Sept. 7, 2004 Sept. 13, 2004 Sept. 20, 2004
We enter this week of the third anniversary of 9-11 with the heartrending images from Beslan, Russia, prompting our prayers for hundreds of grieving families.
On Friday afternoon, when he received the tragic news of the outcome of the hostage-taking at Beslan School No. 1, Pope John Paul II retired to pray for the dead and wounded, said Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls. Over the weekend, the Holy Father prayed for the victims during the Mass at which he presided at the Marian shrine in Loreto, Italy. The Prayer of the Faithful included an intention for the more than 350 people, almost half of whom were children, who died in the tragedy.
Also, the Holy Father communicated his great sorrow to the Russian People over that terrible loss of life at Beslan School No. 1.
In a telegram sent in his name by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Pope described the terrorist attack as a "vile and pitiless aggression against defenseless children and families."
He asked the prayers of the world for the children and parents who were killed and injured.
Last week, the Holy Father reflected on the response of the world to the evil of terrorism as he addressed a group of U.S. bishops on their ad limina visit.
"As the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 have made clear, the building of a global culture of solidarity and respect for human dignity is one of the great moral tasks confronting humanity today," he told the bishops.
"In the end, it is in the conversion of hearts and the spiritual renewal of humanity that the hope of a better tomorrow lies, and here the witness, example, and cooperation of religious believers has a unique role to play," he said.
Our hearts go out to those who suffered the loss of a loved one on 9-11 and to all the grieving families in Russia. We join in prayer this week and on Saturday's anniversary for the end to terrorism, violence and war.
The New York Times from Sept. 23, 2001, published a selection of children's poems that reflected the shock that some young people felt on 9-11 when their "world was shut down."
A simple poem by Sapier Jamie Behr, then a fifth grader, struck me deeply:My heart racing
1. 2004 Elections -- Today is the primary election in Arizona, and I certainly urge you to get out and vote!
There are four items of particular importance that I want to stress that are related to the political campaigns and for issues that will appear on the ballot for the general election on Nov. 2.
First, I emphasize again for all our parishes the importance of seeking guidance from the Diocese before agreeing to distribute voting guides or campaign related information. Well-intentioned persons may ask pastors to provide information that may not meet the requirements set by the Federal Government for political activities by non-profit and religious organizations. In addition, some information may not accurately reflect Church teaching on the responsibilities of voters. Please seek the guidance of the Diocese about all voter guides or other election information that is presented for distribution.
Second, the three Bishops in Arizona, through the Arizona Catholic Conference, soon will be issuing a voter guide publication that will provide specific information about the voting records and positions of candidates for office in Arizona and the initiatives that will be before voters. This publication will meet all the requirements for approved political activity. This guide will not be telling Catholics which candidates they should or should not vote for. I will be asking that parishes distribute this voter guide.
Third, the three Bishops in Arizona, again through the Arizona Catholic Conference, soon will be issuing a statement that explains our opposition to Proposition 200, the "Protect Arizona Now" initiative, that will appear on the ballot in the general election.
Fourth, I urge our parishes once again to send representatives to the two free "Faithful Citizenship" workshops that will be held this Thursday and Friday at Most Holy Trinity Parish in Tucson.
It is not too late to register! Please contact Joanne Welter of our Catholic Social Mission Office (792-3410 or email@example.com).
I look forward to being at the Friday morning workshop and participating in the dialogue that will be led by Joan Rosenhauer, director of the Faithful Citizenship program and Special Projects Coordinator in the Department of Social Development and World Peace at the U.S. Catholic Conference.
2. Extension Society Conference -- I am in Mundelein, near Chicago, today and tomorrow for the Catholic Extension Society Mission Conference. This is an annual conference for the bishops of dioceses in the U.S. that qualify for financial aid from the Extension Society.
Our diocese is among the 80 dioceses in 34 states and four U.S. territories that qualify for the aid by demonstrating that they lack sufficient funds to support their mission work.
The Extension Society was founded in 1905 in Chicago by Father Francis Clement in response to the poverty he saw in rural and remote America. He envisioned the Society as a way that Catholics in the more affluent parts of the U.S. could extend the resources of the Church so that Catholics in poor areas could practice their faith.
