February 2, 2004 February 9, 2004 February 16, 2004 February 23, 2004
Vol. 1, No. 41
February 2, 2004
Monday Memo comes to you today from Florida, of all places.
Florida, despite warm temperatures and sunshine in winter, has no advantages over Arizona. You can never say in Florida, "At least it's a dry heat." The humidity is always too high!
I'm in the other "Sunshine State" this week for a brief break to continue a four-year tradition with two of my priest friends. The tradition is that we rendezvous in mid-winter to enjoy each other's company away from the demands of ministry. We've known each other since we were 13-years-old, so you can imagine the stories we could tell.
One of the great joys of priesthood is the friendships you make with other priests, and I am surely blessed in my priesthood with the support and encouragement of my good friends in dioceses all over the country and especially in the Diocese of Tucson.
1. Ecumenical and Inter-faith Visit to Altar, Sonora -- Our trip last Wednesday to Altar, Sonora, to witness the conditions of people who have gathered there in anticipation of crossing the border into the U.S. was a very moving and valuable learning experience. Representation on this trip included ministers from Christian congregations in Tucson and Phoenix, the Muslim imam from Phoenix, and rabbis and other representatives from Jewish Congregations in Phoenix and Tucson.
Planning continues for the Multi-faith Border Conference on March 18 at which representatives and leaders of Christian denominations and of other faiths will gather to address The two strategic issues are to develop faith based principles for immigration legislation and how to encourage and foster congregations to become involved.
I am encouraged that some of our parishes are becoming involved. For instance, the parishes of the Pima East Vicariate in Tucson (St. Joseph, St. Cyril, St. Pius X, Corpus Christi, St. Francis de Sales, St. Rita and Our Mother of Sorrows) are organizing a one-day pilgrimage to Altar on Saturday, Feb.7. (Msgr. Tom Cahalane of Our Mother of Sorrows went on the August trip to Altar, and Father Harry Ledwith of St. Pius was with us on last week's trip.)
The purpose of the pilgrimage to Altar will be to visit the parish there and its community center for migrant services with the goal of helping participants understand and explore common opportunities around migrants and the critical issues of migration.
2. Vocations -- Two great opportunities to support vocations in our Diocese are on the calendar this month.
The Third Annual Family "Fun"-Raiser Night for Vocations is Thursday, Feb. 12, at the two Tucson locations of Sweet Tomatoes. The restaurant will donate 20% of the cost of your meal to our Vocations Office if you present a special flyer. You can get a copy of the flyer by calling the Vocations Office at 792-3410.
Serra Club of Tucson is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of its founding at its second annual dinner, which will be held Thursday, Feb. 19, at El Parador Restaurant in Tucson.
Our Serra Club is one of the oldest in the nation, and was the first in the nation to install a woman member. For information on making reservations for this fundraising dinner in support of vocations in the Diocese of Tucson, please contact the Vocations Office.
I am grateful for the wonderful support by the Serrans of our vocations efforts in the Diocese, and I thank Serra president Francis Horkey for his devotion to the mission of Serra.
3. New Knight Website -- The Arizona State Council of the Knights of Columbus has introduced its new website, www.azknightsofcolumbus.com. The site is designed as a one-stop resource for information about the Knights of Columbus in Arizona, with information about the K of C in general, a calendar of activities and events sponsored by the Knights, news releases issued by the Knights, notices to members and links to other useful resources.
We are very proud that State Deputy Pedro Najera, the chief executive for the more than 12,000 Knights in Arizona, is from our Diocese.
A very happy and historic anniversary is coming up in March for the Knights of Columbus in Arizona when Bisbee Council 863, the "Mother Council of Arizona," celebrates the one-hundredth anniversary of its founding.
The Council is planning a two-day event on Friday and Saturday, March 19 and 20, in Bisbee that will include a golf tournament, tours of historic Bisbee, prayer, fellowship, an anniversary Mass and a special dinner. Information on registration will be coming soon to councils all over Arizona.
Father Larry Kasper, pastor of St. Patrick's Church in Bisbee, is very honored that his parish is hosting the Knights for the anniversary Mass and dinner.
4. "The Bishop Is In" -- Sister Charlotte Anne Swift is still making appointments for any parish or school staff member who would like to visit briefly with me on Monday, Feb. 9. I have cleared my calendar for that day to make it possible for our parish and school employees to communicate any concerns or observations directly to the Bishop. I feel very strongly that the more I can understand and appreciate people's concerns and experiences working within the Diocese, the better I will be able to fulfill my responsibilities.
5. Annual Catholic Appeal -- This coming weekend is "Announcement Weekend" for this year's Annual Catholic Appeal.
Parishioners this week will begin receiving their Appeal brochures and pledge cards in the mail, along with a mini-reproduction of Caravaggio's "The Calling of St. Matthew."
