May 5, 2008 May 12, 2008 May 19, 2008 May 27, 2008

Vol. 6, No. 8
May 5, 2008

Our first ever Encuentro Pastoral Diocesano (Diocesan Pastoral Gathering) was held on Saturday at the Tucson Expo Center. Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of the Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa in Honduras led this extraordinary day for nearly 1,500 people from all around the Diocese. His message was powerful, reminding us that only when we encounter Christ can we become missionary disciples intent on sharing the joy we have come to know in Him.
 
The Cardinal gave two reflections, each followed by a spirited discussion period. The first presentation, for adults, was on encountering Christ in a multicultural church. He emphasized the powerful experience of Aparcida, Brazil, this past year where the Church came together and reflected on the call we have to be missionary disciples.
 
The second talk was for young people. It was inspiring to see our young people come to the front of the arena and sit together to listen intently as the Cardinal encouraged them to be missionaries and to open their hearts to serve in the Church as a priest or religious.
 
The closing Mass reflected the spirit and joy of the day as people sang and prayed together. In his homily, the Cardinal reminded us that we cannot sit idly by, but as Christians we go forth from Mass in our parishes to carry on Christ's mission.
 
Cardinal Maradiaga exceeded his reputation. He showed himself to be a marvelous teacher, a charismatic preacher and most especially a man of faith who loves people and enjoys being with them.
 
I am grateful to Ruben Davalos, director of our Diocesan Office of Evangelization and Hispanic Ministry, Father Raul Trevizo, Vicar General, and the committee that worked so hard to make this gathering a resounding success -- with the promise of more to come.
 
I am especially grateful for the great support from parishes in Yuma, Nogales, Tucson and our own Cathedral Parish. We did ourselves very proud!
 
1. Convocation of Compliance Representatives
-- The second annual Convocation of Compliance Representatives took place Saturday at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson.

The Compliance Representatives provide essential support to our parishes and schools by assisting pastors and principals in the important work of the Safe Environment Program. The focus of that support is on helping the parishes and schools remain in compliance with the requirements of the Safe Environment Program. Those requirements include providing education for the personal safety education of children, education of parents in child abuse awareness and prevention, education of parish and school staff and volunteers on Arizona's mandatory reporting law, child abuse awareness and prevention education for staff and volunteers and the fingerprinting and background screening of staff and volunteers.

Dr. Paul Duckro, director of our Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, facilitated the convocation and made presentations on the Personal Safety Curriculum for Children and Youth that is taught at parishes and schools and on the preparations for the annual audit of compliance with the requirements of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Richard Serrano, director of our diocesan Human Resources Office, made a presentation on the criminal history check renewal process for staff and volunteers who first underwent screening five years ago. 

Katherine Preble, auditor in our diocesan Fiscal Services Office, made a presentation on the on-site audits that she conduct at parishes and schools for compliance with the requirements of the diocesan Safe Environment Program.

I was happy to have the opportunity to address the Compliance Representatives and to emphasize for them the importance of what they do. I told them that Pope Benedict XVI, during his recent visit to the U.S., spoke often of the abuse crisis and the efforts of the Church to bring about healing and to keep children safe. I told them that the Holy Father spoke clearly to the bishops of the U.S. about the importance of providing safe environments in all of our dioceses.
 
I expressed on your behalf our thanks to the Compliance Representatives for their hard work. In listening to their comments, it is obvious that we have made much progress and have come to be much more efficient in our efforts to provide safe environments for children in our parishes and schools. I believe our efforts are reaping much benefit.
 
Beyond the value of the information the Compliance Representatives received at the convocation was the opportunity they had to share with one another in vicariate groupings the successes and challenges they experience in their individual parishes and schools.

I am grateful to all who supported this convocation, including the presenters and Father Al Schifano, Vicar General, Julieta Gonzales, executive assistant in the Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, AnnaMaria Mammen, executive assistant in the Office of the Chancellor, Irene Felix of the Human Resources Department, Fred Allison of our Communications Office, the staff of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish and the Knights of Columbus. 

And, we all were grateful for the delicious luncheon salad that was prepared by Father Dom Pinti, pastor of St. George Parish in Apache Junction, with the assistance of AnnaMaria, and the pizza from Mamma's Pizza.

2. On the Confirmation Trail -- While in the Yuma area last week for Confirmations, it was a joy for me to bless and dedicate a small, beautiful chapel in a field near Somerton to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Father Xavier Perez, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Somerton, and Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma, joined me in the blessing. The chapel was built by Brad Holcom, a developer in the area, who wanted to have a place where people could visit and pause for a moment of silent prayer in the midst of their day.

A number of people from Brad's company, including Alex Gallardo, the main contractor, joined us for the blessing. Some of the men who built and painted the chapel stood proudly by as I sprinkled it with Holy Water and called upon God to bless this sacred place.

I will confer the Sacrament of Confirmation this evening at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Tucson, tomorrow evening at Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Tucson, Wednesday evening at St. Bartholomew Parish in San Manuel, Friday evening at Corpus Christi Parish in Tucson, Sunday morning at St. Augustine Cathedral Parish and Sunday afternoon at Most Holy Trinity Parish in Tucson.

3. Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future -- The Board of Directors of our diocesan renewal campaign will meet tomorrow. We will review the campaign's progress to date -- and what wonderful progress there is to review!

