May 4, 2009 May 11, 2009 May 18, 2009 May 26, 2009

Vol. 7, No. 8
May 4, 2009


I always enjoy my visits to Yuma. I am impressed and inspired by how our priests, deacons, women religious and the people of the Yuma area parishes demonstrate their love for our Church.

I was abundantly inspired this past weekend.

Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe's celebration of his 50th anniversary of ordination Saturday evening was fabulous!

He has been at Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma as pastor for 38 years. Amazing!

His staff, parishioners, members of the Yuma community and his brother priests made this celebration very special for Msgr. O'Keeffe.

His love for the people of Immaculate Conception and their love for him were obvious as he thanked them for their presence at the end of the Saturday evening Mass.

Just as he began speaking, a group of young people raised a big banner congratulating him on his anniversary. Then, everyone stood to give him an ovation. I could hear in his voice how much this meant to him. Concluding his remarks, Msgr. O'Keeffe serenaded his people with a beautiful rendition of "Danny Boy."

In the sanctuary with Msgr. O'Keeffe were several of the parochial vicars he has worked with over these 38 years and most all of the priests from the parishes in Yuma County. Their respect and love for him were obvious. Father Xavier Perez, Vicar for the Yuma - La Paz Vicariate, presented Msgr. O'Keeffe with a congratulatory plaque from all the priests.

Similarly, the Manitowoc Franciscans Sisters showed their love for Msgr. O'Keeffe by their presence. He says Mass regularly for them at their convent, and they have formed a spiritual bond with him. Many of the deacons of the Yuma area parishes also were present, showing their thanks for his support of deacons. 

The fiesta after Mass was quite an event. The food was delicious, the music lively and spirited. The community clearly was energized by the joy of the celebration. I was very happy that Sister Charlotte Anne Swift, O.P., my executive assistant, was able to be present for the celebration. She served with Msgr. O'Keefe 50 years ago in Douglas when they were in their first assignments. Also present from the Pastoral Center were Sister Lois Paha, O.P., director of Pastoral Services, Fred Allison, communications director, and Sonya Guttierez, my executive assistant, and her husband Mike.

Arriving in Yuma early Saturday afternoon, I had a chance to stop in at the "Reciberan Poder" Youth Congreso. More than 200 teens from parishes in Yuma, Parker, Somerton, San Luis, Sierra Vista and Coolidge were present.

"Reciberan Poder," (Receive the Power) is the name of a lively song that was presented frequently throughout the Congreso. Jesse Demara, youth minister at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Yuma, was the coordinator of the day with a team of adults. Chris Horn, former wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers, gave a presentation on the importance of faith to young people. The spirit was highly energized as the group sang and prayed throughout the three day Congreso. I enjoyed seeing two of our seminarians at the gathering -- Edson Elizarraras and Jorge Farias Saucedo, who is serving a pastoral internship at St. Francis of Assisi in Yuma.

All Confirmations at our parishes are great experiences for me, and it was especially delightful yesterday to celebrate the first Confirmation in the new church of St. John Neumann Parish in the Yuma Foothills. Young people from the parish were joined by some adults and young people from St. Michael the Archangel Chapel at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma.

Father John Friel, pastor, and Tracy Waters, director of religious education, could not have been prouder -- and rightly so. Father James Finley and Deacon Nieves Hernandez, who serve the Marine Catholic Community, also took part in the celebration.

It is encouraging for me to read the letters of our confirmandi in which they express their desire to be full members of the Church and to use their gifts to help the mission of Christ.

Yesterday afternoon in Yuma, I visited Andrew Flores, whom I confirmed in February. Just one week after his Confirmation, Andy was hit by a car and nearly killed. The doctors initially had given his parents little hope that he would survive. Miraculously, he is improving every day. He had just arrived home from the hospital when Father Ed Lucero of Immaculate Conception and I came to visit. Andrew prayed with me and his family, and he had the biggest smile -- an encouraging sign that he is doing OK. While he has a long way to go in therapy, we pray for his full recovery.

I appreciated the presence of nearly 50 persons from our Yuma area parishes at my presentation yesterday afternoon at Immaculate Conception Parish on the World Synod of Bishops and the Year of St. Paul. I thank Sister Lois and Fred Allison for facilitating the presentation.

I know that Father John Lyons, our Judicial Vicar and pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson, and Father John Arnold, canon lawyer and pastor of St. Ambrose Parish in Tucson, appreciated the attentive audience of nearly 40 persons last Friday at their presentation in Yuma on canon law and annulments. The audience included priests, deacons and deacon aspirants, parish lay leadership and other laity. The presentation was very informative and helpful, especially for those in ministry who assist people who are either returning to the Church, entering the Church through the RCIA process or who are hope to bring closure to a broken relationship. The participants applauded the clear and understandable communication of this important pastoral issue.
 
1. On the Confirmation Trail -- I will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation this evening at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson for students of Our Mother of Sorrows Schools.

2. Diocesan Liability Insurance -- I will be in London this week representing our Diocese at a meeting with Lloyds of London to discuss liability coverage. I will share the policies and procedures we now have in place to reduce the risk of harm by workers for the Church to all those we serve.

I will have much to say to them about what Dr. Paul Duckro of our Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection and Richard Serrano of our Human Resources Department have accomplished with our pastors, principals and compliance representatives to provide safe environments for our children, including the implementation of screening procedures, child abuse prevention and awareness education programs and our requirements for the mandatory reporting of suspicions of child abuse.

