September 11, 2006 September 18, 2006 September 25, 2006

Five years have passed, O Lord,
five years of mourning and of tears,
of struggling to make sense and to go on.
Five years since crashing planes, collapsing buildings,
rivers of smoke and ash and fear brought death and fear.

Give us the courage to hope again, Father.
To pray even for our enemies, and for ourselves.
Give us the grace to be freed from hate
and unbound from the paralysis of fear.

Give us the freedom of the children of God:

Awaken in our hearts a firm resolve
"to reject the ways of violence,
to combat everything that sows hatred and division
within the human family,
and to work for the dawn of a new era
of solidarity, justice and peace."

We ask this through the Prince of Peace,
our Way, our Truth, and o
ur Life,
Christ the Lord. Amen.

-- Prayer of Remembrance, U.S. Conference of Catholics Bishops

I am in New York City today on this fifth anniversary of 9/11. During the flight from Tucson yesterday, I reflected on how the ripples from 9/11 continue to affect our lives and the lives of all with whom we share this world. I thought about how the things that were mundane experiences on Sept. 10, 2001, are now occasions of fear: going to the airport to board a plane, traveling by train, riding the subway, sitting in a cafe and even walking down a street. I thought about and prayed about the terrorism, divisions and wars that are the consequences of hatred and distrust.

I am here today to attend the quarterly meeting of the board of the National Pastoral Life Center. I am sure that in the opening prayer for our meeting we will pray for all those who lost their lives this day five years ago and for their families and for all those whose lives were forever changed.

Preparing for this meeting, I remembered that this is the tenth anniversary year of the Catholic Common Ground Initiative, which is one of the primary activities of the National Pastoral Life Center.

The Catholic Common Ground Initiative was inaugurated by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin with the release of a statement, "Called to Be Catholic: Church in a Time of Peril," on Aug. 12, 1996, in which he addressed the concern that polarizing the differences among Church leaders and members hinders the efforts to build the Church community and to carry out the Church's mission. The statement proposed working principles for dialogue within the Church and expressed the conviction that dialogue in an atmosphere of mutual respect will transform those who engage in it and will strengthen the Church. The ongoing work of the Catholic Common Ground Initiative represents a call to renewed dialogue within the Church and an effort to undertake and exemplify that kind of dialogue.

The message of Common Ground is for all of us: that we continue to open our hearts to dialogue with one another, listening and learning and striving to find the common hopes and yearnings in the human heart. It seems to me that the message of Common Ground holds out hope for our suffering world.

To memorialize 9/11, the Multi-faith Alliance of Tucson invites the community to a prayer service of hope and healing this evening at 6 p.m. at Temple Emmanu-El, 225 N. Country Club Rd. Many faith traditions will offer prayers, reflections and music. I thank Father Raul Trevizo, our Vicar General, for representing me at this service. A potluck supper will follow, and attendees are invited to bring a vegetarian dish to share.

The powerful graphic for 9/11 at the beginning of this memo is from the Knights of Columbus, who are calling on all people of faith to observe today as a "World Day of Prayer for Peace." The Knights began observance of 9/11 as a World Day of Prayer for Peace in 2004. A full page ad in today's New York Times includes the graphic of hands in prayer to convey this message: "September 11th: A day to pray for peace and those working to achieve it." You can download a beautiful prayer card that features the graphic at

1. USCCB Administrative Committee Meeting -- I will be in Washington at the headquarters of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops tomorrow and Wednesday for a meeting of the Administrative Committee. The committee's membership includes the chairmen of the various USCCB committees and representatives of the 14 USCCB regions. It provides oversight and guidance for the administrative operations of the offices and departments that carry out the mission of the USCCB. Among the committee's responsibilities is the setting of the agendas for the annual fall and summer meetings of the Bishops.

2. Retreat for Alumni of Quigley Preparatory Seminary High School -- I will be conducting a retreat this Friday and over the weekend at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois, for the alumni of Quigley High School Seminary from which I graduated and where I served as a teacher and rector for 15 years. It will be especially good to see the alums that I taught. I am always so encouraged to witness their continued commitment to the Church; some are priests and some are very involved in lay ministries. Quigley has just celebrated its centennial under the theme of "Celebrating 100 Years of Welcoming Young Men Who Welcome God's Call."

3. Catechetical Sunday -- This Sunday is the annual celebration in parishes around the nation of the ministry of catechesis. The theme for the coming catechetical year -- "Who Do You Say That I Am?"-- focuses on our efforts to deepen our understanding of Christ and our relationship with Him.