I learned last week that although we are only in Phase One of the campaign we already have received pledges exceeding the goal of $28 million dollars. This achievement reflects the phenomenal reality that most of our parishes in Phase One are well over their individual goals and, in addition to the 20 percent of monies received up to goal, will now be realizing 50 percent of all monies received beyond goal.
 
While much work remains, we can feel great joy and appreciation for the significant sacrificial gifts that are being given to strengthen the mission of Christ in our Diocese. I am so grateful to our pastors and their teams. While there was some doubt at first that we could reach our goal, everyone has pitched in and done the very best to help us meet the daunting needs we face in the future.
 
As we pray the prayer for the success of our renewal campaign, let us ask God to help us to do even better than we had ever dreamed we could do. The needs are so great!

4. Priests' Day of Prayer -- The monthly Priests' Day of Prayer will take place this Wednesday at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks.

5. Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries -- The Board of Directors of the Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries holds its quarterly meeting this Thursday.

6. Pima County Regional Law Enforcement Memorial Service -- I am very honored to have been asked to give the opening and closing prayer for this memorial service that will take place this Thursday at the Tucson Convention Center. This is the first time that Tribal, Federal, State and Local law enforcement officers in Pima County are gathering together to remember their brothers and sisters who have died in the past year.

Dr. Richard Carmona, former Surgeon General of the U.S., will give the opening and closing remarks. Father John Allt, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Tucson, will read the roll call of fallen officers.

This service is a poignant reminder of the dedication, commitment and sacrifice of the law enforcement officers who serve our communities.

7. Tribute to Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik -- Last week's schedule of Confirmations in the Yuma area prevented me from attending the tribute to Sheriff Clarence Dupnik in acknowledgement of his 50 years of service in law enforcement to the Tucson and Pima County communities.

Dr. Paul Duckro, past president of the Board of the Southern Arizona Children's Advocacy Center, was present in that capacity and represented our Diocese as well.

Father John Allt, long-time friend and pastor for Sheriff Dupnik and his wife Susie, presented Sheriff Dupnik with the Apostolic Blessing of Pope Benedict XVI.

Sheriff Dupnik's service to our Diocese has included membership on the committee that developed our Guidelines for the Prevention of and Response to Sexual Misconduct.I expressed by letter my gratitude and admiration for what he has accomplished in these fifty years and wish him and Susie many more years of health and happiness in doing good for us all.

8. Quarterly Gathering of the Recently Ordained -- This quarter's gathering of the priests in our Diocese who were ordained in the last five years will be this Thursday and Friday at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks.

The agenda for this gathering includes a presentation and discussion about the new curriculum that is being designed to prepare priests for future service as pastors. Also, I will give a presentation and facilitate a discussion on Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical, "Spe Salvi."

9. Listening Sessions at Santa Catalina Parish -- I will hold listening sessions this Thursday with staff (5 p.m.) and parishioners (7 p.m.) of Santa Catalina Parish, which is in the community of Catalina north of Tucson.

These listening sessions are being held in anticipation of the appointment of a pastor for this growing community of faith. Sister Carole Ruland, M.H.S.H., who has served with great dedication as pastoral administrator during the parish's formative years as a mission of St. Odilia Parish and in its first three years as a parish, is retiring soon.

I have heard so many positive comments about Sister Carole's work from the people of Santa Catalina Parish. She is much loved. We pray the Lord will continue to bless her in whatever ministry she will undertake.

10. Common Formation Program Retreat -- "Lord, You are in our midst, Your Name we bear, do not forsake us." These words from Jeremiah 14:9 are the themes for the final retreat for the
Common Formation Program Class of 2008 as the 22 candidates for the permanent diaconate and their wives and the 22 candidates for certification as Lay Ecclesial Ministers gather this Friday and Saturday at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks.

I will lead the retreat in Morning Prayer and also witness the Profession of Faith required of the candidates for ordination. The remainder of the time will be spent in prayer and reflection on the ceremonies of ordination and certification. Deacon Ken Moreland of Most Holy Trinity Parish and Deacon Fran Sherlock of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Sister Lois Paha, O.P., director of our diocesan Office of Formation, Father Joe Rodrigues, S.D.S., of the Jordan Ministry Team and Msgr. Carlos Romero of St. Augustine Cathedral Parish will lead the presentations and prayers for this retreat. The Common Formation Team will be present to join in a final celebration of farewell and thanksgiving on Saturday evening. Please keep the candidates for the permanent diaconate and their wives and the candidates for Lay Ecclesial Ministry in your prayers as they accept the call to service of our Church.

11. Our Mother of Sorrows Parish Golden Jubilee Mass and Celebration -- I look forward to celebrating this joyful Golden Jubilee Anniversary on Sunday with Msgr. Tom Cahalane, pastor, Father JoJo Tabo, parochial vicar, and the deacons, staff and parish community of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish on Tucson's eastside. The celebration begins at the 5:30 p.m. Mass of Pentecost at which I will be the main celebrant.

"Our Mother of Sorrows Parish was established on May 10, 1958, as the farthest eastside parish in the city of Tucson. Fifty years later, we celebrate the birthday of our parish during the great Feast of the birthday of the Church," wrote Msgr. Tom in a recent parish bulletin.

The parish has been praying a special novena in anticipation of this anniversary.