We hope that our meeting will help us to realize comprehensive and cost effective liability insurance.

3. Mary's Month -- This is Mary's month and Mother's month. I reflect on this in my column for this month's issue of The New Vision.

This coming Sunday is Mother's Day, a chance to say to our mothers who are living our thanks for all they have done and all they mean to us. It is also a chance to pray for our mothers who have died that the Lord has granted them eternal rest. 

Don't let the day pass without reflecting on how much our mothers have meant in our lives. Like us, our mothers are not perfect, but their love and support mean so much and help form us into the people we are. 

This month is also an opportunity to reflect on Mary's discipleship that we seek to imitate. Mary is honored in many of our schools and religious education programs throughout the diocese.

4. 2009 Annual Catholic Appeal -- We are nearly at 80% of our goal of $3.4 million for this year's Appeal.

Our emphasis in these last weeks of the campaign is to invite two distinct groups of parishioners -- those who gave last year and who haven't yet pledged this year and those who have never pledged -- to help us to fully fund the 26 ministries and charities so important for the work of the Church in our Diocese.

The weekly parish Appeal reports are available here.

5.  Pastoral Center Planning Meeting -- We held our annual Pastoral Center Planning Meeting last Friday in our Archives conference room at St. Ambrose Parish in Tucson. Kathy Rhinehart, executive assistant to Father Al Schifano, our Moderator of the Curia and Vicar General, who does so much and wears so many hats, led us in the day. This year we met in two groups, the first involving directors and associates in the administrative departments of the Diocese and the other for those in Pastoral Services.

We had an opportunity to reflect together on what energizes us, what we are most proud of having accomplished and what we find satisfying. We shared a lot, and in the sharing we got to know one another better.

Jim Petrus, a retired oil industry executive, shared some of his many gifts to help our staff develop even better opportunities to work together and how to better plan and set goals. Jim is one of many people who in retirement want to use their gifts to be of service to the church. He has been very involved in the wonderful program started by Father Al and Richard Serrano to better prepare our recently ordained priests and other priests to serve as pastors. His keen insights and generous service were much appreciated. He has promised to help even more for which I am very grateful.

Each director of our offices and departments set up to three goals for this next fiscal year and the objectives to help realize those goals. It is important to set your sights on some goals that are measurable and achievable.

I know some of our parish staffs do planning for the year ahead. I would encourage all of our staffs to take time to do this important work. It means breaking away from the pressing business of our lives to take a bigger look at what is important and where we need to focus our energies. Even in smaller parishes, this planning could happen between the pastor and his pastoral and finance councils and board of directors. Planning makes a difference and gives us targets for the year.

6. H1N1 "Swine" Flu -- Chancellor Eduadro Huerta sent out an advisory last Friday about the guidelines issued by the Committee on Divine Worship of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Committee will continue to monitor the progression of the influenza and will issue further guidance if necessary.

As of this morning, the only Catholic School affected by the presence of the flu in its community has been Sacred Heart School in Nogales. While no student at Sacred Heart has been ill from the flu, public schools in Nogales are closed for a week, and Sacred Heart School decided to join in that precaution.

7. Dedication of the New Church of Corpus Christi Parish -- Father Richard Kingsley, pastor, wants to communicate through Monday Memo his invitation to all priests to concelebrate the Mass at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 30, during which I will dedicate the new church of Corpus Christi Parish. Priests asked to call the parish office at 751-4235 by May 20 if they plan to be present.

8. JustFaith Presentation -- Today is the deadline to register for the presentation by Jack Jezreel, executive director of JustFaith Ministries, on "The Call To Transform Our Hearts and The World" this Wednesdauy at 6:45 p.m. at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson. Registration information is available here.

Vol. 7, No. 9
May 11, 2009


On this, the fourth day of his historic first pilgrimage to the Holy Land as Pope, our Holy Father is in Israel.

Pope Benedict XVI is walking the paths to holy places that pilgrims have been walking for centuries.
Meeting leaders of this troubled region's three major religions and the leaders of the governments of Jordan, the Palestine National Authority and Israel, he also is walking paths that he hopes will lead to peace.

He has prayed at Mount Nebo in western Jordan, where Moses glimpsed the Promised Land before dying. He has visited the site of the Lord's baptism, at Bethany beyond the Jordan River.

He has met with Muslim leaders at the Al-Hussein Bin Talal Mosque in Amman. He has given encouragement to the Christian Communities in Jordan.

Upon his arrival in Tel Aviv today, the Holy Father was greeted by the prime minister and president of Israel. As this memo is being posted, Pope Benedict is at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, where he is expected to reflect on the evils of racism and anti-Semitism.

Tomorrow, the Holy Father is to visit sites sacred to Islam, Judaism and Christianity. He will begin at the Dome of the Rock, one of Islam's holiest shrines, and then proceed to the Western Wall, sacred to Jews. He will meet in the Upper Room with the Catholic bishops of the dioceses in the Holy Land. He will meet separately with the city's two chief rabbis and the grand mufti.

He will spend Wednesday in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. He is to celebrate Mass in Manger Square and visit the Grotto of the Nativity. He will meet with the president of the Palestine National Authority. He will visit the Aida Refugee Camp, home to some 5,000 Palestinians.

Thursday, he goes to Nazareth, where he will meet with the prime minister of Israel. He will visit the Shrine of the Annunciation.

Friday, back in Jerusalem for his last day in the Holy Land, he will visit the Holy Sepulchre.

The world is closely watching this pilgrimage of the Holy Father.

