May 3, 2010 May 10, 2010 May 17, 2010 May 24, 2010

Vol. 8, No. 8
May 3, 2010

This is Mary's Month.

For centuries, our Church has observed May as a special month for honoring our Blessed Mother and for seeking Her intercession.

I was reflecting over the weekend how much we need our Blessed Mother's intercession and loving encouragement right now.

When we are troubled, when we are anxious and afraid, when we are angry and frustrated, She is there for us, much in the way our mothers were there for us when we were growing up and encountering life's difficulties.

Certainly, there has been much to trouble us, to make us anxious and afraid and to leave us feeling angry and frustrated these last few weeks here in Arizona.

The "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act" (Arizona Senate Bill 1070) signed into law 10 days ago by Gov. Jan Brewer, is proving to be a divisive influence in our communities here in Arizona and across our nation.

Even with amendments approved last week meant to ameliorate the perception that the law is racist, this act remains a flawed and ineffective measure that sends the wrong messages about migrants, about border security, about reform of our immigration system and about who we are as the people of Arizona.

As the legal challenges and protests against the law continue, I encourage us to pray for our Blessed Mother's intercession.

Hear what Our Lady of Guadalupe said to Juan Diego:

"Listen and let it penetrate your heart... do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?"

I encourage our parishes and our schools to pray during this month of Mary for Her intercession.

Pray that our country will not become divided by the issues surrounding immigration and that no one will be hurt or harmed in the protests against the new Arizona law or in demonstrations in favor of it.

Pray for political courage and true leadership by our President and federal and state representatives. Pray that they will move beyond partisan politics to come to a comprehensive immigration policy for our country that reflects our needs as a nation and the needs of migrants. Pray that they will sit on the same side of the table and find a solution to this perplexing and troubling situation.
 
I am encouraged that we are praying.

The parishes of the Pima South Vicariate and the Pima County Interfaith Council invite all faith communities to an Interfaith Immigration Prayer Service at St. John the Evangelist Parish on Wednesday, May 12, at 7 p.m.

1. Importance of Dialogue -- I have received many e-mails and calls about the "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act."

It is clear that there is much emotion and conviction behind the views of those who want me to know that they agree or disagree with what I have said about the Act. It also is clear that a big gap exists between people who support the Act and those who oppose its implementation. This gap reflects the complexities of this difficult situation.
 
Some people are focused on the need to secure our border and to protect people from violence and destruction that have become far too prevalent along the border. Some are focused on the desperation of the migrants who cannot find a decent way of life where they are living and who seek to better themselves and their families.
 
I agree that our country needs to protect its border and needs to confront the rampant drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and human smuggling that has grown up along the border. Criminal behavior has increased as we have increased our border security, and a large criminal network has developed that is exploiting this phenomenal migration.
 
I agree also that many migrants are coming into this country illegally, and that they do so not because they want to harm someone, not because they are criminals with bad intentions, but simply because they want a better way of life and they cannot find a legal way to enter.

The push-pull factors of this migration are not addressed by the new Arizona law. The push-pull factors should be and could be addressed by our nation and Mexico and the nations of Central America. 

In addition to addressing the economic factors that push migrants to leave their homes, comprehensive immigration reform should provide more legal avenues for people to come here to work. Reform should provide for the unification of families. Reform should provide an earned pathway to citizenship for people who are already here so that they can come out of the shadows and fully contribute to our society, which is their wish.
 
I encourage continued dialogue on this difficult and contentious issue. To make the dialogue productive, I encourage people to read the "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act" and to visit the special Web site of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at www.justiceforimmigrants.org for detailed information on the bishops' perspective on immigration.

Most especially, I encourage people to meet and talk with migrants. If you are interested in how to do this, you are welcome to contact Joanne Welter of our diocesan Catholic Social Mission Office at 792-3410.

2. In Solidarity -- Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, issued a statement April 27 in solidarity with the Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference in opposition to the "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act."
Bishop Wester said the law is "symptomatic of the absence of federal leadership on the issue of immigration" and called for "the Administration and Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to enact comprehensive immigration reform as soon as possible."
 
Also in solidarity with the Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference, Archbishop Michael Sheehan of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of the Diocese of Las Cruces; and Bishop James Wall of the Diocese of Gallup issued a statement last week opposing the "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act."

"It is clear that we need immigration reform at the national level in order to deal with the disparities in the present immigration law. We Bishops are concerned that other States might try to initiate such a wrongheaded law as well. We hope that the implementation of the law will be stopped.  It is not in keeping with the best traditions of our Nation," the statement said.

3. Presbyteral Council Meeting -- I will be welcoming the Vicars Forane to the Bishop's Residence today for our monthly meeting of the Presbyteral Council.

I will be interested in hearing from the Vicars Forane how parishioners in their vicariates are reacting to the "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act."

Our agenda includes an update from Margie Puerta Edson, executive director of the Diocese of Tucson Charity and Ministry Fund, on this year's Annual Catholic Appeal Campaign. We also will discuss how the Pastoral Center can better use e-mail to communicate with parishes.

4. On the Confirmation Trail -- I will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation this evening at San Martin de Porres Parish in Sahuarita, Wednesday evening at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Tucson for St. Margaret Mary and Sacred Heart Parishes, Thursday evening at Corpus Christi Parish in Tucson and Saturday evening at St. Leonard Parish in Berwyn, Illinois.

5. Priests Day of Prayer -- Our monthly Day of Prayer for priests will be this Wednesday at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks.

6. Catholic Tuition Support Organization -- I will join the Board of Directors of the Catholic Tuition Support Organization this Thursday to gratefully acknowledge the corporations and businesses in our Diocese that made contributions last year to the Catholic Tuition Supp Corporate Tax Credit Contributors.  CTSO was able to provide over $2.1 million in corporate scholarships to over 780 students because of the generous support of our corporate contributors.

7. 2010 Cornerstone Gala -- This Friday evening, the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson will host the Cornerstone Gala at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort. The theme of this year's Gala is "Celebrating the Year for Priests." 

The honorees are Msgr. Thomas P. Cahalane, pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish; Msgr. Thomas J. Millane, pastor emeritus of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish; Msgr. Richard W. O'Keeffe, episcopal vicar for Yuma-La Paz vicariate and pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma; Msgr. Todd O'Leary, pastor emeritus of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, and Msgr. Van Wagner, retired vicar general of the Diocese.

The evening will feature a raffle and silent auction with more than 100 items. The Foundation will announce this year's grant recipients at the Gala.

8. Diocesan Pastoral Council -- At Saturday's meeting, the Council elected its officers for the coming year. 

Frank Pearson was chosen as chair, Matthew Nadakal as vice chair and Bonnie Irr as secretary. Our congratulations to them as they begin their leadership of this body, whose members are among my primary consultors on diocesan matters.