Every time I visit Our Mother of Sorrows, I am impressed by the energy and spirit shown by the people. Msgr. Cahalane's pastoral leadership clearly has left its mark. This parish gets involved in so much, be it prayer and devotions, social justice, liturgy, religious education, its wonderful Catholic School and in countless other ways. The parish has much to celebrate!

12. Official Appointments -- Effective Aug. 1, Father Manuel Fragoso, parochial vicar at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Yuma, will become Administrator of Sacred Heart Parish in Parker and its missions in Wenden, Poston, and Quartzsite. Father Manuel will be missed in Yuma. His many gifts will be a blessing for his new community.
 
I am grateful to Father Ted Lobo for his years of service at Sacred Heart Parish in Parker. Father Ted will begin retirement on Aug. 1 when Father Manuel arrives. I appreciate Father Ted's willingness to stay on until then. He has served this community faithfully and with much devotion.
 
Effective July 1, Father Jose Maria Corvera, parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma, will become Administrator of St. Theresa Parish in Patagonia and its mission in Sonoita. Father Jose is from the Philippines and is seeking to be incardinated in our Diocese. He is looking forward to this new assignment.
 
I am grateful to Father Wally Balduck, O.F.M. Cap., who has done a marvelous job helping out at St. Theresa as Administrator Pro-tem. He has endeared himself to the people and he will be missed.

13. Pastoral Statement on the Rights and Freedoms of Conscience -- Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix and I, as the Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference, released a pastoral statement last Friday in which we call on all Catholics in Arizona to encourage a deeper respect of the right of conscience, especially as it relates to health care and the taking of human life.

We point out in the statement that there have been several legislative attempts in Arizona to force health-care professionals and hospitals to prescribe, refer or provide "morning after pills" (so-called "emergency" contraception) that can cause an abortion. While we note that these attempts have failed in the Arizona legislature, we warn that the pressure to deny "rights of conscience" continues to mount.

I  encourage you to read the statement, which is available in this month's The New Vision, on our diocesan Website (www.diocesetucson.org) under "Reports, Statements, Letters" and at www.azcatholicconference.org.

14. Open Enrollment Meetings -- The annual opportunity for employees of parishes, schools and the Diocese to enroll in or to make changes in the benefit programs for which they are eligible begins this week and continues through the end of this month. Information about the various benefit programs will be available, and Alicia Corti, benefits administrator in the diocesan Human Resources Department, will be happy to answer questions and provide guidance.

This week's meetings will take place on Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. at Our Lady of the Mountains Parish, Sierra Vista, on Thursday from 3-4 p.m. at Holy Angels Schools in Globe and on Friday from 2-3 p.m. at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson.

The schedule for meeting is available at www.diocesetucson.org/openenroll.pdf.

15. Resignation of Bishop Donald Pelotte, S.S.S. -- Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Bishop Pelotte as Bishop of the Diocese of Gallup for health reasons.

Bishop Pelotte had been on a medical leave of absence since January following a fall in his home.

With Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix and myself, Bishop Pelotte was a member of the Arizona Catholic Conference. I will miss working closely with him. As a Native American, Bishop Pelotte knew the struggles of his people and served them generously.

Bishop Olmsted is serving as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Gallup.

16. Mary's Month -- Enhancing how we hand on the faith to our children is one of our five diocesan goals. We seek ways to be more effective in supporting parents, catechists and teachers in their important roles in giving our children the gift of faith.

One way that we hand on the faith to our children is to introduce them to our wonderful Catholic spiritual traditions. These traditions are true treasures of our faith, and certainly among those treasures are the traditions associated with the observance of May as Mary's Month.

I am so impressed by what our Catholic Schools in the Diocese do each May to introduce new generations of children to these Marian traditions and to keep these traditions alive. Here is just a sample of what our schools are doing this month:

• St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School in Tucson: The school honored Mary last week with a procession and May Crowning. The school's statue of Mary was on the steps of the altar and the sanctuary was decorated with posters of Mary made by each class. While singing "Ave Maria," the students processed to the altar and placed flowers in baskets that surrounded Our Lady's statue. Mary will continue to be honored for the rest of the month during daily prayers and in the morning announcements.

• St. Odilia Catholic School in Tucson will have a May Crowning next Monday.

• Immaculate Heart High School in Tucson: There will be a May Crowning and the recitation of the Rosary. Every class is saying a Marian prayer each day.

• San Xavier Mission School in Tucson: Last week, the school had its annual Mary Procession up the hill near the Mission. After the students took their chairs up the hill, they gathered in the courtyard. They lined up in rows of four carrying their Rosaries for the procession. When everyone was at the top of the hill, they placed Mary in her place of honor and everyone sat down. Father Steve sprinkled holy water on Mary and then the Rosary was recited. Each class took a turn at leading a mystery. The first and second graders created a line to shower all people with rose petals as the students processed down the hill. They gathered in the courtyard, where the eighth graders lined up to have their hand shaken by the entire school. The morning concluded with traditional Tohono O'odham donuts and candy and fruit for the students and visitors to enjoy.

• Sts. Peter and Paul School in Tucson: Last Thursday, the entire student body processed from school to the church, where each student bowed in honor of Mary at Her altar. The eighth grade students led the recitation of the Rosary, which was followed by the Crowning. After the First Friday Mass, Sister Mary Lucilla Wertz, S.C., principal, reminded the student body that Mary is special to all. She suggested that the classrooms have a Mary Altar and that prayers be said especially to Her this month. As one student's dad is being deployed to Iraq soon, they will keep him and the family in their Mary prayers.

