Feb. 4, 2008 Feb. 11, 2008 Feb. 18, 2008 Feb. 25, 2008

Vol. 5, No. 39 
Feb. 4, 2008

As we stand at the threshold of this Lenten Season, I invite you to reflect on Paul's encouragement to the Ephesians to "live as children of light" as a theme for these coming 40 days.

I share my thoughts on this theme in my column for this month's New Vision, which was distributed at our parishes this past weekend.

You can read the column, which is my message for the beginning of this Lent, at www.newvisiononline.org and at www.diocesetucson.org by clicking on the Lent 2008 graphic. That link will take you to a page where you can access my column and other special Lenten resources, including Pope Benedict XVI's message for Lent, which focuses on one of the three pillars of our Lenten observances -- almsgiving.

More about this Lent:

• I will preside at the noon Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral this Wednesday. This day sees some of the biggest crowds in all of our parishes. There is something stark, sobering about this holy day. We are reminded, "We are dust and unto dust we shall return." These words are not meant to depress or discourage us, but to remind us that this life is fleeting. We cannot count on possessions or status or achievements to satisfy and fulfill us. Rather, we live our lives with an eye on the future -- life eternal with God. He alone satisfies our hunger and quenches our thirst, fulfills our longing.

• We will gather this Sunday and the next at St. Augustine Cathedral for the beautiful liturgies of the Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion. It is during these liturgies that I will welcome the men and women, young children and even entire families who are answering the call of Christ to follow Him as members of the Catholic Church. Both celebrations will be at 2:30 p.m.

For the two liturgies combined, we will have 169 catechumens, the Elect, who will be baptized, confirmed and receive Holy Communion at the Easter Vigil in their parishes, and 258 Candidates, the already baptized, who will renew the promises of their Baptism and continue their conversion by receiving the sacraments of the Eucharist and Confirmation at the Easter Vigil in their parishes.

Also present for this important event in their lives will be their families, their sponsors, their pastors and the directors of the Rite of Christian Initiation and teams from the 37 parishes where the Elect and the Candidates have been in preparation.

The Diocesan Choir will lead us in song, and the beauty of these liturgies includes the chanting of the names of the Elect as they walk up the steps into the sanctuary to be presented to me in front of the altar.  Before bringing the candidates for full communion forward, there will be a procession of the Baptismal symbols of water, oil, the candle and the white cloth, reminding us that the Candidates already enjoy the gift and graces of Baptism. This procession also provides a glimpse of the celebration of Baptism that will take place at the Easter Vigil for the catechumens who are now the Elect.

I am grateful to Sister Lois Paha, O.P., director of our diocesan Office of Formation, and to her committee for planning and organizing these special liturgies at the beginning of the Lenten Season.


• Considering the time that many of us spend on the Internet, this Lent can be a good time to "give up" some of our recreational browsing to take advantage of some excellent on-line spiritual resources.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops offers comprehensive resources for the Lenten Season at www.usccb.org. Just click on the "Lenten Resources" graphic on the home page. The resources are organized under the categories of "What We Believe," "What We Celebrate," "How We Live" and "How We Pray."

Lenten Radio Retreat, at www.franciscanradio.org, is produced by Franciscan Communications, a ministry of St. Anthony Messenger Press, through grants from the Catholic Communication Campaign of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Retreat features reflections for each Sunday of Lent, presented (in order) this year by Cardinal Francis George of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Bishop Donald W. Trautman of the Diocese of Eire, Bishop J. Kevin Boland of the Diocese of Savannah, Bishop Richard Garcia of the Diocese of Monterey, Bishop John D'Arcy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and Auxiliary Bishop Daniel E. Flores of the Archdiocese of Detroit.

At www.pray-as-you-go.org, produced by Jesuit Media Initiatives in London, there are reflections that you can listen to on-line or download for your mp3 player. The reflection for this Ash Wednesday is beautifully done.

And, by clicking on "Liturgical Year" at www.vatican.va, you can access Lenten resources that include music and the Holy Father's homilies for Lenten liturgical celebrations.

• Operation Rice Bowl -- They are small paper boxes that accomplish great things, and Joanne Welter, director of our Catholic Social Mission Office, has made sure there are plenty of them on display here at the Pastoral Center. 

The boxes are for donations to Operation Rice Bowl, the official Lenten Program of Catholic Relief Services. For 33 years now, Operation Rice Bowl has called us each Lent to pray with our families and faith communities; to fast in solidarity with those who hunger; to learn about our global community and the challenges of poverty overseas and to give sacrificially to those in need. Operation Rice Bowl has raised more than $160 million to fund development projects to empower the impoverished and hungry around the world. Our Diocese and our parishes and schools are among the 14,000 faith communities across the U.S. participating in Operation Rice Bowl as signs of our respect for human dignity and our solidarity with the poor around the world.

You are welcome to contact Joanne at socialmission@diocesetucson.org for more information about Operation Rice Bowl. You also can visit http://orb.crs.org to learn more.

 I will be making two presentations this Lent on the Holy Father's second encyclical, "Spe Salvi" (Saved by Hope).

The first presentation, for all who wish to attend, will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at St. Frances Cabrini Parish Hall in Tucson.

The second presentation, for all young Catholic adults, will be on Friday, March 7, at St. Thomas More Newman Center Parish in Tucson, adjacent to the University of Arizona Campus. We will begin with a Holy Hour at 6 p.m., following by a Lenten supper and the presentation.

