Nov. 5, 2007 Nov. 12, 2007 Nov. 19, 2007 Nov. 26, 2007

Vol. 5, No. 28                                                                                                            
Nov. 5, 2007


Our pilgrims from the Diocese of Tucson returned last week from the Holy Land and from Rome, a little tired from the hectic pace of their tours, a little jet-lagged from their international flights, but nevertheless positively aglow with inspiration from their experiences.

It was my joy to be able to participate in both of the pilgrimages, having led the pilgrimage of the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre from our Diocese to the Holy Land and being able to join two groups of pilgrims from our Diocese who went to Rome for the beatifications of the Spanish Civil War Martyrs on Sunday, Oct. 28.

The "blog" account of the pilgrimage to the Holy Land is available at www.diocesetucson.org, and I will write more about the pilgrimage experiences in my column in next month's New Vision.

I wrote in last week's memo about the beatification ceremonies, and today I want to tell you more about our Rome experience.

Our Diocese is connected to Spanish Civil War Martyrs through two Discalced Carmelite priests, Father Lucas of St. Joseph and Father Eduardo of the Child Jesus. Father Lucas was the
founding pastor of Holy Family Parish in Tucson. He also served at Holy Cross Parish in
Morenci, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Florence and at Santa Cruz Parish
in Tucson. Father Eduardo served at Holy Family Parish and at Santa Cruz Parish. Father
Lucas returned to Spain in 1924. Father Eduardo returned in 1930. (The history of their service in our Diocese is at www.ocdwest.org/beatification.html.)

The beatification ceremonies also were very special for the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters who serve in our Diocese. I was able to meet their Mother General after the ceremonies, and we shared the joy of the occasion since several Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary were among the Blesseds. While the Sisters who were beatified did not serve in our Diocese, the I.H.M. Community does much among us.
 
Last Monday, the day after the beatifications, the pilgrims from Holy Family and Santa Cruz Parishes gathered for Mass at St. Peter's Basilica. We had tried to get into the Basilica through a side entrance, but the Swiss Guard there blocked our way. I tried to convince him to let us through, but he stood firm. We were able to enter through the security screening on the other side of the Plaza. Security at the Basilica is tight.

Fathers Alonzo Garcia, Frank Cady and John Fahey joined me in the celebration at the Altar of San Giuseppe (St. Joseph). Father John, who before his retirement was pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Tombstone, was determined to make this trip despite the challenges of aging.

Some of the pilgrims had visited Assisi the day before. They told me that they were amazed and inspired by this ancient town that is home to St. Francis and that reflects beautifully his spirituality and love of all life.

I was able to get tickets for our pilgrims for the Wednesday audience of Pope Benedict XVI. The day of the audience was cold and rainy, but the weather did not prevent the visitors from gathering in St. Peter's Square, umbrellas in hand. The Holy Father was driven through the crowd, a large white umbrella protecting him from the rain. He smiled and greeted the people as he passed.

I was among the 10 bishops attending the audience, and we were fortunate to be under the roof of the platform where the Holy Father sat. He greeted everyone in several languages, acknowledging the groups that were present for the audience.

After his remarks, each of the bishops was able to meet him individually and to say a few words about our dioceses. When it was my turn, I told the Holy Father that I was from the Diocese of Tucson, located in the Sonoran Desert. He smiled. I extended to him the greetings of all the priests, deacons, religious and laity of the Diocese, and I invited him to come and visit us. Again, he smiled.

At 80 years of age, the Holy Father appeared vibrant and was very responsive to the people. After greeting the bishops, he welcomed a number of newly weds who had come to the audience dressed in their wedding day attire. They were excited, even though they were soaking wet from the downpour. The Holy Father also kissed the children brought to him. I noted that he had a childlike smile himself through all the events.

Our diocesan celebration of the beatifications of Father Lucas and Father Eduardo will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Holy Family Parish on Friday, Nov. 16. The celebration will include a procession to Santa Cruz Parish, where we will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving.

1. Appreciation Liturgy and Luncheon for Vowed Religious -- St. Augustine Cathedral had a particular glow during yesterday's noon Mass at which we honored the men and women Religious jubilarians. The procession began with the Knights of Columbus, who always add solemnity to our celebrations. They were followed by a large number of men and women Religious serving in our Diocese. I marveled at the years of dedicated service they have given to our Diocese.
 
Sister Rina Cappellazzo, O.P., our new Vicar for Religious, welcomed everyone. I was pleased that Sister Jean Olmstead, S.B.S., the former Vicar, could be with us.
 
After the celebration, we all gathered at the Hotel Arizona for a delicious lunch provided by the Knights. 
 
I am looking forward to gathering in small groups with our men and women Religious over the course of this next year to get to know them better. Their service is a great blessing for our Diocese.

Honored as this year's jubilarians were: Sister Audrey Jean Loher, O.S.F., 60 years; Sister Cecilia Maria Carranza CF.M.M., 50 years; Sister Maxine Hart, O.S.F., 50 years: Brother John Hollywood, S.J., 50 years; and Sister Carolina Lumactod, O.P., 25 years

2. Una Noche de Alegria -- Una Noche de Alegria (A Joyful Night) is a relatively new tradition in our Diocese. Each year, Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona honors someone or an agency for rendering great service to the littlest and weakest among us. This year's event was a tribute to St. Elizabeth's Health Center for its 45 years of caring for those who cannot afford health insurance.
 
