Nov. 7, 2005 Nov. 14, 2005 Nov. 21, 2005 Nov. 28, 2005
Vol. 3, No. 30
Nov. 7, 2005
I was informed last week by Father John Duffy, C.S.P., president of the North American Paulist Fathers, that the Paulists regretfully will be withdrawing from St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish in Tucson and will be returning ministerial leadership of the parish back to the Diocese by June 30 of next year.
I had been aware for some time that this might be a possibility, and I accept the decision of the Paulist Fathers both with sadness on behalf of the parish and the Diocese and with support for their new Action Plan to energetically redeploy their resources throughout North America.
I know it is not easy for Father Gil Martinez, C.S.P., pastor of St. Cyril's, to share this news with the parish, but I also know that after 31 years of service to the parish, the Paulist Fathers have worked with the people of St. Cyril's to create a vibrant community of faith, with many gifts and talents, and that the spirit of St. Cyril's will continue to thrive in the future.
In his letter to the parish announcing the decision, Father Duffy noted the spirit of the parish, writing, "Paulists have known this as a community of many blessings. The unique openness of this congregation is demonstrated in a true multicultural church that has given a warm welcome to the Hispanic community and all who are called to hear God's Word. It is also reflected in the extraordinary commitment of the lay staff and the extensive involvement of parishioners in so many of the ministries.
"As painful as we know this moment is for the Paulists, the staff and the community of St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish, we pray that one of the Paulist legacies to this community is that you continue to be a beacon of faith in Southern Arizona for all who seek God's unconditional love," Father John wrote.
I look forward to meeting with the people of St. Cyril's in the near future to hear from them their hopes for the future and their thoughts on pastoral leadership.
In addition to our Diocese, the redeployment of Paulist resources has meant their withdrawal from pastoral ministries in three other dioceses.
1. Annual Priests' Convocation, Archdiocese of San Antonio -- I am very honored to be with Archbishop José Gomez, S.T.D., and the priests of the Archdiocese of San Antonio today and tomorrow to lead reflections for the Archdiocese's 25th annual Presbyteral Convocation.
"Renewing Our Lives in Christ Jesus: A Reason for Hope" is the theme of the convocation. Today, I will reflect on "Priesthood Matters: Pastoral Ministry Makes a Difference." Tomorrow, I will share a reflection on "Priest: Teacher, Pastor, Worker for Justice and Peace and Man of Prayer."
2. Jubilee Mass and Celebration for Religious Women -- Our annual Mass and celebration of the jubilees and anniversaries of religious women serving in the Diocese was yesterday at Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Green Valley. A different parish hosts this celebration each year.
This annual event allows me to acknowledge and thank the religious women who are serving in the Diocese.
We rejoiced in the presences of the Sisters who were able to attend and we remembered fondly those who were not able to join us.
Sisters observing jubilees were: Sister Margaret Mary Bielinski, O.S.F., 60 years; Sister Barbara Donahue, S.F.C.C., 61 years; Sister Mary Therese Martin, S.F.C.C., 62 years; Sister Bernadette Giba, O.S.F., 50 years; Sister Jose Hobday, O.S.F., 50 years; Sister Lorene Schuster, S.N.J.M., 50 years; Sister Marie Veronica, S.C., 50 years; sister Mary Lucilla Wertz, S.C., 50 years; Sister Rosalia Giba, O.S.F., 50 years; Sister Guadalupe Jurado, O.P., 25 years.
Sisters celebrating anniversaries were: Sister Corina Padilla, O.P., 55 years; Sister Caroline Nicolai, F.S.P., 45 years; Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, C.F.F.M., 45 years; Sister Eileen Mahoney, C.S.A., 40 years; and Sister Rita Birzer, O.P., 40 years.
3. Visit of Monstrance Blessed by Pope John Paul II -- A monstrance blessed by Pope John Paul II to encourage prayers for vocations to the priesthood and religious life will be making a stop this Wednesday at St. Augustine Cathedral on its year-long tour through the U.S. and Canada.
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will take place from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and the public is welcome throughout those hours for adoration. I will preside at noon Mass and at Benediction at 8 p.m.
Students from Catholic High Schools will gather for adoration from 9 to 10 a.m. Students in grades five through eight in Catholic Schools will gatherer for adoration from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Michael John Poirier, renowned musician, will provide music ministry for the gatherings and for the liturgies.
The monstrance is one of six blessed by the Pope John Paul II in November of 2004 to promote Eucharistic adoration during the recently completed Year of the Eucharist. The visit of the monstrance to our Diocese is sponsored by the Serra Club of Tucson in cooperation with the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Daughters of the Americas.