1. "Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future" -- I am very pleased to make the formal announcement of the general parish phase of our diocesan renewal campaign in this month's New Vision.

You can read my announcement and all about what we hope to accomplish through the campaign at the special Web page for the campaign that you can access at our diocesan Web site, www.diocesetucson.org. A special feature of the campaign Web page allows you to view the campaign videos on-line. I thank Omar Rodriguez, graphic designer and Web master for The New Vision, for the design of the special Web pages.

As we begin this first time ever renewal campaign, I feel a great sense of confidence that we will achieve our goal and even exceed it. This confidence comes from the experience I had in speaking with 22 individuals to ask for a significant sacrificial gift. Their responses, which in some instances even exceeded what was being asked, inspired me. They believe in Christ's mission. They have confidence in our Diocese and see the importance of the needs identified for this capital campaign.
 
My confidence also was confirmed by the tremendous generosity shown in the pilot parishes that recently conducted the campaign. The pastors of these four parishes were astounded by the people's generosity not only in giving significant sacrificial gifts but in their willingness to serve on the parish team for the campaign. People pitched in and were excited to lead their parish effort.
 
I love the priests and people of our Diocese. We have much to be proud about -- and you make me especially proud.

2. Episcopal Anniversary Celebration for Bishop Dale Melczek -- I am very happy to be in Gary, Indiana, today for the celebration of the 25th Episcopal Anniversary of my friend Bishop Dale Melczek. We came to know one another when I was auxiliary bishop of Chicago. He came into our region from the Archdiocese of Detroit. He faced many challenges in his new diocese. We have played golf together (He is better than I !), we have dined together, prayed together, shared together.
 
Traveling back to the mid west will put me in cold weather and 10 inches of snow, but I know that friendship counts.

3. Strategic Planning for Our Catholic Schools
-- Principals and pastors of our parishes with Catholic Schools are meeting at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson today for a very important in-service on strategic planning for their schools. We are very fortunate to have Tim Dwyer from the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) as facilitator for the day.

I am very pleased that our principals and pastors are entering the process of strategic planning, and I thank Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, C.F.M.M., for encouraging and facilitating their participation.

The NCEA emphasizes the importance of strategic planning for our Catholic Schools through a comprehensive process, stating: "Strategic planning begins with strategic thinking. It is a continuous, systematic thought process that identifies a desired future and ways to bring it about by linking strategic plans with medium-range programs and short range operating and budgeting plans. Planning is getting people involved in collecting good information and then using that information to make intelligent decisions about the future."
4. A Much Appreciated Guest Opinion -- The guest opinion by Dave Keller, principal of Our Mother of Sorrows School in Tucson, that appeared in last Tuesday's Arizona Daily Star was outstanding.

Under the headline of "Catholic schools offer social, economic boost," Dave wrote about the positive impacts of Catholic schools on their students, families and communities, including the emphasis on academic excellence and achievement: 

"Regardless of the degree of success, the fact is that Catholic schools prepare their students for the next level of education, clearly a benefit to society. What a great proclamation that is.
Another advantage offered by Catholic schools is an additional contribution to society. Studies by some sociologists have suggested that Catholic schools provide 'social capital' to their students. Those sociological studies advocate that, on balance, Catholic school graduates are more likely to participate in community affairs and volunteer than the average person."

You can read the op-ed at www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/222560.php.

5. Knights of Columbus Council 10762 Clergy Appreciation Dinner ­-- Feeling appreciated is a great feeling, and the Knights of Columbus do a great job of making us priests feel appreciated! A number of councils across our Diocese have annual appreciation events for clergy, and I am looking forward to tomorrow evening's appreciation dinner at St. Pius X Parish in Tucson, which is hosted by the St. Pius X Council 10762. 

6. Catholic Cemeteries Board Meeting -- The Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries is Board of Directors will meet this Thursday.  It is an exciting time for our Cemeteries, with all the improvements in operations implemented and the focus now on the upcoming new mausoleum.  The agenda includes a report on the Cemeteries' activities, including last month's March for Life in which more than 600 people marched with me from the Cathedral to the Cemeteries for a memorial service dedicated to all the unborn children who have died from abortion.

7. National Association for Lay Ministry -- I look forward this Thursday to visiting with the leadership team of the National Association for Lay Ministry as they meet at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks. The Association is a positive and effective source for support, education and advocacy for lay ministers and for the promotion of the development of lay ministry in the Catholic Church. I serve as episcopal liaison from the USCCB to the Association.

8. Dinner for Retired Priests -- It is my great pleasure each year to invite our retired priests for a special evening at the Bishop's Residence. This year's gathering will be this Thursday evening. There is always a great sharing of memories.

Our retired priests truly are a treasure for our Diocese. The love and esteem that the Catholic people have for their priests is evidenced in the commitment of our renewal campaign to provide resources to increase the monthly benefit that our retired priests receive.

9. Mass with Loretto School Community -- I will celebrate Mass this Friday morning with the community of Loretto School in Douglas. Sister Caridad Sandoval, O.C.D., principal, along with her Sisters, faculty, staff and students always make me feel so welcome.

10. Diaconate and Lay Ecclesial Ministry Interviews -- The concluding round of my individual interviews with the candidates for the permanent diaconate and lay ecclesial ministry will be this Saturday.