Last Thursday, while I was in London, I received an e-mail from Josh Protas, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, with this message:

The Jewish Community in Southern Arizona extends its warm wishes to Pope Benedict XVI on the occasion of his pilgrimage to Israel. We wish the Pope the blessings of a safe journey to the Holy Land. We welcome the papal message of unity and peace and celebrate the abiding and continuing spiritual bonds that this trip represents. 

This trip is a personal pilgrimage, a visit from the leader of the world's Catholics, and a mission from a head of state. As such it symbolizes the personal, spiritual and diplomatic bonds between the Pope, his faithful, and the Vatican with the Jewish state.
 
This journey is a milestone along a path of rapprochement begun decades ago, most notably with the Vatican declaration Nostra Aetate, continuing with Vatican recognition of Israel, and memorably with the historic visit of Pope John Paul II.

In any friendship, including one with such a complex history and modern day realities, there are going to be differences, but these are approached as friends, with candor and respect.

We share in the joy surrounding the Pope's visit to Israel with our neighbors and friends in the Catholic communities of the Diocese of Tucson, led by Bishop Kicanas, and look forward to opportunities to deepen Catholic-Jewish relations at a local level.

I am grateful to the Jewish Community in Southern Arizona for this expression of good will, and I will forward it to the Holy Father. We continue to build on the friendship that was strengthened by Bishop Manuel Moreno and the Jewish Community during his 20-year episcopacy.

1. Serra Club Essay Contest – "What does the life of St. Paul teach me about being a follower of Christ?"

That is a good question for us to reflect upon in this Year of St. Paul, and it is the question that students in our Catholic Schools and parish religious education programs were invited to write about for this year's Serra Club of Tucson Essay Contest.

At the Club's annual Essay Contest Awards Luncheon today, we will get to hear the first place winners of the contest read their entries. It is always a treat!

The winners of this year's contest are:

Grades 4, 5 and 6: first place, Brian Robillard, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School, Tucson; second place, Graciella Jones, Holy Angels School, Globe; third place, Josefina Jaramillo, Sacred Heart Catholic School, Nogales; fourth place, Lydia Kennedy, Holy Angels School, Globe.

Grades 7 and 8: first place, Sarah Thygerson, Holy Angels School, Globe; second place, Alexa Leon, Sacred Heart Catholic School, Nogales; third place, Erika Yee, Sts. Peter and Paul School, Tucson; fourth place, Katy Cook, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School, Tucson.

High School: first place, Charles "Casey" Hoyack, St. Luke Parish, Douglas; second place, Lou Anne Wegrzyniak, Immaculate Heart High School, Tucson; third place, Sierra Goodine, Immaculate Heart High School, Tucson; fourth place, Lucia Dabdoub, Lourdes Catholic High School, Nogales.

2. 2009 Annual Catholic Appeal – As of last evening, we had reached 81% of this year's goal. To ensure the full funding of the 26 charities and ministries that depend upon the Appeal for their support, we will need a final push from our parishes that have not yet made their goals. I will be sending special letters to all our parishes to ask for a united effort to invite those who have not yet made a gift to join those who have. The weekly Appeal report is available here

3. Diocesan Pastoral Council
– The Council meets this Saturday at the Pastoral Center. Our agenda includes election of new officers and a presentation by Father Sean Carroll, S.J., executive director of the Kino Border Initiative. The Initiative is the collaborative ministry to migrants by and among the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, the California Province of the Society of Jesus, the Mexico Province of the Society of Jesus, the Missionary Sisters of the Eucharist, the Archdiocese of Hermosillo and the Diocese of Tucson.

4. On the Confirmation Trail – I will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation this evening at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish for student in the parish's religious education program and this Sunday morning at Sacred Heart Parish in Willcox.

5. Expanding Access to Catholic Schools – I am very honored to have been invited by the Institute for Educational Initiatives to participate in this week's dialogue between and among seven bishops and four lay experts on strategies by which we can improve access to our Catholic elementary and high schools in the U.S.

With the many challenges that our Catholic Schools face across the nation, this dialogue is very timely and important.

The Institute for Educational Initiatives (IEI) is dedicated to improving the education of all youth, particularly the disadvantaged, with a special call to sustain and strengthen Catholic Schools.

IEI programs include the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE). We are blessed to have several principals and several teachers in our Diocese who are graduates of the ACE program at Notre Dame. We have had a number of ACE students teaching this year at Santa Cruz School, San Xavier School and St. Augustine Catholic High School in Tucson. They have been a marvelous addition to our schools, and their service and witness a great gift to the Diocese. 

6. TV Commercial for Our Catholic Schools – Many people have mentioned to me that they have seen the commercial promoting our Catholic Schools that has been airing on KVOA-TV. It has been well received.

In the ad, I talk about the great opportunity that Catholic education offers children in our communities. I am grateful to Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, C.F.M.M., our Superintendent of Catholic Schools, and the principals of some of our Catholic Schools for launching this promotional effort, which includes a new online directory at www.catholicschoolsaz.org and www.catholicschoolsaz.com. We hope to be able to broadcast the commercial on TV stations in other communities of our Diocese served by our Catholic Schools.

7. Tucson's National Cemetery From 1862 to 1881, it is believed that perhaps as many as 2,000 persons were buried in what was called the National Cemetery in Tucson. It is very likely that most of those buried in the cemetery were Catholic.

Located at the area that is near the intersection of Stone Avenue and Alameda Street in downtown Tucson, the National Cemetery consisted of a small military cemetery used by the U.S. Army post in Tucson and a larger cemetery adjacent to it for Tucson's residents.