I am grateful to Jeanette Apaez-Gutierrez, a teacher at Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson, who completed a term as chair. Everyone on the Council remarked what a blessing it was to have Jeanette as chair. Her energy, enthusiasm, and fresh ideas added a lot. We will miss her leadership.
 
Completing their service as members of the Council were Susan Lauer, Mary Valdez, Deacon Thomas Willis and Deacon Dan Mulloy. They have added so much to the deliberations of the Council, and I have always valued their sound advice and wise counsel.

I am continually impressed by the wise counsel and advice I receive from the members of our Diocesan Pastoral Council.

At each of our meetings, we listen to one of the members reflect on her or his spiritual journey. These testimonies have been powerful experiences for all of us. Listening to each other's stories fortifies our faith.

I encourage the pastoral councils, finance councils and boards of our parishes and schools to take the lead from our Diocesan Pastoral Council in providing time for members to share and to reflect on their spiritual journeys.

9. Graduation Day for Pastor Leadership Development Program -- Last Thursday was graduation day for the 24 priests in the first class of our diocesan Pastoral Leadership Development Program (PLDP).

For the last two years, the priests have been learning and practicing the competencies and skills that are necessary for effective administrative and pastoral leadership of a parish. Seminaries provide very little preparation for the realities of parish administration such as hiring and supervision of staff, understanding financial reports, community organizing and facility needs. While not the primary responsibilities of pastors, these skills in these areas are important for a successful parish.

Meeting three days each quarter for day-long class sessions and studying on their own between sessions, the priests have guided a mythical parish, "Santa Margarita," through the challenges that all parishes face.

As I presented the priests with certificates of achievement, I asked each to reflect on his experience of the program.

Three things were common in their experiences: they now feel more confident about taking on the challenges of leading a parish; they feel a strong fraternity with classmates; and they know they are welcome to call our staff at the Pastoral Center to get advice and assistance.

I am grateful to the faculty and facilitators of the PLDP: Richard Serrano, our diocesan director of Human Resources; Paul Vernon, a retired corporate executive; David Kennon, a retired educator; Jim Petrus, a corporate management development specialist; and Father Al Schifano, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia.

I also am grateful to the members of our Pastoral Center Staff who supported the PLDP by serving as resources.

The members of our first PLDP class: Father Robert Rodriguez, Father Martin Atanga, Father Bartolome Vasquez Johnston, Father Melchisadek Akpan, V.C., Father Alonzo Garcia, Father Ariel Lustan, Father Emilio Chapa, Father Clement Agamba, Father Thomas Reeves, O.C.D., Father JoJo Tabo, Father Jose Maria Corvera, Father Ed Sarrazin, O.F.M., Father Madhu George, Father Sabastine Bula, V.C., Father Mario Ordonez, Father Mark Long, Father Manuel Fragoso, Father Matthew Williams, Father Philip Sullivan, O.C.D., Father James Aboyi, V.C., Father Richard Kusugh, V.C., and, not pictured, Father Ed Lucero and Father Bernard Perkins, O.C.D.

10. Graduation of Deacon Oscar Magallanes -- Deacon Oscar Magallanes is a proud member of the Class of 2010 at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wisconsin, where he graduated last week.

I will ordain Deacon Oscar to the priesthood this June.

11. Nucleo de Vida Cristiana
-- I was impressed and inspired during my visit last week by the members of Nucleo de Vida Cristiana. This group of women meets weekly at St. Cyril Parish in Tucson to grow in their faith, to live their faith in action and to deepen their discipleship.

The group invited me to reflect on Pope Benedict XVI's third encyclical, Caritas in Veritate. Their eagerness to understand the encyclical was a real treat for me.

It is so critical that we provide more adult faith formation in our parishes. When you see the enthusiasm of adults to learn about the faith, it moves me to invite our parishes to do even more to engage our adults in faith formation.

12. Special Presentations on Stem Cell Research, Biotechnology ­-- Father Kevin T. FitzGerald, S.J., Associate Professor in the Department of Oncology at the Georgetown University Medical Center, will give a presentation on "The Intersection of Science, Ethics, Religion and Public Policy in Stem Cell Research" this Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson.

Father Kevin also will give a presentation on "New Ethical Dilemmas in Biotechnology" at the St. Albert the Great Forum on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Arizona's Newman Center.

The presentations are sponsored by the Consistent Ethic of Life Committee of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish and the St. Albert the Great Forum on Theology and Science Admission is free for both of the presentations.

13. Life: The Core Issue -- In Friday's New York Times, columnist Charles M. Blow decried the actions of several states to reduce access to abortion, including Nebraska, which banned most abortions after twenty weeks, Mississippi, where the legislature voted to forbid public financing of abortions, and states that require that a woman see an ultrasound of the person in her womb before an abortion can be performed. He didn't mention Arizona, but our legislature and the Governor have supported restrictions on abortion.

Blow laments that more Americans now disagree with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade that legalized abortion and that a growing number now agree that if Roe vs. Wade comes before the court again, "the next justice should vote to overturn it."

Blow opines that he hopes President Obama will nominate a new Supreme Court justice who will agree with the view that men should not be making laws that affect women.

The gender of our lawmakers is not the issue. The core issue is that the unborn, who have no voice, need to be protected. No one has a right to destroy human life, and I find it very encouraging that people are coming to recognize and value the life of the unborn.

Of the growing numbers of people who would overturn Roe vs. Wade, Blow writes, "They're not the majority, but it's still not good."
 
Blow also notes that the "percentage of college educated people who favor legal abortion under any circumstances has been dropping since the early 1990s and has now reached a new low."

It is terribly difficult to change attitudes, whether one is speaking about attitudes toward the unborn, toward people incarcerated or toward migrants. Our Church continues to speak up on behalf of the littlest and weakest among us. Some progress encourages us to continue speaking up. 

14. Value of Catholic Education -- I also noted in Friday's New York Times Samuel G. Freedman's column, "Lessons from Catholic Schools for Public Educators." Freedman reflected on Diane Ravitch's book, "The Death and Life of the Great American School System," in which she comments on recent efforts to reform public schools.

Freedman notes that Ravitch was influenced by James S. Coleman, writing that "Coleman particularly singled out Catholic schools for their core curriculum that embodied the common school ideal and for the social capital they built by deeply involving parents and parishioners."
 
He concludes his column by quoting Ravitch: "Where charter schools are expanding, Catholic schools are dying. But charter schools can't do the same things. The Catholic schools have a well established record of being effective, and they're being replaced by schools that have no track record.'
 
