Oct. 1, 2007 Oct. 8, 2007 Oct. 15, 2007 Oct. 29, 2007

Vol. 5, No. 24
Oct. 1, 2007


October is observed as Respect Life Month by the Catholic Church in the U.S., and this coming Sunday is observed as Respect Life Sunday. The materials from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that were sent to all of our parishes contain a wealth of information that our parishes and schools can use in helping to educate our Catholic people about the Church's teaching on the sanctity of life.

In this Third Millennium, life too often is seen as disposable, of little value and worth. Yet to us as people of faith, life is good, precious, from the hand of God, to be treated with dignity and respect. The Church's teaching on life is critical today, a time when we see human fetuses thrown in garbage cans, bodies strewn on the streets of Iraq, hostages beheaded while people watch on the Internet, the massacre in Darfur. We do not seem to learn.

Let us use this month to raise consciousness in our society to the full range of life issues, from conception to natural death.

In a statement marking Respect Life Sunday, Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, calls upon Catholics and all people of good will to "witness to the truth about the incomparable dignity and right to life of every human being." I encourage you to read Cardinal Rigali's statement at www.usccb.org/prolife/programs/rlp/rlp07rigali-stmt.shtml.

I am grateful to Father Dom Pinti, pastor of St. George Parish in Apache Junction, who serves as my liaison for life issues. He is working with Joanne Welter in our Social Mission Office to assist our parishes and schools in developing strategies and initiatives that will effectively communicate the Church's teaching on life. Father Dom will be sending information from time to time to our parishes on how we can come together on behalf of life.

Related to respect for life:

Tucson has been chosen as one of the cities to preview "Bella," a new movie being praised for its powerful witness about what it means to be pro-life. The film will screened this week for priests and leaders of Catholic activities and movements in our Diocese, especially those concerned with life issues. This screening will invite feedback from those attending in anticipation of the film's release. I was pleased our Diocese is one of several to have been selected for a special screening. I thank Msgr. Tom Cahalane, Joanne and Father Dom for helping to organize this screening.

The campaign Forty Days for Life, a nationwide effort to end abortion, has begun in Tucson. Arizona Right to Life is organizing the effort. As you know, I wrote to our parishes some time ago inviting parishioner participation. In this Respect Life Month we continue to pray and advocate on behalf of the most vulnerable -- the unborn.

Father John Dear, S.J., spoke last week at St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish in Tucson to a group of people considering the establishment of a Pax Christi group here. The title of Father Dear's talk was "Peacemaking in a World of War: The Challenge of Non-Violence." The presentation was well attended.

This Third Millennium, which we hoped would be a time of prosperity and peace unheard of in the history of humankind, has been marked thus far with war and violence. While the Catholic Church has a tradition of just war based on principles that seek every alternative before resorting to war, there is also in our tradition the stance of pacifism that rules out war of any kind. Pax Christi is an international group that seeks to foster peace in all circumstances.

We continue to pray that the wars, still so prevalent in our world, can be peacefully resolved and that we can learn to live respecting one another.

1. October, Month of the Rosary -- Respect Life Sunday this year coincides with the traditional observance of Oct. 7 as the liturgical Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Pope St. Pius V introduced that feast day to commemorate the miraculous victory of the Christian forces in the Battle of Lepanto on Oct. 7, 1571. The tradition of the observance of October as Month of the Rosary dates to the pontificate of Pope Leo XIII, who promoted the praying of the Rosary.

The Mary Page of the University of Dayton at http://campus.udayton.edu/mary has some excellent resources on the Month of the Rosary.

During this Month of the Rosary, our Diocese will observe the 90th anniversary of the Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima on Saturday, Oct. 13. At 10:30 a.m. in St. Augustine Cathedral, families from five parishes in the Diocese will lead the recitation of the Rosary.
Rosary groups are invited to place banners on stands at the altar. The recitation will be followed by a concelebrated Mass at which I will preside. After the Mass, a student from Immaculate Heart School in Tucson will crown the statue of Mary. Then, I will lead a Eucharistic Procession to nearby Armory Park where will we celebrate Benediction.

2. Domestic Violence Awareness Month -- This is the 20th anniversary of the national observance of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Domestic violence is an important pastoral concern for our Church. All who minister in our parishes and schools need to be able to respond compassionately when they encounter a victim of domestic violence and be able to direct a victim to sources of assistance and safety.

Please become familiar with the resources about domestic violence provided by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The resources include suggestions for priests and deacons for preaching about family violence, sample homilies on domestic violence, addressing domestic violence in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and guidance on how to respond with sensitivity and encouragement when a woman reveals that she is a victim of domestic violence. The resources are available at www.usccb.org/laity/women/violence.shtml.



Also, on our diocesan Web site at www.diocesetucson.org/domesticviolence.html, there is a comprehensive list, county by county within our Diocese, of the services that are available for responding to domestic violence: crisis counseling; shelters and safe houses; legal resources and advocacy services; orders of protection; and injunctions against harassment.

Responding to domestic violence is an important ministry of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona. CCS has been providing domestic violence programs in the counties of our Diocese for 30 years. 



Last year, CCS agencies served 798 women and children in domestic violence shelter facilities, and 595 crisis calls were received on the agencies' domestic violence help-lines.

CCS agencies presently operate four domestic violence shelter facilities: 40 beds in Yuma; 40 beds in Sierra Vista; 24 beds in Douglas; and 15 beds at the most recently opened shelter in Nogales. With that total of 119 beds, CCS agencies are the second largest provider of assistance to victims of domestic violence in Arizona. CCS agencies also are part of the Arizona Tri-County Battered Immigrant Women and Children's Taskforce Project in Cochise, Pima and Santa Cruz Counties. CCS in Western Arizona participates on the Battered Immigrant Women's Task Force in the Yuma area.

I ask that we might pray the Rosary this month for victims of domestic violence and for the encouragement of all who minister to victims.

3. Meeting of U.S. and Canadian Bishops Conferences -- I am in Minneapolis today and tomorrow for the annual meeting of the Executive Committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. I am on the USCCB Executive Committee in my capacity as secretary of the Conference. This annual meeting allows us to get to know each other better and to reflect on common concerns. There will be a meeting later this year with the bishops of the Latin American Conference of Catholic Bishops.

4. CARA Annual Mass, Dinner and Awards Ceremony -- The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) will hold its annual Mass, dinner and awards ceremony this week at Georgetown University in Washington. I serve as chairman of the CARA board of directors.