Since 1905, our Diocese has received nearly $3.5 million in aid from the Extension Society for church construction and repair, salary subsidies for priests and religious, seminarian education and religious education.
We are grateful to the Extension Society, and I will be communicating that on behalf of the Diocese of Tucson at the meeting.
Without the support of the Extension Society and that of the Catholic Home Missions, our Diocese would not be able to provide a basic level of ministry.
While at Mundelein, I will visit with our seminarians studying there. They have just begun their classes, so I hope they are not so weighed down with work that we won't be able to visit. The new vocations poster, developed by Father Miguel Mariano, seminarian Bobby Rodriguez and Chip Travers that is being mailed out, shows the 16 men now in seminary for our Diocese. They make for quite a gifted team!
3. This Week's Meetings -- The Diocesan Council on Youth and Young Adults will meet Thursday at the Pastoral Center to review last month's Youth Congress and to continue planning events to more effectively engage our teens and young adults in their faith. Our diocesan Department Directors will meet Friday for the first time after the summer break. These meetings help to keep all of us informed and allow us to check on progress toward our pastoral priorities. We try to meet every other week. I encourage our parishes to hold staff meetings at least once a month. The benefits are many!
4. New Director of Catholic Cemeteries -- I am very pleased to announce that Frank Naughton has been appointed director of the Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries by the Board of Directors.
Frank brings a breadth and depth of business management experience and a strong commitment to the ministry of our Catholic Cemeteries to this position. In his recent presentation to the staff of the Cemeteries, Frank reflected on how well he and his family were served by the Catholic Cemeteries at their time of need and how he wants to do the same for all families who face the death of a loved one.
5. "Bells Concordance" for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness -- This Thursday is the annual worldwide observance of Sept. 9 as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness Day. People all around the world gather on the ninth day of the ninth month for events to raise awareness that that during the nine months of pregnancy a woman should abstain from alcohol so that her child will be safe from the birth defects and other disorders that alcohol consumption during pregnancy can cause.
For the last several years, St. Augustine Cathedral had led our Tucson area parishes and other churches in the community in raising awareness by ringing its bells for one minute at 9 a.m. That tradition will continue this year. This is a most meaningful pro-life activity, and I ask all our parishes across the Diocese to participate.
6. Dominican Laity Retreat -- I am very honored to be a part of retreat this Saturday at Holy Trinity Monastery in St. David for the St. Martin de Porres Chapter of the Dominican Laity that is based here in Tucson. The Dominican Laity are sisters, friars and lay persons who commit themselves to the ideas and ideals of St. Dominic for the service of the Church and its mission in the world. There is more information about the Dominican Laity at http://www.op.org/oplaity/oplaity.htm.
7. Pastor Installations -- The installations of new pastors continue this weekend.
I look forward to being with the people of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Benson on Saturday for the celebration of the installation of Father Michael Bucciarelli as their new pastor. Father Mike comes to Our Lady of Lourdes after 14 years at St. Bartholomew in San Manuel.
On Sunday, I will be with the people of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Tucson for the celebration of the installation of Father Ray Ratzenberger as their new pastor. Actually, Father Ray is the second pastor for the parish, succeeding founding pastor Father Pete McGloin who retired this year, and I thank Father Pete again for his dedicated service to the Diocese. Father Ray comes to our Lady of Fatima Parish after 12 years at Our Lady of Lourdes in Benson.
8. Welcome! -- Our Diocese is blessed by the ministry of many visiting priests, and I am very pleased to welcome them. So that you can welcome them too, I want you to know who they are, where they are from and where they are serving. I will try to do this on a more frequent basis.
Catching up with the last few weeks, here are the visiting priests with us now: Father Walter Baldick, O.F.M. Cap., from Detroit, who will be providing clergy assistance as needed throughout the Diocese; Father Vincent Jigingi from Nigeria, who will be providing clergy assistance at St. Augustine Cathedral for the next few weeks; Father Thomas Marottikaparambil from India, who will be in residence at Our Lady Queen of All Saints in Tucson; Father Andrews Kollannoor, M.S., from India, who will serve as a parochial vicar at St. Odilia Parish in Tucson; and Father Luis Armondo Espinoza from Argentina, who will be providing clergy assistance at St. Luke and Immaculate Conception Parishes in Douglas.
