April 5, 2004 April 19, 2004 April 26, 2004

Vol. 2, No. 4
April 5, 2004

Holy Week.

This week is the heart of our faith, the holiest of weeks for us as Catholics.

We try to step back this week from the busyness of our lives to have some time to reflect on our journey of faith, a journey that this week takes us through the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Stepping back is not easy, especially for all of you whose primary ministry is liturgy. All of the work of preparation and the actual work itself of this week's special liturgies can place almost overwhelming demands on you. At some time during this week though, I hope we all can step back for some silent and private time to read from one of the Gospel's the account of these final days of Christ and to reflect on the action of love that Christ has accomplished for us -- his overpowering and incredible love that we experience in walking through this week with him in the Paschal Mystery.

If you have access to the Internet, you are just a couple of clicks away from another way to step back. I encourage you to visit the Holy See's website and the special pages for Holy Week. This Internet resource is beautiful and inspiring. It includes an on-line Stations of the Cross. Here is the address:


Many of our parishes have been holding special penance liturgies, since this is the time many Catholics seek the Sacrament of Reconciliation as an opportunity to be restored in their relationship with Christ. I appreciate all the priests who have been helping each other in different parishes to make the sacrament available to as many people as possible.

After today's Presbyteral Council meeting, priests from within the Diocese will gather for prayer at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish. We will reflect on the call to serve that has been given to us as priests, a call that will be renewed tonight at the Chrism Mass.

We gather as a faith community in our Cathedral tonight for this Mass, united as a local Church. We realize that we aren't congregations living independent and isolated lives, but that we are in fact bound together in the larger communion of the Church.

The Chrism Mass is a reminder of the ways that we encounter Christ. Oils blessed at the Chrism Mass are used in the Sacraments in which we encounter Christ: Oil of Catechumens used in Baptism; Oil of the Sick used in that anointing; and Sacred Chrism used in Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.

On Thursday, we begin the Sacred Triduum. (Triduum is Latin for "a space of three days."

Holy Thursday is the remembrance of the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood. Holy Thursday emphasizes to us the preeminence of service in the life of the Church.

On Good Friday we focus on the passion and death of Christ.

Here in Tucson, there is the traditional Good Friday Procession up A Mountain. From the top of A Mountain you can see the desert in which migrants are dying. You can see the Pima County Jail where people are incarcerated. You can see St. Mary's Hospital where people are suffering. From his cross, Christ calls us to realize the suffering and pain in those around us, all those who are the least of our brothers and sisters.

Saturday is the great Easter Vigil, and what a joyful time it is as we welcome so many people into the Church. I see the New Life in Christ shining in the eyes of the people who are washed in the waters of Baptism and anointed with oil.

I will preside at Holy Thursday Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral at 7:30 p.m. Bishop Moreno and I will celebrate the Good Friday Stations of the Cross at Cathedral at noon. I will participate in the Good Friday Procession up A Mountain at 5 p.m. I will preside at Cathedral's Easter Vigil at 7:30 p.m., and I will preside at the 8 a.m. Mass at Cathedral on Easter.

From Easter Monday through Easter Wednesday, I will be in San Diego with the bishops of Region XIII for our traditional Easter Week retreat during which we spend time together in prayer, reflection and fraternity. Because of the retreat, there will be no Monday Memo on Easter Monday.

Looking ahead to the rest of Easter Week:

1. Cursillo Task Force -- The task force will meet Thursday evening, April 15. This group is to come forward with recommendations by fall on how to strengthen the Cursillo Movement in our Diocese, how to keep it in harmony with our parishes and other spiritual movements and how to strengthen the relationship between the Cursillo in our Diocese with the national Cursillo structure. I thank the members of the task force for accepting this important responsibility. The members are: Isidro Lopez of Sells, Juan Lomeli of Somerton, Mike Gerard, Ernesto Sirvas and Gilbert Lozano, all of Tucson, Elizabeth Yanez of Winkleman, Frances Daniel and Oscar Chavez of Yuma, Father Raul Trevizo, Episcopal Vicar for Hispanic Affairs, Deacon Keating Ackerly, Diocesan Cursillo Movement director and Ruben Davalos, director of the Office of Evangelization.

2. Diaconate and Lay Ministry Formation Program -- I will be welcoming 31 candidates for the permanent diaconate and 35 candidates for lay ministry to our new formation program on Saturday, April 17, at St. Francis de Sales Parish.