11. On the Confirmation Trail -- I will confer the Sacrament of Confirmation at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Tucson during the 5 p.m. Mass this Sunday.

12. 150th Anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes -- I look forward to being with Father Mike Bucciarelli, pastor, and the community of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Benson this Sunday for the parish's special celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes. The celebration is in anticipation of next Monday's feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes and the 150th anniversary of Our Lady's apparitions at Lourdes.

We will gather at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes to pray the Rosary before we process into the church for the 9 a.m. Mass.

13. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- Please pray for Father Bill Gyure, pastor of St. Philip the Apostle Parish in Payson, who is hospitalized in Phoenix. Also, for Steven Cloud, brother of Father Chuck Cloud, pastor of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Florence, who is ill.

14. Papal Visit -- Pope Benedict XVI will be visiting the U.S. for the first time this April. He will be in Washington where he will meet with President Bush and celebrate a public Mass on April 17. He will travel to New York City where he will speak to the United Nations and celebrate Mass for the public on April 20. A small number of tickets are being offered to each diocese in the U.S. for the two public Masses. While we are not guaranteed tickets, we hope a few will be available to our Diocese.
 
If you are interested in attending one of the public Masses, you are welcome to e-mail bishop@diocesetucson.org or send a letter to me at 111 S. Church St., P.O. Box 31, Tucson, AZ 85702. You must include your name, address and phone number with your request. No more than two tickets would be possible for any family.
 
Again, I cannot guarantee tickets will be available since there is very limited seating at both public Masses.

There is a link on the home page of our diocesan Web site to the USCCB Web site's resources for the Holy Father's visit.

15. Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson -- Congratulations to Martin Camacho, executive director of the Catholic Foundation and Foundation staff Clara Moreno and Michelle Antle for hosting a marvelous Mardi Gras party at the Bishop's Residence on Friday evening. A record crowd of 100 people attended, including board members and friends of the Foundation. A good time was had by all.
 
16. Well Worth Reading -- Terry and Thecla McCarthy are parishioners at St. Monica Parish in Tucson. They have been married 57 years and have 10 children, 42 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. All that, and they are accomplished authors as well!

Terry and Thecla are members of the Secular Franciscan Order, and Thecla writes a monthly newsletter for the Franciscan Fraternity. Each recently published a book, their firsts. Terry's is "A Theology of the Corporation: A Franciscan Approach" and Thecla's is "10 Ambassadors to Costa Rica." The McCarthy family, 12 strong, lived in Nicoya, Costa Rica, a remote town on the Nicoyan Penisula, where Terry trained local people to operate and maintain road building equipment. The books are published by Publish America.

17. Painting St. Augustine Cathedral -- The patching of the towers, domes and cupolas proceeded quickly at St. Augustine Cathedral last week. From their perch in the cage of the articulated lift, the crew of two made speedy work of all the patching. The next step, priming of the surfaces, could start today, with painting to begin as soon as next week.

18. Where's the Cathedra? -- The cathedra (the chair from which a diocesan bishop presides in the diocesan cathedral) in the sanctuary of St. Augustine Cathedral is undergoing repairs because there were cracks in the legs and because part of the ornate decorations on the top back had recently broken off.

Bishop Francis Green had the cathedra designed when the Cathedral underwent its reconstruction in the late 1960s. Bishop Moreno used it for his 20 years as Bishop, and the chair almost made it through my first six years as Bishop of Tucson.

Vol. 5, No. 40 
Feb. 11, 2008

I was inspired yesterday afternoon as I looked out into our Cathedral to see it filled with Catechumens preparing for Baptism at the Easter Vigil and Candidates seeking full communion in the Church. Their desire to know the Lord encourages our own longing this Lent to draw closer to the Lord.
 
As I greeted each one entering the Sanctuary as part of the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion, I could see their eagerness to complete their preparation. Those seeking Christ were of every age and background, some soon to be married, some coming late in life to know the Lord, a number of children with their parents, proud that their daughter or son will now draw closer to the Lord.
 
The ceremony, a powerful statement of faith, can prod us on this Lent to deepen our prayer, discipline ourselves through fasting and open our hearts to others in almsgiving.
 
The days of preparation for their baptism and full initiation and the days of our Lenten efforts to draw closer to the Lord will pass quickly. Don't delay. Turn your lives more fully to Christ.

Let us continue to pray for the hundreds of people in our Diocese who will be baptized and become fully initiated into the Church this Easter.

We will gather again at St. Augustine Cathedral this coming Sunday at 2 p.m. for our second Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion.

1. 150th Anniversary of Apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes – In anticipation of today's feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, I was very pleased that I could join the people of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Benson and Father Mike Bucciarelli, their pastor, yesterday to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the appearance of Mary to Bernadette Soubirous. Mary, who announced to Bernadette that she was the Immaculate Conception, appeared 18 times to Bernadette, calling us to pray and repent.

Under a bright blue sky with birds chirping loudly, we gathered first in front of the parish's grotto, a replica of the Shrine in Lourdes, to pray the Rosary. Different people, young and old, each recited an Our Father or Hail Mary as we prayed the joyful mysteries of the Rosary. After the Rosary, we processed into the church for a celebration of the Eucharist.

We all witnessed a small "miracle." Just before we were to begin Mass, all the lights in the church went out. But as we were processing from the grotto to the church, amazingly the lights went on. Father Mike was very pleased, and we all were delighted!

