June 6, 2011 June 13, 2011 June 20, 2011 June 27, 2011

Vol. 9, No. 11
June 6, 2011

The Easter season, filled with the "Alleluias!" of our joy at the Lord's Resurrection, comes to an end this Sunday as we celebrate Pentecost.

This great feast marks the beginning of the Church, as the Apostles -- on fire with the Spirit --burst from the Upper Room and went out preaching Christ to all who would listen.

I hope we can capture their zeal for the faith and become true evangelizers, inviting others to encounter Jesus Christ. We now are the eyes, hands, and heart of Christ. Christ's mission happens now through us.

The celebration of Pentecost this year can inspire us to invite relatives and friends who have left the Church or who are no longer practicing their faith to come home.
 
A ministry that occupies much of my time is bestowing the Holy Spirit on young and old in the Sacrament of Confirmation. It will be my joy to celebrate the Sacrament this Saturday afternoon at Our Lady Queen of All Saints Parish in Tucson and on Sunday at noon at St. Augustine Cathedral for the Cathedral, Holy Family Parish and for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish.

How blessed they are to receive the Spirit at the very time the Church celebrates Pentecost!
 
1. San Salono Missions Parish -- On last week's Memorial Day Holiday, I visited with Father "Ponchie" Vasquez, O.F.M., pastor, and the staff and community of San Solano Missions Parish on the Tohono O'odham Reservation to get an update on the pastoral plan for the parish that we began several months ago.

Even though it was the holiday, there was a wonderful turnout of people for our gathering. Clearly, the people have a keen interest in their community. Among the challenges and needs that continued to surface were adult faith formation, youth ministry, finding the best organization to serve the pastoral needs of the community and the desire for growth in the faith.
 
Plans are underway to conduct a five-part leadership formation in the faith. The plan is to invite key leaders from the various districts on the Reservation to gather for five sessions beginning in July. These key leaders will in turn conduct "Echoes of Faith" in the villages of their districts.

There is also a plan to conduct a day of renewal in each of the districts each year for the next three years in the Sistema Integral de Evangelizacion (SINE) model that has been very successful in Mexico and in Central and South America. There is hope that next year a youth day can be planned for the young people on the reservation that will bring them into contact with the elders of the community. This year, there is an exchange youth program being sponsored with a parish in Danville, Illinois. Our own St. Pius X Parish in Tucson participated in one of these exchanges some years ago. It is a wonderful opportunity that helps young people to learn about and to respect different cultures.
 
2. St. Vincent de Paul Society -- I was delighted on Saturday to join the members of our various St. Vincent de Paul Societies around our Diocese as they gathered at St. Joseph Parish in Tucson for their annual day of renewal that energizes and rekindles their zeal to do the important work of serving the littlest and weakest among us.

Back again by popular demand, Father Greg Adolf, pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista, guided the retreat. His reflections connected the members to the passion for the poor that is at the heart of the work of St. Vincent de Paul Societies.
 
I am grateful to Carmen Simbari, a member of Sacred Heart Parish in Tucson and diocesan director for St. Vincent de Paul. He and his team do a marvelous job in providing assistance to the thousands of needy persons in these troubled economic times.
 
I am grateful to Father Miguel Mariano, pastor of St. Joseph, for his parish's hospitality and for the welcome he gave us.
 
3. Mass at Villa Maria Care Center -- I look forward to celebrating Mass tomorrow at Villa Maria Care Center in Tucson. There are many long-term care and assisted living facilities in our Diocese, and I am grateful to our priests, deacons, women religious and lay ministers who visit their residents regularly. My mom, as you know, lives in an assisted living facility that is a ministry of the Little Sisters of the Poor, and I know how delighted she is when volunteers come in to visit and give support and comfort. It means a lot.
 
Sometimes, people look upon the elderly as insignificant, no longer mattering. Yet, how much wisdom dwells in our elders. Our Native American peoples hold great respect for elders, giving us the example of how important it is in our society that we care for, respect and learn from our elders.
 
4. Sexual Misconduct Review Board
-- As we read the recently released John Jay College of Criminal Justice study on the causes and context of the tragic sexual abuse of children by priests, we realize how important to us are the policies and procedures we have put in place to make sure children are safe in the household of the Church.

Our diocesan Sexual Misconduct Review Board provides essential guidance and oversight for our Safe Environment Program. The integrity, wisdom and counsel of its members are immensely helpful to me. I am grateful to Dr. Jose Santiago, who served as the board's first chair, and to current chair Charlotte Harris for their leadership that has made such a difference. Along with Dr. Paul Duckro, director of our diocesan Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, the members of our Sexual Misconduct Review Board have accomplished much in helping to restore trust.

The board meets this Thursday, and I will ask the members to study and reflect with me on the causes and context study and its recommendations.
 
5. Bi-National Respect Life and Evangelization Hispanic Congress -- I am honored to be giving a keynote address this Friday at the first Bi-National Respect Life and Evangelization Hispanic Congress in Phoenix this weekend.

The Congress is a marvelous way for clergy, religious and laity from both sides of our border with Mexico to come together to pray, to learn about our Church's teachings on the dignity and sanctity of all life from conception to natural death and how to be effective evangelists for Gospel of Life in their parishes.

Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix will be our host for this important first time gathering that is expected to bring more than 1,000 persons to the Phoenix Convention Center this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Congress will include a concert and 25 bilingual and Spanish breakout sessions.

I hope to see representatives from our parishes at the Congress. More information and registration is available here in English and here in Spanish.

6. Arizona Wildfires -- Please pray for the safety of the firefighters and for the people and communities affected by the wildfires our state is experiencing.