9. A Special Visitor -- Father Angus Fraser, C.S.Sp., Master General of the Via Christi Society of Nigeria, will be arriving in our Diocese this week for a visit. I look forward to meeting with Father Angus and sharing with him the joy with which we greeted Father James Uko Aboyi, Father Richard Terfa Kusugh and Father Sebastine Tor Bula, the three newly ordained Via Christi Society priests who joined us two weeks ago to begin their missionary ministry among us.
10. Annual Scouting Mass -- I look forward to my second annual celebration at St. Augustine Cathedral with our young people and their families who are involved in Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Campfire and 4-H. The annual Scouting Mass is this Sunday at 2:30 p.m. The Mass will include recognition of the achievements of our young people and their leaders in their organizations. I am pleased to announce the addition of a Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting resource on our diocesan Internet site. Just click on "Catholic Scouting" to access information about events, recognitions and committee activities.
11. Role of the Church in Urban Renewal -- I have been following with interest the plans for the renovation and renewal of downtown Tucson through the Rio Nuevo Project and other efforts, such as the restoration of the Fox Theater.
I strongly believe that our Diocese has an important role in the future of downtown Tucson. After all, St. Augustine Cathedral, the Marist College, the Immaculate Mary Chapel, Cathedral Hall, and the Cathedral Parish Rectory and Office are prominent in the history of our community. The Diocese itself, through the presence of its Chancery, has always been downtown, and that continues today through our Pastoral Center.
As a Diocese, we not only want to be a partner in the planning for the future of downtown, we want to do our part. I am encouraged to see the interest in revitalizing the downtown area, and with that encouragement we won't be shy in approaching the Catholic community and the larger community for support in restoring the historic area of the Cathedral.
We want to participate in efforts to enhance the pride in our community, pride that foremost is in people, but pride that also is reflected in how we care for and maintain the legacies from our past. Clearly, the sacred places and spaces of the Cathedral area are prominent legacies for the entire community and they deserve the community's attention and care as well.
12. Blessed Mother's Birthday -- Tomorrow is the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is one of three birthdays that we celebrate in Sacred Liturgy. "The Mary Page" at the University of Dayton's Web site has an excellent resource about the birthday of our Blessed Mother. Just click on "What's New" and then on "Nativity of the Virgin Mary."
At Mass and in your prayer time tomorrow, please ask our Blessed Mother to pray that we will find the best way to respond to all those who have been harmed by abuse that also will allow us to continue our mission and ministries as a Diocese.
Memo Note -- This memo is coming to you on Tuesday because of yesterday's observance of Labor Day. I hope everyone had a restful Labor Day. I reflected yesterday on the blessings that our Diocese and all our communities receive through the labor of all those support the mission and ministries of the Church -- the employees of parishes, schools, the Diocese of Tucson, Catholic Community Services and its six member agencies, Catholic Cemeteries, Catholic Foundation, Charity and Ministry Fund, Catholic Tuition Support Organization, and the Carondelet Hospitals. Thank you!
We will mark a very important one-year anniversary in our Diocese on Wednesday.
It was last year on Sept. 15 that we launched our diocesan child abuse awareness and prevention program, "Protecting Our Children -- Our Common Commitment."
The introduction of the program that day, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, in front of a standing room only crowd of faculty, staff, administrators and clergy of our Catholic school communities, marked the implementation of our efforts to create a climate and culture within the Diocese that support the creation and maintenance of safe environments for children in all our parishes and schools.
The good work that was begun that day at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church continues, and the progress that we have made is nothing less than inspiring. What stands out the most in the experience of this last year is the "Common Commitment" that we have demonstrated to protect our children.
We have demonstrated that "Common Commitment" these past 12 months by appointing and training compliance representatives for each of our parishes and schools, by fingerprinting and conducting criminal background checks for more than 2,000 employees and volunteers, by building relationships and partnerships with law enforcement and child protection and advocacy groups in our communities, by educating our parish and school staffs about child abuse and the requirements of the Arizona law on the reporting of child abuse, by initiating programs for the education of children and parents on child abuse awareness and prevention and by continuing to be open, honest and transparent.