The City of Tucson closed the civilian part of cemetery in 1875. In 1881, the U.S. Army stopped using the military cemetery. In 1882, the city published notices asking that families remove the remains of their members buried in the civilian cemetery and rebury them in other cemeteries. Very few families did so. In 1884, the remains of many of the soldiers buried in the cemetery were removed by the Army and ultimately reburied in a San Francisco military cemetery.

Over the years that followed, the National Cemetery basically just disappeared. Houses were built on the site, then commercial buildings. Every so often, bones would be uncovered in construction projects. Most of the time, the remains would be discarded. Some were saved, though, and stored at the Arizona State Museum.

In 2006, with construction set to begin on the site for the Joint Courts Complex, the years of neglect and inadvertent desecration came to an end when the Joint Court Archaeological Project began. There would be no construction until the remains of those buried in the cemetery could be located and removed.

In the Monday Memo of Nov. 6, 2006, I wrote:

One measurement of a community's character is how it treats those who have gone before us. We honor the memory and sacrifices of those who helped to establish our community. Yesterday morning, I had the opportunity to offer prayers on behalf of those who were buried at what was known as the National Cemetery in downtown Tucson. New government buildings are to be built on the site, and Pima County officials requested the ceremony as a way for all of us to honor these dead and to raise our voices in prayer for them. The remains that will be excavated are to be buried at All Faiths Memorial Park on the east side.  

The Joint Court Archaeological Project has been completed. The remains of about 1,400 persons have been removed, including the remains of 57 soldiers and four family members of soldiers. Most all of the remains have been stored at the Arizona State Museum, and now the reburials are to begin.

This Friday, in a special ceremony at All Faiths, I will pray for the souls of these soldiers, who lived and died in our community so long ago, when their remains and those of their family members are transferred to representatives of the U.S. Army. The remains are to be buried this Saturday in the Historic Soldiers Relocation Project, a special section of the Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Sierra Vista. Groups in Sierra Vista have generously donated their skills and resources to build this special section.

(Sources for the information in this item included the Joint Court Archaeological Project, a report by Bonnie Henry in The Arizona Daily Star and a report by Bill Hess in The Sierra Vista Herald Review.)

8. Lourdes Catholic High School Baccalaureate Mass, Graduation – I will celebrate the baccalaureate Mass and graduation this Friday with members of the Class of 2009 of Lourdes Catholic High School in Nogales and their proud families.

9. Knights of Columbus 102nd Arizona State Convention – Tucson Council #1200 is the proud host of the 102nd Annual Arizona Knights of Columbus Convention this Friday through Sunday at the DoubleTree Hotel Tucson. I will celebrate a memorial Mass this Saturday afternoon with the Knights and their families. This is the second year the convention is being held in Tucson.

The National Convention of the Knights will be taking place in Phoenix for the first time this August. I am delighted that the State Council has chosen for a gift to the Knights and their families who will come to Phoenix a tile replica of Michael Chiago's painting, "A City and Church Rise Together," which is displayed as a tile mural on the northwest corner of our Pastoral Center.

10. Visit to Lloyds of London – I found it fascinating last week to meet with underwriters in London at the famous Lloyds of London building. The unusual design has the building's major infrastructure – pipes, elevator shafts, conduits, etc. – on the outside of the building.

Lloyds originally began by underwriting potential loss in sea commerce. On the main floor, there is a log in which you can read on the day of your visit what ships sank or were damaged on that same day 100 years ago. In the center of the trading floor is the Lutine Bell, which traditionally was rung when news of an overdue ship arrived: once if the ship were lost, twice if the ship would return. Also in the lobby is a display of artifacts of Lord Horatio Nelson, the great British vice admiral of the 19th century whose efforts to protect sea commerce saved Lloyds a lot of money.

Lloyds is like a marketplace of insuring companies where brokers visit with underwriters explaining their companies' risk and seeking insurance. Some come in seeking protection in employment situations, some still seek insurance for ships, especially now with the rising experience of pirating. The broker fills out a sheet detailing the risk, the history of the company and its potential liability. The underwriter decides what minimums they will not cover as deductibles, what the limit of their coverage will be and any other pertinent issues. The contract is then stamped and signed.

I was visiting Lloyds to explore the possibility of excess liability coverage for our Diocese. The underwriters seemed impressed to learn all that we are doing to mitigate risk, especially through our Safe Environment Program. While one can never eliminate risk, our parishes and agencies are working hard to reduce the risk of harm to any person within the household of the Church.

I am grateful to Dennis O'Hara, who oversees the work of The Ordinary Mutual, the risk retention
group in which we participate with other dioceses, for arranging and facilitating the trip.

While in London, we had an opportunity to meet with Patrick Gallagher. The Gallagher family has been involved for many years with insuring Catholic organizations and dioceses. Their relationship with the Church in the U.S. began with the Archdiocese of Chicago just after the terrible tragedy of the fire at Our Lady of the Angels School that took the lives of so many.

11. Priests' Day of Prayer Cancellation
– The Priests' Day of Prayer for May, scheduled for May 20, has been cancelled.

12. Please Remember in Your Prayers – Please pray for the repose of the soul of Elizabeth Barnufsky, mother of Father Stephen Barnufsky, O.F.M., pastor of San Xavier Mission Parish, who died in May 1.