This year, CARA will honor Dr. Jim Davidson with the Father Louis J. Luzbetak Award for Exemplary Research. The award, named in honor of CARA's first executive director, is given annually to a researcher who has made a significant lifetime contribution to research on the Catholic Church. Also, Msgr. Francis Maniscalco will receive the Cardinal Cushing Medal for the Advancement of Church Research. The medal is named in honor of Richard Cardinal Cushing, one of the founders of CARA, and is awarded annually to a person or organization for advancing Church research through their understanding of its uses and their active support of it.

CARA is the national research center that conducts social scientific studies about the Catholic Church. Founded in 1964 and affiliated with Georgetown University, CARA mission focuses on increasing the Church's self understanding; serving the applied research needs of Church decision-makers and advancing scholarly research on religion, particularly Catholicism,

5. Feast of St. Francis of Assisi -- St. Francis of Assisi Parishes in Superior and Yuma and St. Francis of Assisi Mission in Elfrida will celebrate the feast of their patron this Wednesday.

Also on the feast, the Tohono O'odham People will observe one of the oldest spiritual and cultural traditions in our region with pilgrimages to Magdelena, Sonora, and, this year, to Pisinemo on the Reservation west of Tucson.

Father Max Hottle, Father Tom Frost and Father Ignatius DeGroot, the Franciscan Friars who serve the many villages of San Solano Missions, will welcome Bishop Francis Quinn as the celebrant of the Feast Day Mass at San Jose Mission in Pisinemo. I am grateful to Bishop Quinn for representing me, and I am very happy that he will have this chance to say farewell to the people he has ministered to these last 13 years.

The Tohono O'odham People's observance of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi is unique, incorporating much from their culture and their spirituality. They deeply revere both St. Francis of Assisi and St. Francis Xavier, and they continue the spirituality of the mystical merging of the persons of those saints that their ancestors began years ago.

6. Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem Western USA Lieutenancy -- The members of the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre in our Diocese are honored that the annual meeting of the Western Lieutenancy is being held this week in Tucson.

I thank Jim and Chris Ronstadt, who serve as Area Councillors in our Diocese for the Order, for their work in preparing a schedule of events that includes a variety of spiritual and fraternal events for the Knights and Ladies who will attend this meeting. I thank Father Todd O'Leary and St. Thomas the Apostle Parish for hosting the liturgies for the meeting.

The schedule includes: retreats for those coming into the Order and for those who have earned promotion in rank; the solemn ceremony of investiture and recognition; education sessions on the spiritual and charitable missions of the Order and the daily life of Christian Arabs in the Holy Land; and trips to San Xavier Mission and Kartchner Caverns. I will host bishops of the Western Lieutenancy, including our Grand Prior, Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles, at my home for dinner on Saturday.

The Equestrian Order traces its origin to 1099 during the First Crusades. An ecclesiastical order within the Church, the Order has spiritual and charitable purposes that include the commitment to sustain and aid the charitable, cultural and social works of the Catholic Church, especially the Latin Partriarchate of Jerusalem.

It will be my honor to lead a pilgrimage of the Western USA Lieutenancy to the Holy Land later this month.

More information about the Order and the Western USA Lieutenancy is available at www.khswesternusa.org.

7. 30th Anniversary of Vietnamese Catholic Community -- The Vietnamese Catholic Community will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its founding this Sunday at Our Lady of La Vang Parish in Tucson. I am very happy to participate in this special celebration, which will begin with a procession of the statue of Our Lady of La Vang before the 9 a.m. Mass. After Mass, we will enjoy delicious food and entertainment.

Vietnamese Catholics were among the first of the refugees from their war-torn nation to arrive in our Diocese as part of the refugee resettlement program initiated by Bishop Francis Green and CCS. To ensure the continuance of their culture, customs and spirituality, they soon formed their Community of faith.

We are very happy to welcome Father Peter Nguyen, C.Ss.R., who has returned to our Diocese to serve as pastor of Our Lady of La Vang Parish. I thank Father Vincent Nguyen for his service as pastor. Father Vincent is applying to serve the Diocese of Austin.

8. Fact-finding Tour to Yuma County and Sonora -- A delegation from the Diocese of Tucson, including Fathers Roger Bartlett, John Friel and Raul Valencia and Joanne Welter, director of our diocesan Catholic Social Mission, Erica Dahl-Bredine, director of the Catholic Relief Services Mexico Project, and myself went to San Luis, Rio Colorado, in Mexico last Thursday.

Joining us there were Bishop Jose Guerrero Macias of the Diocese of Mexicali and his team from the Diocese of Mexicali that included Fathers Victor Manuel de Santos Arreola and Jose David Morales. Together, we visited the farms around San Luis and had an opportunity to talk with farm workers and some employers. Our tour was organized by Centro Independiente Trabajadores Agricolas (CITA), an organization funded by Catholic Relief Services to help Mexican workers to obtain H2A visas that allow them to work legally on farms in the U.S. CITA is trying to link employers with farm workers by providing legal entry for the purpose of employment.

Taking a road to the fields in a van, we saw a group of 12 farm workers who waved at us. We stopped to talk to them. Most were young, some just 15 and 16. They were putting irrigation pipes down to get water to the seeds recently planted -- hard work. Despite the heat, most were wearing sweatshirts to ward off the harsh rays of the sun. Although they seemed hesitant to talk with us, they told us they get $13 dollars a day and receive no health care or other benefits.

The fields stretched for miles: cotton, asparagus, corn, wheat and green onions. We stopped at one of the onion farms and walked amid the multitude of men and women, adults and young people, working side by side to bring in the harvest and bundle the onions with rubber bands into the packets that you see on the grocery stores in the U.S.

The onion pickers earn 25 cents for a dozen bundles of onions. They arrive in the fields at 2 a.m. and work until 4 p.m. I talked for some time to an older man, Delores Hernandez Ledesma, who has been working the fields since he was a young boy. He has eight children, four girls and four boys. All of them work in the fields, some for other growers. Asked why he keeps working at his age, his response was blunt and immediate: "So we can eat."

It breaks your heart to see the primitive housing in which the farm worker families live. Many homes are made of cardboard with no indoor plumbing. They are built along the road and the irrigation canals where they can wash themselves and clean their clothes.

