Sept. 6, 2005 Sept. 12, 2005 Sept. 19, 2005 Sept. 26, 2005

Vol. 3, No. 21
Sept. 6, 2005

Deeply saddened by the tragic circumstances experienced by the hundreds of thousands who have been affected by Hurricane Katrina, all of us to want to respond in some way. I am grateful for the collection taken up over the weekend at all parishes. I also am grateful for the prayers offered, and I urge you to continue to pray that the Lord will guide the relief efforts. We mourn those who have died and pray for their souls and for the comfort of their families.

Clearly, many of those suffering are the poor and indigent, reminding us of our need to continue our efforts to create a society in which all people have access to a decent way of life.

On Sunday, I visited the Tucson Convention Center and was moved to see so many Tucsonans of all ages and faiths joining together to prepare to welcome displaced persons who may be directed to Tucson. Peg Harmon of Catholic Community Services was on hand all day Sunday working with other social service agencies to finalize plans to provide medical treatment and psychological assistance to those who have been traumatized by their experiences during and after the hurricane. Several priests were on call on Sunday to assist pastorally when people arrived. It is expected that a number of the people will be Catholic since New Orleans is a very Catholic community.

I met students and adults from a number of parishes and schools, including Sts. Peter and Paul St. Cyril and Salpointe who were folding clothes or preparing cots or making food. A number of parishes have volunteered their parking areas (St. Augustine Cathedral, Sts. Peter and Paul, St. Cyril, St. John, St. Francis de Sales among others) to receive goods needed by the people who will be arriving. A group from Our Mother of Sorrows Parish was downtown on Saturday to help setup the TCC to receive victims.

Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup and his wife, Beth, along with many city and county officials were on hand organizing and preparing a temporary home for victims. We can be very proud of our community and the deep desire felt by all to do something, anything, to be helpful to people who have suffered an indescribable tragedy -- losing loved ones, losing all their possessions, being displaced from their homes.
The latest news is that some people may arrive today (Tuesday). Our Diocese, in cooperation with the City and other faiths, will do whatever is possible to welcome the people and help them in their difficult adjustment.

A reminder: the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has designated Catholic Charities USA as the recipient of moneys collected for relief through diocesan collections. For parish collections, please make out checks for funds collected to Hurricane Katrina Relief, Catholic Charities USA and send the checks to the Diocesan Fiscal Office, P.O. Box 31, Tucson, AZ 85702. Individuals may make their checks out to Hurricane Katrina Relief, Catholic Charities USA and send them to their parish or to the Diocese. Donations may be made on-line t the Catholic Charities Web site,

1. Labor Day -- While yesterday's observance of the holiday understandably was subdued because of the great concerns over the Gulf Coast disaster, it still was an opportunity to reflect on "the work of human hands" and the contributions that our work brings to our society. The Church teaches that work is a fundamental dimension of human existence that, as Pope John Paul II expressed in Laborem Exercens, allows us to share in the activity of God the Creator. I am grateful for the pastoral work performed by of all of you in our parishes, schools and Catholic institutions.

2. Official Appointments -- I am pleased to announce these appointments that are effective Sept. 26: Father Rudy Rosales, pastor of Holy Angels Parish in Globe; Father Matthew Asemagema, pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Morenci, Sacred Heart Parish in Clifton and St. Mary's Mission in Duncan; and Father Juan Carlos Aguirre, administrator of St. Helen Parish in Eloy. I pray that the parishes will welcome them with open arms and work with them to strengthen the Church in these important communities of our Diocese.

3. Marist College Update -- Diocesan Property and Insurance Manager John Shaheen and I met on Friday with Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup, Marty McCuen, City of Tucson Director of Historic Preservation, and Randy Emerson, Director of Development for the Rio Nuevo Project, to discuss the Marist College.
I explained that while the Diocese wants the building to be preserved because of its historic value to the community, we are unable to commit to funding the necessary restoration. I said that the Diocese would be very open, if the building can be restored, to allowing the City to use it as a museum and a welcome center that would celebrate the rich culture of Tucson and the Diocese.

Emphasizing that he believes the Marist College is historically important to the City, Mayor Walkup said he hopes the City and the Diocese can form a "partnership" to find funds to restore the building.

The City asked that we continue with the shoring-up and stabilizing of the building and to use the City-sponsored grant of $60,000 from the State Historic Preservation Office and the $40,000 in matching funds from the Friends of St. Augustine to accomplish this. Mayor Walkup also requested that we perform a "Building Condition Assessment Report," the results of which he will share with the City Council and the Rio Nuevo Project Board. This report will be funded with leftover money from the grant.
We all agreed to meet in four months (the report should be completed by then) to determine the next steps.

4. New Members for Catholic Foundation Board -- The Board of Directors of the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson meets today and will welcome three new members: Jane Kerr, community volunteer and member of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish; Jim McCabe, Knights of Columbus field agent and member of St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish; and John Woods, director of planned giving for the University of Arizona Foundation and member of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish. Each has been appointed to serve a three-year term on the Board. I am grateful for their willingness to join in the work of supporting the religious, charitable and educational missions of the Church in our Diocese.
5. Retreat for Staff at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish -- I was very happy to respond to an invitation to direct a retreat this morning at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish for the staff. The retreat will be a reflection on the role of lay ecclesial ministers, based on the document that will be brought to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops this November, "Coworkers in the Vineyard."