The column made me think about how proud I am of what our Catholic schools are doing, especially in under resourced communities. We are excited about the partnership with the University of Notre Dame for Alliance for Catholic Education Academies at three of our Catholic Schools in Tucson, St. Ambrose, Santa Cruz and St. John the Evangelist. I was encouraged to learn recently that Notre Dame has received confirmation from the Walton Family Foundation of a grant of $750,000 to support the ACE Academies.
 
Yesterday, I had brunch at the home of Kevin and Jennifer Kiefer with our seven students from Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education who are teaching in some of our Catholic Schools for two years. (Kevin is principal at St. Augustine Catholic High School in Tucson.)

What a wonderful group of young people! Their passion, enthusiasm and aspirations are catching. Elise, Matt, Caitlin, Erin, Phong, Phil, and Maureen along with Jeremy who completed his service with ACE but has stayed on in Tucson, add so much to our Catholic Schools. Some are working at San Xavier, some at St. Augustine Catholic High School, some at Santa Cruz and one at Sts. Peter and Paul. What a gift they have been in our community!
 
Elise, Caitlin and Matt will be leaving us this year after two years. Elise is looking for a teaching position in Chicago or Indianapolis, Caitlin will be teaching in Santiago, Chile, and Matt will be married and hopes to teach at a school in Minnesota where he will be settling. We wish them well.
 
Three new ACE students will be joining us next year. Dr. Rachel Moreno of the University of Arizona, who coordinates and oversees the work of ACE students, does a great job in encouraging, supporting and enhancing their teaching. Rachel, too, is a true blessing.

15. Annual Catholic Appeal -- Yesterday, we heard in the Gospel of John, "I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."



Our 2010 Annual Catholic Appeal drew its theme,"To Love and Serve One Another," from this Gospel. It is through the works of the 26 charities and ministries supported by the Appeal that we show our discipleship and our love for one another.

I am encouraged that we are now at 84% of our pledge goal for this year's campaign. Each day, another parish reaches goal.

I hope our pastors will make it clear that pledges are still being accepted and that participation is essential to funding these 26 essential ministries and charities.

16. Remember in Your Prayers -- Please pray for the repose of the soul of Filomeno Molina, father of Father Seraphim Molina, S.T., of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Tucson, who died last month.

17. Mother's Day -- We will pray this weekend in thanksgiving for our mothers. Moms truly are the greatest. I know mine is, and I look forward to being with her this Sunday.

Vol. 8, No. 9


May 10, 2010

I am grateful to the many people who have written and e-mailed me to express their opinions about the position of the Arizona Catholic Conference on the "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act" (SB 1070) and about my statements on this new law in my recent letter to parishioners and in previous Monday Memos.

Clearly, this new law has touched some very sensitive areas for many people. People of good faith vary in their understanding, in their perspective and in their feelings about this law and about the issues of immigration in general. This is why it is so important that we have dialogue and strive to listen to one another. Yes, I, too, need to listen as we seek to understand what our faith teaches us about this issue.
 
I especially appreciated the opportunity to respond recently to the invitations from San Miguel High School and Salpointe Catholic High School to meet with students to discuss immigration and the new law. I was impressed by how articulate our young people were in their questions and comments.
 
Some of those who have communicated their feelings and opinions to me are very supportive of what I have said. Others disagree, and for the most part they have expressed their disagreement respectfully, for which I am very appreciative.

There were certain concerns involving the new law and my opposition to it that seem to bother people the most. Let me reflect on some of those concerns:
 
-- You say these migrants and immigrants are not criminals, but they have broken the law. They are criminals. What part of "illegal" don't you understand?
 
I am not supportive of open borders. Clearly, our nation has a right to protect its borders. 

We are a nation that values and respects the rule of law. Illegal immigration is not good for anyone. It is not good for the migrants who pass through our rugged desert at the risk of their own lives. It is not good for our country when we do not know who is crossing our borders.

However, the reality is that the great majority of migrants enter our country out of human desperation. These are the people who are caught in the fierce "push-pull" tides of this phenomenal migration. They are pushed by poverty in their home nations. They are pulled by our nation's need for people to do certain kinds of work.

There are very strict quotas for legal entry that do not reflect the need our nation has for workers and the need for people to work. Sometimes, law needs to be changed because it does not reflect the current situation or it is not just because of changed circumstances.

Many have said the immigration policy in our country is "broken." That is what I believe. Comprehensive immigration reform would put into place a system that would allow those who want to work to be here legally to do that work. It would allow our border security to clamp down on drug and weapons traffickers, human smugglers and the criminal network that has developed around the phenomenal migration.

This comprehensive immigration policy would replace illegality with a system based on legal presence and legal entry, restoring the rule of law. It would include a program in which workers could come into the country legally to work. It would include worker rights provisions so that those coming here to work are not exploited. It would contain an earned pathway to legalization (not amnesty). This would bring those here illegally out of the shadows, require them to pay a fine and any owed taxes, to learn English and to be gainfully employed as they stand in line for a chance for citizenship.

I understand that people crossing the border to seek work outside of our legal processes are doing something illegal and in that sense could be characterized as "criminals" or "illegals," but yet I wonder if you and I were faced with a preoccupation on how to care for our families would we not risk crossing a border to provide for them.
 
-- The Catholic Church is only interested in this issue to appease Hispanics who make up such a large percentage of the Catholic population.
 
A core teaching of our Catholic tradition and that of other faiths is the need to welcome the stranger. I have heard this from our Jewish and Muslim brothers and sisters as well as from members of other Christian denominations. Our Church has spoken up on behalf of migrants and immigrants throughout the history of our nation. We are a nation of immigrants, and our nation has benefited from the skills, ingenuity and hard work of immigrants. The Church does not support "open borders" and recognizes the right of a nation to protect its borders. But, we need also to respect the responsibility of families to find a decent way of life. Pope John Paul II has said that everyone has a right to a decent way of living in their own country, but if that is not possible they have a right to migrate. Our Church has both the right and responsibility to address the moral dimensions of migration and immigration.
 
-- The Church and its bishops have no right to meddle in politics.
 
Prodding our government to do something about people dying in our desert is not politics. Speaking out about a flawed law is not politics. Bishops and the Church have a responsibility to uphold the moral teachings of the Church and to monitor legislation to make sure that it upholds the dignity of all human life. That is why the Church speaks up about the right to life of the unborn, the right to dignity and respect for people with disabilities, the elderly and the immigrant and any of the littlest and weakest among us. We could not be faithful to Christ if the Church would remain silent about legislation that treats human beings with less than the dignity they deserve. 
 
-- What's wrong with this new law?
 