We have done those things and many more, and the climate and culture of the past have changed dramatically.
I am very grateful for the commitment of all to "Our Common Commitment." This has been and continues to be a team effort, and I want to thank especially the leadership of that team: our Diocesan Sexual Misconduct Review Board; Dr. Paul Duckro, the director of our Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection; and Richard Serrano, the director of Human Resources for the Diocese.
One of our six Diocesan priorities is to restore trust. What we have accomplished together this past year has done much to give our community of faith and the communities in which we live the sense that things have changed.
As I said, the good work that began a year ago this week is continuing, and I want to point to one example.
At the end of next month, the compliance representatives from all over the Diocese will gather here in Tucson for a special retreat and training day. We are honored that Kathleen McChesney, executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection, will be with us that day to observe the training and to join in the prayerful reflection on the meaning of "Our Common Commitment."
Reflecting on what we have accomplished in our efforts this past year to protect children and to restore trust provides yet another perspective by which we can view the current situation of our Diocese.
Litigation resulting from past sins and failures must be addressed. I am resolved that our response and whatever price it may require cannot result in confining the mission of our Church and the ministries of our Diocese to a kind of perpetual paralysis.
We want to respond fairly and equitably to those who are seeking compensation for the harm they have experienced. We want to offer comfort, compassion and emotional and spiritual support to all those who have been harmed -- those who are seeking compensation and those who are not; those who have come forward and those who have yet to come forward. We want to continue the sacred mission of our Church and the important ministries of our Diocese, including the ministry of protecting our children from abuse.
I truly believe that achieving any one of these "wants" doesn't have to be -- and should not be -- at the expense of the others. I will be thinking about and praying about all these "wants" while I am out of the Diocese this week performing some of the administrative and pastoral ministries I have as a bishop.
1. Administrative Committee Meeting -- I am on my way to Washington today for a meeting of the Administrative Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Administrative Committee is the USCCB's principal committee. Its membership of approximately 55 bishops includes the Conference's officers, the chairmen of standing committees (I am chair of the Communications Committee) and representatives of the 13 USCCB regions.
The Administrative Committee also serves as the Board of Trustees for the civil corporation of the Conference. Semiannually, we receive advice from the National Advisory Council, which is comprised of 55 laymen and women, religious, priests and bishops from the 13 regions.
The Committee has responsibility for planning the November meeting of bishops, so I know we will be working on the final agenda for this year's meeting.
2. Parker Lecture and Awards -- As chair of the USCCB Communications Committee, I will be representing the Conference on Tuesday at the Everett C. Parker Lecture and Awards Luncheon.
The Parker Awards have been given to individuals from across the nation whose work embodies the principles and values of advocating for the public interest in advancing social change and closing social divides. The lecture series and awards honor the Rev. Dr. Everett C. Parker, founder and director emeritus of the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ, for his pioneering work in broadcast reform. There is more information about the event at www.ucc.org/ocinc/parker.
Churches and faith communities have a critical role to play in the setting of policies and the development of laws that regulate the communication and media industries in our country. Our Church exercises its responsibilities through the USCCB Office of Communications and the Communications Committee that I am very honored to chair.
3. "Handing on the Faith" Conference -- I will be in Boston this Friday and Saturday for the "Handing on the Faith" Conference, which is part of the Church in the 21st Century initiative of Boston College. I am very honored to be a participant in the conference.
The conference will bring together about 22 Catholic scholars and leaders to discuss three interrelated dimensions of the issue of handing on the Catholic Faith: the context of contemporary American culture in the handing on of the faith; the content of the faith that we seek to pass on to future generations; and the means and ways that communication conveys the beauty and truth of the Catholic tradition. The conference will also include a lecture by Archbishop Sean O'Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston.
The Church in the 21st Century initiative by Boston College is helping to explore the issues emerging from the sexual abuse crisis that has shaken the trust of many Catholics and non-Catholics in the Catholic Church. I encourage you to learn more about the initiative at www.bc.edu/church21/overview.
