May 1, 2006 May 8, 2006 May 15, 2006 May 22, 2006

Vol. 4, No. 6
May 1, 2006

As many demonstrate their concern today for immigrants and the need for comprehensive reform of our nation's immigration system, we are encouraged to demonstrate our concern as Catholics today through prayer, through education and by contacting our representatives in Congress.

I endorse these suggestions for today from Bishop Gerald Barnes, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration:

Make today a teaching and learning opportunity. There are excellent resources available at under "Parishes."

Contact your representatives in Congress to communicate your support for comprehensive immigration reform. You can send an e-mail message to your congressman or senator through  

Mark the beginning of the hour of the Angelus at 6 p.m. today by saying the prayer below. (The prayer can be downloaded in English and Spanish from under "May 1st Suggested Activities." A link to this prayer is on our diocesan Web site, joining the links to our diocesan Prayers for Justice and Dignity for Migrants.) Parishes are encouraged to ring their bells at that time.

Heavenly Father,
help us to follow the example of good Saint Joseph,
who in obedience to your word,
fled to Egypt with the Blessed Virgin Mary
to protect your only-begotten Son.

We give you thanks, Lord,
for those who welcomed and nurtured our forebears
when first they came to this land,
filled with hope, and longing for freedom.

In these trying days,
fill our hearts with compassion
and our minds with a hunger for your truth
as we seek to discern your holy will.

Hear our prayers for the struggling immigrant,
hiding in the shadows, while giving of their labor,
for those who seek to escape the grinding poverty of their native land
and for nations who struggle to employ and feed and care for their citizens.

Hear our prayers for the border guard, who works to keep us safe,
and for the legislator, who seeks truth and justice and the right.
When we are tempted by selfishness,
give us a full measure of your compassion.

When we are tempted by hate,
purify us with your love.
When we are tempted to deceit,
give us an unfailing love of justice
When we are moved by self-interest,
give us the grace to do your will
When we struggle in the darkness,
show us the way.

Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Immaculate,
our patroness, our refuge, and our strength,
guard us, protect us, and give us the grace of your truth,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

1. "Save Darfur" -- The U.S. Catholic Bishops have joined with the leaders of other faith communities in appealing to President Bush and the Congress to take quick action to end the terrible suffering in Darfur, the Sudan.

Bishop Thomas Wenski, Bishop of Orlando and chairman of the Committee on International Policy of the USCCB, writing in support of yesterday's Save Darfur Rally in Washington, said, "Our country can and must do more, much more, to defend and protect innocent civilians in Darfur. Anything less would be unworthy of us as a people committed to human life and dignity."

The USCCB has joined the Save Darfur Coalition and is urging Catholics to participate in the "Million Voices for Darfur Campaign." There is more information available at

2. Mary's Month -- This is Mary's Month, a month rich in devotions to our Blessed Mother, Certainly, with the great concerns we have for people suffering from injustices and war, we do seek Her intercession. 

There are some outstanding resources about Mary and the traditions associated with Her month at "The Mary Page" of the University of Dayton ( If you click on the "About Mary" link and then click on the "Marian Customs" link, you can find out under "Mary's Flowers" why the month of May came to be associated with Mary.

There will be a special presentation on "Mary in the Islamic and Catholic Traditions" at 7 p.m. this Wednesday at Our Mother of Sorrows Church in Tucson. The presentation will explore some of the surprising commonalities about Mary in Islam and Catholicism. Guest presenter representing the Islamic perspective will be Na'eem Abdul Wali (Gary Edwards) of the Al-Kawthar Institute in Tucson, and the Catholic presenter will be Father Robert Gonzales of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Tucson. This presentation is free to the public, and your presence is most welcome at this effort toward peaceful dialogue, mutual respect and understanding between Catholics and Muslims. 

3. Spiritual Renewal Conference for U.S. Army Chaplains -- This last of three retreats I have presented for the Archdiocese of the Military Services U.S.A. was held last week at the Military Center in Garmisch, Germany, and was attended by Army chaplains stationed throughout Europe, including Germany, Italy, Kosovo, as well as the Sinai. Also attending were several chaplains who recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. These priests prayed continually for our Armed Forces, and they related stories of the deep faith of those they are privileged to serve. We also prayed often for an end to the war and the coming of peace. At the Center where the retreat was held, there were a number of service men and women on leave from Iraq, some reuniting with their families for their leaves. You realize how young many of these soldiers are and the worry it must be for their parents and loved ones here in the States. 

4. Goal! -- Our Annual Catholic Appeal has reached and exceeded its $3.15 million goal in pledges for this year's campaign!

The latest report (available at shows pledges totaling more than $3.28 million. In addition, more than half of our parishes have met or exceeded their goals. This is the earliest in the 40-plus years of the Appeal that the goal in pledges has been reached. 

The leadership of our pastors and the generosity of our parishioners are indeed evidence that  "Remarkable wonders are done through you!"

Even as we are so encouraged by the results to date, I emphasize that they are indeed "results to date" and that the campaign continues. The follow-up phase of the campaign is now underway, and I hope our parishes will make every effort to encourage those who have not yet made a pledge to do so. 

5. Catholic Foundation 2006 Cornerstone Gala -- With 490 people in attendance, this year's Gala, the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson celebrated its 25th anniversary at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort in Tucson on the evening of Friday, April 20. Archbishop Timothy Dolan of Milwaukee was the guest speaker. It was wonderful to see so many of our winter visitors from Wisconsin and elsewhere at the dinner. I am grateful to Bill Bowen and Ann Charles, who co-chaired the event, and the entire Gala committee for planning such an enjoyable evening.  
One of the highlights of the evening was the induction of two new Honorary Board Members, Bishop Francis J. Green and Bishop Manuel D. Moreno, in a lasting tribute to their contributions in helping to establish and grow the Catholic Foundation.
As part of the celebration, the Foundation printed a commemorative book highlighting the past 25 years. The book features a beautiful original watercolor of St. Augustine Cathedral by artist Susan Imwalle. Bruno Dispoto and his committee did a magnificent job in presenting all of the contributions the Catholic Foundation has made to the Diocese over the years.
Tomorrow, I will be meeting with the Board of Directors of the Catholic Foundation for the final board meeting of the fiscal year. The board meets five times a year, with several committee meetings in between. We will be approving next year's budget at the meeting.

6. Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries Board Meeting -- The Board is meeting this morning, and on this feast day of St. Joseph the Worker, we will express our appreciation in prayer for the staff of the Cemeteries in administration, family services and grounds keeping who are so dedicated to the sacred mission they carry out. The Board also will receive an update on the Cemeteries' outreach program to parishioners that provides information to our families about the importance of pre-planning funeral and burial arrangements.