My first concern is that is that it can heighten fear and create divisions within our communities. It changes the dynamic of how we live together in community.

One young Hispanic student came up to me after our discussion at Salpointe Catholic High School and in tears asked me what I could do to stop the insults and put-downs that she and her friends have hearing since the passage of this law.

Furthermore, along with many local law enforcement officials, I believe the law will distract local law enforcement from their primary responsibilities for public safety.  It will make it difficult for people here without proper documentation to report crimes and will push them further into the shadows. It has the potential to split families. It could cause economic harm to our state.

I know our state legislators pushed forward this bill out of frustration and anger at the lack of response on a Federal level, but that should encourage us to advocate for comprehensive federal immigration policy change.
 
I will be joining several leaders of faith communities in our state next week to do just that as we meet with members of our Arizona Congressional delegation. We will encourage them to move beyond partisan bickering and get this issue resolved. That will take great political courage, but that is what characterizes true leadership. "Profiles in Courage" should be the hallmark of our elected representatives.
 
Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix, Bishop James Wall of the Diocese of Gallup and I received this letter Saturday about the new law:
 
Dear Bishops Olmsted, Kicanas and Wall,
 
We, the undersigned, are among more than 300 church leaders attending the Catholic Cultural Diversity Network Convocation at the University of Notre Dame from May 6-8, 2010. We are a cross-section of the entire Catholic Church in the U.S. coming from every region in the country and representing the many families of cultures, races and ethnicities that make up the Church in the United States, including those of European origin.
  
We are blessed with the presence of 19 archbishops and bishops, among them Archbishop Pietro Sambi, personal representative of our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, together with priests, religious men and women, deacons and hundreds of lay ministers and Catholic professionals.
  
We write in order to express our solidarity with you and the Catholic community under your care and all the people of Arizona and throughout the U.S. who have raised their voices in opposition to Arizona Law SB1070. This is a law which undermines the fabric of society by creating an atmosphere of discrimination against certain members of the community, profiling minorities and creating fear among persons of color regardless of their immigration status.
 
In expressing this concern we realize that all the people of Arizona together with millions of others throughout our country are suffering from a broken immigration system that is in need of immediate, comprehensive reform. We lament that both the executive and legislative branches of the federal government who rightly have jurisdiction in this matter, together with the leadership of both political parties, have shown themselves unwilling to resolve the urgent need for a new and equitable immigration policy. The time for them to face the issue of immigration reform is long past due.
 
We congratulate you for your courage and leadership in this matter as well as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for taking a constructive, well-reasoned stand on these controversial matters consistent with Catholic social teaching. You have been stalwart advocates for human dignity and the common good. You and your people have opened doors to immigrants and welcomed them to the table of the Word and of the Eucharist. Through these gestures of solidarity you are a hopeful sign in American society that we are stronger together and you move us closer to the vision of Pentecost as a diverse people of one mind and heart. We pray that working together with all persons of good will we may find the way forward so that the rights and dignity of human beings including the undocumented as well as the integrity of our borders will be safeguarded and preserved.
 
For our part we pledge our continued prayers and efforts in our local communities to lift up the need for immediate action on immigration reform.
 
Sincerely yours,
Participants at the Catholic Cultural Diversity Network Convocation 2010
Notre Dame, Indiana
 

1. 2010 Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson Cornerstone Gala -- Nearly 600 people gathered Friday evening in Tucson for the Foundation's Cornerstone Gala to celebrate the Year for Priests.

The honorees for this year's Gala were Msgr. Tom Cahalane, Msgr. Tom Millane, Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe, Msgr. Todd O'Leary and Msgr. Van Wagner. Each of them shared a reflection after receiving the Cornerstone recognition and expressed gratitude for being called to serve as a priest. While each experienced challenges and setbacks in their many years of ministry, they would not trade their vocation for any other life.

As part of the evening, the Foundation announced more than $74,000 in grants.

Tomorrow, I will meet with the Board of the Foundation. We will approve the budget for the new fiscal year and review the bylaws. We will also bid farewell to those board members whose terms are ending.
 
2. On the Confirmation Trail
-- I will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation this evening at St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Tucson, this Saturday at 9 a.m. at St. Luke Parish in Douglas for St. Luke Parish, St. Bernard Parish in Pirtleville and Loretto School, at 11 a.m. this Saturday at Immaculate Conception Parish in Douglas, and this Sunday at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph Parish in Hayden, at 2 p.m. at Holy Angels Parish in Globe and at 5 p.m. at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish in Miami.

3. Mass at Villa Maria Care Center -- I will celebrate Mass tomorrow morning with the residents of Villa Maria Care Center in Tucson.

4. Committee on International Justice and Peace -- I will make a report this Thursday to the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on my participation in the January visit to the Holy Land of the Coordination of Episcopal Conferences.

The Committee oversee the work of the Office of International Justice and Peace that works to coordinate the Conference's policy development and advocacy on the moral and human dimensions of international issues, including war and peace, global poverty, religious liberty, human rights, foreign aid, trade and debt relief.  The Office focuses in particular on acting in solidarity with the Church in the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Asia. 

5. National Hospital Week -- I look forward to visiting St. Mary's Hospital in Tucson this Friday as the Carondelet Health Network begins a year-long celebration of the 130th anniversary of St. Mary's founding.

In 1870, seven Sisters of St. Joseph traveled from Missouri to San Diego and then, on their legendary trek, to Tucson to open a school. On May 1, 1880, the Sisters opened St. Mary's Hospital, Arizona's first hospital. The hospital had 11 beds, one doctor and a nursing staff composed of the Sisters when it opened.

This anniversary observance is starting during National Hospital Week, an annual celebration of the history, technology and dedicated people who perform their healing work in our nation's hospitals.

6. Parish Council Meetings -- While in Douglas this Saturday for Confirmation, I will have the opportunity to meet with the parish council of St. Luke, Immaculate Conception and St. Bernard.

Father Gilbert Malu is pastor of the three parishes and has been working to combine their parish councils into one council. I look forward to hearing how they are finding more ways to work together as one community of faith as they respect their diversity and their distinct parish personalities.

7. Graduation Celebrations -- I will celebrate Graduation Mass this Thursday evening at St. Odilia Parish in Tucson with the Class of 2010 of Immaculate Heart High School. This Friday evening, I will celebrate the Baccalaureate Mass with the Class of 2010 of Lourdes High School in Nogales.

8. Get "Caught Up!" in Youth Ministry -- "Caught Up!" is our first Diocese of Tucson Youth Ministry Conference. 

Set for Thursday through Saturday, May 20 through 22, at the Esplendor Resort in Rio Rico, this will be a great conference for all (18 years and older) who are involved or are interested in youth ministry. That includes youth ministry directors, coordinators, volunteers, campus ministers, those involved in diocesan youth movements (Scouts, Arcoiris, Search and others) and those who have gifts, talents and knowledge to share with our youth ministers.  