4. Liturgical Renewal: Catch the Vision of Vatican II -- I highly recommend this full day workshop, which is open to all liturgical ministers, especially liturgy committees, readers, music ministers, extraordinary minister of the Eucharist, sacristans, presiders, homilists -- all who lead or assist with the parish liturgy in any way.
Scheduled for this Saturday at Santa Catalina Parish in Catalina, the workshop will explore the call of the Second Vatican Council for the full, conscious and active participation, "the aim to be considered above all else." (CSL #14) This study of the Order of the Mass will include attention to music, ritual, environment and liturgical ministries. Participants are asked to come with their liturgical success stories, their "needs improvement" areas of liturgy and any questions about the ongoing renewal of the liturgy in our Church today. The workshop begins with registration at 8 a.m. and will conclude with Mass at 5 p.m., to which everyone is invited. Those who wish to remain for additional questions, comments and discussion with the speakers can do so at the "Town Hall" meeting at 7 p.m.
The workshop will feature two excellent presenters, Dolores Martinez and Michael Prendergast.
The cost for the workshop is an incredible deal: just $5! Lunch will not be provided, but time will be given for a lunch break. Resources for music and liturgy from Oregon Catholic Press and Liturgy Training Publications will be available for sale.
This workshop is sponsored by the diocesan Office of Formation and Oregon Catholic Press. If you plan to attend this workshop, please contact Pegi Dodd at the Formation Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 520-838-2545. You can pay at the door, but the Office does need to know how many people will be attending so that there will be enough resources.
5. Common Formation Program -- The 27 candidates for the permanent diaconate and their wives and the 25 Lay Ecclesial Ministry candidates will gather this weekend for the third session this year of the Common Formation Program. Normally, three courses are part of each weekend: Church History, Introduction to the New Testament and the Theology of Ministry. This Saturday, participants will be attending the Liturgical Renewal Workshop at Santa Catalina Parish.
The participants continue to be faithful to their responsibilities of preparation and "homework" as they move toward their goal of ministry in our local Church. Keep them all in your prayers!
6. Off for Washington -- Bishops from around the nation will be converging on Washington, D.C., this weekend for the annual fall meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that begins a week from today. I will be attending several meetings this weekend, including the board of directors of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, the Committee on Migration and the Administrative Board.
Included on the agenda for this year's fall plenary meeting of the Conference are discussions and decisions on three items: a statement calling for an end to the death penalty in the U.S.; a new text of scripture readings for Mass with children; and a document to guide the roles and functions of lay ecclesial ministers in the Catholic Church.
I have been serving as the chair of the Subcommittee on Lay Ministry which has developed that document, "Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord: A Resource for Guiding the Development of Lay Ecclesial Ministry."
As I have shared with you in memos over the past two years, lay ecclesial ministers are non-ordained men and women who hold significant church leadership positions. They work in close collaboration with clergy and their positions require particular levels of education, formation and authorization according to their roles. Their roles in dioceses, parishes and other institutions include those of chancellor, parish associate, youth minister and religious educator.
The document addresses the theological understandings of lay ecclesial ministry and the minister's relationship to the bishop, priest, deacon and other parishioners. It also addresses the appropriate education and formation and offers suggestions for how lay ecclesial ministers can be integrated into the "workforce" of the Church.
7. Remember in Your Prayers -- Please remember in your prayers Leonarda "Nellie" Arbizo, wife of Deacon Marcello Arbizo of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Safford, who died Oct. 29. The Funeral Mass was celebrated on Saturday at St. Rose.
Also, please remember Father Simon Kenny, O.Carm., who died Oct. 31 in Venice, Florida. Father Simon came to the Diocese of Tucson in 1995 to serve at Salpointe Catholic High School, both as principal and president, until 2000. The Funeral Mass and burial will take place in Florida. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14, at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Tucson.
We pray for Father Arthur Devine who died over the weekend. A retired priest who came to our Diocese in 1996, he provided ministry at St. Ambrose Parish in Tucson and helped with the Mass in Latin at St. Ann's Convent in Tucson. Father Devine was a courageous advocate for life. A Rosary will be said at 10:30 a.m. this Wednesday at St. Ambrose, with the Funeral Mass to follow at 11 a.m. We pray the Lord will grant him joy and peace.
Please pray for Gertrude "Trudy" Shergalis of Tucson as she faces very serious health issues. Trudy is well-known for her years of advocacy for peace and justice.
8. Arizona Catholic Conference Meeting -- Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Bishop Donald Pelotte of Gallup, Ron Johnson, executive director of the ACC, and I met last Friday in Phoenix.
It is always good to have a chance to compare notes and share blessings and challenges. While bishops stand together on fundamental Church doctrine and moral teaching, we can differ on pastoral practice and pastoral strategies needed in a particular diocese. The three bishops in Arizona enjoy a strong friendship and mutual respect for one another. These opportunities to meet strengthen the communion between our dioceses and allow us to discuss various ways to carry on the Church's mission.