• St. Cyril School in Tucson: Last Wednesday, the students of Primary Department celebrated the crowning of Mary at the School Mass. Afterwards, the department held a tea to honor the mothers of students.

• Our Mother of Sorrows School in Tucson: Last Friday -- First Friday -- the students processed around the school block and recited the Rosary. Each of the classrooms created a beautiful Mary Poster. The posters were stationed along the procession route. The children brought flowers to present to Mary when they gathered in the church for the crowning by the eighth grade girls of Mary as "Queen of Heaven." At each of the school liturgies during May, students sing a Marian hymn.

• Holy Angels School in Globe: There will be the traditional May Crowning this Thursday. The second graders, who will have just received their First Communion, and the eighth grade class will process with flowers in a special service honoring Mary. Also on Thursday, the school will present the "Groves Award," a science award for the top two science students given in honor of Lee Groves, a former student, now deceased. The school also prays the Rosary in each classroom during this month.

• St. Joseph School in Tucson: The May Crowning took place last Thursday at the morning Mass. The first graders created dioramas with Mary, Joseph and Jesus for display in the vestibule. Students also say a decade of the Rosary during morning assembly.

• Santa Cruz School in Tucson: The Kids Helping Kids Program focused last Friday on seventh and eighth grade students leading younger groups of students in the Angelus. Also on Friday, all grades assembled in Santa Cruz Church for the May Crowning. The students prayed the Angelus, with the ringing of bells, as part of the ceremony, and brought flowers to present to Mary. Eighth graders were chosen to crown Mary and be an honor escort based on essays they had written about the role of Mary in their lives.

• St. Anthony School in Casa Grande: Last Thursday, Marissa Rohr, the "Commissioner of Religion" (a sixth grader who was elected to that post in the yearly Student Council Elections), led the students in prayer every hour with a petition and a Hail Mary. Students also talk about Our Blessed Mother during their Morning Prayers during May (and also during October, the Month of the Most Holy Rosary). On Thursdays during May, the students have a May Crowning. The children who are chosen to crown the Blessed Mother are voted on by the class that is assisting with Morning Prayer during the month of May -- this year, the sixth grade.
 
• St. Thomas the Apostle Pre-School in Tucson: Students are learning the Hail Mary, bringing flowers to place before the statue of Mary and are sharing stories and pictures about Her.

• Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson: It is Salpointe tradition during May for morning and afternoon prayers to be dedicated to Mary, especially Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. These prayers include the traditional Marian prayers of the Church. Salpointe will have its traditional Mother's Day Liturgy this Sunday that includes the May Court crowning of Our Blessed Mother. The members of the May Court are Shea Livingston, freshman, Frances Kyle, sophomore, Michelle Vock, junior, and Lauren Weinand, senior. Senior Kendra Mellenberndt is this year's May Queen. All were elected by their classmates based on "Respectfulness in Relationships," "Compassion and Service to the Community" and "Commitment to Christian Values," attributes that are qualities the students recognize in the person of Mary.

• Our Lady of the Mountains School in Sierra Vista: There will be a May Crowning and a procession with the statue of Mary around the school grounds. In each classroom there will be Marian activities and bulletin boards decorated in honor of Mary.

I would say that handing on the treasure of these Mary's Month traditions is in good hands!

Pope Benedict XVI's general prayer intention for May is for a culture that defends and promotes the values of the human person. The Apostleship of Prayer announced the general intention: "That Christians may use literature, art and the mass media to greater advantage in order to favor a culture which defends and promotes the values of the human person."



The Holy Father also chooses a missionary intention for each month. This month he is praying, "That the Virgin Mary, Star of Evangelization and Queen of the Apostles, may still guide today with maternal affection the missionaries, both men and women, throughout the world, just as She accompanied the apostles in the early stages of the Church."

Let us join with the Holy Father in praying these intentions.

17. Mother's Day -- I share with you this great idea from Catholic Relief Services as we look forward to celebrating this Sunday as Mother's Day.

"All mothers around the world want the same things for their children: a long and healthy life, with enough to eat each day, a safe environment and a proper education. For many mothers overseas, these very simple things that we take for granted are out of their reach. Catholic Relief Services works in more than 100 countries to help mothers and their families attain these goals, and it is through the generosity of our donors that makes this important work possible.

"This Mother's Day, Catholic Relief Services offers you a unique way to celebrate your mom and show her -- and the world -- how wonderful she is.

"Make a donation to CRS in honor of your mother. It's a gift she will be proud to receive, knowing that it will help Catholic Relief Services provide lifesaving help and hope to mothers in more than 100 countries around the world. You also could make a gift in memory of your mother. If you wish, we will also send a special Mother's Day e-card to your mom.

"Thank you, on behalf of CRS and all the people who benefit from your generosity."

You can visit www.crs.org to give this gift.

18. Remember in Your Prayers -- Please pray for the rapid return to full health of Deacon Bill Lugo of St. Patrick Parish in Bisbee, Father Joe Lombardo, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson, and Sister Corinne Fair, O.S.B., of Holy Trinity Monastery.

Deacon Bill had heart bypass surgery last week. Father Joe underwent surgery last week to remove a growth from a kidney. During the surgery, about a third of the kidney was removed. The biopsy will not be back until later this week. Sister Corinne had deep brain surgery last week. She thanks all for their prayers.