Please spread the word about the conference!

I strongly encourage at least one person from each parish to be in attendance, but if you can bring your entire youth ministry team, that would be great!

There will be keynote presentations, discussions, workshops, prayer time and networking with other youth ministers. There also will be a big announcement from the Center for Ministry Development about a program they will be offering in our Diocese starting in August.  I will tell you more about this after the Conference.

Thanks to the generous donors to our diocesan renewal campaign, Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future, we are able to offer this conference for only $50 per person.  You can register on line here: http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e2ql40b06907e4e6.

Registration starts at 4 p.m. on Thursday, with the conference starting at 7 p.m.  We will end with Mass at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. 
  
If you have any questions about the conference, please call Joe Perdreauville in our Pastoral Services Department at 838-2539 or email him at joep@diocesetucson.org.

The Esplendor Resort has offered us the generous rate of $50 per night per room (single or double occupancy for Thursday and Friday.

Please call the hotel directly to make your reservations: 1-800-288-4746.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner on Friday and breakfast and lunch on Saturday are included in this rate.

Vol. 8, No. 10
May 17, 2010

While in Washington last Thursday to give a report to the Bishops' Committee on International and Domestic Policy about my January trip to Lebanon, I had the opportunity to join several leaders of faith communities in Arizona to address our concerns about "The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act" (SB1070) with members of our Arizona Congressional delegation and with federal government officials.

Our group visited with Sen. John McCain, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and staff of the U.S. Department of Justice, Homeland Security and the White House.

Some observations:

Clearly, Sen. McCain is concerned that we first secure our borders before we pursue legislation to reform our immigration system. We told him that we agree that our border needs to be secured. We told him that we also need to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform.

The Justice Department is considering a challenge to SB1070. A decision is expected soon. They are reviewing the law line by line.

The White House expects that the President will make some important comments on immigration soon. We expressed our support for a bipartisan summit on immigration to formulate legislation for comprehensive immigration reform.

Our political leaders need to move forward on breaking the partisan paralysis that exists and to develop legislation that addresses border security, that creates a program for legal entry to work, that creates an earned pathway to legalization for people here without documents and that ensures family unification.

Again and again, I receive letters, e-mails and phone calls asking why our Church and the Catholic bishops are getting involved in the issues surrounding immigration.

I think the Holy Father has some very relevant thoughts about why the Church speaks out and gets involved.  

The task of witness is not easy. There are many today who claim that God should be left on the sidelines and that religion and faith, while fine for individuals, should either should be excluded from the public forum altogether or included only in the pursuit of limited pragmatic goals. This secularist vision seeks to explain human life and shape society with little or no reference to the Creator. It presents itself as neutral, impartial and inclusive of everyone…and, so we are led to reflect on what place the poor and the elderly, immigrants and the voiceless have in our societies. How can it be that domestic violence torments so many mothers and children? How can it be that the most wondrous and sacred human space -- the womb -- has become a place of unutterable violence? (Pope Benedict XVI, World Youth Day 2008.)

It is important that the Church speaks on societal issues from a moral perspective. All of us, as faithful citizens, have a responsibility to raise our voices on issues that affect our society and the most vulnerable among us.


1. New Web Resource on Immigration -- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Department of Migration and Refugee Services has partnered with Catholic University of America to develop the "U.S. Catholic Bishops and Immigration" Website.

The Website highlights the significant role of the U.S. Catholic bishops and the Church in our nation's experience of immigration by providing links to documents that explore the changing perspectives on immigration and our Church's involvement in shaping immigration policy.

You will find the Website to be an excellent resource for responding to people who want to know what the Church teaches about immigration and why the Church is so actively advocating for comprehensive immigration reform.

2. New Vicars Forane -- I am pleased to announce our newly elected and appointed vicars forane.

Cochise Vicariate: Father Michael Bucciarelli, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Benson, replaces Father Bob Brazaskas, retiring pastor of Our Lady of the Mountains Parish in Sierra Vista.

Graham-Greenlee Vicariate: Father Ed Lucero, newly appointed pastor of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Safford, will fill out the term of Father Ariel Lustan, former pastor of St. Rose of Lima Parish and newly appointed pastor of Our Lady of the Mountains Parish.

Pima East Vicariate: Father Ron Oakham, O.Carm., pastor of St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish in Tucson, replaces Msgr. Tom Cahalane, pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson.

Gila-Pinal East Vicariate: Father Jay Luczak, pastor of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament in Miami, replaces Father Dale Branson, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Hayden.

Pima Central Vicariate -- Father John Arnold, pastor of St. Ambrose Parish in Tucson, was reelected.

I am grateful to our priests for their service as vicars forane. In addition to their responsibilities as pastors, our vicars forane take on the additional responsibilities of representing the priests of their geographic areas on the Presbyteral Council. They also serve as the members of our Priests Personnel Committee, advising me on appointments.

3. Pima East Vicariate Meeting -- I will be joining the priests of the Pima East Vicariate tomorrow for a portion of their regular monthly meeting.

4. On the Confirmation Trail
-- I will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation at Our Lady Queen of All Saints Parish in Tucson this Wednesday evening.

5. Appointment of Diocese of Phoenix Auxiliary Bishop -- There was joyful news last week for Bishop Thomas Olmsted and the Diocese of Phoenix when the Holy See announced the appointment by Pope Benedict XVI of Father Eduardo Alanis Nevares as the first-ever auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix.

Bishop-elect Nevares, 56, vice-rector of the Pontifical College Josephinum, is a priest of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas. He will be consecrated to the episcopacy on July 19 at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix. He will be the first Hispanic bishop to serve the Diocese of Phoenix in its 41-year history.

The Catholic Sun, the Diocese of Phoenix newspaper, had this online report about appointment:

"It is significant that he comes to us during the Year for Priests," Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted said, "since he has such a wide and rich experience in promoting vocations to the priesthood, in forming men for priestly ministry in the seminary, and in building up the unity and fraternity of priests."

Bishop-elect Nevares, he noted, also has experience in diaconal formation and has served as director of charismatic groups in the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, where he is a priest.

"Bishop-elect Nevares comes from a wonderful Mexican-American family, with whom he maintains close bonds of love," Bishop Olmsted said. "I am deeply grateful to them for the gift of their son to the Church. It is from them undoubtedly that he inherited his lively faith and his spontaneous spirit of joy."

"I'm the baby of five," Bishop-elect Nevares said. "My parents would speak to us in Spanish. But among us kids, we'd always speak English."

