March 6, 2006 March 13, 2006 March 20, 2006 March 27, 2006

Vol. 3, No. 45
March 6, 2006

Sometimes we can get so busy that even the anniversary of an important event in our lives can get lost, but arriving in Yuma on Saturday for my pastoral visit, I was greeted by this sign at Immaculate Conception Parish:

Thank you, Msgr. O'Keeffe, for helping me to remember that tomorrow is my third anniversary as Bishop of Tucson!

With that happy reminder, a flood of memories began.

I remember getting a note while I was in a meeting of principals and pastors back in Chicago in late 2001 where I was serving as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese. The note said the Apostolic Nuncio had called for me and that I should return the call immediately, which I did, with some trepidation. "Bishop Kicanas," I remember the Nuncio telling me, "I am pleased to tell you that the Holy Father has appointed you..." and then there was a pause and my ears perked up..."as co-adjutor of the Diocese of Tucson." I was so surprised all I could say in response was, "Pardon me?" When the Nuncio repeated it, then I understood and said, with equal parts of fear of the unknown and trust, "Yes!"

I remember so well making my first visit to Tucson shortly after being appointed as co-adjutor to Bishop Moreno. The appointment wasn't yet announced, so I really enjoyed anonymity on the flight from Chicago. I was sitting next to a lady who wanted to know where I was from. She said, "You will love Tucson because there are so many nice people there. I'm not Catholic, but this wonderful priest, Father Greg Adolf, is the most marvelous preacher I've ever heard." I responded, "I really look forward to meeting him!"

Bishop Moreno greeted me at Tucson International, and later, at the Bishop's Residence, he shared with me his love for the Diocese and the many needs that he saw.

I remember the day in late October of 2001 that the news of the appointment was announced. A special gathering was arranged at St. Augustine Cathedral for Bishop Moreno to make the announcement in the morning. When I arrived at the Cathedral, I was very nervous and wondered who all these people were and what they were like. Now, I have come to know "all these people" -- priests, religious, deacons, laity.

I remember the beautiful Mass of Welcome in January of 2002 and how graciously my Mom and all my family were welcomed to the Diocese.

And, of course, I remember March 7, 2003, the day I became the sixth Bishop of Tucson, and the beautiful symbolism during Mass at the Cathedral when Bishop Moreno ushered me to the cathedra for the first time. 

What a joy it is to share faith with you! I have come to appreciate and value the tremendous gifts you bring to the Church and your tremendous love for the Church and our Diocese. The faith is deeply rooted in our Diocese over generations, and we all have benefited from those deep roots of faith. I feel I am planting roots myself, and I look forward, with God's help and your help, to continued service here in our Diocese of Tucson.

1. Pastoral Visit to Yuma, Somerton -- I am concluding my pastoral visit today with a busy schedule: an Annual Catholic Appeal Appreciation Breakfast this morning with many of the Appeal's long-time supporters in Yuma County; Mass and blessing of new classrooms at Yuma Catholic High School; and Mass with the students, faculty and staff at St. Francis of Assisi School this morning and at Immaculate Conception School this afternoon. This evening, I will attend the annual Knights of Columbus Appreciation Dinner for Priests and Religious. It is always a very joyful celebration and a fitting recognition of the good work performed by all who serve in our Yuma area parishes.

The community of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Somerton applauded our new deacon, Jesus Acuña, who is on the path to the priesthood, after he was vested with the dalmatic and stole, signs of his office, at Saturday evening's Mass. When I imposed hands on him and offered the prayer of ordination, I prayed that Jesus would serve with integrity and generosity. We need priests to serve our Diocese, and it was encouraging to see the enthusiasm of the people receiving our new deacon. He will continue to serve at Immaculate Heart of Mary for a while. His ordination is scheduled for June.

2. Annual Catholic Appeal – At this morning's Appreciation Breakfast, I was proud to acknowledge the generosity of parishioners of St. John Neumann Parish, Immaculate Conception Parish and St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Yuma, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Somerton and St. Jude Thaddeus Parish in San Luis. Each of these parishes exceeded its goal in last year's ACA, and one of the results of that generosity was the ability of the Diocese of Tucson Charity and Ministry Fund to provide a special grant to the Casa Moreno Center in Somerton to support the Center's ministry to the needy.

The ACA will issue its first report on pledges to this year's Appeal next Monday. Tom Smith, ACA director, tells me the early indications are quite encouraging.

3. Visit to Mount Angel Seminary
-- I will be leaving tomorrow morning from Yuma for Portland and then a drive to Mount Angel Seminary at St. Benedict, Oregon, where I will be visiting our five seminarians: Emanuel Alday, Jorge Farias-Saucedo, Alberto Hernandez, Philip Johnson and Richard Souza. I look forward to seeing our seminarians and meeting with their professors to review their progress.

When I was rector of the seminary at Mundelein I was always aware of how important the visits of bishops and vocations directors were to the seminarians. Being far away from home, the visits helped to keep the seminarians connected to their dioceses and demonstrated how grateful their dioceses were for the seminarians' commitment to preparing for the priesthood.

Speaking of staying connected, I know also how important it is for seminarians to hear from the folks back home -- not just their family members, but also from members of their parishes and others in our Catholic communities. On the Vocations Office page on our diocesan Web site, you can access the mail and e-mail addresses of all our seminarians. You are always welcome to drop them a line!

4. Lenten Dialogue on Pope Benedict's First Encyclical, "God Is Love" -- I invite all to this special evening of learning and discussion focused on the Holy Father's Encyclical. I will talk about the key points of the Encyclical and invite participants to share their experiences of God's love in their lives. This first of three special Lenten gatherings will be at 7 p.m. this Thursday in Gramer Hall at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson.