Vol. 9, No. 12
June 13, 2011

Let us continue to pray for the containment of the wildfires that have brought so much destruction to parts of our state and that have caused so much anxiety for people in communities of the White Mountains, near Flagstaff and here in southern Arizona.

Pray especially for the safety of the firefighters and for the comfort of all those who have lost homes and whose lives have been disrupted by the wildfires.

As the official start of the monsoon is this Wednesday, pray as well for an early arrival of gentle rains to lessen the danger of wildfires.

I asked all of our parishes to remember those affected by the fires in their Prayers of the Faithful at Masses this past weekend.

1. Spring General Assembly -- I am on my way to Seattle today for the Spring General Assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

For the past few years, we have alternated between the pastoral work of the conference and a retreat at the spring gathering. This year's gathering, which begins Wednesday, is for our pastoral work, and there are some significant pastoral issues before us.

We will discuss and vote on an important teaching document on physician-assisted suicide. The document, "To Live Each Day with Dignity," will be the first that we will issue as the full body of the USCCB on physician-assisted suicide. It will augment the resources of our Church's teachings on the dignity and sanctity of all life from conception to natural death. Importantly, it will inform public opinion as we see a resurgence of efforts to pass legislation that permits physician-assisted suicide.

We also will vote on revisions of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People that was adopted by the U.S. bishops in 2002 in response to the crisis of sexual abuse of minors by priests.


The proposed revisions would bring the Charter into line with the most recent Vatican instructions related to abuse, including the designation of child pornography as a crime against Church law and the classification that abuse of someone who is vulnerable because of diminished mental capacity is equivalent to child abuse.
            


We will receive a report from Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington on Anglicanorum coetibus, the Vatican guideline for allowing communities of Anglicans to enter into Full Communion with the Catholic Church.

We also will vote on two liturgical items pertaining to the Spanish translation of the USA Propers and Adaptations to the Roman Missal, Third Edition, and the inclusion of a collection of Mass prayers for major patronal feasts from Spanish-speaking countries.

You will be able to access live streaming video of our public sessions and read documents, vote tallies, news releases and other information here.

I will be participating today and tomorrow in meeting of the Board of Directors of Catholic Relief Services. The Board will select the new president and chief executive officer of CRS to replace Ken Hackett, who has held that position for the last 17 years. This will be a most important selection as the president and CEO leads CRS in its efforts to provide humanitarian aid to more than 100 countries in the Third World and nations devastated by natural and political disasters.

2. Pastoral Visit to Safford, Solomon -- It will be my joy this Sunday to celebrate Mass with Father Ed Lucero, Vicar Forane of the Graham-Greenlee Vicariate, and the people of the parish communities of St. Rose of Lima in Safford and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Solomon. Father Ed is pastor of St. Rose of Lima and administrator pro-tem of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Even though I have been with you here in the Diocese of Tucson for nearly 10 years, I find myself still learning about the history of the communities in our Diocese.

For instance, with a little "Googling" you can learn about Solomon's fascinating history.

Tucson may call itself the "Old Pueblo," but Solomon was the original Arizona "Old Pueblo." The first European settlers of the area called the community they founded in the early 1800s "Pueblo Viejo" because of the ruins of a previous Native American settlement in the area.  

The community became Solomonville in the 1870s after I.E. (Isadore Elkan) Solomon and his wife Ann and their three children settled there. I.E. and Anna were Jewish immigrants from the Province of Posen in Eastern Germany. I.E. was a rancher, farmer and merchant. He started the Gila Valley Bank that later became Valley National Bank.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish was established in 1891 when our Diocese was a Vicariate Apostolic. It was the mother parish of Sacred Heart Parish in Clifton, Holy Cross Parish in Morenci, St. Rose of Lima Parish in Safford, Holy Angels Parish in Globe and Sacred Heart Parish in Willcox.

I believe Solomon may be the smallest town in our Diocese with a parish. With just 50 or so registered families, Our Lady of Guadalupe is our smallest parish. While they live in a small community, the Catholic people of Solomon are very proud of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish.

And, the Catholics of the nearby small community of San Jose are very proud of their beautiful San Jose Chapel, a mission of St. Rose of Lima Parish. The chapel has a beautiful retablo that makes you feel as if you have walked into a small 18th century church in Spain.

3. Appointments -- I am happy to give you the news of the latest appointments, and in doing so I share with you the gratitude I have expressed to Father Matthew Williams, O.C.D., provincial, and the Western Province of the Discalced Carmelite Friars for their continuing ministry to our Diocese.

Father Thomas Reeves, O.C.D., is renewed for the next three years as administrator of Santa Cruz Parish in Tucson.

Father Robert Barcelos, O.C.D., is appointed administrator of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Parish in Tucson, effective July 28. Father Robert comes to us from St. Therese Parish in Alhambra, Calif.

Father Philip Sullivan, O.C.D., will be leaving St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Parish to serve as pastor of St. Therese Parish in Alhambra. I am grateful to Father Philip for his dedicated ministry as administrator to St. Margaret Mary Parish. We wish him God's choicest blessings in his first pastorate. I know that Father Philip's mom, who lives in Parker (in our Diocese), will miss him, and I hope he will come back and visit us.

Father Laurence Poncini, O.C.D., is appointed parochial vicar of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Parish, effective Aug. 1. Father Laurence comes to us from St. Cecilia Parish in Stanwood, Wash.

Father Thomas Koller, O.C.D., will assist in ministry at Santa Cruz Parish in Tucson, effective Aug. 1. Father Thomas is postulant master for the Western Province, and he will serve at Santa Cruz Parish through early next year.

Father Bernard Perkins, O.C.D., will be leaving Santa Cruz Parish to minister with Father Philip at St. Therese Parish in Alhambra. I am grateful to Father Bernard for his ministry these past few years to the people of Santa Cruz Parish.