7. Diocesan Finance Council Meeting -- The Council meets tomorrow here at the Pastoral Center, and I look forward to welcoming two new members. They are John Lauer of St. Pius X Parish in Tucson and Richard Van Egeren Santa Catalina Parish in Catalina. 

8. Welcome to Suzanne Longoria -- We here at the Pastoral Center are very happy to welcome Suzanne to her new position as Human Resource and Benefits Assistant.

Suzanne is a native Tucsonan, a graduate of Sacred Heart Parochial School and Salpointe Catholic High School and is a parishioner at St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Parish, where she serves as a Eucharistic Minister and lector. She also has family connections to our Diocese and to St. Augustine Cathedral. Her great grandfather, Juan G. Longoria, was an artist who worked on the Cathedral under the direction of Bishop Gercke. Her dad, Deacon Leo Longoria, served at the Cathedral under Msgr. Timmerman and Father Rosetti.

9. Pulpit & Pew Project Meeting -- I will be in Indianapolis this Wednesday and Thursday for the final report meeting of the Pulpit & Pew Project in which I have been participating as a member of the "Church Leaders Group."

Pulpit & Pew is an interdenominational project under the sponsorship of the Duke Unviersity Divinity School and the Lily Foundation that seeks to strengthen the quality of pastoral leadership (clergy and lay) in churches, parishes and other faith communities.

Our group of ecumenical church leaders has been assisting the Project's staff in identifying key issues regarding pastoral leadership in connection with 20 research projects. There is more information about the project at

10. Pope John Paul II Youth Leadership Awards -- More than 50 high school students from 21 parishes throughout our Diocese will be recognized for outstanding leadership this Saturday evening at the Pope John Paul II Youth Leadership Awards Banquet and Presentation. Following the private banquet, a special prayer service and presentation of awards will take place at 7:30 p.m. in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Tucson. All are invited to join us in affirming and celebrating these outstanding young Catholics.

This is the second annual recognition evening. Each recipient will receive a medallion recognizing his or her contribution in liturgy, catechetics, service and other ministries of their parish. The John Paul II Award medallion reflects the love and esteem the late Holy Father had for young people. His World Youth Days, continuing under Pope Benedict XVI, have drawn millions of young people and given them a sense of their importance in the Church.

11. "Escuela de la Frontera" -- The spring issue of "Teaching Tolerance Magazine," published by Southern Poverty Law Center, includes "Escuela de la Frontera (Border School)," written by Carrie Killman. This well-written profile of Lourdes Catholic School in Nogales illustrates how "A small Catholic school and its students grapple with life and learning in the shadow of two nations." You can read the article on-line at

12. "Jesus Decoded" -- We will be sending out bulletin announcements to parishes this week about "Jesus Decoded," the educational effort by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Communications Campaign that provides resources for Catholics about the movie, "The Da Vinci Code."

In addition to the special Web site at, the Catholic Communication Campaign has produced "Jesus Decoded," an hour-long documentary that presents clear and accurate information about the person of Jesus, his disciples and the formation of the books included in the official canon of the Bible.

The documentary is being offered to NBC stations for broadcast on the weekend of May 19-20. A programming official at KVOA-TV, the NBC affiliate in Tucson, last week said a decision had not been made about carrying the special program. I encourage calls to the station at 792-2270 or e-mail ("Contact Us" at to let the management know that you would like to see the documentary.

Another Catholic resource that responds to the inaccuracies in the "Da Vinci Code" novel is "The Truth About Jesus" feature from American Catholic at

13. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- Father Robert C. Foster, C.S.V., who died last week in Nevada. Father Foster served at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson in 1987 and was a chaplain at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tucson from 1987 until his retirement in 1997. The funeral Mass will be held tomorrow at the Victorian Province Center in Arlington Heights, Texas.

Vol. 4, No. 7
May 8, 2006

"At least 10 quality candidates who will enter the seminary for the Diocese of Tucson within the next year."

That is the ambitious goal for our Vocation Promoters, a newly formed group of priests who will work with Father Miguel Mariano, diocesan Director of Vocations, to bring a new level of intensity to our efforts to identify, invite, encourage, recruit and support candidates for the priesthood.

The priests represent each of the 11 vicariates, and they will serve as Associate Vocation Directors to raise consciousness about vocations and to help promote diocesan vocation programs in their vicariates.

The Vocation Promoters are: Father Bardo Antuñez, Pinal West; Father Manuel Fragozo, Yuma-La Paz; Father Ariel Lustan, Graham-Greenlee; Father Virgilio Tabo, Pima East; Father John Arnold, Pima Central; Father Alonzo Garcia, Pima South; Father Edgar Magana, O.F.M., Pima West; Father Barolome Vasquez Johnston, O.S.B., Cochise; Father Frank Cady, Pima North; Father Jay Luczak, Gial-Pinal; and Father Jose Manuel Padilla, Santa Cruz.

Parish promotion of vocations is very important, so I am grateful to our parishes for their cooperation in publicizing the activities and events of our Vocations Office. The Office recently sent out a brochure and bulletin announcement about the June 23-25 vocations retreat at Holy Trinity Monastery in St. David. Information about the retreat is available at

We welcome this week Father Ray Webb, Academic Dean and Internship Director at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois, who is visiting seminarian interns this week. He will be traveling the Diocese as he visits Emilio Chapa at San Felipe in Nogales, Jeff Zimmerman at St. Anthony in Casa Grande, Ricky Ordonez at Our Lady of Lourdes in Benson and Ed Lucero at Sts. Peter and Paul in Tucson. I am sure he will be pleased by how these seminarians have been welcomed at the parishes and by the work that they are doing in these communities. A three-month internship is required by the seminary program and is an important part of the seminarians preparation.

1. Priest Personnel Announcements -- Father Tom Millane announced this past weekend that he had submitted his resignation for retirement as pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson effective July 1. Father Tom is the founding pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. He has done so much to build this vibrant community of faith from its humble beginnings -- starting in the back of his car -- to the marvelous parish it has become. I am deeply grateful for Father Tom's leadership and dedication. He will continue as pastor emeritus. I will be meeting with the staff of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton on Tuesday, May 30, to hear their observations about the needs of the parish and what they are looking for in a new pastor. I will hold an open meeting with parishioners on Friday, June 2, at 7:30 p.m. to hear their reflections on those same topics.

Father Eduardo Lopez, who has been serving as parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Parish in Nogales will begin service on July 1 as parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma. Father Jose Manuel Padilla will leave St. Francis of Assisi in Yuma to serve as parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Parish in Nogales effective July 1.