The next gathering will be on at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 24, also at Gramer Hall. On that evening we will discuss and reflect upon the Arizona Bishops' Pastoral Letter on Immigration, "You Welcomed Me."

On Saturday, March 25, I invite young Catholic adults (18-35) to join me in a service project at the Catholic Worker Casa Maria Center, 401 E. 26th St., in Tucson. We will work to help clean up the damage caused by a recent fire.

5. Annual Detention Ministry Mass -- We will gather at 1 p.m. this Saturday at St. Augustine Cathedral for our annual diocesan celebration of the Eucharist that focuses on our ministry to the incarcerated and their families.

This liturgy also is an opportunity to recognize those many volunteers -- laity, religious, deacons and priests -- who have made contributions to detention ministry in our Diocese. This year, we will be acknowledging as well the St. Maximilian Kolbe Society as an integral part of detention ministry. The Society was established last year to help recruit and train volunteers for detention ministry, and the first members of the Society have now been trained.

Our celebration this Saturday will encompass prayer for those who are incarcerated and their families, those who are rebuilding their lives after incarceration and those who fulfill the important societal role of our corrections system. 

I am grateful to Barb Mattus, director of the Detention Ministry Program, and program's dedicated corps of volunteers who give us such an inspiring example of reaching out to the littlest and weakest among us.

6. Pastoral Statement on Marriage – Last week, the three Roman Catholic Bishops of Arizona issued our Pastoral Statement on Marriage that included our support, in the context of Catholic teaching on marriage, of the proposed "Protect Marriage Arizona" amendment that seeks to define in law that marriage is a unique relationship between one man and one woman.

As with most actions taken by bishops, there was a range of reactions to our statement, some of which were supportive, some that raised questions and others that expressed anger or dismay.

The primary intent of the statement was to articulate, in light of the increasing prominence of moves to civilly recognize same-sex unions, the consistent teaching of the Church on two fundamental values: the dignity of every person and the unique and sacred bond between one man and one woman in marriage that is the foundation of family life.

The statement made clear that the Church's teaching on the dignity of every person challenges any bigotry or unjust discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation. The statement expresses our opposition to such attitudes and associated rhetoric.

Some have questioned the legality or advisability of allowing pastors to permit the collection of signatures on church property in support of the amendment. Our statement made it clear that the authority and responsibility for granting or denying permission was that of the pastor. This is nothing new. Any activity by any organization, whether it be to sell cookies or collect signatures, must have the permission of the pastor to do so on parish grounds. I will respect the decisions of those pastors who allow signatures to be taken up in their parishes and those who do not.

Parishes understand that there can be no activities or endorsements related to candidates for political office, but that they can participate in the political process related to public policy issues and can express the Church's teaching regarding the morality of those public policy issues.

In the end, the proposed amendment, if put on the ballot, will be decided by the voters in our State.

7. Ignatian Spirituality -- A group of priests and laity with a shared experience of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), will offer their first prayer experience for persons interested in Ignatian spirituality this Saturday at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish, 1800 S. Kolb Rd., in Tucson. Eucharist is at 8:30 a.m., with the program to follow until 11 a.m. I am happy to have another initiative in the Ignatian tradition emerge within the Diocese.

8. Meetings in Washington, D.C. -- I will be in Washington on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week to participate in several U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' meetings, including meetings of the Migration Committee, the Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, the board meeting of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network and the meeting of the USCCB Administrative Committee.

9. Upcoming Visits of Note -- There will be opportunities in the coming weeks in our Diocese to hear from persons of great respect, credibility, integrity and experience who will be speaking on topics of great interest and of spiritual importance.

Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J. -- Sister Helen, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Medaille, eloquently proclaims the sanctity of life through her prison ministry and her opposition to the death penalty. She will be speaking at 7 p.m. this Sunday at Catalina United Methodist Church, 2700 E. Speedway, in Tucson. Everyone is welcome to attend. Her visit is being sponsored by Coalition of Arizonans to Abolish the Death Penalty; Sanctity of Life: People Against Executions; Arizona Capital Representation Project and Southside Presbyterian Church. For additional information, you may contact Kathy Norgard (

Father Donald Senior, C.P.  -- Father Senior, president of Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, has been Professor of New Testament Studies at CTU since 1972. From 1987 until 1995, he served two terms as president of CTU. He was reappointed to that office in 1997 and continues in that capacity today. He has lectured and conducted workshops throughout the U.S. and in other countries.

A renowned scholar of the New Testament, he has a particular interest in the connection between the theological and literary characteristics of each Gospel and the pastoral and missionary contexts of the early Church. His familiarity with the history and landscape of the Middle East has prompted strong interest in the historical Jesus and the social and historical context of the New Testament.

Father Senior is the general editor of the periodical The Bible Today and co-editor of the 22-volume international commentary series New Testament Message. He is general editor of The Catholic Study Bible and author of numerous books and articles. He is a past president of the Catholic Biblical Association of America and serves on the College of Consultors and the Presbyteral Council for the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Father Senior will be the presenter at the March 22 session of our Ongoing Formation of Priests Program. (I am very pleased at the enthusiastic response from so many priests in the first year of the program, which this year is helping us move toward our diocesan goal of renewing liturgy at our parishes. The continuation of the program is being funded this year by a grant from the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson.)
Also on his visit to Tucson, through the efforts of Sister Lois Paha, O.P., and her team in the Office of Formation, Father Senior will be giving a program for those in parish ministry, including deacons, religious and laity, and for the participants in the Common Formation Program (those seeking the permanent diaconate and their wives and those preparing for Lay Ecclesial Ministry). Parishioners who are not involved in parish ministry are invited as well to this program that Father Senior will present from 7 to 9 p.m. on March 21 in the Chapel of the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks. His topic for the program will be "The Gospel as a Call to Mission."