Vol. 7, No. 10
May 18, 2009

I am very happy to invite all in our Diocese to the blessing and dedication of the Msgr. Arsenio S. Carrillo Placita after the noon Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral on Pentecost.

I hope you can join us for this very special occasion as we honor Msgr. Carrillo for his years of ministry at the Cathedral, including his service as a parochial vicar from 1956 to 1963 and as the rector of the Cathedral for Bishop Green and for Bishop Moreno from 1969 to 1995.

The blessing and dedication will be our formal introduction of the placita to the Tucson community. The placita is really a gift to the renewal of downtown Tucson, and it is my hope and the hope of Father Pat Crino, rector, and the community of St. Augustine Cathedral Parish that the placita will be used frequently by the community to bring people together for fiestas, for performances and for spiritual events.

We also proudly will be introducing the newly remodeled front of historic Cathedral Hall, which henceforth will be the Msgr. Arsenio S. Carrillo Cathedral Hall.

I took a tour of the placita area early last week to seek how things were going. You know me. I never worry that things won't be ready in time.

I found the crew laying the pavers for the patio hard at work. And that is hard work! I spread a couple of shovels of sand and I was ready for a break.

John Shaheen, manager of our diocesan Property and Insurance Office, took me up on the stage for a look at the newly installed spotlights and the beautifully airbrushed flowers and vines that make the structure over the stage a work of public art.

I am grateful to Tony Carrillo and the Placita Committee for their efforts over the last few years to raise money for this project. I am grateful especially to all the donors who have stepped forward to make this placita a reality. We will thank and recognize donors with plaques bearing their names on the steps of the stage and on pavers. We still have a way to go to totally fund the project, so I encourage anyone who would like to help to contact Father Pat Crino at the Cathedral.

We look forward to a wonderful dedication of this placita in honor of Msgr. Carrillo. Please join us for the blessing and dedication!

1. 2009 Annual Catholic Appeal -- All parishes will receive a special mailing this week in preparation for the traditional "Amen!" Sunday that marks the conclusion of the parish solicitation phase of the campaign.

"Amen!" Sunday this year will take place on the weekend of June 13 and 14, and I have prepared a special message on CD that I am asking our pastors and administrators to share with their people that weekend. In the message, I thank those who have given so generously, and I encourage those who have not yet given to give whatever they can so that we can reach our goal and fully fund the 26 charities and ministries that depend upon the Appeal.

As of this past weekend, we were at 82% of our $3.4 million goal, with 2o parishes having met or exceeded their goal. Most of the remaining parishes are at more than 80% of their goal, and I am prayerfully optimistic that with a final effort they will make their goal and we will make our appeal goal. 

2. Presbyteral Council Meeting -- The Council meets this morning here at the Pastoral Center. Our agenda includes an update on the Annual Catholic Appeal and a discussion of Web-based education for our Safe Environment Program.

3. Catholic Tuition Support Organization -- I will be attending the Catholic Tuition Support Organization's third annual Corporate Donor Appreciation Luncheon tomorrow at the Arizona Inn in Tucson.

This is an opportunity for the CTSO Board and me to thank the corporations that gave so generously to last year's campaign. Joining us and CTSO executive director Gracie Quiroz will be students from our Catholic Schools who can communicate so well how the CTSO has made it possible for them to receive a quality education.

4. On the Confirmation Trail -- I will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation tomorrow evening at Mission San Xavier del Bac Parish, on Wednesday evening at Sacred Heart Parish in Tucson, on Friday evening at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Benson, on Saturday evening at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Mammoth, on Sunday morning at Our Lady of LaVang Parish in Tucson and on Sunday afternoon at St. Rita of the Desert Parish in Vail.

5. Graduation Celebration -- It will be my joy to celebrate Mass and graduation ceremonies at Immaculate Heart High School in Tucson tonight, at St. Augustine Cathedral this Thursday evening for San Miguel High School in Tucson and at St. Augustine Cathedral this Saturday morning for Salpointe Catholic High School.

6. Meeting of Pastoral Center Directors -- I will meet with the directors of our Pastoral Center departments and offices for our regular monthly meeting this Thursday morning.

7. The New Vision Editorial Board -- I will meet this Thursday at the Pastoral Center with managing editor Bern Zovistoski and the members of our diocesan newspaper's editorial board. I am happy to hear the many positive comments about our newspaper, and I appreciate greatly the dedication and professionalism of Bern and his co-worker, Omar Rodriguez.

8. Parish Listening Session -- I will meet with the staff and community of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Mammoth this Saturday afternoon for a listening session that is being held in anticipation of the possible appointment of a new pastor or administrator. I like to hear from staff and parishioners what is going well at their parish, what challenges they are experiencing and what qualities they hope for in a new pastor or administrator. I am grateful to Father Walter Balduck, O.F.M. Cap., for his service as administrator to the parish.

9. Vocations
-- I am happy to welcome Father Ray Webb, academic dean of Mundelein Seminary, to the Diocese this week. Father Ray, who was my classmate at Mundelein a few years ago, is coming to visit seminarian Jorge Arias-Saucedo, who is doing his pastoral internship at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Yuma. I will make sure to tell Father Ray that the drive to Yuma is just a few miles and that he will be there before he knows it.

I am very happy to announce that Father Mike Bucciarelli and Father Vili Valderrama will serve another year as co-directors of our Office of Vocations. Our parishes will soon receive another result of their good work: a beautiful new brochure about vocations to the priesthood in our Diocese.

We wish God's blessings for Daniel Zeiss, who entered the seminary for our Diocese last year and who has decided to study for a diocese in New Jersey.

