Aug. 4, 2003 Aug. 11, 2003 Aug. 18, 2003 Aug. 25, 2003

Vol. 1, No. 17
August 4, 2003

We are nearing the end of our summer break and are poised on the threshold of a new year of activities and programs at our parishes and schools.

I hope you found time over the summer break to recharge your batteries, for the year ahead is full of many opportunities for growth and renewal.

1. Welcome! – This is the time of year we welcome new co-workers to our various ministries throughout the Diocese.

New members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council and the vicariates they represent – Bob Scala, Pima East; Deacon Dan Mulloy, Yuma/La Paz; Becky Blakey and Thomas Willis, Cochise; Susan Lauer, Pima Central; Natay Ferguson, Pinal West; Joanne Myers, Santa Cruz; and Mary Valdez and Joe Perdreauville, at-large. (Sister Charlotte Ann Swift, executive assistant in the Office of the Bishop, begins service to the DPC as coordinator. For more information about the DPC, please visit

New principals and their schools – Maria Parra, Sacred Heart, Nogales; Michele Brubaker, St. Ambrose, Tucson; Ann Zeches, St. Cyril, Tucson; Sr. Miriam Claire Arnold, IHM, Immaculate Heart High School, Tucson; Robert Anderson, St. Francis of Assisi, Yuma; Greg VanderZanden, president, and Brother Nick Gonzalez, principal, San Miguel High School, Tucson; Sr. Lauren Moss, St. Augustine High School, Tucson.

New Human Resources Director – Richard Serrano is our Diocese's new Director of Human Resources. He brings a depth and breadth of human resources experience from his 25 years at IBM. (There's a story about Richard in this month's Catholic Vision.) Richard will be working very closely with Dr. Paul Duckro of our Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection to integrate into personnel policies and practices our Guidelines for the Prevention of and Response to Sexual Misconduct. In the course of doing that, Richard will oversee an overhaul of personnel policies and practices to reflect the many changes in human resources administration that have taken place since our policies and practices were implemented in 1986.

Important goals for our human resources efforts this year include helping our parishes and schools develop and implement safe environment and child protection programs, implementation of new background screening programs for employees and volunteers and identification and training of "compliance representatives" who will oversee efforts at all our parishes and schools to follow the mandates of the Guidelines.

I have asked Richard to help our pastors and principals in their responsibilities to interview and screen candidates for positions and to provide feedback and evaluation for employees. I also have asked him to develop structures for conflict resolution. In every diocese and in every parish and school there are going to be conflicts. The important question is how to manage them. Communication is essential in resolving conflicts, and I have asked Richard for recommendations on how to improve workplace communication.

We thank Fred Allison for his service as interim human resources director these last si--years. It was a long "interim!" Fred can now devote more time to our Diocese's communications ministry.

2. "Welcoming" Events – The Bishop Moreno Diocese of Tucson Pastoral Center will be the site of some special "welcoming" events this fall. On Monday, Sept. 29, new priests, new principals and new parish administrative and ministry staff will gather at the Center to receive our welcome to and to get to know the Diocese and the Pastoral Center Staff better. We will begin with Mass at 11 a.m. in the Chapel, followed by tours of the Center. This is a great opportunity for all our "new" folks to meet the pastoral center staff and to learn about our ministry "downtown."

3. Farewell! – Regina Sasseen, who has been director of our Department of Parish Life and Ministry these last 13 years, retires this month. We will celebrate with Reggie at the end of this month, but I want to acknowledge now her many contributions to the ministries of parish religious education, evangelization, the catechumenate, formation and the Diocesan Pastoral Council. Reggie's participation in the on-going process to refashion our approach to these critical ministries is much appreciated. (Please keep Reggie and her family in your prayers, as a nephew and a great aunt have recently died.)

4. Lay Participation in the Life of the Church – As you read the first three memo items, I am sure you noticed the number of lay persons who are using their gifts and talents to help carry out the work of the Church. Important structures that are mandated by canon law, such as the Finance Council and Pastoral Council at the diocesan level, and similar structures at the parish level, as well as important boards such as a Diocesan School Board, depend upon the counsel and wisdom provided by the laity. In addition to those structures, thousands of our laity participate in spiritual associations and movements, and hundreds participate in ministries of the altar such as Eucharistic Minister and Lector. No matter how many, there's always room for more.

Presently within the Diocese at least two new organizations are developing, seeking ways to involve the laity more in the work of the Church, and I welcome those desires and interests.

I met recently with a group that is organizing as a small chapter of Voice of the Faithful. I found them to be dedicated Catholics with three goals: support of victims of sexual abuse; support of priests of integrity; and finding structures for greater lay involvement in the Church. I fully support those interests.

Some see Voice of the Faithful as in opposition to the Church. That certainly is not the impression I have of this local effort. I have asked Dr. Paul Duckro of our Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection to be my liaison to Voice of the Faithful. We will have an opportunity for members of the group to meet with members of our Diocesan Pastoral Council, who are laity already involved deeply in the work of the Church.

I also met with a group called Laity Involved in Catholic Affairs that is developing at Santa Catalina Mission. Their goals are to develop better structures of communication in the Diocese and to encourage continued transparency and openness, especially in the area of sexual abuse and ensuing costs. They too want to develop structures for greater lay involvement. I have encouraged them to offer suggestions, and I have asked them specifically how we could communicate more effectively and in what ways the Diocese appears not to be transparent or open, since we are making every effort to do that. I also have asked them to recommend additional ways, alongside the mandated structures for lay involvement, how laity can offer their wisdom for the work of the Church.

5. Participation in the Political Process – The rights and responsibilities of Catholics to participate in the political process was the focus of a gathering at St. John the Evangelist Parish last week in Tucson. I joined a large group of parishioners from several parishes and community and civic leaders to explore the concepts of "Faithful Citizenship," the U.S. Bishops' pastoral that promotes involvement by Catholics in the political process. This is distinguished from partisan political activity or support of candidates in that our Church's tradition in the U.S. has been to encourage participation in the political process by registering to vote and voting. I support efforts by our parishes to encourage voter registration.

6. Vocations – Our seminarians are gathering in Tucson and at Picture Rocks this week for their annual convocation in preparation for returning to their seminaries. Our Diocese primary seminaries are Mount Angel in Oregon and the Pontifical College Josephinum in Ohio for college level studies and to Mundelein College near Chicago and St. John's in Camarillo for theologate.