Jack Jezreel -- Author of JustFaith and executive director of JustFaith Ministries (, Jack will lead a one-day workshop on JustFaith, a well-respected resource for justice education and formation that seeks to strengthen the commitment of parishioners to address suffering and injustices.

JustFaith is a parish-based program (usually 30 weeks in length) that involves participants in a range of learning experiences. Jack holds a Masters of Divinity from the University of Notre Dame. He spent six years in a Catholic Worker community and has been involved in parish-based justice ministry for 25 years. Jack has received numerous awards for his social ministry.

Registration by March 15 is required for the workshop, which is set for Saturday, March 25, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Dougherty Hall at Saint Cyril of Alexandria Parish, 4725 East Pima (at Pima and Swan), in Tucson. Contact Joanne Welter, director of our Catholic Social Mission Office, at 520-792-3410 or for information on cost and how to register.

10. New Parish Web Site -- Congratulations to Santa Cruz Parish in Tucson on its new Web site: The site features a very nice page on the history of the parish, complete with several historic photos. The site soon will add pages for Santa Cruz School. 

Santa Cruz becomes the thirty-first parish in the Diocese to have a Web site. I commend those parishes for taking advantage of the Internet as an excellent way to communicate. If you parish or school has a Web site and it is not listed on the "Links" page of the diocesan Web site, please inform Fred Allison (, Communications Director, and he will add it to the list.

11. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- Please pray for the repose of the soul of Salvador Munoz, brother of Father Tomas Munoz, administrator of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Wellton. Salvador, a Mexico City police officer, was killed in the line of duty in late January.

Also, please remember in your prayers Father Armando Louis Espinoza, parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception Parish in Douglas, as he faces a serious health issue.

Vol. 4, No. 1
March 13, 2006

was Monday, March 10, 2003, when the first Monday Memo went out by mail, fax and e-mail all over the Diocese and on the Internet all over the world. Today, more than 284,000 words and three years later, Monday Memo begins Volume 4 with the same purpose it started with: "to communicate information about the week ahead, to acknowledge the good things happening around the Diocese and to address specific issues that may surface." My thanks to all who help me with Monday Memo with their suggestions, contributions of items, occasional corrections and research. And, my thanks to all of you for reading Monday Memo!

Maybe 100 years from now someone will be researching what Catholic life was like in the Diocese of Tucson back in the early years of the 21st Century and they will find Monday Memo. I hope they will find it helpful.

1. Meetings in Washington -- I am in Washington through Wednesday of this week for several meetings: the Migration Committee; the Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians; the board meeting of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network; and the meeting of the USCCB Administrative Committee.

Immigration into the U.S., a critical issue for us in Arizona, will be a common item of discussion at all of these meetings. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and national Catholic agencies and organizations continue to advocate for comprehensive reform of our nation's immigration laws and policies. See the next item for more about this. 

Also while in Washington this week, I look forward, along with the other bishops, to meeting Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S. Archbishop Sambi has served with distinction in the Vatican Diplomatic Corps, including posts as Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine. He was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S. last December.

The building in Washington that serves the offices of the Apostolic Nuncio and his staff is called the Nunciature to the United States of America. Its official name is the Embassy of the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See.

An Apostolic Nuncio is a permanent diplomatic representative (head of mission) of the Holy See to a state, with the rank of ambassador.

2. Interfaith Gathering to Pray for Immigration Reform -- People of all faiths will gather at the State Capitol in Phoenix on Tuesday, April 4, from 10 a.m. to noon to join in prayer for a just resolution to the complex issues involving immigration. A just resolution would include passage by the U.S. House and Senate of comprehensive immigration reform that would allow immigrants to enter the country legally to work and that also would allow our country to exercise border enforcement against drug and human traffickers and to provide protection from any persons with criminal and terrorist intentions.

The prayer service will call for moderation and civility in the dialogue about immigration and for our State's leaders to be sensitive to human dignity and the needs of people on the move who are seeking a better way of life. The gathering also will be an opportunity to communicate that immigrants today, as in the past, offer so many positive things to our country. I hope that all our parishes can be visibly represented at this gathering.

3. Annual Catholic Appeal Report
-- The initial Annual Catholic Appeal report will be available today at Many of our pastors report that showing this year's ACA video during weekend Masses is having a positive affect on both the quantity and quality of gifts and pledges to this year's Appeal. 
Thanks to all of you who have already made your gift and pledge. I pray that the theme of this year's campaign, "Remarkable Wonders are Done Through You," will be fulfilled through the remarkable generosity of our parishioners to the Appeal.

4. Visit to Mount Angel Seminary -- I enjoyed visiting with our seminarians last week at Mount Angel Seminary in St. Benedict, Oregon, and I am happy to share this photograph taken after our celebration of Mass.

From left to right are Jorge Farias-Saucedo, Philip Johnson, Emanuel Alday, Richard Souza and Alberto Hernandez.

My visit also included a meeting with Father Richard Papperini, Rector of Mount Angel, and the formation directors working with our seminarians. I was impressed by the interest of the seminary faculty and their desire to work closely with our Diocese in forming healthy, generous, holy and dedicated priests. Our young men seem happy and involved.
5. Annual Detention Ministry Mass -- Each year, we honor and recognize those involved in ministry at the jails, prisons and detention centers within our Diocese and those in the administration of corrections who support the ministry. It is an important and demanding ministry. I appreciate the opportunity at this annual Mass to applaud the work being done by priests, deacons, religious and laity. The thousands of men and women in detention have many needs and especially to know that the Lord is with them. Those in our Detention Ministry Program make the Lord present through their compassion and pastoral care. Barb Mattus, director of the program, and Peg Harmon, chief executive officer of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, make this a special celebration each year at St. Augustine Cathedral.