During our visit, I talked with Bishop Guerrero Macias about a wide range of issues. Their catechists prepare for five years to become teachers. There are many lay persons involved in various parish ministries. They have many vocations, with 45 students in the minor seminary and about as many in the major seminary. They ordain about nine priests a year.

Bishop Guerrero Macias and the community of the Diocese of Mexicali were so welcoming and gracious. While borders exist between nations, in the family of God there are no boundaries or borders. You could sense the familial spirit between our two dioceses.

On Friday, representatives of the Diocese of Mexicali and of our Diocese met again. This time we gathered at the Capilla of Nuestra Senora de Gaudalupe, a beautiful chapel and hall, not far from Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma. There, Bishop Guerrero and I, along with our Diocesan team, including Fathers John Friel, Tomas Munoz, Chris Orndorff, Javier Perez and Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe, listened to the farm workers and the growers who hire them to work in the fields in the U.S. talk about their concerns.
 
The farm workers talked about the difficult circumstances in which they have to work. One described how undervalued they feel. While everyone shops at grocery stores, few understand the hard work it takes to get those vegetables to the store counters.
 
They spoke of the long days, 10 to 12 hours regularly. They shared what it is like to be out in the field when the wind and rains come. You have to get the tarp over the crops. You get drenched and sit waiting for the rain to stop. Owners do not pay you for time lost due to what they say is an act of God, so you go home with less money to care for your family than you expected to make. The combination of working next to hot machines and then getting wet and cold causes chills and sickness.
 
They spoke of pesticides. One man mentioned that he regularly gets check ups to make sure he is not getting sick. While you are taught about the dangers of the pesticides, the pressure to produce leads many to ignore the precautions.
 
They spoke of the pressure on their families, being away from home. Sometimes the teenagers drop out of school trying to help their families. They, too, begin a lifetime of working in the fields.
 
Employers spoke of the added pressure they feel in the anti-immigrant climate in the U.S. They are trying to make use of the H2A visa, which allows Mexican farm workers to come legally into the country to help bring in the harvest and then return home. Today, most farms have less than one-third of their needed workers. There is great fear that crops will simply decay.
 
The U.S. growers expressed concerns about some of the Federal Government regulations around H2A visas. They are required to provide housing for the workers. But the workers prefer to go back home across the border each day. The growers wish they could use that money for required housing to help enhance the workers wages. The owners mentioned that only about two per cent of the workers want to remain in the U.S. They want to go home to Mexico. Even those workers who come from the interior of Mexico prefer to live in San Luis, Rio Colorado, because they cannot get their families into this country and they want to be with them.
 
The workers expressed concern about getting sick or injured when there is no health care benefit. They said there was no overtime pay, even if they work ten or twelve hours a day.
 
You can learn a lot by listening. We understood much better the lot of farm workers, their challenges and hopes. We also came to a better understanding of the obstacles the growers face.
 
At the end of our two days, several action plans were decided upon. First, Bishop Guerrero Macias and I will write a pastoral letter in English and Spanish sharing our experience. We will reflect on the plight of farm workers and the concerns of growers.
 
Second, we plan to educate people about the needs of farm workers and agriculture employers. We will advocate on behalf of CITA, funded by Catholic Relief Services, and assist them in their efforts to legally unite farm workers and employers in the U.S.
 
Finally we agreed to meet again next year, first to celebrate Mass in the fields of San Luis, Rio Colorado, and then to visit the homes of farm workers to better understand the pressures on their families.
 
These were very informative and, at the same time, disturbing days. I am grateful to all those who planned the experience and for the presence of some of our priests and laity concerned about farm workers. Bishops, priests and people learning together is something we need to do more often.

9. Direction and Tone of the National Debate on Immigration
-- Bishop Gerald Barnes, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, has expressed very strong concern about the direction and tone of the national debate on immigration.
 
"The immigration reform debate, while provoking informed analysis and thoughtful discussion, also has generated harsh rhetoric against migrants in this country, particularly those without legal status," said Bishop Barnes in a statement last week.
 
"Fanned by talk radio and anti-immigrant organizations, this rhetoric has inflamed fears and misunderstanding among some portions of the American public, leading to a polarized and vitriolic atmosphere."
 
Bishop Barnes also said that the increase in enforcement initiatives at the federal and local levels will not solve the issue of illegal immigration but will drive immigrants further into the shadows and create fear in immigrant communities.

"We reaffirm our view that enforcement-only measures at any jurisdictional level will further drive undocumented migrant workers into a hidden underclass and create more fear and suspicion in immigrant communities," Bishop Barnes said.

"The U.S. bishops acknowledge the right of our country to secure our borders and enforce immigration law.  Such enforcement, however, must respect human rights and dignity and minimize the separation of families."

Bishop Barnes urged Congress to return to the consideration of comprehensive immigration reform as soon as possible. "We call upon Catholics and all Americans to work together constructively to ensure a positive outcome to this vital national debate."

10. Reflecting Our Values
-- Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma, and Principal Judith Badgley of Yuma Catholic High School have shared with me a letter from Clark Stephens, Administrator of Valley Christian High School, that expressed thanks for the way the Valley Christian football team was received by Yuma Catholic at a recent game.

A young man on Valley Christian's team had died the day before the game. The team came to Yuma with heavy hearts and feeling much grief. Before the game began, the Yuma Catholic team invited the Valley Christian team to come to center field, where they all knelt and prayed.

Administrator Stephens wrote that the community of Yuma Catholic received the team with kindness and hospitality that moved them all. "It is clear to us that our YCHS friends understand how to balance fierce competition with gracious sportsmanship and I want to publicly applaud them," he wrote.

The response of the Yuma Catholic High School reflects the values at the heart of our Catholic Schools.

11. Read All about It! -- Our diocesan newspaper, The New Vision, contains many interesting articles this month, including: a story and photographs relating the joyful "Celebration of Marriage Mass" at St. Augustine Cathedral; a story about Bishop Quinn's decision to leave his mission work in the Diocese and return to his native California; my column on the importance of renewing our parishes; and an update on how well our parish corporations are functioning. I urge our pastors to promote readership of The New Vision. It makes a difference when the pastor or presiding priest holds up a copy of The New Vision at the end of Mass and entreats parishioners to take a copy home. I encourage our pastors to make sure that a copy of the newspaper is inserted into the parish bulletin.