The majority of our meeting was spent in discussing and modifying a draft of a pastoral statement on immigration that we hope to publish on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. A second pastoral statement on marriage is in discussion. We reflected on the types of legislation that might be brought forward in the next session of the Arizona legislature. We monitor the work of the legislature, especially on life issues, education, immigration, social programs for the poor and other issues that might come up, about which our faith would come to bear.
9. "Jammin' for Jesus" -- Young people involved as altar servers and other liturgical ministries from around the diocese celebrated this annual day of prayer and fun at St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish on Saturday. The theme this year was vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Father Miguel Mariano and his committee, including religious from many communities in the Diocese, members of the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Daughters, and the Serra Club of the Tucson, along with many volunteers, did a great job. The liturgy was very celebratory, the participation of the young people attending very enthusiastic. Each of the participants received a certificate recognizing their service. You could see the pride their parents and families had when they were recognized for their contribution to the liturgy in their parishes.
Young people involved in the Church are apt candidates for service in the Diocese as priests or religious. We need to continue to encourage them and invite them to hear God's call!
10. Mass in Polish -- The Polish speaking community in Tucson gathered as usual on the first Sunday for a celebration of the Liturgy in Polish at St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish. It was my joy to preside at the Mass, which was said by Father Ed Pietrucha, C.S.P. The Mass has been celebrated in Polish in Tucson for 16 years. Father Ed's Polish was great, and it is obvious that the people love him.
A number of airmen from Poland's Air Force came to the Mass with their families. They are pilots in training at Davis Monthan Air Base. There also were several exchange students from Poland who have been here visiting through a program at Canyon del Oro High School. The Polish community in Tucson welcomed all their guests, and I felt very much at home. Our community is blessed with diversity and rich cultural heritage.
11. "They Played Like Wildcats!" -- When I celebrated Confirmation at St. Thomas More Newman Center near the University of Arizona campus on Saturday evening, you could hear the crowds of people streaming from Arizona Stadium celebrating the Wildcats stunning victory against formerly unbeaten UCLA. Congratulations to Coach Mike Stoops and the players for a great victory!
I am in Washington this week for the annual fall plenary meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Yesterday, there were two workshops for bishops, one that provided updates on Church efforts to address the death penalty and the other on campus ministry and the importance of the Church's presence on college campuses.
The workshop on the death penalty updated us on the Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty. While the U.S. Catholic bishops have been calling for an end to the use of the death penalty for 25 years, this new Campaign was launched in March of this year. The impetus for the Campaign was the 25th anniversary of the first comprehensive U.S. Catholic bishops' statement on the topic issued in 1980. Since that time, numerous individual bishops and state Catholic conferences have issued similar calls to end the use of the death penalty. On the agenda for our meeting is a discussion of a new statement calling for an end to the death penalty in the U.S.
Regarding campus ministry, we are blessed in our Diocese to have the Dominicans staffing our parish of St. Thomas More Newman Center at the University of Arizona. The Saturday before last, I celebrated Confirmation at the parish for 17 young adults from the University. We began the celebration just as the crowd was leaving Arizona Stadium after the stunning victory by the UA over previously undefeated UCLA. Campus ministry flows with the rhythms of University life. How important it is to have the Church present in this dynamic world.
The workshops at our meetings are an opportunity for bishops to reflect together and to focus upon issues important for the work of the Church. These dialogues help formulate directions for individual bishops to undertake in their own dioceses.
The formal meeting begins today with a number of items being considered, including a new lectionary for children, the document on lay ecclesial ministry, the election of a new general secretary who directs the work of the Conference staff and the election for chair elect of several committees. The Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse is being restructured to be a standing committee of the Conference and a chair will be elected as well. Much of this year's fall meeting will be held in executive session.
1. Parish Incorporation Process -- Articles of Incorporation and the other documents required by the law will be filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission this week for the 74 parishes in the Diocese of Tucson. By now, each pastor has determined the parish's specific corporate name and has appointed the two lay members of the board of directors. When the terms of the initial lay members have expired, there will be elections going forward.
This is a historic moment in the history of the Diocese, as we join the other dioceses in the U.S. whose parishes are individually incorporated.
2. After the Elections -- I am writing notes to the candidates who won office last Tuesday in the elections for the various municipal and county positions within the Diocese to express my congratulations and my openness to work with them for the betterment of their communities. I also am writing to the candidates who were not elected or re-elected to thank them for their interest in serving in the public arena at a time when such service can be so challenging and to express my hope that they will continue to be involved in the life of their communities.
