Sept. 2, 2008 Sept. 8, 2008 Sept. 15, 2008 Sept. 22, 2008 Sept. 29, 2008

Vol. 6, No. 19
Sept. 2, 2008

It will be my joy this Saturday morning to bless and dedicate the Msgr. Donald H. Hughes Pastoral Center at St. Ambrose Parish in Tucson.

You are most cordially invited to attend an open house at the Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This is a proud moment for our Diocese and for Father John Arnold, pastor, and the community of St. Ambrose Parish.

At last, we have a permanent home for our diocesan Archives.

At last, St. Ambrose has offices separate from the rectory.

For almost 100 years after its founding in 1897, our Diocese maintained its records and artifacts in the Chancery adjacent to St. Augustine Cathedral. In the 1950s, Father Francis Fox, S.J., appears to have become our Diocese's first "official" archivist, organizing the records and artifacts into our first formal Archives. Catherine "Kit" Dougherty served as archivist from 1976 to 1986 in an office located in the west end of the Chancery. Following Kit's retirement, the Archives were relocated to the library at Regina Cleri Center. In 1992, Dan Brosnan became archivist. For the next 14 years, Dan applied his considerable skills to maintaining our Archives and creating a museum section in which our historical artifacts could be viewed. With the establishment of St. Augustine Catholic High School at Regina Cleri in 2002, our Archives needed to find a new home.

In 2005, the new home of the Archives had been located: a building on the south side of the St. Ambrose Parish campus. Built in the 1950s as a convent for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet who had served St. Ambrose School, the building was large enough to accommodate the Archives and the parish offices, which were located in the first floor of the rectory.

The challenge of finding funds to renovate the building for the Archives and parish offices fell to Chancellor June Kellen, and it was quite a challenge as our Diocese was in the midst of the Chapter 11 reorganization. With June's gentle and persistent pursuit of funds and with the assistance of our parishes and private donors, sufficient resources were on hand to allow for the renovation to begin in 2006. (June, who retired last year, will be an honored guest this Saturday.)

After Dan's retirement in 2006, Nancy Siner became archivist. Along with Eduardo Huerta, our Chancellor since 2007, Nancy helped to guide the relocation of records and artifacts to the new home of the Archives, a process that was completed just a few months ago.

About Msgr. Donald Hughes, whose name graces the Center:

Msgr. Don was born in Greenwood County, Kansas, in 1905. With his father, he came to Arizona in 1917 to live on a large farm in Tempe that his father had inherited. After graduation from Tempe Normal (now Arizona State University), he tried out as a professional baseball player, but luckily for us he just didn't have the level of skills necessary. In the late 1920s, he was a teacher and served briefly as principal of Fort Lowell School in Tucson. After a fellow teacher (who was a Mormon bishop) told him that he would make an excellent priest, he entered St. Thomas Seminary in Denver. He was ordained by Bishop Daniel Gercke on Easter of 1936 at St. Augustine Cathedral. After serving at parishes in Nogales, Tucson, Globe and Douglas, he was appointed pastor of a new Tucson parish -- St. Ambrose. In the next few years, Msgr. Don and the parish community built the church, rectory, school, convent, youth center, hall and a community swimming pool.

Msgr. Don was a very innovative priest. He developed stewardship programs that were adopted by parishes and dioceses around the nation. He gave a presentation on stewardship to the world's bishops at one of the sessions of Vatican II. He produced and directed radio programs for catechesis and films to support the Bishop's Charity and Development Fund, the precursor to our Annual Catholic Appeal. He was an accomplished cinematographer and still photographer. He served at different times as Superintendent of Catholic Schools and director of Catholic Cemeteries. He was a founding member of the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson board of directors. Msgr. Don loved technology, and he was the first priest in our Diocese to have a satellite dish! He died in 1994, leaving to our Diocese legacies of innovation and generosity.

Why do we have Archives? What's so important about our Archives?

As with most everything we do, our Archives are rooted in the history and traditions of the Church. From the entry on "archives" in the on-line Catholic Encyclopedia:

"In 1587, Pope Sixtus V conceived the idea of erecting in Rome a general ecclesiastical depository to serve for archives for all Italy; the plan, however, was not found practicable, and the Pontiff then decreed that each diocese and religious community should establish and maintain its own local archives. The most detailed legislation with regard to the erection, the arrangement, and the safe custody of archives is embodied in the Constitution 'Maxima Vigilantia' of Benedict XIII (1727), the norm for the present discipline in this matter. As a result of mandatory decrees of provincial and synodal councils, archives are now found in every well-organized centre. Besides the Vatican archives and those of the various Roman Congregations, there are: the episcopal, or diocesan archives, containing acts of synods, documents from the Holy See, the minutes of the episcopal curia, records of ordinations and matrimonial dispensations, deeds of diocesan property, and reports of the spiritual and financial condition of every parish in the diocese."

The modern archives of dioceses and archdioceses fulfill all the functions required by canon law and many other important functions. For instance, the sacramental records held in our Archives are an indispensable resource for Catholics who are researching their family history. Also, the Archives are the repository of our diocesan patrimony -- what we have inherited from those who came before us, including the writings and correspondence of our bishops, diaries of our priests, photographs, films and recordings, sacred objects and vestments.

There is ample room in our new Archives for displaying our patrimony, and initial displays include a photographic timeline of the history of our Catholic Schools, a collection of Padre Kino art, artifacts associated with the Bishops of Tucson and some of Msgr. Hughes' photographic equipment.

Truly, our Archives show our love and respect for the gift of our faith here in the Diocese of Tucson.

I hope to see you at the open house this Saturday!

1. Annual Catholic Scouting Mass -- Catholic Scouts, their leaders and their families will join me at 2 p.m. this Sunday at St. Augustine Cathedral for the celebration of our annual Diocesan Catholic Scouting Mass. During the Mass, our Catholic Committee on Scouting honors those Cubs and Brownies, Boy and Girl Scouts, Venturing Crew members and Camp Fire USA boys and girls who have earned Youth Religious Emblems this past year. Also at this Mass, the Committee honors leaders in Catholic Scouting for their service.

Our Catholic Committee on Scouting serves young persons in the Catalina and Grand Canyon Councils of the Boy Scouts of America, Sahuaro Council of Girl Scouts USA and the Campfire Boys and Girls of America. The Committee is dedicated to promoting duty to God at each level of Scouting. The Committee is affiliated with the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, the National Catholic Committee on Girl Scouts and Camp Fire.

I am grateful to Jeff Hill, chair of the Committee, and all the members of the Committee for the work they do to support our Catholic Scouts and their leaders.

I am looking forward this year to sponsoring with Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll an event to encourage our pastors, principals, DREs and youth ministers to consider forming a Scout program in each of our parishes. Parishes and schools will be receiving an invitation to attend.
 
2. Alliance for Catholic Education
-- Last week, I enjoyed an evening with the young Catholic School teachers who are participating in the University of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) Teacher Formation Program.

The ACE Program gives young teachers from Notre Dame the opportunity to serve as full-time teachers for a two-year period in an innovative Master of Education program. ACE teachers spend two summers studying in the Master of Education program at Notre Dame and two school years teaching in a diocese that has a need for Catholic School teachers.

This is the eighth year of the ACE Program in our Diocese, and we have been blessed by the talents, skills and enthusiasm of the program's teachers.

The evening was hosted by Kevin Kiefer and Peter Corrigan, the principal and assistant principal at St. Augustine Catholic High School in Tucson. Kevin participated in the ACE Program in another diocese, and Peter and Ted Wallach, assistant principal at Santa Cruz Catholic School in Tucson, participated in the ACE Program in our Diocese. Also joining us for the evening was Dr. Rachel Moreno, director of our diocesan ACE Program and a professor at the University of Arizona.

This year's ACE Program participants and their schools are: Matthew Hourigan, San Xavier Mission School; Leigh Jacobson, St. Augustine Catholic High School; Elise Mitchell, Santa Cruz Catholic School; Jerremy Moreno, Santa Cruz Catholic School; Kaitlyn O'Leary, Santa Cruz Catholic School; and Michael Wallach, San Xavier Mission School.

Dave Keller, principal of Our Mother of Sorrows School in Tucson, currently is participating in the Notre Dame ACE Program for principals.
 
3. New Priesthood Vocation Discernment Group -- Father Mike Bucciarelli and Father Vili Valderrama, our co-directors of Vocations, are asking the help of all parishes in promoting a new "second career" priesthood discernment group aimed at men 33 to 55 years old. This group will gather informally on a monthly basis to discuss issues such as priestly life, ministry and vocation and to pray for and support each other as they discern the call of a vocation to the priesthood in the Diocese of Tucson.

Last week, the Vocations Office sent out bulletin announcements about the new group, which is yet to be named. I hope all our parishes will support this effort.

InSearch is our diocesan priesthood vocation discernment program for men younger than 33. It will continue to provide opportunities for service projects, retreats and gatherings. More information on InSearch is available at the Vocations Office page on our diocesan Web site. 
 
4. Pro-Life News -- The Southern Arizona Life Team, which promotes and coordinates Pro-Life activities, will hold a city-wide Pro-Life meeting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13, at the Father Joseph Baker Building, 845 N. Main. The agenda includes the Annual March for Life (Jan. 17, 2009), the 40 Days for Life Campaign (see below) and this October's Respect Life Month. You are welcome to contact Kelly Copeland at 520-818-9765 or kelly@kellycopeland.com for more information.

