Dec. 1, 2003 Dec. 9, 2003 Dec. 15, 2003 Dec. 22, 2003
Vol. 1, No. 34
Dec. 1, 2003
"Lord God, let your blessing come upon us as we light the candles of this wreath. May the wreath and its light be a sign of Christ's promise to bring us salvation. May He come quickly and without delay." (Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers)
Our household here at the Pastoral Center this morning will continue a tradition of many years at the Diocese of Tucson when they gather at 9 a.m. for prayer and lighting of the first candle of the Advent Wreath.
In the "old" days before we moved to the Pastoral Center, the staffs of the Chancery, the Marian Data Center and the Chancery Annex would gather around a wreath each Monday of Advent in the lobby of the Chancery or in the Bishop's office for a brief prayer service and lighting of the candles. The staff at Regina Cleri did the same at their workplace. Now, we are beginning our second Advent all together at the Pastoral Center.
I hope all of you in our parishes, schools and Catholic agencies and institutions have such an Advent tradition. We are a "Family of Faith," and praying together helps us stay together. If it is at all possible, I do invite you to hold your weekly Advent prayer service at 9 a.m. at your workplace on each of the four Mondays of Advent.
1. Lay Ecclesial Ministry Discernment Retreat -- I will have to be with the Pastoral Center staff in spirit today around the Advent Wreath because I am at the Archdiocese of Omaha for the second day of a special retreat that I am very honored to be leading.
The retreat is focused on Lay Ecclesial Ministry, and it is the first of four events the Archdiocese is sponsoring under the title of "A Year of Reflection and Discernment about Lay Ecclesial Ministry."
With the priests, religious and laity involved in various ministries of the Archdiocese, we will be exploring some critical questions about Lay Ecclesial Ministry and then sharing our reflections on our answers with one another.
As you know, I have been serving as chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on Lay Ecclesial Ministry which is working on a document to guide our efforts as a Church in this important area. (See Monday Memo of Sept. 2 for more information on Lay Ecclesial Ministry.)
2. Anniversary of Ordination to Permanent Diaconate -- I will preside at a special Eucharistic Celebration tomorrow evening at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson with four of our permanent deacons who, with their families and friends, will be celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of their ordination.
They are Deacon Chet Pawloski of Sts. Peter and Paul, Deacon Michael Ammerman of St. Pius X Parish and Deacons Carlos Martinez and Dennis Scalpone of St. Francis de Sales Parish.
They were among the members of the third class of candidates for the permanent diaconate in our Diocese, and they were ordained on Dec. 2, 1978, at St. Augustine Cathedral.
Deacon Ernest Roche of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish and Deacon Rodolfo Vega of Sacred Heart Parish in Nogales were also in that class, but illness will prevent them from attending the anniversary Eucharistic Celebration. Please remember them in your prayers.
We are blessed as a Diocese with the ministry of all of our permanent deacons.
3. Priests Day of Prayer -- Many of our priests will take time from the demands of the First Week of Advent to be together at our monthly Priests Day of Prayer on Wednesday at Picture Rocks. Advent is a time of intensified prayer, and finding time for prayer can be a challenge for all of us in the midst of our business and preoccupations. "Pray early and avoid the Christmas rush" is not a bad idea!
4. Recognition Dinner -- This Wednesday evening I will host a special recognition dinner for the lay and priest volunteers who have served so generously in the Tribunal Office as Defenders of the Bond and as Auditors.
The auditors and their years of service are Michael Murray (20), Luis Kame (16), Thomas McHugh (16), Gerald Sweeney (16) and Richard Cosgrove (16).
The priests volunteers and their years of service are Father Joseph Krause (29), Father Michael Stallings (26), Father Michael Bucciarelli (26) and Father Charles Knapp (20).
The mission and ministry of our Tribunal and its service to Catholics who are seeking the healing of the annulment process depend upon these dedicated volunteers, and I am grateful for their dedication.
5. "Raiders of the Lost Treasures of the Chancery Annex" -- The last scene in "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" showed a colossal storage facility in which were stacked thousands upon thousands of mysterious crates that stretched as far as the eye could see.
That's sort of how we envision the basement of the old Chancery Annex at St. Augustine Cathedral. It has been a "catch-all" for numerous odds and ends for years, but that is coming to a close this Thursday.
Our Pastoral Center staff, myself included, will be donning work clothes, gloves and dust masks for a massive clean-up of the entire annex on Thursday. (If we find a map to the Lost Dutchman Mine we'll let you know.)
This is our second "service project" as a staff, and it is a project that is much needed.
Our hope is to relocate our Diocesan Archives and Museum from St. Augustine High School (formerly Regina Cleri Center) to the Marist College (the Chancery Annex).
The Marist College is truly a historic building, but the passing years are causing significant deterioration of its adobe structure.
We will be seeking historical preservation grants and other support to preserve and rehabilitate the building so that it can house the archives and museum.
If you or anyone you know attended school at the Marist College under any of its names or have any special memories of the building, please let me know. We would like to preserve the history of the building through the recollections of those who attended school there.
6. Arizona Catholic Conference Meeting -- The Arizona Catholic Conference (ACC) meets this Friday here at the Pastoral Center.
The ACC is the public policy agency for the three dioceses in Arizona (Tucson, Phoenix and Gallup). Through executive director Ron Johnson, who is headquartered at the Diocese of Phoenix, the Conference represents myself, Bishop Donald Pelotte of the Diocese of Gallup and, now, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix on a wide range of issues and concerns at the Arizona Legislature.