Father Mark Kissner, O.C.D. who has been a parochial vicar at Santa Cruz this past year has been appointed as Vocation Director for the Discalced Carmelites. He will be living at the Provincial House in Redlands, California.

Brother Juan Elias Medina, O.C.D., will serve at Santa Cruz Parish as a deacon, effective June 27. Brother Juan will remain at Santa Cruz after his ordination in October.

Finally, we welcome Father Paul Terwase Utser to our Diocese. Father Paul began his ministry with us June 1 with his appointment as parochial vicar at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson. He comes to us from the Diocese of Makurdi, Nigeria. The Dioceses of Makurdi has been an important part of our Diocese since a number of their diocesan priests and members of the Via Christi Religious Order in the Diocese of Makurdi are serving in our Diocese. I pray that Father Paul will quickly come to feel at home among us.

4. Annual Catholic Appeal -- I am so grateful to all in our Diocese who have taken to heart the theme of this year's Annual Catholic Appeal, "Go, Be the Light of Christ!" Their generous support is indeed bringing Christ's light to the thousands of persons who are served by the 26 ministries and charities so important for the work of our Diocese.
 
As we approach the conclusion of this year's campaign with "Amen! Sunday" on June 26, the Appeal has received pledges of more than $3.4 million toward the $3.7 million goal. That is 92 per cent of goal, and I am confident that with one last effort on "Amen! Sunday" we will reach that goal. More than 16,000 of you have made pledges, and that is quite amazing and reflects the dedication that our people have to the mission of Christ. You are willing to make sacrificial gifts in response to the blessings God has given you. You are true stewards!
 
Approaching the conclusion of the campaign, 20 parishes have reached or exceeded goal: Our Lady of the Desert Mission at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks; St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Tucson; Our Lady of Grace Parish in Maricopa; St. Joseph Parish in Wellton; St. Patrick Parish in Bisbee; Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Tucson; St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Tucson; St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista; Santa Catalina Parish in Tucson; St. Ann Parish in Tubac; St. Jude Parish in Pearce/Sunsites; Immaculate Conception  Parish in Ajo; St. Jude Thaddeus Parish in San Luis; Corpus Christi Parish in Tucson; Our Lady of LaVang Parish in Tucson; St. Ambrose Parish in Tucson; Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Green Valley; Infant Jesus of Prague Parish in Kearney; St. Bartholomew Parish in San Manuel; and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Benson.
 
Another 12 parishes have reached more than 90 per cent of their goals and are in reach of reaching goal: St. Francis de Sales Parish in Tucson; Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson; St. Odilia Parish in Tucson; St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson; Holy Angels Parish in Globe; Sacred Heart Parish in Tombstone; Sacred Heart Parish in Clifton; St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Yuma; Immaculate Conception Parish in Douglas; St. George Parish in Apache Junction; Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson; and St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Tucson.
 
I am so grateful to our priests, deacons, and women and men religious for leading the way in these troubled economic times to help us fully fund the 26 ministries and charities. In these last few weeks of the campaign, I hope we might encourage everyone who has not yet given or made a pledge to consider giving even the smallest gift. It would mean so much.

I am grateful as well to the Board of Directors of our Charity and Ministry Fund, to Margie Puerta Edson, executive director of the Charity and Ministry Fund, and her staff.

Everything you need for a successful "Amen! Sunday" conclusion is available from the Appeal office.
 
5. Principally Speaking -- We welcome Sister Helen Timothy, I.B.V.M., who has been named interim principal of Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson. Sister Helen has served for more than 25 years as a Catholic School administrator. She succeeds Father Robert Carroll, O.Carm., who is returning to Chicago to continue his ministry in Catholic education. (Kay Sullivan, Salpointe director of Advancement, is also serving as interim president of Salpointe.)

Congratulations to Ann Zeches, principal of St. Cyril of Alexandria School in Tucson, who recently was awarded a doctorate degree.

6. Looking Ahead with the Department of Pastoral Services -- Sister Lois Paha, O.P., director of our Department of Pastoral Services, and her team invite you to look ahead to programs and events for the coming year.

The Office of Worship has sent a Diocesan Choir Events Calendar to parishes. You are welcome to download it here. Even if you are not in the choir, you will find the calendar helpful for reserving dates on your calendar. 

Planning continues for our Co-Workers in the Vineyard Diocesan Ministry Conference, March 15-17, 2012. Check the special Conference Web page throughout the summer for updates.

The Office of Catechesis presents the Annual Convocation of Directors of Religious Education on Saturday, Aug. 20, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson.

And, the Office of Catechesis also presents "Tools for Teaching" on Saturday, Sept. 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hotel Arizona in Tucson. 

7. Golden Congratulations -- Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson yesterday honored Sister Jeanette Mariani, O.S.F., for her 50 years of ministry in religious life. Sister Jeanette serves the parish as director of Pastoral Care and Stephen Ministry. Congratulations, Sister Jeanette, on your golden jubilee!

8. Father's Day -- We will pray for our dads -- living and deceased -- this Sunday as we observe Father's Day.

Catholic Relief Services invites you to honor your dad with a gift that will touch the lives of people who live in difficult circumstances in more than 100 countries around the world. CRS will send a special Father's Day e-mail with your personalized message to tell your dad about your gift. 

Vol. 9, No. 13
June 20, 2011


Until last week's Monument Fire swept down a mountain side to the ridgeline where Jerry and Pat Chouinard had so lovingly built it, Our Lady of the Sierras Marian Shrine near Hereford had been a place of prayer and comfort for many people, attracting visitors from our Diocese and from around the world, including many pilgrims from Mexico. 

