March 5, 2012 March 12, 2012 March 19,2012

 

Vol. 9, No. 39
March 5, 2012

Religious Liberty

The Catholic Church in the U.S., through the efforts of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, continues to assert religious liberty as a precious right protected by our nation’s Constitution.

The U.S. Bishops, joined by leaders of other Christian denominations and the leaders of other faiths, maintain that government- whether Federal, State, or local- has no right to define what constitutes a religious organization or to define what constitutes a ministry of a religious organization. The Catholic bishops in our nation are defending our right to a Catholic identity. We are defending the truth that an organization that is named as Catholic and that is a ministry of the Catholic Church derives its identity from its mission, its values and the teachings of the Church regardless of whom it serves or who it employs.

I strongly believe that it is important for our Church to stay in dialogue with those who are confused or opposed to the Catholic Church’s position on religious liberty. We teach best by example and by reasoned and civil dialogue, by clearly stating the Church’s position and by clarifying misunderstandings.

The Church’s concerns about the decision made by the recent Federal Health and Human Services mandate, followed by the “accommodation,” are not about contraception, which is against our moral teaching, or access to such services in and of themselves, nor are the concerns about the Church being opposed to health services important for women. The Church’s concerns are about the government forcing a religious institution to act contrary to its moral convictions and about government defining what constitutes a religious organization based on those it serves or employs.

While politicians will bicker based on their partisan positions in these matters, the Church strives to speak from a moral perspective based on the Church’s understanding of the Lord’s teaching- and not as a political organization.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Arizona Catholic
Conference will continue to engage in dialogue about our Church’s concerns, advocating as well for legislative and judicial recourse where possible and where necessary to protect the constitutionally established right to religious freedom.

Our Lenten Journey
Our Diocesan theme this Lent, “Change Our Hearts,” continues as we seek this week to make our hearts more forgiving.

The Lord calls us to forgive others as He forgives us. You may have been hurt by someone in your family. You may have been slighted by a friend.

Forgive. To forgive is so hard to do but it frees us, liberates us. Try this Lent to forgive and to seek forgiveness from those we may have hurt. We worship a forgiving God, Our Father who is always waiting for His son or daughter to come back home. Seek God’s forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance this Lent and strive to forgive as we are forgiven. Make our hearts more forgiving this Lent.

We have had some vivid examples of forgiveness in recent memory: Pope John Paul's visit to forgive his would-be assassin, and the striking example of an Amish community’s forgiveness of the man that caused them so much pain with the shooting of their children.

Forgiveness frees and makes conversion possible.

Last Wednesday the Arizona State Department of Correction executed Robert Moorman for a horrendous crime. The Arizona Catholic Conference called for a commuting of the death sentence to life imprisonment, but regretfully the Clemency Board denied Moorman a stay of execution.

Deacon Ed Sheffer of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish ministered to Mr. Moorman during his final hours and, at Robert's request, was present at the execution. Another execution, that of Robert Towery, is scheduled for Wednesday.

Clearly, one who commits crime should be punished and one who commits a heinous crime should never be allowed to be set free if there is any danger to society.

But our Church calls for us to stand in defense of the dignity of life.  If those convicted of crimes can be safely imprisoned to ensure the protection of others, and if those convicted are unable to harm others, then there is no need for them to be executed. Society and the dignity of life can both be protected without the death penalty. 

Find moments this Lent to forgive those who have harmed or hurt us, let us down or disappointed us. Forgive as we have been forgiven.

 Yuma visit
Yuma-La Paz Vicariate includes the communities of Yuma, San Luis, Somerton, Wellton and its missions, and Parker and its missions. A three and a half hour drive from Tucson, the Yuma area is a rich agricultural region known as the winter lettuce capital of the world, and there are other fields of vegetables that fill our tables.

The most striking part of the Vicariate to me is the vibrancy of faith I experience each time I visit. Last week I spent the entire week there. Here are some of my experiences there:

Young people enrich and enliven the Vicariate. I saw that in my visit with representatives from Arco Iris, a youth program active in our Diocese and available at most of the parishes in the area. Father Bartolome Vazquez-Johnston, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Wellton, serves as the Vicariate’s spiritual director of Arco Iris, and Father Martin Martinez, pastor of Sacred Heart in Tucson, serves as its spiritual director.

Arco Iris performed a Lenten play for us about the seven deadly sins and their counter virtues. This vivid presentation of the battle of good and evil that goes on in each of us who strive to move beyond our vices and embrace a life of virtue was powerful. The young people very much put their best work into the skit and the young audience watching the performance was enthralled with the presentation.

After the skit the young people discussed some important matters with me. One of the impressive parts of the movement is that the young people evangelize their parents, working and supporting their parents in our faith.  I encouraged them in this goal that is so important to the growth and nurturing of families.

Arco Iris members asked me about how my own vocation came about.  I encouraged them to keep listening to God's call in their lives, and let them know that some of our seminarians heard God's call to consider priesthood during their time as members of Arco Iris.

I was happy to visit our three Catholic schools in the area. Yuma Catholic High School students still are basking in the pride of winning the State Championship in football. Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe is sporting a ring that could well be bigger than any Super Bowl Champion ring, and Principal Judy Badgley wears her championship pendant. My congratulations to the students for their successful football season, and my compliments for their well-prepared liturgy in the gymnasium.