In his message for this year's observance of Catechetical Sunday, Bishop Donald Wuerl, chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Catechesis, wrote, "Recognizing, forming and thanking catechists are important responsibilities. In order to perform their ministry well, catechists need support all year long, not just on Catechetical Sunday."

I certainly echo those thoughts, and I hope that our parishes will be taking the opportunity of this Sunday to express their appreciation for all the dedication staff and volunteers who guide and assist the ministry of catechesis.

4. Convocation of Deacons -- I was delighted to spend a full day with our permanent deacons on Saturday during their annual convocation to reflect on our challenging responsibility to preach the Word of God. I was impressed by the commitment of the deacons to learn from one another. They modeled what can happen when people are working together, learning together and praying together. It was obvious that these deacons wanted to be even better preachers of the Word. They worked hard.
The goal was to make a slight step of improvement in their preaching. They were asked to present three stories: one from a large array of already constructed stories; one from their own experience; and one in which they told a Scripture story from the perspective of someone in the story, like the Prodigal Son, or the father or the elder son. They spoke without notes -- some for the first time. They gently prodded one another to do better with each story.
We had some stimulating conversation about preaching, its challenges and rewards.
I am grateful to Deacon Jim Burns, Vicar for Deacons, for his leadership in organizing and guiding the day. We are blessed with some fine deacons. The weekend time also was an opportunity for the wives of the deacons to spend some time together. They told me they went shopping, sat and chatted, and some even went to a casino! I am not sure whether they or their husbands had the better time. We got half of the winnings, which I think amounted to 32 cents.
Dr. Paul Duckro, director of the diocesan Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, gave the deacon community a fine update on the Safe Environment Program and answered a number of questions in this annual education opportunity.
Father Richard Troutman and Deacon George Scherf of St. Odilia Parish in Tucson were gracious hosts, and the Knights of Columbus served two very delicious meals.

5. "Journey to Hope in the Company of Saints" -- Last November, several of our parishes undertook a pilot project that involved information and inspiration about the essentials of Catholic Social Teaching. This pilot project, under the title of "Journey to Hope in the Company of Saints," was an effort to provide a Catholic context for the moral, legal and political dimensions of the phenomenal migration into our country.

I know that migration continues to be a source of great emotion, tension and frustration in our communities and around the nation. I know that there is misunderstanding about the stance of the U.S. Catholic Bishops that comprehensive reform of our nation's immigration system that respects human rights and dignity is the most effective response to the complex issues involved in the migration. In addition to the many opinions about migration that I hear, I also hear this question from many Catholics: "How should I, as a Catholic, respond to the migration?"

It is my firm conviction that it is from the moral guidance within Catholic Social Teaching that we, the Community of Catholic Faithful in the Diocese of Tucson, united in Christ, can find the answer to that heartfelt question. Based on the experience of the parishes in the pilot project, I soon will be inviting all our parishes and Catholic schools to explore Catholic Social Teaching.

6. Diocese of Tucson Liturgy Conference -- Registration remains open for "Enhancing Sunday Liturgy," our diocesan Liturgy Conference set for Saturday, Sept. 30, at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson. 

One of our diocesan goals for this program year is to increase and enhance participation in the Sunday liturgy. We have not had a liturgy conference in our Diocese in quite a long time, and the resources that will be offered at this conference will be a great assistance to parishes and schools. As of last week, registrations from 47 of our 74 parishes had been received. I hope to see representation at the conference from every parish and Catholic school.

You can call the Office of Formation at 792-3410 for more information or you can download the conference brochure and registration at our diocesan Website.

7. New Look for Diocesan and The New Vision/La Nueva Visión Websites -- If you accessed today's memo through the home page of our diocesan Website, you saw the new look that includes menu bars that provide easy access to diocesan departments and offices and to the on-line diocesan directory. Among the new features of the site is a diocesan calendar that will keep you up-to-date on important meetings and conferences. An emphasis of our diocesan site will be to provide downloadable forms and manuals that are important to parish and Catholic school administration.

The new look for The New Vision/La Nueva Visión Website ( includes updates several times a day from Catholic New Service of national and world Catholic news and links to the on-line service of Vatican Radio and to movie and television reviews by the USCCB Office for Film and Broadcasting. You also can view slideshows of photos related to diocesan news.

We have received several comments and e-mails commending the new looks for both sites, and I have passed those on to Fred Allison, our Communications director, and to Karl Bierach and Omar Rodriguez of The New Vision/La Nueva Visión.