It was a delightful evening at which the University of Arizona Jazz Band entertained. The highlight of the evening for me was hearing from Dr. Richard H. Carmona, former Surgeon General of the U.S. He spoke passionately about the good work of St. Elizabeth's Health Center. He mentioned that he had adopted children through CCS, for which he was very grateful. In introducing Dr. Carmona, Peg Harmon, chief executive officer of CCS, shared a personal story from 16 years ago when her son was in an accident and was taken to the hospital where he was well treated by Dr. Carmona.
 
Peg and the staff of CCS and its six member agencies can be rightly proud of all that they do in the communities of our Diocese. They have joined with many other organizations in our Diocese to care for those in need.

3. Painting St. Augustine Cathedral -- An "articulated lift" is scheduled to arrive at St. Augustine Cathedral this afternoon to support the work that will begin tomorrow to prepare the Cathedral for painting. The lift will allow workers to reach the domes, towers and upper areas of the walls.

In this month's The New Vision (distributed this past weekend at parishes), I announce my decision to move forward with the painting and enhancements of the Cathedral as envisioned by John Alan of John Alan Design. In the announcement story on the front page, I cite St. Augustine for the inspiration that helped me make this decision, and I share the major considerations that influenced the decision. You can read my announcement at www.newvisiononline.org/cathedral.html.

4. Marist College Update -- Many of you have asked me about the status of the Marist College, one of the historic buildings in Cathedral Square that in recent years has deteriorated because of the wear and tear of weather and the lack of resources for maintenance.

The Diocese shares with the City of Tucson the hope that the building can be saved. The costs to restore the building have been estimated at more than $2 million. In the past five years, we have had some interest in the building from the public and private sectors, but no solid proposals. We have heard proposals for the use of the building that include a charter school, a neighborhood center, offices, condominiums and a music performance center. While these would be good uses for the building, restoration costs and current economic conditions make it difficult for developers to justify investment. Knowing the importance of this building to the historical and cultural fabric of Tucson, the Diocese is willing to work with the public or private sectors in finding a means to save the building.

However, we rapidly are approaching the point at which safety concerns necessarily will take precedence over historical value. We will continue to hope and pray that this remarkable piece of Tucson history can be saved.

5. On-going Formation of Priests
-- John Allen, senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and CNN senior Vatican analyst, is today's special guest presenter for the of On-going Formation of Priests program at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks.

John also will give a presentation at 7 p.m. this evening on "Megatrends in Catholicism" in the Petroglyphs Assembly Hall of the Center. Admission is open, but please call Pegi Dodd at 520-838-2545 to reserve a seat. A free-will offering will be taken during the presentation.

6. Priests Day of Prayer -- The monthly Priests Day of Prayer is this Wednesday at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks.

7. Monthly Pastoral Center Staff Meetings -- The monthly meetings of the staff and directors at the Bishop Moreno Pastoral Center will take place this Thursday morning.

8. U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Fall General Assembly -- I will be leaving this Friday for Baltimore to attend committee meetings in advance of next week's annual Fall General Assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.



At this assembly, the bishops will elect the USCCB president, vice-president and a number of committee chairs. Bishop William Skylsted has done an excellent job serving the Conference as President  with all the other demands on his time as Bishop of Spokane. Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., of the Archdiocese of Chicago, the current vice president, most likely will be elected president. He has many gifts by which to lead the Conference.
 
We will be voting on: "Faithful Citizenship," a statement which the USCCB issues before each presidential election; "Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship," a revision of the guidelines for music at Mass; doctrinal elements for a curriculum for high school catechetical materials and weekday celebrations of the Liturgy of the Word; and revisions to USCCB bylaws. 



We also will hear an update on research for the "Causes and Context Study" of clergy sexual abuse of minors from the John Jay School of Criminal Justice. We will receive reports on U.S. participation in World Youth Day '08 in Sydney, Australia, and the USCCB's National Pastoral Initiative on Marriage.

9. Safe Environment Program Audit -- On my return from the Holy Land pilgrimage and the beatifications in Rome, I was very pleased to receive the results of the 2007 audit of the Diocese of Tucson's Safe Environment Program by the Gavin Group.
 
Once again, our Diocese was found to be in compliance with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
 
The audit results reflect the on-going work of so many at the Pastoral Center and in our parishes and schools to create and maintain safe environments for children.
 
I thank the pastors and principals, the compliance representatives, the religious educators and teachers for their committed effort that is recognized in this positive evaluation by the auditors who reviewed our Safe Environment Program in such detail.
 
I also thank all those who, although not directly involved in the program, support the diocesan commitment in their words and actions.

10. "Saints" at St. Anthony School, Casa Grande -- The "Saints" really did march in last Wednesday at St. Anthony School in Casa Grande, as faculty and students got into the spirit of All Saints Eve. The "Saints" were Jacque Guzman (St. Daniel), Annette Koehler (St. Ann, mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary), Linda Annala (St. Cecilia), Casey Wallis (St. Mary Joseph Rosella), Godfrey Cordova (King David), Tyler Hemmings (St. Matthew), Katie Wallis (St. Catherine of Sienna); (front row, left to right) Mallory Garcia (St. Elizabeth of Hungary), Monica Fiori (the Blessed Mother), Kateri Cordova (Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha), Elijah Cordova (St. Patrick), Griffen Hemmings (St. Joseph of Cupertino).