At Immaculate Conception School, I visited just as the school was going through its accreditation. The school got through the inspection with flying colors. Principal Lydia Mendoza, our wonderful Manitowoc Franciscan Sisters and the faculty were relieved that the accreditation visit went well. As I visited the classrooms with Father Richard Kusugh, I could see the enthusiasm the young people have for their school.  One class had a contest in progress to help teach the parables of Jesus. The students were ready for the challenge and obviously knew their parables.

At St. Francis of Assisi School they were holding a birthday celebration for Dr. Seuss. Love of reading was the order of the day and all the students gathered on the yard, each holding a favorite book. They all sang a rousing song on the greatness of reading. It rocked!  Principal Susan Bostic took Deacon Ken Moreland, Vicar for Deacons who accompanied me to Yuma, and me to visit each class. In every class we were welcomed by a litany of hellos: Good morning Bishop Kicanas, Good morning Mrs. Bostick, Good morning Deacon Ken, Good morning Father Chris (Father Chris Orndorff is pastor), Good morning Father Gus (Father Gustavo Benitez Camacho is parochial vicar). The experience was delightful and took me back to my own grade school days in Catholic school.

It was my privilege to confirm nearly 400 young people and adults from St. Jude Thaddeus Parish in San Luis, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Somerton, and St. John Neumann, Immaculate Conception and St. Francis parishes in Yuma. 

I am grateful to Father Javier Perez, Vicar Forane, for his outstanding leadership and his gracious hospitality this last week. Father Javier, the priests, deacons, religious and lay people could not have been more welcoming. They are obviously very proud of their parishes and their Vicariate.

Annual Catholic Appeal
I was delighted to see the works of two great charities last week. The first was the Senior Nutrition Center, and the other was a shelter for battered women.  At both locations, I saw the healing and nurturing work of Catholic Community Services (CCS) up close, and they both served as great witness to just how much these organizations helps the needy in our communities. On my visits to both locations people told me about how important the service provided by CCS was to them.  I was especially pleased to see the progress being made at the women’s shelter – I attended the grand opening of the location, and seeing it now filled with people achieving new lives and new hope for their futures is inspiring.

Both the Nutrition Center and the women’s shelter receive funding from our Annual Catholic Appeal.  If you’re still considering a donation, I encourage you to think about the 26 ministries and charities, like the two mentioned here, that really accomplish miracles for the people they serve.

Rite of Election
Over the weekend, we completed our Rites of Election. On Friday, it was my pleasure to welcome more than 100 Catechumens and Candidates into our Church during the Liturgy at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Yuma.  My thanks to Father Christopher Orndorff and his staff or their help in hosting this beautiful event of our Church.

Then, on Sunday, another Rite of Election was held at St. Augustine Cathedral. Bringing so many people into the Church is wonderful.  Their Lenten Journey is also a big part of their life journey! I hope that in the years to come, they will be sustained and nurtured by their faith.

I am grateful to Sister Lois Paha, our Director of Pastoral Services, and her staff  who traveled to Yuma for Friday’s liturgy, then turned around ready to go on Sunday for the liturgy here in Tucson.

Meet the students
This morning I am meeting with students visiting our Diocese from St. Mary’s High School in Moraga, California. Later this afternoon, I’ll be meeting with another group of students from Georgetown University.

It’s delightful to meet with these young people who may become our future leaders, religious, priests or community advocates. I enjoy talking with them, learning about their interests and goals and also hearing their questions about the Church or our Diocese. Often, they have unique insights or observations that lead to interesting discussions and new perspectives.

Both groups are visiting our Diocese to learn more about immigrants and life along the border. They will see first-hand the struggle of migrants and learn more about the Church's advocacy for comprehensive immigration policy change.

Mass at Catholic Community Services
I always look forward to celebrating Mass for employees of Catholic Community Services during Lent. The work done by CCS touches so many lives.  I know work in social services can be exhausting, and I am grateful to CCS professionals for their dedicated service to their fellow community members. I hope this annual Mass helps restore their spirits and gives them new energy to carry on the good work that they do.

Thanks to Peg Harmon, CCS Chief Executive Officer, for organizing this event for her employees every year, and thanks to CCS for assisting the Tucson community every day.

In Baltimore
I will make a presentation to the Mid-Atlantic Congress for Pastoral Leadership. This is the inaugural gathering of this religious education congress, and the Archdiocese of Baltimore expects more than 1,500 Catholic pastoral leaders to attend, including clergy, pastoral life directors, parish nurses, parish catechetical leaders, principals of Catholic schools, key faith formation school personnel, youth ministers, campus and young adult ministers, pastoral musicians, liturgists, business managers, and other lay ecclesial  ministers.

The theme of the conference is Witness Hope! ¡Sea Testigo de la Esperanza!
Reminds me of another conference coming up.

Co-workers in the Vineyard
Here in our own Diocese, we’re holding a similar conference for anyone who works or volunteers for their parish or the Diocese.

Our theme reiterates our Annual Catholic Appeal theme, which is “Be Co-Workers in His Vineyard”.

I want us all to remember that the good works we do in our Diocese is the result of many, not a single person or parish. This conference is designed to reinforce the strength of faith that occurs when we work together, the image of the vine and its branches, and how both parts are connected and work together to bear fruit, helps illustrate this message.