This coming weekend and the next, "Commitment Weekend," are critical communication opportunities.
Every Mass that is celebrated in our parishes remembers the name of the Holy Father and the Bishop, a reminder to us that we are a communion of churches with responsibility to care not only for our own community but the larger community of the Diocese. The Appeal is the one time a year we ask our people to identify with the larger community of the Diocese in support of the 23 charities and ministries that depend upon the Appeal.
I emphasize that personal testimony about the importance of the Appeal is the most effective communication. Experience has shown when our priests give their personal testimony of support, the parish responds most generously. Pulling together to encourage support is so important to the success of the Appeal.
Some of our parishes have some very successful Appeal traditions. For instance, St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista holds an Appeal Dinner at the Knights of Columbus Hall at which there is always a great turnout. With the hard work of Father Greg Adolf, his staff and the parish's Appeal committee, the parish reaches its Appeal goal on that one night! St. Bartholomew Parish in San Manuel has a track record of making goal on the first or second weekend of the Appeal due to the hard work of Father Mike Bucciarelli and volunteer Marge Garcia. And, Father Todd O'Leary and the parishioners of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Tucson are goal-busters each and every year on the Appeal's first weekend.
6. Help for Hurting Marriages -- Next week is National Marriage Week, but for too many married couples it won't be a week to celebrate their relationship because their marriage is hurting.
There is a unique ministry in our Diocese that assists couples in marriages that are hurting. It is the Retrouvaille Movement. It is an excellent resource for all in our parishes who are trying to help couples through difficult times. For more information, call Kevin or Kathie Stogsdill at 520-722-2931 or email them at email@example.com. Also, you can visit the Retrouvaille website at www.retrouvaille.org.
I am very pleased to announce that a new ministry for the divorced and separated begins this month in Tucson. "Grupo de Ayuda para Separados y Divorciados" will offer support in Spanish to separated and divorced persons.
St. Cyril Parish in Tucson will host the meetings of the group the third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m.
I am grateful to Father Jim McCauley, C.S.P., for his support of the ministry and to Father José Funes, S.J., of the Vatican Observatory Jesuit Community for his leadership in helping to establish this much-needed ministry.
For more information, please contact the parish at 795-1633 or Father José at firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. John Jay Study -- A reminder that I am sending a letter to our parishes soon for communication the weekend of Feb. 21-22 about the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Study on the nature and scope of child abuse by priests in the U.S. over the last 50 years.
Anticipating some intense news media attention, I hope to prepare our people for the results of the study by emphasizing it was commissioned by the U.S. bishops with the belief that understanding what happened in the past is essential to preventing the mistakes of the past now and in the future.
I will be speaking publicly about the study on Feb. 27.
8. Holy Father's Message for Lent 2004 -- The Vatican last week released Pope John Paul II's Lenten message for 2004.
"Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me," (Mt 18:5) is the theme the Holy Father has selected for this Lent.
At the conclusion of his message, the Holy Father writes, "let us set out with trust on our Lenten journey, sustained by fervent prayer, penance and concern for those in need. In particular, may this Lent be a time of ever greater concern for the needs of children, in our own families and in society as a whole: for they are the future of humanity."
The message is available at: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/messages/lent/documents/hf_jp-ii_mes_20040129_lent-2004_en.html
9. "Come Home" -- In a special letter that I have asked be communicated this weekend in all our parishes, I am asking all in our Diocese to reach out this Lenten Season to their family members or friends who have left the Church. I am asking them to do this by communicating to them a heartfelt invitation to "Come home!"
I have shared with our pastors some ideas on how parishes might do this, and I have emphasized that is the personal contact we have with family members or friends that can make a real difference.
I now have scheduled two special Lenten services at St. Augustine Cathedral.
These will be an opportunity for people who have left the Church to talk about their frustrations or disappointments and for me to communicate that the Church cares about them and wants them to return.
Please help spread the word about these special services, which will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 11, and Tuesday, March 30.
Also, I invite you to e-mail me your suggestions on how the Church can reach out to those who have left or feel alienated. My e-mail address is email@example.com.
10. Lenten Resource -- I encourage you to visit the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' website to access this excellent Lenten resource: "Penitential Practices for Today's Catholics" by the USCCB Committee on Pastoral Practices. It is available at http://www.usccb.org/dpp/penitential.htm
On the occasion of its release in 2001, the Committee described the document as "a pastoral tool for cultivating the penitential practices in one's daily life. While its focus is limited to a discussion of the Church's penitential practices, it serves to promote these practices as intimately related to the sacrament of penance.
"We exhort all of the faithful to accept the Lord's invitation to experience God's mercy through the sacrament of penance, which stands at the heart of the Church's penitential life."
I encourage our parishes to promote this resource through their bulletins.