11. Farewell to Judy Richins -- Judy Richins, who has worked for many years in the Chancellor's Office, soon will be leaving the Diocese. We all are grateful for Judy's great spirit and her commitment, especially to the priests of our Diocese. Her untiring efforts are much appreciated, and we wish her well as she discerns a new direction in her life. We continue to pray for her husband, who is recuperating from shoulder surgery.

12. Remember in Your Prayers -- Please pray for the repose of the soul of Sister Elise Calmus, C.PP.S., who died Oct. 23 in Dayton, Ohio. Sister Elise spent most of her ministerial life of 50 years in Arizona, including service at St. Ambrose School in Tucson and at the University of Arizona.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Lorraine Lee, executive vice president of Chicanos Por La Causa in Tucson, who died last week. Lorraine is being remembered for her activism that emphasized empowerment and respect for human rights. The funeral Mass for Lorraine is this morning at St. Augustine Cathedral.  

As a Diocese, we will remember Bishop Manuel Moreno on the first anniversary of his death with a Memorial Mass at noon at St. Augustine Cathedral on Saturday, Nov. 17.

Vol. 5, No. 29
Nov. 12, 2007

Greetings from Baltimore, where I am participating in the Fall General Assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. There's a cold snap underway here on the eastern seaboard, so we all are bundled up, and I am dreaming of warm Arizona.
 
The general meeting begins today. The weekend was full of committee meetings. As you know, the Conference is divided into about 65 committees, task forces, subcommittees and ad hoc committees. In the restructuring plan that was approved last November, these committees will be reduced from 65 to 16 standing committees and 12 permanent subcommittees. Over the year, about 65 staff have transitioned either into retirement or into open positions that were not filled. There are now 310 persons who staff the Conference in its many and diverse works.
 
I have completed my work as a member of the Committee on Migration. I enjoyed the experience very much because it helped me to understand better the complex issues of immigration. I remain deeply disappointed, like many others, by the inability of the Congress and the President to pass a comprehensive immigration bill that would have helped to resolve the plight of more than 12 million undocumented persons in this country, to help unify families and to find opportunities for U.S. employers to hire workers from other countries who can do jobs in many sectors of our nation's economy.
 
The Committee will continue the Justice for Immigrants program, especially emphasizing the education of our Catholic people on why the Church speaks out on behalf of immigrants. There is confusion about the Church's stance on illegal immigration. The U.S. Bishops do not condone illegal immigration, but we have consistently sought to encourage our legislators to pass comprehensive immigration policy law that better reflects the realities in our country.
 
Yesterday, we heard Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Apostolic Delegate to the U.S., and Dr. Ziad who heads the Islamic Center of Bloomington, Indiana, engage in a very informative dialogue on Muslim-Christian relations.

They discussed the importance of reciprocity; that is, assuring the religious freedom of Muslims in Christian nations and likewise for Christians in Islamic nations. They talked about how Islam would be more open to people who convert from Islam to Christianity and the difficult situation of Christians in Saudi Arabia and other Islamic nations who try to practice their faith. Dr. Ziad mentioned that many Islamic nations are under the control of leaders who do not even allow basic rights for Muslims, but that progress is being made, especially by Muslims living in the U.S., in demonstrating how Muslims can live in a pluralistic society.
 
Dr. Ziad referred to a letter sent by 140 Islamic leaders to Pope Benedict XVI and other Patriarchs and leaders of Christian faiths in which they indicated that 55 per cent of people in the world are either Christian or Muslims and how these two great religions need to work together to promote peace. These leaders also made a plea for dialogue and for finding ways to work together, both of which are encouraged by Vatican II Archbishop Sambi indicated that he expected the Vatican to respond to this significant letter and the invitation to work together in fostering peace.
 
Today, we will begin to look at the action items before us. Those action items will be voted on during the general session tomorrow. At that time, elections will be held for president and vice president and for the chairmen or chair elects of a number of committees.

1. Beatification Celebration
-- Our diocesan celebration of the beatifications of Father Lucas of St. Joseph and Father Eduardo of the Child Jesus will take place this Friday, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Holy Family Parish in Tucson when I bless two special icons made in honor of these Discalced Carmelites who served in our Diocese in the early 1900s. Following the blessing of the icons, we will process to Santa Cruz Parish for a Mass of Thanksgiving. (Transportation will be provided for those who cannot walk in the procession.) There will be a reception after Mass.

Father Lucas and Father Eduardo were among the 498 Spanish Civil War Martyrs beatified on Oct. 28 in Rome. Father Lucas was the founding pastor of Holy Family Parish in Tucson. He also served at Holy Cross Parish in Morenci, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Florence and at Santa Cruz Parish in Tucson. Father Eduardo served at Holy Family Parish and at Santa Cruz Parish. Father Lucas returned to Spain in 1924, Father Eduardo in 1930. (You can read more about the history of their service in our Diocese at www.ocdwest.org/beatification.html.)

I thank Father Alonzo Garcia, pastor of Holy Family, and Father Fernando Pinto, O.C.D., pastor of Santa Cruz, for planning this celebration, to which all are invited.