Our diocese is this way too.  By working together, each one of us bringing the skills and talents God has given us to help one another come closer to Him, we are able to bear good fruit:  helping one another, building our parishes and parish families, sharing in God’s love.

Registration forms for the conference March 15 to March 17 at the Tucson Convention Center are available in the New Vision newspaper or at your parish office. I’ll be there, along with our many talented speakers.  Come join me!

AT & T provides scholarships
I am delighted to share the fantastic news we received last week when it was announced that AT&T  is investing in the children of Tucson by creating scholarships to make it possible for children to transfer from a public school to attend one of our three Notre Dame ACE Academies (Santa Cruz, St. Ambrose, and St. John the Evangelist).

AT&T is participating in the Arizona School Tax Credit program and has decided to direct $800,000 of its tax liability to make this possible. I hope many individuals and corporations will imitate this incredible initiative by AT&T.

My gratitude to Christian Dallavis, Father Joe Corpora and Father Tim Scully and all the people at the University of Notre Dame for helping to make this possible.

The Arizona Catholic Tuition Support Organization (CTSO) serves more than 6,604 students enrolled in any one of our diocesan 25 Catholic schools throughout metropolitan Tucson and southern Arizona.

Of the 6,604 students enrolled in our schools more than 3,222 – 48 percent of the students enrolled -- qualified for and received need-based tuition scholarships, and many of those students are minority, low-income and at-risk students. African American, Hispanic, Native American and multi -racial students make up more than 80  percent of our scholarships recipients. Your continued support to CTSO will help secure the future for many children.

Congratulations
To Father Juan Carlos Aguirre of St. Helen of the Cross Parish in Eloy, on becoming a naturalized citizen last week.

Please pray for
Father Bart Hutcherson, O.P., at St. Thomas More Newman Center Parish, who will have surgery later this week, and for the continued recovery of Father Liam Leahy of St. Mark Parish.

We pray for the repose of the soul of Deacon Thomas Tighe who died last week and we pray that the Lord will comfort his wife, Bridget and their five living children. I am grateful for Deacon Tom's service. He was among the first deacons serving in our Diocese.  Funeral arrangements are pending.

Vol 9, No. 40
March 12, 2012

It’s here! Co-workers in the Vineyard
After a year and a half of planning, our Diocesan celebration and conference kicks off this Thursday evening at the Tucson Convention Center Arena with a general session featuring Bishop Blase Cupich of the Diocese of Spokane at 7 p.m.

I look forward to being with our volunteers, staffs, ordained, and vowed religious from our parishes, schools, and affiliated organizations. Together we will be inspired and encouraged through this time of sharing, learning, and celebrating. So far, over 1400 people have registered.

If you have not registered – it is not too late! You can register on line at www.workersvineyard.com for $40 through Wednesday, or you can register in person at the event on Thursday, Friday or Saturday for $45 per person.

On Thursday, Bishop Cupich will invite us to see how all of parish life brings life to the whole Church and will help all participants see themselves as part of a very large story, the life of the Church in the world today.

I will be giving a keynote presentation at 9:30 a.m. Friday, encouraging all to realize the importance of one another in our life in the Church. I will look at where we have been as a Diocese, where we are now as co-workers and what lies ahead for the future.

Saturday, Matthew Kelly, an internationally known presenter, will present “Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic.” Mr. Kelly will speak about the four signs and what they mean to spiritual life, the life of a parish, and how they will change the way we minister to people. His presentation begins at the TCC Arena at 8:30 a.m.

A Conference Mass takes place Friday at 4 p.m. at the TCC Arena. It will be a beautiful celebration of our Diocese with many priests con-celebrating and many deacons assisting. We will be blessed to have local recording artist Tom Booth coordinating an impressive group of musicians, including Jaime Cortez, to lead us in song during Mass.

There is a music showcase during lunch each day. Friday will feature Phoenix-based Catholic recording artist and inspirational speaker, Julie Carrick. Saturday’s showcase will feature Tucson songwriter Alex Navas, who also is the music director at St. Christopher Parish in Marana.

Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. there are three conference-exclusive events at the Hotel Arizona: 1. The Kino Heritage Society will host a symposium.
2. There will be a gathering of Movimiento de Renovación Carismática and 3. There will be a screening of the pro-life movie “October Baby.”

I want us all to remember that the work we do in our Diocese is the result of many, not a single person or parish. I love the image of the vine and its branches, and how both parts are connected and work together to bear fruit. Our diocese is this way too. By working together, each one of us bringing the skills and talents God has given us to help one another come closer to Him, we are able to bear good fruit: helping one another, building our parishes and parish families, sharing in God’s love.

I hope to see you at our Co-workers in the Vineyard Conference.

Our Lenten Journey

It’s God’s will.

How often do we hear that saying when talking to others about difficult times in our lives?

Usually, people on the receiving end of that comment, nod their heads in agreement. At that moment, agreement seems the appropriate thing to do. We know it is right to believe what we’ve been told, that whatever happens is due to God’s will.

But nodding in agreement is the easy part. Truly accepting our lives and what happens to us or to our loved ones is different. Accepting and trusting in God can be much harder than simply agreeing with the idea of trusting God.