Tucson Right to Life N.E. has announced the 40 Days for Life Campaign will begin Sept. 24 in Tucson. The campaign is an ecumenical effort in more than 100 cities nationwide to end abortion in the U.S. by mobilizing prayer, fasting, community outreach and peaceful vigils at abortion clinics. You are welcome to contact Ann Downey at 520-749-5241 for more information.

The Board of Directors of Arizona Right to Life will present its McWhirter Award to the Knights of Columbus Arizona State Council this Friday. The award is being presented to the Knights for their "outstanding and faithful support to Arizona Right to Life as a committed and unwavering advocate for the sanctity of life in Arizona." The Knights of Columbus in Arizona donates more than $20,000 and thousands of volunteer hours each year to Arizona Right to Life and to other pro-life organizations.

5. The New Vision September Issue -- Managing editor Bern Zovistoski tells me we can expect the "most colorful" issue ever of The New Vision this coming weekend, with eight of the issue's 32 pages of news and advertising displayed with full color.

This issue features a report on the progress of "Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future" (our diocesan renewal campaign), a story about how your conscience should help you decide how to vote this fall and the text of the statement from the Arizona Catholic Conference that calls for passage of Proposition 102, the "marriage" amendment to the Arizona State Constitution. You'll also find a story and some photos about the participation of some of our Diocese's teens in World Youth Day in Australia in July and a story and photos about our Diocese's 10 seminarians.

As always, I ask our parishes to promote readership of our diocesan newspaper. Please mention it from the pulpit this weekend, insert it in your bulletins or hand it out to parishioners as they leave Mass.

6. Recognition of Father Kieran McCarty, O.F.M. -- The Patronato de Kino, a non-profit group that is promoting the cause of sainthood for Padre Euseibio Kino, S.J., will recognize and honor Father Kieran this Saturday for his lifetime of work as research historian on the Spanish Mission period and for his role in the 1966 discovery of Padre Kino's burial site in Magdalena, Sonora, Mexico. The recognition will begin with Mass at 10 a.m. at the Villa Maria Care Center, where Father Kieran resides. Also recognizing Father Kieran will be La Casa de la Cultura from the municipality of Magdalena de Kino, Sonora, Mexico.

7. Welcome to Katie Cerak -- We are very happy to welcome Katie to the Pastoral Center! She has joined the staff of the Human Resources Department as a receptionist and secretary. Katie is a native Tucsonan who recently has been living back East. She attends St. Odilia Parish.

8. Free Music for your iPod -- The Web site of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity (who minister in our Diocese and in 12 other dioceses in the U.S.) has a special "Song of the Month" page where you can download inspirational music for free.

Each month, the Sisters select an inspiring song or instrumental, and this month's song is "Here I Go," by Jaymne Dawicki. According to a report at Catholic Online, the Sisters say they selected it as a back-to-school song for college students.

Download it at www.fscc-calledtobe.org/living/index.php/category/song-of-the-month.

9. For Your Calendar -- A public Rosary seeking the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima for world peace will be recited from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 11, at Armory Park in downtown Tucson. The park is two blocks east of St. Augustine Cathedral.

10. Memories of "White Sisters" -- Julieta Gonzalez of our Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection is a contributor to The Tucson Citizen’s "My Tucson" column. Her column in today’s edition (www.tucsoncitizen.com/ss/opinion/95384.php) is about her memories of the legendary "White Sisters" (Eucharistic Missionaries of St. Dominic) who came to our Diocese in the 1930s to teach religious education to children. Julieta attended the Sisters' kindergarten at their convent, Pio Decimo, from which the Sisters did wonderful ministry to families in the neighborhood. Today, of course, Pio Decimo Center continues to serve the needs of many families as one of the six member agencies of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona.

11. Please Remember in Your Prayers – Please pray for the repose of the soul of John Cloud, the father of Father Chuck Cloud, who died last week in Tucson. The Funeral Mass was celebrated last Friday at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson.

Also, please pray for the repose of the soul of Salvador Carmona, father of Deacon Salvador Carmona, who died last week in Tucson. The Funeral Mass was celebrated yesterday at Sacred Heart Parish in Nogales.


Vol. 6, No. 20
Sept. 8, 2008


 "Our past strengthens our faith, our hope, our future!" was the theme of the dedication and blessing on Saturday of the Msgr. Donald H. Hughes Pastoral Center at St. Ambrose Parish in Tucson. The Center, the former convent at the parish, houses our diocesan Archives and the records and artifacts of our Diocese going back to its beginnings as a Vicariate Apostolic under Bishop Salpointe in 1868. The Center also houses the offices for the parish.
 
Today, while "change" is a buzzword, especially in the current political campaigns, the importance of the history of our faith doesn't change: we need to stay in touch with our past, our roots, from whence we have come.
 
It is fascinating to browse through the parish records, to see the artifacts and memorabilia and to read the writings of our six previous bishops and to learn from them about the challenges our Diocese has faced in its history.
 
The blessing and dedication ceremony, held under a tent in the Center's parking lot, included reflections by three special guests.

Father Greg Adolf, pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista, reflected on our history, emphasizing the importance of remembering and recording our past. He recounted a story about Msgr. John Tracy Ellis, a great Church historian, who mentioned in the forward of one of his books that in his research he had found all of the dioceses cooperative in opening their archives for his study except the Diocese of Tucson. This was during Bishop Gercke's episcopacy, and Father Greg related how he asked Bishop Francis Green why Bishop Gercke was so reluctant to allow Msgr. Ellis to view our archives. Bishop Green told Father Greg that Bishop Gercke was embarrassed that at that time our Archives consisted of unorganized collections of papers stuffed into a closet at the Chancery. Father Greg emphasized that would no longer be true for our new Archives.
 
Marty Ronstadt of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Tucson gave a reflection on the life of Msgr. Hughes, after whom the Center is named. It was fascinating to hear how much Msgr. Hughes accomplished in his life. He was asked to speak at Vatican II about his stewardship program that had become widely known. He was a man of the people who used his talents generously to carry on the mission of Christ. He was an example for all of us.
 
Patricia Preciado Martin, author and poet, reflected on the rich cultural heritage we have in the territory of our Diocese. She shared some of her interviews with members of families whose history in the area of our Diocese goes back for generations. She especially highlighted the Felix Family (cousins Socorro Felix Delgado and Irene Felix, who works at the Pastoral Center, were present). Her engaging stories reminded all of us about the importance of recording stories for future generations.

Father Van Wagner, our retired Vicar General, made our day even more special by making the first presentation to our Archives in its new location, giving us a book of mementos of the late Msgr. Art Gramer, a legendary priest of our Diocese who was pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson.

As a sign of her affection and appreciation for their dedication to the organizing of our diocesan records, former Chancellor June Kellen presented flowers to Judy Richins, June's former executive assistant, Irma Richardson, a wonderful volunteer, and to Nancy.

During the open house that followed the blessing and dedication, we enjoyed the entertainment provided by the Santa Cruz School Children's Choir, the Youth Group Band from Our Mother of Sorrows Parish and Lourdes Catholic High School Folklorico Dancers.

I encourage our parishes and Catholic families, especially those who are from St. Augustine Cathedral, who may have received artifacts over the years that are important to the history of our Diocese to consider giving or sharing them with the Archives. Your gifts will enhance and augment what we now have that tells our history.

I am grateful to June, to Dan Brosnan, former archivist, to Eduardo Huerta, our present Chancellor, to Nancy, to John Shaheen, our Property and Insurance manager, and to all those who contributed to the renovation of the building through their generous donations and the gifts of their skills.
 
I am grateful to all who helped in the planning of the ceremony, including Martin Camacho of the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson, Nancy and her husband Mark, Fred Allison, Sister Lois Paha, O.P., Mary Ann and Ace Hendrickson, Leslie Schultz Crist, principal of St. Ambrose School, altar servers from St. Ambrose, the Knights of Columbus, the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre, Santa Cruz School, Our Mother of Sorrows Youth Band, the Lourdes Catholic High School Folklorico Dancers and Los Changuitos Feos.
 
My hope is that you will visit our new Archives. Our Presbyteral Council will be meeting on Sept. 15 in the Center's conference room. Other groups, including our Diocesan Building Committee, are planning to use the conference room as well. I hope our teachers will bring students to view the displays and to learn about our diocesan history. Parish groups are welcome to visit the Archives. There is much to look at. Just give Nancy a call at 520-886-5202 to arrange a time for a visit.

We did take many photos Saturday morning of the interior of our Archives and the displays of artifacts, but I am not sharing them here because I want you to see for yourselves what a magnificent new Archives we have!

We hope to have the video of the reflections given by Father Greg, Marty and Patricia available this week at www.idiocese.org. You will enjoy hearing what they shared!

1. An Evening with the IHM Sisters – I had the opportunity Saturday evening to visit with the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This evening was another in a series of gatherings with the Women and Men Religious who are serving in our Diocese that Sister Rina Cappellazzo, O.P., our Vicar for Religious, is facilitating.

Twenty-one IHM Sisters presently live in Tucson, some who are now retired and who continue to pray for all of us. A number of the Sisters were born in Arizona and were baptized and confirmed by Bishop Gercke or Bishop Green. Sister Alice Martinez, local superior, welcomed Sister Rina and me to St. Ann Convent near Sabino Canyon.

It was inspiring to hear the Sisters share memories of their ministry in our Diocese, service that began in 1917 when they arrived in Tucson. They are a teaching community, and they began their ministry at Santa Cruz School in Tucson. They also served on the reservation at Topawa. Some Sisters taught "doctrina" (now catechism) around the Diocese, including the communities of Tiger, Mammoth and San Manuel. They worked hard, with hardly ever a day off – tremendous examples of what it means to serve. 
 