3. Pastoral Center Staff Service Day -- Joining volunteers from St. Augustine Cathedral Parish, staff of the Pastoral Center will be pulling weeds, raking leaves and carefully trimming cactus this Friday at Cathedral Square. I thank Father Pat Crino, Cathedral Rector, for inviting us to participate in this clean-up of the landscaping surrounding the parking lot. The staff welcomes opportunities to show their solidarity with parishes in some of the day-to-day challenges that they face.
4. Diocesan Pastoral Council, Hispanic Commission -- Both the Council and the Commission will be meeting this Saturday at the Pastoral Center.
The agenda for the Council includes discussions of documents in three important areas: Immigration (Education, Advocacy, Humanitarian), Passing on the Faith (Evangelization), and Sunday Worship (the Order of the Mass). The Council also will hear an update report on the parish incorporation process.
Following the Council meeting, the Hispanic Commission will convene. The Commission will report on the progress being made in respect to the three priority areas I have asked the members to address: outreach to youth (How do we invite their participation in a multi-cultural Church and utilize their many gifts?), unity (How do we form a Church that is more united across cultures and languages and that welcomes people and makes them feel at home?), and formation (How do we all grow in our faith, become literate in our faith and able to minister?).
5. "Reunion del Barrio" -- Memories will be shared and perhaps a few mysteries will be solved this Saturday when the Friends of St. Augustine present "Reunion del Barrio" from 2 to 5 p.m. at Cathedral Hall. Rosie Garcia of the Friends hopes that former students of the Marist College and Cathedral School and members of families that lived in the barrio west of the Cathedral across Church Street will come to share their memories of the Marist College, Our Lady Chapel and life in the barrio. The reunion, a benefit for the restoration and preservation of the historic buildings in Cathedral Square, will include entertainment and food. Call Rosie at 245-9564 for more information.
6. Benefit Dinner for Our Retired Priests -- The Knights of Columbus annual Priests Appreciation Dinner is this Sunday at Skyline Country Club in Tucson. This dinner, sponsored and organized by the Msgr. Don H. Hughes Assembly, is a benefit to support the Priests' Retirement Fund. Last year's event resulted in more than $10,000 for the fund.
7. Appointments and Changes -- Father Gilbert Levario, O.C.D., who has served as pastor of Santa Cruz Parish in Tucson the past three years, is appointed as pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Tucson. Father Fernando Pinto, O.C.D., who has served as pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish since last July, is appointed pastor of Santa Cruz Parish. The appointments are effective tomorrow. I thank Father John Williamson, O.C.D., for serving as administrator of Santa Cruz Parish during Father Gilbert's recent recuperation.
Father John Emmanuel has resigned as pastor of St. Phillip Parish in Payson effective Dec. 1. I am grateful for his service there. I anticipate appointing a pastor in the near future.
8. Exposition in Monstrance Blessed by Pope John Paul II -- The wonderful attendance last Wednesday at St. Augustine Cathedral for the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance was very inspiring. The monstrance is one of six blessed by Pope John Paul II in November of 2004 to promote Eucharistic adoration and prayer for vocations during the recently completed Year of the Eucharist.
I was grateful for the participation of students from our Catholic Schools at the morning hours of adoration, and I was encouraged to see so many young people in fervent prayer. They are people of faith, and surely God is calling some of them to serve as priests and to serve in consecrated life.
I thank Father Miguel Mariano and Marty Hammond of the Vocations Office and Mary Ann Hendrickson of the Catholic Schools Office for their help in organizing and promoting the visit of the monstrance, which was sponsored by the Serra Club of Tucson, the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Daughters of the Americas.
The visit of the monstrance to the Cathedral emphasizes the powerful role that prayer has in encouraging and supporting vocations. Please continue to pray for vocations!
9. A Proud Parish -- We join with Father Greg Adolf and the community of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista in expressing our prayerful support and happiness for Sister Maria Cruce (Teresa) Aromin who professed her final vows on Saturday in Philadelphia at the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters Convent. Father Greg says that before Sister Maria responded to her vocation call to the life of Woman Religious she was a very active member of the parish following her honorable discharge from the U.S. Army at Fort Huachuca. The parish is very proud of her!
10. Remember in Your Prayers -- Father Ray Ratzenberger, pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Tucson, is in St. Mary's Hospital in Tucson following a heart procedure. We all pray that he will he have a full and speedy recovery.
I certainly wish all a happy observance of Thanksgiving Day. Several of our parishes have a tradition of a special Thanksgiving Day liturgy, a most appropriate way to express thanks to God for all our blessings in and through the celebration of the Eucharist.
I am very happy that I will be able to be with my Mother and family in Chicago, and I certainly will be giving thanks on Thursday for the wonderful service that our priests, women and men religious, deacons and laity provide to our parishes, schools and Catholic institutions throughout the Diocese.