Trusting God and prayer play a vital role in how we deal with and accept events in our life path. Here, then is the next part of our Lenten theme, “Change our Hearts: Make Us More Accepting.”

This week, I ask you to think about how prayer gives us the strength we need to handle the difficulties we face in life. Sharing our need for help by praying gives us the ability to move through, move beyond and to find peace and strength in God.

Last month, Pope Benedict spoke of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane as an example of having trust in God’s plans for our lives.

The Holy Father said that when we pray, we should bring to God "our fatigue, the suffering of certain situations … our daily struggle to follow Him and to be Christians . . . that He may give us hope, make us aware of His closeness and give us a little light on life's journey".

“We must learn to have greater trust in Divine Providence, to ask God for the strength to abandon our own selves in order to renew our 'yes', to repeat to Him 'your will be done', to conform our will to His,” the Holy Father said. “This is a prayer we must repeat every day, because it is not always easy to entrust oneself to the will of God".

It isn’t easy to put aside anxiety and stress to take time for prayer, but I encourage all of us to remember to pray when we find ourselves upset, and to trust in God’s infinite love for us.

Lord, teach me to be patient - with life, with people, and with myself. I sometimes try to hurry things along too much, and I push for answers before the time is right. Teach me to trust Your sense of timing rather than my own and to surrender my will to Your greater and wiser plan. Help me let life unfold slowly, like the small rosebud whose petals unravel bit by bit, and remind me that in hurrying the bloom along, I destroy the bud and much of the beauty therein.

Instead, let me wait for all to unfold in its own time. Each moment and state of growth contains loveliness. Teach me to slow down enough to appreciate life and all it holds. Amen.

Retrouvaille in Southern Arizona
Retrouvaille is an international community of disciples dedicated to healing and renewing the covenant of marriage. Its primary goal is to provide help for couples who live in the disappointment and pain of marriage problems. Retrouvaille weekends provide a safe setting where couples are encouraged to learn respectful communication as a tool to better their marriages.

Region 3 of the Retrouvaille movement met at St. Augustine Cathedral for a Lenten Day of Prayer directed by Father Greg Adolf, pastor of St. Andrew Parish in Sierra Vista. Dale and Kim McGriff our area coordinators welcomed people from a number of dioceses from around the Southwest. It was impressive to meet these couples who have had struggles in their marriages but worked hard trusting in the Lord to get through those difficulties and have come to deepen their love for one another.

At marriage, couples promise to be true to one another in good times and in bad, in sickness and health. They promise to love and honor the other person all the days of their lives. While those words come with great affection and with the commitment to live them, marriage presents many challenges. This movement gives hope to couples that have felt hopeless. It brings light to those who feel lost in darkness.

I hope more couples will make us of this program to assist struggling marriages. I was glad to see Father Robert Brazaskas, one of our retired priests, involved. He is hoping to give more time to marriage encounter and possibly Retrouvaille during his retirement.

Considering religious life
On Saturday our Diocese hosted a Discernment Retreat for women 18 to 45 years old. Seven women attended to contemplate possible Religious Vocations or other ministries in the lay world. Most of the attendees were students in their early 20’s; some were women with professional careers and some were retired military.

This is the second time our Diocese has held a retreat geared for this age group, and the number of attendees shows it has been well received. We look forward to presenting a similar retreat for women on the military bases in Yuma and Sierra Vista as well. Religious from three communities that were among the first communities to serve in Tucson formed the retreat team. These communities were Adrian Dominicans, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, and the Minim Sisters of Mary Immaculate.

My thanks to Sister Rina Cappallazzo, O.P., our Vicar for Religious, and the sisters who staffed the retreat: Sister Ellen Pachmayer, O.S.F., and Sister. Lois Paha, O.P., and Sister Graciela Garcia, C.F.M.M., for their work preparing a day of prayer, silence, journaling, questions and presentations on the Discernment of Giftedness and Freedom of choice.

Pope John Paul II Youth Leadership Awards
Saturday evening, young disciples who have embraced leadership responsibilities in service to others at our parishes and Catholic high schools gave beautiful witness of their journey toward selfless love.

It was my joy to be with them, their family members, youth ministry leaders and pastors at our annual Pope John Paul II Youth Leadership Awards dinner and celebration held at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Tucson. This year's 79 award recipients are from 25 parishes and all of our Catholic high schools. The Pope John Paul II Youth Award recognizes their leadership in one or more of three categories: Catechesis and Evangelization; Community Service and Social Justice; and Prayer and Worship.

We also honored Michelle Benzenhoefer, youth minister of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish. She received the fourth annual Pope John Paul II Distinguished Service Award. This award recognizes adults who demonstrate extraordinary commitment to our youth.

Michelle started her ministry career at St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish. She has been involved in almost every diocesan youth ministry initiative in some way for more than 15 years! While working at individual parishes, she has always reached far beyond, inviting neighboring parishes to collaborate on retreats, social justice venues and social events – reaching all the way to Texas to invite teens to spend a week here doing service work each summer.

One teen receiving the award, Paul Mather from St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Tucson, offered a reflection about his ministry. He gave a powerful talk on how he has come to read and love the scriptures and his desire to help others to come to know Christ.

