Feb. 2, 2009 Feb. 9, 2009 Feb. 16, 2009 Feb. 23, 2009

Vol. 6, No. 35
Feb. 2, 2009

Our campaign for the 2009 Diocese of Tucson Annual Catholic Appeal is announced in this month's issue of The New Vision, which was distributed at our parishes over the weekend.

In the front page campaign announcement story, I write that this year's Appeal is a "window of opportunity" for our parishioners to support 26 uniquely Catholic charities and ministries that meet the spiritual and human needs of hundreds of thousands of persons. 

The continuation of these charities and ministries is even more important now as people struggle in this current economy. In challenging times, people turn to the Church for help, and our response to their needs in our Diocese is enabled through the 26 charities and ministries that depend upon the Appeal.

Our goal for this year's Appeal is $3.4 million, the same amount for the 2007 Appeal and the amount that was allocated to the Appeal in last year's Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future diocesan renewal campaign.

We know in this current economy that many people are struggling and that their resources for charitable giving have been pressured. Even so, the generosity of our Catholic people to their parishes and to our Diocese continues to amaze and humble me. As I write in my column in this month's issue of The New Vision, the clearly significant and sacrificial gifts from so many people to our diocesan renewal campaign reflect how much the Catholics in our Diocese value and prize their faith and how intent they are to strengthen the mission of Christ for the future.

Information about the Appeal, the 26 charities and ministries it supports and the video for this year's Appeal are available in English and Spanish at the Appeal's Website here.

1. And Speaking of Websites – Our diocesan Internet site has a new look and some new features. Omar Rodriguez, our graphic designer for The New Vision and designer of our Web sites, has made navigating our site much easier. Also, on the home page you can see a slide show that includes photos of our parish churches. 

2. Yuma County Pastoral Visit – I will be looking at the vistas of Interstate 8's far horizons this morning as I drive to Yuma for the traditional winter pastoral visit to the western part of our Diocese. I've often thought that the Yuma-La Paz Vicariate is almost another diocese in itself because of the distance from the See City. I always enjoy this trip. The hospitality of the parishes is always so warm and welcoming. The priests of the vicariate work well together, our Catholic Schools in Yuma are outstanding and Catholic Community Services in Western Arizona provides excellent programs and services that serve many people.

This evening, I will be attending the annual Priests and Religious Appreciation Dinner hosted by the Yuma area Knights of Columbus. We will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of priesthood of Msgr. Richard O'Keeffe, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma and Episcopal Vicar of the Yuma-La Paz Vicariate.

I will be conferring the Sacrament of Confirmation tomorrow evening and Thursday evening at Immaculate Conception Parish and Wednesday evening at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Wellton.

I will celebrate Mass with the Immaculate Conception School Community tomorrow morning and with the St. Francis of Assisi School Community on Wednesday morning.

On Thursday morning, I will celebrate Mass with the Yuma Catholic High School Community, and it will be a joy to acknowledge how the students lived out the theme of last week's Catholic Schools Week, "Celebrate Service."

Last Monday, Yuma Catholic students raised $479.50 for Crossroads Mission, a local organization that helps the disabled and disadvantaged. Last Wednesday, some 30 students from supported Pueblo Elementary School, a public school in the Crane School District in Yuma, with their annual track and field day. Students and staff conducted a week-long food drive for the Yuma Community Food Bank. And, students participated in a Teddy Bear Drive for Amberly's Place, an organization that provides assistance and intervention for victims of child abuse, elderly abuse and domestic violence.

3. Our Winter Visitors – This is the peak of the Winter Visitor season in Arizona, and I know I will be seeing many of the special visitors during my visit to Yuma County this week.

Winter Visitors are a great blessing for our Diocese, and many of our parishes hold special events this time of year to acknowledge the gifts of time, talent and treasure that they share with their spiritual "homes away from home" each year in our communities. Thank a Winter Visitor this week!

4. Convocation of Parish Corporations Boards of Directors – Saturday's convocation at St. Joseph Parish in Tucson was the third opportunity to give our parish directors greater preparation for the critical roles they play.

Father Al Schifano, our Moderator of the Curia and director of the Office of Corporate Matters, and Kathy Rhinehart, executive assistant in the Office of Corporate Matters, planned an interesting and helpful day for our Parish Boards of Directors. As you know, our Diocese reorganized in 2005 with each of our parishes individually incorporating. The presence of two lay people on each board of directors for our parish corporations has been immensely helpful. They have shared their talents generously for the well being of our parishes.

Board members, including many of our pastors, were able to choose a workshop either on finances, planning or legal issues. All three presentations were very well done and well received. I am grateful to Tom Arnold, our diocesan Chief Financial Officer, Chris Linscott of Keegan, Linscott & Kenon, Robert Scala of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson and Gerry O'Meara, our diocesan attorney, for their excellent presentations.