2. Meeting of the Bishops of the Americas – I will be at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, N.Y., from today through Thursday for the 35th meeting of the Bishops of the Church in America.

Previously known as the Inter-American Meeting of Bishops, these annual gatherings bring together bishops from the U.S., Canada and Latin America for a time of prayer and pastoral planning with the goal of helping our respective conference to better serve the Church in North and South America. 



At this year's meeting, more than 20 delegates, including bishops and the staff of the general secretariats of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) will be discussing the final document of the fifth General Conference of the Bishops of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Aparecida, Brazil, in 2007.

3. Love of Reading Week – I am honored to be a special guest reader this Friday at St. Cyril Catholic School in Tucson for the observance of Love of Reading Week. I am honored to be a special guest reader this Friday at St. Cyril Catholic School in Tucson for the observance of Love of Reading Week. School Library Coordinator Mary Botsford has arranged for me to talk to 22 kindergartners about my love of reading. I also will have a chance to read to them and answer their questions. Kindergartners can ask really tough questions!

4. On the Confirmation Trail – I will celebrate Mass and confer the Sacrament of Confirmation this Friday evening at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson for the Salpointe Catholic High School community.

5. Diocesan Pastoral Council – The Council meets this Saturday at the Pastoral Center.

6. Presentation by Father Ted Ross, S.J. –I am pleased to welcome an old friend, Father Ted Ross, S.J., to our Diocese this weekend.

Father Ted, an authority on modern Church history and historical theology, has taught in Chicago at the Jesuit School of Theology, Loyola University, Chicago Theological Union and the University of St. Mary of the Lake. He presently is assistant professor of Church History at the Athenaeum of Ohio in Cincinnati. He will be addressing our priests next Monday as part of our Priests' Ongoing Formation Program.

In addition, he has generously accepted our invitation to offer a presentation to the public on Sunday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. in the Chapel of the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks. His topic will be the current trends and future challenges for the American Catholic community. True to his reputation as an entertaining speaker, Father Ted has titled his presentation, "Fasten your Seat Belts! It's Going to Be a Bumpy Ride!"

I hope you can join us, but space is limited. Contact Pegi Dodd in the Office of Formation at 520-838-2545 or pegid@diocesetucson.org to reserve your place. Admission is free, but there will be a free will offering during the presentation to help defray expenses.

7. "Leadership for a Multicultural Church and Society" ­– Our diocesan Office of Formation has sent information to all parishes about this special workshop on Friday and Saturday, March 7 and 8, at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Tucson.

Presented by the Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC), a national Catholic institute
for pastoral leadership and language studies in San Antonio, this workshop will provide an opportunity for study, prayer and direction for parish leaders as they develop and implement processes for multicultural understanding, racism awareness and systemic change within their communities.

Registration will be $10 per person. For more information and to register, please contact Pegi Dodd in the Office of Formation at 520-838-2545 or pegid@diocesetucson.org.

8. Presentations on "Spe Salvi" – During Lent, I will be giving two presentations on the Holy Father's new encyclical, "Spe Salvi" (Saved by Hope.)
 
The first presentation is for all in the Diocese who want to learn more about this marvelous encyclical that speaks so powerfully to our day and time. This session will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m., at St. Francis Cabrini Parish, 3201 E. Presidio Rd., in Tucson. All are welcome.
 
The second presentation will be specifically for young adults (18-30) and will be held on Friday, March 7, at the St. Thomas More Newman Parish, 1615 E. Second St. in Tucson at the University of Arizona. The focus of this presentation will be how this document speaks in a particular way to young adults. We will begin with a Holy Hour at 6 p.m., followed by a Lenten supper and the presentation.


9. Painting St. Augustine Cathedral – The painting of the Cathedral is going very quickly now! Last week, the intrepid crew of Paul Hindley and George Carranza from Golden Brush completed the south walls and began painting the south tower.

On Friday, John Shaheen, director of our Property and Insurance Services Office, and Dan Rorbach of our Diocesan Building Committee, inspected the statues of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, St. Augustine, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the front of the Cathedral. We anticipate that the statues will be repainted in the same gold color that will be applied to the cupolas of the towers. The statues last were painted during the reconstruction of the Cathedral in 1968 by Bishop Francis Green.

After determining that the statue of the Immaculate Conception (which has stood on its pedestal on that same spot for 104 years) was in good condition, John got a lift so that he could give St. Augustine a close look. He reported that the statue was in good condition as well. We believe that statue was installed above the front entrance of the Cathedral as part of its 1928 reconstruction by Bishop Daniel Gercke.

However, the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was dedicated on Easter of 1926, needs considerable attention. Dan said his inspection revealed that the statue is hollow and is made of metal, probably tin. Dan and John believe the statue can be sandblasted in place to prepare the surface for repainting.

10. World Synod of Bishops – "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church" is the theme Pope Benedict XVI has chosen for the World Synod of Bishops Oct. 5 -2 6 at the Vatican.

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

The Synod will be an opportunity for bishops from around the world to compare our experiences, concerns and ideas on the role and importance of the Bible. The Holy Father hopes that this Synod will allow the bishops "to unite in collegial communion to listen to the word of life, which God has entrusted to the loving care of his Church so that it would be announced with courage and conviction."

The last Synod in 2005 focused on the Eucharist in the life of the Church. During that gathering, the bishops offered their suggestions for topics to be considered for the next Synod, and the importance of the Bible was one of the most popular topics.