2. Pulpit & Pew Follow-up -- I was among the 200 clergy from 20 denominations who gathered last week in Indianapolis to reflect on the findings of the Pulpit & Pew Project, which is sponsored by the Lily Foundation and guided by the Duke University School of Divinity.

Several themes were identified in the research that need further attention, including calling young people to serve in ministry, how to live the well-lived life as a minister, health concerns of ministers (obesity and stress), the economics of ministry, evaluation and placement of ministers and the first years of ministry and their challenge. There was a great deal of discussion of Dr. Jackson Carroll's (primary researcher out of Duke University) report, "God's Potters." I hope we can reflect on some of the research findings and develop ways to respond to the concerns. Among the issues that seem to discourage priests in their ministry are loneliness and lack of appreciation, issues that we need to address.
What is striking is the similarity of issues among the various denominations that were present. While at some points in the history of ministry in our country Catholic and mainline Protestant issues have been very different, today the concerns are quite similar.
I am sure there will be some follow up to these discussions. I hope they can be helpful to our Diocese in assisting us to find ways to affirm and support all those who are in ministry -- priests, deacons, religious and laity.

Information on the Pulpit & Pew Project is available at

3. End of the School Year Masses and Graduations
-- With the school year ending, I will be celebrating Mass and participating in graduations in the coming weeks at our Catholic Schools across the Diocese. This week, I will be celebrating Mass tomorrow morning at Santa Cruz School in Tucson and on Wednesday morning at St. Ambrose Parish. Friday evening, I will celebrate Mass at Lourdes Catholic High School in Nogales. I will have the honor of handing diplomas to the graduates after Mass.

My visit to St. Ambrose School on Wednesday will include the blessing of the statute of St. Ambrose that is outside the church. I also look forward to seeing the newly installed windows in the church, windows that Father John Arnold, pastor, tells me represent the sacrifice and dedication of parishioners in a small Pennsylvania coal mining community:

"Ten of a planned 16 windows have been installed in the church. These 10 windows were originally fabricated in the late 1940s and installed in St. Casimir Mission in Keisterville, Pennsylvania, a small company town built on a coal mine. The parishioners were mainly miners paid in company scrip. What money they saved went in part to put this glass into St. Casimir. I spoke to their pastor, Fr. Karenbauer, who said that these windows were the nicest thing in that little town. When the mine went belly up, the company left the town. The Diocese of Greensburg closed the mission (in 1994) and the windows went into storage. Some time later, we bought them through a middleman.

"St. Ambrose schoolchildren, graduates of the school and parents funded the St. Anne and St. Mary window. The other windows were funded by individual parishioners, groups of parishioners, Knights of Columbus and Catholic lawyers. The windows to be installed in the choir loft will contain all the names of the original sponsors from St. Casimir, and typical of the forties, the sponsors include various clubs and organizations of St. Casimir."

When the installation of the windows is complete, I look forward to gathering with the St. Ambrose parish community to bless them.

4. Redemptorist Denver Province Chapter Meeting -- I will be celebrating Mass tomorrow with Redemptorists at their Denver Province Chapter meeting at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks.

The meeting is being attended by 115 Redemptorists from the U.S., Thailand, Brazil and Nigeria. I look forward to sharing my reflection on the ministry of the Redemptorists in the Diocese and in particular how they serve the Diocese through the Renewal Center. 
I asked Father Tom Santa, C.Ss.R., director of the Center, for an update on things are progressing following last October's fire, and here is his report: "The Center is fast approaching completion of the renovation and construction project. All of the buildings that were part of the original plan have been completed and occupancy permits have been secured. We are still working on the dining room, kitchen and Saguaro meeting room building that was destroyed in the fire last year, but we look forward to completion of that building by August. There are no permit problems or any other obstacle that we need to concern ourselves with. All of this means that in September we will be able to have our first retreat year of programs, retreats and educational opportunities without having to tolerate construction noise and inconvenience for the first time in 27 months. I cannot begin to tell you how pleased we are to have the completion so close at hand."

5. Confirmations -- From last Friday through this coming Thursday, I will have visited eight parishes to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Easter Season is a traditional time for Confirmations throughout the Diocese. Each year, thousands of young people are fully initiated into the Church through the gifts of the Spirit in the sacrament of Confirmation. These post-Easter Confirmations are a continuation of the joy we experience at the Easter Vigil when we welcome the new catechumens and candidates and anoint them with the Sacred Chrism consecrated on Monday of Holy Week at the Chrism Mass.

I am grateful to Bishop Moreno and Bishop Quinn for sharing in the joy of confirming our young people, and to Father Van Wagner, Vicar General, for helping out as well. 

6. Visit to Death Row -- Deacon Ed Sheffer will accompany me this Wednesday on a visit to the death row unit at the Arizona State Prison in Florence where I will administer the Sacraments of Initiation for one of the inmates. Deacon Ed, who has been ministering on death row the past few years, wrote about this inmate in an article for The New Vision last December.

We are grateful to the Deputy Warden at SMU II for facilitating this visit and for arranging the presence of four other death row inmates at the Mass. I also thank Jennifer Schneider and her co-workers at the Federal Defenders Office - Habeus Corpus Unit for their significant role in supporting this inmate on his path to God.

7. Arizona Catholic Conference Meeting -- The Arizona Catholic Conference, the public policy agency representing the three Roman Catholic Bishops in Arizona, will meet this Friday here at the Pastoral Center. Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix, Bishop Donald Pelotte, S.S.S., of the Diocese of Gallup, and I will receive update on legislative matters from ACC executive director Ron Johnson. We also will discuss the many potential measures that may appear on the ballot this fall. Representatives from the school tuition organizations of the Diocese of Phoenix and Diocese of Tucson will present their collaborative efforts regarding the State's new corporate tuition tax credit law.

8. "Inspire by Example" -- Ernie Lujan, a member of Santa Cruz Parish in Tucson, was recognized the week before last by the Arizona Attorney General's Office during National Volunteer Week, which had the theme "Inspire by Example." The theme reflects the
power that volunteers have to inspire the people they help and to inspire others to serve.

Ernie was recognized for his volunteer work at the Attorney General's satellite office at Casa San Juan, the migrant ministry and outreach center at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Tucson. That office is one of several across the State that assist undocumented persons to communicate civil rights and fraud complaints.

9. Annual Catholic Appeal -- Thanks to the outstanding leadership of our pastors and our Annual Catholic Appeal parish lay leaders more than half our parishes are now over goal in pledges to the ACA. Total pledges to date have reached more than $3.3 million (106% of goal).  
I have asked pastors of the parishes that have not yet reached goal to make one additional follow up with parishioners who have not yet participated in this year's Appeal. This campaign concludes in June, so I remain hopeful that every parish will reach its goal. 