The parish has developed a Retreat Ministry, and the Retreat Room in the Parish Activity Center provides a beautiful setting to "come away" and to be with the Lord. I hope all our parishes and schools can provide retreat opportunities for parishioners and for staff.

6. Diaconate Convocation -- Msgr. Anthony Sherman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat for the Liturgy conducted an interesting and well-received series of talks on the Liturgy to the diaconate community as part of their annual convocation over the weekend at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. He gave some history of our liturgical rites, discussed the role of the deacon in the Eucharistic celebration and described some of the changes Catholics can expect in the Liturgy over the next few years.
It was good to gather with our deacons and their wives. Father Tom Millane and the community of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton welcomed us with open arms. Deacon Tony Underwood and Deacon Jim Burns, Vicar for Deacons, did an outstanding job organizing the two-day convocation.

While attendance was good, some deacons were not present. I will write those absent a letter reminding them of the importance of gatherings like this and encourage them to make every effort to attend.

7. Scholarships for Seminarians
-- I am very pleased to share the good news of scholarships for two of our seminarians.

Jeffrey Zimmerman, a second year theologian at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, has been awarded a $2,000 scholarship from the Msgr. Henkes Seminarian Scholarship Fund honoring the late Msgr. Albert George Henkes, a priest of the Archdiocese of San Antonio. Msgr. Henkes also served 27 years as Spiritual Advisor for Catholic Life Insurance, the nation's ninth largest fraternal life insurer. They have awarded $219, 350 for seminarian education since 1987.

Emanuel Alday, a second year student at Mount Angel Seminary in Portland, has received a $4,300 scholarship from the Alfred Huber Burse Scholarship Fund.

Our congratulations to Jeffrey and Emanuel on receiving this most generous support for their formation.

Scholarship and endowment gifts for our seminarians are a great help to our Diocese. If you or anyone you know would like to contribute, please contact Tom Smith, Director of Development for the Diocese, or Martin Camacho, Executive Director of the Catholic Foundation. They can be reached at the Diocesan Pastoral Center, 520-792-3410.

8. A Clean Car for Vocations -- I know where I am getting my car washed this coming Saturday. The St. Francis de Sales Parish Youth Group will do a great job inside and out on my car and yours from 8 a.m. to noon in front of the Parish Center, 1375 S. Camino Seco in Tucson. The money earned will go to the Serra Club to promote Vocations in our Diocese.

9. Catholic Scouting -- I want to acknowledge the dedicated service of Chip Travers of Tucson as chairman of the diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting. In addition to his participation in Catholic Scouting, Chip is a great supporter of our Vocations program and serves on the Board of Directors of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona Inc.

With Chip ending his term of service, we are seeking a new chairperson. Letters will be sent to scouting units affiliated with parishes and schools to invite leaders to submit recommendations or to indicate their interest for serving in this volunteer position. Mike Berger of the diocesan Office of Catechesis is coordinating the search for the new chairperson. Applications for the position should be submitted by Sept. 20.

A reminder that the Annual Catholic Scouting Mass will be at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 25, at St. Augustine Cathedral.

10. Parish Incorporation -- As announced in the September issue of The New Vision/La Nueva Visión, information meetings about the process of parish incorporations are scheduled for October in each of the vicariates. In addition to being listed in the newspaper, the schedule of meetings also is available at The New Vision Web site and on the diocesan Website.

I urge all priests, deacons, sisters and parish staff to attend the meeting in their vicariate.

11. "A Call to Remember" -- This Sunday, the Multi-Faith Alliance of Tucson will hold a memorial service in honor of those who lost their lives in the terrible attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. I will be among the leaders of 15 different faith traditions present for "A Call to Remember" at 6 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El, 235 N. Country Club Rd., in Tucson.

Faith was an incredibly important support for our country on 9/11 and the sad days that followed. It is no less so as we look at the faces of the suffering amidst the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

12. Remember in Your Prayers -- Please continue to pray for Father Clark Moore, Father Mike Stallings and Father John Fahey as they continue to experience infirmities.

Vol. 3, No. 22
Sept. 12, 2005

The last of the 80 evacuees from New Orleans who were welcomed to Tucson last Wednesday were expected by today to find a home in our community, which is a tribute to how compassionately people in our community have responded to victims of the flooding of New Orleans and the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

I was among those who greeted the evacuees last Wednesday when they arrived at the Tucson Convention Center, and I witnessed an outpouring of love and care that spoke volumes of the quality of people with whom we live.

The weekend before last at the TCC, I saw teenagers, many from Salpointe Catholic High School and Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, carrying boxes, fixing beds, folding clothes. Some teens took the time to write notes that they placed on the pillows of all the cots in the huge hall that would be the temporary home for the evacuees. "Welcome to Tucson," was the theme of the notes. "Rest easy," was their prayer. "We love you," was the message.

Stacks of clothes, shoes, and luggage were piled up in the hall. Bundles of toys, books, toiletry kits were readily available, all given by Tucsonans who wanted to share. There were so many volunteers, so many things collected, so many offerings given that you were tempted to say "enough," but it could never be enough since all of it was given by people wanting to do something, anything to show they cared.

I saw people of every faith working side by side preparing for visitors they did not know, trying to think of everything that might make their arrival easier. I saw people of different cultures and backgrounds: city and county officials, doctors and nurses, titled people and ordinary people all pitching in together to make people feel welcome.

