memorial Garden -- I will celebrate the 11 a.m. Mass this Sunday with Father Peter Connolly, C.Ss.R., pastor, and the community of Santa Catalina Parish north of Tucson. Following Mass, I will bless and dedicate the parish's memorial garden. The Stations of the Cross and Garden of Gethsemane scenes in the garden feature bronze sculptures designed and produced by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz.

6. 2009 Annual Catholic Appeal -- As of Friday, we were just under $3 million in pledges. Some initial reports indicate that parishes experienced a very generous response to the "Amen! Sunday" appeal to those who had not yet participated in the Appeal. The weekly report on parish pledge totals is available here.

7. "Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America" -- Sister Rina Cappellazzo, O.P., our diocesan Vicar for Religious, has introduced me to this fascinating and inspiring new project of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

"Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America" is a traveling exhibit sponsored by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the Cincinnati Museum Center. The exhibit, some five years in the making, offers history museums across the nation the opportunity to display artifacts and images that communicate the impacts that Sisters have had in the history of our nation and in the development of our Church in the U.S.

You can find out more about this marvelous exhibit here. I want to discuss with Sister Rina and our diocesan Council of Women Religious how we might bring the exhibit to our Diocese. We have many artifacts and photographs in our Archives that I hope we can assemble for an exhibit about Sisters in our Diocese in time for Arizona's Centennial in 2012.

8. Thanks and Farewell -- Angelica Meza, who has worked as secretary and receptionist here at the Pastoral Center, is leaving us to resume her education and to spend more time with her family. We thank Angelica for her dedicated service in our diocesan Human Resources Department.

9. Prayers -- Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, C.F.M.M., our diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Schools, is recovering from surgery. Please keep her in your prayers.

Pope Benedict XVI, in an audience last Friday with members of the Synod of the Syrian Catholic Church, said he prays daily for peace in the Middle East. Let us join the Holy Father in his prayer, remembering especially the present turmoil in Iran.

Vol. 7, No. 16

June 29, 2009

Much happened these past 365 days to acquaint Catholics with the life and mission of St. Paul, perhaps even more than Pope Benedict XVI had expected when he announced the Year of St. Paul that began a year ago today.

In our Diocese, I was pleased to share reflections about St. Paul at presentations in Tucson and Yuma that took us from Paul's humble birthplace in Gisela to the magnificent Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Wall in Rome, the site of his martyrdom. Fred Allison, our diocesan communications director, helped me tell Paul's story by visualizing the major events in Paul's life and the importance of his life and message for us today.

"Conversion, Conviction and Community" are three lessons we can learn from Paul. Like him, we, too, need to encounter Christ, to be converted. That is where discipleship begins. Once we have met the Lord, we are sent to be missionaries, as was Paul, to proclaim Christ's message and to give witness to the faith we have received. Paul taught us that we are the Body of Christ in which each member plays an important part. I hope our focus on Paul this past year will motivate us to share our time, talent and treasure to build up the Church. The Body of Christ – our Church – benefits greatly when its members participate.

As we conclude the Year of Paul today with the noon Mass as St. Augustine Cathedral, I hope we will continue to read and reflect on his writings that comprise about a third of the New Testament. His words directed to the Churches he founded still speak powerfully to us today.

It has been a good year. Please join us today for the Mass at the Cathedral.

What impact did this Year of St. Paul have on our Church? You might enjoy reading this insightful analysis by John Thavis of the Catholic News Service.

1. Year for Priests – In his letter to the world's priests about this Year for Priests, Pope Benedict XVI reflects, "I think of all those priests who quietly present Christ's words and actions each day to the faithful and to the whole world, striving to be one with the Lord in their thoughts and their will, their sentiments and their style of life."

The Holy Father's words resonate for me when I think about five priests who are leaving our Diocese after years of dedicated service.

Last week, I wrote about one of them, Father Tom Frost, O.F.M.

Today, I write about Father Max Hottle, O.F.M., Father Fred Tillotson, O.Carm., Father Matthew Asemagema and Father Francis Iber.

Father Max is leaving after 19 years of ministry at San Solano Missions Parish on the Tohono O'odham Nation. It is his hope and ours that after a year working at a parish in New Mexico that he will return to continue his service in the Diocese.

In addition to his service as pastor of San Solano Missions Parish, Father Max also served for several years as Vicar Forane of the Pima West Vicariate.

San Solano Missions Parish is planning a farewell event for Father Max in August, and I will write more about him then.

But I want you to know now just how much Father Max has brightened our Monday mornings here at the Pastoral Center these past few years. Just about every Monday morning, Father Max makes the drive from Sells to Tucson to take care of parish business in person with our staff. And what a joy those mid-morning encounters have been for us! Even if he doesn't have business with you, he stops to say hello and ask how you are doing. He has a wonderful sense of humor, and every conversation with him includes a good laugh or two. He would tell some of us, "I don't know exactly what it is you are doing, but it looks like you are doing it very well!" Father Max also has a precise internal clock, knowing to the second how much time remains on the parking meter.