10. Blessing of Remains -- In the fall of 2006, I blessed the area in downtown Tucson that is the site of the proposed Joint Courts Complex.

As the area was being prepared for construction, a number of graves were uncovered. Our community learned that this area had been what was known in the last half of the 19th Century as the National Cemetery. After its closure, the cemetery was neglected. In the years that followed, houses were built on the site, then shops and other businesses. The blessing that I had been invited to give was a sign our community's interest in undoing the neglect of the past.

Before any construction of the Courts Complex began, Pima County undertook an expensive and complex archeological project to assure that the remains from the National Cemetery would be removed and treated with dignity and the respect due them.

Working diligently, experts were able to locate and carefully remove the remains of more than 1,000 people from the area. The reburial of the remains was planned in two phases, the first of which took place last Friday and Saturday.

It is a powerful and moving experience for me to preside at a Funeral Mass for any one individual, and my experience Friday morning at All Faiths Cemeteries on Tucson's eastside was all the more powerful as I presided at a prayer service and blessing for the remains of 58 soldiers and several children who had been buried in the National Cemetery.

More than 50 members of various veterans organizations came to participate in the transfer of these remains to the Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Sierra Vista. They stood respectfully before the flag draped wooden boxes that held the remains as I blessed each person. They prayed and sang, calling upon God to grant eternal rest to these individuals who served their country bravely. 

Gently and carefully, the veterans carried each of the boxes to two military trucks that would transport the remains to Sierra Vista, where they were buried on Saturday with military honors and in the presence of Governor Jan Brewer.

Like us, these 61 persons lived in our area. They walked the same ground on which we walk. They saw the same mountains and desert cacti we see. They experienced joy and sorrow, success and disappointment. Our community's respect for their remains recognizes that their lives mattered. Although none of the remains can be identified by name, those unknown soldiers served our country in a difficult and challenging time. We honored them even though their identities remain uncertain. 

I am grateful to Jim DeCastro, executive director of our Catholic Cemeteries (including All Faiths), and his staff for their collaboration with and support of the project to provide a final resting place for those who were buried in the National Cemetery.
 
The second phase of the project will take place late this year or perhaps early next year when the remains of nearly 1,000 people recovered from National Cemetery will be brought to their place of rest at All Faiths Cemeteries. Pima County has worked with local Native American tribes, Los Descendientes, and others to assure proper care for these remains. Some of the original Tucson families surely had loved ones buried in the National Cemetery. Their descendents now can be assured that the remains have been located and will be reburied.

11. Knights of Columbus Arizona State Convention -- Saturday evening, several Knights from our Diocese were honored at 102 Annual Convention that was held in Tucson. Santa Catalina Council was named the Council of the Year, Sir Knight James Maino of St. Christopher Parish in Marana was named District Deputy of the year. Sir Knight John Kinnane from Apache Junction Council received the State Deputy Award, and Sir Knight Julius "Mike" Moeykenas from Council 1200 received the Fraternity Award. I am proud of our Knights!

The Knights of Arizona also elected new officers for 2009-2010. Sir Knight Herb Maddock was selected as State Deputy, Sir Knight Patrick Schuller was chosen as State Secretary and Sir Knight Joseph Rostowsky became State Treasurer. Warden Bryant of Sierra Vista was chosen as State Advocate and Sir Knight Larry Becker was selected State Warden.

Everyone expressed gratitude to State Deputy Stan Schroeder and his wife Rosanne for their outstanding service these past two years. Stan will stay on the Council as Immediate Past President.

Arizona's Knights of Columbus are looking forward to the national Supreme Convention that will be held in Phoenix in August.

12. Adrian Dominican Sisters’ 125th Anniversary
-- Our three Adrian Dominicans here at the Pastoral Center were very happy to be present this past weekend for the celebration in Adrian, Michigan, of the 125th anniversary of the establishment of the first motherhouse of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. Sister Charlotte Anne Swift, my executive assistant, Sister Lois Paha, director of our Department of Pastoral Services, and Sister Rina Cappellazzo, our Vicar for Religious, are exemplars of the mission and ministry of the Adrian Dominicans.

13. Remember in Your Prayers -- Please pray for the repose of the soul of Ray Santana, husband of Pilar Moreno Santana, who died yesterday. Ray was a very loving brother-in-law to Bishop Moreno.

14. The Tucson Citizen
-- The Tucson Citizen, which may have printed its final edition on Saturday, wrote often about our Church and our Diocese in its more than 138 years of publishing.

Several years ago, when we researched the history of the statue of Mary, the Immaculate Conception, that is in front of the Cathedral, it was a story in the Dec. 7, 1904, issue of the Tucson Citizen on microfiche in the Pima County Public Library that provided great detail about the statue's dedication.

In my contacts with the Citizen's editors, I found them to be receptive and responsive to our hopes for the community and our views about issues such as affordable housing, the scourge of methamphetamines and the struggles to deal justly with immigration. They also responded professionally to our concerns about accurate and fair coverage of the Diocese.

I appreciated the invitations from former editor and publisher Mike Chihak and editors Mark Kimble and Billie Stanton to write op-ed pieces and a reflection for the Christmas edition.