This will be the first of three full-day gatherings at which the deacon candidates and their wives and the lay ministry candidates will become acquainted with the program and its expectations. These gatherings will serve as an introduction to the four year program of studies that begins in the fall.

I thank Father Miguel Mariano and Margaret Lordon for coordinating the screening of those who applied. This screening was the most extensive ever done in our Diocese for diaconate and lay ministry candidates.

I thank all who applied, and I am grateful for their desire to serve the Church in a deeper and fuller way.

3. InSearch Retreat -- Eight members of the InSearch discernment group will begin a two day retreat Saturday at Santa Rita Abbey. InSearch provides an opportunity for men to explore the possibility of a vocation to the priesthood through group activities that include prayer and service projects.

4. Annual Catholic Appeal -- There is great encouragement in the response of parishioners to this year's Annual Catholic Appeal.

There are several exclamation points for the results at the end of March that are reported on our diocesan Internet site and in this month's Catholic Vision which I am happy to repeat here:

We have 17 parishes at 100% or more of their goal! We have 13 parishes between 90-99% of goal! We are at 88% of this year's goal of $3.13 million!

The Confirmation Class of Loretto School in Douglas deserves an exclamation point. The young people selected the Annual Catholic Appeal to be the beneficiary of a fundraising project. They raised $375!

I thank all who have worked so hard to promote participation. In a time of great challenge, such generosity truly is encouraging!

There are two more exclamation points I am very happy to make: Our staff of 46 here at the Pastoral Center has participated 100% in the Appeal! And, we are at 144% of our goal!

Vol. 2, No. 5
April 19, 2004

Infused with the Easter Spirit and encouraged by this beautiful spring weather, we all are trying to meet the demands of calendars full of meetings, activities and events, mindful that the days and weeks will be flying by as we approach the summer months and the brief hiatus of vacations and a slower pace of ministry.

1. Immigration Policy Recommendation -- My calendar calls for me to be in Phoenix today for an interfaith meeting at the State Capitol. The main focus of the gathering is to adopt an education initiative to begin a process of education in the various religious congregations throughout the state about the plight of immigrants.

The more we learn about the situation the more sensitive people become to the issue. The issues are complex and it is hoped that congregations would begin to educate their people on the reasons for the movement of peoples and the dangers they face.

The President himself has said that our immigration policy is broken and in need of revision. The hope of this gathering is that the religious leaders will commit themselves to begin education in congregations about the principles from our faith traditions that speak to this issue.

I am encouraged to see that the Arizona legislature has pretty much put to rest some of the anti-immigrant legislation that was being proposed.

The presence of our Arizona Catholic Conference at the State Capitol, through executive director Ron Johnson, helps bring the Catholic perspective to public policy consideration of issues about which our Church feels it must speak up and speak out, especially those that involve protection of life.

2. Remember in Your Prayers -- I ask you to remember in your prayers these members of our diocesan family:

Father Miguel Mariano and his family, following the death of his stepfather. Father Miguel has gone to Denmark to be with his mother at this difficult time.

Deacon Frank Lundgren and his family, following the death of Deacon Frank's wife, Gail.

Father Delfin Perras, who is recovering from surgery at St. Joseph's Hospital. Father Delfin has served at St. Odilia and most recently in the parishes in Douglas.

Deacon Carlos Valenzuela of the Cathedral, who is in University Hospital recovering from heart surgery.

3. Pastoral Visit to Handmaker -- I will celebrate Mass tomorrow with the Catholic residents of Handmaker Nursing Home and Long Term Care, which are provided by Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging.

My visit to Handmaker was facilitated by the Pastoral Ministry Program of Catholic Community Services.

The program helps bring the sacraments and ministries of care to nearly two dozen Tucson-area long term care facilities and nursing homes. Sister Carolyn Nicolai, F.S.P., Father Angelo Mastria, O.Carm., and a corps of dedicated volunteers are the heart of this vitally important pastoral program.

4. Convocation of Priests -- Our annual Convocation of Priests begins tomorrow afternoon here in Tucson.

The theme for this year's convocation is a question: "What makes for a healthy priest and a healthy relationship among priests, their presbyterate and with parishioners?"

To help us answer that question we are very grateful to have Father Canice Conners, O.F.M. Cov, as our special guest. Father Canice is former president of the U.S. Conference of Major Superiors of Men and former president of St. Luke's Institute in Maryland, a treatment center for priests and religious.