Clearly, one of the important challenges that we face as a Church is how to hand on the faith to our young people, especially in a secular society. I am very grateful to our catechetical leaders who day-by-day and week-by-week in our Catholic schools and parish religious education classes seek to hand on the faith. The dedication of people who give their time and talent to teach others is impressive. I am grateful as well for the ministry of catechesis in our Diocese that is carried out by Mike Berger in our Office of Catechesis.
4. Catechetical Sunday -- I look forward to being at Our Mother of Sorrows this Sunday for the annual celebration of Catechetical Sunday in our Diocese. The annual national observance of Catechetical Sunday on the third Sunday of September is an opportunity for parishes to recognize the importance of catechesis in the life of the Church and to bless those who carry on this essential ministry.
5. Council for Youth and Youth Adults -- We had a very productive meeting of the Council last week. Our planning included replicating for the Yuma La Paz Vicariate the Arise! Youth Congress that was held here in Tucson last month. We also discussed the possibility of a diocesan-wide Youth Congress at which participants of the Arise! Congresses would be leaders. We continued planning for a spring youth recognition dinner at which young people in social, liturgical and catechetical ministries in our parishes and schools would be recognized along with their families. And, we established a task force to begin planning for a young adult program in Lent.
6. Faithful Citizenship Workshops -- Nearly 100 persons attended the Faithful Citizenship workshops last week at Most Holy Trinity Parish. I thank the parish and Father Bill Remmel, S.D.S., for hosting the workshops, which were presented by Joan Rosenhauer, special projects coordinator for the USCCB Department of Social Development and World Peace. I was able to participate briefly in the Friday morning workshop, and I experienced the competency and passion that Joan brings to her ministry. I shared with the gathering of faithful citizens on Friday that as Catholics we don't sit on the sidelines of life. We believe that the Lord has entrusted us with the mission and a responsibility to bring our faith into action. I thank Joanne Welter of our Catholic Social Mission Office for helping to bring the workshops to our Diocese.
7. Proposition 200 Statement -- The Arizona Catholic Conference (ACC) this Wednesday will issue a statement on Proposition 200, the "Protect Arizona Now" initiative that will be on the November general election ballot.
The statement will explain the position the three bishops in Arizona (myself, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix and Bishop Donald Pelotte of Gallup) are taking in opposition to this initiative. The statement will be available on our diocesan Web site and the ACC Web site at www.diocesephoenix.org/acc.
8. 2004 ACC Voter's Guide -- The Arizona Catholic Conference, the public policy arm for the three Roman Catholic dioceses in Arizona, has issued its voter's guide for this year's elections. The guide does not tell Catholics how to vote. It presents the positions of Arizona candidates for state and national offices have taken on important public policy issues through a comprehensive survey.
The guide is available at the ACC Web site for downloading. We anticipate publishing the guide in next month's Catholic Vision.
9. Pastor Installation -- I look forward to being with the people of St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish in Tucson on Sunday for the installation of Father Gil Martinez, C.S.P., at pastor. Father Gil is eighth Paulist to serve as pastor at St. Cyril, which has been so ably ministered to by the Paulists since 1974. So, this is the 30th anniversary of the Paulists at St. Cyril, and a real occasion to celebrate! We are grateful to the Paulist Fathers for their dedication to St. Cyril Parish and School. The dimensions of the Paulist mission -- evangelization, reconciliation, Christian unity and inter-religious relations -- that the Fathers bring to our Diocese are real blessings for us.
10. San Miguel's Big Day -- This Wednesday is going to be an "awesome" day for San Miguel Catholic High School. The school community will be celebrating its opening with the entire Tucson community. Congratulations to Brother Nick Gonzalez, principal, Greg VanderZanden, president, and to the entire San Miguel High School community!
Special guests at the celebration will include: B. J. Cassin, whose Cassin Educational Initiative Foundation (http://www.cassinfoundation.org) is committed to helping religious congregations, dioceses and other groups begin schools in communities challenged by low educational attainment and limited academic options; Jim Click, whose involvement has been so critical, not only for the jobs that have been developed for the students but in the major fund raising for the school; and Brother Stanislaus, provincial of the DeLaSalle Christian Brothers, and other leadership of the Christian Brothers. Celestino Fernandez, president of the Board, and other members of the Board will be attending as well.