11. Appointments -- Here are some appointments that are effective this month:
Father Roger Bartlett, from Detention Ministry with residence at Assumption in Florence to Parochial Vicar at Sacred Heart Parish, Nogales.
Father Marco Antonio Basulto, from Parochial Vicar at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Casa Grande to Administrator at St. James Parish in Coolidge.
Father Christopher Orndorff, from Pastor at St. James Parish in Coolidge and Vicar Forane for Pinal West Vicariate to personal leave of absence.
Father Dominic Kamwilwa, from clergy assistance and in residence at Sacred Heart Parish in Nogales to Assistant to Father Raymond Ratzenberger, VF, Pastor, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Benson.
Father Bardo Fabian Antunez, from Parochial Vicar at St. Ambrose Parish, Tucson, to Parochial Vicar at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Casa Grande.
Also, I have appointed Father Domenico Pinti to fill out the remaining term of Father Chris Orndorff as Vicar Forane for the Pinal West Vicariate.
And, I have appointed Father Raul "Rudy" Rosales to fill out Father Dom's remaining term as Vicar Forane of the Graham-Greenlee Vicariate.
12. One of Us at 111 S. Church -- This week's profile of a staff member here at the Pastoral Center is a very special one because it appears just one day after this staff member marked an anniversary of his ministry and service in our Diocese.
All of us at the Pastoral Center could write pages and pages about him, but here are just a couple of paragraphs written by our Vicar General, Father Van Wagner, about himself.
"Like others among us, I began my journey in Chicago. Our family moved to Phoenix in 1943 for health reasons, with great success. I sensed my call to priesthood while in Catholic schools in Phoenix and went to the seminary in Los Angeles -- where some others among us began their journey!
"My great satisfaction has been both parish ministry and 'office jobs.' I sense the Pastoral Center as a kind of parish and try to minister as well as I can to a rather small "congregation." Wherever I find myself, I find satisfaction if it seems like that's where God wants me. On Feb. 1, I finished five years as Vicar General, and I look forward to the next leg of my journey, wherever that might take me. As always, I wish you: Peace!"
You know, the vicar general of a diocese is considered the be an "alter ego" for a bishop. This Bishop is so blessed and honored to have Father Van as Vicar General. He ministers and serves with great empathy and sensitivity.
One of the reasons I can relax when I am out of the Diocese is that I know Father Van is there with you and for you.
Vol. 1, No. 42
February 9, 2004
I am happy to be back in the Diocese after a few days of vacation. The challenge of sitting on a beach is that there is always a flotilla of thoughts on the ocean's horizon.
I did have many thoughts of our Diocese, especially as I anticipated the publication of our Annual Financial Report that is included in this month's issue of Catholic Vision that was distributed at the parishes over the weekend.
I know there is great sensitivity about our finances and the finances of dioceses and archdioceses nationally in relation to the costs of sexual misconduct.
I will be updating those costs for our Diocese later this month in conjunction with the release of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice study on the nature and scope of child abuse by priests over the last 50 years. (A letter for communication to parishioners on Feb. 21-22 about the John Jay Study is being mailed to parishes.)
I emphasized in my introduction to our annual financial report, and I emphasize to you again here, that our goal is to respond compassionately and meaningfully to any victim of abuse while we continue to fulfill our mission as a diocese.
Certain costs associated with the tragedy of sexual misconduct by Church personnel are costs that we should bear as a responsible institution in society.
For instance, we should spend money to insure proper screening of all who minister in association with the Diocese. We should spend money to create safe and loving environments for children in each of our parishes and schools.
At the same time, we do see the resources available for these efforts and our many important spiritual and educational needs pressured by mounting legal costs from sexual misconduct.
You know, we are officially and have been for many years identified as a "mission diocese" in the U.S. That means we are recognized by our Church nationally as a diocese that faces economic challenges for many, many reasons that do not include the costs of sexual misconduct by priests.
The people of our Diocese are incredibly generous with their time, talent and resources, and they remain generous in the face of the economic challenges that exist in all parts of our Diocese.
Our people have been most understanding and patient, and all I can do is hope and pray that victims of sexual misconduct will be comforted by our resolve to do what is right for them while we continue to do the many good things that our Diocese does and should continue to do.
1. World Day for Consecrated Life -- I celebrated this annual observance with the people of St. Augustine Cathedral Parish yesterday. I appreciate all our parishes that took the opportunity on this day to thank God for the gift of consecrated life that is so beautifully present in our midst through the lives of the women and men who serve in our Diocese as members of 43 religious orders of women and 17 religious orders of men.
2. Eastern Rite Clergy Meeting -- I was delighted to be invited to a meeting of the Eastern Catholic Clergy Association of Arizona tomorrow at St. Melany Byzantine Catholic Parish in Tucson. The meeting will be hosted by Father Robert Rankin, pastoral administrator of St. Melany, which is one of three Eastern Rite parishes in Arizona that are part of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Van Nuys. The Eparchy includes parishes in seven western states and Alaska.