8. The New Vision/La Nueva Visión Editorial Board -- Last Tuesday's meeting of the newly formed Editorial Board was very positive and productive. The members had a number of ideas about distribution, advertising and expanded coverage of parish happenings. I am confident that their ideas will bring a lot of new energy to this important vehicle of communication.
One of my disappointments in visiting some parishes is seeing stacks of The New Vision/Nueva Vision just sitting in back of the church. This can be remedied by inserting the paper into the parish bulletin as it is distributed after Mass. At least this would get the paper into the hands of our people.

9. Safe Environment Program Audit -- All of our parishes and schools have been busily collecting data these last several months to document their efforts to keep our children safe. The target date for submitting reports was Aug. 31, and I am happy to say that almost all the parishes and schools met that deadline. The Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection will be following up with those who have not yet submitted their reports.

All of the parishes now have active plans to protect our children and all those we serve. Each plan is developed and implemented to the meet the particular challenges and to build on the strengths of the local community.

This process of reporting each year on the implementation of the plan is critically important. Without regular reporting, we are liable to forget, and this cannot be allowed to happen. Without regular reporting, implementation can be neglected and deficiencies can go unrecognized.

I know that this annual reporting requires real work in an already busy schedule. However, I value very much the willingness of our pastors and principals and all those with whom they collaborate to review successes and failures, to seek consultation and to develop plans to improve.

No plan can be perfect at any given time, but we will continue to strengthen our Safe Environment Program and our efforts to prevent child abuse if we review our parish and school plans each year.

10. Recognition of Catholic Community Services and the Diocese -- The Metropolitan Pima Alliance's Common Ground Celebration has announced its nominations for its 2006 Common Ground Awards. Among the projects receiving nominations are Lalo Guerrero Barrio Viejo Senior Housing, which is an activity of Catholic Community Services (CCS); the Workforce Investment Board of Pima County Workforce Development Program, for which Peg Harmon, CCS chief executive officer, is a member on the Faith Board Subcommittee; and the Meth-Free Alliance Neighborhood Project, in which both Peg, representing CCS, and myself, representing the Diocese, participate.

The Metropolitan Pima Alliance is a membership organization of business, government and non-profit organizations that promotes dialogue, education and participation in public policy and decision making for Metropolitan Pima County. The organization's Common Ground Celebration and Awards recognize leadership, initiative, compromise and partnerships that extend beyond the boundaries of specific interests to contribute to the quality and success of the community.

11. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- Sister Jackie Koenig, O.S.F., died Aug. 30 at the Motherhouse of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. I remember writing in the Monday Memo for Holy Week of this year of her great faith and perseverance during her long struggle with melanoma. Sister Jackie's great dedication and her wonderful sense of humor touched so many lives during her 41 years of professed service to the Church. She was greatly loved and respected by the people of the parish and school communities of Mission San Xavier del Bac, where she served as principal. The funeral Mass was celebrated Sept. 2 at the Motherhouse.

Sister Magdalen Henne, O.P., died Aug 30. Sister Magdalen was among the legendary "White Sisters" of the Eucharistic Missionaries of St. Dominic who came to the Diocese in the 1940s. She served at Pio Decimo Center and at St. Augustine Cathedral, Holy Family Parish and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson and at Holy Cross Parish in Morenci. She also served as a social worker for Catholic Social Services in Phoenix and Prescott. She is survived by her sister, Mary Therese Johnston of Tucson.

Father Isaac Fynn, chaplain at St. Joseph Hospital in Tucson, has informed us that his brother Anthony died Sept. 1 after a yearlong illness. 

And, I want to share with you this e-mail that we here at the Pastoral Center received last week from Sonya Gutierrez:

So many of you are asking about Bishop Moreno, so I wanted to give you an update. 
Bishop Moreno was to receive a third round of chemo on Tuesday, Sept. 5. However, his doctor told him the chemo was not doing what they had anticipated so they could not continue with the treatment. He gave Bishop Moreno four options, and Bishop will be going with one of these. It's a different type of chemo, and they have had some success with it in some people. As you know, not all people respond to certain chemo treatments in the same way, so they hope Bishop will respond better to this treatment.   
I know you will continue to keep him in your prayers. Please remember his family as well.
He asked me to thank you from the bottom of his heart, and he continues to remember you in his daily prayers and Masses.

Vol. 4, No. 20
Sept. 18, 2006

Election season always seems to be accompanied by great expectations, especially at parishes. Some parishioners expect the Church and their pastor to speak out strongly for or against certain candidates based on their positions on certain issues; others expect the Church and their pastor to be totally silent on anything -- candidates or issues -- that appears on the ballot.