Thank you, Father Max, for your Monday morning ministry to us!

Last week, Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson announced that Father Fred Tillotson, president and head of school, is leaving next month to become president of the prestigious Washington Theological Union in Washington, DC.

In a news release from Salpointe announcing his appointment, Father Fred said, "The past nine years at Salpointe Catholic High School have been deeply satisfying. It will be difficult to leave the Salpointe community and the friends and relationships that I've made over the years. I accept this challenge humbly and with gratitude for the opportunity to serve the Church in this new position."

In addition to his service at Salpointe, Father Fred also stepped in to serve as administrator of St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish in Tucson after the Paulists had to withdraw. And, he has served since its beginning on our diocesan Sexual Misconduct Review Board, offering his wise counsel and advice and helping to oversee and guide our Safe Environment Program.

I have had the opportunity to consult with Father Fred on a number of occasions to draw upon his expertise in Moral Theology. The Washington Theological Union is receiving a wise, caring and dedicated priest to lead them. Father Fred will be greatly missed.

After 10 years of service in our Diocese, Father Matthew Asemagema and Father Francis Iber of the Diocese of Makurdi in Nigeria are completing their missionary service in our Diocese. Father Matthew most recently has been pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Clifton, St. Mary's Mission in Duncan and Holy Cross Parish in Morenci. Father Francis has served as pastor of St. Francis Parish in Superior. 

These two priests have served our Diocese with great dedication and commitment. They left the security of their home country to serve as priests in a different culture in a diocese were priests are much needed. They were among the first of our missionary priests from Nigeria who have come to minister among us.

They are examples of the generosity of priests, who like St. Paul, left their homes to travel to distant lands to serve the Church and its people.

We are most grateful for their service. 

2. Our Generous Catholics – Even with the challenges they face in the current recession, parishioners in our Diocese have been amazingly generous in sharing their gifts to do God's work.

Considering the drastic falloffs in donations that many churches and non-profits nationally have experienced, the level of giving in our Diocese by parishioners to support their parishes and to continue our diocesan ministries and charities has been remarkable.

We had been expecting a drop in giving to our Annual Catholic Appeal this year as families and individuals fulfilled their commitments to last year's Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future diocesan renewal campaign.

But, even with their commitment to that campaign and with the struggling economy, our parishioners have made pledges of more than $3 million to this year's Appeal, putting us in sight of our goal of $3.4 million. Although we may fall short of that goal, our "rainy day" savings, our tighter budgets for the Administrative Offices of the Diocese and the wise direction of our Diocesan Finance Council and the board of directors of the Diocese of Tucson Charities and Ministries Fund Inc. will make it possible for us to fully fund for this next fiscal year the 26 charities and ministries that do God's work in our Diocese.

I remain encouraged by the commitment our parishioners have made to their parishes and to our Diocese through Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future. To date, fulfillment of pledges has amounted to more than $13 million, and I am optimistic that even with the challenge of the economy will we realize well over our goal of $28 million. Many of our parishes are beginning work on projects that they selected as part of Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future

3. Diocesan Finance Council – The Council holds its last meeting of the fiscal year tomorrow. The agenda includes reports on the Annual Catholic Appeal and Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future.

Our diocesan Administrative Offices, with the guidance of the Finance Council, will have a trimmed-down and tight budget for the new fiscal year that begins this Wednesday. We have trimmed our expenses, which was difficult considering the tight ship that we are already running. Additionally, we have frozen salaries and any hiring of replacement positions during the next year, and we have eliminated a large portion of the travel budget that was already set at a modest amount.

4. Immigration – I will meet this week with leaders of religious denominations and faith groups in our state to continue our dialogue over the moral dimensions of the immigration that continues into Arizona.

At this gathering, which is sponsored and facilitated by the Pima County Interfaith Council, we will review the political realities that are impacting the renewed push for comprehensive immigration reform and consider strategies for our denominations and faith groups to further their support of comprehensive immigration reform.

5. Refugee and Immigrant Service Provider Network – I want to report to you on last week's meeting of the Refugee and Immigrant Service Provider Network at Catholic Community Services headquarters in Tucson.

During the meeting, which was attended by nearly 50 network members and refugees, we prayed for those refugees from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo who were injured in the accident early this month. Family members of those who died and who were injured were with us, and we expressed our concern for them.

I shared my concern that the path for refugees has become increasingly more difficult because of the recession. I asked what we might do as a network to address the challenges that refugees in the Tucson community face.

We listened to the stories of refugees who have resettled in the Tucson community from Bhutan, Iraq and countries in Africa. That all spoke of the hardships in their home country and their gratitude for being here in the U.S. They all shared a desire to work to support themselves and their families and the challenges of finding work in light of cutbacks in job training opportunities and education.

I expressed my commitment to working with the network to improve connections with business and local government. We hope to have a meeting in the fall with government and business representatives to develop solutions to the employment challenges facing refugees.