The Byzantine is one of five Eastern Churches, all of which are in union with the Holy Father. The Byzantine Rite includes 13 churches. St. Melany is in the Ruthenian Church.
My spiritual roots are in the Byzantine Rite. I was baptized in the Melkite Rite of the Catholic Church.
If you would like to learn more about the Eastern Churches, I encourage you to visit http://www.cnewa.org/ecc-catholiceastern.htm.
3. World Day of the Sick -- This Wednesday, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, is the annual observance of the World Day of the Sick. On this day, I urge our parishes and schools to join the Church across the world in praying for all who are sick and for those who devote themselves to caring for the sick.
The National Association of Catholic Chaplains has developed resources to help with the planning and celebration of World Day of the Sick. The resources are available at http://www.nacc.org/resources/wds/default.asp.
4. Vocations -- I want to bring to your attention several vocation activities and events that are taking place this week. Tonight is the annual Knights of Columbus Clergy Appreciation Dinner at St. Joseph Parish in Tucson. I am grateful to the Knights of our Diocese for their for their strong support of vocations. Our Vocations Office Sweet Tomatoes "Fun-Raiser" at the two Sweet Tomatoes Restaurant locations in Tucson is this Thursday night. Contact Marty Hammond in the office at 792-3410 for a copy of the flyer that will let you enjoy a good meal for the benefit of the Vocations Office. The St. Thomas More Newman Center community is hosting an Andrew and Myriam Dinner this Friday evening at El Parador Restaurant in Tucson. These dinners are great opportunities for men and women to explore the opportunity of a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. And our Mentoring Program for the Recently Ordained holds its first retreat of the new year at the Redemptorist Retreat Center at Picture Rocks this Wednesday and Thursday.
5. Big Tent Tradition and Commitment Weekend -- The Annual Catholic Appeal Third Annual Big Tent Event is this Thursday. Hosted by Allan and Alfie Norville, the Big Tent Event takes place in a big tent -- a really big tent. The tent is one of the big draws for the Annual Gem and Mineral Show, and Allan and Alfie have been most gracious in hosting the event, which includes lunch and a "pep rally" for the Appeal. Many of our pastors, members of parish staffs and Appeal volunteers will be there, and I look forward to being with them.
Our Appeal Goal this year is $2.8 million, and my hope and dream is that we will reach $3 million for the first time ever. We can do it!
This weekend is Commitment Weekend, the time of the Appeal that we ask all our Catholic families to fill out a pledge card. Once again, I encourage you to speak out in support of the Appeal. Because people have so many different choices and opportunities for giving, your personal testimony about the importance of the Appeal makes a great difference. Please invite them to be generous with the gifts God has given them.
6. Diocesan Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission -- I will be meeting this Friday with the commission, whose members work with me to develop our relationships with Christian denominations and with congregations and organizations of other faiths. Essential to this work is looking at how we can better educate our parish and school communities about ecumenism and interfaith relations. At this meeting we will be reviewing planning for a special ecumenical Lenten event, the Migrants Way of the Cross. We hope this event, scheduled for March 5 at St. Cyril Parish in Tucson, will help to bring Christian communities within the Diocese together in prayer around the suffering of people who cross the border from Mexico into the U.S.
The members of the commission are Father Jim Hobert of St. Monica Parish, Father Mike Kendall of Jordan Ministries, Sister Dolores Dowling, O.S.B., Sister Karen Berry, O.S.F., Catherine Quinn of St. Pius X Parish and Loretta Tracy of St. Cyril Parish, who serves as our diocesan ecumenical and interfaith liaison.
7. Magnificat -- I am meeting with members of the Tucson chapter of Magnificat this Saturday. Magnificat is a ministry to Catholic women. Its purposes are to help Catholic women be more open to the Holy Spirit and to help them impart the Holy Spirit to one another through love, service and sharing. For more information about Magnificat in our Diocese, contact Elizabeth Celenza at 520-749-0633. Magnificat's national web address is www.magnificat-ministry.org.
8. Hispanic Pastoral Commission -- With the formation of the new Office of Evangelization and Hispanic Ministry (Ruben Davalos is director) and the appointment of Father Raul Trevizo as Episcopal Vicar for Hispanic Affairs, I have formed a new advisory group, the Hispanic Pastoral Commission. This commission will provide input to me, Father Raul and Ruben on matters related to the Hispanic Catholics in the Diocese.