As the people arrived last Wednesday, each was received by an individual greeter who stuck with them like glue.

We heard that most who were arriving had left New Orleans just that morning. Some had been reluctant to leave. Many of the evacuees had never been in an airplane, had never been out of New Orleans and perhaps had never experienced such an outpouring of love. Many were wearing New Orleans Saints shirts, or shirts with the logo of the French Quarter or images of crayfish. Most were born in Louisiana. Their experiences were different, their culture was different, but no matter, they were newcomers among us and they were treated as special, as brothers and sisters.

Mayor Bob Walkup sat one-on-one for a long time with a man, listening to his story of woe. A woman minister in a wheelchair gave her full attention to a couple of men who looked weary, beaten down. I met a woman with disability who told me she could not do much but she had written a card to be given to one of the evacuees just to cheer them up.

A family of seven had come together to Tucson, and I was so moved by the mother's desire to proudly introduce me to each one of her family. She felt so blessed to be together and safe. She, like many others, said, "God is good."

In the huge hall where the evacuees would eat and sleep, a television tuned into CNN was a reminder of the horror they had escaped. Several men watched, transfixed by the coverage, and then they shared with me their own individual stories of rising waters and damaged homes and concern about loved ones. They thanked God for getting them through.

I was delighted to see so many of our religious women at the TCC visiting with evacuees, providing them with rosaries and prayer cards and praying with them. As always, our religious women are present in times of need.

As I was leaving the TCC last week, I met a group of five young men who were trying to communicate in Spanish with one of the security personnel who did not speak Spanish. I asked if I could help, and the men explained that they had driven from Caborca in Sonora, Mexico, with a truckload of toiletry kits and other items for the evacuees. They wanted to help. They explained that they had collected these items at home and brought them over the border to add their part to the effort. I thanked them, and they responded, "El Senor nos ha prestado su ayuda y igualmente ayudaremos a los necesidatods." ("The Lord has helped us and so we want to help those in need.")

There are many challenges ahead, but the unmistakable message of these past days for me is that the people of the towns and communities throughout our Diocese care mightily. Those who want to paint Arizonans as anti-migrant or anti-stranger or anti-newcomer should have seen what I saw last week.

1. Response of Catholic Community Services -- I am grateful for the response of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona to the needs of the Hurricane Katrina evacuees. CCS and its member agencies worked in collaboration with the Diocese, the City of Tucson, Pima County, the Red Cross and other community organizations to meet the evacuees' medical and social needs.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary Clinic responded by providing non-emergency medical care for those who were dealing with chronic illnesses or those whose conditions didn't require hospitalization.

Clinic Associate Director Maria Elena Acuna reported, "We've already seen people with diabetes and high blood pressure who have no medications, expectant mothers whose pregnancies are high-risk and a recent cancer surgery patient who has extensive follow-up care and medication needs. No one is being turned away." Referrals of evacuees to St. Elizabeth's came by way of the Southern Arizona Red Cross. Greg Davis, one of the Emergency Services Coordinators with the Red Cross, said, "St. Elizabeth's is the spirit of Tucson."

Catholic Social Service is offering case management services to help coordinate the breadth of services that will be needed for evacuees, and Pio Decimo Center is standing ready to provide temporary housing for a family in one of their Casitas.

CCS will continue to be a community resource for relocating evacuee families to more permanent housing and to assist with the distribution of essential household and personal items once their new housing has been identified.

2. Washington Meetings -- I am in Washington the first part of this week for meetings of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on the Laity and the Administrative Committee.

The Committee on the Laity assists the bishops in responding to contemporary issues facing the laity in the Church and in society. It also collaborates with initiatives proposed by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

The Administrative Committee is comprised of 47 bishops, including committee chairmen and representatives of the 14 USCCB regions in the U.S. A primary responsibility of the committee is to prepare the agenda for the November General Meeting of the USCCB.

3. Chapter 11 Update -- Today's hearing is scheduled to address additional settlements with claimants and an additional settlement with an insurance company. All parties are working toward the plan becoming effective by the end of this month so that the Settlement Trust can be funded and compensation to victims can begin.

4. St. Maximilian Kolbe Society -- Presentations were made at all Masses over the weekend at St. Monica Parish in Tucson to invite parishioners to join the St. Maximilian Kolbe Society, our Diocese's Detention Ministry Program. St. Monica and Our Mother of Sorrows Parish are the "pilot" parishes for our effort, under the inspiration and intercession of St. Maximilian Kolbe, to encourage and invite more participation in this important ministry. Presentations will be made at both St. Monica and Our Mother of Sorrows this coming weekend.

I thank all in the Detention Ministry Program who are making the presentations: Ralph McCormick, Sister Carolyn Nicolai, F.S.P., Deacon Jose Ojeada, Father James Mallon, I.C., Sister Esther Calderon, O.P., Deacon Richard and Lupe Ornelas, Deacon Nick and Lupe de la Torre, Vidal Haro and Armida Jiminez.

For more information on the Kolbe Society, please contact Barb Mattus, director of the Detention Ministry Program, at 520-298-0021 or

5. Catholic Charities USA Meeting -- Representatives from Catholic Community Services and its members agencies in our Diocese will be joining hundreds of leaders and staff of Catholic Charities agencies nationwide in Phoenix on Thursday of this week for the Catholic Charities USA 2005 Annual Gathering.