The weekly report on pledges is available at

10. Father Al a Grandfather Again! -- Father Al Schifano, our Moderator of the Curia, was very proud and happy to share with us that Jason Aled James, his fourth grandchild, was born April 29 in North Carolina. Mother Allyson, father Rick and baby Jason all are fine and are enjoying a visit from Father "Grandpa" Al this week.

11. John Paul II Youth Leadership Awards -- Sixty-five teens from 24 parishes and three Catholic Schools in our Diocese received John Paul II Youth Leadership Award medallions at the second annual awards dinner and presentation event Saturday night at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson. Selected by their parish youth ministers, pastors and teachers, the teens were recognized for their exemplary leadership and commitment in the areas of Catechesis and Evangelization, Community Service and Social Justice and Prayer and Worship.

After a delicious dinner served to the teen leaders, their families and friends, we gathered in the church for a ceremony of recognition for the contributions to their parishes made by these young people. I could see the pride their parents felt in the recognition of their son or daughter and rightly so. We hear so often about the problems created by teens; well, these young people are doing much good in the community, giving of themselves to serve others. I hope they will treasure the medallion with the image of Pope John Paul, who held a great love and regard for young people. His example inspired many young people to get more involved in the church.
I was especially grateful that there were teens all the way from Yuma, Douglas, San Manuel, Hayden and Kearney, as well as communities in Tucson and the immediate area.
I was pleased to see some of our priests, deacons and sisters, including Father Dan McLaughlin, S.T., Father Chris Orndorff, Father James Aboyi, V.C., Father Mike Shay, S.D.S., Father Frank Cady, Deacon Nieves Hernandez, Deacon Russ Kingery, Deacon Fran Sherlock, Sister Carla Riach, O.S.F., Sister Dominic Pacheco, I.H.M., and Sister Geraldine Brady, S.C., and also many of our youth ministers. Their presence made the evening even more special.
I am grateful to Mike Berger, Michelle Benzenhoefer, Tere Scully, Maureen Kingery and all the committee for a fantastic evening. 
I hope that next year even more of our parishes will take the opportunity to have some of their young people recognized for their service to the parish.

The teens receiving awards were:

For Leadership in Catechesis and Evangelization: Cindy Acuña, San Martin de Porres, Sahuarita; Andres Anderson, Yuma Catholic High School; Kyle Lee Antle, St. Thomas the Apostle, Tucson; Paula Castillo. Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Tucson; Sara Castillo, St. Luke Parish, Douglas; Jo Ray Chacon, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish, Tucson; Arianna DeLaRee, Santa Catalina Parish, Catalina; Nicolas Enriquez, Salpointe Catholic High School; Connie Gallardo, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Tucson; Araceli Gallego Most Holy Trinity Parish, Tucson; Candelaria Horton, Sacred Heart Parish, Tucson; Gina Jurek, St. Andrew the Apostle Parish, Sierra Vista; Veronica Lopez, San Felipe de Jesus Parish, Nogales; Angela Lopez, Infant Jesus of Prague Parish, Kearny; Victor Martinez, Most Holy Trinity Parish, Tucson; Nicole Elizabeth Marucci, St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Casa Grande; Guadalupe Mejia, Our Lady Queen of All Saints Parish, Tucson; Sarah Norsworthy, St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish, Tucson; Cecilia Padilla, St. Mary of the Desert Mission, Three Points; Antonietta Quesada, St. Joseph Parish, Hayden; Regina Scherzinger, St. Mark the Evangelist Parish, Tucson; Monica Yanine, St. Francis de Sales Parish, Tucson; Victoria Yslas, St. Joseph Parish, Tucson.

For Leadership in Community Service and Social Justice: Regina A. Aguirre, St. Joseph Parish, Hayden; Francisco Javier Andrade, San Felipe de Jesus Parish, Nogales; Lauren Arnold, St. Augustine Catholic High School; Nathania Borrego, St. Luke Parish, Douglas; Herman Diarte, St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish, Tucson; Rachael Dickson, St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Tucson; Shawna Dominguez, Santa Catalina Parish, Catalina; Ashley Duarte, Salpointe Catholic High School; Andrew Foersehler, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Tucson; Damrice Galindo, Yuma Catholic High School; Rose Hooten, Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Tucson; Michelle Leon, St. Andrew the Apostle Parish, Sierra Vista; Mark Lohr, Most Holy Trinity Parish, Tucson; Guadalupe Mejia, Our Lady Queen of All Saints Parish, Tucson; Cara Meza, Infant Jesus of Prague Parish, Kearny; Kirsten Peregrina, St. Francis de Sales Parish, Tucson; Justice Joseph Poore, Sacred Heart Parish, Tucson; Lauren Redman, St. Augustine Catholic High School; Merejildo Rivera, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish, Tucson; James Shreve, Sacred Heart Parish, Tucson; Monique Vasquez, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Tucson.

For Leadership in Prayer and Worship: Kayla Barnett, Salpointe Catholic High School; Amanda Berg, St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish, Tucson; Justin Byko, St. Augustine Catholic High School; Isaac Ryan Davis, St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Tucson; Stephani De La Cruz, St. Luke Parish, Douglas; Emily Ficoccoprile, St. Mark the Evangelist Parish, Tucson; David Garcia, St. Helen Mission, Oracle; Miguel Geonnotti, St. Mary of the Desert Mission, Three Points; Vicki Graves, Our Lady of the Mountains Parish, Sierra Vista; Chelsea Hodges, Yuma Catholic High School; Andrew Holick, St. Joseph Parish, Tucson; Candelaria Horton, Sacred Heart Parish, Tucson; Evan Madarang, Our Lady of the Mountains Parish, Sierra Vista; Chelsea Madarang, Our Lady of the Mountains Parish, Sierra Vista; Jared McDonald, St. Francis de Sales Parish, Tucson; Guadalupe Mejia, Our Lady Queen of All Saints Parish, Tucson; Jose Daniel Mendoza, San Felipe de Jesus Parish, Nogales; Elizabeth Montana, Mission San Xavier del Bac Parish, Tucson; Joseph Poore, Sacred Heart Parish, Tucson; Alexandra Rivas, Mission San Xavier del Bac Parish, Tucson; James Shreve, Sacred Heart Parish, Tucson; Billi Jo Skubas, Santa Catalina Parish, Tucson;  Christopher John Slade, St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Casa Grande; Daniel Valencia, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish, Tucson; Zachary White, St. Bartholomew Parish, San Manuel; Matthew Zacharias, Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Tucson.

12. Open Enrollment Reminder -- Packets of information for this year's open enrollment meetings for benefits have been sent to all parishes, schools and Church Affiliated Organizations. Please encourage your eligible employees to attend one of the meetings. A schedule of the meetings is available on the diocesan website under "Open Enrollment Meetings."