Here are our current seminarians (*new), their parishes, and their seminaries: Jeffrey Zimmerman, St. Thomas the Apostle, Tucson, American College of Louvain, Belgium; Martin Garcia, Immaculate Conception, Yuma, Assumption Seminary, Texas; Jorge Chavatal*, St. Francis of Assisi, Yuma, Mount Angel; Samuel Fullen*, Holy Cross, Morenci, Mundelein; Michael Nixen, Immaculate Conception, Yuma, Mundelein; Mario V. Ordoñez*, Mundelein; Virgilio Tabo, Mundelein; Emilio Chapa, St. John the Evangelist, Tucson, Josephinum; Mark Long, Our Mother of Sorrows, Tucson, Josephinum; Robert Rodriguez, Immaculate Conception, Yuma, Sacred Heart School of Theology, Hales Corner, Wisconsin; Jesus Acuña*, Seminary Hispano de Sta. Ma. De Guadalupe, Mexico; Manuel Fragoso-Carranza, St. Augustine Cathedral, Tucson, St. John; Alonzo Garcia, Our Lady of Fatima, Tucson, St. John.

Please keep these young men in your prayers. They greatly appreciate your letters of encouragement! (The addresses of the seminaries they attend are on our diocesan Internet site under "Vocations.")

We are beginning a new vocations promotion effort under the name of "In Search." It is a monthly gathering of those who are interested in the possibility of priesthood but who are not ready to enter a seminary. The gatherings include prayer, discussion and a lot of encouragement.

The "Andrew and Miryam" dinners will continue this month and in October with a special focus on Native American and Asian American women and men of these cultures who might be discerning vocations to the priesthood, religious life, the diaconate or lay ministry. Please forward to Father Miguel Mariano the names of any people who might be interested in exploring possibilities for service to the church so that they can be invited.

7. The Parish Beat – Two of our parishes are celebrating special events this month. Parishioners of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Mammoth and administrator Sister Maria Cañez are celebrating the parish's fortieth anniversary. And Father John Allt, his staff and all the parishioners of St. Joseph's Parish in Tucson are celebrating their golden fiftieth. These anniversaries are special moments to recognize and celebrate what has gone before and to plan for the future and continued growth.

Two of our Tucson parishes are in a special partnership. Father Todd O'Leary, pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, was interested in offering financial support to a deserving parish that would implement some strong internal financial self-help controls. Santa Cruz Parish pastor Father Gilbert Levario, O.C.D., responded positively, and the result is a three year pledge of support from St. Thomas to Santa Cruz. This is great example of stewardship between two of our parishes, and I hope we see more examples in the future.

Father Francisco Maldanado and his staff at St. Augustine Cathedral are in their new offices in what was the old Chancery building. The generosity of parishioners with donations of materials and supplies made renovation of the building possible. This is a great first step in what we envision as a project for the renovation and preservation of the buildings in the Cathedral complex.

Part of the project includes a clean-up and clear-out of the basement of the Marist College. We will evaluate the "treasures" that are down, and perhaps a big "yard sale" is in the future!

Our hope is that our Diocesan Archives, so professionally and lovingly maintained by Dan Brosnan, can be relocated from St. Augustine High School (Regina Cleri) to the Cathedral, perhaps in the Marist College and the Immaculate Mary Chapel.

Parishioners of St. Jude Parish in Pearce and St. Francis of Assisi Mission in Elfrida and Father Bob Brazaskas, pastor, are justifiably proud of their new directory. The directory features color photos of the staff of the parish and mission and includes a "family album" as well. Everyone looks so happy!

8. New General Instruction for the Roman Missal – I will be sending a memo soon to all our clergy, religious and lay staff at our parishes and school about our preparation for the liturgical changes that will go into effect the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 30. While not major, these changes will be different than the practices now present in some of our parishes. We are undertaking a considerable effort to inform ourselves of these changes and to call ourselves to a unity of practice in the celebration of the Eucharist. Deacons addressed the changes in their meeting this past weekend in Tucson, and our priests will discuss the changes and reflect on them as part of their October retreats. A major event will be a Liturgy Conference for all involved in liturgy planning and liturgical celebrations. This conference will be held on Saturday, Sept. 20, 9:30-11:30 a.m., at a location to be announced. Please plan on attending this important conference!

Renewing our parishes is one of our major diocesan goals, Liturgy is critical to that renewal. I am convinced that the more we can create a unity of liturgical practice around our Diocese, enliven and continue to improve our preaching, strengthen our music and foster a sense of hospitality, the renewal will happen. I encourage all of us to use this moment of change to show our unity and to enhance our worship together.

9. Permanent Deacons – Tucson area deacons gathered at St. Pius X Parish this past Saturday and enjoyed a presentation by Father Ed Salmon, Vicar for Deacons of the Archdiocese of Chicago. His insights on the permanent diaconate were much appreciated. Father Ed is retiring this year after long and fruitful experience with the diaconate. Thanks to Deacon Jim Burns and the Deacons' Committee for their work in arranging this day.

10. "Why Can't I Get Married at the Country Club?" – That is one of the questions that is asked from time to time in relation to the sacrament of marriage, and it is just one of the areas of interest and concern that will be addressed at upcoming "Short" workshops for parish staff, volunteers, pastoral ministers, religious and clergy. The workshops will include information on annulments, dispensations, permissions, lack of form, dispensation from canonical form and, yes, the country club questions. Father John Lyons, our Judicial Vicar, and the staff of the Tribunal are presenting the workshops, which are scheduled for St. John Parish in Tucson on Friday, Sept. 19 from 7-9 p.m.; St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Thursday, Oct. 23, 10 a.m. to noon; and Our Mother of Sorrows Parish, Saturday, Nov. 8, 10 a.m. to noon. For more information, please call the Tribunal.

11. Opportunities for Service and Prayer – Habitat for Humanity is organizing for "Building Freedom Day," and a multi-faith Habitat Home is being planned to give people of different faiths the opportunity to work together in building a home on Sept. 9. If your parish is interested, please call Pam Nirenberg at 603-3569 before Aug. 15 for more information.

I recently was introduced to "Vine of Grace," a women-to-women retreat ministry with the goal of offering adult women the opportunity to deepen their relationship with the Lord. The retreat team brings humor, candor, enthusiasm, compassion and personal witness to each retreat experience. Parishes interested in providing this special prayer opportunity can contact Erin Blanchette at 520-750-8285 or

12. Father Bill Parenteau -- We pray for the repose of the soul of Father Bill Parenteau, who died in late July in Sierra Vista, where he was in the loving care of Deacon Bob and Marilyn Sadorf. Father Bill served at Sacred Heart Parish in Tombstone and St. John Neumann Parish in Yuma. Please pray for the comfort of his mother, Violet. Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated this Saturday at 4 p.m. at Our Lady of the Mountains.