The Synod Council will prepare an outline and list of questions for bishops' conferences and individual bishops to consider. The Council will use those responses in drafting a working document for the October meeting.

11. Happy Valentine's Day! – This Thursday, Valentine's Day, is when we unabashedly say to those we love that we cherish and hold them dear. Don't pass up this opportunity to express your love to those in your family and all the people who inspire and strengthen you.
 
Give some thought to all those who matter to you and who have influenced your life. For those who have died, pray for them on this day. For those still living, let them know how much they mean to you and pray for them as well.

Vol. 5, No. 41                                                                                                           
Feb. 18, 2008

Catechumens and Candidates from many of our parishes have gathered at St. Augustine Cathedral these last two Sundays for the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion. In their enthusiasm to follow Christ and to embrace the Catholic Church, they bring new energy. They witness God's grace working among us. They encourage all of us to deepen our commitment to Christ this Lent.
 
I am grateful to Sister Lois Paha, O.P., director of our Office of Formation; Father Miguel Mariano, director of Vocations; Gil and Emilia Puente, Ed and Virginia Behrens, Ann Dickson, Chris Stogsdill, Sally Peirce of the Diocese of Tucson Catechumenate Committee; Grace Lohr and the Diocesan Choir; and to Father Pat Crino, rector of St. Augustine Cathedral and the Cathedral Staff for helping to make these celebrations so special.
 
I am grateful, too, to the many parishioners who serve as sponsors and the directors of our Rite of Christian Initiation programs. They are spreading the faith, introducing others to Christ and carrying on our missionary charge given by Christ to bring the Gospel to all who will listen.
 
Throughout our Diocese, Lenten opportunities to join in prayer abound: daily Mass daily, the Stations of the Cross and many parish missions.
 
Prayer draws us closer to God. Pope Benedict XVI encourages us to pray for hope and to join in prayer for the many needs of our world. Christ promises to hear our prayers.

1. Diocesan Pastoral Council – The members of our Diocesan Pastoral Council reported at last Saturday's meeting the results of the listening sessions they held with parishioners in the vicariates where they live. More than 15 sessions were held, involving about 120 people from across the Diocese.
 
Council members reported how honored and pleased people felt to be asked to come to the sessions and to share their thoughts on the Church and its challenges. While some contacted chose not to attend, those who came shared freely and enthusiastically.
 
Many expressed concern about catechesis and the need to better prepare catechists and Catholic School teachers and assist them in forming our young people. The importance of the family in passing on the faith was emphasized, and yet many parents do not feel prepared or qualified to teach their children about the faith.
 
Many expressed concern about young people and the lack of opportunities for them to become active and involved in the Church. They should have a greater role in the liturgies of our parishes. There should be more money and attention given by the Church to youth activities. Many Protestant churches provide young people many more opportunities to study scripture and to get involved in retreats and service. It was noted that some of our parishes and Catholic Schools are doing a lot to engage young people, but clearly more needs to be done.
 
Father Al Schifano, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, is currently working on a evaluation of our pastoral departments at the Pastoral Center to determine what areas need more attention. Sister Lois Paha, O.P., director of the Office of Formation, has been given the responsibility to oversee with Father Al these pastoral departments, and it is hoped that a full time youth minister fluent in English and Spanish can be hired to direct and enhance our diocesan outreach to youth.
 
Other ideas and concerns that emerged from the listening sessions: not all parishes are linked to the Diocese and seem to be islands unto themselves; few coordinated efforts throughout the Diocese and a "parochial" attitude that limits the effectiveness of what we could do together; the number of Catholics who have drifted off to other faiths; making our parishes more welcoming and inviting; improving and enhancing liturgies; better homilies. 

One idea that was suggested in several of the listening sessions was to use Sunday Mass as an opportunity for catechesis. Since so many of our people are present on Sundays, this seems to be an ideal time to help adults learn more about their faith.
 
The Diocesan Pastoral Council will continue to explore ways that we can respond to the needs that have surfaced.

2. Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future – This past weekend, 21 of our parishes were introduced to our diocesan renewal campaign, Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future, which has as its goal to raise $28 million for land for new parishes and schools, to assist our retired priests, to enhance our Catholic Schools and Religious Education Programs, to augment the work of Catholic Community Services, to help renovate our Cathedral Church and to support many needs of our parishes.
 
I celebrated Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Tucson on Saturday evening. I was so appreciative of the warm and positive reception the people gave to the campaign video and of their sense of the importance of this first time ever effort.
 
So many commented to me after Mass they will try to help to the extent that they could. They saw the need and were appreciative of being asked to help. What a great attitude! Sharing the blessings God has given us is what brings true joy.
 
Let us pray each day for the success of the campaign. I encourage our parishes and schools and religious education programs to pray the Campaign Prayer regularly along with our vocation prayer. Indeed, we have much to pray for!

3. Thanks to the Knights! – The Knights of Columbus in our Diocese do so much for vocations and to affirm and support our priests, deacons and religious. On Saturday night, Tucson area Knights held "An Evening with the Bishop" at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish at which they raised more than $2,000 for the Benedictine Sisters in Tucson. What a blessing for these wonderful women whose presence in our Diocese is a blessing and a gift!
 
4. Priests' Ongoing Formation Program ­– Father Ted Ross, S.J., is our very special guest presenter at today's gathering for the Priests' Ongoing Formation Program at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks.