I am grateful to our event coordinating committee: Father Chris Orndorff, St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Yuma,; Marian Gilbert of St. Francis de Sales Parish; Adam Eichelberger of Santa Catalina Parish; Lupita Parra of Most Holy Trinity Parish; Jerry Meyer of San Miguel Catholic High School; Isabel Madrid and Joe Perdreauville from the diocesan offices, and Father Robert Tamminga, Pastor at St. Francis de Sales Parish and the youth volunteers at St. Francis de Sales Parish for hosting, cooking and serving the meal. I thank Father Miguel Mariano, Pastor at St. Joseph Parish in Tucson, who served as master of ceremonies. It was a fabulous night.

Please see the complete listing of the award winners at the end of the Monday Memo.

Catholic Scouting Mass
Our annual Diocesan Mass for our youth and families involved in the Scouting will take place this Sunday at St. Augustine Cathedral. During the Mass, we will recognize Scouts who have earned their special religious emblems and patches, and Scouting leaders for their distinguished service. 



I thank Virginia Robillard, chairperson of our diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting, and the members of the Committee for organizing this annual celebration. To be included in this Mass, please contact Virginia Robillard at varobillard@msn.com by Wednesday March 14th.

Annual Catholic Appeal
We are tremendously encouraged by the response we have received to the 2012 Annual Catholic Appeal. As of Thursday last week, 6199 families made their gift to the appeal, bringing us to $1,538,029 or 41.44% toward the total goal of $3.7 million.

The Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks has officially reached 100 percent in pledges with St. Andrew in Sierra Vista already at 86 percent and St. Thomas the Apostle close behind at 79 percent of their goals. I am grateful to all of our pastors and parishes for their support of the ACA.

On a related note, I encourage everyone to plan on attending the Catholic Foundation Cornerstone Gala honoring the Knights of Columbus on April 20, 2012. Several parishes have already organized a table for the annual event.

Acculturation program
Our diocese also is blessed with the ministry of more than 30 priests from other countries. We thank God for their generous service.

Our immigrant priests make a great sacrifice to come to the United States, leaving family and all that is familiar. It is imperative for us to welcome them not only with words, but also with tangible help.

Once all the details of immigration and background checks are completed, we provide an orientation to the Diocese of Tucson, to our Safe Environment Program and to the complex culture of the United States.

The orientation is done individually at first, but when there is a group of six to eight priests, the Diocese conducts a monthly seminar for the group. Another seminar has just begun. These priests commit to attend seven sessions covering topics such as the parish as workplace, the economic system, social relationships, the health care system, the legal system and the spiritual life of the Diocese.

Each seminar is designed to build relationships as well as give information. There is much give-and-take in each class and each of the priests has a turn to share with the others their thoughts about the nature of Church and civil life in his own country of origin. There is a gradual awakening as the priests notice differences between practice in their countries and ours. Sometimes they bring their ways to us in a manner that enlivens our life. Sometimes, as one of the priests in a previous class commented, a priest will take note of our ways and consider how to bring them back to his own local Church.

More importantly, each individual session and each class is an opportunity to build connection with the Diocese, its priests and its people. That connection is rooted in our deep sense of gratitude for their ministry here. Each session of the seminar begins with prayer and each prayer includes this petition:

“You have come to us from many countries, enlivening again the practice of the Church from earliest times, in which generous persons went forth to aid those of the household of faith in another land. We receive you with gratitude and with hope that your coming will strengthen the bonds between our countries and give witness to the unity of all peoples in Christ.”

My thanks to Paul Duckro, Director of our Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, and to Ernie Nedder, our Chancellor, and their staffs for conducting these important acculturation sessions, and for welcoming our newly-arrived priests.

Congratulations Catechetical Leaders
About 18 months ago, 30 catechetical leaders from parishes throughout our Diocese began a Specialized Certificate Program in Catechetical Leadership taught by Loyola University, New Orleans.

In May, 22 of these leaders will graduate and receive a Professional Credential for Christian Ministry certificate. Each graduate participated in 90 hours of instruction over six weekends. Besides the weekend coursework these students wrote two reflection papers for each course. The other eight people, who were not seeking the certification, attended at least one or more of the weekends for continuing education.

This program was newly developed by Loyola University’s Pastoral Life Center, and was hosted by our Office of Catechesis.

I am grateful to Mike Berger for bringing this program to our Diocese and also thank Margie Puerta Edson from Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future, which covered the course costs. Mike tells me that the Office of Catechesis hopes to offer this or a related program in the future to continue to provide our catechetical leaders with educational opportunities.

Please pray for
Betty Wittenberg, our diocesan archivist, who had surgery last week; for Catherine Long, mother of Father Mark Long, Pastor at St. Ambrose Parish, who suffered a stroke late last week, and for Consuelo Santiago, aunt of Father Miguel Mariano, who died Sunday. Father Miguel will be going to the Philippines to officiate at the services for his beloved Aunt.