The theme of this year's meeting is "Journey to Hope and Community: Un Camino Hacia La Esperanza y La Hermandad," and while that theme reflects the focus on immigration policy reform that was planned for this year's meeting, undoubtedly there will be much discussion about the critical role of Catholic Charities agencies in Hurricane Katrina long-term relief efforts. I think that theme applies very well to the goal of the relief efforts.

On Saturday, I will be giving a keynote address on the need to reform immigration policy as part of a new annual process that will engage leaders and staff in setting social policy for Catholic Charities USA. In a special session on Saturday, members will gather to discuss and ratify a policy statement on immigration reform, "Newcomers: A Call for Solidarity and Reform." This policy statement will challenge all in the varied ministries of Catholic Charities to work in new and different ways and to rededicate themselves to the work of justice on behalf of newcomers to this country.

6. Arizona Interfaith Network Meeting -- Members of the Arizona Interfaith Network's five affiliates will convene this Thursday in Phoenix to seek commitments from business, political and religious leaders to act together to the improve the lives of families in Arizona.

The theme of the event is "Real Solutions for Real Problems Impacting Families," and issues to be addressed include immigration policy reform, heath care and the response of Arizona to Hurricane Katrina relief.

I will be participating in the meeting along with the bishops from the Methodist, Lutheran and Episcopal traditions and leaders of the Muslim, Jewish and Unitarian communities. Other participants will include Attorney General Terry Goddard, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, state legislators from both parties and key staff members from Arizona's congressional delegation.

The two interfaith organizations in our Diocese -- Pima County Interfaith Council and Yuma County Interfaith Council -- will be sending large delegations to this meeting.

7. Meeting with Judicatory Heads -- I will be among the leaders of religious congregations and faith communities in Arizona who will be meeting in Phoenix this Friday to continue our dialogue on immigration issues. The will meeting reflect on three areas: what each denomination or faith group has done and is doing regarding immigration; the two bills before Congress on immigration reform (effects of Hurricane Katrina may delay consideration of these important initiatives); and the perceived anti-migrant attitude in Arizona and how we can address this perception.

I will be sharing the efforts of the Catholic community in our Diocese, including: implementation of the "Justice for Immigrants" Campaign of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; participation in the Bi-National Migration Conference last June; our on-going dialogue with Chief Michael Nicley and staff of the U.S. Border Patrol Tucson District to address the deaths of migrants in the desert; development of a pastoral letter in immigration by the Arizona Catholic Conference; and participation in the Catholic Charities USA annual meeting in Phoenix that is addressing immigration.

8. Inviting People to Reconnect -- Among the many activities that resume at our parishes with the ending of summer is the ministry that invites and assists Catholics who have disconnected from the practice of their faith to reconnect. I am grateful for the efforts of our parishes, including "Alienated Catholics Anonymous" at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish and "Landings" at St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish, that have made this ministry a priority. These programs are a resource for other parishes that may wish to start such a ministry.

Very soon, we will be welcoming back our winter visitors. I hope we might make a special effort in all of our parishes to invite these individuals to come home. Personal invitations to people to return to the Church are the most important. Ask a neighbor to join you at your parish next weekend.

9. Memorial Service for 9/11
-- As religious leaders gathered at Temple Emanu-El in Tucson yesterday to remember the tragic events Sept. 11, I could not help but think how important faith is in time of crisis. This was true four years ago at the time of the terrorist attack and it is true today with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. As people of faith from many traditions, we can provide hope in the midst of despair. It gives me great hope to join brothers and sisters from different faith traditions in prayer. While we are not yet one in faith, at these interfaith services one gets a feel of what it would be like to be one. Moments like this move us forward toward unity.

Vol. 3, No. 23
Sept. 19, 2005

During last week’s meeting in Washington of the Administrative Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, we spent a great deal of time reflecting on the devastation caused on the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina and how we might continue our efforts to support the rebuilding of the dioceses and communities affected.

As a result of our reflection and discussion, the USCCB is establishing the Task Force to Coordinate the Catholic Response to Katrina. Bishop William Skylstad, president of the USCCB, has appointed Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston as chairman. Other bishop members of the task force include Bishop John Richard of the Diocese of Pensacola, Bishop Nicolas DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn, and Archbishop Wilton Gregory of the Archdiocese of Atlanta and former president of the USCCB. I will serve on the task force in my capacity as chairman of the USCCB Communications Committee.

This unprecedented task force of bishops and leaders of the Catholic organizations already deeply involved in the ongoing relief efforts will build on what is already being done and also seek to: support the many efforts of the affected dioceses; encourage a sustained response from the Catholic community; coordinate the many diverse efforts in order to increase effectiveness; assure accountability and eliminate duplication; and examine the future moral and policy implications of this disaster for the Church and society.

Among the Catholic organizations already involved are Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Catholic Home Missions and the Catholic Extension Society.

Many dioceses and other Catholic affiliated organizations have indicated great interest in helping. It was encouraging to hear the earnest desire of so many to assist.

As chairman of the Communications Committee of the USCCB, I was very pleased to announce that the Committee has set aside $500,000 from the Catholic Communication Campaign for grants to the dioceses affected by the hurricane to help them re-build their communications ministries. As soon as these dioceses are able to assess their needs in this area and inform the CCC, the Committee will handle their grant requests expeditiously.