The agenda for this meeting will include a legislative update from the current special session on Child Protective Services and prison overcrowding. Senate Majority Leader Tim Bee and Senate Minority Leader Jack Brown are scheduled to provide a preview of the upcoming 2004 legislative session.
Other topics include a discussion of the "Protect Arizona Now Initiative" and an update on activities with the tuition tax credit that benefits taxpayers and helps provide tuition assistance for students in Catholic schools in Arizona.
There is more information about the mission of the ACC at http://www.diocesephoenix.org/acc.
7. Diocesan Pastoral Council Meeting -- The Diocesan Pastoral Council meets this Saturday at the Pastoral Center.
The Council has invited four special guests to this meeting. They are two members each from Laity Involved in Catholic Affairs and Voice of the Faithful, two of the lay groups that have formed recently in the Tucson area whose members have expressed great interest in expanding the presence of laity in the life of the Church.
They will have the opportunity to see the Pastoral Council in action as the members address the pastoral concerns and issues of our Diocese.
8. UA Hispanic Alumni Annual Bishop's Scholarship Dinner -- Bishop Moreno and I will be attending the Annual Bishop's Scholarship Dinner of the University of Arizona Hispanic Alumni (UAHA) this Friday evening. This is the nineteenth annual dinner.
The UAHA is made up of accomplished Hispanic graduates and former students of the UA who live throughout the world. It was founded in 1982 to promote academic excellence among Hispanic students at the university, provide financial and mentoring support to qualified and deserving students and to develop links with alumni and supporters in the professional and business community.
Since 1986, the Annual Bishop's Dinner (which Bishop Moreno was honored to support and through the name of the Bishop of Tucson) has helped the UA Hispanic Alumni award 839 scholarships worth $1,671,908! There is more information about UA Hispanic Alumni at http://www.uagrad.org/Clubs/hispanic.html.
9. Annual Tumacacori Fiesta -- I am eagerly anticipating being with a large group of Arizonans and visitors from afar this Sunday for this annual fiesta, which takes place at Tumacacori National Historical Park south of Tucson.
The Park is the site of the remains of a mission church that was constructed in 1773 on the banks of the Santa Cruz River just south of Tubac. It was this same site upon which Padre Eusebio Kino had built a mission in the late 1600s.
The fiesta is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It will feature Native America, Mexican and Southwest food and crafts along with entertainment on stage both days.
My participation in the fiesta is on Sunday at 10 a.m. when I will preside at Mass in front of the old Mission Church.
Tumacacori National Historical Park is located 45 miles south of Tucson and 15 miles north of Nogales. Take exit 29 off of I-19.
10. Jewish Community Relations Council Annual Meeting and Dinner -- I am very honored to be the keynote speaker this coming Sunday evening for the Jewish Community Relations Council's (JCRC) Annual Meeting and Dinner.
The JCRC is the public affairs and social action arm of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. The JCRC provides a forum for the Jewish community to respond to concerns through education, advocacy and civic activity.
(Our diocesan Catholic Social Mission Office and the Arizona Catholic Conference fulfill similar roles for our Catholic community.)
I will talking about border issues and the various dimensions -- moral, humanitarian and political -- of the immigration from Mexico.
As Catholics, we share with people of other faiths and denominations a keen interest in a response to border issues that reflects our mutual concerns for the rights and dignity of those who migrate.
As you may remember, representatives from the Jewish communities of Phoenix and Tucson journeyed with us last August to Altar, Sonora, to witness the plight of migrants as they waited to cross the border into the U.S.
As we continue to "count our blessings" as we near the end of this year, I would count as one of our great blessings the wonderful relationship we share with the Jewish Community of Southern Arizona. This relationship is due in great part to Bishop Moreno's response to the Jewish Community and his care and interest in establishing and building upon good relations. It is care and interest that has always been reciprocated beautifully and inspirationally by local rabbis and leaders of the Jewish Community.
11. One of Us at 111 S. Church -- I find it very encouraging that young people see working for the Church as a good first step in their professional careers. This week's profile of a staff member here at the Pastoral Center is just such a young person. She is Adria Woudstra of the Human Resources Department.
"I was primarily raised in Denver, but in my 24 years, I have lived all over the country and overseas in Penang, Malaysia. After I graduated from high school in Boise, Idaho, I went to further my education at a private all-girls school named Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri. I received my Associate of Art degree there, and then came to Tucson to transfer to the University of Arizona. Three years later, I received a Bachelor of Fine Art degree with an emphasis in sculpture and textile art.
"Immediately after I graduated in 2002, I came to the Diocese of Tucson in the Employee Services Office through a personnel agency. At that time, my position was only intended to last for six to eight weeks. I ended up working until the end of September of the same year. I then moved to London, England. As a recent graduate, I was able to apply through a program to get a visa to work in the United Kingdom for six months. Things did not go as planned, and I came back much sooner than anticipated. It was an extraordinary opportunity, and I learned so much about life, the world and myself. I became so grateful for my friends and family back home.
"After coming back to Tucson, I heard last February that the Employee Services Office had yet another opening and I took it as a sign to come back to the Diocese of Tucson. A lot has changed in the last year and a half. Now, I work in the Department of Human Resources with Richard Serrano, our Director of Human Resources, and Joy Mitchell, Benefits Administrator. I truly enjoy my diverse assignments here in the Pastoral Center. As the second youngest staff member here at the Bishop Moreno Pastoral Center, I can say that it is an honor to work with so many talented and dedicated people."
Adria, we appreciate so much your work ethic and your support of Joy and Richard in the important mission of Human Resources.