12. Special iDiocese Feature -- Our diocesan Website for multimedia, www.idiocese.org, has a special feature on the "Celebration of Marriage Mass." You can hear my commentary about the celebration and the welcome and homily that I gave at the Mass.

13. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- Please pray for Phillip Ancharski, father of Father John Ancharski, who recently suffered a stroke and is being cared for at the Hospice at Tucson Medical Center.

Vol. 5, No. 25
Oct. 8, 2007

Since the inception of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People five years ago, our Diocese has been audited three times for compliance with the Charter. Two of those audits were conducted on-site. All three audits, conducted by the Gavin Group, the independent organization with which the USCCB has contracted to conduct the audits, found that the Diocese was in compliance with the Charter.

This week, we welcome Bill Duff and George Andrew of the Gavin Group for the on-site audit of the 2006-2007 year.

All audits require a great deal of time and effort from everyone involved. However, the process of reviewing, evaluating and revising is a necessary and valuable aspect of any ongoing program. Engaging in the audit process allows us all to improve our diocesan Safe Environment Program. Even as we appreciated the affirmation of the last three audits, in each we learned more about how to make our programs more effective and easier to use.

The timely submission and completeness of the reports from the parishes and schools this year have been the best yet. I am encouraged as I see our parishes and schools integrating the Safe Environment Program as part of their ordinary way of carrying out their mission. This has been our goal: to foster a deep rooted change in culture that makes it possible to carry out the mission with which we have been entrusted in a manner that is safe both for those we serve and for those who generously offer that service.

Thank you for everything that you do to create safe and loving environments in our parishes and schools. I promise to you that our Bishop Moreno Pastoral Center staff will continue to listen to your feedback and do all we can to provide resources and guidance for your efforts.

1. Southern Arizona Children's Advocacy Center -- Last Thursday was a momentous day for the Southern Arizona Children's Advocacy Center. At a festive gathering next door to the Juvenile Court on East Ajo Way in Tucson, leaders of law enforcement, Child Protective Services and local governments met to break ground for the building that will house the Advocacy Center by late 2008.

The work of the Center is critical for the well being of children who have been abused. In a process designed to minimize the trauma to the child and family, the Center supports the equitable investigation of allegations of abuse and the prosecution of those who have harmed children.

I congratulate all those leaders of law enforcement and government whose wisdom and courage has brought the Center to this point and who continue to work to stabilize the funding of the Center to insure its viability into the future.

Our Diocese is grateful for the partnership that we have had with the Center in our efforts to keep children safe from abuse. Dr. Paul Duckro, director of our Office of Child Adolescent and Adult Protection, has facilitated that partnership, representing the Diocese as a member of the Board since 2003 and serving a two-year term as its president.

1. Our Lady of La Vang Parish 30th Anniversary -- Fireworks, dragons, lots of fabulous food and flowers galore marked the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the founding, by the Vietnamese Catholic Community, of Our Lady of La Vang Parish in Tucson. The parish, staffed by the Redemptorist Fathers, originated at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson. Mass was held in the Chapel at Regina Cleri Center until the Community was able to purchase the buildings and property for their church on Tucson Boulevard.
 
Father Peter Nguyen, C.Ss.R., pastor, invited the congregation, including a number of people from the Pastoral Center and representatives from Carondelet Health Network and the Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries, to join in a procession with a statue of Our Lady of La Vang through the neighborhood as the entrance procession for Mass.
 
I celebrated the anniversary Mass with Father Peter, Father Dominic, a Redemptorist who serves on the Provincial team, and Deacon Francis, who will be ordained in January.
 
The choir sang a number of beautiful Vietnamese hymns, and some of the young people, dressed in traditional attire, brought in the offertory gifts.
 
I conveyed to all the greetings of Cardinal Pham Minh Man, Archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, whom I had met this summer and who was very interested in our Vietnamese parish. I shared with the community the delight I felt in celebrating Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City and at seeing the Cathedral packed with worshippers. The faith of Vietnam's Catholics is strong and has been proven under bitter persecution.
 
Yesterday's celebration was a joyous occasion especially for many of the founding families who have seen their community of faith grow these past 30 years. The founding pastor was Pere Lucien Olivier, a Redemptorist, who had been a missionary to Vietnam from Canada. Father Matthiah Thi Thanh Nguyen, the first Vietnamese Redemptorist to serve in our Diocese, was the community's second pastor. Father John Bich Ngoc Tran was the third pastor, serving for nearly 10 years. Father Peter Nguyen followed Father Bich. Father Francis Hoa Phuoc Dang followed Father Peter. In 2005, when Father Francis was pastor, the beautiful statue of Our Lady of La Vang was erected in the courtyard next to the church.
 
We welcome Father Peter back as the present pastor.
 
God's choicest blessings on the Vietnamese Catholic Community of our Diocese!

2. Annual Meeting of Western Lieutenancy, Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre -- We were pleased to welcome 700 Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulcher to Tucson last week for the annual meeting of the Western Lieutenancy. Jim and Chris Ronstadt and their team did a fantastic job organizing and welcoming those who joined us for the meeting. I am grateful to Father Todd O'Leary and the people of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish for serving as host parish for the liturgies. The music and environment for Mass were wonderful.
 
Two of the primary aims of the Order are the fostering understanding of the problems faced in the Middle East and the support of programs in the Holy Land to help improve the lives of all living there. The Order does much good. The meeting included presentations on the Holy Land and exploring ways that this heart of three faiths can come to live in peace.
 
It is a custom that the host city also conducts a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and so this year I will be leading 47 other pilgrims in a journey to the Holy Land, including a short overnight visit to Jordan to see two schools funded by the Order.
 
To walk in the footsteps of Christ is an awesome experience. At least half of the group will be visiting for the very first time. I am sure they will see the Scriptures come to life in a way they have never experienced before. This year's trip will begin on Oct. 18 and conclude on Oct. 30. I will leave the group on Oct. 27 to go to Rome for the beatification of the two Discalced Carmelites who served here, one of whom founded Holy Family Parish.

3. Annual Priests' Retreat -- The first of two sessions of our annual Priests' Retreat began yesterday. Both sessions are being held at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks.

Father Thomas Hickey of the Archdiocese of Chicago is the retreat master for this week's session. His theme is "The Call to Be Human and Christian as the Real Response to the Vocation of Priesthood."

I will celebrate Mass this morning with the retreatants and be with them this evening for supper and informal discussions.