We have been through a tough year, but the dedication and commitment of those who serve in the Diocese has been steadfast. This has been a real blessing for me and for our Diocese.
1. U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Fall General Meeting -- Our meeting last week in Washington involved several action items. The first dealt with the new translation of the lectionary for children. These readings make the scriptures accessible to the young and help them to become familiar with the Gospels. Translation of liturgical texts remains daunting. There is a need to be faithful to the text while finding language that can be proclaimed. Many of our parishes make use of the Children's Lectionary in their Sunday worship. Their comments on the value of the Children's Lectionary are always positive. I am glad the Children's Lectionary will continue to be available for use.
In another matter regarding liturgy, many bishops expressed concern that the people's parts in the liturgy not be changed and recommendations to that effect were sent by the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy to the International Commission on the English Language (ICEL) which has responsibility to prepare translations from the Latin into English. These translations are then reviewed by the bishops of the English speaking conferences around the world for their approval. The English translations then are sent to Rome for approval.
Extensive and painstaking work has been and continues to be done in preparing the translations for use at Mass. There was a strong sentiment that even though some of the current translations of the people's' parts are not literal translations from the Latin, they should be kept as is. This matter will come back before the bishops sometime next year.
The bishops issued a statement on the Use of the Death Penalty indicating that there is no persuasive reason today for continuing its use in the modern world. Criminals who commit heinous crimes can be securely kept in prison for life. Grievous mistakes have been made in executing innocent people. The poor predominate in receiving the death penalty. Society's execution of a person perpetuates a culture that sees life as expendable. For all these reasons, the bishops, following the lead of Pope John Paul II, have urged an end to the death penalty, as has happened in most countries around the world, even countries that do not prize human freedom.
The document on lay ecclesial ministry (available at www.usccb.org/laity/laymin/index.shtml) was passed by a two-thirds majority. I was grateful to Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J., who served as an advisor for the subcommittee, for his strong endorsement of the document on the floor of the meeting. He responded to concerns that were raised about the use of the word "ministry" or "minister" for the laity. The Cardinal reminded the bishops that Vatican documents since the Council have used these words when speaking of the laity. In the new Roman Missal, editio typica, the laity are referred to as ministers. He indicated that the documents often refer to "sacred ministry" when referring to the ministry of the ordained. There should be no confusion that would result from the use of these words.
Clearly, the document affirms that we cannot be the Catholic Church without ordained priests. But, it also states that laity are called to use their gifts in service to the Church and that lay ecclesial ministry is not the result of a shortage of priests. (Only Pastoral Administrators, under canon 517, n.2, exist simply because of a shortage of priests.) The document also acknowledges that the primary role of the laity is in the secular arena, in the marketplace, where they bring the Gospel values to bear. The document is an opportunity to affirm the many lay women and men who serve as pastoral associates, youth ministers, ministers of peace and justice, directors of religious education, directors of liturgy and other leadership roles in which laity are involved.
A new General Secretary for the Conference was elected. He is Msgr. David Mulloy from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. He replaces Msgr. William Fay from the Archdiocese of Boston, who has served in that role for five years. The General Secretary oversees the entire staff of the Conference and assists the bishops in the many initiatives undertaken through the work of the Conference Committees.
2. Meeting for the Recently Ordained -- The quarterly meeting of the Recently Ordained (within five years) will take place today and tomorrow. Among the topics that will be addressed are youth and family issues (gangs, drugs, violence, challenges of single parent families); social and economic issues (immigration, education, the economic condition of people in the Diocese); and how priests can be more sensitive to their parishioners in addressing those issues.
3. Diocesan Finance Council -- The Finance Council holds its regular monthly meeting tomorrow at the Pastoral Center.
4. Parish Incorporation -- The articles of incorporation for all 74 parishes in the Diocese of Tucson were filed last Tuesday, Nov. 15, at the Arizona Corporation Commission office in Tucson. Gerry O'Meara, Diocese of Tucson attorney and the statutory agent for parish incorporation, hand delivered all the documents. Accompanying Gerry and witnessing the historic event were Father Al Schifano, Moderator of the Curia, and Kathy Rhinehart, executive assistant for corporate affairs.
They report it was quite a scene as the helpful staff stamped the front page of each parish's articles of incorporation with "AZ CORPORATION COMMISSION FILED NOV 15 2005." After all the paperwork is reviewed and the requirements for publication are met, Nov. 15 will be the effective date of incorporation for each parish.
5. Priests' Retirement Fund -- I am very pleased to pass on this announcement from the Priests' Assurance Association specifically for the attention of all diocesan priests:
"At the Nov. 11 meeting of the PAA Board of Directors, they unanimously voted to increase the monthly retirement benefit to $1,200 beginning July, 2006. This $200 monthly increase is made possible by an increased contribution to the Retirement Fund by the Annual Catholic Appeal.