Vol. 1, No. 18
August 11, 2003

We celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary this Friday. This special day, coming as it does at the beginning of another year of activities at our parishes and schools, allows us to place all our good plans and high hopes for the coming year under Her protection.

Our Diocese really does gather around the our Blessed Mother in many ways. Think of all the parishes and missions dedicated to her – 25! The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Florence is the oldest, established in 1870. Our Lady of La Vang, which serves the Vietnamese Community in Tucson, is the youngest, established in 1999.

Look at the front of St. Augustine Cathedral. There are some beautiful symbols of Mary on the façade, including the rose (for Mystical Rose), and her initial is inscribed on the two main pilasters.

Of course, we honor Mary as the Patroness of the Americas in the person of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is so close to the hearts to the people of Mexico and our Hispanic Catholics.

We honor Her in many different ways, but the honor She appreciates most is the work we do in response to Her Son.

May our Blessed Mother, "full of grace," help us receive the grace to be patient and strong when the inevitable challenges come our way.

1. Year of the Rosary – There are three months remaining in this Year of the Rosary, which was proclaimed last October by the Holy Father. "Journey for Peace," the Marian movement started by Arizona families and dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, has done much this year to encourage the praying of the Rosary by families in our Diocese. The movement has been welcomed by many of our parishes, and thousands of families now have special Rosary shrines in their homes. Parishes or individuals wishing to learn more about "Journey for Peace" can visit the movement's website at

Our Diocese's observance of the Year of the Rosary will conclude with a special noon Mass on Sunday, Oct. 26, at St. Augustine Cathedral. I hope we will have representation from all our parishes at this Mass. Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, Apostolic Delegate to the U.S., has indicated he will be present, notwithstanding any late changes to his schedule.

2. Historic Day for Tucson – This is a historic day for Tucson. Yes, the President of the U.S. is supposed to visit, but what really makes it a historic day is the opening of St. Augustine Catholic High School! Congratulations to Sr. Lauren Moss, principal, all the teachers and staff, all the students and their families, the St. Augustine High School Board and the many generous benefactors for helping make this day possible. You won't believe how good the "old" Regina Cleri Center looks in its new identify and purpose as St. Augustine Catholic High School. The school welcomes its first class today, 50-plus freshmen. The formal dedication of St. Augustine is scheduled for this Sunday at the campus, 8800 E. 22 St. (St. Augustine received some nice news media coverage from KGUN, Tucson Citizen and Arizona Daily Star over the last week. It's good to see that good news!) St. Augustine has two excellent role models in the community. Salpointe Catholic High School and Immaculate Heart High School wish St. Augustine every success.

3. Schools, Schools, Schools – Welcoming the fourth freshmen class in its young history is Yuma Catholic High School. That means YCHS will be graduating its first senior class this school year. What a wonderful success story YCHS is!

Our schools are growing! Our Lady of the Mountains in Sierra Vista is adding the fifth grade; St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Tucson is adding grades one, two and three; Sacred Heart School in Nogales is adding the second grade; and St. Odilia in Tucson is adding kindergarten. We look forward next year to the opening of San Miguel Catholic High School in Tucson.

All of the 27 Catholic Schools (22 pre-school and elementary and five high schools) in our Diocese will be resuming classes over the next two weeks. To all who support the mission of our Catholic Schools, I say "Thank you!" And to all our Catholic School teachers, I add to that, "Thank you especially for giving so generously of your talents and skills."

The very best in administrative support for our schools comes from right here at the Pastoral Center, thanks to Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, CFMM, superintendent; Jo Ann Sayre, assistant superintendent; Mary Gioco, executive secretary; and Mary Ann Hendrickson, program grant coordinator.

Today's Catholic Schools in the Dicoese of Tucson have their roots in the missionary past of the Diocese, especially through the sacrifice and work of Religious Women. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, the Sisters of the Company of Mary, the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart, the Sisters of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross, the Adrian Dominicans, the Minim Daughters of Mary Immaculate, the Mercy Sisters of Burlingame, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity of Manitowoc, the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Benedictine Sisters of Pontifical Jurisdiction, the Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart, the Sisters of the Precious Blood, the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand, the Sisters of the Holy Cross, the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi and the Sisters of Mercy have served schools in our Diocese during the last 135 years! And, of course, the Carmelite Fathers and Brothers have served Salpointe Catholic High School for more than half a century.

We truly have been blessed as a Diocese by the presence of women and men dedicated to the Lord and to the mission of Catholic schools.

4. The Auditors Are Coming – Audit of Diocesan Policies – We welcome two representatives from the Gavin Group to the Pastoral Center this morning. They are here to audit the compliance of our Diocese with the U.S. Bishop's Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

An audit of all dioceses across the U.S. began in June, conducted by the Gavin Group of Boston, headed by William Gavin, an experienced compliance auditor formally with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The audit stems from the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which established an Office for Child and Youth Protection. One of the duties of this office is to produce "an annual public report on the progress made in implementing the standards in this Charter."

This report, expected before the end of the year, will be based on the reports of the audits of all the dioceses.

We actually are looking forward to our audit. It is a chance to share all that we have accomplished. This fall will see the results of much of that work as we introduce a new "Code of Conduct" for all who minister in the Diocese and many new policies and procedures that are designed to protect, as much as humanly possible, children and vulnerable adults from abuse and sexual misconduct.

I thank Dr. Paul Duckro, director of our Office for Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, Fred Allison of our Community Relations Department and Richard Serrano, our Human Resources Director, for all the hard work that has gone into preparing for the Audit. (The Duckro Household is replete with hard workers. I thank Paul's wife, Lynn, for her many long hours of assistance to her husband and to the Diocese in preparing the recently completed John Jay College of Criminal Justice survey regarding clerical abuse.)

One thing we know for sure, we are all in this – the effort to restore trust – together. We continue to benefit from the shared experiences of other dioceses. For instance, Dr. Duckro attended the annual "Vicars Meeting" and "Assistance Ministers" meetings at Mundelein Seminary in Chicago last week. In these meetings, personnel more than 90 dioceses met to discuss their experiences working with the spirit and letter of the Charter. While there continue to be many questions and difficulties, Dr. Duckro says the spirit of the meeting was more optimistic this year. There is the sense that we as Church are moving out of crisis mode and into an exploration of what it is that Christ is leading us toward. Certainly, whatever changes lie before us, reconciliation is at the heart of the matter.