19. Our Grads -- Deacons Mario "Ricky" Odoñez, Ed Lucero and Emilio Chapa received their Master of Divinity degrees on Saturday at the University of St. Mary of the Lake Mundelein Seminary in Illinois.

Deacon Robert Rodriguez received his Master of Divinity degree on Friday at the Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corner, Wisconsin.

I will ordain Deacon "Ricky" to the priesthood on Saturday, May 24, in the Philippines. I will ordain Deacons Robert, Ed and Emilio to the priesthood on Saturday, June 8, at St. Augustine Cathedral.

20. Happy Cinco de Mayo! -- I hope you enjoy today's festivities.

Vol. 6, No. 9                                                                                                           
May 12, 2008

I am very pleased to announce our first-ever diocesan Pastor Leadership Development Program.

Beginning in September, this program will help our Diocese address these challenging realities:

-- New pastors will soon be needed to replace many of our very experienced and highly valued pastors who are nearing retirement.

-- Newly ordained priests are being called upon sooner than ever to become pastors. In the past, a newly ordained priest might serve seven years or more as an associate before being named a pastor. 

-- Civil laws and requirements that affect our parishes as non-profit corporations have increased the administrative responsibilities of pastors.

-- The increasing number of lay employees and volunteers in our parishes requires that pastors have skills in organization, communication and delegation. Training in these skills generally is not provided in depth in seminaries.

-- Faced with a need to build future parishes on a larger scale with churches that seat 1,500 to 2,000 people, pastors must have the competencies and skills to manage large and complex parishes.

Nearly two years ago, I commissioned Father Al Schifano, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, to form a committee to study and make recommendations on how we might address these realities through a program that would focus on helping priests develop leadership competencies and skills.

Serving on the committee were: Richard Serrano, chairman and diocesan director of Human Resources; David Kennon, a retired educator; Father Miguel Mariano, director of our Vocations Office; Jim Petrus, a corporate management development specialist; Father Michael Shay, S.D.S., pastor San Martin de Porres in Sahuarita; Father Fred Tillotson, O.Carm., president of Salpointe Catholic High School; and Richard Condit and David Muehlbauer, experienced management educators from the Sundt Construction Company.

Beginning its work, the committee developed a survey to learn from current pastors, including very experienced pastors and newer pastors, the areas and issues and the competencies and skills the program should encompass. Thirty-four pastors were surveyed in the spring of 2007, and I am grateful to them for their input.

Based on the results of the survey, the Pastor Leadership Development Program focuses on five competencies and 27 skill areas.

This week, I am sending to all of our priests a letter about the program and a booklet that includes detailed information about the competencies and skills. We will provide this same information soon on our diocesan Website.

The priests who presently participate in the mentoring program for newly ordained priests will constitute the majority of the first class in the Pastor Leadership Development Program. Because this program has broad appeal to other priests and pastors, there will be opportunities for other priests to enroll.

I am grateful to the members of the committee and the Presbyteral Council for guiding the process that has resulted in this program.

I believe this program represents a "convergence" strategy for working more effectively on our diocesan priorities to re-energize our priests and to renew our parishes and on our diocesan goal to bring to our parishes the best practices in administration and management.

1. Annual Planning Meeting for Pastoral Center Directors -- The directors of the diocesan offices and departments at the Pastoral Center are meeting today with Father Al and myself for our third annual planning meeting.

We have found these annual meetings to be very valuable in reviewing our work on our diocesan priorities -- the Six Rs: restoring trust; re-energizing our priests and all in Church service; renewing our parishes; reaching out to the littlest and weakest among us; re-garnering our resources; and recruiting more vocations, especially to the priesthood and religious life.

We also review and reflect on our efforts to support our parishes and schools in their administrative and pastoral responsibilities.

I encourage our parishes and school to hold annual planning meetings to identify goals and to strategically focus their efforts.

The directors, Father Al and myself are grateful to Father Dan McLaughlin, S.T., pastor, and the staff of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Tucson for hosting today's meeting.

2. On the Confirmation Trail -- I will confer the Sacrament of Confirmation tonight at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson, tomorrow night at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Tucson and Wednesday night at St. Therese of Lisieux Parish in Patagonia.

My apologies to Father Bill Remmel, S.D.S., pastor, and the community of Most Holy Trinity Parish in Tucson for my tardiness yesterday. They had to wait an hour for me to arrive for Confirmation. I thought the Confirmation was at 2 p.m., but everyone else had gathered on time for the 1 p.m. Mass. I was shocked when I got a call from Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, C.F.M.M., our Superintendent of Catholic Schools, asking me where I was. It was only then I realized I had the wrong time! They were most understanding. Father Bill and Deacon Ken Moreland had them practicing songs to pass the time.
 
3. Catholic Tuition Support Organization (CTSO) -- I will express my thanks this Wednesday to representatives of the corporations that made donations this past year to the CTSO through the Arizona Corporate Tax Credit. This credit allows corporations to direct a contribution to a qualified school tuition organization and receive a dollar-for-dollar credit on their Arizona state tax liability. Corporate contributions to the CTSO totaled more than $2 million last year.

4. Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson -- The Board of Directors of the Foundation will hold its final meeting of the fiscal year tomorrow. I look forward to being with the directors as they elect new officers.