In addition to allowing us the time to address significant pastoral issues as a presbyterate, our annual convocation also allows us to build our priestly fraternity in fellowship and prayer.

5. Celebration of Priesthood -- This year's convocation also will include our annual Celebration of Priesthood evening. This special event allows us to celebrate the "jubiliee" anniversaries of ordinations of our brother priests.

Our jubilarians this year are: Father Isaac Ato Fynn and Father John Williamson, O.C.D. (twenty-fifth anniversary); Father Clarke Moore, Father Stanley Nadolny, Father Sylvester Nwaogu and Father Abran Dono, S.T. (fortieth anniversary); Father John Fahey, Father Andrew Greeley and Father Norman Whalen (fiftieth anniversary); and Father Fred Curry (fifty-fifth anniversary).

Spring is generally the time of year that most of our priests celebrate their anniversaries of ordination, so I ask you to take the opportunity this season to congratulate and thank the priests you know for another year of priestly service.

6. Annual Catholic Appeal -- I am very pleased to announce that this year's campaign has reached $3 million in pledges.

This encouraging and gratifying news is a tribute to the generosity of thousands of our Catholic families who, with their pledges, have made it very clear they want their Diocese to continue its mission. I am grateful for their trust and their generosity.

This record-breaking pledge total just two months into the campaign also is a tribute to all the priests, deacons, religious and parish lay leaders who have promoted this year's Appeal to our parishioners.

While this year's Appeal enjoyed the boost of the truly extraordinary act of generosity of the $300,000 gift from the estate of Amy and Joseph Mesenburg, pledges from our Catholic families are running well ahead of last year at this same time. More parishes than ever before have reached 100% or more of their goal!

7. Executive Searches -- The Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson is doing some final interviews for a new executive director. I thank Foundation Board member Bill Bowen, board president Bruno Dispoto and vice president Ernie Nedder for their search leadership. They hope to make the final selection by next month.

And, our Diocese is continuing to interview for Director of Formation. Our hope is to have our new director in place when our parishes resume activities after the summer months and our new Formation Program begins.

8. Formation Program Reflection -- Just a brief reflection on the beginning of our new four-year formation program for permanent deacons and parish lay ministers.

On Saturday morning at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Tucson, I welcomed 31 candidates for the permanent diaconate and 35 candidates for lay ministry to the new formation program.

This was the first of three full-day gatherings at which the deacon candidates and their wives and the lay ministry candidates will become acquainted with the program and its expectations. Their four-year program of studies begins in the fall.

In my welcoming remarks, I talked about the "formation attitude." I told them that if they are open and willing to work with others and hungry and thirsty to know the Lord in a deeper way that they will have a wonderful experience.

The formation attitude, I told them, is openness and willingness to learn from everyone and anyone. It is this attitude that will carry them through the next four years of discernment to a deeper awareness of what it means to be a disciple of Christ.

9. Encuentro -- Hermosillo, Tucson and Phoenix. We are three dioceses in two nations, but we are one Church, and we will gather this Friday at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson for our second Encuentro, "Toward a Common Border Ministry."

The first Encuentro, in 2002, was initiated with the goal of working together on ways to coordinate ministry on issues that affect our dioceses on both sides of the border, especially immigration. The focus of this Encuentro will be raising awareness of the need for partnerships across borders between and among diocesan ministries and parishes.

The Encuentro embodies how our three dioceses are living out the spirit of Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope, the pastoral letter jointly issued by the bishops of Mexico and the U.S. in 2002.

I will welcome participants to this year's meeting, among whom will be Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix. We look forward to Bishop Olmsted's first visit to our Diocese.

10. Mariachi Mass -- The twenty-second annual Tucson International Mariachi Conference is this weekend. This largest and most musical of all of Arizona's cultural celebrations generates mutual respect and understanding between and among cultures.

One of the traditions of the conference is the annual Mariachi Mass, which this year will at 10 a.m. at St. Augustine Cathedral. I will be presiding, and I am very much anticipating the beautiful music that is its own special prayer.

Mariachi music at Mass in our Diocese goes back nearly 40 years at St. Augustine Cathedral, from the time that Bishop Francis Green, in the spirit of Vatican II, welcomed mariachi musicians to perform sacred music at Mass.

11. Italian Catholic Federation -- I will celebrate Mass on Sunday with members of the Italian Catholic Federation Branch 425 of Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Green Valley.