12. New Bishop of Phoenix -- I was delighted to learn last Tuesday of Bishop Thomas Olmsted's appointment by Pope John Paul II as the new Bishop of Phoenix.
I have known Bishop Olmstead for some years, including when he served as Rector of the Pontifical College Josephenum in Columbus, Ohio, and later as Bishop of Wichita.
He is a bright, articulate, dedicated and spiritual man. He works well with people, and he will bring healing and hope to the priests, religious, deacons and laity of the Diocese of Phoenix.
I look forward to working with him on issues facing the State of Arizona. We have many challenges, but together our two dioceses can meet those challenges and further the mission of Christ.
On behalf of the priests, religious, deacons and laity of the Diocese of Tucson, I promise Bishop Olmstead our prayers and support as he begins this new and important ministry as Bishop of Phoenix.
13. San Solano Pastoral Visit -- On the day before Thanksgiving, I had an opportunity to visit San Solano Mission on the Tohono O'odham Reservation. It was a valuable and powerful learning experience for me.
I met with Father Max Hottle, O.F.M., Father Tom Frost, O.F.M., Sister Ange Mayers, O.S.F., Sister Clara Streng, O.S.F., Sister Barbara James, O.S.F. , Catherine Kent, Luis Norris, Jeanette Lopez, Deacon Alfred Gonzalez and his wife Barbara, Shirley Bautista, Ken Chico and Elizabeth Xavier, all of whom work collaboratively to further the work of the Church in the vast reservation west of Tucson.
We began the day with morning prayer led by Luis Lopez. He led us in prayer to the east, north, west and south. He blessed the earth and sky and led the purifying ritual for each of us, filling us with God's peace. The Native American prayers led us into awe at God's goodness and greatness.
At the meeting, the people spoke of their involvement in ministry throughout the villages that span such a large geographic area. The staff's dedication and commitment are inspiring. Many villages can have Mass only on occasion, but people's pastoral needs are met by the involvement of many laity who love the Church deeply and try to use their gifts in the service of God's people.
Several directions were suggested at the meeting:
¥ To hold a reservation-wide celebration at which laity involved in the work of the Church would be commissioned and recognized for their service. This might be done by district.
¥ To hold workshops for various ministers at the newly established center at San Solano.
¥ To explore the possibility of the Bishop visiting each of the villages over a period of time.
¥ To explore ways of developing a program for the diaconate and lay ministry formation that would take place partly on the reservation yet be integrated with the larger diocesan program.
These suggestions will be discussed further to identify directions for enhancing our pastoral outreach.
I left inspired by the faith of the Tohono O'odham people and the dedication of the missionaries who are serving there.
14. Monday Memo on Tuesday -- Because next Monday is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Monday Memo will be coming to you on Tuesday, Dec. 9.
Vol. 1, No. 35
Dec. 9, 2003
This second week of Advent really is a most exceptional week because the calendar lets us celebrate, within the same week, two great Marian observances.
Yesterday, we celebrated the Immaculate Conception, not only as Catholics, but also as American Catholics. The Catholic Church in the U.S. made the Immaculate Conception the patronal feast of the whole nation in 1846, eight years before the dogmatic definition.
And, of course, this Friday we celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, who is so greatly loved and embedded in the heart and culture of the people of Mexico.
The occurrence of these two great days during Advent emphasizes for us the role of Mary as the model not only of waiting and expectation and longing, but also as the Great Disciple whose faithfulness to Her call challenges all of us to live more faithfully in our lives the commitment we have made as disciples of Christ.
With Mary as our role model, Advent is a time for us to stand in awe of God's love for us, which in turn moves us to love in response.
I can recommend to you the resources of the University of Dayton's web site on Mary as the Model of Advent at http://www.udayton.edu/mary/medmenu.html.
The Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe were a part of the message I gave yesterday as I celebrated Mass with the Catholic Worker Community in Tucson and the people they serve.
Our Mass was at Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel and Soup Kitchen near downtown. Every day, the Catholic Workers and volunteers feed hundreds of our community's homeless and poor at this very special place as they live out the commitment of Catholic Worker founder Dorothy Day to nonviolence, voluntary poverty, prayer and hospitality for the homeless and hungry.
Especially in fall and winter, because of our warmer weather, the homeless seem to flock to our Southern Arizona communities. Christ calls all of us to respond in ways that reach out to those who have so little and to treat people in need with the dignity they deserve even though they may not have the appearance of much dignity.
I was reminded yesterday of Dorothy Day's experience of conversion as she saw a destitute man sitting on a pier. He had set out his lunch on a crate with an old newspaper as a tablecloth. It was such a powerful image for her that she determined to turn her life to the service of others. The theme of her life became seeing Christ in the images of the destitute and exiled because Christ ennobled them by becoming one of us.
The Catholic Worker Community in Tucson was formed around the Casa Maria Hospitality House in the mid-1970s with the assistance of the Diocese. Director Brian Flagg and his brothers and sisters in the community truly are "Catholic Workers" in their feeding of the hungry and their advocacy for the poor and homeless.
You can learn more about the Catholic Worker movement at
http://www.catholicworker.org and through a very creative and moving web site, http://www.learntoquestion.com/seevak/groups/2003/sites/day
1. Statewide Conference -- I participated in a statewide conference held yesterday in Tucson under the title of "Strengthening Arizona's Families through Faith-based and Community Initiatives."
The goal of this conference was to explore and support the efforts of federal, state and local governments to enlist, enable and expand the role of faith-based and community organizations so that they, in their unique missions, can better serve human and social needs within our state.