These annual retreats are very important for our priests because they provide a priest time away from the demands of ministry so that he can grow in his relationship with Christ and so that he can be together in prayer with his brother priests.

Priests of the Diocese of Tucson are expected to make this annual retreat in the Diocese at least every other year. Some decide to make a private retreat or a directed retreat or some other alternative. But it is expected that every diocesan priest will make an annual retreat. Religious priests usually make their retreat with their community.

4. Balancing Acts -- Keeping balance in our lives as ministers for the Church is a challenge. The time for our priests to be away on retreat is an example of the acts of balance that we need to practice so that we can be effective in what we do while we take care of ourselves.

I am very honored to have been asked to speak about "How to Balance Your Life in Ministry" tomorrow at St. Edna Parish in Arlington Heights just outside Chicago. Present will be staff and parish ministers from St. James, St. Edna and Our Lady of the Wayside Parishes. These three parishes in Arlington Heights were part of the Vicariate where I served as auxiliary bishop from 1995-2001.

5. Lay Ecclesial Ministry -- I will extend my visit to the Chicago area by one day so that I can give the keynote address on Wednesday at the Fall Conference of the Pastoral Associates of the Archdiocese of Chicago (PAAC).

PAAC, founded in 1983, provides support and encouragement and facilitates collaboration between and among those who serve as pastoral associates in the parishes of the Archdiocese and the clergy.

I will be speaking on "Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord," the foundational document of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Lay Ecclesial Ministry. I am looking forward to seeing Sister Amy Hoey, R.S.M., who served with me on the Subcommittee for Lay Ecclesial Ministry.

6. Seeing Our Seminarians at Mundelein -- As I will be in the neighborhood, I will have supper Wednesday at Mundelein Seminary with Emilio Chapa, Jorge Farias-Saucedo, Ricky Ordoñez, three of our four seminarians at Mundelein Seminary, and Robert Rodriguez, who will join us from Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corner, Wisconsin. Mundelein seminarian Ed Lucero will be in Tucson that evening, preparing for our important event on Friday. (See item 9.)

7. "Celebrating 50 Years Together in Faith" -- I will be attending this Thursday evening's celebration in Tucson at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church of the 50th anniversary of organized ecumenical activity in Arizona. "Celebrating 50 Years Together in Faith" will note the formation in 1957 of the Arizona Council of Churches, the predecessor organization of the Arizona Ecumenical Council.

The Arizona Ecumenical Council coordinates the ecumenical work of churches, organizations, and individuals who are committed to the visible unity of Christian churches through prayer and dialogue. I am grateful to Rev. Jan Flaaten, director of the Council, for honoring Tucson and Southern Arizona by celebrating this important anniversary here.

8. Welcoming New Parish Staff -- Our annual Bishop Moreno Pastoral Center welcoming day for staff who are new to parishes is this Friday.

This is the fourth year that we here at the Pastoral Center have invited new parish staff members to join us for a day to learn about the Diocese and the offices and departments that are headquartered here at the Pastoral Center. Our day includes information sessions, Mass, lunch and tours of the Pastoral Center.

It's always helpful to be able to put a friendly face to a name when parish staff call the Pastoral Center and when we call parishes, and that is one goal of this annual welcoming day.

9. Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity-- This Friday evening at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Tucson, I will lead our four seminarians who will be ordained deacons this December -- Emilio Chapa, Ed Lucero, Ricky Ordoñez and Robert Rodriguez -- in making their Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity.
Every candidate for the diaconate and the priesthood makes the Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity before ordination by saying:
With firm faith, I believe and profess everything that is contained in the symbol of faith: namely,
I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: By the power of the Holy Spirit, he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. I believe in the one holy catholic and apostolic church. I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
With firm faith I believe as well everything contained in God's word, written or handed down in tradition and proposed by the church -- whether in solemn judgment or in the ordinary and universal Magisterium -- as divinely revealed and called for faith.
I also firmly accept and hold each and every thing that is proposed by that same church definitively with regard to teaching concerning faith or morals.
What is more, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman pontiff or the college of bishops enunciate when they exercise the authentic Magisterium even if they proclaim those teachings in an act that is not definitive.
The Profession and Oath will take place after the Benediction at the conclusion of the annual Holy Hour that is sponsored by the Altar Server Ministry at St. John. What a wonderful setting for this important step in their journey to the priesthood!
10. Our Lady of Fatima Anniversary Observances  -- Our Diocese will join in the worldwide observances of the 90th Anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima this Saturday with the recitation of the Rosary, Mass and a Eucharistic Procession.

Beginning at 10:30 a.m. at St. Augustine Cathedral, families from five parishes in the Diocese will lead the recitation of the Rosary. The recitation will be followed by a concelebrated Mass at which I will preside. After the Mass, a student from Immaculate Heart School in Tucson will crown the statue of Mary. Then, I will lead a Eucharistic Procession that will conclude with celebration of Benediction. I hope we will have representation from every parish and Catholic School in our Diocese.
 
11. Groundbreaking at Corpus Christi Parish, Tucson -- I look forward to being with Father Richard Kingsley, pastor, and the parishioners of Corpus Christi Parish for Mass and the groundbreaking for their new church building this Sunday. The groundbreaking ceremony will follow the 9:30 a.m. Mass at which I will preside. The public is invited to join the parish community as they celebrate this milestone event. A model of the southwest "mission" style building will be on display.

It is a challenge for a community to raise the resources necessary to build a new church. It is encouraging to see how the people of Corpus Christi have pulled together and with much work to arrive at this special moment in their parish history.
 
We have several other parishes in various stages of planning, raising money or building a church, including St. John Neumann in Yuma, St. Mark the Evangelist and Most Holy Trinity Parishes in Tucson and Our Lady of Grace Parish in Maricopa. (I will check with John Shaheen to see if there are others.) I congratulate these pastors and their people for the great work they are doing to help plan for future generations.

12. Annual Catholic Scouting Mass -- Our young Catholics who participate in the Scouting movements will gather at 3 p.m. this Sunday at St. Augustine Cathedral for the Annual Catholic Scouting Mass, at which I will preside. This is always a special time for the girls and boys who have earned their religious emblem awards, and it is a time of pride for their parents and leaders. I am grateful to Jeff Hill, chair, and the members of our diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting for organizing this annual event.