13. Easter in Iraq
-- I want to share an experience that we here at the Pastoral Center had during Lent and Easter, and I have asked Judy Richins, secretary to Chancellor June Kellen, to tell you about it.

"It all started with an e-mail request that we received here at the Diocese during Lent from U.S. Army Catholic Chaplain Peter Sousa at the hospital at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq. The request was for a baptismal certificate for Specialist Felisa Vega who is from Tucson. She is with a Military Police unit and works at the prison. Father Peter said that even with her busy schedule this past year, Felisa had been preparing to be received into full communion with the Church at Easter, thus the need for her baptismal certificate.

"After obtaining the certificate for Father Sousa and Felisa, I e-mailed Father and asked if the troops might enjoy a few Easter cards. His response was that since they have been there since last June it would be a real boost to their morale to get notes and cards of support and prayers. This was in the middle of Lent when Bishop Kicanas was quoting Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical about 'a heart that sees where love is needed and acts accordingly.' An invitation to the staff here at the Pastoral Center brought an outpouring of love from my co-workers in Christ who wrote about 50 cards.

"In his e-mail acknowledging that we were sending Felisa's baptismal certificate, Father Peter mentioned that because he was in Iraq he would miss Bishop Kicanas' presentation to Army Chaplains in Germany after Easter. Bishop Kicanas wrote a special Easter Card to Father Sousa that was included in the cards (and Easter candies) that we sent to the troops.

"When I arrived at work on Monday, May 1, this e-mail from Father Sousa was waiting for me:

Dear Judy and all at the diocesan offices,
Sorry for not getting back to you earlier, but thank you and all at the Diocese of Tucson for your Easter greetings and goodies. Thanks especially for the cards for Felisa. We received them on Easter Sunday itself, the day our mail came in from the main camp at Baghdad. Everyone really appreciated the thoughtful messages and the prayers that so many of you are offering for us and all the military here in Iraq. I especially appreciated the card from the Bishop. Thanks very much. It made my Easter special. I hope and pray his time with the military chaplains in Germany went well. God bless you all for your prayers and help.
In the Redeemer,
Father Peter

"His e-mail included some photos of the Easter Vigil celebrated at Abu Ghraib Prison. Here, Felisa and two other candidates renew their baptismal promises.

"It was a awesome experience communicating with Father Peter and to those so far from home, feeling what it is like to extend the hand of Christ."

Thank you, Judy, for facilitating our response to Father Peter, and thank you for sharing this story.

14. Happy Mothers' Day
-- I thank American Catholic.Org for sharing this prayer on their Web site:

"Mother's Day Prayer"
by Gaynell Bordes Cronin

I love you, Mom. I love your aliveness,
your joy in living, your understanding,
your giving.

And what I love best of all
is that you love me.

God of all Mothers,
thank you for my mom!

-- From the book "Friend Jesus: Prayers for Children"

I will be spending this Sunday with my Mom in Chicago.

Vol. 4, No. 8
May 15, 2006

I am happy to share with you the news of two appointments.

First, I have appointed Father Fred Tillotson, O.Carm., as administrator of St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish in Tucson, effective July 1.

My letter announcing the appointment was communicated over the weekend to the St. Cyril community. In the letter, I acknowledged and thanked the Paulist Fathers for their generous service and dedicated ministry to the parish these past 32 years.

The Carmelite Fathers and Brothers with the Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary already very generously serve our Diocese at Sacred Heart Parish in Tucson and at Salpointe Catholic High School. Father Fred will continue to serve at Salpointe as Head of School. I told the parish in my letter that while it will be a tall order for Father Fred to give of himself both to St. Cyril and Salpointe, I am confident that with the help of God and the Faithful of St. Cyril he is most capable of doing so.

I thank Father Fred for his willingness to work with the parish to continue its vibrant ministries. I greatly appreciate the wonderful cooperation and understanding of Father Jack Welch, O.Carm., Prior Provincial, in helping to make this appointment possible.

Father Fred will be in residence at St. Cyril and be assisted by priests from the Carmelite community at Salpointe.

Second, I have accepted the selection by Father Welch of Father Patrick Gavin, O.Carm., to serve as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Tucson, and have appointed Father Gavin pastor, effective July 1, when Father Joseph McGowan, O.Carm., who has been serving as pastor of Sacred Heart for the past 10 years, retires.

I am grateful for Father Joe's service among us. He has a great love of the community at Sacred Heart and he has served with distinction and dedication. We pray his retirement will be filled with joy and with a sense of all that God has done for others through him.

Father Michael Higgins, O.Carm., who has served as parochial vicar at Sacred Heart, will be in residence at the Carmelite Priory in Tucson. I am glad he will remain among us, although he will longer be on the staff of Sacred Heart.

1. Immigration Reform -- This is a very important week for efforts to reform our nation's immigration system. The U.S. Senate begins work to reach a compromise with the U.S. House of Representatives on legislation that could create an earned path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants in our country. Also, President Bush is to address the nation tonight about immigration.

Last week, leaders in the U.S. Senate were able to reach an agreement that revived the Senate immigration bill that seems to hold the most promise for comprehensive reform and that includes many of the elements advocated for by the U.S. Bishops.

Now the challenge will be for the Senate to negotiate with the House, which last year passed a bill that focused on harsh punishment for immigrants who are here illegally.

Let us continue to pray that our legislators in Washington and in Phoenix will be guided by justice and common sense as they address the critical need for reform of our nation's immigration laws.

2. Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform -- Even as we watch closely the developments in Washington, we continue planning for the implementation in our Diocese of "Justice for Immigrants," the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform.

Clearly, what the Congress is able to accomplish will affect the content and strategies of the campaign in our Diocese and dioceses across the nation.

For instance, if positive immigration reforms are achieved such as an earned pathway to citizenship and expansion of visa programs, there will be emphasis on how dioceses and Catholic organizations can help qualified immigrants obtain the benefits of those reforms.

We have scheduled a meeting this Thursday of our diocesan Justice for Immigrants Planning Committee at which we discuss the possible results of the efforts in Congress and how those results will affect implementation of the campaign in our Diocese.

3. Meeting of the Recently Ordained -- The quarterly meeting of the Recently Ordained (priests ordained within the last five years) will take place tomorrow and Wednesday at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks. I will be sharing with the priests my reflections on "Deus Caritas Est" ("God Is Love"), the first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI.

Also at this meeting, Tom Smith, director of the Annual Catholic Appeal, and Martin Camacho, executive director of the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson, will be presenting information on raising funds for parish projects and how to invite people to exercise stewardship of their resources.