The experiences of some of our parishes during the weeks leading up to last Tuesday's primary election indicate that the expectations are just as great this election season as in the past.

It should be very clear that our Church, our Diocese and parishes do not support a particular political party or any particular candidate. We do not tell people which candidate or party to vote for and should not present issues in such a way that they can be construed to support a particular person or party. Sometimes, people with partisan positions want the Church to say what would support their candidate, but that is not what the Church does or should do.

Concern has been expressed that we need to make clear to our parishes that voter guides and other election information not issued by or reviewed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Arizona Catholic Conference or the Diocese should not be distributed or permitted in our parishes.

Entering these last eight weeks before the general election, I emphasize three very helpful resources for our parishes.

The first is "Political Activity Guidelines for Catholic Organizations." This document, from the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, provides assistance to dioceses, parishes and other Catholic organizations that are exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue in distinguishing activities that are permitted during election campaigns from activities that are prohibited. This guidance focuses primarily on section 501(c)(3) because it contains a prohibition, which has been interpreted as absolute, against participation or intervention in a political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate, as a condition of maintaining federal income tax exemption. The document is available on-line at

The second is our diocesan Pastoral Center. Pastors are urged to contact Kathy Rhinehart in the Office of Corporate Matters ( or 520-938-2528) or Fred Allison in the Communications Office ( or 520-792-3410) for assistance in answering questions about what activities or materials are permissible at the parish and what to do if unauthorized activities (such as candidate literature or issue "surveys" being left on windshields in the parish parking lot) take place.

The third is "Faithful Citizenship" at This Web site includes a very comprehensive election season parish information kit (in English and Spanish) that is based on "Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility," the statement issued by the USCCB in 2003. The statement communicates the Church's teaching that every Catholic is called to active and faith-filled citizenship, based upon a properly informed conscience, so that each disciple of Christ publicly witnesses to the Church's commitment to human life and dignity with special preference for the poor and the vulnerable.

In its incorporation of Catholic Social Teaching and in its guidance about what is legal for parishes to do during the election season, the "Faithful Citizenship" statement and Web site truly are excellent resources for pastors facing the great expectations of parishioners.

(A task force made up of the various public policy committees of the USCCB is in the process of reviewing the foundational "Faithful Citizenship" statement for revisions and updates before the next presidential election.)
The Church has a place in the public arena in expressing the values and moral positions that flow not only from our faith but also from what it means to be a human being.

As the Arizona Catholic Conference, the Bishops of Arizona soon will be issuing a statement on three propositions that will come before Arizona voters this November because we believe they touch upon basic human and moral concerns that are of interest not only to Catholics but to larger community as well. 

In the end, of course, a Catholic voter weighing all the available information must make the decision on how to vote on propositions and on candidates.

1. Interfaith Dialogue -- Interfaith dialogue continues to be a desire and priority for the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI has made clear the sadness he feels about the reaction in parts of the Muslim world to words he made in a substantive address to an academic community last week during his pastoral visit to Germany. There should be no misunderstanding that the Catholic Church prizes and values the cooperation of all faiths that bear mutual responsibility to work together for peace and an end to violence.
I have appreciated the occasions I have had to talk with members of the Muslim community in Tucson. The Muslim leadership in Tucson has joined a multi-faith alliance in speaking up for migrants and calling for comprehensive immigration policy change. I am looking forward to joining in an interfaith evening sponsored by the Foundation for Cultural Exchange to mark the end of Ramadan. The service will take place on Saturday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. at the Marriott Hotel near the University of Arizona.

2. Visits with Priests -- My annual visits with priests continue this week with visits to the parishes in the Santa Cruz and Cochise Vicariates. It has been encouraging to see the good work being accomplished in the parishes and to listen to the pastoral priorities of our different communities. It also has been very encouraging to hear the positive regard that our priests have for the work of the Pastoral Center staff that has been expressed by the pastors and their appreciation for the support they receive from the various offices of the Pastoral Center. I hope to summarize their affirmations and suggestions for the Pastoral Center staff when the visits are complete.

3. Diocesan Finance Council -- The Council meets tomorrow here at the Pastoral Center. Chief Financial Officer Tom Arnold will report on the recently completed audit of the Administrative Offices of the Diocese. I anticipate that the complete audit will be posted on our diocesan Website before the end of this year in conjunction with a report on diocesan finances that will be presented both on-line and in The New Vision/La Nueva Visión.