The staff with whom we at the Pastoral Center most often related were persons who cared greatly about their craft and about the Tucson community. Former editor Joe Garcia, who was a reporter for our diocesan newspaper in the 1980s, cared greatly for this community. Teya Vitu was consistently thorough in his stories about our efforts to participate in the revitalization of downtown. Mary Bustamonte's reporting on schools and education demonstrated knowledge and sensitivity. Gabrielle Fimbres, also a reporter for our diocesan newspaper in the 1980s, wrote with heartfelt insight about the Tucson community. Former reporter Blake Morlock and reporter Sheryl Kornman tried always to be fair in stories about the abuse cases. Gary Gaynor, who retired, and Francisco Medina communicated powerfully the emotion of spiritual events in their excellent photographs. Renee Schafer Horton, who wrote a column and stories for our diocesan newspaper early in this decade, stayed in touch with us even though we were not on her beat. The other reporters, photographers and editors with whom we had contact over the years on a less frequent basis were no less caring and professional.

Before its owner publicly announced its decision to seek the closing of the Citizen, we had been in dialogue with editors about the tone of the reader comments that often were attached to online stories about the Diocese and the Catholic Church. We didn't agree with the editors' perspective, but we communicated with each other.

This is a time of great challenge and change for many societal institutions. We can ill afford to lose institutions in our community that can serve the causes of dialogue and understanding.

Vol. 7, No. 11

May 26, 2009

All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by water and the Holy Spirit
you freed your sons and daughters from sin
and gave them new life.
Send your Holy Spirit upon them
to be their Helper and Guide.
Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of right judgment and courage,
the spirit of knowledge and reverence.
Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

In this week leading up to Pentecost -- and on the great day itself -- I will pray this powerful prayer over the young people and adults of four of our parishes as I administer the Sacrament of Confirmation.

The celebrations of the Sacrament will be this Saturday morning at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson; and, on the morning of the Solemnity, at St. Augustine Cathedral for Cathedral Parish, Holy Family Parish and St. John the Evangelist Parish.

Pentecost truly is a wonderful time to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation!

When I am confirming on Pentecost Sunday, I cannot help but think of those Apostles in the Upper Room when the Spirit came upon them as tongues of fire. Touched by the Spirit, they broke out of the Upper Room to preach Christ, to teach Christ, to witness to Christ. I pray all those confirmed this year will be as much on fire as those early Apostles. What marvels they can accomplish for Christ!

1. Weekend of Special Dedications -- This Saturday's Vigil of Pentecost will be a joyful celebration for Father Richard Kingsley, pastor, and the community of Corpus Christi Parish in Tucson as I dedicate their new church during the 4:30 p.m. Mass. Corpus Christi is our eastern-most parish in Tucson, and the church is beautifully situated near the foothills of the Rincon Mountains.

The people of Corpus Christi have expressed their appreciation of the new church. They have sacrificed so much to make this new church a reality. Their generosity will make it possible to future generations to worship in a beautiful sacred space.

After the noon Mass on Pentecost at St. Augustine Cathedral, it will be my joy to bless and dedicate the new Msgr. Arsenio S. Carrillo Placita. There is a special invitation to the dedication for you on our diocesan Web site's home page, and I hope to see you there.

I am so pleased that Msgr. Carrillo will be able to join us for this special occasion, and I know he will be pleased when he sees this new space where many will gather and celebrate. I am grateful to the Placita Committee that has been working on the dedication and thankful for all those who have indicated that they will attend.

We are forming a committee to develop a calendar of events for the Placita and to promote its use. I hope the Placita will be an inviting location for our community to gather often, to celebrate frequently and to enjoy some delightful days and evenings in this colorful environment. The Placita also will be available for rental by community groups wishing to use it for performances and other events.

2. Memorial Day -- Jim DeCastro, executive director of our Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries, asked me to convey this message:

The Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries celebrated Memorial Day Mass at Holy Hope Cemetery and All Faiths Cemetery. We were blessed to welcome more than 800 people who celebrated Mass on this day set aside for honoring our fallen veterans. 
 
The staff and management of the Catholic Cemeteries thank all those who celebrated this special day with us, especially, the priests and the Knights of Columbus as the Honor Guard.  The celebrant at Holy Hope Cemetery was Father Mario "Ricky" Ordonez of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, and the con-celebrants were Father Pat Crino, rector of St. Augustine Cathedral, and Father Cyprian Killackey, O.C.D., of St. Margaret Mary Parish. Father Remigio "Miguel" Mariano Jr. of St. Joseph Parish was the celebrant at All Faiths Cemetery. Thanks also go to our "Angels:" Paulet, Daran and Andre.  American Legion Post 59 performed the Flag Ceremony at Holy Hope, honoring fallen veteran Pete Estavillo.  Davis Monthan AFB Elite Honor Guard performed the Flag Ceremony at All Faiths Cemetery
 
May and June are important months for our families as we pause to honor our fallen veterans and our parents.  We want you to know that we here at the Catholic Cemeteries strive to make every day a special day in honoring your loved ones and that this can only happen with your gracious support.

3. 2009 Annual Catholic Appeal
-- The special audio messages in English and Spanish that I recorded for our traditional "Amen!" Sunday conclusion to the campaign has been mailed to parishes. This year's "Amen!" encouragement will take place on the weekend of June 13-14. The messages also are available for downloading here.

Parish reports are available here.

4. National Pastoral Life Center
-- I am in New York City today for a meeting of the Board of Directors of the National Pastoral Life Center. The Center is in the process of reviewing its mission to identify those areas of pastoral ministry that they can help strengthen for parishes and dioceses. The Center's many programs all have as their goal the enhancement of parish life and the bolstering of parish ministers with what they need to serve well.