We have four students from San Miguel working at the Pastoral Center under the Corporate Internship Program. This program allows students to work at local businesses and assign their earnings to pay for more than 70% of the cost of their education. Our four San Miguel students seemed thrilled to be contributing, and we are thrilled to have them with us.
I appreciate very much the coverage our local news media have given San Miguel, including the stories by Stephanie Innes of the Arizona Daily Star and the column by Michael Chihak, the Tucson Citizen editor and publisher (http://www.sanmiguelhigh.com/news_article2.htm).
11. All Aboard! -- Let me share just a brief reflection from my experience last week at the meeting in Mundelein of the bishops whose dioceses receive assistance from the Catholic Extension Society.
The Society is celebrating the centennial of its founding by Father Francis Kelly, who was inspired to start Extension so that Catholics in economically challenged and rural and remote parts of the country could be supported in the practice their faith and in their desire to receive the sacraments.
Our group of 50 bishops watched a beautifully produced video about the 100 years of the Society's mission, and I was struck by how creative Father Francis was in his efforts to extend the resources of the Church.
To reach Catholics in remote areas, he and his supporters turned railroad cars into mobile chapels, complete with altar and pews. One of the special cars was named the St. Anthony Chapel Car. (You can see a photo at the Extension Web site at www.catholic-extension.org under "Who We Are," "Our History.") They also put chapels on wheels by using trucks to go across the country.
Seeing those efforts reminded me that creativity in ministry is needed in every generation to find new ways to carry on the mission of the Church. Think about things that we are doing today, such as using the Internet. Let's continue to be creative!
A comprehensive filing of a Chapter 11 reorganization case for the Diocese of Tucson is taking place this morning.
The first thing the Diocese's attorneys will file with the Arizona District of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Tucson Division, is a voluntary petition for a Chapter 11 reorganization. Later this morning, the plan of reorganization and other documents will be filed with the Court.
This Chapter 11 filing does not mean the Diocese is going out of business.
Under a Chapter 11 proceeding, the Diocese maintains its normal business operations while it develops, confirms and carries out a reorganization plan that will allow it to meet the demands of creditors with the goal of emerging from Chapter 11 in a way that allows it to continue to support the mission of the Church and to provide services through its ministries.
I have written a letter about this filing that is being faxed, mailed and e-mailed this morning to the parishes within the Diocese. I ask that this letter be communicated to the parish communities throughout this week and especially over this next weekend.
I urge you to read the letter carefully when it arrives, and you certainly are free to make copies for others to read. The letter also is available on the diocesan Web site under "Chapter 11." There is additional information at that Internet resource about Chapter 11 and the filing that the Diocese is making.
In my letter, I explain that this filing is taking place because I believe that the Chapter 11 process is the best way to respond to those who are seeking compensation for abuse they suffered by workers for the Church, a way that also will allow the Diocese to continue the mission of the Church.
I emphasize two things in my letter that I believe are very important at this time for the Catholic people in the Diocese: compassion and encouragement.
We need compassion to reach out to all those who have been harmed. I have written a letter to all those among us who have been harmed to express my deep sorrow for what they have suffered. That letter, available on the diocesan Web site, is being sent to our parishes. I ask you to read that letter and to reflect on how you can help bring about healing for all those who have been hurt.
We also need encouragement -- encouragement to continue the mission of our Church and the ministries of the Diocese that support that mission.
I am sure that those of you in the parishes and schools are going to have questions about this Chapter 11 filing. The parishes within the Diocese are represented by their own legal counsel, and I would anticipate that the committee the parishes have formed will be providing information.
The process of a Chapter 11 case is quite complex, and the Diocese is filing a great volume of documents with the Court. It is very important that we all have accurate information about the filing, the plan of reorganization and the process of Chapter 11. I will continue to keep you informed through our diocesan Internet site, through Catholic Vision and through Monday Memo.
Again, this Chapter 11 filing in no way means the Diocese is going out of business.