The Italian Catholic Federation is a family oriented, non-profit fraternal organization dedicated to promoting activities that build family spirit. Membership is open to all Catholics. Branches are organized along parish lines, and members are urged to support their pastors and to participate fully in the life of the parish. Branch 425 is one of two in Arizona.

There is more information on the Federation at www.icf.org.

Vol. 2, No. 6
April 26, 2004

I am very pleased to announce some organizational changes in the administrative structure of our Diocese that I hope and am confident will benefit the work of our Pastoral Center and of our Diocese.

First, I have appointed Father Raul Trevizo, pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish, as a Vicar General and Father Al Schifano, parochial vicar at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, as Moderator of the Curia.

Their appointments are with the beginning of the new fiscal year on July 1.

With Father Al's appointment as Moderator of the Curia, Father Van Wagner, who has held the titles of Vicar General and Moderator of Curia since 1999, will remain a Vicar General while assuming the responsibilities of senior parochial vicar at Sts. Peter and Paul.

I am asking Father Van to let go of his responsibilities as Moderator of the Curia so he can be more helpful in reaching out to our priests, our pastors and to our parishes.

Vicar generals more and more are being placed in the field because they share with the bishop the responsibility of pastoring the diocese and working with the parishes and schools.

By working in the field, Father Van and Father Raul will bring the experience of our priests and parishes back to us at the Pastoral Center.

As a Vicar General, Father Raul will continue to be pastor of St. John Parish. His ministry as Vicar General will include oversight of the diocesan Office of Evangelization and Hispanic Ministry, and he will work closely with Ruben Davalos, director of that Office.

As Moderator of the Curia (offices), Father Al will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Pastoral Center and coordination of the Center's 14 offices and the administrative workforce of 44 personnel.

There presently are 36 lay persons, three sisters, one deacon and four priests (including myself) who comprise the administrative workforce of the Diocese.

Our ministry of administration is responsible for administrative and pastoral support of 74 parishes, dozens of missions and 22 Catholics schools with nearly 1,300 full and part-time lay employees, 220 priests, 132 deacons and 225 sisters who serve our Catholic population of some 350,000 in the nine counties of the Diocese.

We are hardly a diocese top heavy in administration. For our Catholic population and certainly with our large territory, we actually have a very small administrative staff. We have very good people doing very good work, and the hope is to help them and me be even more efficient and effective.

The other organizational changes in the administrative structure of the Diocese are the raising of Property and Insurance (John Shaheen, director) and Catholic Social Mission (Joanne Welter, director) to the status of free-standing offices. Property and Insurance had been part of the Department of Fiscal Services. Catholic Social Mission had functioned with the Community Relations Department.

1. Annual Priests Convocation -- Last week's gathering, attended by more than 100 of our priests, was a very joyful experience of fraternity and prayer.

Our presenter, Father Canice Conners, O.S.F. Cov., gave some very informative and helpful reflections on who we are as a presbyterate: what are some of the things that can divide us; how to maintain confidence in a time of crisis; the need for us to work collaboratively and to be transparent in working with people; the meaning and importance of "being available" to people in our ministry, available meaning being focused, listening and fully attentive. He shared with us the importance of being a "Good Shepherd" -- someone who is not dismissive of people and who is able to serve people in meaningful ways.

This year's convocation included the celebration of priesthood, our annual observance of the jubilee anniversaries of ordination of our priests. As part of this year's celebration, Father John Williamson, O.C.D., Father Isaac Ato Fynn, Father Sylvester Nwaogu and Father Fred Curry gave reflections, and it was encouraging to hear their sense of appreciation and affirmation to their brother priests and the pride they have in the priesthood in their many years of service. Their remarks resonated with their confidence and conviction that the priesthood matters and that it makes a difference in people's lives. They each expressed gratitude to God for being able to serve as priests.

2. Encuentro -- Our Mother of Sorrows Parish hosted our second Encuentro last week for the Archdiocese of Hermosillo and the Dioceses of Phoenix and Tucson. The purpose of the Encuentro is to have an opportunity to meet one another personally and explore ways that as Catholics we can work together as neighbors to address the moral dimensions of the phenomenal migration that continues from Mexico into the U.S.

Joanne Welter, Erica Dahl Bredine of the Catholic Relief Services Mexico Project and many others helped to organize these days of prayer, study and fellowship.