In addition to Father Raul and Ruben, the members of the commission are: Father José Manuel Padilla, St. Francis of Assisi, Yuma; Father Marco Antonio Basulto, St. James, Coolidge; Deacon Miguel Lopez, St. Margaret Mary, Tucson; Jeanette Apáez, St. Cyril, Tucson; Nick Arreola, Our Lady of the Mountains, Sierra Vista; Carlos Campos, Sacred Heart, Nogales; Josefina Cárdenas, Santa Cruz, Tucson; Santiago Dorantes, Our Mother of Sorrows, Tucson; Luis Gonzalez, St. Cyril, Tucson; Lupita Morales, Immaculate Conception, Yuma; Jorge Ortiz, St. Joseph, Tucson; Teodoro Perez, St. Joseph, Tucson; Evelia Villegas, St. Jude Thaddeus, San Luis; Celia Roman, St. Monica, Tucson; and Jesusita Lopez, St. John the Evangelist, Tucson.
The commission meets for the first time this Saturday at the Pastoral Center.
9. Responding to Domestic Violence -- I strongly encourage participation by our parishes and school communities in an up-coming workshop on domestic violence.
This two-day workshop is specifically designed for faith and spiritual communities, and is part of a national effort in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence against Women.
The workshop is scheduled for Feb. 26-27 at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix. For more information and registration instructions, call 218-525-0487, extension 100, or visit www.praxisinternational.org.
10. St. Bartholomew Parish Anniversary -- I am looking forward to being with Father Mike Buciarrelli and the people of St. Bartholomew Parish in San Manuel this Sunday for the celebration of their fiftieth anniversary.
St. Bartholomew Parish was created in 1954 to coincide with the construction of the copper smelting and mining town of San Manuel. The parish replaced St. Anthony Parish in the present ghost town of Tiger. The parish church was completed in 1955 by the founding pastor, Father Francis J. O'Reilly.
Construction of additional parish facilities took place in the early 1960s under Father Joseph Gillespie, pastor from 1962-1969. Father Richard Costigan was pastor from 1969-1976. Msgr. Loyola O'Dougherty became pastor in 1976 and served until his retirement in 1987. Father Mike has been pastor since 1987. Other diocesan priests to work in the parish include Father Clarke Moore, Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe, Father Paul Ranft and Msgr. Tom Cahalane.
St. Bartholomew Parish was the first parish in our Diocese to have its own Internet site (www.theriver.com/Public/stbarth). On the home page, Father Mike has a beautiful photo of the Church wearing a mantle of snow!
11. One of Us at 111 S. Church -- The spirit of our work and ministry here at the Pastoral Center is very evident in what our staff member for this week's profile has written. I am very pleased to present Judy Richins, executive assistant in the Chancellor's Office.
"I was born and raised in Safford, and I am a cradle Catholic. I am one of four girls, blessed to still have my parents alive and well. After high school and junior college, I moved to the big city of Phoenix. I spent 15 years in automotive and R.V. parts and service, but little did I know that God would establish me in His service department -- the Pastoral Center.
"I have been married for 20 years to my dedicated and wonderful husband, Dean, whose love and support have made it possible for me to participate in the many ministries I have been blessed to be a part of the last 14 years, ministries that include Youth Ministry, the Ulster Project, and Vine of Grace Women's Retreat Ministry. Along with my ministry here at the Pastoral Center I continue teaching first grade catechism.
"I have had many graced-filled experiences working with the Chancellor June Kellen and my co-workers in Christ here at the Center. I love serving and supporting the priests, deacons, laity and the suffering people of the streets of Tucson who find their way to the Pastoral Center seeking help. My work continues to be challenging and enormously rewarding. I have come to know that when we say, 'Yes, Lord,' we never know what He has in store for us, but what I do know and have learned on this journey is that each one of us is His extended hand."
12. Catholic Press Month -- This month is observed as Catholic Press Month by the Church in the U.S. So, I am pleased to acknowledge the importance of our very own Catholic press, Catholic Vision. I continue to receive many comments on the professionalism and quality of Catholic Vision, and I am grateful to managing editor Maggie Burnett, advertising representative Claudia Borders and the Vision Editorial Board for keeping their vision for Vision focused and clear. We have an outstanding diocesan newspaper!
Vol. 1, No. 42
February 9, 2004
I am on my way to North Carolina this morning for my final meeting with the "Pulpit & Pew" Project in which I have been a participant over the last four years. This project, funded by the Lilly Endowment, has been looking at pastoral excellence and how it can be fostered among religious leaders throughout the U.S. (See the Monday Memo of April 28, 2003, at www.diocesetucson.org/April03memo.html.)
I have been one of the 40 leaders from different Christian denominations who have been a resource for the Project Staff by helping to identify key issues of contemporary pastoral leadership, by reviewing research reports created by Project researchers and by assisting with the dissemination of research information within our denominations.
It has been a good experience working with the other leaders, seeing the commonality of concerns, seeing that many of the issues we face are culturally based issues and not denominationally based, such as the continued marginalization of religion from society and the complexity of bringing the religious voice to the challenges of society.