Another presentation and discussion at the meeting will be on Youth and Young Adult Programs of the Diocese. Mike Berger, director of the diocesan Office of Catechesis, and Ruben Davalos, director of the diocesan Office of Evangelization and Hispanic Ministry, will offer some thoughts on what programs are available to parishes and what are some of the challenges that we need to address in ministry to youth and young adults.

4. First Annual Planning Meeting for Directors -- Time away to plan and to create is important for staff. This Friday, the directors of our offices and departments at the Pastoral Center will gather from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Tucson to accomplish several important goals: first, to build a stronger sense of teamwork; second, to identify what we are doing well and what challenges we face; third, to focus on several goals to coordinate and unify our effort on behalf of parishes and schools. David Kennon, a long-time educator in Tucson, will facilitate the day for us.
As you know, we have six diocesan priorities that still guide our efforts: restoring trust; reenergizing our priests and all who serve the church; renewing our parishes; reaching out to the littlest and weakest among us; re-garnering resources; and recruiting more vocations to ministry, especially to the priesthood and religious life.
We will consider how to prioritize our efforts and how to work together to enhance the service we render. I will reflect on the merits of the day in the next Monday Memo.

5. Recognition from Catholic Relief Services -- I am very pleased to share the recognition we have received from Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for our efforts on behalf of CRS.

Writing to me in his capacity as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop William Skylstad has acknowledged and thanked Joanne Welter, director of our Catholic Social Mission Office and diocesan CRS representative for her work on behalf of the annual CRS Collection. CRS has presented Joanne with a "Certificate of Recognition" for her "outstanding efforts to promote the Church's international solidarity and relief efforts through the Catholic Relief Services Collection.

Bishop Skylstad also asked me to convey heartfelt gratitude to the priests of our Diocese for their efforts to promote the CRS Collection in parishes. "Their commitment and generosity demonstrates genuine love and compassion for all who are helped by the collection," Bishop Skylstad wrote.

6. Hospital Ministry
-- I acknowledge and thank Father Bill Kohler (Padre Guillo), Catholic chaplain at Tucson Medical Center, Bishop Moreno and Deacon Don Fisher for their work and contributions in putting together interdenominational prayer booklets for Tucson Medical Center. These booklets, in English and Spanish, bring consolation to many people in times of sickness and suffering.

The chaplains, priests, deacons, Women Religious and Men and laity who minister in the hospitals within our Diocese to provide the sacraments and the comfort and peace of Christ to patients, families and staff are models for us in our diocesan priority of reaching out the littlest and weakest among us. I am grateful for their dedication and sacrifice.

7. Annual Catholic Appeal -- This week's progress report shows pledges of nearly $3.4 million to this year's campaign. More parishes than ever before -- 43 out of 74 -- have met or exceeded their goal. The report is available at

8. Knights of Columbus 99th Annual State Convention -- Members of the Knights of Columbus in Arizona will gather this weekend for their annual convention in Phoenix, and I look forward to being with the Knights on Saturday evening.

The Arizona State Council is the governing body for the Knights of Columbus in the jurisdiction of Arizona. There are more than 116 Councils in Arizona with nearly 13,000 members. State Deputy Michael Kingman is the chief executive officer for the State Council. Father Pat Crino, rector of St. Augustine Cathedral, is Chaplain for the Knights in our Diocese.

The first Knights Council in Arizona was Council #863 at St. Patrick Parish in Bisbee, established in 1904.

9. Graduation Masses and Ceremonies -- This Saturday, I will be celebrating Mass and participating in graduation ceremonies with the communities of Salpointe Catholic High School and Immaculate Heart of Mary in Tucson. These are occasions of great enthusiasm and joy each year, and we all share in the pride of the parents of our Catholic high school graduates for their children.

10. Honors for San Miguel High School Students -- Congratulations to Edward Sanchez, Adonis Trujillo and Je're Harmon of San Miguel High School in Tucson for their acceptance into this year's prestigious Cornell University CATALYST Program. 

The CATALYST Program gives 25 minority high school students from across the nation an opportunity to experience college life for a week during the summer, living in dorm rooms and working on engineering related projects under the supervision of Cornell professors and college students.

This is wonderful recognition of Edward, Adonis and Je're, who credited math teacher Robert Smith for nurturing their love of math. 

Their selection also is a great credit to San Miguel High School, which opened in 2004 as an option for low income students to obtain a college preparatory education. Tuition at San Miguel is off set by the unique Corporate Internship Program that places teams of students in entry-level professional environments.

11. Founder's Day at San Miguel High School -- Students, faculty and staff of San Miguel High School today are commemorating the proclamation by Pope Pius XII on this date in 1950 that named St. John Baptist de La Salle the patron saint of teachers.

I very much enjoyed reading the feature story in last Thursday's Arizona Daily Star by Andrea Rivera about San Miguel High School and the Lasallian tradition of Founder's Day. The story also gave some wonderful insight into the vocations of Brother Nick Gonzalez, F.S.C., principal, and Brother Tim Coldwell, F.S.C., teacher. You can read the story at

12. Visit to Death Row
– Last Wednesday, Deacon Ed Sheffer and I went to SMU-2, the maximum security section of the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence. It was my joy to celebrate Mass there and to baptize, confirm and give First Communion to a man on death row whom Deacon Ed had been preparing for some time to enter the Church. The Chaplain there told us this was a first in the history of the complex.
Four other death row inmates were present at the Mass. Like the man being welcomed into the faith, each was in a holding cell. They could not see each other, but I could see them and they could see me through the glass window of their cells. I went to each cell and placed my hand on the glass in greeting. Each responded by placing a hand against mine behind the glass. We sang. We prayed. We joined together despite the barriers that separated us.

After the homily, I put on a bullet proof vest over my vestment and with Deacon Ed went into the holding cell area to administer the Sacraments of Initiation. Through a small opening in the bars, I poured water on the man's head, saying, "I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." I anointed him with the Chrism as he became fully initiated into the Church. I held back my emotions as I could see his feelings and the humility with which he knelt to receive the sacraments.
Amazing grace! Not knowing this man or the crime for which he had been condemned to death, I knew that in God's eyes he was God's own child. I could only think of how I, too, am a sinner, grateful for God's mercy. How incredible is God's bountiful love that reaches even into austere, isolated and remote places to bring healing and comfort.
I brought Communion to the other men who were Catholic, passing from cell to cell and placing the Blessed Sacrament in their hands. These men have hardly any human contact day after day, but they received Christ, reaching a hand through the small opening in the cell door -- reaching for the Bread of Life -- and realizing for at least one moment the dignity that is theirs as a child of God. No one can change the wrong or harm they may have done, but we believe that Christ's body was broken and his blood poured out for them.
I am grateful to the Arizona Department of Corrections, the Warden of SMU-2 and the Chaplains who helped make this moment possible for a man whom someone commented never looked happier as he struggled to hold back tears.