5. New Directions – What was our Department of Parish Life and Ministry has been reorganized into three separate offices: Formation; Catechesis; and Evangelization and Hispanic Ministry. We presently are searching for a director of the Formation Office. Mike Berger is director of Catechesis, and Ruben Davalos directs Evangelization and Hispanic Ministry. Each of these new offices will take us in new directions.

For instance, I met recently with Father Raul Trevizo, our new vicar for Hispanic Affairs, Ruben Davalos and Joanne Welter of our Catholic Social Mission Office to review pastoral outreach to Hispanic Catholics. We arrived at three preliminary goals: to review the evangelization programs available to determine a particular direction for our Diocese, perhaps one of the already developed programs or a modification of an existing program; to begin a dialogue with the heads of spiritual movements in the Diocese to see how we can better coordinate our efforts and work harmoniously; and to meet with the priests of the Diocese involved in Hispanic movements to get their input and recommendations.

6. Vocations – I really enjoyed my time last week with our 14 seminarians during their annual convocation at Picture Rocks. We were joined Tuesday night by several young men who are discerning the possibility of a vocation to the priesthood.

Last Monday night, as part of the convocation's activities, I played a round of golf. I wasn't in a twosome, threesome or foursome. I was in a 100-some. Our group of 100, including the seminarians and their families, priests, sisters, and members of the Knights of Columbus and Serra International of Tucson, took over a local fun park's miniature golf course. It was great fun getting to know each other, and it struck me how different are the ways we gather as Church – and how different the places we gather. For the record, I shot a score less than my age.

Thanks to Father Miguel Mariano, director of Vocations, for all the work he does with passion and imagination – and with a big smile and a great sense of humor.

7. Honors – The honorary title "monsignor" has a rich history. (You can read all about it at by doing a search for "monsignor.") I recently communicated to the priests of the Diocese my wish to receive from them the names of their brothers whom they feel have exemplified the pastoral care that is shown by the majority of our priests day after day. I told our priests one of the ways that we can recognize our priests is by use of the office of monsignor. I asked that they recommend to me, from among their brothers who have served as a pastor and who have been ordained 25 years or more, those who have been extraordinary through contributions to parish and diocesan life, who are held in high regard by their brothers and who take their spiritual life seriously and are living the priestly commitment with integrity.

The idea for surfacing names came to me from hearing parishioners at three of our parishes refer to their pastors with great pride and affection as, "The Monsignor." (We do have three "The Monsignor" pastors – Msgr. Cahalane, Msgr. Fuller and Msgr. O'Keeffe.)

I will let you know soon how this effort is coming along.

I also want to look at the honors the Church can bestow on laity as a way to acknowledge extraordinary service. For example, Bishop Moreno honored five lay persons, including Mike Berger of our Diocesan staff, for their extraordinary service to Church and community with papal medals.

It is one of the joys of being a bishop to acknowledge well-deserving people.

8. The Parish Beat – St. Theresa Parish in Patagonia and its mission, Our Lady of the Angels in Sonoita, will soon welcome Sister Guadalupe Jurado, O.P., as administrator. Sister Guadalupe will become the third religious woman to administer a parish or mission, joining Sister Carole Ruland, M.H.S.H., of Santa Catalina Mission and Sister Maria Cañez of Blessed Sacrament Parish, Mammoth. Sister Guadalupe is a native of Safford who has ministered in Argentina, Mexico and California. Among her several degrees are a bachelor's in social work and a master's in spirituality. She has 20 years experience in parish ministry. I met recently with the St. Theresa parish and finance councils, and the members were very enthusiastic about working with Sister Quadalupe, who will perform the day-to-day administrative and pastoral care ministries of the parish and mission, while Father Marcos Velasquez, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Nogales, and priests of the Nogales area parishes serve the people pastorally in and through the sacraments.

9. Re-Garnering Resources -- We will be beginning a series of breakfasts and luncheons to acquaint and re-acquaint people with our Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson. Our hope is that overtime we create endowments, through the special generosity of people, for certain portions of our diocese's pastoral mission. Endowments, which provide resources in perpetuity, will help ensure the continuation of such ministries as promotion of vocations, seminary education, on-going formation of priests, meaningful retirement benefits for our priests and religious women, formation of deacon and lay candidates, our Catholic Social Mission office and care of facilities in our poorer parishes and schools.

10. Report from Iraq – We were reminded of the continuing effects of the war in Iraq this week. Sister Charlotte Anne Swift received a call here at the Pastoral Center from a friend in Santa Cruz Parish whose daughter and son-in-law are serving in Iraq. The daughter is an Apache helicopter pilot. Sister's friend told her that her daughter had just found out that she and her husband would not be returning to the U.S. until April. They were expecting to come home next month. Please keep all our military families and their families in your prayers.

Vol. 1, No. 19
August 18, 2003

1. Audit of Diocesan Policies – The Diocese of Tucson was visited last week by two very capable and professional auditors representing the Gavin Group of Boston. Ruben Martinez and Jim Yelvington, both of Phoenix, are retired FBI agents who were recruited by the Gavin Group under its contract with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to perform audits of all U.S. dioceses to determine compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. (The Gavin Group is independent from the Church.) Before their Tucson visit, the two had participated in audits in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the Diocese of Tyler in Texas, the Diocese of Fresno in California and the Diocese of Honolulu.

The audit of our Diocese was to determine precisely and specifically what we have done, what we are doing and what we plan to do to meet the requirements of the Charter, which was approved by the U.S. Bishops in June a year ago. The audit included questions for us to answer and requirements for documentation to support our answers. The audit also included interviews by the auditors with three county attorneys (Pima, Yuma and Cochise), with pastors, with members of our Sexual Misconduct Review Board, with our staff who are involved in our processes and procedures and, importantly, with victims of clergy abuse.

The audit covered these areas of the Charter: "To Promote Healing and Reconciliation with the Victims/Survivors of the Sexual Abuse of Minors" (Articles 1-3); "To Guarantee an Effective Response to Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors" (Articles 4-7); "To Ensure the Accountability of Our Procedures" (Article 9); "To Protect the Faithful in the Future" (Articles 12-17).