In an instant, the fire engulfed the Shrine's beautiful chapel, turning its rock walls into a blast furnace, the heat so intense that the tabernacle was left scorched, the pyx and ciborium blackened and twisted and barely recognizable. The tabernacle and its sacred vessels are now with Father Greg Adolf at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista.

Also destroyed were Jerry and Pat's home near the chapel, the hillside Stations of the Cross, and the Our Lady of Guadalupe Grotto. Still standing after the firestorm swept the ridge were the 75-foot Celtic Cross, the 31-foot statue of Our Lady of the Sierras and the marble statues of the Angel of the Revelation and the Angel Guardian of Children

At last report, the La Purissima Retreat Center, also built by Jerry and Pat, experienced some smoke damage, but escaped the brunt of the fire.
 
Our hearts go out to the families who have lost their homes (44 as of this morning) and the hundreds of families who have had to evacuate their homes because of the danger of the approaching fire.

Saturday afternoon, accompanied by Father Greg and Richard Rivera, youth minister at St. Andrew, I visited the two centers where those evacuated are being sheltered. Volunteers were everywhere, pitching in and helping out in any way they could. Richard and some of the parish's Life Teen group have been involved. Saturday, Richard and one of his life teen members, Nicole, were helping at 4 a.m. and were still helping at 3 p.m.
 
People have been bringing food, clothes, blankets and pillows, whatever is necessary to assist those evacuated. Kennels have been set up for displaced animals. Local businesses have loaned TVs and game consoles for the children. The whole community has come together in support of the people who have lost homes and animals.

Gratefully, no human life has been lost.
 
I was deeply moved Saturday evening celebrating "Mass in Our Time of Need" at St. Andrew Parish. The church was packed with people from St. Andrew, Our Lady of the Mountains, Good Shepherd Mission in Whetstone and Holy Family at Fort Huachuca. People prayed fervently for the safety of the firefighters who are trying amidst dangerous and difficult conditions to contain the fire that has ravaged the area with such rapidity.
 
I am so grateful to Father Greg for his pastoral care and concern for the people of the community as they deal with their loss and struggle with their fears. He has been a source of strength to so many as he leads the Catholic community in prayer.
 
Father Ariel Lustan, pastor of Our Lady of the Mountains Parish in Sierra Vista, was in the Philippines for a visit when the fire began. He wrote this letter to his parishioners that Father Ricky Ordonez, our diocesan director of Vocations, read at Mass:

I am so speechless watching on TV the extent of the damage wrought by the Monument Fire to our community. I am so sorry that I cannot be with you physically as your pastor in this time of crisis. I am at home in my home country of the Philippines.
 
I tell you my heart is tearing apart by the fact that I wanted to help but can do nothing. From here I am storming the heavens with prayers that this disaster will be over soon and our community of faith can start again.
 
Maybe our beautiful mountains are devastated and scarred, but I am sure our patron, Our Lady of the Mountains, will help us discover again its beauty from its ashes and debris.
 
The towering Cross and the image of the blessed Virgin Mary at the Our Lady of the Sierras Shrine that remained untouched by the fires are reminding us never to waiver in our faith and love for one another.

How inspiring and encouraging it was for me on Saturday to see the involvement and cooperation of the people in Sierra Vista in this time of need. People caring for one another, people sharing with one another, people encouraging and supporting one another is happening all over Sierra Vista. The tragedy has revealed important things about this community: their strength, their concern and compassion for one another.

Peg Harmon, chief operating officer of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, told me Saturday of the involvement of Catholic Community Services in Cochise County in relief efforts:

Right now, we are supporting the relief efforts of the disaster team being lead by the government and Red Cross. We are directing those who contacted us to seek help through the coordinated effort since during the initial phases of disasters coordination of resources is essential. Chuck Fisher, our local executive director, has been our point person in the area.

We have helped the mass shelter effort with food, clothing and hygiene supplies that we had on hand. We will use the open beds in our domestic violence shelter for women and children if this resource is needed. Our staff is doing welfare checks on people receiving home delivered meals and on foster families with children.

Chuck will be working with Catholic Charities USA next week to secure some resources as part of the its Disaster Case Management project. CCS will also assist in a long term role to help families once the immediate threat is passed. We will accept and process donations to be used now or for future support of victims.

One of our CCS staff has lost her home and belongings. At last count, about four CCS staff and families are evacuated, but are able to stay with friends and relatives.

This is far from over, and once the immediate danger is passed there will be a lot of work to do.

Please continue to pray that the fire will soon be fully contained and that the firefighters will remain safe.

1. Visit to Safford, Solomon -- I enjoy so much visiting parishes for their usual Sunday celebrations of liturgy, , so joining the communities of St. Rose of Lima in Safford and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Solomon yesterday was such a blessing. The faith of our people shines forth. They come each week seeking spiritual comfort and support. They pray and sing with all their hearts. It is always moving to see the community join hands across the aisle to recite or sing the Our Father.
 
Father Ed Lucero, pastor of St. Rose and interim administrator of Our Lady of Guadalupe spoke so proudly of the two communities he serves. His people hold high regard for him; that was obvious.
 
The Spanish Choir and the Youth Choir at St. Rose did a wonderful job at the 9:30 and 11 o'clock Masses and Our Lady of Guadalupe joined in song led by a volunteer. Afterward, the community of Our Lady of Guadalupe put on quite a pot luck.
 
I felt that both communities are working hard to make their liturgies meaningful for the people. There are so many unsung heroes in each of our parishes who work so hard as volunteers in liturgical roles, catechetical and youth group responsibilities, compliance reps or serving on finance, pastoral councils and boards of directors.
 
I hope at our Ministry Convocation in March of next year we will institute a new tradition in our Diocese in which each parish will nominate a volunteer to receive a diocesan St. Augustine Award for outstanding service. This would be given each year as one small way to acknowledge the great work being done by so many.