I enjoyed engaging the directors in an open forum. They always have important and challenging questions and observations.

The special guest for the Convocation was Michael Wescott, director of Development and Planned Giving for the Diocese of Wichita. Michael shared the history of the highly successful stewardship program ("Time, Treasure and Talent") in the Diocese of Wichita. The program encourages parishioners to give eight per cent of their income to the Church. That generosity has made tuition free Catholic education possible and has eliminated the need for an annual diocesan appeal and all second collections.

I thank Father Miguel Mariano, pastor, and the staff of St. Joseph Parish for hosting the convocation.

5. Principals and Pastors Meeting
– The principals of our Catholic Schools and pastors of parishes with Catholic Schools will meet this Friday at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson.

I look forward to joining the principals and pastors as they continue to focus on the development of a strategic plan for each school. The special guest for the meeting will be Tim Dwyer, associate executive director and director of Strategic Planning of the National Catholic Education Association.

6. Presentations on World Synod of Bishops and Year of St. Paul – I appreciate the invitation from Immaculate Heart Academy and High School in Tucson to give a presentation this Friday afternoon on my experience of last October's World Synod of Bishops.

Saturday afternoon, I will share my reflections on the Synod and this Year of St. Paul with members of the Marian Club during their retreat at the Benedictine Monastery in Tucson.

7. Workshop for Music Ministers – Santiago Fernandez, musician, composer and Music Director for the National Catholic Council for Hispanic Ministry will lead a day for parish music ministers this Saturday at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Casa Grande. The workshop will include breakout sessions for cantors and music techniques for Spanish choirs. You can click here for registration information or contact Grace Lohr in our diocesan Office of Worship at worship@diocesetucson.org or 520-838-2512.

8. Mass at San Cosme Mission Chapel – I will celebrate Mass at 5 p.m. this Saturday in this historic chapel that is so dear to the residents of Barrio Historico near St. Augustine Cathedral.

9. World Day for Consecrated Life – The annual World Day for Consecrated Life is being observed this Sunday in the U.S.

The day is an opportunity to highlight the extraordinary contributions of the men and women religious in our country and to pray for vocations to the consecrated life.

In his message for this year's observance, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap., chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, wrote,  "We Americans owe a huge debt of gratitude to the religious in our nation. Their loyal service to our church and country are unparalleled. They are responsible for building two of the greatest gifts to our country: the Catholic school and the Catholic health care systems."

This Sunday, let us include in our General Intersessions this or a similar prayer:

"In gratitude on this World Day for Consecrated Life, we recognize the dedication and sacrifice of the women and men who serve in our Diocese as members of religious orders. May they continue to give us their example as living witnesses to the gospel of Jesus, we pray."

10. Funeral Mass for Father Gus Kattady – This morning, I am concelebrating with priests of our Diocese the Funeral Mass for Father Gus at St. George Parish in Apache Junction.

I think Father Gus may have bee the first priest from India to serve in our Diocese. From a family of five boys and two girls, he entered the seminary in Hydrabad, India, and was ordained a priest of the Institute of Volundis Dei.

He came to Arizona in 1976 and was incardinated into our Diocese in 1994. He served at Immaculate Conception Parish in Ajo, Holy Angels Parish in Globe, St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Casa Grande, St. Rose of Lima Parish in Safford and St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Yuma. He was pastor of St. Francis of Assisi in Superior, where he retired in 2004. He resided at St. George Parish in Apache Junction in his retirement. Father Gus was so proud several years ago when he became a citizen of the U.S.

11. Annual Meeting of Bishops of the Church in America – The 36th annual Meeting of the Bishops of the Catholic Church in America begins next week in Buenos Aires. As president and vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I , and I will be attending.

This annual gathering is an opportunity for the leadership of the three major organizations of Catholic bishops in the Western hemisphere (our Conference, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano) to share the experiences of their local Church and to focus on a specific theme. This year's theme is "Evangelization and Catechesis."

This meeting continues the annual gatherings that began in 1967 as the Inter-American Meeting of Bishops. At the 1999 meeting in Cuba, the bishops changed the name of the gathering to the Meeting of the Bishops of the Church in America to emphasize the unity of the Church in the Western hemisphere.

Due to my participation in the meeting, there won't be a Monday Memo next week.

12. Super Bowl – A very exciting game, especially the last two minutes! The Arizona Cardinals did our state proud.

Vol. 6, No. 36
Feb. 9, 2009

Knowing I was going to be in Buenos Aires today to participate in the 36th annual meeting of the Bishops of the Church in America, I hadn't planned on sending out a Memo this week.