The auditors told us on the first day that the results of their audit in each of these areas could be reported in three different ways; instructions; recommendations; and commendations. They said an instruction would indicate an area in which a diocese was not in compliance; a recommendation would indicate an area in which a diocese had taken steps for compliance but had not yet reached full compliance; and a commendation would indicate an area in which the diocese had achieved compliance in an exemplary way.

They told us that while they could not leave with us their executive summary report, they would, in an exit interview, share with us any and all specific instructions, recommendations and commendations. Their executive summary report, they said, would be forwarded to the Gavin Group for review, after which the report would be sent to the Office for Child and Youth Protection in Washington, D.C., headed by Kathleen McChesney. That office will complete an overall report for public release by the end of this year.

The auditors told us that we could share with the Catholic people of the Diocese any instructions, recommendations and commendations that would be communicated to us at the conclusion of their visit.

I am pleased to report to you what the auditors told us.

First, they issued no instructions. That means the Diocese is in compliance with the Charter.

Second, they issued one recommendation, and that was in the area of protecting the Faithful in the future. They acknowledged that our programs to train and educate parish and school staffs and volunteers about child abuse and to create safe environments at parishes and schools through background screening were in compliance, but as the training had not taken place and the background screening not yet implemented, they asked for a progress report to be made in October. In September, October and November, the Diocese will present three major child abuse awareness and training programs, two in Tucson and one in Yuma. We will introduce a new Code of Conduct for all employees and volunteers, we will start background checks for all present and future employees and volunteers and we will require each parish and school to have a compliance representative to ensure that all programs and procedures are being followed.

Third, they issued commendations for the openness and transparency the Diocese has shown in dealing with the allegations of child abuse by Church personnel and for the professionalism of Dr. Paul Duckro, the director of our Office for Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection.

In summary, they said, our Diocese is in compliance with the Charter in substance and spirit. They acknowledged the commitment of our staff members who have dealt most closely with the issues of child abuse.

This is very encouraging for us hear. It affirms for us the good work that has taken place. While we have had the strong feeling that we were doing the right things and were on the right track to meet our responsibilities under the Charter and our own Guidelines, it is good to get perspective and feedback from an objective source.

This audit is a major step for us in our continuing commitment to restore trust and to heal the wounds caused by abuse.

2. Our New Teachers -- The Department of Catholic Schools hosted welcoming and orientation sessions this past week at the Pastoral Center for 45 new teachers in our Catholic schools.

This was a hard working group, as evidenced by all the big sheets of paper taped on the hallway walls near their meeting room. Filled out in different colors of marker pens, the sheets contained reflections on our Catholic values and the culture of our Catholic schools. I shared with the new teachers my observations about the important role of teachers; that they have a unique and significant relationship with young people. I told them about a teacher I observed at recent confirmations in San Manuel who had developed a tremendous rapport with an autistic and blind child and how moving it was to see the impact that she had on that child. We reflected a little bit about teachers who had made an impact in our lives by drawing the best out of us and challenging us to do things we never imagined that we could do. I asked God's blessings on them as they begin their teaching experience in our Catholic Schools. What a blessing all our Catholic school teachers are!

The well-organized and fun welcoming sessions were the work of the "team" at the Department of Catholic Schools: Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, CFMM; Jo Ann Sayre, Mary Gioco, Mary Ann Hendrickson and Mary Ann's special "volunteer," Francis, her husband.

3. Dedications – I asked God's blessings on St. Augustine High School this past Sunday, and will ask those blessings for the new school building for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School this coming Sunday. Congratulations to Father Tom Millane and principal Suzanne Shadoni--for leading their project at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton to a wonderful conclusion.

These special dedication ceremonies celebrate the hopes and dreams, sacrifice and hard work that go into the mission of our Catholic schools.

4. Memories -- As the first-ever staff and class of St. Augustine Catholic High School in Tucson begin to make new memories at their campus, many old and wonderful memories remain among those who walked that same campus when it was Regina Cleri Seminary. Certainly, our present pastors who are Regina Cleri graduates have some great memories: Father John Allt of St. Joseph Parish; Father Michael Bucciarelli of St. Bartholomew in San Manuel; Father Bob Tamminga of St. Francis de Sales Parish; and Father Richard Troutman of St. Odilia Parish. I thank Father Bob Tamminga for sharing some of his memories with the students, their families, staff and supporters at the St. Augustine dedication. By the way, the Regina Cleri Alumni Association has a nice web page at this address: There are some nice photos of last year's reunion at that site.

5. "Go and make disciples of all nations." – That call is heard around the world everyday, and some who answer it go to our nation and to our Diocese of Tucson. Did you know that our Diocese has 25 priests who are from nine nations (Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Keyna, Ghana, Mexico, Republic of Dominica, Korea, Philippines, India)? The "face" of the priesthood in our Diocese has become more multi-cultural and multi-national in the last decade or so. Think of our early history as a diocese and how important the clergy and religious from France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland were to the development of the Church here.

The interest in sending priests to the Diocese of Tucson continues from oversees. I have been in contact recently with the leadership of the Disciples of Mary in the Philippines and the Via Christi in Nigeria. Both have indicated their desire to send us priests.

6. "One of Us at 111 South Church" – A new feature makes its debut in this week's Monday Memo. It's a mini-profile of a staff member here at the Pastoral Center. We have 45 staff members in our 14 offices and departments. Compared to other dioceses with similar Catholic populations, we are among the smallest in terms of staff size. Each week, I want to introduce a staff member to you. Some you already may know quite well; others may be just a voice on the other end of the phone.

This first profile is actually a farewell recognition of Regina "Reggie" Sassen, who is retiring at the end of this month after 13 years of service to the Diocese in the Department of Parish Life and Ministry. Reggie was DPLM's first lay director, having succeeded Msgr. Bob Fuller in that position. She brought to the Diocese a wealth of experience in lay ministry formation, the catechumenate and pastoral planning.

Rather than listing her many accomplishments in the Diocese, I asked those who have worked most closely with Reggie these past years (Mike Berger, Ruben Davalos, Margaret Lordon, Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, Mary Gioco, Janet Towner and Pegi Dodd) to give witness to her service:

"Reggie has been a good shepherd for these many years, always putting the folks and their educational needs first." "Reggie has personified the 'four Cs' in carrying out her ministry. She has been consistent in demonstrating competency, compassion, and a collaborative approach to serving others in faith and love." "She did much to encourage women especially to take leadership roles in the parishes in our Diocese." "Reggie is 'grace under fire.' She has shown a true spirit of faith and loving service to our Diocese." "I have never heard her turn anyone away or refuse to speak with someone on the phone – on the contrary – she goes over and above what is expected of her." "Her tireless energy has enabled her to successfully touch the lives of many in the Diocese of Tucson."