4. Study of Border Issues and Migration -- Priests from the Diocese of Phoenix will be visiting in our Diocese this week to learn more about the complex issues involved in the migration from Mexico. Father Tom Zurcher, C.S.C., Vicar for Priests for the Diocese of Phoenix, will be leading the delegation. I appreciate the opportunity to share with the priests how the migration impacts our Diocese and to hear from them how the Diocese of Phoenix is responding. Part of their visit will include a trip to Altar, Sonora, which is a major staging point for migrants awaiting the journey into the U.S.

Earlier this year, Bishop Joseph Pepe and a group of priests from the Diocese of Las Vegas visited our Diocese and Altar to learn more about the migration and to observe its effects first-hand. Many dioceses in the continental U.S. have felt the effects of the migration and have responded to the spiritual and social needs of migrants by establishing new programs and services.

Last Tuesday, Bishop Gerald R. Barnes, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, issued a statement that articulates very well why the U.S. Bishops are speaking out on the need for comprehensive immigration reform bill.

"It is our view that immigration is a moral issue because it impacts the human dignity and human rights of the person. It is an issue which should supersede political concerns. I call on our elected officials to move beyond partisan politics and negative rhetoric and work for a solution which repairs our flawed immigration system," Bishop Barnes said.

You can read the statement at

5. Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson -- The Foundation's Board of Directors meets tomorrow for the first meeting of the new fiscal year and will receive the results of the recently completed audit. Once the audit is approved, the results will be posted on the Foundation's website, The recently redesigned website includes hundreds of up-to-date articles and an on-line gift calculator to help you make the most of your charitable and estate planning. You can learn more about the many ways to include your parish or the Diocese in your estate plan or by calling Martin Camacho, executive director, at 520-838-2508.

6. Breakfast with the Bishop -- Another in the series of breakfast meetings with laity who are active in the mission of the Diocese and their parishes through their gifts of time, talent and resources will take place this Wednesday. These breakfast gatherings give me the opportunity to invite their advice and council.

7. Priests' Day of Prayer -- This month's Day of Prayer will be this Wednesday at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Pictures Rocks.

8. Pastoral Center Staff and Department Directors' Meetings -- Our monthly meetings for the staff and directors of departments will take place this Thursday morning.

During the meeting of directors, we will hear updates on the goals we have identified for the Pastoral Center.

9. Charity and Ministry Fund -- The Charity and Ministry Fund Board of Directors will meet this Thursday at the Pastoral Center. Agenda items for this quarterly meeting include: selection of a theme for the 2007 Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA); a sub-committee report on the grant funding policy for over-goal monies collected (if any) in the ACA; approval of formula used in determining parish goals for the ACA; nomination of new board members and election of officers; and approval of the recently completed audit.
Tom Smith, ACA director and our diocesan Stewardship and Development director, will be a speaker at the International Catholic Stewardship Conference to be held in Boston early next month. Tom will be talking about "Incorporating Stewardship Practices into an Annual Catholic Appeal." 

10. Diocesan Pastoral Council -- The Council meets this Saturday at the Pastoral Center. The agenda includes my report to the council and a review of the critical issues facing the Diocese. Also on the agenda will be a presentation by Tom Arnold, our Chief Financial Officer. We have been inviting the directors of the diocesan departments to our meetings so that the members can become better acquainted with the work and ministry that takes place here at the Pastoral Center. Tom will be informing the members about the Fiscal and Administrative Services Department.

11. Blessing of Grounds for Our Lady of the Angels Mission -- I will be in Sonoita this Sunday to bless the grounds of the future church of Our Lady of the Angels Mission. Father Gerardo O. De La Torre, S.X., administrator pro tem of St. Theresa Parish in Patagonia, and I will concelebrate Mass at 10 a.m. in Pioneer Hall at the fairgrounds. After Mass, we will process to the site for the new church site. Following the blessing, we will return to Pioneer Hall for refreshments.

As I reported in an earlier memo, it was through the generosity of Major Gen. (Ret.) Gene Renzi, in memory of his late wife, Faye Maria Renzi, that we have this beautiful site to further the mission of the Church in Southern Arizona. I also express my gratitude to Rep. Rick Renzi for facilitating the granting of this gift of property.

12. Movimiento Familiar Cristiano -- I will celebrate Mass this Sunday at 4 p.m. at Our Lady, Queen of All Saints Parish in Tucson 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

13. Quigley High School Seminary Retreat -- It was a delight last week for me to lead the retreat at St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein for alumni of Quigley High School Seminary from which I graduated a long, long time ago and for which I was honored to serve as Rector. It was moving to hear the testimonies of the alumni -- laity and priests -- and the impact they feel the formation that Quigley provided has had on their lives and faith.