They began their own school, Sacred Heart, in downtown Tucson, and also taught at the Marist College after the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. We talked about some of their memories of Marist College. Sister Mary Dominic Pacheco remembered how the Cathedral used to receive altar wine in big barrels that were put in the basement of Marist College.

She also told us this story: Tucson, 1934. Sister Margaret and Sister Rosario were walking home one evening when a big car pulled up beside them. A man who was a passenger in the car asked the Sisters if they wanted a ride. "Sure," the Sisters said, as they were a long way from home.
 
When the Sisters got in the car they noticed some guns in the back. The man who had offered them the ride asked the Sisters if they knew who he was. They did, and they told him: "Dillinger." Indeed, he was John Dillinger, the notorious Great Depression era gangster.
 
"Aren't you afraid of me?" Dillinger asked. "No," the Sisters responded. He told them he respected Sisters because they had taught him. Dillinger delivered the Sisters safely to their home. On Jan. 25, 1934, Dillinger and members of his gang were arrested in Tucson.
 
Sister Veronica Yvette Loya, the newest member of the IHM Community here, talked about her vocation. She said she was inspired by the work of the Sisters and that Father Alex Mills, pastor of St. Ann Parish in Tubac, was influential in encouraging her to think about religious life. She was grateful for the encouragement her family and friends had given her to follow the call to the vocation of a Vowed Religious. We keep praying for more vocations.
 
The IHM Sisters' ministry among us today is focused on Immaculate Heart Academy and Immaculate Heart High School. They also host the Korean Catholic Community in Tucson at St. Ann Chapel. The Sisters also have a variety of individual ministries.
 
We can all be very grateful for all the IHM Sisters have done and continue to do for our community.

2. Meeting of Administrative Committee
– I am on my way to Washington, D.C., today for a two-day meeting of the Administrative Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Administrative Committee will prepare the agenda for the November meeting of the Bishops' Conference. There is always much to talk about. We will continue to develop a strategic plan for each of the five priority items identified by the bishops: Faith Formation and Pastoral Practice; Strengthening Marriage; Life and Dignity of the Human Person; Fostering Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life; and the Multi-cultural Diversity of the Church.

3. Pastor Leadership Development Program – This first-ever comprehensive program in our Diocese to help priests develop the competencies and skills needed by today's pastors begins this week with 29 priests enrolled.

I announced the Pastor Leadership Development Program last May, emphasizing that the program will address these challenging realities in our Diocese:

-- New pastors will soon be needed to replace many of our very experienced and highly valued pastors who are nearing retirement.



-- Newly ordained priests are being called upon sooner than ever to become pastors. In the past, a newly ordained priest might serve seven years or more as an associate before being named a pastor. 



-- Civil laws and requirements that affect our parishes as non-profit corporations have increased the administrative responsibilities of pastors.



-- The increasing number of lay employees and volunteers in our parishes requires that pastors have skills in organization, communication and delegation. Training in these skills generally is not provided in depth in seminaries.

-- Faced with a need to build future parishes on a larger scale with churches that seat 1,500 to 2,000 people, pastors must have the competencies and skills to manage large and complex parishes.


The program's first "class" of 29 is comprised of 11 current pastors, 17 priests who have been ordained within the last five years and a priest, while not a pastor or recently ordained, who wants to benefit from the program. (The Mentoring Program for the Recently Ordained is being incorporated into the Pastor Leadership Development Program. I have been meeting with the recently ordained for a number of years to help build fraternity and I will continue to do that as part of these sessions.)

The priests will attend eight three-day sessions over the next two years. One session will be held during each quarter of the year.

The curriculum for the program is focused on five key areas of competency: leadership; parish community; management and operations; ethics; and spiritual, social and cultural context. Associated with these competencies are 27 specific skills.

We are very blessed to have Paul Vernon as the program's manager. Paul has a wealth of experience in corporate training and teaching.

I am looking forward to joining this week's initial session.

4. Common Formation Program Class of 2012  – This weekend, I will welcome the members of the Common Formation Program Class of 2012 as they begin their four-year formation process for service to the Church in our Diocese either as lay ecclesial ministers or as permanent deacons. 

The goal of the Common Formation Program is to provide formation in the spiritual, pastoral, intellectual and human aspects of formation called for in the "National Directory for Formation, Ministry and Life of the Permanent Deacons in the U.S." and "Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord: A Resource for Guiding Guide the Development of Lay Ecclesial Ministry."

The course of formation will include the acceptance of the deacon aspirants into candidacy at the end of the second year. They will be instituted as readers and acolytes during the last year of their preparation. Ordination of the permanent diaconate candidates and certification ceremonies for the lay ecclesial ministry candidates will be set for June, 2012. 

Twenty-nine men and women from 18 parishes have been accepted as candidates for lay ecclesial ministry. Many of them are involved in different ministries in their parishes. Thirty-eight men from 23 parishes have been accepted as aspirants to the permanent diaconate. Of these, 36 are married. Nine of the wives of the permanent diaconate aspirants are candidates for lay ecclesial ministry. Eight deacon aspirants and six lay ecclesial ministry candidates will be coming from the western part of our Diocese (Yuma, Somerton and Wellton) and five deacon aspirants and six lay ecclesial ministry candidates will be coming from Sierra Vista, Benson and Bisbee. Other participants will be coming from parishes in Rio Rico, Casa Grande, Coolidge, Mammoth, Nogales, Oracle, San Carlos, Tubac and 14 Tucson-area parishes. The participants in the program range in age from 24 to 66.  
 
The Common Formation Program meets one weekend a month from August to June, with reading and written assignments following each session. The Common Formation Team, under the direction of Sister Lois Paha, O.P., our diocesan Director of Pastoral Services and the Office of Formation, prepares the curriculum and serves as instructors and formators for the program.  Priests, religious, deacons and qualified lay people also serve as adjunct faculty and facilitators for the monthly sessions.

Father Robert Tamminga, pastor of St. Francis de Sales Parish in Tucson, once again has been very generous to offer the facilities of the parish for the monthly meetings. Members of the parish Youth Group, under the direction Marian Gilbert, set up the meeting rooms and prepare and serve the Saturday lunch.  

Please join me in prayer and best wishes for the members of the Class of 2012 as they begin their studies to be formed for leadership in the parishes of our Diocese.

5. Anniversary of 9/11 – This Thursday, the seventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, we are invited by the Knights of Columbus to join in prayer for world peace. This will be the fourth year the Knights have commemorated the 9/11 anniversary of as their "World Day of Prayer for Peace."

You can download the Knights' special prayer card (below) for the day here.
 
The Tucson Multi-Faith Alliance invites all to attend "We Remember: A Multi-Faith Commemoration of 9/11," at 6 p.m. this Thursday at Temple Emanu-El, 225 N. Country Club Rd.

6. Aid for Monsoon, Hurricane Victims
– Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the overseas relief agency of the Catholic Church in the U.S., is responding to the dire situations of monsoon flooding victims in India and hurricane victims in Haiti. I encourage our parishes to promote support of CRS's efforts to aid the hundreds of thousands of people who are affected. Information on how to make donations is available at www.crs.org.

7. Gathering of Directors and Coordinators of Catechesis, Religious Education
Directors and coordinators of catechesis and religious education at our parishes are invited to a special gathering this Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson.

This gathering will allow our parish leaders in catechesis and religious education to meet one another, to share needs and priorities and to learn about resources that will assist them in their ministry. I look forward to being at the gathering and sharing with participants about our diocesan pastoral goal to strengthen faith formation and sacramental practices.

Please register for the gathering by contacting Janet Towner at the Office of Catechesis at 520-838-2544 or janett@diocesetucson.org. There is no cost for the day, and lunch will be provided.

8. Diocesan Pastoral Council
– The Council meets this Saturday here at the Pastoral Center. Our agenda includes further discussion on how our Diocese can support Catholic married couples in their vocation. We will be looking at the excellent resources provided by the National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, including the features of www.foryourmarriage.org, the Initiative's special Web site.

9. Movimiento Familiar Cristiano Among the groups in our Diocese that are dedicated to the support of Catholic marriage and family life is Movimento Familiar Cristiano. I will celebrate Mass with the group's members at 4 p.m. this Sunday at St. Joseph Parish in Tucson.

Part of the International Confederation of Christian Family Movements, Movimiento Familiar Cristiano works through networks of parishes and small groups of families to support Christian values by encouraging its members to be involved in ministries such as foster-parenting, religious education and couple counseling.



There is more information, in Spanish and English, about Movimiento Familiar Cristiano and the Christian Family Movement at www.cfm.org.

10. "Vote Yes for Marriage" – Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix and I, as the Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference, issued a statement last Thursday in support of Proposition 102, which Arizona voters will decide on Nov. 4. As the statement is not lengthy, I share it here.

Vote Yes for Marriage
A Pastoral Statement from the Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference
in Support of Proposition 102

Arizona voters will be voting on a number of important ballot initiatives this November 4, among them Proposition 102, which would amend the Arizona Constitution by providing a legal definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

We support Proposition 102, and we encourage the support of Catholics in our dioceses.

Our support is based upon our Church's teachings on the sanctity of marriage as a faithful, exclusive, lifelong union of a man and a woman joined in an intimate community of life and love.

The amendment to the Arizona Constitution that will result with voter approval of Proposition 102 simply states, "Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state."

We believe Proposition 102 is in alignment with our deeply held moral beliefs regarding marriage. We believe that without constitutional protection, Arizona's present law on marriage could be changed – to the detriment of society – either by court action or by legislative action. In effect, without constitutional protection, the legal definition of marriage as we understand it today in Arizona is subject to redefinition.