2. Diaconate Retreat
-- The annual retreat for our Diocese's permanent deacons is this weekend at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson. The theme of the retreat is "The Spirituality of Diaconia." I look forward to being with our deacons this Saturday.

Father Allan R. Laubenthal, S.T.D., a retired priest of the Diocese of Cleveland, will the lead the deacons in exploring how they are called to the ministry of justice, charity and compassion. I met Father Allan when he was rector of St. Mary's Seminary in Cleveland.

3. Memorial Mass for Bishop Moreno -- As this weekend marks the one-year anniversary of Bishop Moreno's death, we will gather for a Memorial Mass, at which I will preside, at noon this Saturday at St. Augustine Cathedral. All are welcome. 

We remember fondly Bishop Moreno's smile and his gentle and loving spirit. The beautiful turnout of people for his wake and Funeral Mass left no doubt about the affection that people in our Diocese and in his home Archdiocese of Los Angeles had for this good man who loved the people of our Diocese and who humbly asked forgiveness for whatever he had done to hurt others. His 21 years of service among us has left a lasting mark, especially the importance of turning our lives over to the Lord

4. Black Catholic Ministry Mass
-- We are very pleased to welcome Vincentian Father Jeff Harvey, pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Phoenix, as the homilist for this Saturday's Black Catholic Ministry Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral at 5:30 p.m. I will preside at the Mass.

This Mass is our diocesan celebration of November as Black Catholic History Month. The observance of November as Black Catholic History Month in the U.S. began in 1990 under the leadership of the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus.

I am very grateful to the leadership of our diocesan Black Catholic Ministry for encouraging this celebration in our Diocese. You can read more about this emerging and important ministry in this month's The New Vision.

Black Catholics in our Diocese include African Americans, Africans from many different countries in Africa, and Caribbean-born Catholics. We are grateful for the gifts and blessings they share with our Diocese. The Mass this Saturday is an occasion to celebrate their contributions to our community.
 
We are blessed to have about 20 priests from countries in Africa serving in our Diocese as missionaries. Their presence unites us with their home dioceses and reminds us of the global nature of the Catholic Church of which we are a part.

5. Blessing of Ten Commandments and Beatitudes Monument -- I look forward to being with the parish community of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Tucson this Sunday morning for the blessing and dedication of a striking red granite monument that features the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes. Knights of Columbus Council 8077 at the parish initiated the project for the monument, and parishioners provided support for its completion. A smaller version of the monument will be presented to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School.

6. Parent and Family Listening Session Postponed -- The Parent and Family Listening Session scheduled for this Sunday evening in the Pinal West Vicariate is being postponed to a date, time and place still to be determined. We had to cancel the session because the parishes in Pinal West had already scheduled events that made it impossible for us to hold the gathering at a central location in the Vicariate. I look forward to the listening session in Yuma in December, and we will reschedule the one for Pinal West.

7. News from Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona -- My thanks to Peg Harmon, CCS chief executive officer, for sending this good news about CCS to Monday Memo:

CCS was recognized on Friday at the Metropolitan Pima Alliance Common Ground Award Dinner for its participation in the Pima County Faith/Community Partners Initiative. This economic development project assisted 225 persons with significant barriers to employment to connect with services and employment.

St. Elizabeth's Health Center in Tucson is among the 12 finalists in the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona's fourth annual Achievement Awards. Nominations for the Achievement Awards recognize excellence in the local nonprofit sector. St. Elizabeth's nomination was in the category of impact. The Foundation will select four of the organizations to receive awards of $5,000.

There is a special luncheon this week to honor Dr. Sam Mariscalco as a Catholic Charities USA Volunteer of the Year. At the Catholic Charities USA national gathering in September, the organization recognized Dr. Sam and his son and son-in-law for their volunteer service as dentists at St. Elizabeth's Health Center. Dr. Sam wasn't able to attend the September meeting, so CCS will present his recognition to him at the luncheon.

8. Vocations -- We are very pleased to welcome Wilbert Celestino and Ramonito Celestial from the Philippines as candidates for seminary formation in our Diocese. So that each can experience ministry in an urban and rural parish settings, they soon will begin their pastoral internship at St. Augustine Cathedral and at St. Rose of Lima Parish in Safford. They will continue their priestly formation at Mundelein Seminary in academic year 2008-09.
 
Wilbert and Ramonito had been in the novitiate program of the Dominican Order of the Philippine Province. 

9. More on Vocations -- I am grateful to Father Dan McLaughlin, S.T., and Catholics of the Pascua Yaqui Nation for organizing and conducting this program year's first Andrew and Myriam Dinner for Vocations.

Father Miguel Mariano, our director of Vocations, and I met last week with 30 young persons, mostly of high school age, to talk about vocations and to invite them to consider a life of service in the Church.

Father Dan and Sister Carla Riach, O.S.F., from Mission San Xavier del Bac Parish, shared with the group how God called them to their vocations. Both reflected on their dream to do something valuable with their lives and how they were drawn to missionary work and the challenge of doing something for God. I hope we can inspire many young people to consider service in our Diocese.

10. Youth Fest 2007 -- Teens from across our Diocese will be converging on the Tucson Convention Center on Saturday, Dec. 1., for our annual diocesan Youth Fest. I will celebrate Mass with our young people in the morning and present workshops in the afternoon. Last year, I took the teens in my workshops on a "faith run" around the Center. What will I do this year?