 

Pope John Paul II Award winners:

Catechesis and Evangelization:
1. Valerie Smith, Our Mother of Sorrows, Tucson
2. Xochitl Monje, St. Francis of Assisi, Yuma
3. Daniel Fragoso, St. Francis of Assisi, Yuma
4. Andrea Coronado, Lourdes Catholic High School, Nogales
5. Carolina Romero, Lourdes Catholic High School, Nogales
6. Paul Mather, St. Thomas the Apostle, Tucson
7. Thi Han, Our Lady of La Vang, Tucson
8. Trini Bui, Our Lady of La Vang, Tucson
9. Renee Tran, Our lady of La Vang, Tucson
10. Kaitlynn Williams, St. Augustine Catholic High School, Tucson
11. Danny Milchak, Immaculate Heart High School, Tucson
12. Mathew Ybarra, Santa Catalina, Tucson
13. Elissa Rea Rodriguez, Blessed Sacrament, Mammoth
14. Amber Bonnette, St. Francis de Sales, Tucson
15. Sabra Holubec, St. Francis de Sales, Tucson
16. Michelle Mercado, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Tucson
17. Felicity Newton, Salpointe Catholic High School, Tucson
18. Rebecca Lakosky, St. Rita in the Desert, Vail
19. Brittany Polanco, Most Holy Trinity, Tucson
20. Katherine Krieski, St.Mark the Evangelist, Tucson
21. McKenzie Grenfall, St. Mark the Evangelist, Tucson
22. Christian Robles, Saints Peter and Paul, Tucson
23. Florizel Pelayo, San Felipe de Jesus, Nogales
24. Andrea Cameras, Our Lady of Grace, Maricopa
25. Luke Stangl, Christ the King Catholic Community, Tucson
26. Catalina J. Flores, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, Tucson

Community Service and Social Justice:
1. Kevin Dunlap, Immaculate Heart High School, Tucson
2. Suzzet Rivas, Santa Catalina, Tucson
3. Anthony Rojo, St. Francis de Sales, Tucson
4. Nicollete Sherick-Jimenez, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Tucson
5. Briana Bracamonte, Salpointe Catholic High School, Tucson
6. Aiza Weber, St. Rita in the Desert, Vail
7. Justin Garms, Most Holy Trinity, Tucson
8. Mary Kate Barrett, Saints Peter and Paul, Tucson
9. Luke Stangl, Christ the King Catholic Community, Tucson
10. Aabinii So Litzin, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, Tucson
11. Martin Chavez, San Miguel High School, Tucson
12. Phillip Hoovestol, Yuma Catholic High School, Yuma
13. Britney Corneliusen, Our Lady of the Valley, Green Valley
14. Emmanuel Rodarte, Our Mother of Sorrows, Tucson
15. David Rodriguez, Lourdes Catholic High School, Nogales
16. Adriana Otero, St. Helen, Oracle
17. Joey Clanton, St. Thomas the Apostle, Tucson
18. Mariela Encinas, St. Augustine Catholic High School, Tucson

Prayer and Worship:
1. Analissa Cotsonas, Our Lady of the Valley, Green Valley
2. Alana Erchull, Our Mother of Sorrows, Tucson
3. Pablo Vergara, Sacred Heart, Tucson
4. Brianna Celez, San Martin de Porres, Sahuarita
5. Jeremiah Cardenas, San Martin de Porres, Sahuarita
6. Jennifer Miraval, San Martin de Porres, Sahuarita
7. Hunter Winsor, St. Rose of Lima, Safford
8. Phillip Hoovestol, St. Augustine Cathedral, Tucson
9. Sol Sturm, Immaculate Conception, Ajo
10. Eric Huelsman, St. Thomas the Apostle, Tucson
11. Nicholas Montanez, St. Augustine Catholic High School, Tucson
12. Joseph Mona, Immaculate Heart High School, Tucson
13. Timothy Wiley, Holy Angels, Globe
14. Chebel Sandoval, Holy Angels, Globe
15. Nesell Tovar, Santa Catalina, Tucson
16. Andres Moreno, Blessed Sacrament, Mammoth
17. Kylee Edwardson St. Francis de Sales, Tucson
18. Alina Vo, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Tucson
19. Stasha Thomas, Salpointe Catholic High School, Tucson
20. Michael Cardenas, St. Rita in the Desert, Vail
21. Maria Fernanda Velasco, Most Holy Trinity, Tucson
22. Amanda Madlangbayan, St. Mark the Evangelist, Tucson
23. Zaina Innabi, Saints Peter and Paul,Tucson, Tucson
24. Mary Guadalupe Padilla, San Felipe de Jesus, Nogales
25. Vanessa Valenzuela, San Felipe de Jesus, Nogales
26. Kevin Luna, Our Lady of Grace, Maricopa
27 Liborio Dominguez, Our Lady of Grace, Maricopa
28. Luke Stangl, Christ the King Catholic Community, Tucson
29. Liliana Buelna, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, Tucson
30. Vera Von Esse, St. Michael the Archangel, Florence
31. Raymond C. Welch, St. Michael the Archangel, Florence
32. Jonathan Christian King, St. Therese of Lisieux, Patagonia
33. Victoria Calabrese, St. Therese of Lisieux, Patagonia
34. Francisco Lares, San Miguel High School, Tucson
35. Natasha Avila, San Miguel High School, Tucson
36. Ashley DeCorse, Yuma Catholic High School, Yuma

Vol 9, No. 41
March 19, 2012

We are Co-Workers
Awesome!

That’s the best description for the Co-Workers in the Vineyard Conference last weekend.  It is my joy to report that over 1,800 people attended our Diocesan conference, filling workshops, meeting new friends and coming together as a giant family of Catholics!