Among those recognized this year were: Deacon Richard and Lupita Ornelas of Tucson, serving at the Pima County Adult Detention Complex; Jose Diaz of Tucson, serving at the Pima County Adult Detention Complex; Manuela Pinedo of Pirtleville, serving at the Arizona State Prison Complex, Douglas; and Gilbert Rojas of Douglas, serving at the Arizona State Prison Complex, Douglas.

This year's celebration was enhanced by the presence of the group Gatekeepers, a young evangelical group whose music uplifted everyone. I was pleased that several of our priests involved in detention ministry could be present, including Fathers Mike Kendall, Juan Carlos Aquirre, Gil Padilla, Jim Mallon and our host Pat Crino. 

6. Lenten Gatherings -- I was grateful for the presence of 140 people at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish's Gramer Hall last Thursday evening for the first of three diocesan Lenten gatherings. Our topic for the evening was Pope Benedict XVI's first Encyclical Letter, Deus Caritas Est. The response was very positive and I enjoyed the opportunity very much. I still miss teaching, and this was a chance to interact with some wonderful people who were interested in learning more about their faith. There was a lively exchange in the discussions and some engaging questions. I am grateful to diocesan communications director Fred Allison for helping with the visuals used in the presentation. The slides used in the presentation will be available soon on our diocesan Website.

The next gathering will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 24, in Gramer Hall at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish. Our topic for that evening will be "You Welcomed Me," the Pastoral Letter on Immigration the Catholic Bishops of Arizona issued last December. I will give a presentation on the letter, and there will be time for reflection, discussion and question and answers.

Teachers and catechists will be able to satisfy requirements for two hours of Continuing Education Units by attending and participating in this gathering.

The third and final Lenten gathering will be a service project for young (18-30) Catholic Adults on Saturday morning, March 25, at the Catholic Worker Casa Maria in Tucson. More information will be forthcoming.

7. The Saint We Don't Know
-- "He really is one of the great saints of the downtrodden and excluded -- people that no one else wants anything to do with," writes Catholic author Thomas Cahill of the saint whose feast day we celebrate this Friday.

St. Patrick? Yes, St. Patrick.

There is a wealth of information on the American Catholic Web site about this Bishop of Ireland whose popularity around the world is demonstrated each March 17.

To find out more about "The St. Patrick You Never Knew," you can visit

In recognition of the many contributions -- from Tucson's "founder" Hugo Oconor to the Irish priests and women religious who have served in our Diocese for generations -- of the Irish to Arizona and to our Diocese, I have granted a dispensation from abstinence from meat this Friday.

8. CTSO St. Patrick's Day Dinner -- I may be enjoying the cabbage half of a traditional St. Patrick's Day dinner this Friday at this special dinner to celebrate last year's success of the Catholic Tuition Support Organization. The eighth graders of Immaculate Heart School in Tucson are hosting the dinner, which will be attended by representatives from each of our Catholic Schools.

9. Diocesan Pastoral Council
– The Council meets this Saturday, and agenda items include a discussion on the recommendations from the Council regarding how we can work toward strengthening our efforts to pass on the faith and a presentation by Karl Bierach, managing editor of The New Vision/La Nueva Visión.

10. InSearch Retreat -- This retreat for those discerning a vocation of service in the Church will be held this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Santa Rita Abbey. InSearch is our vocations program that forms fraternity of prayer, mutual support and service. Sister Lupita Marie Barajas, O.S.B., Sister Jean Olmstead, S.B.S., Vicar for Religious, and Father Miguel Mariano, director of Vocations, will give presentations.

11. Virtual Tour of Redemptoris Mater Chapel -- If you haven't visited the Vatican's Web site recently, you have a real treat in store. On the homepage ( is a link to a virtual tour of the Redemptoris Mater Chapel that is used by the Holy Father for annual Advent and Lent spiritual retreats.

The tour takes you into the Chapel and allows you to see up-close the beautiful mosaics that depict different events of Christ's life. This special Internet feature was made possible by a donation from the Knights of Columbus.

12. Decoding the "Code" -- The Catholic Communication Campaign last week announced resources that will provide accurate information on the life of Jesus and the origins of Christianity prior to the release of the movie based on the novel The Da Vinci Code. Resources include a Web site (, a documentary slated to air on NBC-TV stations in May and a 16-page booklet, The Authentic Jesus, that will be available later this month.

The Web site is very well done, and it includes a special feature entitled, "What do you say to a Da Vinci Code believer?" With all the advertising and news media coverage the release of the movie will no doubt be receiving, these resources will help to communicate the truth of our Faith and the facts of history.

13. Remember in Yours Prayers -- Please pray for the repose of the soul of Loretta Kasper, mother of Father Larry Kasper, who died last week in Wisconsin.

Also, please pray for Marguerite Rotan, mother of Barb Mattus, and for Father Norman Whalen, a retired priest of our Diocese, who is recovering from a fall.

Vol. 4, No. 2
March 20, 2006

In my message at the beginning of this Lenten Season, borrowing from the example of St. Paul who used athletic images to describe the spiritual life, I likened Lent to a rigorous six-week training program. Now, as we approach the halfway point of this Lent, I am going to borrow a phrase that you hear quite often if you are watching "March Madness."

"Time out!"

A coach calls a time out when the players need a rest, when momentum has changed, to put in a special play or to make sure that everyone is focused on the game plan. Sometimes a player will call a time out to avoid going out of bounds or getting trapped.