I was honored to be one of five principal presenters at the conference, along with Gov. Janet Napolitano, Ed Leslie of the U.S. Department of Labor, David Burns, director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security, and Rev. D. Grady Scott, pastor of Grace Temple Missionary Baptist Church here in Tucson. Dan Eckstrom served as MC for the event. The attendance exceeded people's expectations.
Among the other presenters at the conference were Margaret Kish, executive director of Pio Decimo Center.
I shared three thoughts. Work together. Seize opportunities. One step at a time. I encouraged the 300 people present, representing different faith groups, government and community organizations, to join together in responding to the complex concerns of our community. I invited them to work together to build networks and I reminded them that progress happens one step at a time. I was pleased to see so many people and some priests from the Diocese, parishes and representatives of Catholic Community Services.
2. Tis' the Season -- My calendar for this week includes two special events that certainly are in the festive spirit of the season.
On Thursday evening, I am delighted and grateful to be the guest of Ann Fallon and her family for the seventh annual Christmas Concert at San Xavier Mission. This concert is for the support of the restoration and preservation of the Mission through the auspices of the Patronato San Xavier, whose members have blessed the Mission and our Diocese with their dedicated work since 1978.
Also on Thursday, I will be joining the members of the Serra Club of Tucson for their traditional Christmas luncheon and meeting.
Our Serra Club was founded in Tucson in 1951 by Bishop Gercke with James Reidy as president. The club is one of more than 800 Serra Clubs in 37 countries that have a total membership of more than 20,000 laymen, laywomen and permanent deacons.
Serra's objectives are to foster and promote vocations to the Catholic priesthood and religious life, and to encourage its members to fulfill their own Christian vocations to service.
Serra International, with headquarters in Chicago, links Serra Clubs around the world. There's more information about the mission of the Serra Club at http://www.serrainternational.org.
Our Serra Club is well known for its annual benefit golf tournament that supports our Diocese's vocations efforts and the annual essay contest for elementary and high school students.
I deeply appreciate the commitment and dedication of our Serra Club members and club president Francis Horkey and his wife Angela.
If you or anyone you know would like to join the men and women of Serra Club of Tucson for prayer, fun, fellowship and good lunches in the cause of vocations just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Serra Club, P.O. Box 31, Tucson, AZ 85702.
(I want to acknowledge and thank the Jacobs Family of El Parador Restaurant in Tucson for their support of our Serra Club. I really enjoy the Family's salsa!)
3. A Very Special Vocations Evening -- "In Search" is the vocation discernment and encouragement program we began last August for those who are interested in the possibility of priesthood but who are not yet ready to enter a seminary. The monthly "In Search" gatherings include prayer, discussion and a lot of encouragement.
This month's meeting will be a special event, held in coordination with our Mentoring Program for the Recently Ordained. Priests who have been ordained within the last five years will be on retreat at Picture Rocks Wednesday and Thursday, and Wednesday evening those in our "In Search" program will join them for dinner. This will be an opportunity for our recently ordained to share prayer time, fellowship, dinner with the priests and to hear from them their vocation stories.
4. Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe -- I will be celebrating Mass this Friday with three of our Faith Communities.
First, there is 10:30 a.m. Mass with the Student Body, Faculty and Staff of Salpointe Catholic High School. It is tradition for the Bishop of Tucson to preside at this Mass, so I am honored to continue the tradition this year, my first as Bishop.
All of us at the Bishop Moreno Pastoral Center will gather for Mass in the St. Joseph Chapel at 1 p.m. Our Lady is very present to us, in statues and paintings, in just about every room of the Pastoral Center.
At 5 p.m., I will be at the St. Thomas More Newman Center Community at the University of Arizona for their traditional observance that includes Mass followed by a tamale dinner. The Conchola Family most graciously hosts this dinner each year for the staff, students and families of the Newsman Center. I am looking forward to a big cup of the Mexican hot chocolate that is one of the traditions of the dinner.
5. Pastoral Visit to St. Philip the Apostle Parish, Payson -- I will be headed to the Great North of our Diocese this weekend to be with Father Joe Krause, Sister Marlita Michalski, O.S.F., and the people of St. Philip the Apostle Parish for a pastoral visit.
A pastoral visit is a special event for me because it allows me to experience the unique character of the parish originated in the faith of the priests, religious and laity who built it and who continue to build it. I get to feel like a member of the parish family, even if only for a short time.
St. Philip was established on May 18, 1957, by Bishop Gercke. Its boundaries covered about 2,400 square miles of mountain and forest, including two missions and a few mining and lumbering camps.
Reading the Parish's Twenty-fifth Anniversary Book gives you a wonderful sense of the early days of St. Philip:
"Many of the very first Masses were held out-of-doors. Wild flowers from the fields decorated the wooden table used for an altar. The altar boys had no cassocks and the congregation knelt on the ground.
"Snow fell on completed and beautiful St. Philip's Church for the first Mass and Dedication Ceremonies on Nov. 16, 1958Éa touching pretty snow!"
St. Philip is a beautiful church. The natural stone for the altar and back wall of the sanctuary connect the church in a profound way to the mountains.
The parish also is the site of the Shrine of Our Lady, Queen of Peace. In 1968, a parish prayer and study group that began its meetings by praying the Rosary for peace was inspired to establish and build the shrine. The shrine was completed in 1973, and in 1978 the first pilgrimage, now an annual tradition, was held.
6. Priests' Retirement Fund Collection -- The annual collection for our Diocese of Tucson Priests' Retirement Fund is this coming weekend.