Bishop-elect Nevares' siblings were all born in Mexico. His parents, Andres and Beatriz, moved to the United States to provide for their growing family. On the journey to Chicago, Beatriz suffered complications in her pregnancy. So she stayed in San Antonio until Eduardo was born.

His mother's love for the Eucharist instilled in Bishop-elect Nevares the desire to be a priest, he said. He would attend daily Mass with her while his older siblings would be at school. 

Bishop-elect Nevares earned a bachelor's in philosophy and a Master of Divinity degree before being ordained a priest in 1981 for the religious community of the Missionaries of Our Lady of LaSalette. He was incardinated into the Diocese of Tyler in 2007.

"Serve the Lord with gladness" will be the bishop-elect's episcopal motto.

At 14, Bishop-elect Nevares joined the high school seminary in Jefferson City, Miss. The school closed, so he was transferred to St. Henry Preparatory Seminary in Belleville, Ill. He eventually graduated with his bachelor's in philosophy from St. Thomas in Houston in 1976.
In 1981, he completed his studies for his Master of Divinity at St. Kenrick Archdiocesan Seminary in St. Louis. Later that year, he was ordained a priest.

Bishop-elect Nevares served at several Texas parishes, becoming the pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Lufkin in 1999. He headed up the first-ever Spanish-language program for the permanent diaconate in the Tyler Diocese. After five years of formation, 26 men were ordained permanent deacons in 1999.

In 2002, Bishop-elect Nevares served as the co-director of vocations in the Tyler Diocese and helped with English- and Spanish-language diaconal formation. He also served as director of charismatic groups within the Texas diocese.

"It's a great day for the diocese," said Ignacio Rodriguez, associate director of the Diocese of Phoenix Office of Ethnic Ministries. "It shows the wisdom of Pope Benedict in terms of the large Hispanic community in Phoenix -- much like the appointment in the Galveston-Houston Diocese. It's clear that Hispanics in the U.S. are on the Pope's mind.

Carmen Portela, of the Office of Family Catechesis, called the appointment "providential" in light of the recent legislation ("The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act" SB 1070). 

"A lot of people have been praying and this is God's response," she said. "He has immigrant parents. He's lived and can understand what it's like for a family of immigrants -- the sacrifice and the suffering. He'll know that the majority are not criminals or drug dealers. He will be able to embrace the Hispanic community as Bishop Olmsted already has."

Armando Contreras, president and CEO of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said it was a "historical time for the Diocese of Phoenix."

"It's timely that we have a Hispanic auxiliary bishop come to Phoenix during a time when our people are afraid," he said. "They're looking for hope and bringing an additional leader to enhance what's already been done by Bishop Olmsted will bring that hope."

I have communicated my congratulations and the prayers and best wishes of our Diocese to Bishop Olmsted and Bishop-elect Nevares.

6. Arizona Catholic Conference -- I will welcome Bishop Olmsted, Bishop James Wall of the Diocese of Gallup, and Ron Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference, to the Pastoral Center this Thursday for this quarter's meeting of the Conference.

Our agenda includes a discussion of the recently completed session of the Arizona State Legislature.

7. Graduation
-- I will celebrate Baccalaureate Masses this week with the communities of three of our Catholic High Schools in Tucson: at 7 p.m. this Thursday at St. Francis de Sales Parish for St. Augustine Catholic High School; at 7 p.m. this Friday at St. Augustine Cathedral for San Miguel High School; and at 9 a.m. this Saturday at St. Augustine Cathedral for Salpointe Catholic High School.

8. Pastoral Center Planning Day
-- Father Al Schifano, our Moderator of the Curia and Vicar General, and I will meet this Friday with the directors of our diocesan offices and departments for our annual planning day. Father Al facilitates a process each year to help our offices and departments focus on our diocesan goals for the coming fiscal year.

This coming fiscal year, our focus will be on the nine "Rs" that we have identified as priority areas:

-- Recruit vocations (Identification, invitation, and encouragement of candidates to serve as priests or religious. Intensification of prayer and personal outreach and invitation.)
 
-- Return Catholics home (Identify and develop ways to bring people back home to the Church.)
 
-- Re-message the truth of what our Church teaches. (Explore ways to make the Church's moral teaching and spiritual guidance more influential and that speaks to the concerns of the culture.)
 
-- Reach out to better pastor underserved communities (youth, young adults, prisoners, the divorced and separated, etc.)
 
-- Responsiveness to our people and communities (Enhance the Pastoral Center's responsiveness toward parish communities. Find ways within parishes and the Diocese to become more inviting as Church.)
 
-- Re-energize diocesan and parish personnel for the Church's mission.
 
-- Re-garner resources (Raise up resources through stewardship initiatives and good fiscal management, transparency and best practices).
 
-- Resource staff (Enhance training in human resources, business skills and spiritual formation).
 
-- Resolve connectivity and database challenges within and throughout the Diocese.

9. "Stewards of the Treasures of Our Faith" Symposium -- I am very honored to have been invited to give the keynote presentation this Sunday for the "Stewards of the Treasures of Our Faith" Symposium at the University of Notre Dame.

This symposium will focus on how we can transmit the treasures of our faith to Catholic students in our nation's colleges and universities and how we can inspire in them a passion for active participation in the life of our Church.

This symposium is a collaborative effort of the Office of Campus Ministry of the University of Notre Dame with the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, Catholic Campus Ministry Association, Canadian Catholic Campus Ministry, National Catholic Young Adult Ministry, National Religious Vocation Conference and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

10. St. Mary's Hospital 130th Anniversary -- St. Mary's Hospital in Tucson is celebrating the 130th anniversary of its founding. Last Friday, as part of the anniversary observances, I toured the hospital and met many of the staff. What a wonderful group of people! Their dedication and commitment are impressive. Many of those whom I met have served at the hospital for more than two decades.

Jude Magers, senior vice president of Mission Integration of Carondelet Health Network, and Cheryl Weiss, director of Pastoral Care, were my hosts. We are blessed to have the hospitals and facilities of Carondelet Health Network in our communities.

Vol. 8, No. 11
May 24, 2010 

 
The Memorial Day Holiday is the door to summer, and today we are already knocking on the door!

It seems to me that we have five "years" in our ministry for the Church: the Liturgical Year, the calendar year, the fiscal year, the school year and the program and activity year.

This last full week of May, we find ourselves ending the school year. Our Catholic Schools will begin their summer vacation this week, and many of our parishes will be starting their summer schedules of programs and activities that reflect the reality that most of Arizona goes somewhere else for the summer.

Like many of you in our parishes and schools, we at the Pastoral Center are winding down the program and activity year in anticipation of the summer vacation period. Also like many of you, we have made our plans for the coming fiscal year.