The project already has produced some very interesting and helpful research, about which I encourage you to read and study at the Project website: www.pulpitandpew.duke.edu.
1. Rite of Election, Call to Continuing Conversion -- We're practically on the threshold of Lent, with Ash Wednesday a week from this Wednesday. One of our great traditions at this time of year is the annual celebration of the Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion.
The Call to Continuing Conversion is issued to the candidates: those who have been baptized but who have not yet received the Sacraments of Confirmation and the Eucharist. The Rite of Election is for the catechumens: those who have embraced the Catholic faith but who have not yet been baptized. The bishop is present to receive the catechumens and candidates on behalf of the Church. After these special liturgies, the catechumens and candidates will be focused on their final preparations and Easter Vigil Mass, when they will receive the Sacraments of Initiation.
I think the Rite and Call are among the most beautiful liturgies of the year as we see the numbers of people seeking Christ either as catechumens or as candidates.
We actually have to hold two celebrations in our Diocese at the beginning of each Lent because our St. Augustine Cathedral just isn't large enough to accommodate all the catechumens, candidates, Godparents, sponsors and family members.
This year, we will have 145 catechumens and 281 candidates! We know that Christ is in their lives, and we know that He has worked through the directors of the RCIA in our parishes, all the sponsors and their family members to bring them to the next step of their life in Christ. I think what a powerful experience it is for a sponsor to walk with someone in their journey of faith. All of this deepens our own faith and commitment.
Our two celebrations this year, both at the Cathedral and both at 2:30 p.m., are this coming Sunday and Sunday, Feb. 29, the First Sunday of Lent. I will preside at this Sunday's liturgy, and Bishop Moreno will preside at the next.
I thank Ann Dickson, our volunteer coordinator for this year's liturgies, and Janet Towner and Pegi Dodd of our Pastoral Center Staff, for all the hard work that has led up to these next two Sundays. I also am grateful to Deacon Keating Ackerly and the Cursillo and Angie Muñoz and the Confirmation Class of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Tucson for coordinating the receptions after the liturgies.
2. "Come Home" -- As part of our diocesan focus this Lent, I ask that beginning with the first Sunday of Lent our parishes include petitions in the Prayers of the Faithful for reconciliation for those who have been alienated from the Church and for a return "home" for those who have felt separated from the Church. We see in the Gospels how Christ personally invited people to follow Him. That tells us the greatest evangelization outreach this Lent, to those who have dropped out, been separated from or otherwise are distant from the Church, is personal, gentle encouragement to come home.
3. Vocations -- I look forward to celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of our Serra Club of Tucson this Thursday evening at El Parador Restaurant in Tucson. The Serrans have had a great and positive impact on vocations in our Diocese for half a century, and that is certainly reason to celebrate!
Father Miguel Mariano, our Vocations Director, reports that the recent visit by a delegation from our Diocese to Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon was a wonderful experience for all. Nine prospective seminarians and Father Miguel visited the seminary, which is located at the Benedictine's Mount Angel Abbey. I thank Father Joe Lombardo, the people of Our Lady of the Valley Parish and some special friends of Vocations for making this visit possible.
And, even more good news: four of our nine prospective seminarians have begun the application process to become seminarians for our Diocese.
4. "Called and Gifted" -- Nearly 200 parishioners, priests, religious and deacons were under Allan and Alfie Norville's big white tent near the Tucson Convention Center last Thursday for the Annual Catholic Appeal "Big Tent Event." Once again, the event was a great Catholic community "kick-off" for this year's Appeal. My thanks to Allan and Alfie, Charlotte Harris, Jack and Jocelyn Cotter and Tom Smith and our Development Services team for such a great event.
The first reports from the parishes for this year's Appeal will be posted on our diocesan Internet site in about two weeks. We are seeing some extraordinary efforts to promote the Appeal this year, and I am grateful to all who are speaking on behalf of the Appeal in our parishes.
I ask that you make a special point this year about the Appeal. Following the publication of our annual financial report, some news media reports apparently made it less than clear about what the money given to the Appeal goes to. All money given to the Appeal is used only for the support of the 23 charities and ministries that are identified in the Appeal brochure.
5. Diocesan Pastoral Council -- The Diocesan Pastoral Council meets this Saturday here at the Pastoral Center. One of the agenda items is the John Jay College of Criminal Justice study on the nature and scope of child abuse by clergy over the last 50 years in the U.S. We will be reviewing the intent of the study and our plans for communicating our reaction to the study to the Catholic people of the Diocese and to the larger community.
I emphasize to all our pastors and parish bulletin editors the importance of the letter that was mailed the first week of February. This letter, for communication from the pulpit and in the parish bulletin for this coming weekend, is meant to prepare, as best we can, for the great attention that we expect will follow the release of the study on Friday, Feb. 27. (The Spanish version of this letter should be arriving at our parishes this week for communication this coming weekend.)