For all who want to support our good priests, this is a most meaningful way to express appreciation and recognition. This collection goes only to build up the pension fund for our diocesan priests.
Forty of our priests are over age 65. Most of them are retired from active ministry and must depend on their $1,000 a month retirement benefit, their savings and whatever Social Security provides (which is not much, based on a priest's salary).
Our present retirement benefit is just two-thirds of the national average for retired priests.
It would be especially encouraging to have our laity who have expressed interest in supporting our good priests get behind this annual collection.
7. One of Us at 111 S. Church -- This week's profile of a staff member here at the Pastoral Center makes very clear what her priorities are. Please meet Irene Holguin of our Development Services and Stewardship Office.
"I have had the privilege of working for the Diocese for 11 years. During my tour of duty, I have been stationed at Catholic Community Services, Employee Services Office and my current assignment the Development Services Office. It has been a wonderful and rewarding tour with the finest co-workers that anyone could have been blessed and with wonderful memories, adventures.
"I have a wonderful husband, four children, four grandchildren (All perfect, beautiful, intelligent and the blessings and joys of my life!). I was blessed with wonderful parents, two brothers and two sisters. My parents instilled in us and we have passed onto our children the wisdom that the priorities of our life should always be: 1) God, 2) Family, 3) Work.
"I truly feel and see these priorities here in my co-workers at the Pastoral Center, which has made it especially rewarding to be a part of the Diocese."
Irene, thank you for sharing with all of us what your parents taught you. You are a credit to them!
8. Prayers for Our Troops and their Families -- Parishioner Bobbi Shay of St. Francis of Assisi in Yuma e-mailed us last week to inquire about the special "Prayer in Time of War" that had been available on our diocesan web site earlier this year. The prayers were compiled by the Committee on the Liturgy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and could be accessed on the Conference web site at http://www.nccbuscc.org/liturgy/prayertroops.htm.
In early summer, when the major military campaign ended in Iraq, the link from our web site to the prayers was removed. The link is now back.
Bobbi reminded us in her e-mail that with more and more National Guard and Reserve military being activated there is again a need for such prayers.
Many families in our Diocese are affected by what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of their daughters, sons, husbands, wives, brothers and sisters are in harm's way. This will be a difficult Christmas for them.
Pray for peace, for the innocent victims of war, for the safety of our troops and for the comfort of their families.
9. A Most Generous Gift -- This past week I had the pleasure of calling Sister Miriam Clare, IHM, to congratulate her on the gift that recently was given to Immaculate Heart Academy and High School by Mike Carlier, a father of a kindergardner at the Academy. The gift will fund a revised architectural plan for their new gym. This was indeed good news for the entire Immaculate Heart Community. All in the Diocese of Tucson are grateful to Mike and his family for this generous gift.
10. Diocesan Pastoral Council Meeting -- The Diocesan Pastoral Council meeting this past weekend included some special guests. Dr. Terry Carden of Voice of the Faithful and Bill and Pat Ford of Laity Involved in Church Affairs joined the Council's discussion of structures for lay involvement. It was a productive and engaging discussion. We are blessed in the Diocese to have the service of many laity are viatal to the mission of the Church through their participation on councils, boards and committees at both the diocesan and parish levels. I hope we can begin to realize some of the suggestions that were made at the meeting.
11. Efren Martinez Depaz -- I had a most moving and poignant encounter with this very brave young teen-ager last week. I visited Efren in his hospital room at University Medical Center where he is recovering from the severing of his legs due to injuries suffered when a train rain over him.
Efren had been traveling for weeks from the Mexican state of Chiapas to get to the U.S. to fulfill his dreams of earning money to help his parents. He had hopped aboard a freight train after entering the U.S., and the accident happened after he jumped off the train near Tucson. After more surgery here, he will more than likely be transported to a hospital in Mexico.
Father Raul Treviso and I prayed with him and his uncle Lazaro. He looked frightened and not fully aware of the trauma that had happened to him. I gave him a statue of Our Lady.
Efren's tragic experience should strengthen our resolve and commitment to address the reasons why he and so many, many others risk their lives to come to our country.
As you can well imagine, the medical bills and other costs associated with Efren's recovery will be huge. You may assist Efren and his family at this time with your charity by making personal donations in his name to the Bank of Tucson, 4400 E. Broadway, Tucson, AZ 85711, or Yuma Community Bank, 454 W. Catalina Drive, Yuma AZ 85364.
12. Father Fernando Manzo -- I communicated some sad news to the people of San Felipe de Jesus Parish in Nogales over the weekend. I had to inform them that their pastor, Father Manzo, was missing. This was after he had been informed that he was the subject of a criminal investigation.
We are cooperating fully with the authorities regarding Father Manzo. Please pray for him and for the parish.
It is distressing and disappointing that this became public news before the authorities could conclude their investigation. We do not know what the civil authorities will determine in this case. We await their response.
Vol. 1, No. 36
Dec. 15, 2003
"Rejoice in the Lord always!"
This third week of Advent began yesterday with the celebration of Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday and the lighting of the rose-colored candle in the Advent Wreath.
The color rose is used only occasionally in liturgy, and it signifies joy. So, at the halfway point of Advent we take a kind of a "break" from the somber preparation for the Second Coming to be immersed in the joy of the approaching Incarnation.
I know this is a hectic week with all the busy work of preparing for the Christmas and New Year liturgies in our parishes. In our schools there is the challenge of helping the children keep their focus as the Christmas break nears.
So, in the midst of all the busy-ness of Advent, make sure you take a break to "Rejoice!"