2. Jubliee Gathering of Adrian Dominicans -- I am very happy to share with you the news of the celebration this week by Sister Mary Pauline Joseph of the Gate of Heaven of her 50th anniversary in religious life as a member of the Adrian Dominicans.

Sister Mary Pauline Joseph of the Gate of Heaven was the name that our very own Sister Lois Paha, O.P., director of our diocesan Department of Pastoral Services, took 50 years ago.

Sister Lois is among the 135 Adrian Dominicans who are gathering this week at their motherhouse in Adrian, Michigan, for the celebration of their 60th, 50th and 25th jubilee anniversaries.

It will be my joy to celebrate the Jubilee Liturgy this Saturday with Sister Lois and all the jubilarians and their families and friends. (It was my joy three years ago to celebrate the Jubilee Liturgy at Adrian for our own Sister Charlotte Anne Swift, O.P., as she observed her 50th anniversary of religious life.)

The beautifully presented Web page for this year's jubilarians notes that they represent "3,415 years of service to the Church and the world as Sisters." Each one of those years has been a blessing for the people whose lives these Sisters have touched. You will enjoy reading the reflections the Sisters (including Sister Lois) share on the Web page.

Sister Lois' smile beams out today just as it did 50 years ago and is evidence of the joy that she brings to her ministry. She has been such a blessing to our Diocese. She never says no to any request for assistance, always lends a hand and does whatever she can to enhance our service to our pastors, their parishes and the people of our Diocese.

As director of our Department of Pastoral Services, she is determined to provide resources to our parishes for the formation of candidates for the permanent diaconate and lay ministry, in enhancing our outreach to youth and young adults, in upholding the dignity and sanctity of all life, in training catechists and youth ministers to help them become more effective and in fostering the liturgical life of our Diocese. We have all come to admire her generosity and talent shared for the well being of others.
 
When you work with Sister Lois, you know she loves the Lord and her ministry for Him. She serves tirelessly. Ad multos annos, Sister Lois. May you enjoy many more years of loving service!

3. Sisters of Christian Charity -- I am honored to have been invited by the Western Province of the Sisters of Christian Charity to reflect with them at their Province Assembly this week on the dimensions of the phenomenal immigration our nation continues to experience.

The Sisters chose immigration as their study and action theme at their Province Assembly last year. They have been participating in community gatherings to discern how they might respond to the moral and human dimensions of immigration. Their special Web page for their involvement in immigration issues notes, "The question of immigration today has become crucial because of its magnitude -- and the most vulnerable are the poor, the undocumented and the victims of human trafficking." The Sisters are preparing a special communication in response to the deportations of families in the parishes where they minister.

I will share with the Sisters our experience of t immigration here in the Diocese of Tucson, reflecting on why our Church is involved in the complex issue of immigration question and why the bishops of our nation believe that comprehensive reform of our nation's immigration policies is essential. I will share stories of the plight of migrants who have entered our country illegally by risking their lives in the dangerous journey through the desert. 
 
Women religious in the our country have been courageous advocates for the poor. They have taken up the cause of the unborn, of the elderly, of those in prisons, of the migrant. I will express my deepest gratitude for their example of lived faith in their love of the poor.

The Sisters of Christian Charity give witness to their concern over the human dimensions of the immigration by presenting on their Web site this prayer that is written on the front wall of CAMYN, a migrant shelter in Altar, Sonora, where migrants stay before beginning their dangerous journey across the border through the desert:

To Those Who Have Died in the Desert

In memory of those who went to look for a better life, yet only encountered death…
In memory of those who risked everything and lost everything…
Of those who went with hope in their eyes and challenge in their souls …
The sun burned them and the desert devoured them.
The dust erased their names and faces.

We are a cry for justice that no one would ever have to leave their land, their beliefs, their dead, their children, their parents, their family, their roots, their culture, their identity. A voice in the desert cries out…

Education for all! Opportunity for all! Jobs for all! Bread for all! Freedom for all! Justice for all!

We are a voice that will not be lost in the desert… That insists that the nation give equal opportunity to a dignified and fruitful life to all its children.

Amen.

4. Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration -- This really is my week for Sisters.

Tomorrow evening, I will celebrate the 5 p.m. Mass with the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration at their monastery on Country Club Road in Tucson. After Mass, I will be the Sisters' guest for dinner.

What a blessing the Benedictine Sisters are in our community. Their daily prayer for us is the wind beneath our wings. These dedicated and faithful women continue to seek ways to assist our community. Their prayer and work for vocations encourages our young men and women to consider a life of service in our Church. The Sisters' historic monastery on Country Club Road is a powerhouse of prayer, and I look forward to sharing an evening of prayer and discussion with the Sisters.

5. El Día de San Juan Fiesta -- This Friday is the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. In Tucson, the celebration of the 14th annual El Día de San Juan Fiesta hearkens to the Tucson of the 18th century, when legend has it that the community's prayers for rain were answered on el Día de San Juan Bautista.

I have enjoyed being a part of the Fiesta in past years by giving the blessing that begins the procession with the statue of San Juan Bautista. Since I can't be present this year, I am grateful to Father Seraphim Molina, S.T., parochial vicar at Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish, who will represent me and give the blessing.

Open to the public and with free admission, the Fiesta begins at 5 p.m. at the Mercado San Agustin, 100 S. Avenida del Convento, just off Congress, west of Interstate 10. There will be live music and dance, food and arts and crafts vendors, games and activities for children ­-- and free water. 

This Friday, let's ask the intercession of St. John for an early start to the monsoon rains. May we be spared the dry thunderstorms and lightning, and may the rains be gentle.
 