My experience at the retreat made me even more convinced of the importance of our Catholic high schools and elementary schools. They leave lasting memories on our young people and positively impact their faith journeys.
While those journeys hardly ever are straight and come with ups and downs, some things seem to stick from our Catholic school education or parish religious education and come back as we grow older.

Passing on the Faith is a critical need for this 21st century. Whatever we can do to strengthen our Catholic Schools and our religious education programs is important and a priority for our Diocese. Supporting and promoting this coming weekend's Annual Collection for Our Catholic Schools is one very effective thing we can do.

14. Diocesan Liturgical Conference -- Registration for "Enhancing Sunday Liturgy," our diocesan liturgical conference on Saturday, Sept. 30, at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson has approached 500. That's very encouraging, and it shows the priority that many parishes are placing on our diocesan goal this year to increase and enhance participation in our Sunday liturgies. I am hoping to see all of our parishes and Catholic schools represented at the conference.

It's not too late to register! Information is available at

15. "Doing It Right"
-- Father Joe Baker, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Tucson, has shared with me his recent recognition from KVOI as a recipient of radio station's daily "Do It Right Award." The award commended Father Joe for the ministry to the poor that is performed by the Caridad Program that he founded 10 years ago and for which he serves as board president and executive director. 

16. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- With the death of Fernando Castro last week, we lost a true friend of the Diocese and a dedicated community leader. The faith and courage he showed through his long and difficult illness was characteristic of Fernando. He served as chairperson of our Catholic Cemeteries Board of Directors and guided the Cemeteries through some very challenging times. I was pleased to pray with Fernando, his wife Rosalee and their family at St. Mary's Hospital recently. I will join the family this Saturday as he is laid to rest at Holy Hope Cemetery. I was pleased to see his contributions to community and to his Church recognized in the Tucson Citizen and Arizona Daily Star. He did much good for others.
Also, please pray for the father of June Kellen, our Chancellor. He has been at St. Mary's Hospital for some time. We know how much June cares for so many, and we pray she feels our love and concern for her at this time.

Vol. 4, No. 21
Sept. 25, 2006

You have made my Monday!

Our diocesan Office of Formation has given me the great news that registration for this Saturday's "Enhancing Sunday Liturgy" Conference at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson is nearing 700, and that includes the 50 parishioners from St. George Parish in Apache Junction that Father Dom Pinti, pastor, will be bringing on a bus.

This great participation encourages me greatly that we are working together on our diocesan goal for this year to enhance and increase participation in our Sunday liturgies. The conference offers a wide range of workshops. The special choir of parish pastoral musicians and singers that has been assembled for the concluding liturgy numbers more than 100.

Registration is continuing, and I'm still hoping for representation from all parishes. Conference information and registration is available at

1. Blessing of Grounds for Our Lady of the Angels Mission, Sonoita -- Sunday Mass in Sonoita usually is celebrated at the community fire station, but for yesterday's Mass we gathered in Pioneer Hall at the Santa Cruz Fairgrounds.

St. Theresa Parish in Patagonia had been cancelled its weekend Masses to allow the full community of the parish to come together for this special moment in the history of the Catholic faith in this region. Joining parishioners of St. Theresa from Patagonia and Sonoita were friends from parishes in Nogales, Sierra Vista, Rio Rico and Tucson. Very special guests were the Sisters from Santa Rita Abbey and the Minim Sisters from Nogales. The liturgy was beautiful, and the participation was very enthusiastic and happy, demonstrating how eager the Catholic community of Sonoita is to have a church -- the Church of Our Lady of the Angels Mission. Certainly, no one was more proud or delighted than Father Gerardo DeLaTorre, pastor of St. Theresa Parish, which serves this mission.

Yesterday's beautiful fall weather was perfect for a walk!

We processed a half-mile from the fairgrounds to the site of the future church just like one big family.

When we arrived at the land that has been donated for the church, two horses in an adjacent field galloped up to the fence separating the two properties to see what we were doing. We gathered around an easel that held the architect's drawing of the church and sang "Holy God We Praise Thy Name." After the blessing, we sang "Now Thank We All Our God." We walked back to Pioneer Hall for a fiesta with great food and entertainment by the Folklorico Dancers of Lourdes School in Nogales.