In our Diocese, the generosity of Catholics to the Catholic Charities USA special collection for Hurricane Katrina relief has been outstanding. By last Friday, parishes had sent nearly $247,000 to the Diocese for forwarding to Catholic Charities.

Also, the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson has donated $5,000 to support the relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Katrina who have been relocated to Tucson. The gift was made through Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona.

CCS and its member agencies are working to meet the immediate needs of the evacuees, as well as planning to provide assistance for their long-term needs. Approximately 80 people have been relocated to Tucson from New Orleans. They are expected to remain here for up to three months.

1. Catholic Charities USA Annual Gathering -- Hundreds of Catholic Charities leaders and staff, including Peg Harmon and other staff from Catholic Community Services in our Diocese, gathered in Phoenix from Thursday of last week through yesterday to examine critical issues that affect the low-income and vulnerable people they serve.

The theme for the gathering, “Journey to Hope and Community,” which reflects the everyday work of Catholic Charities agencies, took on new meaning in light of Hurricane Katrina, as agencies work to provide help and create hope for hurricane victims and to help them rebuild their lives and communities.

From various speakers and workshops, immigration issues were discussed in-depth, and participants took part in a new annual process that engaged them in setting social policy for Catholic Charities USA.

In a keynote address to the gathering on Saturday, I affirmed the work of Catholic Charities as at the heart of our mission as a Church. I made four points:

Keep focused: Caring for others is at the core of our faith and we cannot be distracted by intra-church struggles that take away from reaching out to God’s littlest.

Relish diversity: Catholic means universal and reflects the openness we have to people of all backgrounds and cultures. Diversity should not divide us, but help us to see God’s presence in the many faces of humankind. All faith traditions have as central to their teaching the welcoming of strangers.

Listen to people’s stories: Like all people, the poor dream. Part of what drives people north is the dream to better their lives and the lives of their children. When you meet the migrant and hear their dreams you realize that they are much like us.

Do what you can: The challenges around immigration are complex and cannot be easily resolved. But we need to put together the efforts of people of faith, business leaders and political leaders to develop a comprehensive immigration policy that will make it possible to direct our enforcement efforts where they belong in keeping out drug dealers, human traffickers and would-be terrorists.

2. Recognition for Msgr. Ed Ryle
-- During its annual gathering, Catholic Charities USA presented its 2005 Vision Award to Msgr. Ed Ryle, former executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference (ACC).

The annual Vision Award recognizes an individual who, through his or her life and work, personifies Catholic Charities USA’s vision for the new millennium.

Among the past recipients of the award have been Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, Sister Helen Prejean, Father Fred Kammer, S.J., and Father J. Bryan Hehir.

We couldn’t be more proud of Msgr. Ed, who is a priest of our Diocese and is who now retired. Before beginning his 18 years of ministry with the ACC, he served as director of Catholic Charities of Arizona, which later became Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona.

While serving as executive director of the ACC, Msgr. Ryle became known at the State Capitol as “God’s Lobbyist” for his unswerving dedication to the principles of Catholic Social Teaching and for his efforts to curtail abortion, to end the death penalty and to advocate for the poor.

3. Recognition for Pio Decimo Center -- Also at the Catholic Charities USA gathering, the organization’s Family Strengthening Awards were presented to three outstanding programs within the Catholic Charities USA network that demonstrate excellence in support of families and the communities in which they live.

We were very proud to see Pio Decimo Center in Tucson, a member agency of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, receive one of the $25,000 awards. Congratulations to executive director Joyce Walker and all the staff and volunteers at Pio Decimo for their outstanding work!

4. Arizona Inter-faith Network Gathering -- Last Thursday, more than 2,500 members of five inter-faith and community action organizations, including representatives of the Pima County Interfaith Council and the Yuma County Interfaith Council, met at the Pilgrim’s Rest Baptist Church in Phoenix to seek commitments from business, political and religious leaders to act together to the improve the lives of families in Arizona.

Among the issues addressed was the need for comprehensive immigration policy reform. Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcaño, Episcopal Bishop Kirk Smith, Evangelical Lutheran Bishop Michael Neils, myself and a number of other religious leaders listened to the moving stories of migrants about their struggles that emphasized for us the need for reform.

5. Meeting with Judicatory Heads -- On Friday, the need for immigration policy reform was the focus of the meeting of the judicatory heads (leaders of religious congregations and faith communities) in Arizona.

We agreed to develop an e-mail list serve by which we can share with each other the initiatives of our churches, congregations and faith communities. We agreed to begin planning three institutes that will take place in Tucson, Phoenix and Flagstaff with the goal of acquainting our memberships with the social teachings on migration and welcoming the stranger held by our respective denominations and faiths. And, we agreed to hold an assembly at the State Capitol in January when the Arizona Legislature begins its new session to emphasize our opposition to anti-migrant legislation that has been proposed and to encourage legislators to develop socially responsible legislation regarding the treatment of migrants.

6. Inter-faith Meditations on Peace with the Dalai Lama -- I will be participating today in an inter-faith sharing of meditations on “Contemplative Practices for Creating Peace” with the Dalai Lama, Rev. David Wilkinson of St. Francis in the Foothills Methodist Church, Rabbi Thomas Loucheim of Congregation Or Chadash and Imam Abdul-Rahim Shamsid-Deen of the Muslim Community.

I feel very honored to be able to participate in what I am sure will be a very illuminating inter-faith experience. The Dalai Lama, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, is the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists and the leader-in-exile of the Republic of Tibet.