Last Friday, the directors of our diocesan offices and departments at the Pastoral Center met for our annual planning day.

Preparing for our gathering, Father Al Schifano, our Moderator of the Curia and Vicar General, and I encouraged the directors to formulate their department goals based on the nine priorities that I have identified for our Diocese:

-- Recruit vocations (Identification, invitation, and encouragement of candidates to serve as priests or religious. Intensification of prayer and personal outreach and invitation.)
 
-- Return Catholics home (Identify and develop ways to bring people back home to the Church.)
 
-- Re-message the truth of what our Church teaches. (Explore ways to make the Church's moral teaching and spiritual guidance more influential and that speaks to the concerns of the culture.)
 
-- Reach out to better pastor underserved communities (youth, young adults, prisoners, the divorced and separated, etc.)
 
-- Responsiveness to our people and communities (Enhance the Pastoral Center's responsiveness toward parish communities. Find ways within parishes and the Diocese to become more inviting as Church.)
 
-- Re-energize diocesan and parish personnel for the Church's mission.
 
-- Re-garner resources (Raise up resources through stewardship initiatives and good fiscal management, transparency and best practices).
 
-- Resource staff (Enhance training in human resources, business skills and spiritual formation).
 
-- Resolve connectivity and database challenges within and throughout the Diocese.

Our discussion resulted in a number of recommendations on how to achieve these goals, including: completing the implementation of ParishSoft (data base management software); finding ways to support our parishes and to affirm their work; making sure that the staff of our diocesan departments and offices are readily available and accessible to parish staff; identifying parishes that need special help and attention in administration, financial management and pastoral services; exploring with the Presbyteral Council ways to help support our parishes in their efforts to be available and responsive to the needs of their people; and developing a more secure and welcoming reception area at the Pastoral Center.

I encouraged our directors to move beyond maintenance goals to explore bolder steps we might take to better assist our parishes.

1. Comprehensive Immigration Reform -- Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, and Archbishop Rafael Romo Muñoz of Tijuana, Mexico, head of the Mexican Episcopal Conference's Migration Commission, issued this joint statement last week on the occasion of Mexican President Felipe Calderon's meeting with President Barack Obama:

On behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Mexican Episcopal Conference (CEM), we welcome the visit of Mexican President Felipe Calderon to the United States. The relationship between the United States and Mexico is extremely important, with mutual cooperation and understanding paramount. We pray that this visit will strengthen the political and policy-based relationship of the two leaders and their countries.

Specifically, we urge both leaders to focus upon the issue of immigration and how it impacts the most vulnerable: the migrant worker and their families. While we respect the obligation of both countries to ensure the integrity of their borders and the security of their peoples, we believe they can achieve these goals without sacrificing the basic human dignity and rights of the migrant.
 
This requires both countries to examine critically their immigration policies, both in the areas of legal immigration and enforcement, and their adverse impact on human beings.

With regard to the United States, it is essential that immigration reform legislation become a priority. Currently, the U.S. immigration system does not provide sufficient legal visas or legal status for immigrants to work in jobs that are important to the U.S. economy. A system which provides legal avenues for migration would reduce the exploitation of migrants by human smugglers and the number of migrant deaths in the desert. Reform must also bring migrants out of the shadows, so that they can live with their families without fear.

With regard to Mexico, changes must be made to ensure that migrants are not abused and subject to exploitation by criminal elements and corrupt officials. More attention should be paid to the creation of living-wage employment for low-skilled workers, so that they can stay at home and support their families in dignity. This would help reduce illegal immigration over the long-term, a goal which both nations share.

The United States and Mexico have an opportunity to work together to prevent illegal immigration in a humane manner, not in a way which places total emphasis on enforcement measures. While both countries exchange commerce, information, and capital on a regular basis, the movement of labor has yet to be regularized, to the detriment of the basic rights of human beings.

Over the long-term, cooperation and aid agreements as well as trade and economic pacts considered by both nations should address the movement of labor and the impact such agreements may have on the migration of peoples between the two countries.
 
The United States and Mexico face a crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border, with drug cartels and human smuggling networks battling with law enforcement and placing citizens of both sides of the border at risk. Repairing the immigration laws in both countries would help take migrants out of the enforcement equation and would permit law enforcement to focus their limited resources on criminal networks.

In conclusion, we urge both President Obama and President Calderon to work cooperatively toward the mutual goals of creating a safe border and a humane and fair immigration system. Only through bi-national cooperation will this issue be solved in a manner which serves the interests of both nations, upholds the rule of law, and respects the rights of both U.S. and Mexican citizens.

This statement is an excellent resource for responding to persons who ask why the Church is concerned about immigration and why the bishops in the U.S. are advocating for comprehensive immigration reform.

I understand that the issues surrounding immigration are highly emotional and complex. I invite all of us to continue to dialogue and be open to listening to one another's concerns.

My primary concern (and that of our Church) is that the solutions our nation and Mexico find for the problems related to immigration uphold the dignity and respect of human life. 

2. Mass of Reception for Archbishop José Gomez
-- It will be my joy this Wednesday to join Cardinal Roger Mahony and the auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as they and the clergy, religious and laity of the Archdiocese welcome Coadjutor Archbishop José Gomez. The Mass of Reception for Archbishop Gomez will be held at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles this Wednesday. You can learn more about Archbishop Gomez here.

3. On the Confirmation Trail -- I will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation on Thursday evening at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Tucson, on Saturday morning at St. Jude Thaddeus Parish in San Luis, on Saturday evening at Sacred Heart Parish in Parker, on Sunday morning at St. John Neumann Parish in Yuma and on Sunday afternoon at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Wellton.

4. Baccalaureate Mass, Graduation for Yuma Catholic High School -- I will celebrate the graduation of Yuma Catholic's Class of 2010 this Friday.  The Baccalaureate Mass is at Immaculate Conception Parish at 4 p.m. The graduation ceremony is at the high school at 6:30 p.m.

At the end of this school year, I reflect on my visits to our Catholic Schools and the experience of the graduations and baccalaureate Masses. I am deeply impressed by the quality of our students and the effectiveness of the academic and formation programs offered in our Catholic Schools. I continue to encourage parents to make the sacrifices necessary to send their children to our Catholic Schools. I am confident that they will find this investment to be of the highest value for their children's future.

5. "Caught Up" Youth Ministry Conference -- Our first annual Diocese of Tucson Youth Ministry Conference took place over the weekend at the Esplendor Resort in Rio Rico. 
Made possible by the generous donors to our diocesan renewal campaign, Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future, nearly 70 youth ministers representing 20 parishes from across the Diocese came together to be "Caught Up" in God's love, the Holy Spirit, and each other.