6. On the Confirmation Trail -- I will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation this Sunday with the community of St. Francis of Assisi Mission in Elfrida. St. Francis is a mission of St. Jude Thaddeus Parish, where Father Martin Atanga is pastor.

7. Spring General Assembly of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops -- Our Spring General Assembly was very productive as we took action on several important pastoral matters.

We overwhelmingly approved To Live Each Day with Dignity: A Statement on Physician Assisted Suicide. This is the first time our Conference has addressed, with the authority of a statement, the moral wrongs and societal implications of physician assisted suicide and the danger it presents to the dignity and sanctity of human life.

We authorized the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations to draft a document on preaching. I am delighted that the Conference approved beginning work on this long awaited document.

We certainly need to work at enhancing preaching. On the way home from the Assembly Thursday, I encountered a lady at the airport who shared with me that she was raised a Catholic but was no longer practicing her faith. She said she is now a Baptist and she loves especially the preaching at her church that is so spiritually powerful for her.
 
Preaching is so important in fostering the spiritual life of our people. Msgr. Robert Fuller, pastor of St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Tucson, is a masterful homilist who has published three books of his homiles. His preaching is always so meaningful to the people of his parish.
 
I hope the document will motivate priests and deacons to work to enhance their homilies and the variety of ways they open the Word of God.

We approved the Spanish translation of the Propers and Adaptations to the Roman Missal, Third Edition for use in the U.S. We also approved the inclusion of a set of liturgical prayers called Mass Texts for Principal Patronal Feastdays of Spanish-speaking Countries as an appendix to the Spanish translation of the new Roman Missal for use in the dioceses of the U.S.

Regarding the new English translation of the Roman Missal, Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans and chair of the Conference's Committee on Divine Worship, indicated that bishops are invited to introduce the sung texts of the new translation earlier than the first Sunday of Advent. Dioceses could begin using the new sung texts in September.
 
At my request, Sister Lois Paha, O.P., and Father Miguel Mariano, director of our Office of Worship, are preparing to encourage parishes in our Diocese to do that since the sung Gloria is not proclaimed during Advent except on December 8. It will be very helpful for the people to become familiar with the sung texts before the solemn feast of Christmas. Information on using the sung texts will be forthcoming. 

On our final vote in Thursday's public session, we approved revisions to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The revisions align the Charter with the most recent Vatican instructions related to abuse, designating child pornography as a crime against Church law and the classifying abuse of someone who is vulnerable because of diminished mental capacity as being equivalent to child abuse.


Another revision to the Charter obliges a bishop to inform the Apostolic Nuncio should he become aware that a bishop has sexually abused a child. Concerning this revision, I note that this obligation is internal to the Church and in no way affects the legal and moral obligation of a bishop to report immediately to law enforcement suspected abuse by any worker for the Church.
           
At the end of Thursday's session, Msgr. David Malloy also bid us farewell in his capacity as the Conference's General Secretary. He will now return to serve in Archdiocese of Milwaukee. He will be succeeded by Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, up until now Assistant General Secretary.

8. Accreditation Recognition for St. Thomas Preschool and Kindergarten -- St. Thomas Preschool and Kindergarten at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Tucson has earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) -- the nation's leading organization of early childhood professionals.

"We're proud to have earned the mark of quality from NAEYC, and to be recognized for our commitment to reaching the highest professional standards," says school director Michelle Garmon. "NAEYC Accreditation lets families in our community know that children in our program are getting the best care and early learning educational experience possible."

Michelle tells me that St. Thomas is the first Catholic School in our Diocese to receive this prestigious accreditation recognition.

Congratulations to Michelle, the staff, parents and Father John Lyons, pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle!

9. Remember in Your Prayers -- Please pray for the repose of the soul of Diego Gaeda, a senior at Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson, who died last week.

Please pray for Father Richard Tomasek, S.J., who had planned to return to St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Tucson in July but will be unable to because his cancer has recurred. We keep Father Richard in our prayers with the hope that he will be able to return here to serve. He endeared himself to the community of St. Mark and was a marvelous coworker with Father Liam Leahy, pastor.

Vol. 9, No. 14
June 27, 2011

The firestorm that swept through Ash Canyon near Sierra Vista on Thursday, June 23, did not respect the tabernacle and sacred vessels that graced the stonewalled Chapel of Our Lady of the Sierras Shrine.

Scorched and twisted by the Monument Fire's flames, the remains of the tabernacle and sacred vessels are now in the safekeeping of Father Greg Adolf, pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista.

Reverently displayed in the sacristy, they are striking testimony to the destruction caused by this historic wildfire.

Jerry and Pat Chouinard, who so lovingly built the Shrine in the Huachuca Mountains, are among the dozens of families who fled a 100-foot tall wall of flames when it blasted through Ash Canyon. Like most all the other residents of Ash Canyon, Jerry and Pat lost their home on the grounds of the Shrine to the flames.

Father Greg kept us informed last week about the fire's impact on Sierra Vista and surrounding communities. Here are some excerpts from his e-mail updates:

… The hardest thing for the evacuees is waiting to hear whether their homes have burned -- and the information is often sketchy and sometimes just inaccurate. The faithfulness and goodness of people is just so impressive -- as Bishop pointed out in his homily on Saturday evening here at St. Andrew's. We are all so grateful for all the prayers and loving support from so many. It does make a difference, believe me.

… We are learning of the loss of 14 more homes and a number of businesses on Sunday, when the winds were so terrible. We have also been checking on our folks who were evacuated from several nursing homes, taken to other nursing homes in the area, to see that they're alright and to assure them of our support. (100-year-old Carolina Scelso said, "I sure didn't need this adventure to round out my life!" She, and the others, wonderful models of faith, remain very positive and looking forward to getting back to their own places soon.)