As this year's Youth Fest is the day before Advent begins, they will be invited to start this Advent with a "new search for the mystery of Jesus: past, present and future."

I look forward to meeting Father Tony Ricard, this year's special guest presenter. A priest of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and pastor of Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in New Orleans, Father Tony has given keynote addresses, retreats, revivals and youth talks across the nation and internationally. At last count, he has preached in 18 countries!

Information and registration forms were mailed to all parishes last month and are available at www.diocesetucson.org. I'm hoping will have more than 1,000 teens for Youth Fest this year. I urge parishes to send their registrations in before Thanksgiving.

11. Southwest Liturgical Conference Study Week 2008 -- If Sister Lois Paha, O.P., director of our diocesan Office of Formation, looks like she is going a thousand miles per hour these days with a thousands things on her mind, that's because she leading our local organizing efforts for the 46th Annual Southwest Liturgical Conference Study Week. 

Our Diocese is proud to be hosting this regional liturgy study week, Jan. 16-19, for the very first time. The theme of the Study Week is "Eucharist and Justice: Walking in Charity and Peace." 

There are five General Sessions in English and one in Spanish, plus 42 workshops (English and Spanish) during the study days.  Special features include a Pre-conference Border Experience trip, a visit to Mission San Xavier, a dramatic presentation of "The Line in the Sand," and Taizé prayer. 

For more information, contact Pegi Dodd in the Office of Formation, 520-838-2545 or pegid@diocesetucson.org. Information and registration is available at www.swlc.org.

12. Taize Prayer -- I thank Gerry Murphy of the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks for letting me know about the Center's "Evening of Taize Prayer Around the Cross" that takes place the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m.

Modeled on the prayers of the community in Taize, France, the evening includes short chants continuously repeated, readings from Scripture and
contemporary spirituality and a meditative atmosphere with a focus on Christ's cross.

You are invited to contact Gerry at the Center (520-744-3400, extension 122 or gmurphy@desertrenewal.org) for more information.

13. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- Please pray for Maria Davalos, wife of Ruben Davalos of our diocesan Office of Evangelization and Hispanic Ministry, who is experiencing some health challenges.

Vol. 5, No. 30                                                                                                           
Nov. 19, 2007


As expected, the bishops of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, meeting in Baltimore last week for the annual Fall General Assembly, elected Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, on the first ballot to serve as our president for the next three years. Cardinal George is deeply respected within the Conference, and is a clear and courageous spokesperson for the Church in our nation. His vast experience in the work of the Church, both in the U.S. and internationally, especially through his ministry with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, has prepared him well to take on this challenging responsibility.

No one was more surprised than I by the results of the balloting for vice president. I say that because the other eight candidates on the list are bishops whom I admire and respect a great deal. As the balloting was taking place, it was very humbling to realize that I was probably going to be elected. I felt a pang of panic, but that reaction was overcome by a feeling of gratitude for the confidence of the bishops in what I might bring to this responsibility.

The officers of the Conference are elected to serve the bishops of the U.S. and to help focus and direct their work within the Conference.

Our newly restructured Conference has identified these priorities:

Supporting the Sacrament of Marriage through the National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage; faith formation, especially for sacramental practices; increasing vocations to priesthood and religious life; cultural diversity, with an emphasis on ministry to Hispanic Catholics; and the preeminent issues that relate to the sanctity of life and the dignity of the human person.

Having such a clear set of priorities will help us focus our work over these next three years.

I will miss serving as chair of the Conference's Priorities and Plans Committee, which is a responsibility of the conference secretary and to which I was elected last year. This Committee is made up of bishops representing each of the regions in the U.S. The members worked hard to implement the restructuring that was approved in last year's Fall General Assembly.

What exactly will I be doing as vice president?

The vice president's primary responsibility is to assist the president and to stand in for him when he is not available.

The president will be part of the entourage for the Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the U.S. next April, and I expect I will be present for part of the visit. The president and vice president represent the Conference several times a year in visits to Rome to meet with pertinent congregations in the Vatican to represent the concerns and questions of the Conference. On occasion, they also meet with the Holy Father.

The officers of the Conference also meet annually with the officers of the Bishops' Conferences of Canada and Latin America.

One of the changes that I will experience as vice president is that I will no longer be able to sit with my bishop friends on the right side of the assembly hall where we are accustomed to saving seats for each other at our meetings. Instead, I will be sitting on the dais with Cardinal George.

When I arrived at the Pastoral Center on Friday morning after returning from Baltimore, the staff greeted me with an old-fashioned campaign rally (even though I didn't campaign), complete with placards bearing my photo and slogans such as, "All the Way with GFK" and "Kicanas Is Kool." Sister Charlotte Anne Swift, my executive assistant, says she has never seen me more surprised. I really was surprised!

I am grateful to all of you for your expressions of congratulations, support, good-humored sympathy and, most of all, prayers.

1. Beatification Celebration -- The faith of our people inspires me. That was my feeling Friday evening when a stalwart group of young and old gathered at Holy Family Parish in Tucson to participate in the blessing of three icons of Father Lucas and Father Eduardo, the Discalced Carmelite priest martyrs who served in our Diocese and who were recently beatified by Pope Benedict XVI.