Thursday’s Mass, which I concelebrated with 41 of my fellow priests, was inspiring.  It was amazing to see and hear from so many of our co-workers gathered, unified in our love of Christ and our work together as a Church.

Many people thanked me and the Diocese for presenting this conference, and their comments reinforced how well the workshops and presentations resounded with some of our co-workers:

“I thought it was a wonderful opportunity for people in all ministries in the Diocese,” said Nancy Rambaran, of St. Joseph  Parish in Tucson, who also is studying in the Diocesan Common Formation Program.  “To come together to worship and to learn.  I am so excited that they want to do this (conference) on a regular basis.”

Another participant had a similar experience:

“Renewed. Recommitted. Fed.  This is the way to charge the batteries,” said Tony Enciso, from Sacred Heart Parish in Nogales, following the closing ceremony. “You could just tell the spirit was great! It was just what I was looking for.”

If you were unable to attend, please check the Diocese website in the near future for video of some of the keynote addresses. That way more of us can feel the energy of the conference.

My thanks to Bishop Blase Cupich, Bishop of Spokane, for opening the conference with his keynote address that focused on calling all of us to see ourselves as part of the larger church, and for reminding us about the progress because of and since Vatican II.  Thanks also to Matthew Kelly, who delivered the inspiring keynote “Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic,” and who brought his world-renown energy to our conference and who lit up the stage and conference participants with his presentation.

Matt’s four signs of a dynamic Catholic included:  one who prays regularly, one who studies and learns more and more about the faith, one who is generous, willing to share their time, talent, and resources, and one who is an evangelizer inviting others to meet the Lord.

Matt, who comes from Sydney, Australia, and who has spoken to more than 4 million people in 50 countries, said his soon-to-be published research indicates that only about 7 percent of Catholics in each parish are engaged with their parish. He encouraged his listeners to work at increasing engagement by 1 or 2 percent and then to see what a difference just that small increase would make. He challenged us not to be stymied by the complexity of issues the Church faces but to be “game changers,” and to work at growing our parishes "one notch at a time."

Tremendous and heartfelt thanks to Sr. Lois Paha and her staff in the Pastoral Services Department: Joe Perdreauville, Mike Berger, Ofelia James and Joanne Welter, Father Miguel Mariano, Grace Lohr and Isabel Madrid for the hard work they put into making this conference a success. Thanks also to Father Alex Mills, pastor of St. Ann Parish in Tubac, for creating the amazing -- a beautiful environment for us to pray, to sing and to worship.

Their careful planning made the conference a delightful experience for everyone.  I am also grateful to the other members of our Diocesan staff , our experts out in the parishes who brought their knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to our conference in their workshops and presentations, and to all the volunteers who worked so hard and tirelessly to make everyone feel welcome and to make sure everything was done just right.

At last, a big round of applause for our Conference Masters of Ceremony, Albert Miranda and Marco Carrasco, two of our seminarians from Mundelein, who kept the programs moving smoothly and with just the right mix of laughter and praise.  Albert is working at St. Monica Parish, and Marco is serving at Sts. Peter and Paul.

Congratulations
While at the conference, I had the happy opportunity to surprise Father Al Schifano and Father Raul Treviso with the news that our Holy Father, Pope Benedict has named them Monsignors.

The official title is Prefects of the Papal Household. It is a distinction given by the Pope to priests in recognition of their service to the Church. Candidates are nominated for the honor by their bishop for consideration by the Holy Father.
Msgr. Al serves as one of our Vicar Generals and since July 2004, has been Moderator of the Curia, heading our Diocesan office of Corporate Matters.  Msgr. Al stands in for me at the Pastoral Center when I am away from the Diocese. 

Before his ordination in June 2001, Msgr. Al, a transplant from Detroit who grew up in Tucson and attended Salpointe Catholic High School, was a high-ranking executive with Sundt Construction, Inc., and was married and the father of two children.  After his wife, Alice, died in 1991, he heard God’s call and studied for the priesthood at Sacred Heart School of Theology at Hales Corners, Wisconsin. His first assignment was as Parochial Vicar at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish.

Msgr. Al is a trusted friend who works tirelessly to improve the functioning of our Pastoral Center and parishes. His work experience prepared him well to help us through Chapter 11 Reorganization and his expertise has helped us grow in our responsibility to be good stewards of the gifts our people give to further the work of the Church.

Msgr. Raul, another Vicar General, is Pastor at St. John the Evangelist Parish, and also is our Episcopal Vicar for Hispanic Affairs.  Msgr. Raul was born and raised in Ray, Arizona. Before his decision to study for the priesthood, he was a public school teacher who worked hard to help young people realize their dreams.

He attended St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, California, before his ordination in 1988.  He served as Associate Pastor at St. Monica Parish and St. Augustine Cathedral.  Between 1992 and 1994, while at Cathedral, he also was our Diocesan Vocations Director.  He was assigned as Pastor at St. John the Evangelist in 1993. He also served as Vicar Forane from 1997 to 2004.

Msgr. Raul is also a trusted friend whose guidance, counsel and advice have been immensely helpful to me, especially in our efforts to respond to the pastoral needs of our flourishing Hispanic community. I marvel at his work as pastor of the large and vibrant parish of St. John the Evangelist while also helping to mobilize our Hispanic community in their desire to grow in the faith.