Now, the hard work of planning, raising funds, reviewing drawings and construction awaits the community of Our Lady of the Angels Mission in Sonoita.
As Catholics of the Diocese of Tucson, we join in joy with the communities of Sonoita and Patagonia on this special day of blessing.

2. Presbyteral Council Meeting
-- The Council is resuming its monthly meetings after the summer break. The agenda for today's meeting at the Pastoral Center includes: a report on teacher salaries in our Catholic schools; an update on the growth in Pinal County and the need for a new parish there; feedback on the new Clergy Manual; a report on the Parish Pooled Investment Program; a discussion of the on-going formation policy for priests; and a presentation on the a plan to initiate diocesan leadership formation programs for youth leaders in the Hispanic community.

3. Meeting of the Santa Fe Province -- Father Al Schifano, our Moderator of the Curia, and I will be in Albuquerque tomorrow and Wednesday for this quarterly meeting of the Bishops of New Mexico and Arizona. One of the reasons that Father Al is attending this meeting is that an agenda item is the role of the moderator of the curia and the experience of our dioceses with the moderator of the curia. I will be happy to share just how important Father Al has been to our Diocese throughout our reorganization process and the parish incorporation process, in helping to organize the offices and departments of the Pastoral Center, in supporting the directors and the staff in their responsibilities and in taking on special projects in administration.

Another important agenda item will be a presentation by Marti Jewel, director of the Emerging Models of Pastoral Leadership Project ( Funded by the Lilly Endowment, this project is identifying and promoting emerging pastoral leadership models that nurture and sustain Catholic parish communities in the U.S. The project is providing research into pastoral leadership models in today's parishes and creating a national conversation about the role of "pastoral imagination" in developing spiritually alive parishes.

A specific focus of the presentation and our discussion will be the role of the "pastoral life coordinator," which in our Diocese we call the pastoral administrator. Canon law provides for the appointment by a bishop of a deacon, a religious or layperson to exercise the pastoral care of a parish with the support, guidance and supervision of the canonical pastor. Sister Guadlupe Jurado, O.P., at Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Parish in Rio Rico, and Sister Carole Ruland, M.S.H.S., at Santa Catalina Parish are exemplary examples of the important role of the pastoral administrator.

4. 2006 National Seminary Convocation -- I am very honored to be addressing the Convocation this Wednesday in Schaumburg, Illinois. The theme of the convocation is "A National Conversation on the Ministry and Formation of Priests in a Time of Change and Renewal."  That theme was selected in anticipation of the introduction of the fifth edition of the Program of Priestly Formation, which will be published soon. The convocation will provide opportunities for reflection and critique on its revised guidelines and effective implementation.

The convocation is a gathering for seminary leaders and those involved in formation ministry to both diocesan and religious candidates. The convocation is co-sponsored by the National Catholic Education Association Seminary Department, the Midwest Association of Theological Schools and the National Association of College Seminaries.

The title of my talk is "Seminary Formation in Changing Circumstances," and I will share some of what I will be saying in my column in the October issue of The New Vision/La Nueva Visión, which will be distributed at parishes this coming weekend. 

5. On-going Formation for Priests -- Father Leon Strieder will speak on The General Instruction (GIRM): Theology and Pastoral Practice at this Friday's session. His presentation promises to be a very thoughtful and positive reflection on the theological and pastoral aspects of the changes that have been implemented in the Eucharistic liturgy. Father Leon is a professor of sacraments and liturgy at St. Mary's Seminary in Houston. He will be one of the presenters at our Liturgy Conference on Saturday.

6. Annual Priests' Retreats -- The first of two successive weeks of Annual Priests' Retreat begins this Sunday. Both sessions of the retreat are being held at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks.

Father Charlie Wehrley, C.Ss.R., retreat director at the Center, will be the retreat master for the first session. His theme will be "Soul Journey: Discovering Our Hidden Wholeness."

Archbishop John Quinn, Bishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, will be the retreat master for the second session. His theme will be "The Modern Priest in the Gospel of John."

Please pray for our priests as they enter this most important time of prayer and spiritual renewal.

7. Respect Life Sunday -- "Created, loved, redeemed by God. Priceless!" is the theme for the 2006-2007 Respect Life Program that begins this Sunday. Since 1972, the Church in the U.S. has observed October as "Respect Life Month" and the first Sunday in October as "Respect Life Sunday."

The Respect Life Program provides information about Church teaching on the value and dignity of human life to the Catholic community and the wider public. 

The program combines education, prayer, services and advocacy on behalf of life.