"The Board urges all priests to support strongly both the ACA and the December collection for priests' retirement. These are two major funding sources. We cannot increase or maintain the benefits without them. Because neither the ACA nor the collection will succeed without the personal and public support of the priests, the Board urges them to do so."
The increase to $1,200 monthly for our retired priests still will leave their retirement benefit in the lower third of the retirement benefits given by dioceses to retired priests throughout the U.S.
I add my strongest personal support for the action by the PAA Board of Directors to increase the monthly retirement benefit and I too urge our priests to wholeheartedly support both the ACA and the annual collection for the Priests' Retirement Fund, which this year is the weekend of Dec. 10 and 11.
6. Advent -- This Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent, marking the beginning of our time of preparation for the birth of Jesus. It is a time when we experience the joy of anticipating Christ among us and a time when we focus prayerfully and with penitence on the world to come.
The First Sunday of Advent also is the beginning of a new Liturgical Year, and I invite you to reflect on the role and importance of the Liturgical Year -- the way we mark the passage of time in our relationship with Christ, the way we re-enact His life, death and resurrection.
7. Advent Reflections -- I am participating in a 12-part series of Advent reflections that will be presented via streaming video on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Web site. Each reflection will be given by a different bishop.
My reflection will be available on Thanksgiving Day, with additional reflections to be added on each Sunday of Advent, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Christmas, the Feast of Holy Family, the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord and the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
The reflections were videotaped last week during the USCCB Fall General Meeting. The series is sponsored by the Catholic Communication Campaign and the Office of Communications at the USCCB.
8. Interactive Advent Calendar -- You can go to www.usccb.org/cchd/adventcalendar to open the doors to an interactive Advent calendar from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. This is a cyber version of the traditional "secret doors" that children opened each day for treats and surprises. CCHD's Web Advent calendar features music, animation, inspiration and ideas for action during Advent and beyond.
9. 40th Anniversary of Vatican II -- There is a marvelous resource that is available on the Catholic News Service (CNS) Web site on Vatican II that I encourage you to visit.
Forty years ago the Second Vatican Council deeply transformed the Catholic Church, changing not only how its members practiced their faith but also altering the Church's relationship with the world and with other religions.
"Vatican II at 40: Legacy and Hope" is a series of on-line articles that looks at both the legacy of the Council and its continuing impact on both the Church and the world today. You can read about the Council's impact, such as the practical changes it brought to the Church in liturgy, marriage, catechetics and parish life and the unprecedented media coverage that it generated.
Council sessions actually took place over four years, 1962-65, but the anniversary is being marked this fall because the council officially concluded on Dec. 8, 1965, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. It was also in 1965 that 11 of the Council's 16 documents were promulgated, including the landmark declaration on the Church's relationship with non-Christian religions, which set Catholic-Jewish relations on a new course.
CNS is the world's largest religious newswire and the primary source of national and world news that appears in the U.S. Catholic press. It is also a leading source of news for Catholic print and broadcast media throughout the world. Because the council was such a historic event, CNS decided to make the series available to the general public at www.catholicnews.com/data/vat2/vat2.htm.
10. Remember in Your Prayers -- Father Paul Larocque asks for our prayers as he recovers from surgery that took place last Friday. Father Paul's trust in the will of God as he faces a health challenge so late in his life is an encouragement to us all.
11. "Three MacArthurs" -- The Msgr. Edward Ryle Fund is sponsoring this series of lectures by three recipients of the "Genius Awards" of the MacArthur Foundation. The Fund was created in 2003 to advance, support and memorialize the years of service by Msgr. Ed, a retired priest of the Diocese of Tucson, in the cause of social justice in Arizona and the nation. Proceeds from the series will be awarded to non-profit organizations that address major social justice issues and to grow the endowment. The lectures will feature Robert Greenstein (Dec. 8), Ernesto Cortes Jr. (Jan. 12) and Brackette Williams (Feb. 9), and will be held at the Catholic Diocesan Center in Phoenix. For more information, call 602-285-0505, extension 181.
Welcome to Advent!
I want to share this excerpt from my column for December's The New Vision, which will be available at parishes this coming weekend:
Enter Advent, a season of quiet, reflection, and waiting.
Enter Advent, a season to be alert, watchful.
Enter Advent, a season of opening the doors of our hearts to look beyond the pressing demands of life to what matters most in life.
We need this season more than ever today. In all of our busyness, we need perspective to know what is worth our time and attention.
As we now have entered Advent, my prayer is that day-by-day we all will engage ourselves in this season's unique opportunities to grow even closer to the Lord as we invite His coming as Emanuel.