7. Chapter 11 Update -- Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the filing of the Diocese of Tucson for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Tomorrow also may become the “effective date” of the Diocese’s Plan of Reorganization, which means the Diocese can begin to implement the Plan, including the funding of the settlement trust from which victims of abuse will receive compensation for the harm they experienced. With the “effective date,” the Diocese will emerge from bankruptcy and will no longer be under the oversight of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Whether it occurs tomorrow or later this week, I will take the opportunity of the “effective date” to state publicly again my apology to all victims of abuse for the harm they experienced from priests and other workers for the Church and my commitment to them and to the Catholic people that this Diocese will do everything humanly possible to create safe environments for children at all parishes and schools.

8. Council on Youth and Young Adult Concerns -- The Council will meet tomorrow here at the Pastoral Center to review, discuss and plan for youth and young adult ministry programs for coming year.
Agenda items will include: a networking and social gathering for young adults at my residence early in October; planning for this year’s Junior High Fest (scheduled for Oct. 22 at St. Augustine Catholic High School); a review of the report on youth issues by Hispanic Pastoral Commission; vicariate gatherings with youth ministry and catechetical leaders to review formation and training opportunities and guidelines for promoting safe environments for children and youth at parishes; and the second annual Youth Recognition Dinner.

9. Mass at St. Augustine Catholic High School -- I will celebrate Mass this Wednesday with the students of St. Augustine Catholic High School. There also will be the installation of the high school’s student council members.

I am looking forward again this school year to visiting all our Catholic grade and high schools to affirm students, faculty and staff and to emphasize for faculty and staff the important role they have in the work of the Church in transmitting faith to our young people.

10. Charity and Ministry Fund Board Meeting and Retreat -- Members of the Diocese of Tucson Charity and Ministry Fund Board of Directors will gather this Wednesday at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Pictures Rocks for a meeting and a retreat. I look forward to being with the board for the afternoon retreat.
11. Catholic Tuition Support Organization -- I express appreciation to Father Fred Tillotson, O.Carm., for his faithful and loving service to the Catholic Tuition Support Organization. Father Fred is ending his term of service on the CTSO Board after five years as a member and as secretary.

I welcome Kay Sullivan of Salpointe Catholic High School as a new board member and Daneen Rivera as the new Administrative Assistant for the Catholic Tuition Support Organization. Daneen comes to us from Albuquerque. Her husband is stationed at Davis Monthan Air Force Base and her son, Patrick, is a sophomore at St. Augustine Catholic High School.

12. Diocese of Las Cruces Assembly -- I am very honored to have been invited to give a keynote address this Friday at the diocesan assembly in Las Cruces. This assembly of ministers is under the title of “The Eucharist: Liturgy for Life - Life for Liturgy.”

13. Catholic Foundation Board Retreat -- Members of the Catholic Foundation Board of Directors will gather this Saturday at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks for their annual retreat. This is an opportunity for the board to plan and set fundraising goals for the Foundation. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and goals for the Diocese with the board.

In the past year, the Foundation has distributed more than $200,000 in the form of grants and distributions to our Catholic institutions.

14. Annual Catholic Scouting Mass -- I will be presiding at the Annual Catholic Scouting Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral this Sunday at 2 p.m.

This annual celebration is a time to recognize the contributions of Catholic Scouts to their units and to their communities and to award emblems indicating individual accomplishments. Information about Catholic Scouting in the Diocese is available at the diocesan Web site under “Catholic Scouting.”

15. Jordan Ministry Farewell and Welcome Reception -- I will be joining members of the Jordan Ministry Team and friends this Sunday to say farewell to Father Mike Kendall, S.D.S., and welcome to Father Scott Jones, S.D.S.

We thank Father Mike for his ministry of service as part of the Jordan Ministry Team the past five years. Father Mike now will be focusing on detention ministry at the Arizona State Prison in Florence. And, we’re very happy that Father Scott has joined the team. He comes to our Diocese from the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama.

The Jordan Ministry Team is an outreach of the Salvatorian Community. It is a collaborative effort sponsored by the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorian Fathers and Brothers), the Sisters of the Divine Savior (Salvatorian Sisters) and the Lay Salvatorians. The Team offers a variety of program and services in coordination with the Diocese. For more information, visit

16. Help in Finding “Good” Used Cars -- We have a particular need at this time for help in finding several used cars, 1999 and newer and in good shape, that could be donated to the Diocese for use by some of our newly arrived priests and by transitory deacon Rev. Mr. Virgilio “Jojo” Tabo, who will be ordained in December. If you know of anyone who might be able to help out, please let them know of this need and refer them to John Shaheen, our Property and Insurance Manager, at 520-792-3410.

17. The “White Mass” -- I will be presiding at this Mass in celebration and acknowledgment of the contributions of all who serve the sick in health care ministry at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 18, at St. Augustine Cathedral.

All are welcome to participate in this Eucharistic celebration, with a special invitation extended to physicians, nurses, other care givers and health care volunteers and board members. Carondelet Health Network is sponsoring this special Mass as part of the observances of the 125th anniversary of their health care presence in Tucson and Southern Arizona.

18. Official Appointments -- Father Matthew Asemagema, pastor of Holy Angels Parish in Morenci and Sacred Heart Parish in Clifton, is appointed Vicar Forane for the Graham-Greenlee Vicariate. Father Matthew is the senior priest in the vicariate, and he will complete the term of Father Rudy Rosales, who is the new pastor of Holy Angels Parish in Globe. We thank Father Rudy for his service as Vicar Forane.