Father Ted, an authority on modern Church history and historical theology, has taught in Chicago at the Jesuit School of Theology, Loyola University, Chicago Theological Union and the University of St. Mary of the Lake. He presently is assistant professor of Church History at the Athenaeum of Ohio in Cincinnati.

Father Ted will speak to these topics in his presentations: "Loving and Serving a Church that Is Hurting" and "Roman Catholic Identity: Does It Still Exist?"

The Priests' Ongoing Formation Program, now entering its fourth year, provides at least two opportunities annually for our priests to hear from experts from within the Church on matters relating to the intellectual, spiritual and pastoral dimensions of their ministry.

5. Conference of Major Superiors of Men – While I am at Picture Rocks today for the Priests' Ongoing Formation Program, I will have the opportunity to visit briefly with the members of the National and Joint Board of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) at their meeting. CMSM serves the leadership of the Catholic orders and congregations of the more than 20,000 vowed religious priests and brothers of the United States, 10 percent of whom are foreign missionaries.

6. On the Confirmation Trail – This week, I will confer the Sacrament of Confirmation on Wednesday evening at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Tucson, on Friday evening at Lourdes Catholic High School in Nogales and on Sunday afternoon at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Solomon.

4. Monthly Staff and Directors Meetings – Our monthly meetings of staff and the directors of diocesan offices and departments will be this Thursday morning here at the Pastoral Center.

7. Annual Convocation of Vowed Religious
– Vowed Religious Women and Men in our Diocese will gather this Saturday at the Monastery of the Benedictine Sisters in Tucson for their annual Convocation. I look forward to being with the more than 70 Religious who have registered to attend. 

The guest speaker, Sister Annelisse Sinnott, O.P., will give a presentation based on the theme of the Convocation: "Re-Membering in Love, Re-Committing in Faith, Re-Imaging in Hope." We will have the opportunity to discuss the points that Sister brings out. I will address the Religious and have a question and answer session with them.   

Our day will conclude with the celebration of Mass at 4 p.m. in the Monastery Chapel.



8. A Signal Moment and Honor – Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma, had the honor of serving as the guest chaplain at last Thursday's session of the U.S. House of Representatives. U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, whose 7th District includes Yuma, had invited Msgr. O'Keeffe to serve as guest chaplain on the 96th anniversary of Arizona's admittance to the Union.
Here is Msgr. O'Keeffe's prayer:

"'Ditat Deus – 'God enrich us.' Those magnificent words are found on the seal of the state of Arizona as we celebrate today our 96th birthday as entering into the United States. 

So, this morning, we thank God for all those enriched graces he has given to each and every one of us.

"And as we pray here this morning, we ask the Lord of all of our endeavors to give our elected congressmen and women the courage to follow noble aspirations, strength to support worthy causes, integrity to seek the truth in all of their legislative duties. Be their inspiration and guide.

"Lord, you remember forever your covenant with us, and even though it was centuries ago that you formed a community of family life with us, still you remain continually faithful.  Enable us by your merciful help to keep faith with you to renew our covenant at our important or difficult moments of our life, so that at the end we may receive the promise of the covenant.

"Lord, to those who believe in you, you promise kindness and truth, justice and peace.  When we are faced with difficulties, increase our faith but do not lower our ideals. From the least likely places you can bring forward the triumph of your grace. These things we ask in your name, amen."


Msgr. O'Keeffe, you did us proud!

9. Living, Loving and Caring for Families Touched by Alzheimer's
– On Saturday, March 8, I will join members of many families from all parts of Southern Arizona to learn more about coping with Alzheimer's Disease. It is a disease that is estimated to touch 4.5 million families in the U.S.; it is now the seventh-leading cause of death in our nation.

The workshop will feature educational presentations on medical diagnosis and care, coping with the disease and dealing with the associated legal issues. Many local agencies that provide assistance to families coping with Alzheimer's Disease will staff resource tables. In the endeavor, we also honor the late Sidney Searles, whose idea it was to develop this workshop.

I am honored to give the invocation for this educational program that is co-sponsored by the Carondelet Neurological Institute and our Diocese.

The Carondelet Neurological Institute is an initiative of the Carondelet Health Network that will offer world-class neurological diagnosis and treatment to the people of Southern Arizona. We are all very proud of this accomplishment by our Catholic health care system.

Bulletin announcements for this program have been sent to all our parishes. I encourage our parishes to make sure that families who are experiencing Alzheimer's know of this opportunity.

The program is being held at the Tucson Convention Center, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Admission is $10. Space is limited. Call 800-278-3245 to reserve your place. Please join me in learning more about Alzheimer's.

10. Painting St. Augustine Cathedral – With the painting of the dome in copper, the painting of the south tower of the Cathedral was nearly completed last week. And, most of the façade wall received a first coat. We are really beginning to see how our Cathedral is going to look!

Also last week, crews from Jim Wood Masonry began to install the exterior concrete "surrounds" that will highlight the window openings. The design of the "surrounds" reflects elements already present on the Cathedral's exterior.

11. Update on Marist College – Over the next three weeks, Means Design and Construction will be working on the Marist College to patch and seal breeches in the roof, walls and windows.

As we continue to determine the future of Marist College, the City of Tucson and our Diocese are continuing to monitor and maintain the integrity of this 93-year old adobe building. Intermittent repairs are performed as necessary, and the building is regularly inspected. Money for these repairs is from a grant from the State Historic Preservation Office.