13. Parents and Family Listening Session -- I will hold the first of three listening sessions with parents and families on what the Church can do or should be doing to strengthen and support Catholic families at 7 p.m. this Sunday at St. Ambrose Parish, 200 S. Tucson Blvd., in Tucson.

At each of the listening sessions those attending will be asked to fill out cards with their answers to these questions: What three issues present the greatest challenge to families today? What three responses could the Church make that would be most helpful in meeting those challenges? Leaving time for discussion, we will read as many of the answers as possible.

I hope these sessions will enable our Diocese to better understand the concerns of our Catholic families and to develop pastoral programs in response to their needs.

14. Mass of the Holy Spirit, "Red Mass" -- On behalf of the St. Thomas More Society of Southern Arizona and the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson, I invite all to this year's "Red Mass," the Mass of the Holy Spirit, to be celebrated at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at St. Augustine Cathedral. I will preside at the Mass and give the homily.

This annual liturgy continues the centuries old Catholic tradition of providing particular support to those who serve the common good through the administration of justice and invokes the Gifts of the Holy Spirit upon judges, lawyers, public officials and all who are involved in the legal and law enforcement communities and their families.

This year at the Mass, I will present the St. Thomas More Society Award to Dr. Willie Jordan-Curtis, Dean of Students at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law.

15. Southwest Liturgical Conference Study Week 2008 -- Registration information for the Southwest Liturgical Conference Study Week 2008, Jan. 16 - 19, is available at www.swlc.org.  The Diocese of Tucson is proud to be hosting this regional liturgy study week 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.  A special luncheon is planned for priests of the Diocese of Tucson and other priests in attendance at the Study Week on Thursday, Jan. 17, with a presentation by Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta. For more information, contact Pegi Dodd in the Office of Formation, 520-838-2545 or pegid@diocesetucson.org.

16. Diocesan Liturgy Workshop -- Music ministers are invited to a workshop on Saturday, Oct. 27, from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish Hall in Tucson for the fourth quarterly Diocesan Liturgy Workshop. The session will include the role of music ministers as "Coworkers in the Vineyard of the Lord," an Advent Mass, Missa Emmanuel, and sharing of Mass parts that choirs are using around the Diocese. There is no charge for this workshop. To register, contact Pegi Dodd in the Office of Formation, 520-838-2545 or pegid@diocesetucson.org.

17. Priesthood Sunday -- I encourage all our parishes to join parishes across our Nation on Sunday, Oct. 28, in the annual observance of Priesthood Sunday. Priesthood Sunday is a way for Catholic communities to express their appreciation for the devoted priests who serve them so faithfully.
Parish staff and lay leaders are invited to visit www.priestsunday.org for support materials and ideas on how to hold a special Priesthood Sunday celebration.
Promotion of Priesthood Sunday is a collaborative effort of Worldwide Marriage Encounter, the Serra Club and the National Federation of Priest Councils. Priesthood Sunday is sponsored by the USA Council of Serra International and the Serra International Foundation.
 
18. Search for Diocesan Director of Stewardship and Development -- Tom Smith, our Director of Stewardship and Development these past five years, has shared with me his plans to retire next year and his hope to be able to work with his replacement well in advance of his retirement.

We have begun the search for a new Director of Stewardship and Development. The position announcement and description are available at www.diocesetucson.org/employ.html.

I am grateful for to Tom for his service to our Diocese and for his willingness to provide the best possible start for the new director by sharing his experience and knowledge.

19. Birthday Surprise for a Young-at-Heart Youth Minister -- St. Francis de Sales Parish in Tucson surprised Marian Gilbert, who has led the parish's Youth Ministry for 23 years, with a 70th birthday party last night. As pastor Father Bob Tamminga says, with great appreciation, "Marian is probably the most senior youth minister in the Diocese."

20. "Bella" -- The movie "Bella," winner of a Canadian Film Award, was previewed at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson last week. The film, which enters the struggle of a woman considering an abortion was very well received. Through the efforts of Father Dom Pinti, pastor of St. George the Apostle Parish in Apache Junction and my liaison for Pro-life Activities, and Joanne Welter of our diocesan Catholic Social Mission Office the film will be presented tonight at St. George the Apostle Parish at 6:30 p.m. and on Wednesday at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Tucson at 7 p.m. You would find it very worthwhile to see.

21. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- Please pray for the repose of the soul of Phillip Ancharski, father of Father John Ancharski, who died Sept. 29.

Please pray for Ana Schifano, sister-in-law of Father Al Schifano, who is very seriously ill. We pray for her and Father Al's brother, who has stood by his wife in her long suffering.

Vol. 5, No. 26
Oct. 15, 2007

About 40 people attended the Parent and Family Listening Session last night at St. Ambrose Parish in Tucson. Most present were from our Tucson home school community. Their deep love of the church and commitment to the handing on of the faith to their children was obvious. There also were persons from St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista and St. Cyril, St. Pius X and Our Mother of Sorrows Parishes in Tucson. I was grateful for their presence.

We discussed a wide range of issues. Almost all of those present had an opportunity to speak, including a young boy who expressed concern about holding hands during the Our Father. Everyone got to express their point of view on the issues that parents and grandparents face and about what they would like the Church to do to better assist parents in the raising of their children.
  
Among the issues, concerns and needs that this group identified were:
 
Need for more catechesis, especially adult formation
Need to pastor and assist parents who have lost a child
Need to be more direct and clear in our teaching
Need to teach more directly about the immorality of contraception and promote the teachings of Humanae Vitae
Need for more uniformity in the celebration of the Eucharist throughout the Diocese
Need to pray more as families
Need to address domestic violence
Need to assist families in understanding annulments and separations in the Church
Need to find ways to validate people's marriages
Need to teach the faith more effectively in our Catholic Schools and religious education programs
Find a way to have parents and children learn together
 
I am grateful to Father John Arnold, pastor of St. Ambrose, and Leslie Schultz-Crist, principal of St. Ambrose School, for hosting the evening. Mike Berger of the diocesan Office of Catechesis, Dr. Paul Duckro of our Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, Sister Leonette Kochan, O.F.M., principal of Santa Cruz School in Tucson, and Bern Zovistoski, managing editor of The New Vision, also were present for the discussions.
    
1. 90th Anniversary of the Apparitions at Fatima
-- "Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!" resounded around St. Augustine Cathedral on Saturday morning as more than 800 people gathered for the recitation of the Rosary, the celebration of the Eucharist and a Eucharistic Procession that concluded with Benediction.