Reggie's title in diocesan service recently changed from DPLM Director to the Director of the Office of Formation as part of the reorganization of DPLM into three distinct offices. With Reggie's impending retirement, we continue to seek a new Director of the Office of Formation. The position description is on our diocesan website.

7. Chapel of the Gila – This past Friday was a historic day indeed for Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Florence as the parish and the entire Florence community celebrated the completion of a 30-year project to restore the historic Chapel of the Gila.

Missionary priests from France built the Capilla del Gila in 1870. The chapel served Florence and surrounding communities until a new and larger church was built next to it. In the years following, the chapel building served as a school and a convent. But, the passing of time and the effects of weathering on the building's adobe walls took a tremendous toll, and the chapel all but disappeared in a crumbling heap.

About 30 years ago, several archeological and preservation groups from Florence and the surrounding community and the University of Arizona joined forces to restore the crumbling building. Funding was provided through several sources, including grants from historic preservation organizations, the University of Arizona and, significantly, the Knights of Columbus in Arizona, who raised more $100,000 to aid in the chapel's restoration.

Congratulations to all who helped save this important part of our Diocese's missionary heritage, especially Father Charles Cloud, pastor of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, for his caring overseeing of the project's final phases.

8. To build or not to build: Where do we start? -- Our Diocesan Building Committee continues to address significant issues of growth facing our parishes and schools. As many of you are aware, I have charged the committee with making recommendations to me on all new building, remodeling and maintenance projects over $7,500. It became evident to me during the discussions of last week's meeting of the committee that many of our pastors could benefit from training on how to manage building projects from start to finish. In light of this, I have asked the committee to develop a building and maintenance manual and hold subsequent workshops later in the year to train our pastors and key staff on processes and procedures necessary to ensure a successful project.

Immediately following that discussion on the agenda was St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Casa Grande. Father Clinch was presenting preliminary conceptual plans for a church expansion and new social hall. It was very satisfying to see that they are already proceeding in a logical manner by involving and seeking the advice of the Diocesan Building Committee in the early stages of their project. By involving this committee in your project's infancy, I believe we can avoid many of the pitfalls associated with construction projects.

And, speaking of the Casa Grande area, the Diocese plans soon to assess the need for future parish sites around Casa Grande and Maricopa. Those areas are growing quickly, as evidenced by the new housing developments visible from I-10.

9. "Church with a Mission" –The task force that will help me develop a major pastoral letter under the title of "Church with a Mission" for next year meets for the first time this week. I announced this effort in a Monday Memo of last spring, and I was gratified to receive such an enthusiastic response from these good people who want to be a part of the development task: Father Charles Polzer, SJ; Father Robert Burns, O.P.; Msgr. Tom Cahalane; Sister Barbara Sullivan, CSJ; Dr. Ale--Nava; Fred McAnich; and Edith Auslander. They will be joined by Mike Berger and Fred Allison of our Pastoral Center staff.

10. Our "Mission" Communities – Among the ways the word "mission" is used in our Church is to describe a church or a chapel without a resident priest. That definition doesn't fit in all cases in our Diocese, nor does that definition do justice to the role of the mission church in our Diocese. In many instances, a mission church in our Diocese serves a community of the faithful for whom travel to a parish would be a real hardship. Our mission churches are woven into the fabric of our Diocese's history, and today, as in the past, they are much beloved by the communities and people they serve.

We have 30 missions in the Diocese, and, if you count each of the village churches in San Solano Missions Parish, there are 45 more mission churches.

Our missions range in size from the large (Santa Catalina Mission north of Tucson) to the very small, in villages such as Gun Sight and Jackrabbit.

I especially enjoy learning about the histories of these 75 special churches when I visit for Mass. Today, for instance, I will celebrate the Eucharist with the people of St. Michael's Mission in Naco, south of Bisbee on the border with Mexico. The first mission church in Naco was established in 1903. It first was a mission of the old Sacred Heart Parish in Bisbee. St. Michael's Church in Naco was dedicated in 1939, and it has been a mission of St. Patrick's Parish in Bisbee for all these years.

11. Week Ahead – Our Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries Board meets this week. I am very pleased to announce that Arnold Elias, director of Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries, has appointed Deacon George Rodriguez as manager of Our Lady of the Desert/All Faiths Memorial Park on Tucson's east side. When it was developed in the late 1970s, this beautiful desert landscaped cemetery seemed to be so far away, but the tremendous growth on the far east side has made Our Lady of the Desert a very important part of the spiritual life of thousands of families who attend our east side Tucson parishes.

Our Diocesan Pastoral Council has a full day this Saturday. This meeting will be devoted to orientation of new members to both the Diocese and to their new commitment of service.

12. For Your Calendar – Saturday, Sept. 20, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Most Holy Trinity Parish in Tucson, the Parish Social Ministry team of our Catholic Social Mission Office will host a training event for Tucson area parishes that will include models of parish social ministry, social analysis, an overview of Catholic Social Teaching, resources and issue updates, especially about the Border. Our Mother of Sorrows, Corpus Christi, St. Cyril's and St. Pius X parishes comprise the Parish Social Ministry Team. I ask each of our parishes in the Tucson area to send two representatives to this important training event.

Vol. 1, No. 20
August 25, 2003

1. Our Patron Saint -- The feast day of St. Augustine, our Diocese's patron saint, is this week.

In the past, perhaps as far back as the 1800s, all of Tucson would observe Aug. 28 with "La Fiesta de San Agustín." A bell would be rung to summon people to Mass, and the fiesta would start afterwards.

(That bell, dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, first rang from the Presidio Church of San Agustín from 1807 to 1864; it was the bell for the Church of San Agustín that was in downtown Tucson from 1864 to 1897; and it also rang from the Cathedral Church of St. Augustine from 1897 through the 1940s. The bell is still with us. It's in the vestibule of St. Augustine Cathedral, and you can read its history on a nearby plaque.)

Although the feast day of St. Augustine has not been celebrated with a fiesta by the Church in Tucson for many years, the Arizona Historical Society did revive the fiesta as a community event for several years in the 1980s.