The gathering included prayer services, presentations by Father Bart Hutcherson, O.P., pastor of St. Thomas More Newman Center Parish in Tucson, Tom East and Father Joe Rodrigues, S.D.S., of the Jordan Ministry Team.

Workshops were presented by Richard Rivera, Stacy DeLong and Father Bart. Pastoral Center Staff members facilitated three general sessions: "Creating A Culture of Vocations," by Sister Rina Cappellazzo, O.P.,  and Father Ricky Ordonez; "Developing SOPs to Reduce Your Risk," by Julieta Gonzalez of our diocesan Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection; and "Building a Culture of Stewardship with Youth," by Margie Puerta Edson, director of the Diocese of Tucson Charity and Ministry Fund Inc. 

The Conference concluded with Mass and a special sending forth ceremony based on the reading of Pentecost. 

I thank the Conference's planning team of Joe Perdreauville of our diocesan Pastoral Services Department, Stacy DeLong, Richard Rivera, Arturo Sanchez and Father Joe Rodrigues, and those supporting the conference through their gifts and talents, including Erin Blanchette (art and environment), Janna Larson and Emmaus Band (music) and Daniel Vaughn and Diego Lopez (audio/visual set up and presentation). 

Gatherings like this are very important for all our ministers of the Church. Time together to network, share and pray together helps each person to feel connected to the larger Church and helps each ministry to become stronger. 

Next year's Youth Ministry Conference will be April 28 through at the Esplendor Resort.

6. Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies
-- The gathering of youth ministers at the Youth Ministry Conference heard the announcement of the exciting news that the Center for Ministry Development (www.cmdnet.org) will be offering in our Diocese the courses to complete the Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies.

This is an eight-weekend program, scheduled over a two-year period. This nationally recognized program addresses many of the needs of our youth ministers, including Youth Ministry Training and Integrated and Practical Ministry Education.

I strongly encourage all in our Diocese who are involved in youth ministry to take advantage of this great opportunity. Thanks to the generous donors to Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future, we will be offering this program at virtually no cost.

The first weekend of the program will be Aug. 21-22. Joe Perdreauville will be sending out information soon about registration. For more information right now, please contact Joe at joep@diocesetucson.org.

7. Vocation Discernment Retreat
-- I appreciate very much the efforts of our parishes to promote the Vocation Discernment Retreat next month for men who are discerning a call to the priesthood.

The retreat, which will be presented in English and in Spanish) will be held at the beautiful La Purisima Retreat Center near Sierra Vista from Friday, June 20, through Sunday, June 22.  The retreat is an opportunity for men (high school seniors and older) to talk about, to pray about and to celebrate the call they are receiving to consider a life of service to our Church as a priest.

Registration information is available here.

8. Appointments -- I am very pleased to announce these appointments, all of which are effective July 1:

Father Pat Crino, who has served as rector of St. Augustine Cathedral these last seven years, is appointed pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson.

Father Gonzalo Villegas, who has served as pastor of Our Lady Queen of All Saints Parish in Tucson these last seven years, is appointed rector of St. Augustine Cathedral.
 
Parochial vicars:

Father Jesus Acuña-Delgado, from Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Somerton to San Felipe de Jesus Parish in Nogales.

Father Luis Armando Espinoza, from Immaculate Conception Parish in Douglas to Immaculate Heart Parish in Somerton.

Father Jose Abraham Guerrero-Quiñonez, from San Felipe de Jesus Parish in Nogales to St. Jude Thaddeus in San Luis.

Father Eduardo Lopez-Romo, from Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma to St. Augustine Cathedral.

Father Jesus Alejandro Perez-Barrera, from St. Jude Thaddeus Parish in San Luis to St. Luke, Immaculate Conception Parishes in Douglas and St. Bernard Parish in Pirtleville.

Father Ricky Ordonez, our new diocesan director of Vocations, will be in residence at St. Joseph Parish in Tucson.

I know the community of St. Augustine Cathedral and all of us appreciate the outstanding ministry of Father Pat in his nearly seven years as rector. No one has a more exhilarating and uplifting laugh than Father Pat, a laugh that reflects the joy with which he serves others. Under Father Pat's leadership, the Cathedral Square has undergone significant renovations, including the Msgr. Carrillo Placita and Parish Hall, the exterior of the Cathedral and now the interior renovations. He can be rightly proud of this beautification of our Mother Church. In addition, he has formed a pastoral council and a finance council that work very hard to strengthen the mission of the Cathedral.

I am confident that Father Gonzalo, an experienced pastor and much respected priest, will take the hand-off of the baton from Father Pat and will further the mission of the Cathedral. Father Gonzalo and Father Pat are returning to parishes at which they served as parochial vicars, and I know they will be well received.

I have written to all our priests to invite them to apply to be the pastor of Our Lady Queen of All Saints. Letters of interest should be sent to me by this Friday.

9. 2010 Catechetical Sunday
-- Catechetical Sunday, to be celebrated this year on the weekend of Sept. 18 and 19, will focus on marriage.

With the theme of "Matrimony: Sacrament of Enduring Love," This year's Catechetical Sunday observance coincides with initiatives by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops intended to strengthen marriage. The initiatives include the release of a pastoral letter on marriage and the Web sites www.foryourmarriage.org and www.portumatrimonio.org.

Resources for the promotion and celebration of Catechetical Sunday are now available at www.usccb.org/catecheticalsunday.

The resources are available in English and Spanish and include a plan for a family and intergenerational retreat on Christian marriage, articles on Church teaching on various aspects of marriage and materials for adult faith formation.

I am most appreciative to our directors of religious educaton, RCIA directors and catechesits who bear the aw3some responsibility of handing on the faith to others. We applaud their work and promise our continued prayers.

10. Cathedral Renovation Update -- We've be praying that the renovation of St. Augustine Cathedral would speed along, and at least now we can kneel with some comfort in the Cathedral for those prayers.

Like renovation projects in our homes, the project for the renovation of the Cathedral has experienced some "stop and go" realities. Last week, though, the project was "go" as workers installed the kneelers for the new pews on the north side of the Cathedral.
The pace of the renovation will be accelerating over the next few weeks as crews anticipate beginning the challenging task of painting the sanctuary.

We had hoped to be further along in the renovation by Saturday, June 5, when I will ordain Deacon Oscar Magallañes to the priesthood. Nevertheless, our Cathedral will look grand for the ordination, to which all of you are invited at 9 a.11.

Next Week's Memo
-- As next Monday is Memorial Day, the Monday Memo will be coming to you on Tuesday. Enjoy the holiday, and be safe in your travels and celebrations.