I think the "time out" analogy works very well at this point in the season of Lent. Maybe you feel you have lost the good momentum you started out with on Ash Wednesday. Maybe you your Lenten focus is suffering from too many distractions. Maybe you feel yourself going out of bounds or getting trapped by temptations or sins.

There are lots of ways to take a time out during Lent. You could set aside time each day for silent prayer or to read the Scriptures. You could look for a special opportunity to share your time, talent or treasure with someone in need. Or, you could even give up a night of "March Madness" to participate in a parish Lenten mission or to attend this Friday's diocesan Lenten gathering or another special spiritual opportunity, several examples of which are in this memo.

One thing about time outs during Lent: you can call as many as you want.

In the Lenten spirit, we will be taking some time out during lunch here at the Pastoral Center the next three Wednesdays to explore the connection of Lent to suffering in the world. Topics that we will learn and share about will include the migration into the U.S. and the suffering from famine and war in Africa.  

1. Annual Catholic Appeal -- When I reviewed the second report on this year's campaign on Friday and saw the total of $2,229,582 in pledges, I reflected on this year's ACA scriptural theme: "Remarkable Wonders Are Done Through You."

The initial results indicate that parishioners are responding with remarkable generosity to the needs of those served through the ACA 23 charities and ministries. With such an encouraging start to this year's ACA, I am very hopeful that remarkable wonders can be fulfilled in the lives of those served by those ministries.

You can follow the weekly progress of gifts and pledges to this year's ACA toward the goal of $3.15 million at
2. Serra Club Essay Contest Winners
-- Members of the Serra Club of Tucson will recognize the winners of this year's essay contest during their noon luncheon in Tucson today.
This year's essay theme was intriguing: "God Has Call-Waiting for You." I look forward to hearing the first place winners read their essays.

The first place winners are: 4th - 6th grade, Rogue Galaz, Loretto Catholic School, Douglas; 7th - 8th grade, Paulina Ramos, Loretto Catholic School; 9th - 12th grade, David Robillard, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish.

The annual essay contest, sponsored by the Serra Club for more than 30 years, is just one of the activities the Club undertakes each year to foster and promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life and to encourage its members to fulfill their own Christian vocations to service. This year, the Club is observing the 55th anniversary of its founding in our Diocese, and I am grateful for all the good works the members perform in the cause of vocations.

3. Andrew and Myriam Dinners -- Two dinners are scheduled this week in Tucson. The first is tonight at 6:30 p.m. with young Catholic adults at St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish. The second dinner is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday with students at San Miguel Catholic High School. At these dinners, priests and women religious share with the young people how they were called to their vocations and about their lives. The young people always ask very good questions about what life is like in service to the Church.

4. CTSO Appreciation Dinner -- I was impressed and moved to receive a book of poems by the eighth graders at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Tucson at the Friday dinner honoring those who helped make last year's Catholic Tuition Support Organization campaign such a success. I am grateful to Jody and Frank Comstock, who hosted the evening, and the Sisters of Immaculate Heart of Mary for their hospitality.

We can be very proud of the excellent education and formation that takes place in our Catholic Schools. The Church has a long history of educating the young, and our schools have been a powerful force in evangelizing the young into the faith.
The Arizona Catholic Bishops are formulating a statement calling for enhanced efforts to augment the educational opportunities available to our young people in this State. We need to advance Catholic, private and public education to raise achievement standards and learning opportunities for our young people, and we Bishops do not see these systems as competitive or at cross purposes.

5. A Spring Break -- I have enjoyed having a visit from my niece Teresa and grand nephew Eric these past few days, and especially the opportunity to take in Saturday's victory by the White Sox over the Cubs with Eric, who is a seventh grader back in Chicago. He was thrilled to visit the Sox clubhouse and to get the autographs of some of his favorite players. Now for a repeat! Maybe it will be the Diamondbacks and the White Sox in the '06 World Series.

6. Confirmations -- I conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation during Mass yesterday in Douglas and Bisbee. At Loretto School in Douglas, I was impressed by the enthusiasm of the young people and their commitment to their faith. Loretto has some of our finest altar servers who are always eager to help out

Sister Caridad Sandoval, O.C.D., principal of Loretto, shared with me the success of their recent Vocation Day that included a competition between a team of some of our priests (Father Fernando Pinto, O.C.D., and Father Alonzo Garcia) and faculty against a student team. Father Jim Hobert participated in the day's presentations. It's great to see our priests involved!
In the journey from Douglas to Bisbee yesterday afternoon, we encountered beautiful snow that covered the mountains. Father Larry Kasper, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Bisbee, and a group of Knights from our oldest Council in the State welcomed us with some freshly made snowballs. On the last day of winter, it was a joy to see the parched desert receiving moisture. 

7. Meeting of Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries Board -- The Board of Directors meets tomorrow morning. Communications and outreach are priorities for the Cemeteries, and on both fronts there has been much progress.

You can visit the Catholic Cemeteries Web site at and note the new additional information and the schedule of upcoming events. The Cemeteries also are featured in an on-line video that you can access at and on the Web sites of Tucson's morning and afternoon newspapers.

The Cemeteries outreach program for parishes continues with representatives present after the weekend Masses at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson. 

I encourage you to support the ministry of our Catholic Cemeteries. We need the Lord at the time of death of a loved one. We need to know that we are part of a community of faith that will support us and stand by us in this difficult time.

8. Presentations by Father Donald Senior, C.P. -- We are very honored to have Father Senior, president of Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, visit the Diocese this week. He will be giving two presentations.