The connection between our Diocese and St. Augustine dates from the missionary period. How he became our patron saint I'll save for another memo.

I encourage you to learn more about this fascinating figure from the early centuries of the Church who is our patron saint.

The Internet has a wealth of information on St. Augustine. You might enjoy visiting, and, for a daily meditation with quotes from St. Augustine, you can visit

2. ¡Gracias! – There could be no better day than St. Augustine's feast day for a very special celebration of thanksgiving.

This Thursday evening, friends and family of Bishop Manuel Moreno will say "¡Gracias!" in recognition of his 21 years of service to our Diocese. The celebration will be at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish, where Bishop Moreno is an "across the street" neighbor.

A distinguishing characteristic of Bishop Moreno that you may not be aware of is his devotion to the fraternity of bishops, especially a group of bishops from here in the Southwest, through regular retreats in which they pray together and share in the spirituality of the episcopacy.

So it is no surprise that several of his brother bishops will be present at the celebration, including: Bishop Francis Quinn; Bishop Joseph Hart of Cheyenne; Bishop Arthur Tafoya of Pueblo; Bishop Donald Pelotte of Gallup; Bishop Armando Ochoa of El Paso and Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces.

3. Fact-finding Mission -- As this issue of the Monday Memo goes out this morning, I am on a bus headed south on a special pilgrimage of learning and sharing.

This journey is a fact-finding mission to Altar, Sonora, to gain a better understanding of the plight of the thousands of migrants from all over Mexico and Central America who arrive daily in Altar in the hopes of crossing the border into the U.S.

I am among some good company on this trip, with people representing different faiths and denominations and with reporters who will be witnesses with us. Our group includes:

Erica Dahl-Bredine of the CRS Mexico Project; Joanne Welter, director of our Diocese's Catholic Social Mission office; Maggie Burnett, Catholic Vision managing editor; Msgr. Tom Cahalane, pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish; Deacon George Rodriguez of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish; Father Raul Trevizo, pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish; Father Bob Carney of St. Francis de Sales Parish; Peg Harmon, Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona; Ron Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference; John Peck, Senior Vice President of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona; Marlyne Freedman, Director, Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona; Bruce Ash of the Jewish Relations Committee; Rabbi Samuel Cohon of Temple Emanu-El; Rabbi Thomas Louchheim of Congregation Or Chadash; Sean McLachlan of the Arizona Jewish Post; Reva Price of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs in Washington, D.C.; Rabbi Robert Kravitz, Paul Steen, Michelle Steinberg and Rabbi Stephanie Aaron of Congregation Chaverim; Rev. Jan Flaaten, Executive Director of the Arizona Ecumenical Council; Rev. John Fife, pastor of Southside Presbyterian Church, Tucson; Rev. Ravin Gastin of Catalina United Methodist, Tucson; Rev. Stuart Taylor of St. Mark's Presbyterian, Tucson; Kathy Saile of the Diocese of Phoeni--Office of Peace and Justice; reporter Stephanie Innes and Steve Auslander of the Arizona Daily Star; and Mike Clancy of the Arizona Republic.

We will witness what happens in this "staging" area for the continuing phenomenal migration, and we will familiarize ourselves with the Hermosillo Archdiocese's Migrant Ministry work.

The interest of our Arizona communities of faith and concern is evident in people and groups they represent who are making this trip:

This trip is in part a response to the call of the U.S. and Mexican bishops to join in the search for solutions to the migration crisis and to work to promote the dignity of the migrants passing through our communities.

I believe our response, as the Diocese of Tucson, needs to be focused on three areas. The first is humanitarian outreach to people who are near to us, who our neighbors and who are suffering because they cannot meet basic human needs.

The second area is education -- trying to open our eyes to learn what the situation is and what could be helpful so that we can move toward a humanitarian response.

The third is governmental, which obviously is where the resolution of this tragic situation has to come. This is very complex, as it involves the governments of two bordering nations that find themselves politically wide apart on important issues of cause and effect.

The role that our Church has is critical in working toward solutions. Dioceses on both sides of the border are working to fulfill the commitments made in the first-ever joint pastoral letter of the bishops of the U.S. and Mexico, "Strangers No Longer." (I urge you to become familiar with this letter:

For us in the Diocese of Tucson, there must be a Christian response as we consider the totality of this situation. We are near to the border and have the whole border as part of our diocese. We should know as much as possible about the situation, especially because, as the Holy Father has said in "Ecclesia in America," the Church is without boundaries and borders. We must come to know that in fact our brothers and sisters in Agua Prieta, Naco, Nogales, San Luis and all the communities across the border we share are as much a part of the family of God as we are. They and the migrants who pass through their communities are in the image and likeness of God.

For your calendar: Wednesday, Sept. 24, 10 a.m. at St. Augustine Cathedral, a Mass to celebrate and acknowledge "A Nation and a City of Immigrant Peoples." This Mass is in conjunction with the "Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride," a cross-country pilgrimage of immigrant workers, their families and their allies. This pilgrimage is intended to draw attention to the contributions of immigrant workers to our economy and the life of the community. We will be welcoming a bus that set out from Los Angeles. Representatives from Tucson will board the bus after the Mass and proceed to Washington, D.C.

4. Naco/Bisbee Follow-up -- Just a brief follow-up on my visit to Naco and Bisbee last week. The youth group of St. Michael's Mission in Naco had everything prepared beautifully for our Mass on Monday evening. A group of about 40 teens participated, along with their parents and other parishioners. To see and experience their enthusiasm and interest in the Church, as "far away" as they are from the resources that many other parishes have, was inspiring.

I express my appreciation for the work that Father Larry Kasper, pastor of St. Patrick's in Bisbee, has done to encourage the involvement in the Church of the youth in his parish and the mission.

At Mass in Bisbee last Tuesday morning, I was struck by the beauty of St. Patrick's Church. It truly is one of the "special places" in our Diocese, and it is featured as such (with a narrative about its history and with photographs) on our diocesan Internet site.

Without a doubt, St. Patrick's 41 stained glass windows are art treasures without compare in all of Arizona.

Maintaining and preserving a historic building is even more of a challenge when that building is a working parish church. In the case of St. Patrick's Church in Bisbee, we have Father Stan Nadolny, former pastor, to thank for leading the successful renovation project of the 1990s. Father Kasper is continuing that good work today.