1. Thinking about Lent during Advent -- You know, there is a counterpart to the Advent Season's Gaudete Sunday. It is, of course, Laetare Sunday during Lent. Even though we are still far from Lent, we already are talking about how we, as a Diocese, can observe the next Lenten Season. A couple of ideas have surfaced. One is to reach out in a creative and focused way to alienated Catholics to invite them to "come home." The other idea is to find a way to open our eyes to see more clearly the needs of others. What are your thoughts about these two ideas? What are your ideas for a diocesan focus this Lent? Please share them with me by e-mail or by letter.
2. Sharing the Joy of Christmas -- Social workers and psychologists remind us each year at this time how loneliness at Christmas can be especially devastating.
All the lonely people. Especially those in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
In Tucson, the Pastoral Ministry Program of Catholic Community Services helps to provide spiritual services and comfort to the residents of dozens of facilities. Sister Carolyn Nicolai, F.S.P., and Father Angelo Mastria, O.Carm., direct this program. They and their wonderful group of volunteers, along with our parish Eucharistic Ministers, sisters, deacons and priests, bring the Lord to residents of these facilities through His Body and through their own care and attention. They inspire us with their dedication. We are humbled by their ministry, and we thank them.
I ask all of us in our parishes and schools to think about doing something special at this time of year for the residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities in their areas. You are welcome to e-mail Sister Carolyn at email@example.com for ideas.
Three of our retired priests are presently in nursing homes and are dealing with serious challenges to their health. Please keep in your prayers Father Richard Costigan, Father Walter Somerville and Father Raymond Rochleau. I hope to be able to visit them soon. If you would like to visit these priests or send cards or letters to them, please contact Chancellor June Kellen.
3. Advent Day of Prayer for Priests -- The third week of Advent is by tradition in our Diocese the week all our priests gather to share in Advent prayer and to celebrate our fraternity with one another in the spirit of the season.
There are three parts to this year's Priests' Advent Day of Prayer, which is being held at St. Francis de Sales Parish this afternoon.
First, we will hear from a group a lay people who will share with us their thoughts and feelings about the priesthood what priests have meant to them in their lives.
This sharing will be followed by prayer that will include the O Antiphons, which are a real treasure of our Catholic tradition. The antiphons are seven short verses sung before the Magnificat during Evening Prayer of the Church on the seven days before the vigil of Christmas. They each begin with the exclamation "O." Each ends with a plea for the Messiah to come, and in each succeeding antiphon, the cry becomes more urgent.
(You can share in tradition of the O Antiphons on the Internet at http://www.catholic.org/clife/advent/index.php?id=7)
We will conclude our day by enjoying a festive Italian meal cooked by our own star chef, Father Domenico Pinti of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Safford. Father Dom really should be on the Food Channel. I can see it now: "Pasta with the Padre." Father Dom really is a good cook, and when he kicks his marinara sauce up a notch with a "Bam!," watch out!
4. Council Meetings -- The Presbyteral Council meets today, and Diocesan Finance Council meets tomorrow.
The Finance Council recently established a new investment subcommittee that is led by councilmember Tom Clancy. This subcommittee will be reviewing our investment policies both for compliance with guidelines established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and for effectiveness and reliability of return.
5. Pastoral Letter Task Force -- Our group that is discerning and planning for a pastoral letter that would be issued at Easter will be meeting Tuesday at the Pastoral Center.
We have had some lively discussions about how to make the letter and its proposed topic, "Church with a Mission," an effective vehicle for communicating the priorities of the Diocese.
Our group will remember in prayer Father Charles Polzer, S.J., who died last November. It was at our last meeting that Father Charlie challenged and inspired us to be creative and innovative in our approach to the letter. His enthusiasm about the project was encouraging. We will miss him.
6. A Very Special Christmas Tree -- I will be helping to light a very special Christmas tree this Tuesday evening in Tucson. The tree is at the infant section of Holy Hope Cemetery.
When we gather there -- myself, Bishop Moreno, the cemetery staff and families of the infants -- we will light the tree together in our prayers for the comfort and healing of parents who bear the loss of their children even as they are confident that their little ones are in our Heavenly Father's loving embrace in Heaven.
Families draw close at Christmas, and the love that so many of our families show through the special Christmas decorations at graves binds them close to Christ's victory over death through His resurrection.
I thank the staff of our Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries for the extra effort that these special days require.
7. The Good News of Generous Gifts -- I am very happy to report that our Diocese recently has received three very generous and encouraging gifts.
First, I am grateful to the O'Rielly Family Foundation for a special grant that will fund the efforts of our Human Resources Department to meet the challenges of the record-keeping associated with our diocesan safe environment program.
Second, I am happy to announce that we have received a special grant from the Committee on the Home Missions of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to support a pilot project in on going formation of our priests. The program will include a specific focus on human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral development. This project also will enable us to develop a deeper sense of priestly fraternity among the participants which we will hope will extend well beyond the year long program itself. I thank Father Tom Santa, CSs.R., of Picture Rocks for accepting the position of facilitator of the project.
The third generous gift the Diocese received recently was reported to me by Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe of Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma. Msgr. O'Keeffe told me that he had spoken to the people of his parish about the needs of our retired priests and that he had encouraged them to support the Priests' Retirement Fund Collection. Last week, he said, a parishioner wrote a letter thanking him for speaking from his heart about retired priests. Enclosed with the letter was a check for $10,000 made out to the Priests' Retirement Fund. What a wonderful acknowledgement of all our good priests!