"The Gospel as a Call to Mission" is the theme of his presentation at 7 p.m. tomorrow at the Chapel of the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks. You are invited to attend this presentation, which is of particular interest to those in parish ministry. Please contact Pegi Dodd at the Office of Formation (792-3410 or and let her know if you are planning to attend.

Father Senior also is the presenter for the Ongoing Formation of Priests Program on Wednesday at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Tucson.

A renowned scholar of the New Testament, Father Senior's familiarity with the history and landscape of the Middle East has prompted strong interest in the historical Jesus and the social and historical context of the New Testament.

Father Senior is the general editor of the periodical The Bible Today and co-editor of the 22-volume international commentary series New Testament Message. He is general editor of The Catholic Study Bible and author of numerous books and articles. He is a past president of the Catholic Biblical Association of America.

9. Priests Day of Prayer -- This month's Priests Day of Prayer will be this Thursday at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks. This Lenten day of prayer is a good opportunity for our priests to take a time out to be with the Lord. Priests, most especially, need to step away from the fray, just as the Apostles did.

10. Visit to St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish, Tucson -- I will be meeting with the community of St. Cyril Parish this Thursday evening to hear from its members their hopes for the future of their parish as we anticipate a change in pastoral leadership with the departure of the Paulists sometime this summer.

The opportunity to meet with a parish community before making the appointment of a new pastor has been very helpful to me and to members of the Priests Placement Advisory Board.

11. Lenten Gatherings -- The second of our three special Lenten Gatherings will be at 7 p.m. this Friday evening in Gramer Hall at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson. The topic will be "You Welcomed Me," the Pastoral Letter on Immigration issued by the Catholic Bishops of Arizona last December. I will give a presentation on the letter, and there will be time for reflection and discussion.

Teachers and catechists will be able to satisfy requirements for two hours of Continuing Education Units by attending and participating in this gathering.   

The final Lenten Gathering will be a service project at 8 a.m. this Saturday morning for young (18-30) Catholic Adults on Saturday morning at the Catholic Worker Casa Maria Hospitality House in the 400 block of East 26th Street in Tucson. Our project will include some clean-up of the property and the opportunity to pray together.

12. Trip to Altar, Sonora -- Participants in our diocesan Common Formation Program will journey to Altar, Sonora, on Saturday to witness efforts by the local Church to minister to the thousands of persons who gather there before attempting the journey across the border into Arizona.

For many who have taken the trip, the experience has been profoundly moving and has helped them to see the face of a individual child, a mother or a young man in the complex picture of migration.

I am very pleased that this experience will be part of the formation of those in the Common Formation Program who are preparing for the permanent diaconate and their wives and those who are preparing for Lay Ecclesial Ministry.

13. JustFaith Presentation -- Registration will continue through this Wednesday for the workshop this Saturday by Jack Jezreel, executive director of JustFaith Ministries ( JustFaith is a nationally respected resource for justice education and formation that seeks to strengthen the commitment of parishioners to address suffering and injustices.

Jack holds a Masters of Divinity from the University of Notre Dame. He spent six years in a Catholic Worker community and has been involved in parish-based justice ministry for 25 years. Jack has received numerous awards for his social ministry.

The workshop will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Dougherty Hall at St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish in Tucson. It would be great to have representation from all parishes at the workshop!

Please contact Joanne Welter, director of our Catholic Social Mission Office, at 520-792-3410 or, for information on cost and registration.

14. St. Vincent de Paul Society Retreat
-- Members of St. Vincent de Paul Society Councils in parishes of the Diocese will gather for a retreat this Saturday at Sacred Heart Parish in Tucson. Father Greg Adolf, pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista, will lead the retreat.

Inspired by Gospel values, members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul join together to grow spiritually in offering support, in the tradition of their founder, Blessed Frederic Ozanam, and St. Vincent de Paul to those who are needy and suffering.

15. Interfaith Gathering to Pray for Immigration Reform -- I appreciate very much the assistance of our pastors, administrators and pastoral administrators in getting the word out about this important gathering at the State Capitol in Phoenix on Tuesday, April 4, from 10 a.m. to noon.

People of all faiths will gather to join in prayer for a just resolution to the complex issues involving immigration and for moderation and civility in the dialogue about immigration. I hope that all our parishes can be visibly represented at this gathering.

16. Third Anniversary of Iraq War -- As our Nation marked the third anniversary of the Iraq War over the weekend, I joined my prayers with many in our parish communities whose family members are serving in the armed forces that a peaceful transition to control by the new Iraqi Government can be achieved soon. 

As I visit parishes across the Diocese, I am always struck by how this war has come home. In many parishes, there are displays in the church vestibule of photos and letters from those who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. There also are books of prayer intentions that parishioners can sign to indicate they are praying for those who are serving.

If you are searching for how to express in prayer what is in your heart about the war, you may find the "Prayers in Time of War" resource on our diocesan Web site to be helpful. Let us continue to pray for peace in Iraq.

17. Solemnity of Joseph, Husband of Mary -- Because the Solemnity fell on Sunday this year, it is being observed today, which, of course, is a very special day for St. Joseph Parish in Hayden, St. Joseph Parish and School in Tucson and St. Joseph Hospital in Tucson.

Vol. 4, No. 3
March 27, 2006

This past Saturday, the feast of the Annunciation when Mary was told she would be the Mother of God, bringing Christ into the world, 17 young adult Catholics made Christ present through their ministry and service at Casa Maria, the Catholic Worker Community, in Tucson.