Vol. 4, No. 9
May 22, 2006

Developments in the efforts to address the many complex issues of immigration continue apace nationally and here in Arizona.

The U.S. Senate is moving toward final action on immigration legislation. While the Senate bill faces further amendments and there is uncertainty as to how a compromise can be reached with the House, we continue to emphasize the need for comprehensive immigration reform that moves beyond border enforcement to include a guest worker program with worker rights guarantees, an earned pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented migrants living in the U.S. and an expedited reunification of families.

The U.S. Bishops have expressed consistently that only building walls or sending the military to the border will not resolve the situation. As we move into the summer months, we need to seek a way to end the deaths in our desert and to establish laws that better reflect the needs in our country and in neighboring countries. Yesterday's Arizona Daily Star editorial rightly challenged the proposal in the Senate bill to build walls along the border. Walls will not deter people who are desperately seeking a better life for themselves and their families. The real impetus for migration is poverty, and how we address that issue will affect the success or failure of efforts to address the immigration situation.
The continued failure of the Arizona Legislature to move beyond rhetoric and mean-spirited legislation is troubling. The present package being readied to send to the Governor's desk continues to include a criminal trespass provision, denial of immigrant access to adult education, childcare and college aid and a requirement for local law enforcement officers to assume responsibility for enforcing federal immigration laws.

I urge the Governor to veto this legislation in its present form. Our legislature would be much wiser to prod the Federal Government to enact comprehensive immigration policy change, for in the end a only comprehensive approach will adequately and effectively address the many complex issues involving illegal immigration into our country.

At last Thursday's meeting of our diocesan planning committee that is considering how best to implement the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform in our Diocese, we set the weekends of Nov. 12, 19 and 26 for "A Journey of Hope in the Company of Saints" to be offered to parishes. (This was the title of the pilot project last fall in seven parishes that invited parishioners to reflect on how the values of our Faith and Catholic Social Teaching relate to the immigration crisis.) I hope many will seize the opportunity after the November elections to discuss and reflect on these matters with their congregations.

1. Diocesan Directors' Planning Meeting -- Last Friday, all of the department directors of the Bishop Moreno Pastoral Center met at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Tucson for a day of planning and reflection. After a beautiful prayer led by Father Miguel Mariano and Sister Lois Paha, O.P., in which we processed from the beautiful day chapel at St. Thomas into our meeting space, we engaged in lively and helpful conversation.
The morning focused on identifying what we are doing well at the Pastoral Center and what are some of the challenges we face. We then reflected on the same questions focused on the Diocese as a whole. The morning concluded with breaking down into the administrative and pastoral departments of the Center to again identify what is going well and what needs more attention.
After lunch, we began to strategize how to address some of the concerns that surfaced. Several goals were established related to the Pastoral Center, including enhancing communication and use of technology, better utilization and organization of departments and support staff and a more focused and disciplined approach in offering our services to our parishes and schools.
On the diocesan level, we raised the issue of lack of resources, need for land and planning for growth, importance of training opportunities for pastors and staffs and increased efforts for recruiting people to serve the Church.
Among the strategies that were determined were a task force to study the issue of communication and technology and a task force to identify future staff needs and ways to better coordinate and utilize staff. We agreed that there is a need for department directors to get approval for any new program that will be offered to parishes.
We will be conducting a review of parishes to see what training needs would be most beneficial. In addition, we will provide training for parish pastoral councils and the members of the parish corporation board of directors and finance council. Further attention will be given to planning for the future, including planning for a capital campaign for the Diocese.
More information will be forthcoming after these suggestions and reflections are shared with the Presbyteral Council, the Finance Council and the Diocesan Pastoral Council.

2. Meetings of the Diocesan Finance Council and Presbyteral Council
-- Both councils meet today at the Pastoral Center. The Finance Council will be reviewing the preliminary diocesan budget for the next fiscal year. Items on the agenda for the Presbyteral Council include: a report on the preliminary diocesan budget from Father Al Schifano; a report from Dr. Paul Duckro, director of the Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, and John Shaheen, diocesan Property and Insurance Manager, on child safety guidelines for parish sponsored field trips; and a discussion on the diocesan directory for the next fiscal year.

Also at the Presbyteral Council meeting, we will welcome Father John Arnold as the new vicar forane for Pima Central. He replaces Msgr. Bob Fuller, whose service in that position has been much appreciated. And, we will welcome as well Msgr. Tom Cahalane, who has been reelected as vicar forane for the Pima East Vicariate.

3. Safe Environment Program -- As we come to the end of the program and academic year at our parishes and schools and enter the summer vacation season, we can reflect on all that has been accomplished these past months.

One area for that reflection would be our diocesan Safe Environment Program. Much has been accomplished, much that we can feel good about, and I am grateful to all of you for helping to implement the Safe Environment Program and for developing and implementing your parish and school plans for compliance with the Safe Environment Program.

Even though much has been accomplished, we continue to emphasize the critical importance of providing on-going education in child abuse prevention and awareness and on the requirements of the mandatory reporting law.

For example, tomorrow evening, Chancellor June Kellen begins a new round of Safe Environment Program education sessions for priests and deacons. Dr. Paul Duckro, director of the Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, will be speaking on the Code of Conduct as it applies to priests and deacons.

In addition, distribution is expected to begin for a new video that is an update for all clergy, religious, employees and volunteers about the Safe Environment Program. Our parishes and schools will use this video as part of the annual re-education required of all persons who serve in the Diocese of Tucson. I hope the video will provide a springboard for countless discussions about local plans for compliance and the role of all personnel in keeping children safe.

4. Sacred Heart School of Theology -- I am traveling to Hales Corners, Wisconsin, tomorrow for a meeting of the Board of Directors of Sacred Heart, which has as its primary mission the preparation of men of mature years and experience for the priesthood.

5. Catholic Media Convocation -- "The Sounds of the Future" is the theme of this year's convocation of the Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professionals and the Catholic Press Association of the U.S. and Canada, which is being held this week in Nashville. I am attending the convocation this Thursday in my capacity as chairman of the Communications Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and as honorary president of the Catholic Press Association. I am honored to the celebrant and homilist for the Convocation Mass on Thursday that will be celebrated at the Cathedral of the Incarnation. 

This is the second joint meeting of the Academy and Association. Attendees will be contemplating at the convocation how the world of communications is being transformed by the digital age and how they can work together more effectively to communicate the Gospel message to new audiences with new technologies.

6. Celebrations of Priesthood -- Two of our very well known and respected senior priests will be celebrating jubilee anniversaries of their ordinations this coming weekend.