We encourage Catholic voters in our Dioceses and all voters in Arizona who wish to learn more about the Catholic meaning of marriage to revisit the pastoral letter that we issued in 2006 entitled "Why is Marriage Important to the Catholic Church?" This document may be found at www.azcatholicconference.org.

The statement is in this month's New Vision and at www.diocesephoenix.org/ac

11. Interfaith Support for Marriage
– The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced last week that a group of Orthodox Jewish and Catholic leaders has issued a statement saying the traditional understanding of marriage as between one man and one woman is "of critical importance to the furtherance of a fundamental societal interest."

The leaders urged those outside their faith traditions to recognize that they speak "from the truth of human nature itself which is consistent with both reason and the moral life." They asked "local faith communities to consider carefully the long held traditions of Jews and Christians on the nature of marriage as built upon the commitment of a man and a woman desirous of establishing a family for contributing to the common good of humanity."

The statement was signed by Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld of Young Israel Synagogue, Kew Gardens Hills, New York; Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York; members of the Consultation of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Orthodox Union; and members of the Rabbinical Council of America.

You can read the statement at www.usccb.org/seia/jewish.shtml.

12. Proposition 200 – Proposition 200 on the Arizona ballot for Nov. 4 deals with the regulation of payday loan businesses so prevalent in Arizona. The Arizona Ecumenical Council, of which our Diocese is a member, has issued this resolution urging voters to reject Proposition 200.

"Whereas the Bible has spoken clearly about loaning money with interest as in Exodus 22:25-27, Leviticus 25:35-37, Deuteronomy 23:19, and Psalm 15:5 and whereas the State of Arizona has already made it a law that consumer loans cannot exceed 36% APR (Annual Percentage Rate), and whereas payday loans primarily serve people who are financially insecure, and whereas the payday loan industry secured an exemption for themselves to allow 410% APR until the year 2010, and whereas the 2008 Ballot Initiative numbered 200 entitled "Payday Loan Reform Act" will not reform this practice because the initiative will lower the interest rate only to 391%APR and it will remove the sunset clause so the industry can continue to do business without time limits, and whereas the churches of the Arizona Ecumenical Council encourage all Christians to remember the care and concern God has expressed for the poor, and whereas our church leaders speak out against economic injustice, and whereas we wish to promote laws that do not take advantage of the poor, therefore, be it resolved that the Arizona Ecumenical Council encourages its member churches and all Arizona registered voters to vote No on Proposition 200."

While payday loan businesses make loans possible for people who otherwise would not qualify, the exorbitant interest rates drive people into further poverty and financial despair. Our State needs to follow the lead of other states and find ways to make it possible for the most needy to qualify for assistance without the pressure of predatory practices. 

I support the position of the Arizona Ecumenical Council and encourage voters to look carefully at this proposition and to study the issue carefully before determining how to vote on Proposition 200.

13. Making Church Teaching on Abortion Perfectly Clear
– A two-page fact sheet released last week by the ­Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
addresses some recent high profile misrepresentations of Catholic Church teaching on abortion. 

The release of "Respect for Unborn Human Life: The Church's Constant Teaching" was prompted by misleading remarks made by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi during a Meet the Press interview on Aug. 24. 

You can access the fact sheet at http://www.usccb.org/prolife/constantchurchteaching.shtml.

Archbishop George Niederhauer, writing in the Archdiocese of San Francisco's newspaper, has a thoughtful and helpful reflection in response to Speaker Pelosi's misstatements. He writes in the context of a bishop's responsibility to comment on issues or concerns that involve Catholics in his diocese. I encourage you to read the column at www.sfarchdiocese.org.

It should be perfectly clear that the Church has consistently spoken against the evil of abortion. We need to continue to teach that all human life is precious from conception to natural death. While some Catholics dissent and believe that abortion under some circumstances should be permitted, the Church has held and continues to hold that the taking of life in the womb as an end or means is never permitted. Abortion is an intrinsically evil act that never is permitted.

14. Respect Life Program – Resource packets for the 2008-09 Respect Life Program are being mailed to all our parishes in preparation for Respect Life Sunday, Oct. 5.

This year's theme – "Hope and Trust in Life!"– was inspired by Pope Benedict XVI's homily on Dec. 31 of last year in which he described a lack of hope and trust in life as "the 'obscure' evil of modern Western society." This theme complements key messages of the Holy Father during his historic visit to our country last April. 

The Respect Life flyer emphasizes Pope Benedict's call to U.S. Catholics "to proclaim the gift of life, to serve life, and to promote a culture of life."

Topics addressed in this year's Respect Life Program reflect the wide diversity of pro-life concerns: the role of conscience in voting; advances in stem cell research: where the real hope for cures lies; pornography; the African American community and the culture of life; "living wills" and persons with disabilities; and male grief and trauma following abortion.

Begun in 1972, the Respect Life Program brings Church teaching on the value and dignity of human life to the Catholic community and the wider public. The program combines education, prayer, service and advocacy. Respect Life Sunday is observed in virtually all of the 195 Catholic dioceses in the United States.

Downloadable copies of Respect Life materials from 1996 onward are posted in English and Spanish at www.usccb.org/prolife/programs/rlp.

15. Quinceañera Ritual Book To Be Released – "Order for the Blessing on the Fifteenth Birthday," the quinceañera ritual, will be published Sept. 19.

The Mexican-American Cultural Center in San Antonio developed the original text of the rite in 1999. The publishing office of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops acquired the rights to the text in 2007 and collaborated with the Secretariat of Divine Worship to complete the final text.

Msgr. Anthony Sherman, executive director of the Secretariat of Divine Worship, says the quinceañera ritual can help young Catholics "learn more about the importance of upholding one's baptismal commitment in a spirit of thanksgiving." The ritual is traditionally a rite of passage for teenage girls, but the participation of clergy, sponsors and others in a community celebration "allows others to get involved and make the same thankful commitment themselves," says Msgr. Sherman.

The ritual book can be ordered online at www.usccbpublishing.org.

16. Corrections in Bishop's Calendar – In the Bishop's Calendar for September in the current issue of The New Vision, the day of the month was omitted for two items. The correct information for Sunday, Sept. 21: 9 a.m., Mass, Benedictine Monastery; 2 p.m. Wedding Anniversary Mass, St. Augustine Cathedral.

17. Update on Father Bill Gyure – Father Bill Gyure, pastor of St. Philip Parish in Payson, continues to recover from his liver transplant. While his doctors have been impressed and pleased with his progress, they want him to continue his recuperation until at least December 1.

I am grateful to Deacon Ed Burgin for serving as administrator pro-tem. Since it will be a while longer before Father Bill will be able to return, Deacon Ed asked to complete his service as administrator. Father Thomas Dekaa, parochial vicar at St. Philip, will assume the role of administrator until Father Bill's return.
 
18. Marvels of Nature – Last week, I took two days away to visit Sedona. It was my first visit to this part of our State, and I was amazed at the beauty of the legendary "red rocks." The diversity of nature in our State is incredible. I will hold the images I saw firmly in my memory and prayers. Nature opens our minds and hearts to God and overwhelms us with sights and sounds that inspire.
 
I had a chance to hike the West Fork, a magnificent three-mile trek with marvelous views all around. The image of Cathedral Rock is stunning. Many of you may have seen it. I had only seen it in photos, but seeing it in person in all its grandeur was so impressive. I am glad I had my camera with me!

I love the hymn, "How Great Thou Art." Indeed, how great is God seen in the marvels of nature.

Vol. 6, No. 21
Sept. 15, 2008

We joyfully will celebrate the 8th Centenary of the Carmelite Religious Order with a special Mass at 7 p.m. this Wednesday, the Feast of St. Albert of Jerusalem, at St. Augustine Cathedral.

It will be my joy to welcome the Carmelites in our Diocese to this special Mass on the Feast of St. Albert, whom they honor as their Rule Giver.

I hope you had a chance to read the wonderful article about the observance of the 8th Centenary by Father Ron Oakham, O.Carm., in this month's issue of The New Vision. (If you haven't had a chance, here's a link that will take you to it.)

In his article, Father Ron, pastor of St. Cyril Parish in Tucson, tells you the history of the Carmelites and about the presence in our Diocese of the Friars of the Discalced Carmelites, the Friars of the Carmelites of the Ancient Observance, the Sisters of the Discalced Carmelites and the members of the Secular Carmelites. We truly have been blessed by the ministry of the Carmelites in our Diocese for nearly 100 years!

We were very pleased to receive at the Pastoral Center last Friday a beautiful tile mural that honors the five Carmelite Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War who ministered in our Diocese in the early 1900s. Peter Donaldson of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Tucson created the mural with tiles painted in Mexico. The mural will be displayed at the Mass this Wednesday. Peter will formally present it to Santa Cruz Parish next week.

1. Thanking Our Catechists
– Religious Education was the first ministry in which laity became engaged after Vatican II. Clearly, it is one of the most critical ministries by which the faith is passed on to others. I hold great respect for our directors of Religious Education. They have an enormous responsibility.
 
One of their biggest challenges they face is the recruiting, training and support of the many volunteer catechists who teach children, youth and adults. This Sunday is our Church's annual Catechetical Sunday, an opportunity to honor those catechists who work tirelessly to hand on the faith. (The theme of Catechetical Sunday 2008, "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church," is the theme the Holy Father selected for next month's Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.)

I hope this weekend our parishes will affirm and thank those who volunteer. I hope more parishioners will consider getting involved as catechists. We need them!
 
On Saturday at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson, I met with 30 of our directors of Religious Education. What a dedicated and committed group of people! They have a passion to lead others to Christ, and they do so under very demanding circumstances.
 