5. Pastoral Center Staff and Directors Meetings -- The monthly meetings of the staff and the directors of the diocesan offices and departments at the Pastoral Center will take place this Thursday morning.

6. Graduation Time! -- It is my joy each spring to celebrate the graduations of our Catholic high school students with their families and friends and the teachers and staff of their schools at Baccalaureate Masses.

This Thursday, I will preside at the Baccalaureate Mass at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson for the 24 seniors of Immaculate Heart of Mary High School.

This Friday at 4 p.m., I will preside at the Baccalaureate Mass at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Tucson for the 25 seniors in the second graduating class of St. Augustine Catholic High School.

And, this Friday at 7 p.m., I will preside at the Baccalaureate Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral for the 37 seniors in the first graduating class of San Miguel High School in Tucson. This Mass and the graduation ceremonies Saturday morning in the new gymnasium at San Miguel will be especially proud occasions for this first San Miguel senior class, their parents and families, Brother Nick Gonzales, F.S.C., principal, Elizabeth Goettl, president, and the entire faculty and staff as they celebrate reaching their goal for all San Miguel graduates to go on to college. All 37 seniors have been admitted to colleges!

San Miguel is part of the Cristo Rey Network of 19 high schools nationwide, all of which serve families who earn low to moderate incomes. All students at San Miguel work one day a week at local businesses. In partnership with San Miguel, those businesses provide tuition support and internship jobs. You can read more about San Miguel's first graduating class in this month's New Vision and at www.newvisiononline.org/sanmiguel.html.

This Friday afternoon at Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma, Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe, Episcopal Vicar of Yuma-La Paz, will represent me and will preside at the Baccalaureate Mass for the 81 seniors of Yuma Catholic High School.

This Saturday morning at 9 a.m., I will preside at the Baccalaureate Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral for the 265 seniors of Salpointe Catholic High School.

Young people are so important to our Church and to our Diocese. As the graduates of our Catholic high schools and the Catholic graduates of the public, private and charter high schools in our Diocese take this next big step in their lives, let us pray for their success as they begin college life and pursue careers. And, let us pray that they stay connected to their faith and that we engage and invite them to stay connected.

My thanks to Jim Click for the wonderful full-page ad in yesterday's Arizona Daily Star congratulating the San Miguel graduates. Jim's support of San Miguel and Buck O'Rielly's support of St. Augustine High School have been great examples of leadership in support of Catholic education in the Tucson community.

7. Evening with Women Religious -- I will host some of our Women Religious at the Bishop's Residence this Saturday evening. This is the third in a series of informal small group gatherings that allow me to better know our Sisters and to hear from them about their important ministries in our Diocese.

8. Poverty 24/6 -- Arizona Illustrated on KUAT-TV at 67:30 p.m. will have a report this evening and tomorrow evening on Poverty 24/6, a unique outreach program started by volunteers in our Diocese to help impoverished people in Mexico. You can read a moving story by Bern Zovistoski about this humanitarian effort in this month's issue of The New Vision.

9. Changes at St. Thomas More Newman Parish -- Father Bart Hutcherson, O.P., pastor of the St. Thomas More Newman Parish at the University of Arizona, has informed me that Father Jerome Cudden, O.P., who has served the parish this past year, has been appointed by his provincial to become development director for Western Dominican Province. Brother James Moore, O.P., is to be ordained to the priesthood on May 31 and will begin his priestly ministry at St. Thomas More Newman Parish this summer.
 
I am grateful for Father Jerome's ministry with us. We wish him well. We look forward to welcoming Father James.

10. Our Mother of Sorrows Parish 50th Anniversary -- I enjoyed celebrating the 50th anniversary Mass for Our Mother of Sorrows Parish Saturday evening in Tucson. Msgr. Thomas Cahalane has served as pastor 27 of those 50 years. That's quite amazing!

The spirit and excitement in the community was obvious as we celebrated on the very day Bishop Daniel Gercke issued his decree of erection for this new parish whose boundaries were from the intersection of Wilmot and Valencia, going east on Valencia to the crest of the Rincon Mountains then going north-northwest to the extension of Fifth Street and west along Fifth to Wilmot and then south to Valencia. It was huge area and really in the boonies at that time. Three parishes -- St. Francis de Sales, St. Pius X and Corpus Christi -- were formed within the original boundaries.
 
During the celebration, Msgr. Cahalane dedicated the striking paintings of the Seven Dolors that have been placed in the front of the church. The parish also dedicated a plague of Christ and the Children to remember those who had been abused by priests who had served in the parish.
 
There was a full hall of 500 people for the dinner, which was provided by Eegees. It was a delightful and marvelous evening, especially hearing from Gene Ackerley, one of the founding members of the parish. Gene has been head of lectors at the parish since that ministry became possible after Vatican Council II. Our Mother of Sorrows Parish is a marvelous example of a parish that strives to include everyone and to get people to become active and involved.

11. Welcome to Father Silas Bogati -- I am delighted to welcome Father Silas Bogati, head of Caritas Nepal, to our Diocese. I met Father Silas when I went to India and Nepal with the Committee on Migration two years ago to study the issues of human trafficking and unaccompanied minor refugees. I am glad for the opportunity to repay his hospitality to me when I visited his country.
 
While visiting us this month, Father Silas will be giving four missionary appeal talks. He was at Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Green Valley this past weekend. He will be at St. Cyril Parish in Tucson next week and at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista and at St. Pius X Parish in Tucson before he returns home.