John Shaheen, director of our Property and Insurance Services Office, tells me this is the work that will be accomplished:

"The work we are performing now includes constructing a 2x4 barrier wall to prevent the pigeons and other birds from entering. Also, six roof leaks have been found throughout the building. Workers will use a special coating system over the cracks in the roof surface. 

"Due to thermal expansion and shrinkage of wood, the bolts in the shoring have loosened.  All bolts will be tightened in the shoring timbers. The shoring in the basement that supports the first floor, second floor and roof will be adjusted to assure that it continues to relieve the adjacent walls from carrying load.

"All tarps and cables are being inspected, and new cabling will be added where needed.  All cables will be re-tightened as well."

To restore Marist College will cost an estimated $1 million dollars for the exterior, including the roof, and up to $2 million for tenant improvements if we can find a suitable use for the building. We are currently working with the City of Tucson in seeking parties who will work with us to save this historic structure.  If you know of such a party, please let me know!

12. Remember in Your Prayers – Let us pray for Father Norman Whalen, a retired priest of our Diocese, who taught and researched in archeology for many years at the University of Texas in Austin. Father Norm is at St. Mary's Hospice. We pray the Lord will bless him.

Vol. 5, No. 42
Feb. 25, 2008

We are part way through Lent. Time still remains to draw upon the rich opportunity of this penitential season to open our hearts more fully to the Lord. On Saturday last, I met with many of the Religious Women who serve our Diocese with such dedication (see below). These women could have been most successful in other careers they may have chosen, but they decided to turn their lives over to the Lord and use their gifts to further His mission. Their example and witness stir our longing to become closer to Christ.
 
Pope Benedict XVI, in his second encyclical, prods us with many references of the Saints who threw their lot with the Lord and found in Christ the hope necessary to live even in the midst of suffering or even to die with assurance that Christ would never abandon them.
 
We need witnesses of faith who inspire and beckon us to live in the hope that only Christ can give.

1. Presentations on "Spe Salvi" (Saved by Hope) – Drawing upon the theme of Lent as a time of hope, I will give the first of two Lenten presentations on "Spe Salvi" (Saved by Hope), the Holy Father's second encyclical that was issued last November, at 7 p.m. tomorrow at St. Frances Cabrini Parish Hall in Tucson. This presentation is for anyone who would like to learn more about the encyclical.

My second presentation on "Spe Salvi" will be at St. Thomas More Newman Center Parish at the University of Arizona campus on Friday, March 7. This presentation is for young Catholic adults. The evening will begin with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at 6:30 p.m., followed by a light dinner. The presentation will begin at about 7:30.

2. Convocation of Vowed Religious – The Benedictine Convent in Tucson, on Country Club Road, is holy ground – a holy place – as Sister Luisa DeRouen, O.P., remarked in her opening prayer for Saturday's Annual Convocation of Vowed Religious in the Diocese of Tucson. The day was filled with many blessings as our religious reflected on their past and looked to their future.

Sister Rina Cappellazzo, O.P., our diocesan Vicar for Religious, unfortunately was ill as so many in our communities are lately and so was not able to attend. But her team stepped in and up and carried the day.
 
Sister Anneliese Sinnott, O.P., gave three presentations that were well received and that inspired the Sisters, many of whom have served the Church for decades.

One could only imagine the number of people these Sisters have served, helped and brought to the Lord. We do not say often enough our thanks for their witness and service that continues to contribute so much to the mission of our Church.
 
3. On the Confirmation Trail – The Confirmation Trail took me to Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Solomon yesterday.

Pastoring a small rural community is challenging. You have no staff, little money, and it is hard to find those who will help out. Yet the priests serving in parish communities like Our Lady of Guadalupe work hard and with much dedication. Father John Ancharski finds joy in celebrating Mass for his community and leading them in prayer.
 
Father John shared with me that the young people of his community face many challenges. Sometimes they are looked down upon, there is little to do, and the availability of drugs can be so debilitating.

Although yesterday's Confirmation may be the smallest celebration of the sacrament in our Diocese this year, the nine young adults and three adults I confirmed at Our Lady of Guadalupe were eager to be fully initiated into the Church.
 
I thanked their parents for introducing them to the Lord. Obviously, you cannot force someone to be a disciple of Christ. You can only encourage, give witness. I am grateful to Father John for his work in preparing these candidates to be fully initiated into the Church.

4. Presbyteral Council Meeting – The Presbyteral Council meets this morning here at the Pastoral Center. The agenda includes: a report and discussion on the format of the Pastoral Report Forms; a report and discussion on the results of the listening sessions held by members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council; a report on the progress of our diocesan renewal campaign, Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future; and a report on the Pastors' Leadership Development Program.

5. Symposium on Communicative Theology – I will be a participant this Thursday and Friday in "The Gift and Challenge of Intercultural Communication," a special symposium on Communicative Theology that is being held at Fordham University outside New York City. One of the questions for discussion that I find particularly interesting for our Diocese is "How do our faith traditions and practices honor the gift of cultural diversity and address intercultural conflicts?" Among the sponsors of this symposium are Fordham University, the Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies at Fordham, Boston College and the Catholic Common Ground Initiative.