We discussed at the meeting the advisability of limiting the number of textbook series used in our parish Religious Education programs. This would allow more uniformity in our programs and allow for more focused training of catechists by using the resources of the publishers to assist us. The four textbook series we are considering to be required include Sadlier, RCL Benzinger, Loyola Press and Harcourt Religion Publishers. These were chosen because of fidelity to Church teaching, an integrated spiral curriculum, quality of sacramental preparation materials, availability of materials in Spanish, alignment with our Safe Environment Program's education requirements and the quality of resources for catechist training. There will be a period of time for parishes to adjust what they are doing to comply with the new guidelines. I will be discussing this further with the Presbyteral Council.
 
As you know, we have decided to focus this year on Faith Formation and Sacramental Practice as a pastoral priority. The Office of Catechesis will be providing catechist training, especially for outlying vicariates. We will explore ways to enhance adult catechesis in our parishes. We will work together this Lent on the theme of reconciliation (Father Miguel Mariano is heading a task force to develop plans). We will look at how the homily might be an opportunity for catechesis. We will form a committee to review the sacramental policies in our parishes in an effort to have more continuity in what parishes require of people seeking the sacraments.
 
Your ideas on how we can enhance faith formation are most welcome. The Directors of Religious Education offered some helpful comments. They encouraged greater use of technology. They considered ways of encouraging participation of parents while their children are in classes. They discussed the need for assistance in training and certifying catechists.
 
I am pleased and proud of the efforts around our Diocese to hand on the faith. I hope this year we can enhance those efforts even more.

2. Supporting Marriage – Our Diocesan Pastoral Council is eager to begin another round of listening sessions with parishioners, this time about ways that our Church and our Diocese can assist in strengthening couples in their marriage relationship.
 
Next month, each of the Council members will conduct a listening session in which participants will be asked to consider the blessings and challenges of married life and what our Church and Diocese could do to better support and strengthen marriage.
 
At our meeting on Saturday, the Council learned about the resources available from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage. We explored "For Your Marriage," the Initiative's excellent Web site at www.foryourmarriage.org. (There is a link to the site from our diocesan Web site.) We also were introduced to the findings of the survey of Catholic married couples that was conducted last year by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.
 
The Council members will bring the results of their listening sessions to the November meeting of the Diocesan Pastoral Council for follow up. I look forward to hearing the results of these listening sessions.

3. Celebration of Marriage Mass
– Our second annual Diocese of Tucson Celebration of Marriage Mass will be this Sunday at 2 p.m. at St. Augustine Cathedral.

We are expecting a Cathedral-full of couples (and their families) who are celebrating their silver and golden wedding anniversaries this year. It will be my joy to lead them in the renewal of their vows. Last year, at our inaugural celebration, we had a wonderful turnout –nearly 200 couples whose combined years of married life totaled 9,276 years!

4. Meeting of Presbyteral Council
– The Council's meeting this morning will make history. It will be a first-ever meeting of the Presbyteral Council in the Conference Room of the Msgr. Donald H. Hughes Pastoral Center at St. Ambrose Parish in Tucson. We just dedicated and blessed the center a week ago Saturday, so this is a great opportunity to introduce the vicars forane to the Center and to our diocesan Archives in its new location. Nancy Siner, our archivist, and I look forward to showing them the marvelous displays in the Archives.

The agenda for our meeting includes a report on the progress of Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future, our diocesan renewal campaign, an update on our efforts to find a solution to the situation of the Marist College building, a report on how to respond pastorally to women who have had an abortion and a report on the World Synod of Bishops that I will be attending next month in Rome.

5. San Miguel High School Phase III Opening and Blessing – Tomorrow morning, I will bless the building, classrooms and offices of the Phase III Campus Construction Project at San Miguel High School in Tucson. This will be a joyous occasion for Brother Nick Gonzalez, F.S.C., principal, Elizabeth Goettl, president, and the entire community of San Miguel High School in Tucson.

I join the students, faculty, staff and Board of Trustees in expressing gratitude for the benefactors who made Phase III possible: ABA Architects (Math Classroom); Chestnut Construction (Chestnut Commons); the Click Family and the Click Family Foundation (Click Family Student Center); Kim and Celestino Fernandez (Conference Room); Bruce T. Halle Family Foundation (English Classroom); Czarina and Humberto Lopez (Lopez Art Studio); Arnold Nicholas Millen Family (Campus Ministry Office); Debbie and John Rowe (Rowe Learning Resource Center); Tucson Conquistadores (Youth Athletics Equipment); and the William and Mary Ross Foundation (Physics Lab).

6. Vatican Observatory Foundation – I will celebrate Mass tomorrow evening with friends and benefactors of the Foundation. I am grateful to Father George Coyne, S.J., president of the Foundation, for this opportunity.

We are blessed in our Diocese by the presence of the Jesuit priests and brothers of the Vatican Observatory Research Group at the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory. In addition to their work as astronomers, the Jesuits are always so giving of their time to minister among us.

The Foundation promotes the work of the Vatican Observatory through support of special projects such as the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT) on Mt. Graham near Safford. By the way, this Thursday is the 15th anniversary of the dedication of the VATT.

7. Priests' Day of Prayer – The monthly Priests' Day of Prayer is this Wednesday at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks.

8. Pastoral Center Staff and Directors' Meetings – The staff and directors of the Pastoral Center offices and departments will hold their monthly meetings this Thursday.

9. Catholic Scouting Dinner
– I am delighted to be able to join the members of our Catholic Committee on Scouting this Thursday evening for an old fashioned cowboy cookout at the Bob Fee Ranch. This outing is made possible by the personal support of Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll. I will thank Jeff Hill, chair, and all the members of the Committee for their dedication to Catholic Scouting.

10. Meeting of Sexual Misconduct Review Board –Our diocesan Sexual Misconduct Review Board meets this Friday. Each quarter, these dedicated persons gather to offer me their counsel regarding the efforts of the Diocese to maintain a safe and loving environment for the children and youth we serve in our parishes and schools.

This will be our first meeting without Deacon Oscar Magallanes, who served on the Board from its inception. I was very pleased recently to receive his application to study for ordination as a priest of the Diocese of Tucson. After the same thorough review that all candidates undergo, Deacon Oscar was accepted into seminary. We will miss his wisdom on the Board.

Our agenda includes a look at the results of the recently completed audit of the Safe Environment Program. Each year, the Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection oversees the collection of data from all the parishes and schools in the Diocese. This process requires a great deal of work on the part of pastors and principals, compliance representatives and ministry leaders and is invaluable in helping us all continue to improve our efforts.

We will not learn for some weeks the final opinion of the Gavin Group, the audit team that is commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to audit the compliance of all dioceses with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. I am optimistic that the audit will find our Safe Environment Program in good shape and in compliance. I recognize and appreciate the hard work that has been done and continues to be done by our priests, deacons, religious and laity to accomplish our common commitment to realize the mission of Christ in our Diocese in a manner that is both effective and safe.

I thank all those who collaborate with good spirit in the system we have established to do just that.

11. Mass of Gratitude – I was very happy to accept the invitation of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration to celebrate a Mass of Gratitude at their Monastery in Tucson this Sunday at 9 a.m. The Sisters want to express their prayerful gratitude to their special guests for the Mass: the Knights of Columbus.

Tucson and Green Valley councils of the Knights have been of great assistance to the Sisters, taking on repair projects at the Monastery, providing a beautiful holy water font for the Chapel and a ramp and emergency lighting for the assembly room and holding fundraising events.

12. Ramadan – Ramadan is a month in the Islamic calendar that is set aside for greater religious adherence and reflection. The month includes fasting to strengthen one's self-discipline and almsgiving to help the less fortunate. The fast is daily, from dawn to sunset: no food, no water. The fasting ends at sunset with a full meal called the Iftaar to which friends and family are invited.
 
I was honored to receive an invitation from Emre Araci to share in the Iftaar meal at the home of Ercan Aydogdu. His family is Turkish and lives in Tucson. The Islamic community in Tucson is very diverse, including a number of Muslims from Turkey, some of whom study at the University of Arizona. I look forward to this experience in the Turkish culture and to the hospitality of this sacred month for Muslims.

13. End of An Era – For the past 17 years, Ruben Davalos has been director of our diocesan Evangelization and Hispanic ministries. His tireless efforts to bring people to the Lord and to encourage and support our Hispanic community have been a true blessing and gift for our Diocese.
 
Ruben has decided to retire at the end of this month, and he leaves behind years of dedicated service and a burning zeal to deepen the faith life of others. From his work with System of Integral New Evangelization (SINE), his cooperation with our priests, his helping to form the Diocesan Hispanic Commission and his oversight of Hispanic spiritual movements, Ruben has contributed to the mission of our Diocese.
 
For many years, Ruben and his wife Maria, now retired, traveled all around the Diocese to do their work. They logged countless miles for the Lord.
 
My prayer is that Ruben will enjoy retirement and recall often the good work he did for the Diocese of Tucson.
 
Ruben will stay involved even in retirement. He is considering the possibility of assisting the New Vision in securing Hispanic advertisers.
 
14. Thanks and Farewell – The Bishop Moreno Pastoral Center staff will honor and thank Ruben and Tom Smith, who also retires at the end of this month, on Oct. 2 for their service to our Diocese. I know I speak for many in our Diocese in thanking Ruben and Tom for their generous service. They will be missed.
 
15. Announcement of Appointments – Father Matthew Williams, O.C.D., provincial of the California-Arizona Province Discalced Carmelite Friars, has announced that Father Gilbert Levario, O.C.D., pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Tucson, will be taking a medical leave sabbatical, perhaps in Tucson.  Let us pray for his full recovery.
 