Christmas is a time to do for others, and our Pastoral Center is planning its wrapping party of gifts for children in Nogales. Activities like this are taking place in parishes and schools across the Diocese, demonstrating that Christmas can bring out the best in people, especially their desire to share and give.
1. Bishop Moreno's 75th Birthday -- Priests, deacons, religious and laity gathered in St. Augustine Cathedral yesterday at the noon Mass to wish Bishop Manuel Moreno a "Happy birthday!" on his 75th birthday. (When he was born in 1930, Nov. 27 fell on Thanksgiving Day.)
Bishop Moreno presided at the Mass, with the concelebrants including myself and Bishop Francis Quinn, the bishop emeritus of Sacramento, Bishop Ricardo Ramirez from Las Cruces, Bishop Thomas Olmsted and Bishop Thomas O'Brien from Phoenix and priests of the Diocese. Bishop Moreno's sister Cuca and her husband Ray and brother Fernando and his wife Nora came from California to join in the celebration.
Bishop Moreno's birthday celebration actually started in the pre-dawn yesterday when he was serenaded at 6 a.m. with "Las Mananitas" at his home by cursillistas. Mariachis led all in the Cathedral after Mass with another rousing singing of "Las Mananitas," after which Bishop Moreno received extended applause. The staff at the Pastoral Center presented Bishop with a crozier (pastoral staff) as a birthday gift.
During his homily and in his remarks at the conclusion of Mass, Bishop Moreno commented again and again that he loved us, and we have come to know that that is true. We appreciated the opportunity to say to him that the feelings are mutual.
Ad multos annos, gloriosque annos! May he enjoy many more years, many more glorious years.
Bishop Moreno with brother Fernando and sister Cuca.
2. Meeting of Presbyteral Council -- The Presbyteral Council meets today here at the Pastoral Center. The agenda includes an update on parish incorporation, a report on the Parish Pooled Investment Program (the new program for parish savings) and a report on the 2006 Annual Catholic Appeal campaign.
3. On-Going Formation Program -- Many priests of the Diocese will gather at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Tucson tomorrow to take the next steps in the program of ongoing formation we have initiated in the Diocese. You may recall that last year a group of 11 priests participated in a pilot project of renewal through education. That pilot project led to a new program of ongoing formation in which each active priest of the Diocese will be required to attend one of a set of approved workshops each year.
Tomorrow, Msgr. James Lisante, a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre and pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Church there, will offer the first presentation of the ongoing formation program. His topic will be "Apostolic Courage: The courage it takes to be a priest today." Msgr. Lisante will speak not only about the grace given to live the gift of priesthood faithfully, but also about how each priest is called also to seek out others to whom that gift is offered.
I thank all those involved in establishing this new program, especially Dr. Paul Duckro, Father Tom Santa, C.Ss.R., Father Jim Hobert, Chancellor June Kellen and the members of the Presbyteral Council. With each step, we continue to bring new resources for lively ministry and service to the Diocese of Tucson.
4. Sexual Misconduct Review Board -- The Board meets this Wednesday here at the Pastoral Center. Among the board's important responsibilities is the monitoring of our efforts in the Diocese to provide continuing education for children, parents and staff of parishes and schools on child abuse awareness and prevention.
To support the educational programs in our Diocese, Dr. Paul Duckro, director of the Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, has recently updated the "Resources" page on the diocesan Web site, www.diocesetucson.org, under "Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention."
In the final analysis, each parish and school must select materials that are right for that local community, but the "Resources" page is a valuable way for parishes, schools and the Pastoral Center to share methods and materials that have proven useful.
5. Visit of President Bush to Tucson -- President Bush is scheduled to arrive at Davis Monthan Air Force Base this afternoon where he is to receive a briefing by U.S. Customs and U.S. Border Patrol officials. Following the briefing, the President is expected to make comments about border security.
The visit and its purpose present an opportunity to further emphasize the continued need for comprehensive reform of our nation's immigration policies. As Congress soon is likely to address pending legislation on immigration, it is very important that we, as Catholics, understand the issues and their moral implications in light of the Social Teaching of the Church.
I urge all in the leadership of our parishes, schools and Catholic institutions to access the excellent resources on comprehensive immigration reform that are available through the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC). Primary resources include the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform, "Justice for Immigrants: a Journey of Hope," which is available at www.justiceforimmigrants.org and the USCCB Migration and Refugee Services home page at www.usccb.org/mrs.
6. Tour of U.S. Border Patrol Facilities and Operations -- Bishop Michael Neils of the Grand Canyon Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Bishop Minerva Carcaño of the Phoenix Episcopal Area, Desert Southwest Annual Conference, of the United Methodist Church and I are scheduled to take a tour of U.S. Border Patrol Tucson Sector facilities and operations on Wednesday.