5. Deadline Approaching -- Sept. 1 is the deadline for candidates for the new diaconate and lay ministry formation programs to submit application packets. Names of possible candidates for the diaconate that may have surfaced these past few weeks should be forwarded promptly to Father Miguel Mariano, our Director of Vocations; names of candidates for lay ministry formation should be forward to Margaret Lordon. The review of candidates already has begun. People responsible for diocesan movements and prayer programs might profitably participate in this four year formation program.

6. Advanced Formation – A person who has completed a formation program in our Diocese and who has a thirst for more advanced formation unfortunately has limited choices and opportunities. Both our Diocese and the Diocese of Phoeni--have formation programs that provide people with initial formation, but we lack in the state any institution of higher education where people could get advanced degrees. Phoenix, our state's largest city, is the largest city in the U.S. without a Catholic university. For some time there have been discussions about developing a Catholic institution of higher learning to Arizona..

I met this past week with representatives of the initiative for Arizona Catholic University. Under discussion for several years now, ACU would be sponsored by the Christian Brothers with management support and operations guidance from Lewis University of Chicago. It would be located in the Phoeni--area, and would serve 6,000 students.

Another initiative, also under discussion for several years, hopes to establish a Catholic university in the Florence area.

I hope these two initiatives might come together to make this daunting project more feasible.

7. Vocations – I will be leaving Sunday for Indiana for a brief visit to St. Meinrad Archabbey where I will lead a day of renewal for the archabbey's seminarians. I was very honored to receive the invitation. Such opportunities allow me to experience the formation of seminarians in different dioceses and religious orders, and I always receive beneficial insights that I can share with Father Miguel Mariano, our Vocations director.

As you well know, the drum is my favorite instrument for the promotion of vocations, and here are the notes I enjoy playing the most:

Be a promoter of vocations.
Identify potential candidates.
Invite them to opportunities, such as our on-going series of Andrew and Myriam Dinners.
Encourage and support those whom you identify and invite.
And, pray for them and for more vocations.

And more on vocations...

I have already acknowledged the wonderful of support of vocations by groups such as the Knights of Columbus, Serra International of Tucson and the Catholic Daughters of America.

Individuals are doing wonderful work to support vocations, too. For instance, in Tucson, Nenita Ashhurst of St. Francis de Sales Parish very generously opened her home over the summer to four of our seminarians. This hospitality was much appreciated, and it gave the young men a home and a family while they were assisting at local parishes.

If you or someone you know would like to support vocations like Nenita has, just let Father Miguel or Marty Hammond of the Vocations Office know.

8. "One of Us at 111 S. Church" -- And, speaking of Marty Hammond, she is in the spotlight for this week's profile of a Pastoral Center staff member. So, as they say on the news, here is Marty, in her own words:

"Working for the Office of Vocations is not as easy as I thought it would be. I thought it would be just getting the seminarians to their respective seminaries and then, when they returned during the summer, finding them a parish to stay at until they had to return to the seminary. Thank God it is not like that.

"Taking care of our seminarians, whom I lovingly refer to as my "sons," entails much more. I am their secretary, translator, travel agent, bookkeeper, protector, etc. But most of all, I hope that I am someone they can come to when they need help or some words of encouragement.

"But Vocations is not only about seminarians, it is about promoting vocation awareness and fostering possible vocations to religious life, the permanent diaconate and, of course, to the diocesan priesthood. We have a lot of wonderful people and organizations that help us in this area. That is why our logo is: Vocations -- Our Shared Responsibility.

"I have had the opportunity to work for Vocations for over si--years; first, as secretary to former vocation directors, Father Raul Trevizo and Father Patrick Crino, then, again, since February 14, 2000, when Bishop Moreno asked me to serve as assistant to Father Miguel Mariano, the new vocation director. (Father Miguel was one of my 'sons' during my first tenure with Vocations.)

"After having worked for the Tucson Unified School District, Hughes (Raytheon) and IBM, I feel truly blessed that during my 12 years with the Diocese I have had the opportunity to work at St. Monica and St. John the Evangelist Parishes in Tucson, in addition to my si--and half years with Vocations."

Thank you, Marty, for sharing yourself so generously in the ministry of Vocations.

9. Council for Women Religious – I meet with the Council for Women Religious this week. Sister Jean Olmstead, S.B.S., our Vicar for Religious, is my liaison with the religious women of the Diocese. We are very happy that Sister Jean is with us at the Pastoral Center. She certainly is an important part of our ministry of administration.

The Council for Women Religious (CWR) was formed to act as a group through which women religious can effectively study, communicate and interact in order to share Christian life, love and service with all the people in the Diocese.

The CWR provides a forum for communication and dialogue among women religious and a voice through which they can speak to the Church and the community. It also promotes the spiritual, professional and cultural enrichment of the Sisters.

The CWR fosters unity with the Bishop and insures adequate involvement of Sisters in the making of decisions and policies which affect their lives. It provides an opportunity for Sisters to communicate the needs of the Diocese and of the local community as they become aware of them to the Bishop, and to collaborate with him in meeting these needs.

10. "A Church with a Mission" – We held the first meeting of the task force to develop a pastoral letter to the Diocese with the theme of "A Church with a Mission." The participants were Msgr. Tom Cahalane; Sister Barbara Sullivan; CSJ, Father Bob Burns, OP; Fred McAnich; and Mike Berger and Fred Allison of our Pastoral Center staff. We had a wide ranging discussion on areas that could be addressed and began to formulate an outline. I intend to do further consultation as we begin to develop the first draft. The intention is to publish the pastoral letter on Easter Sunday, April 12, 2004. Any ideas and suggestions for the letter are welcome. Father Charles Polzer, esteemed historian, expert on Father Eusebio Kino and a member of the pastoral letter task force, wasn't able to be with us because of some health challenges he experienced recently in Los Angeles. Please keep Father Charlie in your prayers.

11. "Good News" – I like to acknowledge the news media within the Diocese for coverage of our "good news." The Yuma Sun gets an "A+" for its story last week on Yuma Catholic High School's first senior class.

You can read it at

12. Birthday Serenade -- I celebrated a "first" last week: my first birthday as the Bishop of Tucson. The celebration got off to an early start, when just after midnight I was visited by a wide awake group of singers and mariachi from St. Augustine Cathedral Parish, led by Father Francisco Maldonado. I was honored to be serenaded in the local tradition with "Las Mañanitas." It was beautiful, and because of all the backyard lights that came on, I think the neighbors enjoyed it too. Thanks to all for the cards, gifts and best wishes. You made an old man feel not so old.