Father Phillip Sullivan, O.C.D., currently parochial vicar at Santa Cruz Parish in Tucson, will become the Administrator of St. Margaret Mary Parish.
 
Father Matthew Williams, a diocesan priest from Ghana, will serve as parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish in Miami and at Holy Angels Parish in Globe.
 
Father Melchisedek Akpan, a Via Cristi priest from Nigeria, will serve as parochial vicar at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Maricopa.

16. Win an iPod!
– Visitors to the Faithful Citizenship website at www.faithfulcitizenship.org can now sign up for a Faithful Citizenship e-mail list and be registered to win an iPod that includes Catholic podcasts.

Also, Faithful Citizenship now has a Facebook page . (You must create a free account with Facebook before you can access this page.) In addition, two videos from the Web site, "Faithful Citizenship: A Matter of Conscience" and the "Video Quiz with Steve Angrisano" have been uploaded to YouTube for viewing.

17. Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross – Our Lord's Holy Cross is the patron of Santa Cruz Parish in Tucson, and it was my joy yesterday on the feast day to celebrate Mass with the Santa Cruz community. 

The church was packed for their patronal feast day celebration. Parishioners expressed their joy at the vibrancy of their parish. People are being invited to get involved and they are responding. When people are asked, they respond.

I was delighted to see the young people of the parish performing various ministries. Father Phillip Sullivan, O.C.D., parochial vicar, is working very hard with the Santa Cruz Youth Group, which in the past was famous in Tucson. Many adults in the community look back to their days in the Santa Cruz Youth Group as the reason they are still involved in the Church. It must be encouraging for them to see the program so active.
 
18. Remember in Your Prayers – I received word yesterday that Dr. Dean Hoge, a sociologist and well-known researcher on the Catholic Church, had died last week. Dr. Hoge was the keynote presenter at our Priests’ Convocation last April. He came to the Convocation even after having had heart surgery just weeks before. While with us at the Convocation he had felt ill, and when he returned home he learned that he had stomach cancer. We pray for the repose of his soul and for his family.

Please pray for victims of the tragic accident on I-10 Friday night. Some of the young people in a van from San Manuel High School that was involved in the accident are from St. Bartholomew Parish in San Manuel. We pray for their full and speedy recovery. The occupants of a car involved the accident were killed. We pray for the repose of their souls and for their families.
 
Our parishes and communities of faith have such an important role in offering solace and support to families in tragic situations. This was so this past Friday after Kevin Robinson-Barajas, a sophomore at Tucson High Magnet School, died after being struck by a school bus in the early morning. That afternoon, a Mass to comfort Kevin's family and friends was celebrated at St. Thomas More Newman Center Parish at the University of Arizona. Father Bart Hutcherson, O.P., pastor, Father James Moore, O.P., parochial vicar, Father Emmerich Vogt, provincial of the Western Dominican Province who was visiting the parish, and the parish community of St. Thomas Moore came together to show their concern for Kevin's family. Kevin's mother is on the staff of the Flandrau Planetarium at the UA.

Vol. 6, No. 22
Sept. 22, 2008


St. Augustine Cathedral was filled yesterday with married couples celebrating their 25th, 50th, 60th anniversaries and beyond – 170 couples from all around the Diocese! Among them were Sarah and Paul Velasco of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Benson, who are celebrating their 66th anniversary this year.

What a beautiful and inspiring gathering!

It was a blessing for me to witness all these couples renewing their vows. I watched as they turned toward each other, joined their right hands and said their vows. Their words were just as meaningful at that moment – maybe even more  – as they were on the day of their wedding.
 
They understand more fully now the meaning and sacrifice involved in the words of their vows: "I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life."
 
In my homily, I referred to the question posed to couples on the street as part of the For Your Marriage Project of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops – "What have you done for your marriage today?" (www.foryourmarriage.org)
 
The responses made by people interviewed remind us of how important it is to do the little things that make a big difference in a marriage.

One wife said, "I gave my husband a great big hug." Another commented, "I put mustard and mayonnaise on his sandwich." Don't forget the small things. A husband said, "I went back to the hotel five times to get things she left behind."
 
One husband, when asked what he had done for his marriage today, turned to his wife and asked, "What have I done for my marriage today?" She responded, "They are asking you." "Oh," he said, "I shopped with her."
 
"What have you done for your marriage today?"
 
The couples celebrating their special anniversaries at the Cathedral on Sunday could give countless examples of doing the small things that strengthen married love. They have had to forgive one another. They have had to bear with one another. Commitment always takes sacrifice.
 
Yesterday in our Cathedral, we were blessed to witness commitment lived, promises kept, loved tested.

You can hear my homily at www.idiocese.org.

Also regarding marriage, today's Arizona Daily Star editorial pages include a reflection I wrote on the support that Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix and I have expressed for Proposition 102.
 
1. Conference on Emerging Models of Pastoral Leadership in Home Mission Dioceses – I am very honored to be a participant in this conference that is being hosted this week in Mundelein, Illinois, by the Catholic Church Extension Society and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Home Missions Office. The National Pastoral Life Center is facilitator for the Conference.

This gathering has three primary goals:

-- to provide an opportunity for dialogue among bishops of home mission dioceses on emerging models of pastoral leadership;
-- to surface best practices in recruitment, education and formation of pastoral leaders in home mission dioceses;
-- and to explore options for sustainable support and funding of recommendations that may result from the conference.

Our presentations and discussions will provide input to the continuing work of the Emerging Models of Pastoral Leadership Project. Six national Catholic ministry organizations are collaborating in the Project to identify and to encourage emerging models of leadership in a number of ministries at the parish and diocesan levels.

(Information about the project is available at www.emergingmodels.org.)

A home mission diocese is typically defined as a diocese that faces challenges in these areas: financial resources; geography (great distances between parishes); a sufficient number of priests, religious, deacons and lay leaders; a growing number of a particular ethnic group that needs pastoral attention; and a combination of certain social and economic characteristics, including high rates of unemployment and poverty.

Our Diocese is a home mission diocese, and we have benefited from and are certainly grateful for the special grant support from Catholic Extension and the Home Missions Office that we have received over the years.

2. Arizona Ecumenical Council Annual Banquet – I look forward to attending this Friday evening's gathering at Streams in the Desert Lutheran Church in Tucson. I know I am going to enjoy hearing the guest speaker – Father Greg Adolf, pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista.

The Arizona Ecumenical Council, of which our Diocese is a member, coordinates the ecumenical activities of its member Christian denominations, organizations and individuals. Those activities include opportunities to pray together, to dialogue with each other and to speak out on issues of concern to our state and our communities.

I appreciate very much the work and ministry of Rev. Jan Olav Flaaten, executive director, and the staff of the Council.

You can learn more about the Council at www.aecunity.net.

3. St. Jude Thaddeus Parish 25th Anniversary – Father Raul Valencia, pastor, and the community of St. Jude Thaddeus Parish in San Luis have a grand fiesta planned for this weekend to celebrate their 25th anniversary. I am delighted that I can be with Father Raul, parochial vicar Father Jesus Perez, O.F.M., and Deacon Jose Lopez for the anniversary Mass and fiesta this Saturday.

San Luis, at the very southwestern corner of Arizona on the border with Mexico, is a rapidly growing community in the Rio Colorado agricultural, industrial and commercial area of Arizona and Sonora. In the last six years, the City of San Luis has annexed huge sections of Yuma County. In 1983, when St. Jude Thaddeus Parish was established, the population of San Luis was about 2,000. Today, it is more than 22,000! San Luis was the second fastest growing of all cities and towns in Arizona from 1990 to 2000.

In the face of such phenomenal growth, Father Raul and the parish are hoping to find land to build a new church and facilities.

I am grateful for Father Raul's tireless efforts on behalf of his parish. He is loved by his people as a good shepherd who cares for them deeply. His work with ArcoIris Youth Ministry has been exceptional. They have many young people involved in the community. Father Raul is delighted to have Father Jesus with him now to minister to their large parish.

4. St. Gianna Oratory – Father Richard von Menshenger of the Institute of Christ the King began his new responsibilities this past weekend as rector of St. Gianna Oratory at Holy Family Parish in Tucson. We are grateful to the Institute for their service.

5. Recognition for "Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future" – For the second year in a row, our Diocese has received an "Award for Excellence" from the International Catholic Stewardship Council.

Each year, the Council invites dioceses and parishes to submit the materials they produced in support of annual appeals and capital campaigns.

Last year, we received that award for our 2007 Annual Catholic Appeal.

Last week, we learned that we have received the award for Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future in the capital campaign category.

Congratulations to Omar Rodriguez, our graphic designer, Fred Allison, our director of Communications, and Tom Smith, our soon-to-retire director of the Annual Catholic Appeal.

And, we say "Thank you!" to Tatiana Day, one of the support staff of Community Counseling Services who has worked with our diocesan renewal campaign the past year. Tatiana is moving on to another diocese to assist with a campaign.

6. Annual Meeting of Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities – The Raskob Foundation has been very generous to our Diocese over the years, so I was very pleased that Father Al Schifano, our Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, could represent our Diocese at the Foundation's annual meeting earlier this month in Delaware.

The annual meeting always includes an educational component, and this year's topic was "What's Money Got To Do With It."

Father Al was a member of the panel that gave presentations on the topic. Joining him on the panel were Frank Butler, executive director of Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities, and Michael Wescott, director of Development for the Diocese of Wichita.

Frank Butler presented a national perspective on giving trends and other factors (positive and negative) affecting the role of Church in the U.S.