Looking like they had just come from Ash Wednesday Mass, the faces of these young adults were smudged with the ashes from the arson fire that devastated one of the buildings at Casa Maria some weeks ago. With brooms, mops, shovels, pick axes and their bare hands, these young people swept and mopped and moved debris. The large dumpster in the backyard was full to the brim when they had finished.
As I watched and worked with them, I could not help but be inspired by their enthusiasm and willingness to do whatever might help.
The 17 included members of our newly formed Young Adult Network, organized by Miki Leglen: students from the Newman Center at the U of A, along with Father Bart Hutcherson, pastor of St. Thomas Moore Parish, and David Silvestri who helps with facilities there; young adults from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish and Our Mother of Sorrows Parish, with Chris Stodgdill.

Brian Reed, David Wilson, Marivel Roybal, Michael Cole, Courtney Christopher, Kathleen Moran, Daisy Carrillo, Shannon Byrne (ACE program teacher), Francisco Guerra, Tara Hogan, Jimmy Gribbin, Chad Viche and Jay Alexander had to have been very tired at the end of the morning. They were doing the work of the Lord.
I am most grateful to Mike Berger, director of youth and young adult ministry and director of Office of Catechesis for the Diocese for organizing the event. Thanks to eegee's for providing the food and drinks to replenish the young people's energies.
This Lenten service project helped all of us to see what a blessing it is to do for others. Across the street from the building being cleaned, countless homeless were being fed, as they always are, through the exemplary work of Brian Flagg and the staff of the Catholic Worker House. I saw the sandwiches being made, the soup being stirred and the gentle faces of the volunteers who find Christ in their work.
I was impressed to meet a number of Confirmation candidates from St. John the Evangelist Parish and their catechists, sponsors and parents who were bringing water and food to contribute to people served by Casa Maria. They are learning what it means to be a full adult in the Church.
On Friday evening, about 60 people attended for the final Lenten Gathering at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish. (I am grateful to Father John Lyons, pastor, for his gracious welcome and hospitality.) 

We discussed the Arizona Catholic Bishops' Pastoral Letter on Immigration, "You Welcomed Me," and viewed the documentary "Dying to Live."

Immigration is an emotionally charged issue not only in Arizona, but also in our nation and throughout the world. While the legislative responsibility to address the issue belongs to the men and women of the U.S. House and Senate, we all have a part in calling for a comprehensive immigration policy change that will address the pressing issues that have led to the reality we experience.

Punitive, mean spirited and divisive solutions will only further complicate the situation. Reasoned deliberation can bring about directions for the resolution of this complex situation.

This week, the U.S. Senate will be considering ways to respond to the 10 million-plus people now living in the U.S. without documents, including, many hope, some type of guest worker program to allow migrants to come legally into the U.S. to work in types of labor that are important to our state and national economies.

Let us pray fervently that the Congress will not settle for an "enforcement only" approach. That would be tragic and would allow this situation to further deteriorate.

On Tuesday, April 4, people of all faiths will gather at the State Capitol in Phoenix to join in a prayer service, "Together in Prayer and Action." This event will give us a chance to pray together as Jews, Muslims and Christians. It will be an opportunity to communicate the contributions that migrants are making to our communities in Arizona and to call for an end to rhetoric that divides and diminishes people.
You are invited to join us from 10 a.m. to noon that day. If you are in need of transportation, contact Joanne Welter at the diocesan Social Mission Office at 520-792-3410 or

In an opinion article in The Arizona Daily Star this morning, Bishop Minerva Carcaño of the United Methodist Church, Bishop Kirk Smith of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona and I communicate our concern about the intensity of the debate over immigration in our State and in the nation.

1. Chrism Mass -- One of the most beautiful celebrations of the Liturgy during the year takes place on the Monday of Holy Week when people from all around the Diocese gather at our Mother Church, St. Augustine Cathedral, for the celebration of the Chrism Mass.
It is at this Mass that the oils used in Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination to the Priesthood and the Anointing of the Sick are blessed and distributed for use around the Diocese. It is also the occasion to have our priests renew the promises they made at their priestly ordination.
This year, we will be highlighting our newly incorporated parishes. The new lay directors are invited to join their pastor for the celebration. We will hear the names of all of our parishes sung in a litany, highlighting our unity in diversity.

The Mass begins at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 10. Please join us!
2. National Pastoral Life Center Board Meeting
-- I am in New York City today and tomorrow to participate in the quarterly meeting of the National Pastoral Life Center Board. Father Gene Lauer, the director, seeks the advice of the Board on the ways the Center can enhance its services.

The Center serves mission of the Catholic Church in the U.S. by assisting leadership in parishes, diocesan offices, national offices and associations with services that include CHURCH magazine and other publications, training weeks for pastors and parish leaders, and consultations with diocesan bishops and their staffs and with committees and staffs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop. The Center is also the secretariat for The Roundtable (the Association of Diocesan Social Action Directors) and for the Catholic Common Ground Initiative founded by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin to foster dialogue in the Church.

3. Annual Catholic Appeal -- The third weekly report on the progress of this year's campaign shows $2,535,873 in pledges. That is 81% of goal! I am very encouraged by the generosity being demonstrated in support of the 23 ministries and charities that depend upon the Appeal.

The weekly report showing the progress of each parish is available on the diocesan Web site at

4. Annual Convocation of Priests -- Priests in the Diocese will gather in Tucson from Tuesday afternoon though Thursday morning of this week for their annual convocation.

Father Vince Hovley, S.J., is our special guest presenter for the convocation. Father Hovley is a staff member at Sacred Heart Jesuit Retreat House in Sedalia, Colorado. He holds a doctorate in mystical theology. His primary work has been spiritual direction and retreats. He also has lived and worked with the homeless of New York and Denver, taught theology and directed a Jesuit leadership training program.

A reminder to all the priests who will be attending: Bring your best smile! We're taking every priest's photo on Wednesday in hopes that we can finally put together a pictorial directory. Priests can have their photo taken from 7:30 a.m. until after lunch in a room just off the main lobby of the Hilton Tucson East.