5. Baccalaureate Mass -- I will celebrate the Baccalaureate Mass for the class of 2009 of St. Augustine Catholic High School in Tucson this Friday evening at the school's next door neighbor, St. Francis de Sales Parish.

6. Blessed Sacrament Parish -- I enjoyed very much my visit Saturday to Blessed Sacrament Parish in Mammoth, where Father Wally Balduck, O.F.M. Cap., is doing marvelous ministry as administrator.

I was inspired as I listened to people who have been part of the parish community for 30 and 40 years. They have a deep and emotional attachment to their parish.

The community has experienced some difficult economic times with the loss of jobs and the struggles of many retirees trying to live on fixed incomes. Despite these challenges, the people are deeply committed to their parish. It is an important part in their lives, and they hope they can encourage and interest people in becoming more active again.

In our listening session, they talked of their fall fiesta, planned for Sept. 12, that is such an important gathering for the community. They take great pride in their fiesta.

As is often raised at these sessions, the people are very concerned about the young people of the parish, wanting to keep them active and involved. This is a great challenge, especially since so many of the young move out of the community after high school.

There is a rich history in this area that includes Oracle, San Manuel, Mammoth, Hayden/Winkleman, Kearney, Miami, Globe and Superior. The active and flourishing days of the mines have mostly passed, and the communities are seeking to redefine themselves.

One realizes that in time, change happens. These communities have experienced the effect of change with the loss of jobs and economic opportunities. Yet, the beauty and goodness of the people remains. The parishes in these communities play an important part in giving the people hope and assuring them of their value and worth.

I am grateful to Father Wally for his willingness to stay on as administrator for another year. Father Joseph Nietlong, former administrator of St. Helen Mission in Oracle, will fill in for Father Wally during July and August. Father Joseph has been teaching at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein. He will be returning home to the Diocese of Makurdi in Nigeria at the end of September.

7. 18th Annual Vocations Golf Tournament
-- I encourage our parishes to help promote this year's tournament on Saturday, July 11, at the Haven Golf Course in Green Valley. Sponsored by Knights of Columbus Council 1200 in Tucson and hosted by the Mexican American Golf Association, the tournament is a fun fundraiser for our diocesan Vocations Office in support of seminarian education. For more information, you may contact Abe Aragon at 520-743-3670.

8. Lizzie Bell
-- Television viewers across the country were introduced to Lizzie and her family last January through "Extreme Makover: Home Edition," a show that surprises a deserving family by building them a new home. The producers of the show selected the Bell family in Tucson after producers learned of Lizzie's rare blood disorder and her family's mission to raise awareness about the importance of donating blood. 

Last week, Lizzie celebrated her 15th birthday, but the celebration had to take place at University Medical Center in Tucson. Lizzie had been hospitalized May 13 because of pneumonia and the flu. Also, her constant need for transfusions has led to complications in her treatment.

Because it may be likely that Lizzie will need a bone marrow transplant, her parents, Mike and Kathy, have asked for a community response on Sunday, June 14, to help identify potential donors. This special effort for Lizzie, to be held at the American Red Cross Broadway Donor Center, 7139 E. Broadway, in Tucson from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., coincides with the Bell family's annual blood donation drive on World Blood Donor Day, which is observed annually on June 14. For more information, contact the Red Cross at 520-917-2820 or 1-800-Give Life.

9. Father Silas Bogati
-- I met Father Silas nearly three years ago during my fact-finding journey to India and Nepal nearly three years ago for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration. I visited with him at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Kathmandu. Assumption is the only church in Kathmandu, but because of government restrictions cannot be called a church and instead is called a "community center." Father Silas is called the "chief" of the "community Center." He shared with me at the time how difficult it is for the Catholic minority in Nepal.

I was privileged to celebrate Mass in Assumption just after it was completed. The Catholic community was so proud that they finally had a place to worship.

Yesterday, I received this e-mail from Father Silas:

Dear Friends, 
I am writing to you regarding a sad incident that occurred in our Church. I was celebrating Mass on 23rd of May at the Assumption Church at 9:00 am 15 minutes after the Mass there was a loud explosion. A lady had planted a bomb, which exploded and killed two people and injured dozen of people some are still in critical condition. We could never imagine that some one could carry out such a cowardly act and kill and injure so many people. We have received so far good cooperation and help from the government. The new Prime Minister, Mr. Madhav Kumar Nepal, who was not even sworn in, came on Sunday morning to see the damaged Church and visited the injured at the hospitals. Some political party and their leaders have expressed solidarity and support. Human Rights people have also condemned this attack on minority worship place and they will continue to take up our case wherever needed. Other Church communities are also supporting us actively. We are also planning an all religious group rally on coming Sunday. We had a prayer meeting yesterday on Sunday all different Churches and Religions were represented. In Nepal we been having good religious harmony and some extremist group is trying to disturb this existing harmony. This incident is owned up by a Hindu group. The same group killed a Salesian Priest last year. Their goal is to change Nepal back to a Hindu State as in past. Please do pray for us in this time of need.

Father Silas visited our Diocese last year and stayed at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson. He spoke at several parishes, seeking assistance for their struggling diocese that only recently was erected by the Holy Father. Let us pray for his community as they deal with this tragedy.

10. Please Remember in Your Prayers
-- Please pray for the repose of the soul of Grace Monica Agamba, mother of Father Clement Agamba, parochial vicar at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Tucson, who died last Wednesday.

Please pray for Father Albert Verbrugghe, a retired priest of our Diocese, who is hospitalized in San Antonio, Texas.