6. National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management – I was honored last week to make a presentation at the Roundtable's annual meeting in Philadelphia. I reflected in my talk on the challenges that we face in Church to communicate effectively, and I even included a mention of the Monday Memo.

My presentation followed the talk given by Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of England and now a member of the Quartet seeking peace in the Middle East. He also heads a foundation that does much good throughout the world.

In his presentation, he reflected on the fact there are "doers" and "commentators" in our world. It is a tough time in which to act, he said, since many will criticize actions made with the sincerest intentions. It is a tough time for leadership, he said, yet we need to be out there acting and doing for others.

He was asked about his embrace of Catholicism after he completed his service as Prime Minister. He reflected on how inspired and impressed he was by what the Catholic Church does worldwide to help those in need. He saw this everywhere he traveled. He wanted to be part of a family that did much good for others and was a compassionate voice in our world.
It was inspirational for many of us cradle Catholics who were present to hear this convert's journey to embrace Christ in the Catholic Church.

Launched in 2005, the Roundtable brings together leaders from the worlds of business, finance, academia, philanthropy, not-for-profits and the Church to serve the Catholic Church in the U.S. by promoting best practices in management, finances and human resources development for dioceses and parishes. 

7. Santa Catalina Parish Memorial Garden – In their churches and other special spaces for prayer, our parishes provide environments of peace and tranquility for reflection and prayer.

We experience these environments in special chapels for Eucharistic Adoration and also in the outdoor spaces such as prayer circles and gardens.

Yesterday, I was pleased to join the community of Santa Catalina Parish north of Tucson for the blessing dedication of the parish's beautiful Memorial Garden from which you gaze upon the magnificent Santa Catalina Mountains. There are beautiful and striking sculptures in the garden marking the Way of the Cross. There is a special Wall of Remembrance where parishioners can inscribe the names of their departed members. As you walk the winding path, there is a sense of quiet. It is a place to be in touch with God.

Many hands made this garden a reality, especially Sister Carole Ruland, former pastoral administrator under whose leadership the project began. John Shaheen, our diocesan Property and Insurance manager, is a member of the parish, and John had much to do with the design of this sacred space as well as the design of the beautiful Santa Catalina Church.

I was very pleased that, Father Thomas Pincton, C.S.S.R., the Redemptorist Provincial, could join us for the celebration. Father Peter Connolly, C.S.S.R., has been pastor at Santa Catalina now for almost a year. He has come to be quickly loved and respected. That was obvious in the warm applause he received at Mass.

Father Peter shared with me how impressed he is by the many gifts of the people of Santa Catalina Parish, many who had significant responsibilities in their professional careers and who now in their retirement continue to share their gifts as parish volunteers.

I was pleased to see two teenagers from the Catalina Mountain School at the Mass and dedication. The people of Santa Catalina Parish have made the juvenile corrections facility and school a special ministry and are doing much to help the school's young people find direction and meaning in their lives.

8. Cursillo I participated yesterday in the clausura for the ending of this past weekend's Cursillo that was held at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson. Thirty-five men, many from Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Green Valley and St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Tucson, took part. A number of the participants are candidates for the permanent diaconate. I was happy to see David Miller, who works in our diocesan Property and Insurance Office.

It was inspiring to see the zeal and enthusiasm of the men and their desire to become more engaged in the Church and their faith. As one candidate said at the end of the Cursillo, "Wow!" Others commented on how moved they were to have this opportunity to deepen their relationship with Christ. The group included men in various age groups. It was obvious this had been a powerful and life changing experience.

Father Liam Leahy of St. Mark and Father Alonzo Garcia of Holy Family served as spiritual directors along with Deacons Bill Lugo and Tony Geonnotti. Greg Wing of Our Lady of the Valley Parish served as Rector for the weekend, and his team and the kitchen staff received standing ovations from the men for their work.

Next week, 38 women will be making their Cursillo.

This movement has been a life-changing moment for many. I was privileged to make my Cursillo two years ago in Yuma. I hope many others will take advantage of this powerful spiritual encounter.

9. Sixth Hispanic Pastoral Musicians Conference
– The Southwest Liturgical Conference will hold its Sixth Hispanic Pastoral Musicians Conference at the Hotel Arizona in downtown Tucson this Aug. 6 through 8, and I encourage all of our parishes to send representatives.

This bi-annual conference provides numerous workshops that are presented by nationally known liturgical music experts. Information and registration is available here.

10. 2009 Catechetical Sunday – The Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced that all Catechetical Sunday materials for parishes are available on line for the first time.

The theme for this year's observance of Catechetical Sunday, on the weekend of Sept. 19 and 20, is "Catechesis and the Proclamation of the Word."

The materials, entitled "Celebrating the Catechetical Year 2009-2010 with Resources for Catechetical Sunday 2009," are available here in English and Spanish.

11. Vacation for Monday Memo – Time for vacation!

Monday Memo will return Aug. 3. I hope all of you will enjoy a safe and relaxing summer vacation.