6. Heading West – I will be heading west on Saturday for a three-day visit in the Yuma-La Paz Vicariate.

On Saturday, I will meet at 12:30 p.m. for a listening session with Father Ted Lobo and the staff and parishioners of Sacred Heart Parish in Parker as the community prepares for Father Ted's retirement this summer. When a change in pastors is in the works, I meet with staff and parishioners to hear from them about the good things that are happening, the challenges the parish is facing and the qualities they would like their new pastor to have. These listening sessions are very valuable in the process for selecting a new pastor.

Also on my visit to the Yuma-La Paz Vicariate, I will confer the Sacrament of Confirmation at St. John Neumann Parish in Yuma on Saturday evening, at Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma on Sunday afternoon and at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Wellton on Sunday evening.

On Monday, I will have the opportunity to meet with priests of the vicariate and, I hope, to drop in our Catholic Schools at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, at Immaculate Conception Parish and at Yuma Catholic High School. On Monday evening, I will be delighted to attend the annual Clergy and Religious Appreciation Dinner that is hosted by the Yuma area Councils of the Knights of Columbus.

7. Welcome to New Staff – We are very happy to welcome to new staff members here at the Pastoral Center. Debbie Martinez has joined the Human Resources Office as a secretary. Chris Ouillette has a temporary position in the Chancellor's Office to assist us with the implementation of the new Parish Soft database programs.

8. Update on Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future – At our Pastoral Center staff meeting last Thursday, Tom Smith, director of our Stewardship and Development Office, gave us two very encouraging updates on our diocesan renewal campaign, Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future.

First, our campaign within the Pastoral Center had reached nearly 70 percent of its goal with $122,500 in pledges from just about a quarter of our staff members. Each of these pledges will be credited to the parishes of those making pledges.

Tom also told us that as the first block of 21 parishes were beginning their local campaigns, total pledges to the campaign, as of Thursday, totaled $12.7 million toward the goal of $28 million.

Once again, the generosity of Catholics to their parishes and our Diocese is outstanding!

9. Reminders of Upcoming Events – On Saturday, March 8, the Carondelet Neurological Institute and our Diocese are sponsoring "Living, Loving and Caring for Families Touched by Alzheimer's." This workshop will feature educational presentations on medical diagnosis and care, coping with the disease and dealing with the associated legal issues. The program is being held at the Tucson Convention Center, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Admission is $10. Space is limited. Call 800-278-3245 to reserve your place.

The Mexican American Cultural Center of San Antonio will present "Leadership for a Multicultural Church and Society" on Friday and Saturday, March 7 and 8, at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Tucson. This workshop will provide an opportunity for study, prayer and direction for parish leaders as they develop and implement processes for multicultural understanding, racism awareness and systemic change within their communities. Registration will be $10 per person. For more information and to register, please contact Pegi Dodd in the Office of Formation at 520-838-2545 or pegid@diocesetucson.org.

10. Faithful Citizenship – I am happy to pass along this announcement from Joan Rosenhauer, associate director of the Office of Social Development and World Peace at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

We are pleased to announce the launch of an exciting new 2008 Faithful Citizenship Web Site (www.faithfulcitizenship.org) with lots of resources for individuals, parishes and other groups. We hope you will find it helpful as you share the message of "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship" in your parishes, schools, dioceses and other organizations. 
 
You will find a wide range of resources for prayer and worship, educational programs, family discussions, social concerns and pro-life committees, and many other groups and ministries.
 
The Faithful Citizenship web site will regularly be updated as new materials are added. In particular, the temporary Spanish page will soon be replaced by a complete Faithful Citizenship web site in Spanish. The temporary "young Catholics" page will be replaced by a lively section specifically for youth and young adults that will have interactive activities, podcasts, streaming videos, and other resources and activities. We will keep you informed as these changes are made.
 
Thank you for all you are doing to help spread the word about "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship."

I encourage our parishes and schools to use this excellent resource.

11. Please Remember in Your Prayers – Please pray for Pedro Pinto, father of Father Fernando Pinto, O.C.D., pastor of Santa Cruz Parish in Tucson.

Please continue to pray for Father Norman Whalen, who is in hospice care. (Last week's memo mistakenly mentioned Father Norm's academic career as being at the University of Texas at Austin. It actually was at Southwestern Texas State University in San Marcos.)

Please pray for Carol Eddings, cousin of Sister Guadalupe Jurado, O.P., who underwent a liver transplant last week.
 
12. Progress on St. Augustine Cathedral – Painting of the north tower and the facade was nearly completed last week. Installation of the "surrounds" for the window openings was nearly completed.

13. Anticipating St. Patrick's Day and the Feast of St. Joseph – As St. Patrick's Day this year falls on the Monday of Holy Week, most dioceses in the U.S., including ours, will not liturgically commemorate the feast day. Also, liturgical commemoration of the feast of St. Joseph, which falls on Wednesday of Holy Week this year, has been transferred to Saturday, March 15.

As to our traditional celebrations (with all the trimmings, in moderation of course!) of St. Patrick's Day, I hope you participate in your local events on whatever day they occur.

Please remember in your prayers this St. Patrick's Day the generations of Irish laity, priests and Women and Men Religious who have contributed so much over the years to our Diocese.
 
14. Reserve This Date for a Big Event! – The date is Saturday, Sept. 6, and the big event is the dedication of the new home of our Diocesan Archives and Museum. Planning is underway for a celebration that will introduce the new location at St. Ambrose Parish. We will have information on the time and just how we are going to celebrate this happy occasion in the next few months.