Father Lucas was the founding pastor of Holy Family Parish in Tucson. He also served at Holy Cross Parish in Morenci, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Florence and at Santa Cruz Parish in Tucson. Father Eduardo served at Holy Family Parish and at Santa Cruz Parish. Father Lucas returned to Spain in 1924, Father Eduardo in 1930. Father Lucas and Father Eduardo were among the 498 Spanish Civil War Martyrs beatified on Oct. 28 in Rome.
 
From Holy Family Parish, we began the nearly three-mile trek to Santa Cruz Parish, one of the two parishes pastored by the Discalced Carmelites in our Diocese (the other is St. Margaret Mary).  

Along the way people recited the rosary, led by Father Alonzo Garcia, administrator of Holy Family, and Father Fernando Pinto, O.C.D., pastor of Santa Cruz. Father Phillip Sullivan, O.C.D, carried one of the three icons that led the procession. The others were carried by members of the Knights of Columbus.
 
When in sight of Santa Cruz, Father Alonzo led the group in the Litany of Saints, rejoicing in now having Blessed Lucas and Blessed Eduardo, who walked among us.
 
At Santa Cruz, an even bigger crowd gathered for the celebration of the Mass. Some of those present had been in Rome for the Beatification ceremony. That experience came back to them vividly as they looked upon the icons that were placed in front of the altar.
 
After Mass, the group gathered in the parish hall where they looked at photos of the beatification ceremony and enjoyed refreshments that were well deserved by those who walked in procession.
 
Pope John Paul II loved to canonize saints because he felt they could be an inspiration and an encouragement for us that sainthood is not out of grasp for any person. As we reflected on the 498 martyrs who were beatified on Oct. 28, we realized that they were bishops, priests, religious and laity and that living faithfully as disciples of Christ is not beyond our reach.

2. Memorial Mass for Bishop Moreno -- We gathered at St. Augustine Cathedral on Saturday to celebrate the noon Mass in memory of Bishop Manuel Moreno, our gentle and loving shepherd, on the one-year anniversary of his death.

As we look back at the 21 years he served our Diocese, we remember the many blessings he brought to us, especially his persistent advocacy on behalf of migrants, the depth of his faith and his great love of our Diocese. The outpouring of affection shown at his Funeral Mass showed how loved this man was.

We remember as well the painful times, especially the realization that indeed some priests had abused children. His heartfelt apologies both in public and in private meetings with victims reflected the sincerity and humility of his ministry. We extend to Bishop Moreno's family our gratitude for his service among us and for the support they always gave him, especially during the time of his final suffering just one year ago.

3. Black Catholic Ministry Mass -- We are part of a global Church made up of members who speak every language and who have their roots in every culture. I saw that again recently when thousands of people from different countries, speaking different languages gathered in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican during a downpour of rain to participate in an audience with Pope Benedict XVI. He addressed the crowd in different languages and people cheered, sang and chanted in response.
 
Last Saturday, the universality of the Church "came home" to me as we celebrated the gift of Black Catholics in our community as we observed November as National Black Catholic History Month.

Vincentian Father Jeff Harvey from Phoenix spoke eloquently about the gifts Black Catholics bring to our Church. The music, the deep faith, the spirit and enthusiasm energizes you. Shouts of "Amen!" and "Right on!" made to the preacher are not often heard in our churches, but those spontaneous reactions show the commitment and involvement of those celebrating.
 
We thank God for the diversity that is such a blessing in our Diocese.

4. Catholic Foundation Board of Directors Meeting -- The Board of Directors of the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson will meets tomorrow here at the Pastoral Center. 

We will welcome the two newest members of the board, Susan Ott from St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Tucson and Dr. Peter Likins from St. Joseph Parish in Tucson.

The responsibility of the board is to manage and oversee the work of the Foundation, including overseeing the investment of endowment funds. The Foundation manages more than 60 endowed funds for parishes, schools and other Catholic.

5. "Jesus and Java" Gathering for Young Adults -- Among the ideas that have emerged from my listening sessions with young Catholic adults has been to create opportunities for informal gatherings at which they could share faith experiences and talk about the challenging issues that our world faces and how those issues relate to our faith.

Our diocesan Ministry to Young Catholic Adults has planned a series of those informal gatherings under the title of "Jesus and Java," the first of which I look forward to attending tomorrow evening at Beyond Bread, 3026 N. Campbell Ave., in Tucson.

6. Vocations -- I will be meeting with the Associate Vocation Directors and Father Miguel Mariano, our Vocation Director, this Wednesday here at the Pastoral Center.

Each of our nine vicariates has an Associate Vocation Director whose responsibility it is to assist Father Miguel in the promotion of programs at the vicariate level and to do initial interviews and assessment of those who are responding to the call of a vocation to the priesthood.

At our meeting, we will be focusing on developing a strategy to implement a concerted program of vocation promotions in the vicariates.

7
. St. Augustine Cathedral Painting Update
-- The scraping, patching and cleaning preparatory to the painting of the Cathedral began last week, with work crews concentrating on the south and west sides.

We expect that workers soon will be bringing in an even larger articulated lift to give them access to the towers and domes and the higher reaches of the walls.

8. 12th Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service -- The Inter-religious Council of Southern Arizona and the Tucson Multi-Faith Alliance are sponsoring the Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning at Streams in the Desert Lutheran Church, 5360 E. Pima (one block west of Craycroft Road), in Tucson. The faith groups represented will be Zoroastrian, Hindu, Judaism, Islam, Sikh, Baha'i and Christian. All are welcome to attend and are invited to contribute money or stable goods for the benefit of the Community Food Bank. 