Father Silas also will be speaking at some of our schools, and he is open to making a presentation to any parish group in the Diocese. Please contact Sister Charlotte Anne Swift, O.P., executive assistant in my office, at 520-838-2510 if you would like Father Silas to share some of his experiences and challenges as a priest in a country and culture where Catholics are a minority. Catholics are a very small minority of people in Nepal. I believe there are only 7,000 in the whole country. It was only a year ago that our Holy Father established the first diocese in Nepal. Their needs are great.
 
If any of our parishes or any of you readers would like to support the work of the Church in Nepal, you can do so by sending a donation designated for that purpose to my office in care of me at 111 S. Church Ave., P.O. Box 31, Tucson, Arizona, 85702.
 
 The New Vision hopes to have an interview with Father Silas for its June edition.

12. Remember in Your Prayers -- Please pray for the repose of the soul of Elaine Saba, mother of Father Joe Saba, Chaplain at St. Mary's Hospital in Tucson, who died April 25. The Funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Patrick Parish in Bisbee on April 30.

Please keep Larry Brazaskas, brother of Father Bob Brazaskas, in your prayers as he recovers from a stroke.

13. Catholic Relief Services Aid to Myanmar -- Catholic Relief Services is supporting the emergency relief and response efforts of the Caritas International's network in Myanmar where Cyclone Nargis caused terrible devastation. With thousands of people dead and hundreds of thousands homeless, the conditions are dire, and basic food, shelter and water are urgently needed. The Caritas network will coordinate with local and international agencies to determine how best to provide help where it is most needed.
Donations can be made on-line at www.crs.org or by check to: Catholic Relief Services, P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, MD 21203-7090 for Southeast Asia Natural Disaster.

14. Pope Benedict XVI's Four Invitations to Young People -- The letter that I recently wrote to young people in our Diocese about the four invitations the Holy Father gave to youth during his April visit is now a podcast, available in English and Spanish, at www.idiocese.org.

Please encourage the young people at your parish to give it a listen!

14. Ordination in the Philippines of Deacon Mario "Ricky" Ordoñez -- It will be my joy to ordain Deacon Mario "Ricky" Ordoñez to the priesthood in service to the Diocese of Tucson on Saturday, May 24, at the Blessed Pedro Calungsod Shrine in Cebu City.

Father Miguel Mariano and Father Mike Bucciarelli will be accompanying me during my 10-day visit to the Philippines. Beyond the joy of ordaining Deacon Ricky to the priesthood in his native country, I will have the opportunity to learn more about the vibrant Church in the Philippines and about the history and culture of the Filipino People.

Through a very full itinerary arranged by Father Miguel, I also will have opportunities to thank the Church and Catholic Community in the Philippines for sending its sons to serve in our Diocese. Deacon Ricky will be joining Father Miguel, Father Ariel Lustan, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Safford, Father JoJo Tabo, parochial vicar of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson, Father Jose Covera, parochial vicar of Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma, and Father Lester Niez, parochial vicar of St. Joseph Parish in Tucson, as priests serving in our Diocese who are from the Philippines.

Also on my itinerary are meetings with the hierarchy of the Church in the Philippines and opportunities to celebrate Mass with family members of our priests from the Philippines and family members of many of our parishioners in the Diocese who come from the Philippines.

Our Diocese has a historic relationship with the Philippines. While he was serving as a missionary in the Philippines, Father Daniel Gercke, a young priest from Philadelphia, met Father John McGinley, a young missionary from Ireland. Father Gercke became the third Bishop of Tucson in 1923 and Father McGinley became the first Bishop of Monterey-Fresno in 1924. In the 1940s, after Bishop McGinley had returned to Ireland, he suggested to Bishop Gercke, his friend for many years, that he write to St. Patrick College in Carlow to invite priests to serve in the Diocese of Tucson. In 1944, Father Neil McHugh became the first in a long line of Irish priests who came to Arizona and the Diocese of Tucson as a result of that long-ago friendship forged between two young priests in the Philippines.
 
Father Miguel has arranged a visit for us to the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, which contains the largest number of graves of U.S. military killed in World War II. I have invited parishioners in our Diocese who have family members buried there or whose family members are listed on the memorial to the missing to send me the names so that I can pray for them during my visit.

Because I will be leaving for the Philippines this Sunday, I won't be writing a memo for next Monday. With the assistance of two young prospective seminarians for our Diocese who are from the Philippines, I hope we can send back some photos and some commentary about our time in the Philippines and the ordination. There will be a link on our diocesan Website's home page next Monday under the title of "Journey to the Philippines" to a page that will have my itinerary and photos and commentary.

May 19, 2008

Bishop Kicanas is in the Philippines this week. This Saturday, at the Blessed Pedro Calungsod Shrine in Cebu, he will ordain Deacon Mario “Ricky” Ordoñez to the priesthood for service to the Diocese of Tucson.

Father Mike Bucciarelli, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Benson, and Father Miguel Mariano, director of the diocesan Office of Vocations, are accompanying Bishop Kicanas on his visit to the Philippines.