The celebration was in recognition of the 90th anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady to three shepherd children -- Lucia Santos, age 10, Jacinta Marto, age seven, and Francisco Marto, age nine -- in Fatima, Portugal, beginning on May 13, 1917, and continuing on the 13th of the month until October of that year.
 
Families and individuals, including Sister Maxine Hart, O.S.F., who was celebrating her 50th anniversary as a Franciscan on Saturday, led the recitation of the Rosary. A young girl from Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Tucson crowned a statue of the Blessed Mother, and students from area schools read the petitions.

Concelebrating the Mass with me were Father Pat Crino of the Cathedral, Msgr. Thomas Cahalane of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson, Father Ray Ratzenberger and Father Clement Agamba from Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Tucson, Father Dom Pinti of St. George Parish in Apache Junction, Father Abram Guerrero of San Felipe de Jesus Parish in Nogales, Father Alex Mills of St. Ann Parish in Tubac and Father Miguel Mariano, our diocesan Vocations Director.
 
My thanks to Grace Schnakenberg of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish for inviting the Diocese to participate in this special remembrance. Many remarked how moving the experience was for them.

2. Groundbreaking for New Corpus Christi Parish Church -- It is a great joy for me to join a parish community for the groundbreaking of a new church. There is always a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm that marks the event. That certainly was the atmosphere yesterday morning at Corpus Christi Parish in Tucson. Father Richard Kingsley, pastor, stood rightly proud with his community as we blessed the ground where the new church is to be constructed.

For the groundbreaking, Father Richard, myself and members of the parish building committee were joined by the youngest generation of Corpus Christi Parish to wield gold-painted shovels to break ground.

Corpus Christi is a vibrant, welcoming community that has worked hard to plan for their future. The design of the new church is striking, and I look forward to consecrating the church in the near future. To build a church today takes the sacrifice of many. Father Richard expressed his appreciation and regard for the persistence of his community and their steadfast faith.

3. Annual Catholic Scouting Mass -- The millennial generation, those born after 1980, present unique challenges to the Church in handing on the faith. Like every generation of young people before them, they have many gifts to bring to the mission of Christ.
 
Yesterday, the millennial generation was represented in our Cathedral by the presence of young girls and boys and teens involved in the Scouting movements who gathered with their families and leaders for the Annual Diocesan Catholic Scouting Mass. These young people are very dedicated and committed. They have achieved a great deal through their Scouting activities. Their Scout leaders have sacrificed and worked hard to prepare these young people to take an active role in the Church and in the community.
 
I marvel at the gifts of these young people and the generosity with which they share their gifts for others. This past year we have had a number of Catholic Eagle Scouts recognized for their service in Eagle Scout Courts of Honor in our Diocese. It is a time of pride and joy for their families and their leaders.
 
Our prayer is that these young people will stay active and involved in our society and continue to share their gifts generously.
 
4. Annual Priests' Retreat, Second Week -- Leading this second and final session of this year's retreat is Father Eduardo Alvarez, S.J., pastor of Gesu Parish in the Archdiocese of Miami. The theme he has selected is "My Commitment with Christ."

I will celebrate Mass this morning with the priests and will join them this evening for supper and informal discussions.

5. Sexual Misconduct Review Board -- The Board meets tomorrow morning here at the Pastoral Center.

Dr. Paul Duckro, director of our Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, and I will brief the Board about last week's audit by the Gavin Group of our diocesan Safe Environment Program for compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Bill Duff and George Andrew, the two Gavin Group auditors assigned to conduct the audit, spent a very busy week examining documents and interviewing a range of persons from the pastoral center, parishes, schools and other agencies. They examined what we are doing in the Diocese of Tucson with regard to each Article of the Charter.

As audits are, it was an intense experience for all involved.

I am very grateful for the cooperation of all who were asked to participate in the audit. Regardless of whether you were actually called upon, I appreciate most of all your willingness.

I believe the auditors came away with a sense of how committed and competent are the personnel who carry out the work of the Safe Environment Program in our Diocese. They commented on the collaborative spirit that characterized the persons they met.

The audit report will be issued in several weeks. I will let you know the results at that time.

6. America-Israel Friendship League -- I am delighted to participate in tomorrow's America-Israel Friendship League Annual Tribute Luncheon at which Jannie Cox will be honored for her service to our community.

Jannie, chief executive officer of the Carondelet Foundation, is a person of great generosity who is always willing to serve. She is the former chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson. Congratulations, Jannie!

The Tucson Chapter of the America - Israel Friendship League was established in 1990 to promote the mutually beneficial relationship between Tucson and Israel.

7. St. Pius X Parish Church Rededication
-- The people of St. Pius X Parish in Tucson will mark a significant event in the life of their faith community this Wednesday evening when I join them and Father Harry Ledwith, their pastor, for the rededication of their church. Over the past year, they have seen their church building go from an empty shell to a new and beautiful place of worship that expresses the spirit of the parish.

Father Harry is very happy that his family is able to be here for this special occasion: sisters Marie and Siobhan from Ireland; brother Mel and his wife Martina from Ireland, sister Therese and husband Martin from Ireland; brother Kevin and wife Breege from London; brother Sean from Vermont; and sister Cathal from here in Tucson.

8. Annual Retreat Day, Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries
-- This year's retreat for the staff of our Catholic Cemeteries is this Wednesday at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks. I will join Cemeteries director Jim DeCastro and the staff for part of their day and will celebrate Mass with them.

9. Annual Mass of the Holy Spirit, "Red Mass"
-- This year's "Red Mass," the Mass of the Holy Spirit, will be celebrated at 5:30 p.m. this Wednesday at St. Augustine Cathedral. I will preside and give the homily.

Sponsored by the St. Thomas More Society of Southern Arizona and the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson this annual liturgy continues the centuries old Catholic tradition of providing particular support to those who serve the common good through the administration of justice. During this Mass, we invoke the Gifts of the Holy Spirit upon judges, lawyers, public officials and all who are involved in the legal and law enforcement communities and their families.

At this year's Mass, I will present the St. Thomas More Society Award to Dr. Willie Jordan-Curtis, Dean of Students at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law.