But, I'm sending this abbreviated Memo today to get the good news out in our Diocese about the appointment of Father James Wall of the Diocese of Phoenix as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Gallup.

Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix, who has been serving as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Gallup, made the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI's appointment of Father Wall last Thursday at a news conference in Gallup.

Bishop-elect Wall has the distinction of becoming the first native Arizonan to become a bishop. At age 44, he also has the distinctions of being the youngest bishop of a diocese in our country and the second youngest bishop in our country.

He was born in Ganado, Arizona, which is in Apache County. So, by birth he is both a native Arizonan and a native son of the Diocese of Gallup, whose territory includes Apache and Navajo Counties in northeastern Arizona. (When the Diocese of Gallup was erected in 1939, Apache and Navajo Counties were in the Diocese of Tucson.)

Bishop-Elect Wall, the son of James (deceased) and Joan Wall, attended Chandler High School in Chandler and graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor degree in history. He attended seminary at St. John's in Camarillo and was ordained for the Diocese of Phoenix in 1998.

After serving as parochial vicar at St. Theresa Parish in Phoenix and St. Timothy Parish in Mesa, Bishop-elect Wall was named pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Phoenix in 2002. He also served briefly as administrator of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Glendale in 2007. He has served as Vicar for Priest Personnel since 2007.

Bishop-elect Wall, who will be the fourth Bishop of Gallup, succeeds Bishop Donald Pelotte, S.S.S., who resigned for health reasons last April.

You can learn more about Bishop-elect Wall here.

I look forward to welcoming him to our Arizona Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the Dioceses of Gallup, Phoenix and Tucson.

1. Pastoral Center Staff Announcements – We welcome Joe Perdreauville, our new associate director of the Office of Formation. Joe will tell you a little about himself in next week's Memo.

We say "farewell" to Ann Suto, executive assistant in the Human Resources Department. Ann is beginning a new position at Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Green Valley. I thank Ann for her dedicated service these past two years.

With Ann's departure, Katie Cerak, secretary, is promoted to administrative assistant.

And, a belated "farewell" to Irene Felix, who retired last month from her position as Safe Environment Screener in the Human Resources Department. I am grateful to Irene for her dedicated service these past three years in overseeing the background screening of new employees and volunteers for our parishes, schools and the Diocese.

With Irene's departure, Denise Marshall of the Fiscal and Administrative Service's staff has transferred to the Human Resources Department and has assumed the responsibilities of Safe Environment Screener.

2. Change of Seasons – I left Tucson Sunday morning in wintry weather and arrived late Sunday in Buenos Aires in the middle of summer!

Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I , and I are in Buenos Aires representing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at the 36th annual Meeting of the Catholic Bishops in America.

This annual gathering is an opportunity for the leadership of the three major organizations of Catholic bishops in the Western hemisphere (our Conference, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano) to share the experiences of their local Church and to focus on a specific theme. This year's theme is "Evangelization and Catechesis."

3. Annual Catholic Appeal – I will be back in the Diocese this Saturday, just in time to make the drive to Sierra Vista for St. Andrew the Apostle Parish's Annual Catholic Appeal Dinner and Celebration. Father Greg Adolf, pastor, and the parish community of St. Andrew have the tradition making their Annual Catholic Appeal goal during this one festive evening!

This year's celebration has the added attraction of taking place on St. Valentine's Day, which brings to mind another great parish tradition. Father Todd O'Leary, whose birthday is on St. Valentine's Day, always tells the people of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Tucson that the best birthday present they can give him, as their pastor, is to make their goal for the Annual Catholic Appeal. They always do!

4. Remember in Your Prayers – Please pray for the speedy recovery of Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, C.F.M.M., our Superintendent of Catholic Schools. Sister had minor surgery last week.

Vol. 6, No. 37
Feb. 16, 2009

In challenging times, people turn to our Church for help. In challenging times, our Church goes to the people "to listen and to share hope."

That is exactly what Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson is doing, as you will read in this article in the parish bulletin by parishioner Ed Ackerly.

This past Saturday, Our Mother of Sorrows hosted a Foreclosure Prevention Workshop that featured presentations on budgeting, foreclosure process and options, bankruptcy, rebuilding and healing. Two weeks prior, volunteers walked the neighborhoods in our parish and contacted over 500 homeowners to listen and to share hope. At the seminar, attendees were welcomed by parish volunteers and pastoral staff and were greeted by a myriad of organizations ready to help including lenders, HUD representatives, non-profit groups, utilities and government assistance programs all reaching out to help troubled participants. Presented by the Pima County Interfaith Coalition, the purpose of the event was to help those facing imminent foreclosure.