I am grateful to those who deeply involve themselves in the effort to overturn Roe vs. Wade and to end the taking of innocent life through abortion. Their relentless voice is having an impact in helping our society to understand that abortion is not a solution but a grave problem. We need to continue to make possible alternatives for women so that abortion no longer seems the only or preferred alternative.
Likewise, I am thankful for the courage and conviction of many Catholics who see a linkage between all life issues and who consistently speak up for life in the many circumstances that threaten life. We see their involvement in many pro-life activities. An example: Father Dom Pinti gave the invocation at the dinner Friday evening in Scottsdale that began the 28th annual Arizona Right to Life Conference.

You can access the excellent articles and resources for this year's Respect Life Program at

8. Lay Leaders, Religious, Deacons and Priests Speak About Their Community -- Nearly100 people gathered in the hall at St. Luke Parish in Douglas last Thursday evening for an open meeting of priests, deacons, religious and lay leaders to surface their pastoral concerns and recommendations for the Diocese. I was very pleased by the turnout.
I presented my hopes for the Diocese and our priorities. I discussed the Arizona Bishops' position on three propositions coming before the voters in Arizona in November. I talked briefly about the Justice for Immigrants Campaign and the catechesis on the Church's Social Teaching that will be taking place in parishes the last three weekends of November.
I then listened for an hour and a half as people raised their concerns and offered their suggestions. The evening presented a focused pastoral agenda for the parishes in Cochise County and for all of us.
Among the issues that surfaced were: concern for divorced Catholics, especially those who cannot receive the Sacraments; concern for Catholics who have left the Church or who feel alienated from the Church and how we might welcome them home; concern for the younger generation and the need to pass on the faith -- what we value and profess -- to our youth and especially to those who seem indifferent or even hostile to the faith; the desire to get young people from the vicariate together so they can meet one another and become committed to their faith; and concern for developing a better response to Hispanics in Cochise County.
I know all of us left feeling good to be Catholic and to be part of a larger community that wants to do whatever it can to help others. And, it all begins with faith. Faith calls us not to stay on the sideline but to become active and involved in enhancing our community and deepening our relationship with Christ through the Sacraments. What tremendous power for good is present in our parishes if we could only realize the unity we have in Christ.

9. Arizona Catholic Conference Positions on Ballot Propositions -- The Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference have offered our positions on three ballot propositions that will be before the voters in Arizona on election day, Nov. 7.

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix, Bishop Donald E. Pelotte, S.S.S., of Gallup, and I are encouraging voters to vote yes on Proposition 107, the protect marriage amendment; yes on Proposition 203 to ensure quality health care and educational programs for vulnerable children; and no on Proposition 300 that would deny in-state college tuition rates to qualified students who came into the state at a young age and who graduated from Arizona elementary and high schools. 

In a statement we released last week, we clarify that while the Catholic Church does not engage in partisan politics and does not endorse candidates of any party, it does evaluate issues and takes stands on important public policy problems facing society. We encourage all citizens to exercise their civic responsibility by examining all the issues and by voting in this year's general election.

The full text of the statement from the Arizona Catholic Conference Bishops is available at

10. Celebration of Annual "Red Mass"
-- Please mark on your calendar Wednesday, Oct. 25. That is the date for this year's celebration of the annual "Red Mass," the Mass of the Holy Spirit, at 5:30 p.m. at St. Augustine Cathedral. The "Red Mass" is celebrated to invoke God's blessings upon the members of the judiciary, the legal professions, the legislature and local governing bodies, law enforcement, governmental agencies and all who pursue justice in their daily lives. A reception will follow in Cathedral Hall.  Everyone is welcome! The "Red Mass" is co-sponsored by the St. Thomas More Society of Southern Arizona and the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson.
11. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- We are delighted to know that Deacon Pete Grimaldo of San Martin de Porres Parish in Sahuarita is recovering well from a kidney transplant. The transplant was made possible by Juan Quihuis, a parishioner at San Martin de Porres, who donated one of his kidneys to Deacon Pete.  Juan also is recovering well. We pray for them both.

Juan's selfless act of giving reflects the Church's teaching on organ donation as articulated by Pope John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae when he noted, "…there is an everyday heroism, made up of gestures of sharing, big or small, which build up an authentic culture of life. A particularly praiseworthy example of such gestures is the donation of organs, performed in an ethically acceptable manner, with a view to offering a chance of health and even of life itself to the sick who sometimes have no other hope (Evangelium Vitae, no. 86).

Also, please remember in your prayers Maria Medrano, the mother Deacon Efran Medrano of St. Joseph Parish, who died last week.