I am grateful to U.S. Border Patrol Tucson Sector Chief Michael Nicley for arranging this opportunity for us to gain a better understanding of how the Border Patrol operates and meets its mission. Our tour will include a visit to the Nogales Border Patrol Station to see its infrastructure and use of technology.
The tour is part of the on-going dialogue between the Border Patrol and representatives of different faiths and denominations as we seek to better understand the dynamics involved in the continuing migration across the border into Arizona.
7. Visit of Abbot General Tiribili, O.S.B. -- Abbot General Michaelangelo M. Tiribilli, O.S.B., will be visiting Holy Trinity Monastery near St. David this week. The Monastery belongs to the Olivetan Benedictines, whose Motherhouse is located outside Siena, Italy. I know that Father Henri Capedeville, O.S.B., and the entire Holy Trinity community are very excited about his visit, and I look forward to the opportunity to meet the Abbot General.
8. Pastoral Center Service Day -- John Shaheen, our diocesan Property and Insurance Manager, shared this e-mail from Father Pat Crino, rector of the Cathedral, regarding our cleanup efforts at the Cathedral on Friday, Nov. 18.
Please forward my thanks to the good people of the Pastoral Center. Your Cathedral cleanup project is greatly appreciated! It is amazing how much better the grounds look with the weeds and trash removed. Plus, the Cathedral building benefited from the inside crew. I will inform the parishioners about this good deed in December. Thank you for helping us. Your timing was perfect. We are down to one maintenance/janitor. In the best of times, it is a big task to be fixing and cleaning such a large facility and the religious ed center.
Father Pat, we thank you, too! We had a great time, and we even documented how much fun we were having!
We were on the job bright and early, brooms, rakes and shovels ready to go. Mary Gioco of the Catholic Schools Office and Carol Pina of the Fiscal Services Office joined me in some heavy duty raking in the planters just outside the door to the sacristy.
9. Mass for Young Adults -- Young Catholic adults -- single or married, ages 18 through their 30s -- are invited to a celebration of the Eucharist at 6:30 p.m. this Thursday at St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish in Tucson. Father Gil Martinez. C.S.P., pastor of St. Cyril Parish, will preside. The Mass is sponsored by the Diocese of Tucson Young Adult Network and will be hosted by the Connection Ministry to Young Adults at St. Cyril Parish. A social with refreshments will follow Mass. A $5 donation is suggested. The Young Adult Mass will continue to be celebrated at St. Cyril the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m.
10. Release of New Instruction from the Vatican -- We expect that the "Instruction on the Criteria of Vocational Discernment Regarding Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in View of Their Admission to the Priesthood and to Sacred Orders" will be released officially tomorrow by the Vatican.
There has been much speculation in the news media for some time now about what the Vatican document might say. With all documents from Rome, it is best not to speculate what will be said. What is important is to read the document carefully. Thorough reading makes misunderstandings less likely.
As you read the document, you will see that the discernment for a candidate to enter the seminary is a discernment that involves the diocesan bishop, vocation director and seminary personnel, as well as the candidate himself. It is the bishop who must determine if a candidate will be accepted to study for the diocese and ultimately to be ordained. Sexual orientation is one among many facets of a person's life that is considered in discernment for acceptance to the seminary and finally to ordination.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will withhold any comment until the Vatican releases the document. I am one of four bishops designated by the Conference to be available to the news media regarding the instruction.
11. "Passing on the Faith -- Passing on the Church" -- I will be at Fordham University in New York from Thursday through Sunday to participate in the second consultation for "Passing on the Faith -- Passing on the Church: U.S. Catholicism in a New Century."
This three year study is focusing on three specific areas of concern: an examination of "generational issues" as they relate to Catholic identity and practice (e.g., why Catholics under 35 stay, leave, or "defect in place"); a study of promising models of both lay and clerical authority and leadership in the American Church (lay models of ecclesial leadership on the parochial, diocesan, and national levels; an examination of the "reproduction of celibacy" in clergy formation and leadership; new models of "creative fidelity" in church leadership); and an examination of the role of American Catholic Studies as an emerging academic enterprise in negotiating future developments. More information about the study is available at www.fordham.edu/cs/threeyear.htm.
12. Remember in Your Prayers -- Deacon Chet Pawloski of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish died last Thursday. Ordained in 1978, Deacon Chet was a member of the second formation class of permanent deacons in the Diocese of Tucson. Our thoughts are with his son, Chet Jr., and all the members of the Pawloski Family.
13. TV Worth Watching -- Two television specials on the life of Pope John Paul II will debut this week. "Have No Fear: The Life of Pope John Paul II" will air at 8 p.m. this Thursday on ABC. "Pope John Paul II," a two-part miniseries, airs on CBS this Sunday and next Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m.