I put this boldface emphasis on two very important points that I make in the letter: one, the John Jay study is meant to help bring about healing to those who have been hurt and to our Church in the U.S.; and, two, we need to affirm the good work of the many, many good priests in our Diocese.
We are reminded constantly of the failings and misconduct of a very small percentage of priests. The great percentage of priests have done and are continuing to do significant ministry in the pastoring of God's people. I want you to know that our priests are encouraged by you: all our deacons, religious and laity who work alongside them. I am proud to be a priest of the Diocese of Tucson.
6. Youth and Young Adults -- We continue to explore ways to unify and strengthen our outreach to youth and young adults in the Diocese.
Two of our realities in the Diocese of Tucson are language and culture. English and Spanish predominate. Clearly, there is a need for outreach in both languages and outreach that is sensitive to culture, but this outreach can't just be through separate and parallel programs. We do have many fine programs at our parishes and from the Diocese that reflect our diversity, but with these many efforts there is a need for focus and convergence. To move in those directions, we are looking at a gathering of youth leaders for a special assembly on Sunday, May 23, from 1 to 3:30 p.m., probably here at the Pastoral Center. At this assembly, we would consider a vision for youth ministry in the Diocese and some steps to unify our efforts.
I mentioned our many fine programs: The Arizona Daily Star last week recognized St. Francis de Sales Parish Youth Ministry in Tucson. The Star story highlighted the community service projects of the youth and how their participation in the youth program was so important to them.
7. Reaching Out to Catholic Singles -- We are blessed in the Diocese to have an organization for single adult Catholics, including those who are widowed or divorced. Cathadults meets every Sunday at St. Francis Cabrini Parish. Rob Baron, at 520-290-1953, is the group's contact for more information. I encourage our Tucson area parishes to communicate the activities of Cathadults in their bulletins.
8. On-going Priestly Formation -- We have begun our pilot program of on-going formation for priests.
One of the critical needs today for priests is on-going formation in which their human, spiritual, pastoral and intellectual needs can be developed over the years of their ministry.
In the first session of our program, 12 of our priests participated. They all are in the middle-years of their service to the Church. The first session was an opportunity to share their individual spiritual journeys with each other. From this sharing we hope we can learn from their experiences how we can better support our priests in their life of ministry.
The priests in the pilot program will be meeting once a month for an overnight session at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks. Father Tom Santa, C.S.S.R., is serving as facilitator of the program, which is supported by a special grant.
9. One of Us at 111 S. Church -- This week's profile of a staff member here at the Pastoral Center is from one of our "veterans." Fred Allison marked his twentieth anniversary with the Diocese last August.
"When I was growing up in Charlotte, N.C., the two most important places in my life, other than my home, were both on Tryon Street, just a few blocks apart. St. Peter Catholic Church was where I learned my altar boy Latin and where I began to love the Church. The Benedictine priests there were a wonderful presence in my life. The Charlotte Observer, the city's morning newspaper, was where I learned the power of words and where I began my 41 years in communication. The reporters and editors there also were a wonderful presence in my life.
"I've done practically everything there is to do on the editorial side of print and broadcast journalism, and it has been a joyful challenge to put the skills I've learned in service to the 'Good News.'"
Vol. 1, No. 44
February 23, 2004
"Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel."
We are entering the Lenten Season this week. On Wednesday, as we are signed on our foreheads with ashes, we will be reminded of our own mortality. Lent is the sobering season to look at our own mortality and how we are living our lives. It is also an invitation to conversion and to a change of heart. It is a time to address those limitations, addictions, struggles and sins that are a part of our lives.
How powerful a symbol the ashes are!
So many people make every effort to receive ashes. So strong is the pull of Ash Wednesday that for some it may be the only time of year they visit a parish or attend Mass. That is something to keep in mind at our parishes this Wednesday as we begin our focus on our Lenten theme of "Come Home!"
Please encourage all who are present at the liturgies of Ash Wednesday to seek out the family member or friend they know who has been away from the parish. Seize the moment to promote your parish's outreach effort to those who feel alienated or separated. And, if you would, please remind everyone that the Bishop has set aside two special evenings at St. Augustine Cathedral, on March 11 and March 30, at 7 p.m. to pray and to talk with anyone who has left the Church.
I am pleased at the response of many of our parishes to this Lenten theme
You might enjoy a very informative feature on the American Catholic website about the history and spiritual traditions associated with Ash Wednesday. You can find it at: http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0204.asp
I want to update the item in last week's memo about the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion. The number of catechumens and candidates is actually more than I reported last week. The updated numbers are 207 catechumens and 201 candidates. It was a joy to be with the catechumens, candidates, Godparents, sponsors, family members, priests, deacons, religious and RCIA coordinators yesterday at St. Augustine Cathedral. I told the catechumens and candidates that I thought I had never seen the Cathedral looking so beautiful -- and the reason was the beauty of their presence as people who are seeking Jesus Christ!