Michael Wescott shared the highly successful stewardship program ("Time, Treasure and Talent") developed over many years in the Diocese of Wichita that has encouraged parishioners to give eight per cent of their income to the Church. That generosity has made tuition free Catholic education possible and has eliminated the need for an annual diocesan appeal and all second collections.

Father Al presented our Diocese's history (including a mention of the Gunfight at the OK Corral) and how we have met the significant challenges of the last two decades, covering the sexual abuse scandals and lawsuits, the Chapter 11 reorganization, the incorporation of parishes and our diocesan renewal campaign.

7. Our New Citizens – Among the more than 2,000 persons who will become new citizens of the U.S. this week in a special ceremony at the Tucson Convention Center will be Eduardo Huerta, our Chancellor, and his wife Katia.

Congratulations, Eduardo and Katia!

8. Catholic Relief Services at Work – The first paragraph of an advisory that we received this past week at the Pastoral Center from Catholic Relief Services (CRS) immediately caught my attention:

"Floods. Hurricanes. Food crisis. Conflict. When emergencies arise, chances are Catholic Relief Services is already on the ground working by the time you hear about it."

The news release went on to describe how CRS is responding to the devastation caused by hurricanes in Haiti and Cuba and flooding from monsoon rains in Indian and Nepal.
 
This was the last paragraph of the release:
 
"In these tough economic times, we are especially grateful to our donors for helping those that are most vulnerable to severe weather and the fallout resulting from the downturn of the global economy. On behalf of those we serve around the world, we thank you for your ongoing prayers and support."

The needs are great, and CRS does incredible work to respond both to immediate needs and the long-term needs of people experiencing the consequences of natural disasters or political upheavals. I encourage our parishes to promote donations to the overseas ministries of CRS. Information on how to help is available at www.crs.org.

9. Please Remember in Your Prayers – Please pray for the repose of the soul of Elodia Ruiz, mother of Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, C.F.M.M., our Superintendent of Catholic Schools, who died Saturday.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Father David Maher, brother of Helen Evans of our Tribunal Office. Father Maher, a priest in the Diocese of Milwaukee, died last Friday.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Sister Mary Demetria Newman, O.S.B., who died on Monday, Sept. 15, in Clyde, Missouri. Sister was 90-years-old.

The notice that the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration sent to us about her death included this beautiful story of Sister Mary Demetria's vocation:

She was born Frances Cecilia Newman on April 21, 1918, in Norman, Oklahoma, to Otto Joseph and Mary Agnes (Meyer) Newman. Her family moved to California when she was five years old and settled in Maywood, a suburb of Los Angeles. She learned how to sew and to cook as a child. After graduating from high school, she worked as a housekeeper for a year before pursuing her childhood dream of becoming a religious sister.

"Many years after I was in the convent I learned that when my grandmother held me in her arms at my baptism, she asked the Blessed Mother to obtain a religious vocation for me," Sister Mary Demetria once recalled. "Her prayer was answered because from the first dawn of reason, I had this desire and conviction. Moreover, I had a picture in my mind of exactly the kind of nun I was going to be – not teaching, not nursing, but the kind that prays."

Discouraged by her lack of interest in the religious communities she had inquired about, she asked her mother what she should do. Her mother advised she write to the Benedictine Sisters in Clyde to ask them to pray for her to find the right place. Her mother said she always received help with whatever she asked them to pray for. So, Sister Mary Demetria wrote to Clyde and was sent the vocation booklet, "The Eucharistic Adorer."

"On opening the book and seeing the sisters, I knew this was where God wanted me," she once said.

When she talked it over with her mother, she learned her grandmother was born in nearby Conception, Missouri, and her mother was also born in the area and knew of the Clyde community. Her mother had not shared this with her previously because she wanted to leave Sister Mary Demetria free to go wherever God directed.

She entered in 1939 and made her first profession on Feb. 8, 1941, receiving the name Sister Mary Demetria. During her years as a Benedictine Sister, she worked in the laundry and in maintenance. She made and mended cucullas and veils for the novices and served as a night nurse in the infirmary.

She later moved to the sisters' community in Tucson, where she worked in the altar bread department and sewed liturgical vestments. A gifted seamstress, she was privileged to help with the drapery for the new altar when the Tucson monastery's chapel was consecrated and helped with vestments for Bishop Green's consecration.

Memorials can be sent in care of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, 31970 State Highway P, Clyde, MO 64432-8100.

Vol. 6, No. 23
Sept. 29, 2008


"Sometimes our country seems like a vineyard which has gone to seed. Where once fertile hillsides and rich vines grew, we find nothing but wild grapes. Our country was founded on the belief that God had granted an inalienable right to life to every human being. Yet the easy accessibility of abortion on demand, our lack of concern for the elderly and those most vulnerable seem to be signs of a nation gone astray."

That is the powerful beginning to the "Preaching for Life" homily for this coming Sunday – Respect Life Sunday.

The homily is included in the liturgy guide that is among the resources in the Respect Life Month packet that each of our parishes has received from the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

I encourage our priests and deacons who will be preaching this Sunday to read the homily and to draw inspiration from it.

The theme of this year's Respect Life Program – "Hope and Trust in Life!" – is from Pope Benedict XVI's Dec. 31, 2007, homily in which he described a lack of hope and trust in life as "the 'obscure' evil of modern Western society."  



The theme further emphasizes the Holy Father's call to U.S. Catholics during his April visit to our country "to proclaim the gift of life, to serve life and to promote a culture of life."

The wide range of topics that this year's Respect Life Program addresses reflects our response the Holy Father's call:
-- the role of conscience in voting;
-- advances in stem cell research: where the real hope for cures lies;
-- the damaging effects of pornography;
-- the strong culture of life in the African American community;
-- "living wills" and persons with disabilities;
-- male grief and trauma following abortion.

Since 1972, dioceses throughout the U.S. have observed the first Sunday in October as Respect Life Sunday as the beginning of a year-long focus on various aspects of the Church's teachings on the sanctity of life.

1. Domestic Violence Awareness Month – A survey sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth highlights how dioceses in our country are becoming increasingly responsive to the reality of domestic violence. The survey, "Diocesan Responses to Domestic Violence," was conducted last spring, and the results have been released to coincide with the national observance of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Dioceses participating in the survey described their initiatives to assist victims of domestic violence, including collaboration with community agencies to offer assistance and resources, links to community resources such as safe houses and counseling services and efforts to educate clergy and parish staff on how to respond pastorally to persons experiencing domestic violence. 

The October issue of The New Vision, which will be available at parishes this coming weekend, includes a series of articles on domestic violence and how our Diocese and our Catholic Community Services' agencies are responding to this tragic societal problem.

There is a comprehensive resource on responding to domestic violence that includes guidance for clergy and pastoral staffs and a listing of safe houses, counseling and other services for victims of domestic violence available at www.diocesetucson.org/domesticviolence.html.

2. Our Troubled Economy – As the U.S. Congress and the Bush Administration last week addressed the crisis in our nation's banking and financial systems, Catholic Charities USA was speaking out on behalf of children and families who have been feeling the impact of the troubled economy.

Last Thursday, Catholic Charities USA urged Congress to ensure that any plan to shore up the finance sector includes an economic recovery package that benefits vulnerable children and families.

"A financial bailout for Wall Street must include economic relief for the hardships of Main Street, ensuring that those with the least do not bear the greatest burden in this crisis," wrote Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA in letters to House and Senate leadership. "We urge Congress to remember the low and middle-income Americans whose lives and economic security are being shattered by the current economic crisis."

You can read here about the specific provisions that Catholic Charities USA believes should be included the any bailout.

Catholic Charities USA is the national voice for more than 1,700 Catholic agencies and institutions nationwide, including our own Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, that annually provide help to nearly 8 million people of all faiths and social and economic backgrounds.

Representing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, chairman of our Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, wrote last Friday to Congressional leadership.

"The economic crisis facing our nation is both terribly disturbing and enormously complicated. I write to offer the prayers of the U.S. Catholic Bishops and express the concerns of our Conference as you face difficult choices on how to limit the damage and move forward with prudence and justice. As pastors and teachers, my brother bishops and I do not bring technical expertise to these complicated matters. However, we believe our faith and moral principles can help guide the search for just and effective responses to the economic turmoil threatening our people," Bishop Murphy wrote.

Among the principles that Bishop Murphy asked the leaders to consider were: responsibility and accountability; solidarity and the common good; and subsidiarity. You can read his letter here.

3. St. Jude Thaddeus Parish 25th Anniversary Celebration – I enjoyed experiencing the pride the people of St. Jude Thaddeus Parish in San Luis have for their parish as they gathered last Saturday evening for a celebration of the parish's 25th anniversary. Much has happened in those 25 years. We celebrated the growth of the parish, the many whose faith has been nurtured in this faith community, the Sacraments that have been received.

I was happy that Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe, Episcopal Vicar for the Yuma-La Paz Vicariate and pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma, and Father Javier Perez, Vicar Forane of the Yuma-La Paz Vicariate and pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Somerton, could join us for the celebration.
 
Anniversaries are opportunities for saying thanks and setting directions for the future. This rich and vibrant border community has experienced many blessings. They now are planning how to respond to the growth that has happened in these 25 years. Their small church is no longer adequate for the community.
 
I could see the pride Father Raul Valencia has as pastor. He is so appreciative for Father Jesus Alejandro Perez, O.F.M., who has come to help him with the immense pastoral challenges the parish faces. Deacon Jose Manuel Lopez has been a big help to Father Raul since Father Raul became pastor. It was encouraging to see so many lay people who are active in the parish.