To the contrary, the "business" of the Diocese is to continue to support the mission of the Church and to provide services through a variety of ministries that are important to the Catholic people and to the communities in which they live.
We are continuing to do that, we will continue to do that, and I think the activities and events that I write about in this Monday Memo are evidence of that.
Let me close this opening portion of this memo the same way in which I close my letter of announcement:
Be compassionate. Be encouraged.
1. Detention Ministry Program Meeting -- I will meet this morning with program director Barbara Mattus and representatives of the Detention Ministry Program.
Pastoral services for the continually increasing inmate population in the correctional facilities across our Diocese is an emphasis of "Reaching Out to the Least Among Us," one of our six pastoral priorities.
I will receive an update on the program, and we will discuss the ministry's plans for the coming year.
I commend Barbara and the nearly 70 lay, religious and clergy volunteers for their dedication to the ministry of coordinating, facilitating and providing pastoral services to the inmates in prisons, jails and other detention centers within the Diocese.
2. Multi-Faith Meeting on Border Issues -- A multi-faith coalition of leaders from Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith traditions in Arizona is meeting this afternoon at Temple Emanu-El in Tucson.
This meeting is part of the on-going effort by faith communities in our state to address the moral dimensions of the migration from Mexico into the U.S. Also present at the meeting will be representatives of Catholic Relief Services, which provides services to migrants in Mexico, and the Arizona Ecumenical Council.
We will be dialoguing amongst ourselves in the early afternoon, and then Mr. Asa Hutchinson, Undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, will be joining us.
This is an opportunity for the coalition to dialogue with leaders of our Federal government to explore how we can work together constructively to prevent the deaths of migrants in the desert.
The coalition was organized by multiple religious congregations from Tucson and Phoenix last year. One of the key goals of the coalition is to help educate our own congregations on the important issues of the border and migration that we face in Arizona.
3. Proposition 200 -- I am very pleased that news media throughout the state provided coverage last week of the statement by Arizona's Catholic bishops opposing Proposition 200. The statement of Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix, Bishop Thomas Pelotte of the Diocese of Gallup and myself was released by the Arizona Catholic Conference on Wednesday.
I appreciate the acknowledgement of our position in a Tucson Citizen editorial last week that states the newspaper's own opposition to Proposition 200.
4. On the Road to Douglas -- I will be on the road to Douglas tomorrow to visit Loretto School and to meet with the priests of the Douglas area parishes.
I will be spending some time with the students, faculty and staff of Loretto and will hear from principal Sister Caridad Sandoval, O.C.D., about all the good things that are happening.
I look forward to being with Father Gilbert Malu, pastor of the Douglas area parishes, and Father Martin Atanga, the parochial vicar.
They and the deacons, parish staffs and parish communities are doing great work in a model of ministry that continues to evolve in our Diocese and in others around the country. Despite the challenges of the situation in which multiple parishes have just one pastor, the people of St. Luke, Immaculate Conception and St. Bernard are demonstrating the importance of seeing ourselves as a community of faith that is not limited by the boundaries of a parish or by the numbers of priests.
5. Meeting with the Recently Ordained -- Our quarterly meeting of recently (within five years) ordained priests will be this Wednesday. These meetings allow for sharing and discussion of the challenges and joys of ministry that the recently ordained are experiencing. More senior priests serve as mentors for the members of this support group, which has grown by three with the arrival of our newly ordained priests from Nigeria.
6. Day of Prayer for Priests -- This monthly "day away" in prayer and silence resumes after the summer break this Thursday at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks. I am very happy to see our priests making a commitment to attend this day.
7. Diocese of Pueblo Ministry Congress -- I will be at the Colorado State University Pueblo campus on Saturday for "Building the Fires of Hope," a ministry congress sponsored by the Diocese of Pueblo in collaboration with the Diocese of Colorado Springs. I will be speaking at the congress on "Reflections on Emerging Lay Ministry: Theology, Mission, Spirituality."
8. Diocesan Cursillo Retreat -- Members of the Cursillo Movement will be gathering this Sunday at St. Augustine Catholic High School for a day of prayer, reconciliation and healing. I will be celebrating Mass with the Cursillo Members at 10:30 a.m.