9. Thanksgiving -- In this month's column for The New Vision, I wrote about appreciating everyday, with expressions of our gratitude, the people that we meet and the experiences we have.

Perhaps on this Thanksgiving we might take a moment with each of our family members to individually express what they mean in our lives. I hope to do just that this Thursday when I celebrate the holiday with my mom and family in Chicago.

10. A Musical Mediation for Thanksgiving -- From Catholic News Service, this story about a Thanksgiving musical meditation:
Those who want a little musical meditation with their Thanksgiving celebration can get a free download of Harry Manx's performance of "Only Then Will Your House Be Blessed," courtesy of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity.

The download is available online at: www.fscc-calledtobe.org/living.asp.

Singer-songwriter Manx said "Only Then Will Your House Be Blessed" is a song that "speaks about taking personal responsibility for the world you live in. If you have your 'house' together, then that's all that needs to be done. Then and only then can you offer anything to another."

Sister Marsaia Kaster of the Franciscan Sisters' Holy Family Convent in Manitowoc said the song provides a reminder that "if we want to grow, be happy, be healthy, care about others, if we want our 'house to be blessed' we must choose to 'let it go.' Let go of everything in us that's closed and uncaring."

The Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity have been featured in Time magazine's profile of Catholic religious orders innovatively utilizing the Internet. Each month the sisters' Web site offers specially selected songs and images for spiritual reflection, especially by young women discerning their call in life.

"Real conversations can begin by using the language of images and music," said Sister Julie Ann Sheahan, the sisters' vocations director.

Established in 1869, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity serve in Catholic health care, education and parish ministries in 13 U.S. dioceses (including, of course, the Diocese of Tucson).

11. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- Please pray for Father Mike Stallings, who underwent surgery last week; for Father Charlie Knapp, who was recently hospitalized but who is now home; and for Olga Martinez, mother of Alicia Corti of our Human Resources Department.

12. Aid for Cyclone Victims -- Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Bangladesh and its partner Caritas are rushing immediate survival supplies to thousands of families forced from their homes last Thursday by Cyclone Sidr. More than 3,000 persons have died and thousands of Bangladeshis are displaced and have lost their homes, crops and livelihoods. In addition to shelter, water, food and hygienic supplies, affected families will need blankets and other protection from the cold weather. Donations to assist CRS' relief efforts in Bangladesh may be made on-line at www.crs.org.

Vol. 5, No. 31
Nov. 26, 2007


Advent approaches: a season of light, expectation and hope.
 
There remains much darkness in our world. Instances of abortion, human trafficking and violence abound. These serious societal issues can only be remedied when we come to value and respect human life. Christ was born among us, one like us in all things but sin. We share His dignity as children of God. As we await the birth of God who became man, Advent calls us to recommit ourselves to uphold the value of life from conception to natural death.
 
Christ's coming makes us vividly aware that God so loves us that He would send His only begotten Son. These days of Advent call us to give thanks to God for the great gift of the Incarnation.
 
We live in hope because we believe our God will never abandon us, no matter how dire life might become. God stands among us, supporting and strengthening us.
 
During these brief weeks of Advent, marvel at how much you are loved by God and at how committed God is to us despite our failings.

1. Pray for Peace -- Let us pray for the success of tomorrow's international peace gathering in Annapolis, Maryland. While there are many issues that divide the Israelis and Palestinians, this conference is an opportunity to resolve some of those differences and to find a pathway to peace. The resolution of this conflict is critical to bringing peace throughout the region.

In a letter sent last week, Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, urged bishops in dioceses across the country to encourage Catholics to pray for peace.

"This call to prayer has a special timeliness, but the path to a just peace will be long and will stretch beyond the peace conference itself. In the weeks and months ahead may we persevere in prayer for a just peace for Israelis, Palestinians and the whole region,” Cardinal George wrote.
 
2. Presbyteral Council Meeting -- The Presbyteral Council meets this morning here at the Pastoral Center. Our agenda includes a discussion of chaplaincy ministry at Catholic hospitals, a report on the Bi-National Border Initiative with the Jesuits and a presentation by David Miller, diocesan Real Estate Specialist, on the diocesan long-range planning process.

3. Diocesan Finance Council Meeting -- The Finance Council meets tomorrow morning here at the Pastoral Center. Our agenda includes a review of the audits of the Diocese of Tucson Administrative Offices and the pension plan. We anticipate publishing the audit of the Administrative Offices in February as part of our annual diocesan financial report.

4. Parish Pooled Investment Trust -- Because openness and transparency about financial matters remain priorities for our Diocese, I am pleased to announce that the Parish Pooled Investment Trust (PPIT) is now on the Internet (www.diocesetucson.org/PPIThome.html) and is providing its annual report and audited financial statements.

Jointly owned by all participating parishes in the Diocese, the PPIT offers its members access to sophisticated investment solutions, lower fees, professional portfolio managers and investment monitoring by the PPIT Trustees.

5. Arizona Catholic Conference -- The Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference (Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix, Bishop Donald Pelotte, S.S.S., of the Diocese of Gallup and myself) will meet this Thursday in Phoenix. The Conference is the public policy agency for the three Roman Catholic dioceses in Arizona.