Msgr. Ambrose Nwohu is appointed as pastoral associate at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Tucson.

19. Remember in Your Prayers -- Please remember in your prayers: Father Gilbert Levario, O.C.D., pastor of Santa Cruz Parish in Tucson, who is recovering from open heart surgery to repair a heart valve; and Father Clark Moore, who continues to endure a serious medical condition.

Also, please remember in your prayers Mary Catherine Ronstadt of Tucson, who died last Wednesday at age 85. Our prayers and thoughts are with the Ronstadt Family, who like Mary Catherine, have given so much to Church and community.

Vol. 3, No. 24
Sept. 26, 2005

As federal and state officials continue to assess the damage from Hurricane Rita in the Gulf Coast areas of Texas and Louisiana, it appears that the destruction wrought by the storm is not as severe as that from Hurricane Katrina.

Nevertheless, it is likely that thousands of families may have lost their homes and livelihoods, creating both short and long term human needs that will test the ability of government and private agencies to respond even as they continue to address the continuing and massive needs caused by Hurricane Katrina.

As we learn more about the extent of the damage caused by Hurricane Rita, the Task Force to Coordinate the Catholic Response to Hurricane Katrina, established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, may very well have to broaden the scope of its work. I will be in Atlanta on Tuesday for the first meeting of the Task Force.

Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston is serving as chairman, with other bishop members of the task force including Bishop John Richard of the Diocese of Pensacola, Bishop Nicolas DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn, and Archbishop Wilton Gregory of the Archdiocese of Atlanta and former president of the USCCB. I am serving on the task force in my capacity as chairman of the USCCB Communications Committee.

We will be meeting with the leadership of the Catholic organizations that are participating in the Catholic supported relief efforts, including Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Catholic Home Missions, Catholic Extension Society, Knights of Columbus, Knights of Peter Claver and the St. Vincent De Paul Society, among others.

We will work together to support the many efforts to help; to encourage a sustained response from the Catholic community; to coordinate the many diverse efforts in order to increase effectiveness; to assure accountability and eliminate duplication; and to examine the future moral and policy implications of this disaster for the Church and society.

1. Presbyteral Council Meeting-- The vicars forane from the 11 vicariates of the Diocese will gather this morning at the Pastoral Center for the first meeting of the Presbyteral Council after the summer break.

More and more, our vicars are taking on new leadership roles in our vicariates, providing support and counsel to the pastors and priests, encouraging cooperative work among parishes and schools in the vicariates, addressing any conflict issues that may arise, assisting parishes to be accountable and responsible in implementing the safe environment program and helping in the coordination of the effort to incorporate parishes. All this work is above and beyond their own pastoral responsibilities at their own parishes. I am grateful for their dedication to the responsibilities of the vicar forane.

At this morning's meeting, Father Steven Barnufsky, O.F.M., and Father Matthew Asemagema will take the oath of office as they begin their responsibilities as the vicars forane of the Pima West and Graham-Greenlee respectively.

2. "Justice for Immigrants" Planning Meeting -- An extraordinary meeting of representatives of diocesan advisory and consultative councils, boards and commissions (including the Presbyteral Council, Diocesan Pastoral Council, Hispanic Commission, School Board, the deacon and women religious councils), directors of diocesan offices and departments, and leadership of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona and Carondelet Health Systems will gather this afternoon at CCS headquarters in Tucson to consider how best to implement the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform in the Diocese of Tucson.

In June of 2004, the USCCB Committee on Migration and The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, INC. (CLINIC) Board of Directors resolved to make comprehensive immigration reform, with special emphasis on legalization, a major public policy priority within the Church.

As part of the Church's response, a diverse group of Catholic organizations with national networks have decided to join the U.S. bishops and their archdioceses and dioceses in Justice for Immigrants: A Journey of Hope. This campaign will seek to unite and mobilize a growing network of Catholic institutions, individuals, and other persons of good faith in support of comprehensive immigration reform. Its goal will be to maximize the Church's influence on this issue, consistent with the immigration reform principles enunciated in the bishops' pastoral letter.

The Campaign's primary objectives are: to educate the public, especially the Catholic community, including Catholic public officials, about Church teaching on migration and immigrants; to create political will for positive immigration reform; to enact legislative and administrative reforms based on the principles articulated by the bishops; and to organize Catholic networks to assist qualified immigrants obtain the benefits of the reforms.

Our goal for today's meeting will be to consider how our Diocese can most effectively implement the campaign in parishes, schools, institutions and agencies and in the larger community.

3. Santa Fe Province Meeting -- The bishops of the Santa Fe Province will be meeting in Phoenix this Tuesday and Wednesday for their bi-annual meeting. Archbishop Michael Sheehan of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe will chair the sessions.
The focus of this meeting will be catechesis, and catechetical leaders from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and the dioceses of Gallup, Las Cruces, Phoenix and Tucson will be present. Bishop Moreno and Mike Berger of the Office of Catechesis will be attending from our Diocese. One of the biggest challenges we face is how to pass on the faith to our children, so I look forward to recommendations that might come out of this gathering. Catechetical leaders and the bishops will be meeting separately on Wednesday.