8. Vocations -- Our seminarians are beginning their Christmas break, and I am happy to host a dinner this week for them and their parents at my residence.
This dinner is an opportunity for me to acknowledge the seminary work of our seminarians and to thank their parents for their encouragement of their sons' vocations.
This Friday, I will be celebrating another very happy vocation event, this one with the Discalced Carmelite Friars of the California-Arizona Province of St. Joseph and the Tolentino-Catungal Family.
I will be ordaining Brother Mario T. Catungal, O.C.D., to the Ministry of Deacon at Santa Cruz Church.
It is a joy for me to be connected to the religious communities of our Diocese through such ordinations.
9. Protecting Our Children -- I will be in Florence this Wednesday evening for the presentation of a "parish specific program" to create a safe and loving environment at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish.
With Dr. Paul Duckro of our Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection and Richard Serrano of our Human Resources Department, I will be listening to parishioners for their ideas about how we can best apply our general goals in their particular situation.
I thank Father Chuck Cloud and Assumption Parish's local compliance representative, Brenda Ortiz, for making this visit possible. We hope to do other such programs in parishes as we enter the third phase of our safe environment program as part of the overall Protecting Our Children Program.
10. Holy Family Home Educators -- I will be celebrating Mass this Friday with the children and parents affiliated with the Holy Family Home Educators in Tucson.
Following the noon Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral, the group will have a pot luck lunch in Cathedral Hall.
Holy Family Home Educators is a gathering of Catholic families who homeschool or who support the principles of homeschooling. The families have a strong commitment to the primary role of parents in their children's education and spiritual formation.
There is more information about Holy Family Home Educators at http://homepage.mac.com/federoff/hfhe.
11. Installation of Bishop Olmsted -- Bishop Moreno, Father Van Wagner, our Vicar General, and I will be honored to represent our Diocese at this Saturday's installation of Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted as the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix. The installation will be at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral at 10 a.m. For those of you who receive Phoenix television, you should be able to watch the installation live.
12. Pastoral Visit to St. Ann Parish, Tubac -- This weekend I will be with Father Alex Mills, O.S.B., and the people of St. Ann's Parish and the missions of St. Ferdinand in Arivaca and Assumption Chapel in Amado.
As you drive into Tubac, you see a sign that reads, " Tubac: Arizona's Oldest Settlement Has Had a Church since 1732."
St. Ann's is in the line of Catholic Churches that have served Tubac since 1732. It is the third church on the site where the explorer de Anza built a church for his troops in the 1760s.
Padre Kino probably passed through or stopped in the village of Tubac many times between 1691 and 1711, but it was his successor, Padre Campos, who was the first missionary presence there.
The walls of the present St. Ann Church belong to the church that was completed and dedicated in 1912. But when you look at St. Ann Church, you might ask, "What is a church with a roof that looks like it's from Bavaria doing here?" Evidently, a German architect happened to be living in Tubac when the church roof collapsed in 1920.
Celebrating the beginning of Advent's last week with the people of St. Ann's will be a joy. After all, I am going to be in the place where art, history and faith meet.
13. Christmas Pringles -- I want to share this Christmas story with you. Michael Gilbert is a newspaper journalist who has a special connection to Tucson that I am going to let his mother, Marian Gilbert of St. Francis de Sales Parish Youth Ministry Program, tell you about.
"My Son Michael is over in Iraq with the 103rd Army from Ft. Lewis. Michael gave the St. Francis Senior Youth Ministry Class a list of things the troops might like at Christmas time. Would you believe that Pringles topped the list! The class collected more than 100 pounds of Pringles, Cheezits, Captain Crunch, liquid body soap, deodorant, tooth brushes and paste, cookies and candy of all kinds, along with tee shirts, boxers, socks and things like writing paper, pens and hand held games. Our teens and some parishioners have written letters. The junior high kids made cards, and Rosary group sent rosaries. It was a great effort."
Way to go, teens! I'd like to hear from other parishes that have done or are doing something special for our troops.
14. Clock Ticking on Tax Credits -- There are just 17 days left for you to become eligible for up to $825 in Arizona state tax credits by supporting our Catholic schools and Catholic Community Services.
Thanks to the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit Program for the Working Poor your cash donations to Catholic Community Services of up to $200 may earn a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on your Arizona income tax, which means your total tax bill can be reduced by the amount you give.
There is more information about this tax credit at the CCS web site at
And there is a tax credit of up to $625 available through the Catholic Tuition Support Organization. More information the CTSO is available at http://www.ctso-tucson.org.
Both of these tax credit programs have been of immense assistance to our Catholic schools and to the programs and services of CCS that assist the working poor.
15. One of Us at 111 S. Church -- When you read this week's profile of a staff member here at the Pastoral Center you can imagine what a happy crowd there will be at her home this Christmas!
Please meet Pegi Dodd, secretary in the Office of Formation.
"I was born many years ago in Phoenix (almost a native Tucsonan!). I have one brother 12 years older than I who lives in Chicago. My Mom was a convert to the Church; baptized just a few months before I was born. I really believe that her enthusiasm for her new-found faith flowed to all our family in a very precious way that was to be a life-long foundation for our Catholic beliefs. Both my Mom and Dad have passed on, but I have great memories of a happy childhood.
"God has been very generous, gifting me with a wonderful husband, Ken who is now retired and actually does a lot of the cooking these days, 10 great children (between us - that's another story for another time!), two sons-in-law, five daughters-in-law and 14 delightful grandchildren. And I work where I enjoy being with lots of great people!