Vol. 6, No. 10
May 27, 2008

I hope you enjoyed the long Memorial Day Holiday weekend. While yesterday was one of the longest Mondays I have ever experienced (14 hours flying back from the Philippines, four hours in airports), I was able to catch my breath after a full itinerary that introduced me to the wonderful people and beautiful land of the Philippines. Unfortunately, my good intentions to do a “blog” from the Philippines could not be realized last week. My first attempt fell victim to a computer crash that happened just as I was sending the e-mail with an hour’s worth of writing in it. I am going to remember from now on to save the e-mail while I am in the process of writing it! Also, because of the full schedule that had us constantly on the move, I found it difficult to get time to write and to access a computer.

Over the next few weeks, though, I hope to write about my experiences and to share some photos with you, both in the print and on-line versions of The New Vision. There are a few photos you can view now at www.newvisiononline.org.

Of course, the main reason for my trip to the Philippines was to ordain our newest priest, Father Mario “Ricky” Ordoñez, in his native country.

We arrived early last Saturday morning at the Blessed Pedro Calungsod Shrine in Cebu City. Blessed Pedro, born not far from Cebu City, was just 17-years-old when he and Father Deigo Luis, the Jesuit priest who had recruited him as a catechist, were martyred in the Marianas Islands off of Guam on April 2, 1672. Pedro was beatified in 2000.

It is a beautiful shrine that was filled to capacity by Father Ricky’s family and friends. The day was delightful and the celebration joyous. Saturday also was the 50th wedding anniversary of Father Ricky's parents, and he led them in their renewal of vows after the ordination Mass.

At the luncheon for the family that followed the Mass, Ricky’s father, who is a professionally trained singer, performed two beautiful songs for us.

Father Ricky’s first Mass that afternoon was beautifully celebrated, and his first homily was thoughtful and reflective.

There are so many people to thank for a wonderful journey to the Philippines! The warmth of the hospitality I experienced was overwhelming. I do want to acknowledge with my special thanks Father Ricky and his family and my traveling companions: Father Miguel Mariano (who could have planned the Papal Visit, things went so fabulously!); Father Mike Bucciarelli; Father Gus Belauskas; seminarians Wilbert Celestino and Ramonito Celestial; Deacon Tom and Nancy Adams; Al Heist; Marie Smith; and Mike Serna of St. Andrew Parish in Sierra Vista, who has been so supportive of Father Miguel’s assistance to a special ministry in the Philippines to people with leprosy.

1. Ordinations – The bells of St. Augustine Cathedral will be pealing joyfully the next two Saturdays as we celebrate ordinations to the permanent diaconate and to the priesthood.

Please join us at the Cathedral at 9:30 a.m. this Saturday for the Eucharistic Liturgy with Rite of Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate. This will be a joyous celebration for the 22 candidates, their wives and families, their friends and our entire Diocese. Next Monday’s memo will include the names of our new deacons and their wives and the parishes at which they will be serving.

I also hope you will join us the following Saturday, June 7, at 9:30 a.m. at the Cathedral for the Eucharistic Liturgy and Rite of Ordination to the Priesthood. It will be my joy then to ordain Emilio Chapa, Edward Lucero and Robert Rodriguez to the priesthood in service to our Diocese.

2. Celebration of Lay Ecclesial Ministry Certification – A week from this coming Sunday, on June 8, at 2 p.m. at the Cathedral, we will celebrate a historic event for our Diocese: a Eucharistic Liturgy with the Certification of our first Lay Ecclesial Ministers.

The 22 women and men candidates are the graduates of our first class for Lay Ecclesial Ministers. They participated in the Common Formation Program these past five years with the candidates for the permanent diaconate and their wives.

I will write in next week’s memo about the role of the Lay Ecclesial Minister.

3. Presbyteral Council Meeting – The Presbyteral Council meets this morning here at the Pastoral Center. Our agenda includes a discussion on “Faith Formation and Sacramental Practice.” (I am writing about these important topics and the challenges they pose in our Diocese in my column for the June issue of The New Vision.)

4. On the Confirmation Trail – I will confer the Sacrament of Confirmation this Thursday evening at St. Helen of the Cross Parish in Eloy and this Sunday afternoon at Holy Family Parish Tucson for the candidates of the St. Gianna Latin Mass Community.

5. Blessing and Dedication of “A Church and a City Arise Together” – It will be my joy this Friday at 9 a.m. to present, bless and dedicate the beautiful tile mural of the painting “A City and a Church Arise Together” that graces the northwest corner of the Pastoral Center. We will be honored to have with us for the ceremony the artists who collaborated on the mural project and a number of representatives of local governments.

6. Welcome Knights of Columbus! – I look forward to being with the Knights of Columbus and their families from all over Arizona as they gather in Tucson this Thursday through Sunday at the Doubletree Hotel at Reid Park for their 2008 Convention. This is the 101st State Convention of the Arizona Knights. St. Pius X Council 10762 here in Tucson is the host council for the hundreds of Knights who are expected to attend. I welcome State Deputy Stan Schroeder and all the Knights to our Diocese! I will thank the Knights on behalf of our Diocese for all the good works they do, especially in their support of vocations and our priests.

7. Jordan Ministry Team on the Move – I am happy the pass along the news from the Jordan Ministry Team that they will be moving into their new Tucson headquarters as of this coming Sunday. The new address is 48 N. Tucson Blvd., #101, Tucson, AZ 85716. The team’s phone and fax numbers and e-mail addresses are staying the same. I am grateful for the presence of the Team in our Diocese and the contributions they make to help us be more effective in our ministries.