1. "Staying in Touch and Keeping Connected" -- Our Diocese of Tucson Directory for 2004 is on its way to your parish or school this week. In my introductory letter to the directory I emphasize that good communication is essential for us as we strive to fulfill our diocesan priorities. The directory is one of the important tools of communication that we have, and by helping us stay in touch with one another it helps to keep us connected to our goals and priorities.
The directory is coming out a month later than we had hoped, but the delay was due to our efforts to clean up our data base from which all the information is derived.
I am grateful to the directory team of June Kellen, our Chancellor, Judy Richins and Barbara Tenpenny of the Chancellor's Office, Father Van Wagner, our Vicar General, Sister Jean Olmstead, S.B.S., Vicar for the Religious, Deacon Jim Burns, Vicar for Deacons, and Fred Allison of the Community Relations Office.
I also am very grateful to Father David Reinders for the spectacular cover illustration and the illustrations for the sections of the directory.
The Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson makes the printing of the directory possible, and I am grateful for this special support.
2. Presbyteral Council and Financial Council Meetings -- Both councils meet today here at the Pastoral Center; Financial Council in the morning, Presbyteral Council in the afternoon. This is one of the rare occasions that both these major councils meet on the same day. The Finance Council Investment Subcommittee will report on its study of our diocesan investments and present some options for the council's consideration. The Presbyteral Council will be reviewing some new policies for our Catholic schools.
At both of these council meetings I will be talking to the members about this Friday's release of the John Jay Study on the nature and scope of sexual abuse of children by clergy over the last 50 years.
3. John Jay Study and National Review Board Report -- The National Review Board will release the John Jay Study at 8 a.m. on Friday morning at a news conference. A companion report to this study is a qualitative analysis by the National Review Board that will offer some insights as to why the Church in the U.S. was so vulnerable to child abuse by priests and why some bishops acted as they did when they were informed of abuse by priests.
For those with cable, the news conference probably will be available on CSPAN. Also, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Internet site (www.usccb.org) will provide live streaming video of the news conference and a second news conference that will follow at which a panel of bishops will offer reaction to the study and report and respond to the national news media. The study and the report also should be available in text form on the conference website on Friday.
I am in the process of preparing a special pastoral letter on the study and the report. This letter also will report on our Diocese's experience over the last 50 years. While our Diocese has already reported in public much of its experience, I will be providing some additional updated information in the letter. I also will try to put into a spiritual context what is very likely to be sad and even shocking information about the nature and scope of abuse within the Church.
Because I will not have an opportunity to see the study and report until 24 hours before their public release, the letter, which will be provided in English and Spanish, will not be able to be sent until Friday to our parishes. We will be faxing it, e-mailing it and making it available on our diocesan Internet site as soon as possible on Friday. I am asking that pastors communicate the letter on my behalf from the pulpit this coming weekend.
This is an extraordinary thing for our Church to do, and we can anticipate a lot of news media attention. While we hope the news media will live up to expectations for fair, balanced, objective and non-sensationalized coverage, it is essential that our people have the opportunity to see and hear exactly what the Church is saying and what I am saying. I ask you to encourage those at your parish and school to not rely solely on the news media and to view the news conferences, to read the study and the report and to read my letter.
I have invited some key leadership from within the Diocese to be present with me at a news conference here at the Pastoral Center on Friday afternoon.
The bishops of the U.S. through the national Conference and the National Review Board sincerely are trying to bring about the healing of victim/survivors and the Church through the public release of the study and the report. Please pray that these good intentions will be received for what they are.
4. Detention Ministry -- Leaders in our Detention Ministry will be meeting tomorrow to plan for a special liturgy at St. Augustine Cathedral on Saturday, March 13 at 1 p.m. This liturgy will bring together those who minister in the prisons and jails within our Diocese, the families and friends of those who are incarcerated, those who were formerly incarcerated and those who work in corrections.
Detention ministry in our Diocese is a challenge. The large number of detention facilities and the needs of inmates and their families stretches our human and material resources. I am grateful to the many deacons and dedicated laity who participate in this ministry, especially in light of the reality of fewer priests and the increased demands on the priests we do have.
We are trying to develop a more systemic plan to meet the pastoral needs of those in prison and their families.
5. Lay Ecclesial Ministry and the Workplace -- I will be in Los Angeles this coming weekend for the fourth chapter consultation of Lay Ecclesial Ministry. This consultation will be on workplace issues for employees who are lay ecclesial ministers. I am very happy that Richard Serrano, our diocesan Human Resources director, will be accompanying me to this consultation.