During Wednesday evening's "Celebration of Priesthood," we will honor this year's jubilarians: Bishop Francis Quinn and Father Roland Bedard, M.S., 60 years; Msgr. Arsenio Carrillo, Msgr. Bob Fuller, Father Peter McGloin, Father Gerald Cote, Father Ron Gagnon, Father Roy Conry, O.Carm., and Father John Malley, O.Carm., 50 years; Msgr. Ambrose Nwohu, Father Bob Brazaskas, Father Conrad Pytlik and Father James Bowes, S.J., 40 years; and Father Frank Cady and Father Jim Modeen, 25 years. That is a wonderful and talented group of priests!

Also at this convocation, we will remember in our prayers Msgr. Ed Ryle, who died last December. He would have celebrated his 50th jubilee this year.

5. Blessing of "Building 2" at San Miguel High School -- The students, faculty, staff and community of San Miguel High School in Tucson will gather this Friday when I bless "Building 2," the new classroom and meeting room building.

The new building was the site of last Wednesday's Andrew and Myriam Vocations Dinner with students of San Miguel, whose enthusiasm I thoroughly enjoyed.

I deeply appreciate the generosity of Jim Click and the many other contributors who have made this beautiful new building possible. San Miguel has been so blessed by the leadership of the Board of Trustees and by the dedication and commitment of Brother Nick Gonzalez, F.S.C., principal, and the Brothers of the Christian Schools.

San Miguel presently is seeking a new president. Greg VanderZanden, who has served with distinction as president since the school's founding, will be leaving that position later this year.

6. Confirmations in Douglas -- I will be in Douglas this Saturday for Confirmation at St. Luke, Immaculate Conception and St. Bernard Parishes. I am grateful to Father Gilbert Malu, who carries on the very challenging ministry of pastoring the three parishes.

7. Italian Catholic Federation Mass
-- I will be celebrating Mass this Sunday with members of the Italian Catholic Federation, Branch 425, of Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Green Valley.

Branch 425 of this national organization was established in 1999 at Our Lady of the Valley. The group seeks fellowship with other Catholics and their families and provides assistance to the parish and to needy causes. Membership is open to all Catholics. "You need not be Italian to enjoy the full-hearted fellowship and sunny disposition of the Italian spirit," is the description for the group at the parish Web site.

8. St. Gianna Latin Mass Community -- I will preside at this Sunday's 5 p.m. celebration of the "Traditional Latin Mass" with the St. Gianna Latin Mass Community at St. Ambrose Church.

I am grateful to Father John Arnold, pastor of St. Ambrose, for hosting the community, and to Father Richard Rego, who serves as Chaplain for the community.

9. New St. Vincent de Paul Executive Director -- We welcome Pamela Gralton, the new executive director of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, to our Diocese. I met last week with Pamela and reviewed with her the outstanding work of the Society's Councils at our parishes.
Pamela joins the mission of the Society after serving as the director of marketing for the Catholic Community Foundation in the Diocese of Phoenix.

10. First Anniversary of Pope John Paul II's Death -- This Sunday will mark the first anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II. The memories of his final days are still so vivid for many of us: his return from the hospital to his Vatican apartment; the medical bulletins on his failing condition; the false reports of his death; the thousands and thousands who gathered in St. Peter's Square to pray and sing hymns by candlelight; the sad tolling of bells around the world to announce his passing; and his final words: "Let me go to the house of the Father."

Pope Benedict XVI, one of Pope John Paul's closest aides as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, remains very devoted to his predecessor. Speaking to the Roman Curia last December, Pope Benedict said, "The Holy Father, with his words and his works, has given us great things; but no less important is the lesson he gave us from the chair of suffering and silence."

John Thavis, Vatican correspondent for Catholic News Service (CNS), has written two excellent stories for the first anniversary, "One year later, Vatican believes papal transition was moment of grace" and "A year after Pope Benedict's election, world sees new style of papacy." You can access the stories at the CNS Web site,

11. Message from Korea -- I was delighted earlier this month to receive an e-mail from Sister Ann Patrick Adams, S.C., former principal at Sts. Peter and Paul School in Tucson who is now teaching in Korea. Let me share a bit of the message with you:

"I lived in the Southwest for 42 years, so I definitely still have 'sand in my shoes.' However, I love being in Korea! It was very difficult for me to say 'Yes' to my Provincial Superior when she asked me to return to Korea (because it meant leaving SS P&P), but it has been a real blessing for me -- the grace of obedience at work!

"My days are busy enough, but the stress level is greatly reduced! I teach about 450 10th grade girls each week. Since I meet them only once a week, it is very difficult to learn their names. This is a little frustrating since I have always been very good at remembering names. Now I rely on seating charts so I can at least say their names when I speak to them.

"I still read the Monday Memo each week and enjoy knowing what is happening in the Diocese."

We miss you, Sister!

12. Our Retired Priests -- At last week's meeting of the Priests Assurance Association, we talked about the needs of our retired priests, especially those who are sick and in need of care. It remains a concern as to how the Diocese can assure their proper care when they lack their own resources. I know that many families caring for loved ones share that concern.

Last week, I had a chance to visit with two of our retired priests, Father Norm Whalen and Father Charles Maloney, in the long-term care facilities where they are residing. It was encouraging to see how well they are doing as a result of the care and attention they are receiving.

13. Memorial Mass for Father Thomas O'Flannigan -- A memorial Mass for Father O'Flannigan, former pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Tucson who died on Feb. 19, will be celebrated at St. Joseph Parish at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5. I will preside, and priests in the Diocese are invited to concelebrate.