As Catholics, we believe in a communion of churches by which all of us are bound together in faith. This event was a living testament to what Pope John Paul II called us to in his document "Ecclesia in America," which says that in the family of God there are no borders.

One part of the Encuentro was an opportunity for the priests from these three dioceses to dialogue together. They shared the blessings and challenges of their ministry. It was good to have Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix join us as a participant in this dialogue.

At the Mass celebrated by the three dioceses, I was privileged to bless a fountain commissioned by the Knights of Columbus to call upon all of us to reach out to immigrants and see them not as strangers but as brothers and sisters. That fountain will remain at Our Mother of Sorrows and others will be commissioned by other parishes as requested.

I am grateful to Msgr. Tom Cahalane and all his staff for their graciousness and hospitality.

3. Redemptionis Sacramentum (Sacrament of Redemption) -- The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments last Friday released a new instruction on the Eucharist.

An instruction is a document from a congregation of the Holy See that provides guidance on how to properly implement the Church's law. In this case, the instruction is intended to assist bishops in the implementation of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) and those rites that pertain to the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament outside Mass.

The instruction calls upon bishops to encourage a unity of practice in their dioceses, which has been a focus in our Diocese in the implementation of the GIRM. I am very appreciative of the cooperation that our parishes have shown in the implementation, realizing that the celebration of the Eucharist is not our own personal preference or act, but is the act of the Church, the act of Christ.

This new instruction really doesn't break any new ground, but it emphasizes that it doesn't help to build up Church to have people persist in doing their "own thing" while disregarding the ritual of the Church.

The instruction is a reminder to us to see the liturgy not as "my liturgy," but as "our liturgy" -- the liturgy of the Church.

I encourage you to read the Instruction and the commentaries that accompany it on the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at: www.usccb.org/liturgy/documents/menu.htm

4. Quinquennial Report -- Bishops are asked by the Holy See to prepare and submit a report that encompasses pastoral activities and sociological changes over a five year period within their dioceses. The title of the report reflects the time span it covers, hence the "quinquennial."

The report is prepared and submitted in advance of the visit that a diocesan bishop makes every five years to report on his diocese in person to the various congregations of the Vatican and to the Holy Father himself. This visit is called the "Ad Limina," which means "to the threshold," referring descriptively to the doorway of the Holy See, St. Peter's Basilica.

The Quinquennial Report of the Diocese of Tucson is on its way to the Vatican, where its 22 chapters will be distributed to the relevant congregations for their analysis and study.

Bishops make their Ad Limina visits by regions of their national conferences. Our Diocese is in U.S. Region 13, and our visit will be made in June. I will report more about our Quinquennial Report and about the Ad Limina visit itself in the coming weeks.

5. Amen! -- We started a new tradition last year in our Annual Catholic Appeal. We called it "Amen Sunday." It was meant to be a prayerful and joyful exclamation to the conclusion of the Appeal and a way to give a final push to reach the goal.

We are saying "Amen!" again, as our Appeal has reached 99% of goal. Nearly half of our parishes have reached or exceeded their goal for this year, and many more parishes are close to goal as we enter the last full month of the Appeal.

This year's Annual Catholic Appeal has been outstanding! What an encouragement it has been to witness the solidarity of our pastors, the enthusiasm of our parish leaders and the generosity of our parishioners.

I am confidently hopeful that we will reach our goal and even exceed it. As part of "Amen Sunday" I ask parishes that have not made goal to make one last encouragement. In addition, they might take up a collection right at Mass in which they ask people to add what they can to help their parish reach its goal. Remember, the Appeal helps fund 23 important ministries and charities so critical to the life of our Diocese.

For the latest parish reports, please visit our diocesan website and click on the Annual Catholic Appeal logo, "Called and Gifted."

6. Thank You, Margaret! -- The Tucson community says "Thank you" to Margaret Kish this Friday for her 19 years of leadership at Pio Decimo Center, which is one of the six member agencies of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona. Margaret will continue her service to community as she leaves Pio Decimo for a position in local government. The community's thank-you is in the form of a dinner that, while in Margaret's name, is for the benefit of Pio Decimo.

7. Priests Retreat -- I am on my way to Utah today, to Salt Lake City, where I am honored to be giving the retreat this week for the presbyterate of the Diocese of Salt Lake City. I always find it to be a good experience to be with different presbyterates, to hear what is going well and what are the challenges for the priests in other dioceses. I ask your prayers for the success of this retreat.