… We are being told by the Forest Service that this fire will continue to burn until mid-July -- without rain. It is only 30% contained on the mountain itself.

… Many people have seen on television the devastation from Sunday's 'out break' -- with the loss of Ricardo's restaurant and Nick's Place next door. These are Hereford-area landmarks. The first Masses for Our Lady of the Mountains were held in Ricardo's in the 1970s. Our Lady of the Mountains Church, on the street which marks the boundary of one of the mandatory evacuation areas, is closed and the parish office relocated to a private home for now. Pray for rain and for the safety of the firefighters -- and that the winds stay calm!

… Many people are now being allowed to return to their homes. Our Lady of the Mountains staff will return to the parish office today and the regular Mass schedule for the weekend will resume. All of this is really good news -- a return to normalcy after almost two weeks of alarms and uncertainty. Those returning to their homes are reporting the strange effects of the fires -- almost like a tornado, where one home will be spared between two that have burned, with seemingly random destruction. We are so very aware of the prayers and the many gestures of support -- and very deeply grateful to all of you who have been walking with us in spirit these past two weeks. It has made a tremendous difference in the midst of so much else that was so uncertain at times.

What happens next for Sierra Vista and the communities affected by the Monument Fire?

Father Greg shared this reflection from Cochise County Supervisor Pat Call:

As the fire, hopefully, walks its way around the mountain, aided by the careful guidance and hard work of the firefighters, our focus needs to shift. What happens next? How do we clean up? How do we get back to normal?
 
There are so many people who have simply done their jobs that we will never hear about. But, because they have 'simply' done their jobs, all of our lives are better, less affected or, in most cases, not even slightly inconvenienced by this country's number one priority fire.
 
I have this nagging thought that there should be one overarching, significant lesson to be learned from this, a life changing epiphany that we can pass on to the kids that will change their life for the better. Somehow I keep thinking that this unprecedented event should leave us with some profound lesson. But it eludes me so far. No doubt there have been uncountable instances of bravery, selflessness, generosity, concern, giving and such. These uncommon things have become commonplace in this community over the last week. 
 
Maybe there is no 'lesson.' Maybe what has happened has simply matured us. Whether we are 20 or 40 or 70 years old, this last week has matured us. In so many ways we are better, more experienced and more capable of dealing with the ups and downs of life. Maybe what we can take away is simply a better perspective on life. I don't know. I do know that it is late, I'm tired and, strangely, I'm sort of looking forward to tomorrow and the normalcy of the regular work sessions, board meetings and budget discussions relative to running a county -- all the things that usually take up my time. I'm also thinking I'm not alone… I'm thinking there are a lot of folks looking forward to the normalcy that tomorrow may bring.

Peg Harmon, chief operating officer of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, shares this report:

Many of those who lost their places to live were people who rented and these are the people who will have the biggest challenges financially, as most do not have insurance. CCS will continue to work collaboratively with the network of relief agencies and will look to long-range support after the immediate danger is passed. If people wish to help financially, CCS will accept the contribution, and we ask that the donors indicate that the contribution is for the Monument Fire Relief Effort.

I echo Peg's emphasis on the long-range support that will be necessary.

One of our old-timers here at the Pastoral Center shared with me how devastated the community of Clifton was after the terrible floods of 1983. Yet, in the aftermath of that destruction, there was a response of concern and prayers and material assistance that we see now for the people of Sierra Vista and surrounding communities.

Let's continue to pray and to assist.

1. Celebrating with the Adrian Dominicans -- I enjoyed my visit Saturday to Adrian, Michigan, and the opportunity to celebrate the Jubilee Mass for the 61 Adrian Dominican Sisters who are observing their silver, golden, and diamond jubilee anniversaries this year,    

One of the sisters celebrating her 50th anniversary in religious life is our own Sister Lois Paha, O.P., director of our diocesan Department of Pastoral Services. Sister Lois sang the Communion reflection that was written by one of her sister jubilarians. We know how much Sister Lois loves to sing, and she sang the reflection especially joyfully as a golden jubilarian.

Sister Rina Cappellazzo, O.P., who celebrated her 60th anniversary last year, and Sister Charlotte Ann Swift, O.P., who celebrated her 50th anniversary three years ago, came as guests of Sister Lois. I was glad that Sister Lois' younger brother, Matt, could be present for the celebration.

I had the opportunity to meet with Sister Attracta Kelly, O.P., prioress of the Adrian Domincans, who is finishing her first year in that leadership role. Sister Attracta is a very gifted person who was born in Ireland and who served before her election as prioress as an immigration lawyer in Raleigh, North Carolina. She serves as prioress for six years.

2. Diocesan Finance Council -- The Finance Council meets tomorrow for its final meeting of this fiscal year.

Our agenda is focused on approval of the budget for the Administrative Offices of the Diocese. I am pleased to report that the proposed budget reflects only very small increases that allow us to maintain the level of services that our Pastoral Center departments and offices provide.

Actually, that is not quite accurate. We are committed here at the Pastoral Center in doing more than maintaining the level of services. While the dollars we have to work with may be just keeping pace with increased costs, we are committed to getting the most out of each dollar and to getting the most out of ourselves as we raise the quality level of the services we provide to our parishes and schools.

Importantly, we continue our policy of adding no new positions, only replacing personnel when they leave.

(Speaking of replacing personnel, we have announced our search for a replacement for Fred Allison, our long-time diocesan director of the Office of Communications. Fred will be retiring in early February of next year. The position announcement and a link to the position description are available here.)

3. Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona -- This Wednesday's meeting of the CCS Board of Directors is the last of this fiscal year. The Board will be approving the annual budget.