We plan to formally acknowledge the Papal honor to our new Monsignors during the Holy Chrism Mass on April 2. Thank you, Monsignors, for all your service to our Church!

 

Our Lenten Journey
I like to think of Lent as a great time of beckoning for our Catholic Faith.

By beckoning I mean that during Lent especially, we have an opportunity to hear God calling us back to faith.  It is the perfect time, if you’ve struggled with being close to God, with prayer, or with including God in your everyday life, to stop and listen with your heart about your struggle with faith.

This week, I encourage us to think about our Lenten theme: Change our Hearts: Make us more welcoming.

My hope is that as we begin to think about Christ’s passion, about His death and resurrection to reclaim us, that we are led to think about how much God wants to welcome us home.

If we have distanced ourselves, now is a good time to stop and hear God say: “Come be with Me.”  Prayer, and the closeness to God that prayer brings, can start again with a simple thought:  “Here I am Lord.”  God will take care of the rest if you’re open and willing to hear God welcoming you back.

The Church focuses strongly on this idea of welcoming during Lent because our preparation for Easter gives us the perfect opportunity to stop, reflect and listen. 
As you know, Lent is the time that we celebrate our liturgies for Confirmation and for the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion for those joining our Catholic faith through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, or RCIA.  These liturgies are the Church’s welcome to maturing and new Catholics, but they also include calls to us as members of the faith to renew our baptismal vows so that we too can remember our membership in the Church.
As we embrace our “new” church members, we can also remember to give ourselves that chance to start again, to rejoin and re-engage in our faith.
A mark of a vibrant community is how it welcomes others. I hope this Lent we can work hard and with intent  to enhance the way we welcome people to our parishes and in how inviting we are in encouraging them to share their gifts in service of others.

This week, try to take time to stop and listen to God’s welcoming to you:

O God, all that I am and all that I have is from you. You have given me my gifts of body and soul. You have numbered me among your favored children. You have showered me with countless graces and blessings. From all eternity you have thought of me and loved me. How shall I ever love you in return?

And now in your merciful goodness you are coming into my soul to unite yourself with me. You came into the world for love of people, but now you are coming from the altar for love of me. You are coming to fill me heart with your holy love, my Creator, my Redeemer, my Sanctifier, my God.

O Jesus, I want to return this love. I want to love you with all the powers of my soul. I want to belong only to you, to consecrate myself to you alone. Jesus, let me live with you.

 

Remembering Padre Kino
On Sunday we celebrated Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral to  commemorate not only the anniversary of Padre Kino's death on March 15, but also this year's 325th anniversary of his entrada, or arrival into the Pimeria Alta and the founding of his mission headquarters of  Nuestra Senora de los Dolores.

My thanks to Father Christopher Corbally, S.J., my concelebrant at Mass, and to the Kino Heritage Society.  We continue to pray that Kino will be canonized in the future.

Monday Meetings
Today we will have a meeting of the Sexual Misconduct Review Board, Followed by our Diocesan Presbyteral Council.

The Presbyterial Council meeting will review the successes of the Diocesan Ministry Conference and also of the Catholic Relief Service’s annual Operation Rice Bowl.

Other discussions will include an update on Catholic schools and on new ways to participate in the Catholic Tuition Support Organization, CTSO. I will give the council updates on the most recent statements by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) about the Federal Health and Human Services mandate, as well discuss the developing plans for my upcoming Ad Limina visit to Rome.

Groundbreaking
On Wednesday I will be participating in groundbreaking ceremonies for a new chapel at St. Joseph’s Carondelet Hospital in Tucson. The new space will be a permanent home for the chapel, which over the years has been housed in one or another locations in the hospital. 

Thanks to Mr. Chuck Pettis and his committee that have worked tirelessly to make this chapel a reality. How often have I heard that people want a chapel where they can go and pray while being in the hospital or for a loved one in the hospital. This beautiful place will provide comfort and peace for many.

Confirmations
I will be performing confirmations at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish on Saturday morning.

Papal Visit
Pope Benedict XVI this week will begin a pilgrimage to Mexico and to Cuba. This is Pope Benedict's first visit to Mexico. Pope John Paul II made a number of trips during his pontificate. Pope Benedict will be visiting Guanajuato, Mexico, where he will be welcomed by many. Mexico is so Catholic a country. The people are thrilled when there is a chance to welcome the Holy Father.

From Mexico the Pope will travel to Santiago, Cuba to celebrate the feast of La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre. It is a fascinating story of how a statue of Mary was found floating in the sea by a fishing boat during a great storm.  The story continues that as the boat came upon the statue, the storm subsided.  In this way, the Holy Mother became the patroness of Cuba.

From Santiago, the Pope will travel to Havana where he will celebrate Mass and mingle with the people. He has described himself as a "pilgrim of charity" coming to this land to bring the compassion and concern of Christ to a people who have suffered greatly.

It will be my honor to join three other bishops from the United States as the official United States Delegation for the visit. While in Cuba I hope to see the great work being done there by Catholic Relief Services in conjunction with Caritas Cuba.

I will share some thoughts on the journey with all of you as soon as I can.