I am very pleased and happy for the Cursillo Movement in our Diocese that this event is taking place.
Much has been accomplished by the Cursillo Movement this past year to bring about more unity.
The old St. Mary's Church building in Stanfield now serves as the St. Mary's Cursillo Retreat Center. The task force that I appointed last fall to make recommendations on how to strengthen the Cursillo Movement has worked very hard to identify issues, concerns. The task force has had as it goals developing greater harmony for the Cursillo Movement with our parishes and other spiritual movements and the strengthening of the relationship between the Cursillo in our Diocese with the national Cursillo structure.
The task force is now serving as the interim Secretariat for the Cursillo Movement in our Diocese. The interim Secretariat will be making a report on its recommendations at the retreat.
9. Movimiento Familiar Cristiano -- I will celebrate Mass on Sunday afternoon with members of Movimiento Familiar Cristiano in our Diocese. The organization is part of the International Confederation of Christian Family Movements.
Working through networks of parishes and small groups of families, Movimiento Familiar Cristiano and the Christian Family Movement reinforce Christian values by encouraging their members to reach out in action to others in ministries that include foster-parenting, prison ministry, refugee sponsorship, religious education and couple counseling.
There is more information, in Spanish and English, about Movimiento Familiar Cristiano and the Christian Family Movement at www.cfm.org.
10. Welcome to the Bishop of Inchon -- I look forward to meeting this Sunday with Bishop Boniface Choi Ki-san of the Diocese of Inchon, Korea. We are very honored that the Bishop is able to be with our Korean Catholic Community here in Tucson as part of his visit to the U.S.
I know that Korean Catholics in our Diocese and Father Seung-Wook Kim, a priest of the Diocese of Inchon who provides pastoral care to the Community, are very excited about the visit.
Bishop Choi Ki-San is the second Bishop of Inchon. He has been very committed to the efforts of the Catholic Church and the Christian denominations in South Korea to work together for reconciliation between the South and the North.
11. Blue Ribbon for St. Cyril School -- We all share with great pride in the recognition of St. Cyril School in Tucson by the U.S. Department of Education as a winner of a 2004 No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School Award.
Dr. Mary Jane T. Pearson, the department's regional representative, presented the award to principal Ann Zeches and the faculty, staff and students on Friday.
The award signifies that St. Cyril is a model for the rest of the country in ideas and strategies to help students achieve that other schools might be able to use or adapt to their own unique needs.
Across the entire country only 256 schools will be honored with the No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon Award this year. What an honor when you think there are 90,000 public schools and 30,000 private schools in the nation!
You can find out more about this great achievement at the St. Cyril School Web site at www.stcyril.com/school.
12. Creating a Vocation Culture -- Calling all bishops, religious, priests, deacons, lay ministers, teachers, parents, young people, movement members and parishioners!
The "Creating a Vocation Culture" mini-congress is being held on Saturday, Oct. 9, at the Benedictine Monastery, 800 N. Country Club Road, from 1-5 p.m., with Mass to follow.
The purpose of the mini-congress is to bring together as many people as possible to develop a pastoral plan for "Creating a Vocation Culture" in our Diocese that will focus on praying, evangelizing, experiencing, mentoring and inviting. It is the goal of the planning committee that each team of participants will leave the mini-congress with an action plan to be implemented in their parish or organization.
I really would like to see every parish, school and movement represented at the mini-congress, and I sincerely hope that you will join me for the day. Thank you for your support of vocation ministry. It is crucial to the future of the Church. Contact Sister Jean Olmstead, S.B.S., at 520-792-3410 to register.
13. Encourage Our Seminarians -- I hope you have had the opportunity to see the new poster from the Vocations Office that features our team of seminarians. Again, my thanks to Chip Travers for the gift of his photography and graphic design skills in the production of the poster.
The theme and design of the poster has been incorporated into the "Encourage Our Seminarians" page on the Vocations Office resource on our diocesan Web site. The page has the photographs, addresses and birthdays of all our seminarians. I hope you will encourage them by dropping them a line to assure them of your prayers and support.