After Mass, we gathered at the entrance of the church for the blessing of a plaque that commemorates the anniversary.
 
We are blessed in the Diocese with many vibrant parish communities, and St. Jude Thaddeus is clearly one of them. Blessings to all the community on their 25th anniversary!

On my way to San Luis, I was able to make a brief stop in Yuma at the site of the new church and offices of St. John Neumann Parish. Father John Friel, pastor, gave me a quick tour of the nearly finished project, and what a beautiful church this will be! I will be returning to Yuma on Nov. 1 to consecrate and dedicate the church.

4. Joint Meeting of Canadian, U.S. Bishops Leadership – I am in Montreal, Canada, today for a meeting of the leadership of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The executive committees of the Canadian Conference and our Conference meet once a year. As this year's meeting is in Canada, next year's will be in the U.S. These meetings have been going on for some years as a way of sharing pastoral successes and considering ways of responding to pastoral challenges.
 
This year's meeting will be an opportunity to reflect on Pope Benedict XVI's recent visit to the U.S. and its impact on our faith communities. We will explore the pastoral challenge of evangelizing in a secular, individualistic culture so prevalent in both Canada and our country.

Much good comes in sharing our experiences. The Catholic Church was certainly among the first global institutions, and we have been blessed from the very early mission trips of St. Paul to be in conversation with other cultures and communities. Much is learned from such opportunities.

5. New Employee Welcome and Orientation
– Our annual welcome here at the Pastoral Center of employees who are new to our parishes will be this Wednesday.

This is an opportunity for those who have recently joined the staff of parishes to get to know the staff of our diocesan offices and departments and to learn from them exactly what it is they do to fulfill the mission of the Pastoral Center to support the ministries, programs and services of our parishes and schools.

I always enjoy leading the initial sessions of these gatherings, talking a little about the history of our Diocese and introducing the directors of our departments and offices.

6. Welcome to Betty Wittenberg – We welcomed Betty Wittenberg, our new archivist, to the Pastoral Center last week. Betty brings a wealth of experience in archives and library services to the ministry of our Archives. She and her husband are members of St. Pius X Parish in Tucson.

We are grateful for the good work of Nancy Siner these past two years as our archivist. Under her leadership, the Archives was moved to its new center, photos, tape recordings and videos were digitized, people in photos were identified and records organized. Nancy helped to bring our Archives to a new level.
 
7. Pastor Installation – It will be my joy this Wednesday evening to install Father Remegio "Miguel" Mariano as the fifth pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Tucson.

For eight years, Father Miguel served as our diocesan Vocations Director, encouraging and fostering vocations. One of his mantras was "Vocations is a shared responsibility." Now, as pastor of St. Joseph, he will bring a desire and ability to collaborate with others in ministry, encouraging them to work together in this large and complex parish to further God's work. St. Joseph is a vibrant, large, multicultural community with a big school that is one of our best. I expect that Father Miguel as pastor will be very present to this active community. He will bring his background in liturgy to their worshipping community and a love for people to his ministry.
 
He succeeds a long-time experienced pastor, Father John Allt, who is now pastor of St. Rita in the Desert Parish in Vail. Under Father Allt's leadership for 14 years, St. Joseph became the wonderful parish and school in which so many people are proud.

8. Faithful Citizenship – One of the responsibilities of living out our faith in and through our citizenship is to be informed about the candidates and issues before us on the ballot.

As the bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference (ACC), Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix and I believe it is important that Catholic voters have the opportunity to see where candidates stand on a wide range of issues that relate to Catholic Social Teaching and Church teaching on respect for life. 

Towards that end, the ACC has issued as a voter's guide the results of our 2008 Candidate Survey.

Pursuant to Internal Revenue Service requirements for churches and nonprofit organizations, this document does not indicate any support or opposition of specific candidates. Included on the ACC 2008 Candidate Survey are the responses of candidates for the U.S. Congress, Arizona Corporation Commission, the State Senate and State House.
You can read the survey here.

More on Faithful Citizenship: A new resource is now available on the Faithful Citizenship web site (www.faithfulcitizenship.org). Each day until the elections, a new "Thought for the Day" video clip will be posted. These video clips feature bishops and Faithful Citizenship experts discussing some of the key messages of Faithful Citizenship.

9. Safe Environment Program – I was very pleased to receive notice recently that the 2007-08 audit by the Gavin Group of our diocesan Safe Environment Program resulted in our Diocese remaining in compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

I thank the staff and volunteers of our parishes and schools for their continuing diligence in following our policies and procedures for the protection of children.

10. Help for Hurricane Victims in Texas, Louisiana – Catholic Charities USA Disaster Response personnel, local volunteers and staff from other Catholic Charities agencies are working in the areas of Texas and Louisiana devastated by hurricanes.

As of last week, Catholic Charities USA was reporting that millions of people are still suffering from the devastating effects of the Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. Catholic Charities USA has set up a Pilot Disaster Case Management Program that enables case managers from Catholic Charities agencies to work with families and individuals to find short and long-term assistance to help stabilize their lives.

The immediate needs are great, and meeting the long term needs of people in the devastated areas will be a huge challenge.

I encourage our parishes to promote donations to the Catholic Charities USA 2008 Hurricane Fund . Donations may be mailed to the Fund at P.O. Box 17141, Baltimore, MD 21297-1141 or made on-line.
You can learn more about what Catholic Charities USA is doing to assist the victims of the hurricanes and make a donation at www.catholiccharitiesusa.org.

I talked last week with Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Houston and with Bishop Curtis Guillory of the Diocese of Beaumont. They told me about the devastation in their dioceses and about how parishes have been affected. Many church buildings were damaged, some significantly. Cardinal DiNardo spoke of the devastation on Galveston Island and Bishop Guillory spoke of the challenges his poor diocese faces in its efforts to recover.

11. October's New Vision – In addition to the series of articles on domestic violence that I mentioned above, the October issue of The New Vision features includes these stories: the caring response of our Catholic community to a refugee family that endured war and persecution; the blessing of the expanded San Miguel High School in Tucson; the opening of our Diocese's Archives in its new location; the second annual Celebration of Marriage Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral; and my reflection on the World Synod of Bishops that begins this coming Sunday in Rome.
 
There is so much news in the October issue that three of the columns that have been appearing regularly are going to be available only in the on-line version of The New Vision. You'll find "Living in a World of Yes," "Principal's Ponderings" by Lynn Cuffari and "On the Family" by Pat Wargocki at www.newvisiononline.org.

12. Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill – This year marks the 75th anniversary of ministry in the southwest of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill. The Sisters and their friends at the parishes and schools at which they have served in our Diocese are marking this anniversary with two celebrations, one of which was held yesterday afternoon at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson.

Father Van Wagner, our retired Vicar General and former pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul, presided at a special Mass. Father Ed Carscallen, pastor emeritus of Sts. Peter and Paul, was the homilist. Father John Lyons, pastor, was the master of ceremonies. A bouquet of yellow roses was placed at the altar in memory of the deceased Sisters who have served in our Diocese.

13. Remember in Your Prayers – We mourn the loss of Pvt. Joe Gonzales, a young soldier from Tucson, who died as a result of a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. St. John the Evangelist Parish in Tucson is his family's parish. The vigil is tonight at 7 p.m., and his Funeral Mass is tomorrow at noon at St. John's. We pray the Lord will grant him eternal rest and we pray for Joseph and Ana, his parents, and for the Gonzales Family as they mourn his loss. We pray for peace.
 
Please pray for Father Pete McGloin, pastor emeritus of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Tucson, who is now at Waverly Nursing Home in Tucson. I have promised Father Pete our prayers and support.

14. To Rome! – I leave for Rome this Friday to participate in the World Synod of Bishops. The XII Ordinary General Assembly has as its focus "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church."

I am very honored to have been elected by my brother bishops in the U.S. to join Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston and Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington as the representatives of our Conference to the Synod.

Exactly what is synod?

Here is some of the thoughtful reflection on the purpose and role of a synod that pastoral theologian Father Robert Kinast wrote for the Catholic News Service:

During the Second Vatican Council many of the bishops expressed their desire to continue the kind of international dialogue which the council made possible. Responding to this request, Pope Paul VI established (in 1965) a world Synod of Bishops prior to the fourth session of the council.

The general purpose of this synod, mentioned in the Decree on the Bishops' Pastoral Office in the Church, No. 5, is spelled out in the Code of Canon Law (No. 342). It states that the synod is comprised of bishops from different regions of the world who meet to assist the pope with their counsel and to consider questions concerning the Church's activity in the world.

This is the task of the ordinary, general synod. Matters of more urgency may be discussed by an extraordinary synod, and matters concerning one region of the Church may be taken up in a special session of bishops from the affected region.

Canon 343 goes on to clarify that the synod is a consultative body, not a deliberative one, unless the pope gives it that power. In that case he still must ratify any decisions.

You can read Father Robert's entire reflection on the synod here.
 
As I mentioned above, I write about my hopes for the synod in a reflection in the October issue of The New Vision. My reflection and those of my fellow bishops in our delegation are presented on a new Web page initiated just last Friday by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to provide information about the synod.

When you visit the page (www.usccb.org/synod), you also can read the reflections of the experts from our country who will be attending, learn more about the history and purpose of the synod and can access some excellent resources about the Word and its importance in our lives and in the life and mission of the Church.

Depending on the availability of a computer and access to e-mail, I hope to be able to write at least a weekly blog about the synod. Time allowing, I will write more than once a week.

You will be able to access the blog next Monday at www.diocesetucson.org and at www.newvisiononline.org.

Monday Memo will return on Nov. 3.