4. Welcome to New Religious -- I look forward this Thursday to the annual reception for religious women and men who are new in our Diocese. The reception gives me the opportunity to extend my personal appreciation for their presence, which is so valuable to us.

5. Anniversary for Bishop Tafoya -- I will be participating this Friday in the celebration of the Eucharist commemorating 25 years of the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Arthur Tafoya of the Diocese of Pueblo. The Mass will be held at the Colorado State Fair Events Center in Pueblo. The Diocese of Pueblo and the Diocese of Tucson are in Region XIII of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and it is a fraternal tradition that bishops in a region or province gather to observe the important anniversaries of each other's episcopacies.

6. 50th Anniversary of St. Theresa Parish, Patagonia -- "On Sunday, Patagonia will no longer be a mission of Nogales, but will be a parish in its own right." That is a quote from The Nogales International in October of 1955. The parish, of course, is St. Theresa, the Little Flower, and I will be joining Father Gerardo De La Torre, S.X., and the people of St. Theresa this Saturday as they observe the 50th anniversary of their parish's establishment. The dedication of the parish by Bishop Daniel J. Gercke was a huge event for the farming and ranching area, with "a two-steer barbecue on the church grounds." I know we will have a great feast for this 50th anniversary celebration!

7. Sunday Parish Visit -- I will be celebrating Mass this coming Sunday in Mammoth with the people of Blessed Sacrament Parish and Father Richard Kusugh, V.C., parochial vicar. During the Mass, I will bless chalices that will be used in the parish's Eucharistic Liturgies.

8. Gathering for Young Catholic Adults -- I will be welcoming young Catholic adults (college and post-college, age 18-35) to the Bishop's Residence this coming Sunday evening. This occasion is a result of the efforts of the Council for Youth and Youth Catholic Adult Concerns as we look for different opportunities to let our young adults know that they are an important part of the Church. Any young Catholic adult who may wish to attend can contact Mike Berger or Sister Charlotte Anne Swift at the Pastoral Center, 792-3410, for the time and directions.

9. Chapter 11 Conclusion -- Last Tuesday, one year to the day it filed for Chapter 11, our Diocese emerged from the oversight of the federal bankruptcy protection process. Last Tuesday was the effective date of the Plan of Reorganization, and the Plan, arrived at consensually through the focused and dedicated efforts of all major parties under the guidance of Judge James Marlar, is now being implemented.

I am grateful for all the prayers that were said that we might find a way to fairly and justly compensate victims of abuse, a way that also would allow us to continue the mission of the Church. And now, we are about the business of continuing that mission, ever mindful of the priority to provide safe environments for children at all parishes and schools.

I appreciate the editorial reflections of both The Tucson Citizen and The Arizona Daily Star that took note of the conclusion of the Chapter 11 by acknowledging the efforts of all the parties to bring the case to a just conclusion within one year.

10. Welcome to Kathy Rhinehart -- We at the Pastoral Center are welcoming Kathy Rhinehart to her first day of work today as the new Executive Assistant for Corporate Matters. Kathy, who has served with great dedication on the staff at Sacred Heart Parish in Tucson, will be assisting Father Al Schifano, Moderator of the Curia, and the parishes in record-keeping and other administrative responsibilities related to the individual incorporation of parishes.

11. Kolbe Society Presentations -- Barb Mattus, director of the Detention Ministry Program, reports a great response to the presentations that were made about Detention Ministry and the new St. Maximilian Kolbe Society.

On the weekend of Sept. 9 and 10 at St. Monica Parish, 45 people came forward to offer their services in a variety of ministries within the newly established Kolbe Society. The following weekend, 33 people from Our Mother of Sorrows Parish and 15 from St. Monica came forward to serve in the Kolbe Society.

The presentations were the first effort to invite parishioners to join in the much-needed ministry to the incarcerated within our Diocese. Members of the Detention Ministry program (Sister Esther Calderon, O.P., Deacon Nick de la Torre, Vidal Haro, Armida Jimenez, Father James Mallon, I.C., Ralph McCormick, Sister Carolyn Nicolai, F.S.P., Deacon Jose Ojeda, and Deacon Richard and Lupita Ornelas) spoke at the two parishes with enthusiasm, concern and heart-filled love for the incarcerated. Barb reports that it was obvious that they were speaking from the heart. I am grateful to them!

I also am grateful to the Father James Hobert of St. Monica Parish and Msgr. Tom Cahalane and Father Charlie Knapp of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish for their enthusiasm for and support of the Kolbe Society.
And, great thanks also to Annie Lopez for her assistance in coordinating the sign-ups and sitting outside in 100-degree weather awaiting the new volunteers during the 18 Masses of the two weekends.

12. Second Continental Conference on Reconciliation and Social Ministry -- Peg Harmon, Director of Catholic Community Services, just returned from the Dominican Republic where she participated in the Second Continental Conference on Reconciliation and Social Ministry Caritas. Sponsored by the Department of Justice and Solidarity of the Latin American Council of Bishops and the Latin American and Caribbean Secretariat of Caritas, the goals of the Conference were to create relationships between those building peace, to share successful experiences in the Church and elsewhere, to jointly develop areas of action to work together in ongoing peace building, to develop a shared vision of the region of the Americas and to develop goals to achieve a singe America called for by Pope John Paul II.
Peg participated with representatives from all countries in Central and South America, including representation from Canada and Mexico. It sounds as if it was a very valuable experience.