Msgr. Arsenio Carrillo's 50th anniversary of priesthood will be celebrated this Friday and Saturday with joint concerts of Mariachi Cobre and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. on both evenings at the Tucson Convention Center Music Hall. The concerts are a benefit for the renovation and preservation of St. Augustine Cathedral's Placita and Hall, and tickets are still available through Ticket Master Outlets (520-321-1000) and at Robinson-May in the El Con and Tucson Malls. I am grateful to the organizers of the concerts and to Msgr. Carrillo for lending his name to this benefit. (The Placita and Hall will be dedicated later in honor of Msgr. Carrillo.) I will preside at the 5:30 p.m. Saturday Mass at which the Cathedral Parish community will celebrate Msgr. Carrillo's anniversary. I very much enjoyed reading Ann Denogean's column about Msgr. Carrillo in last Tuesday's Tucson Citizen and Carmen Duarte's story about him in today's Arizona Daily Star.

Father Roland Bedard, M.S., will be celebrating his 60th anniversary of ordination this Sunday with the Santa Catalina Parish community at Mass at 3 p.m. Father Roland tirelessly continues the beautiful ministry of reconciliation to which his order, the Missionaries of La Salalette, is dedicated.

We thank God for the vocations of these two exceptional priests who continue to give of themselves in retirement!

7. Yuma Catholic High School Champions -- Yuma Catholic celebrated its state championships in baseball and golf yesterday evening at a special event in the school gym. Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish and Episcopal Vicar for Yuma-La Paz Vicariate, believes the baseball state championship is the first ever to be won by a Yuma high school! Congratulations to the champs and to the Yuma Catholic Girls Track Team for its second place finish in the state championships.

The Yuma Catholic High Class of '06 has 91 students: 87 are planning on continuing their education, two are entering the military and on is entering the work force. The class has earned approximately $1.3 million in college scholarships. Yuma Catholic's graduation ceremonies are this Friday, and I thank Msgr. O'Keeffe for representing me.

Yuma Catholic is pleased to announce that it has been accredited by the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. The official word from the Western Catholic Education Association is expected to come in early June.

8. Graduation Ceremonies -- I was delighted last Saturday to share in the graduation liturgies for Salpointe and Immaculate Heart of Mary High Schools in Tucson. It was impressive to learn about what these members of the Class of 2006 have contributed in the course of the last four years. They have accomplished much, and I encouraged them to stay active in the life of the Church and to strive for greatness by staying close to the Lord.

9. Diocesan Pastoral Council -- The Council meets this Saturday at the Pastoral Center, and among the agenda items is an overview from Sister Lois Paha of the Office of Formation which she directs, a report from Karl Bierach, managing editor of The New Vision/La Nueva Visión, my reflection on goals for the DPC for the coming year and elections of the new DPC executive board members.

10. Annual Catholic Appeal -- As we near the conclusion of this year's Appeal (June 30 is the end date), I am grateful to the nearly 16,500 Catholic households that have participated in our most successful ever ACA. The goal this year is $3.15 million, and pledges to date have now reached $3.45 million. (Individual parish results at  

To date, 46 of our 74 parishes have reached or exceeded their goals, and I remain hopeful that remaining parishes will do the same. On Thursday of last week, I received a report that 49 of the 52 employees who work at the Bishop Moreno Pastoral Center made a donation this year, helping the Pastoral Center to exceed its $20,000 goal. 

11. Hearts and Hugs -- I am happy to share with you the beautiful card and artwork that I received last Thursday when I arrived at Immaculate Conception Parish in Ajo for Confirmations.

I thought Conrado did a great job of coloring all those hearts. See, a bishop's job is not all headaches. There is lots of affirmation!

I enjoyed a wonderful evening with Father Peter Nwachukwu, the people of Immaculate Conception Parish and the young people who were receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation.

12. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- Alice Smith, mother of Tom Smith, director of the Annual Catholic Appeal, died Saturday in Nebraska. Our thoughts are with Tom and his family at this time.

13. Memorial Day
-- I will preside at the Memorial Day Mass at Holy Hope Cemetery and Msgr. Tom Cahalane, pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson and vicar of the Pima East Vicariate, will preside at the Mass at Our Lady of the Desert Cemetery in All Faiths Memorial Park. These Masses, both to be celebrated at 8 a.m., help us to remember our beloved faithful departed, especially those men and women who died in service to our country.

14. May 29 through June 3 -- We won't issue a Monday Memo for next week because of the holiday, but I do want to share with you this look ahead:

Candidate Evaluations -- I will be meeting on Tuesday, May 30, with the staff of the Common Formation Program to review the self-evaluations of those who are preparing for the permanent diaconate and lay ecclesial ministry. We also will give our feedback on the readiness of each candidate to move forward. The process of discernment and preparation for ministry includes both self-evaluation and the evaluation by formators, since vocation is not only one's own sense of being called, but is also the call of the Church.

Meetings with Staff, Parish Community of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish -- I will be meeting next week in separate sessions with the staff (Tuesday, May 30) and parishioners (Friday, June 2) to hear from them about their hopes for the parish and the qualities they believe their new pastor should possess. These meetings are very helpful to me and to the Priest Personnel Board in discerning appointments to parishes.

National Lay Ministry Association Annual Conference -- I will be in Cleveland on Wednesday and Thursday of next week for the annual conference of the National Lay Ministry Association, the professional organization that supports, educates and advocates for lay ministers and promotes the development of lay ministry. Sister Lois Paha and Margaret Lordon of the Office of Formation will be attending from our Diocese.

I am honored to be giving a keynote address with the title of "Co-workers in the Vineyard -- a New Moment." I will talk about how "Co-workers in the Vineyard," the new document on Lay Ecclesial Ministry, will impact the recruitment, formation and work of lay ecclesial ministers. I served as chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee for Lay Ecclesial Ministry that developed the document.
Farewell to the Paulist Community -- The farewell dinner for the Paulist Community at St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish will be held on Friday evening of next week. The Paulists are preparing for the transition of the parish to administration by the Carmelite Community on July 1, with Father Fred Tillitson, O.Carm., as administrator. The St. Cyril Community will gather for a Mass of Thanksgiving and Farewell on Sunday, June 4.

Priesthood Ordination of Jesus Acuña  -- I will be traveling on Saturday, June 3, to Caborca, Sonora, where I will ordain Jesus Acuña to the priesthood for service to the Diocese of Tucson. The Mass will take place at 8 p.m. at Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Mission. This will be a joyous occasion for our Diocese. Father Jesus will celebrate Masses of Thanksgiving on Saturday, June 10, at 7 p.m. at St. Monica Parish in Tucson and on Sunday, June 11, at 1 p.m. at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Somerton.