Our agenda includes discussion of a possible pastoral document on conscience, the possible development of materials relating to end-of -life issues and previews of the upcoming legislative session and the 2008 elections.

6. Diocese of Fort Worth Ministry Leaders Conference -- I am honored to have been invited to make two presentations this Friday to ministry leaders in the Diocese of Forth Worth on "Co-workers in the Vineyard,” the foundational document on lay ecclesial ministry. 

I have been very encouraged by the interest within dioceses to learn more about how priests, religious, deacons and laity can work more collaboratively to strengthen the mission of Christ.

At the presentations I have given, I have been impressed by the quality and dedication of people serving in ministry. That has been my experience in our Diocese and in those that I have visited. The Church is blessed by those serving generously in our parishes and Catholic institutions.

7. UA Hispanic Alumni Association Scholarship Dinner -- I look forward to attending the 23rd Annual University of Arizona Hispanic Alumni (UAHA) Scholarship Dinner this Friday evening at the Hotel Arizona.

UAHA was founded in 1982 to promote academic excellence among Hispanic students at the University, to provide financial and mentoring support to qualified and deserving students and to develop links with alumni and supporters in the professional and business community. Since 1986, UAHA has awarded 1,368 scholarships worth $3,084,944.

8. Youth Fest '07 -- Today is the last day for registration for Youth Fest, which will take place this Saturday at the Tucson Convention Center. Registration forms are available at http://www.diocesetucson.org/youthfest07.html.

I am hoping that a record-breaking crowd of teens will gather for the day. The schedule includes Mass in the morning, the keynote presentation by Father Tony Ricard of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, workshops, lunch, t-shirts and a closing rally.

I am signed up to give two workshops, and I am challenged to make this year's workshops as exciting as last year's when we took a "faith run” around the Convention Center.
 
This year's Youth Fest has this question as its theme: "What 'Cha Lookin' For?” The teens will be exploring that question in the context of Advent and "a new search for Jesus: past, present and future.”

There's more encouragement for our parishes to register their teens for the day in this e-mail that Mike Berger of our Office of Catechesis received from Debbie Adams, Junior High Youth Minister at St. Rita in the Desert Parish in Vail:

I just returned from the National Catholic Youth Conference in Columbus, Ohio, with seven of our high school youth at St. Rita's in Vail. One of our three inspirational keynote speakers was Father Tony Ricard. I would like to say "He Is Amazing!” The bio on the flyer doesn't prepare you for his dynamic presence. There were 20,000 youth at the conference, and he had them all mesmerized. I encourage you all to bring as many kids to this year's Youth Fest as you can. It will be a day they will never forget.

9. Ordination to the Diaconate -- It will be my joy this Saturday to ordain Brother Salvador Roman, O.C.D., to the diaconate in service to the Discalced Carmelites. The ordination will be during the 5:30 p.m. Mass at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Tucson.
10. Fiesta de Tumacacori -- I will lead the traditional procession and celebrate Mass at 10 a.m. this Sunday at Tumacacori National Historical Park to begin this year's Fiesta de Tumacacori.
The Fiesta is held each year on the first full weekend in December to recognize and celebrate the many cultures of the past and present in the Santa Cruz Valley. The mission grounds are open throughout the weekend, and admission is free. 

11. Gathering with Religious Brothers -- We are blessed in our Diocese to have many women and men religious from a variety of religious communities serving among us and generously sharing their gifts.

I have asked Sister Rina Cappellazzo, O.P., Vicar for Religious, to schedule some informal meetings with our religious so that I can get to know them better and hear some of their thoughts on our Diocese and how we might better serve our people.

The first of these gatherings, with brothers, will be this Sunday evening at the Bishop's Residence.

12. A Distinguished Visitor -- We were very pleased to welcome Msgr. Diego Monroy, Rector of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, to the Pastoral Center on Friday, Nov. 16.

Msgr. Monroy gave a mini-conference to several priests and talked about the pictographic message of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Meeting with deacons, lay leaders of diocesan movements and members of the Diocesan Hispanic Pastoral Commission, he shared Pope John Paul II´s words at the canonization of Juan Diego: "The miracle of Guadalupe is the classic example of a perfectly inculturated evangelization.”

In my meeting with Msgr. Monroy, he presented the Diocese with a very special book, "The Conception of Mary Immaculate: The Celebration of this Dogma in Mexico.” During our discussion, he encouraged me to lead a diocesan pilgrimage to the Basilica.

13. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- Please pray for the repose of the soul of Ignacio J. Barraza, Mayor of Nogales, who died last week.

14. December's New Vision -- Chock full of news as usual, December's issue of The New Vision will be available at all parishes this coming weekend. This issue includes a special focus on Catholic Scouting. You'll find a story and photos about the 300 Scouts, leaders and parents who made the Anza Trek to Tumacacori and a special commentary by Jeff Hill, chairman of the Diocese's Catholic Committee on Scouting, about the need for more participation in Catholic Scouting.

15. Pastoral Center Staff Service Day -- We at the Pastoral Center have an annual service day, usually a clean-up project for the benefit of a parish. The last two years, our service day has been focused on the parking lot and grounds of St. Augustine Cathedral. 

Last Wednesday, we didn't have to go far for this year's service day -- just to our front and back yards.

Everyone did a great job, and the grounds of the Pastoral Center look terrific!