"I began volunteering for the Diocese when our youngest child started kindergarten. I wanted to give time to the Church in some way and had heard that Sister Bibiann Roy was looking for help in the Library (now the Archives) at Regina Cleri. I remember coming in for the first time and seeing those smiling, welcoming faces ready to show me the 'ropes' as a newcomer. I felt very welcomed and appreciated. Sister had a marvelous way of getting people to offer their time and talent faithfully year after year.
"In 1983, I began working with Father Stan Nadolny in the Propagation of the Faith Office at Regina Cleri. Right away he introduced me to everyone downtown, and even though there were many people and lots of names I felt a part of our diocesan family. After six years I left the Diocese for a short time, but in 1996 I came 'home' to work for the Department of Parish Life and Ministry. Secretarial work is much the same anywhere, but the people with whom you work make all the difference in the world. I'm glad to work with people who are making a difference."
Pegi, thank you for being one of those people.
16. Honors for a "Heart of Justice" -- This Friday evening, the Coalición de Derechos Humanos and Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras, two organizations very active in pursing just solutions to border issues and problems, will honor 10 persons at the Corazón de Justicia Awards Dinner. Among the 10 are two priests. Father Rene Castañeda, migrant minister of the Archdiocese of Hermosillo and pastor of the parish in Altar, Sonora, is being honored with the "Heart of Justice Award" for his efforts to serve the migrants who come to Altar on the last stage of their journey north. Our own Father Robert Carney is receiving the "Heart of Justice Award" for his faith-based efforts to address border issues and problems. These honors are well-deserved, and we are heartened and encouraged by the ministry of these two good priests.
17. A Monday Memo Reflection about Monday Memo -- I was reflecting last week about this past year of Monday Memo and these questions surfaced: Are you reading Monday Memo? What do you like about it? What don't you like about it? What would you like for me to add, change or do differently? Is this a helpful thing for me to do? Too much? Too little? Just right?
I invite you share your reflection on Monday Memo with me. Please don't hesitate to say what you think. You are welcome to e-mail or write me.
18. Taking a Break -- Monday Memo is taking a break. I suspect you are going to be just too busy to read it over the holiday period, and that helps me, because I suspect I am going to be just too busy to write it. So, after next week's memo, there won't be another Monday Memo until next year, on Monday, Jan. 12.
Vol. 1, No. 37
Dec. 22, 2003
It was the great suggestion of St. Ignatius to us that to really be disposed to God's revelation in Sacred Scripture we need to put ourselves into the scene of what we are reading or reflecting about.
For the few minutes it takes to read this, put yourself into the scene of that Holy Night, in the stable where the Child is in the manger and you are there with Mary and Joseph.
Taking in the simplicity of the scene, you realize that God's presence has nothing to do with possessions, wealth or social status, but that God's presence can be found in the humblest and most simple moments.
You see Joseph, man of faith, true to his commitments and intent on providing for Mother and Child. You see Mary, the Mother, and looking at her face you understand that the greatest of joys can be serene and silent. Shepherd children have quietly entered the stable and are kneeling at the manger. They draw close around the Child as if to give Him their warmth on this cold night.
What you are witnessing, what you are apart of, is an invitation to be absorbed into the profound realization that the Child is here for us -- that undeserving and unworthy as we are, this Child is God's powerful gesture of love for each of us.
I pray for a blessed and joy-filled Christmas for you and your families.
1. Catholic Foundation Executive Director -- Gary Broussard, executive director the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson, has decided to resign his position to take another as of Dec. 26. Gary has been involved in many parishes presenting information on the Foundation and encouraging people to consider wills and bequests that would benefit their parish, another Catholic institution or the diocese. I join the Catholic Foundation Board in expressing our thanks to him for his service. We wish him well as he returns to an academic setting, which has always been his first love.
Bruno Dispoto, president of the Foundation, and the Foundation Board will begin a search immediately to find a successor. If you know someone who may be interested, please encourage them to send a letter of interest and a resume to the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson, P.O. Box 31, Tucson AZ 85702 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
2. Vocations -- Five of our seminarians have taken another step on their journeys to the priesthood. Jesus Acuna, Mark Long, Douglas Marmolejo and Alberto Tumbaco were installed in the Ministry of Reader, and Virgilio Tabo Jr. was installed in the Ministry of Acolyte. This celebration took place at St. Francis de Sales and was hosted by Father Bob Tamminga, who made everyone feel welcome. The installations took place during the Youth Mass, which is celebrated at the parish every Sunday evening. I pray some of the young people present will consider answering God's call to serve as a priest, religious, deacon or lay leader in the church.
3. New Bishop of Phoenix -- Bishop Omsted's installation as the fourth Bishop of Phoenix was a wonderful celebration. The church in Phoenix was alive and enthusiastic in welcoming him. The congregation gave Bishop Thomas O'Brien applause after applause, thanking him for his 20 plus years of service. Under his episcopal leadership the Church of Phoenix has seen incredible growth. We continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Phoenix that they will experience healing and reconciliation.
4. Christmas Week Interview and Liturgies -- I will be interviewed by Bill Buckmaster of KUAT-TV's Arizona Illustrated tomorrow. I welcome this opportunity to share a Christmas message to the Diocese and to speak to the larger community of Southern Arizona about the meaning of Christmas.
I am looking forward to celebrating Christmas Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral for the first time as Bishop of Tucson. I will celebrate at the 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Masses on Christmas Eve.
I know these are very busy days for all our pastors, priests, parish leaders and the rest of us. I pray these will be days of reflection as we stand in awe of how much God loves us.