Peg Harmon, CCS chief operating officer, reports that the economic downturn has increased the number of people seeking support from CCS, but at the same time the funds CCS has continue to decline. (The CCS budget has decreased by about 15 per cent during the past five years.) Even so, CCS continues to serve as many of those who seek the help of its member agencies as possible.

The CCS Board and management team are grateful for the generosity of those who contribute to our Annual Catholic Appeal. The funds CCS receives from the Appeal are more important now than ever, helping to support St. Elizabeth Health Center, Pio Decimo Center, Merilac Lodge and its programs for pregnant young women, and CCS programs for people with disabilities and for domestic violence shelter services in Yuma and southeastern Arizona.

At Wednesday's meeting, we will receive a report on the completion of the project for the renovations to CCS headquarters in Tucson and for the flooring replacement at St. Elizabeth Health Center. This project was funded in part by the Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future campaign. CCS is grateful to all those who contributed to make this project possible.

The Board also will discuss the final stages of the strategic plan for CCS that will be approved at the CCS Annual Retreat on Oct. 1.

4. Stewardship and Charitable Giving -- This Monday Memo is coming to you later in the day than usual so that I could share this important news with you.

Recently, Father Al Schifano, Vicar General, and I have been working with the boards of directors of the Diocese of Tucson Charity and Ministry Fund and the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson to explore how we might develop more synergy and long range planning for our efforts to garner resources through stewardship and charitable giving to support the mission of the Church in our Diocese.

The collaborative work of the members of the boards of directors for this purpose recently led to a proposal that the Charity and Ministry Fund be merged into the Catholic Foundation.

I am very pleased to inform you that the boards of directors, in separate meetings today, voted approval of the merger. I am grateful to Father Al and the members of the boards for their careful development and consideration of the proposal that led to today's approval.

This new direction in our Diocese for stewardship and charitable giving will be reflected in the imaging of the Catholic Foundation as the Catholic Foundation for Stewardship and Charitable Giving to communicate the focus on garnering resources to meet the short and long terms needs of the Diocese and on enhancing our catechesis about stewardship.

The merger will become effective when the Articles of Merger, approved today by the boards of directors, are accepted for filing by the Arizona Corporation Commission.

On the effective date, members of the boards of directors of the Charity and Ministry Fund and the Catholic Foundation will combine to form the board of directors of the Catholic Foundation for Stewardship and Charitable Giving.

Margie Puerta Edson, who serves as executive director of the Charity and Ministry Fund, will become the executive director of the Catholic Foundation for Stewardship and Charitable Giving.

Martin Camacho, who has been serving as executive director of the Catholic Foundation, will be leaving that position. I thank Martin for his service to the Foundation.

The staffs of the Charity and Ministry Fund and the Catholic Foundation will be combined, and the offices for their stewardship and charitable giving activities and operations, including parish stewardship support, the Annual Catholic Appeal and the Cornerstone Gala, will remain in the Pastoral Center.

I will be communicating more about this new direction for our stewardship and charitable giving efforts in the August and September issues of The New Vision.

I have commented many times on the amazing generosity of the Catholic people in our Diocese. Their sacrifices and their commitment to support the mission of our Church call us to provide the best management we can for our efforts to promote stewardship and charitable giving.

The Catholic Foundation for Stewardship and Charitable Giving is our response to the generosity of our Catholic people.

5. "Giving Hope to a World of Need" -- I reflected on the motto of Catholic Relief Services this past week as CRS named its new president and chief executive officer.

I am so honored to be the chairman of the CRS Board of Directors and to have had the experience with the Board of selecting Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo.

The announcement was made on Friday:

Catholic Relief Services announces that its Board of Directors has named Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo, a former member of the CRS Board, to serve as the agency's president and CEO. She will succeed Ken Hackett, who is retiring after leading CRS for the past 18 years.

Dr. Woo, 57, has served as the dean of the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame since 1997. She served on the CRS Board of Directors from 2004 until 2010. On Jan. 1, 2012, she will become the seventh chief executive of CRS since it was founded in 1943.

"Dr. Woo is a woman of deep faith with a strong commitment to the mission of the Church. She will bring exceptional abilities and gifts to the task of serving the poor around the world in the name of Catholics throughout the United States," said the Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas, Bishop of Tucson and Chairman of the CRS Board of Directors.

"CRS is so blessed to have had Ken Hackett's leadership these 18 years, now to be followed by another outstanding faith-filled leader in Dr. Woo," he said.
 
"I am honored to join an organization that is a true manifestation of the compassion of Jesus Christ and the Church's ministry of charity around the world," Dr. Woo said. "I look forward to building on the strong accomplishments of Ken and the global staff of CRS."

I invite you to visit the CRS Web site to see the work that is now Dr. Woo's responsibility to lead.
 
6. 72nd Annual Tekakwitha Conference -- We are honored to have the Annual Tekakwitha Conference returning to Tucson.

The Conference will take place at the Tucson Convention Center July 20 through 24. The Conference was here in 2005, and it was a wonderful gathering for Native American and Aborginal Catholics who are members of more than 300 tribes and nations in the U.S. and Canada.

Hosted by the Tekakwitha Circles of Arizona, the theme of this 72nd annual gathering is, "The Grand Canyon State Is Enriched by Kateri Tekakwitha."

Having the Conference return to Tucson is especially joyous for our very own Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish.

7. "The Vatican Today" ­-- This Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI will inaugurate the Holy See's new World Wide Web offering.

"The Vatican Today" is a Web site that brings together links and features from the Holy See's Web sites for print, radio, television and social media.

The new Web site is offering a "sneak preview" today and tomorrow.

8. Monday Memo Goes on Vacation
-- Along with the Bishop, Monday Memo is going on vacation in July. The Memo will return on Monday, Aug. 1.