10. Pilgrimages to Holy Land, Rome -- This Thursday, I will lead a group of 48 pilgrims, mostly from Tucson and mostly members of the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre, on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land that has been coordinated by Jim and Chris Ronstadt, the Councillors for the Knights and Ladies in our Diocese. I am very happy that Sonya Gutierrez (and her husband Mike) and Sister Charlotte Ann Swift, O.P., (and her friend Annie Lopez) of the Office of the Bishop and Dr. Paul Duckro (and his wife Lynn) and Father Mike Bucciarelli of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Benson will be accompanying us on the pilgrimage.
 
Many in our group have never been to the Holy Land. To walk in the places where Jesus walked and to see the Scriptures come alive will be an amazing and inspiring experience -- like walking in the Bible. Reading Scripture is never the same after visiting the Holy Land.
 
I will try to send back e-mail dispatches for The New Vision Website if I have access to a computer and to the Internet.
 
I will leave the Holy Land on Oct. 27 to fly to Rome for the beatifications on Oct. 28 of Father Lucas Tristany, O.C.D. (1872-1936), and Father Eduardo Farré, O.C.D. (1897-1936).  Father Lucas was the founding pastor of Holy Family Parish in Tucson. He also served at Holy Cross in Morenci, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Florence and Santa Cruz Parish in Tucson. Father Eduardo ministered at Holy Family and also at Santa Cruz. After their return to Spain from the U.S., they were martyred during the Spanish Civil War.

Several Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters will be among the more than 400 Spanish Civil War Martyrs who will be beatified on Oct. 28. I look forward to being with pilgrims from Holy Family Parish, Santa Cruz Parish and the IHM Sisters in Tucson at the beatification Mass. We will have a diocesan celebration of the beatifications on Friday, Nov. 16. Details about that celebration are forthcoming.
 
11. Looking Ahead -- Because I will be away until Nov. 1, the next Monday Memo will not be published until Monday, Nov. 5.

Looking ahead to early November:

The Women and Men Religious jubiliarians in our Diocese will be honored on Sunday, Nov. 4, at the Appreciation Liturgy and Luncheon for Vowed Religious Men and Women in the Diocese of Tucson. I will preside at the Mass, which will be at noon at St. Augustine Cathedral. I will note the names of this year's jubilarians in the Monday Memo of Nov. 5.  

On the evening of Sunday, Nov. 4, Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona will celebrate this year's Una Noche Alegria as a tribute to St. Elizabeth's Health Center's 45 years of caring for those who cannot afford health insurance. I look forward to being a part of this wonderful celebration.

John Allen, senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and CNN senior Vatican analyst, will be coming to the Diocese on Monday, Nov. 5, for a presentation as part of our diocesan program of ongoing formation for priests.

He will make a presentation on "Megatrends in Catholicism" to the public at 7 p.m. on Nov. 5 in the Petroglyphs Assembly Hall of the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks. 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.

12. Remember in Your Prayers -- Please pray for the repose of the soul of Ana Schifano, sister-in-law of Father Al Schifano, our Moderator of the Curial, who died last week.

Please pray for the speedy return to full health of Father Liam Leahy, pastor of St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Tucson
and of Joseph Lombardo, father of Father Joe Lombardo, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson.

Vol. 5, No. 27
Oct. 29, 2007

I am in Rome today, where yesterday I was among the tens of thousands of pilgrims who crowded St. Peter's Square for the beatification Mass of 498 martyrs of the Spanish Civil War.

We in the Diocese of Tucson are connected to these 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.

(Three more Discalced Carmelite priests who served in our Diocese in the early years of the 20th century and who were killed during the Spanish Civil War are candidates for beatification.)

Yesterday was a cool and refreshing day in Rome, with a brilliant blue sky. I gathered in St. Peter's Basilica with about 80 bishops and cardinals, mostly from Spain and Spanish speaking countries who had come with large groups of pilgrims from their dioceses. I was the only bishop from the U.S. We vested in the Basilica. It was striking to see the Basilica empty, except for the few of us. I snapped a few pictures, one of the Pieta and another of St. Peter and the main altar of the Basilica. I couldn't pass up the opportunity!

Wearing bright red vestments to commemorate the martyrs, we bishops processed into St. Peter's Square for the beatification Mass. Jose Cardinal Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Congregation of the Saints, presided for the Holy Father. The liturgy was mainly in Spanish, with some Latin. As Pope Benedict XVI has suggested, at international Masses the use of Latin can be unifying. 

At the beginning of Mass, bishops from the home dioceses of those martyred read their names, one by one. The martyrs were bishops, priests, religious, laity, women and men killed for the faith. They came from Barcelona, Burgos, Cartegena, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Gerona, Jaen  and Cuenca, Madrid, Oviedo, Malaga, Albacete, Sevilla, Merida-Badajoz, Santander, and Toledo.

They were Discalced Carmelites, Brothers of the Christian Schools, Congregation of Carmelites of Charity, Marist Brothers, Order of the Brothers Minor, Third Order of St. Dominic, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary, the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Mercy, Order of Preaching Brothers, Brothers of the Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel, Salesians, Order of the Most Holy Trinity, Sisters of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Immaculate Heart, Congregation of the Servant Adorers of the Most Holy Sacrament, the Brothers of St. Augustine and diocesan bishops and diocesan priests.

It was a marvelous celebration, with flags waving and banners flowing and people singing. I know that Father Alonzo Garcia, administrator of Holy Family Parish, and Father Frank Cady, parochial vicar at St. Augustine Cathedral, were among the hundreds of priests who administered Communion.

At the end of the Mass, Pope Benedict XVI appeared from his window to recite the Angelus and to greet the people in different languages.

The only frustration of the day was that I could not find our pilgrims from the Diocese of Tucson in the crowd.

The groups from Holy Family Parish and Santa Cruz Parish and the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary from Immaculate Heart School in Tucson had planned a place to meet, but somehow we were not able to connect after the Mass. Nevertheless, it was great that our Diocese was represented in the crowd of 100,000 or more. While we were just a small fraction of the crowd, we were among the proudest, remembering and thanking God for the service of the Discalced Carmelites, the IHM Sisters and the DeLaSalle Christian Brothers in our Diocese.

These last two weeks have been extraordinary! I experienced a wonderful pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchure from our Diocese. (You can read my blog about the pilgrimage at www.diocesetucson.org). Yesterday's Mass in St. Peter's Square was truly inspiring.

But, there's no place like home! I will return to the Diocese this Thursday, the Feast of All Saints.