For me, the event was heart-wrenching as I saw a 30-something mother with a young son sharing her story of how she found a foreclosure notice taped to her front door and the resounding affect that has had on her family. We heard from the senior who depleted her retirement account to make mortgage payments that were well beyond her means now contemplating bankruptcy. We saw a young couple, married just a few years with three small children, trying to do the right thing, now facing the possibility of losing their home and the stability of their family. We listened to an 82-year-old man who was disgusted, disappointed, and dejected wondering out loud how his lifetime of work could come to this. Guests from as far away as St. John's and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parishes and even one from Phoenix, plus attendees from Rio Rico to the foothills, and our neighbors from right here in our own backyard came to our parish center to reach out for help.

How did we get to this? How did we allow this to happen? As we look back on the last decade, we see how easy credit and pressing needs allowed many of us to create a situation where we overvalued our assets, borrowed against them, and when the worldwide economy began to falter -- we were trapped. Mortgages became unaffordable, incomes overburdened to cover the basics, with nowhere to turn. America's dream was becoming a nightmare.
The Foreclosure Prevention Workshop was the first in a series of countywide presentations that brought a diverse group of participants together to sew hope, solidarity and power to those in desperate need of help. Most of the attendees were there for information, but a spirit of hope and a sense that "I am not alone" filled the parish center and many, many of our brothers and sisters left with a renewed spirit. 

Before the seminar began, Msgr. Cahalane shared with me that he had just come from talking with a young mother, with tot in tow, putting a few coins in the candle offering at a place of adoration in our church. Noticing her apparent stress, he approached her and asked what the trouble was and how could he help? She immediately broke down and tearfully shared that they were taking her house and she was desperate and feeling alone. After a prayerful private talk and a spiritual renewal -- she said, "They can take away my home, but they have given me my faith and my Church back!"

That is what this is about. It is about a parish community coming together to help those among us through this difficult time. It is about caring and understanding and compassion. It is about doing what we can to help those who are really suffering and the families who are being hurt. As St. Mark wrote: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." Mark 6:50. 

Pray for all whose lives are stressed and whose faith is being tested that they feel the healing presence of our Lord through the outreach of so many wonderful volunteers and our parish community. God be with them all.

Ed has beautifully articulated the role of Church in people's lives during times of struggle.

I am very proud of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish, as I am of all of our parishes that are responding in so many different ways to the needs of people.

I encourage our parishes to continue to pray the "Prayer in Times of Economic Struggle" that is available on our diocesan Web site's home page.

No longer on our diocesan Web site's home page is the link to the "Arizona 2-1-1" information program for persons struggling in the economy. That's because the program has been de-funded as part of state budget cuts.

1. 2009 Annual Catholic Appeal -- This coming weekend is "Education Weekend" for our Annual Catholic Appeal.

The theme of this year's campaign, "Share God's Gifts To Do God's Work," so fittingly captures what is most needed today and more than ever. We need to pitch in and help so that our 26 ministries and charities that reach out to so many can be fully funded again this year. The goal, as it was in 2007, is $3.4 million. While we cannot increase our outreach as we would like, we have capped the funds for these charities and ministries at that figure realizing these are difficult times for all. Your gift reaps many benefits.

Father Greg Adolf, pastor, and the community of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista have the tradition of an Annual Catholic Appeal "kick off" dinner at which the parish usually reaches its goal in pledges. At Saturday night's gathering for the Appeal at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Sierra Vista, parishioners were so positive and encouraging, and that gives me confidence and hope that we will reach our goal.

The generosity of our people to Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future and now to the 2009 Annual Catholic Appeal reflects the realization of our people that they have been abundantly blessed by God, and being so bounteously blessed they share those gifts to help others.
Charity and Ministry Fund executive director Margie Puerta-Edson and her staff and our pastors and their Appeal committees have worked hard to present to our people the needs that the 26 ministries and charities supported by the Appeal will meet. When our people see a real need, they respond. They share their gifts to do God's work. I am deeply grateful.

2. Preparing for Lent -- Preparations continue for our diocesan Lenten Season dual focus on promoting the Sacrament of Reconciliation and on inviting Catholics who are distanced from the Church and their practice of the faith to "come home."

This Wednesday, our diocesan Web site will have special pages and resources for Lent, including a listing of confession times and communal penance services at all our parishes, bulletin announcements, newspaper ads and flyers for parishes and information on the two programs ("Landings" and "Alienated Catholics Anonymous") that some of our parishes will have this Lent for inviting Catholics to "come home." Training for the parishes that will be offering the programs will take place this Saturday.

I emphasize that it is not too late for parishes to send representatives to the training. For information on the two programs and the training, please contact Father Miguel Mariano, director of the Office of Worship, or Grace Lohr in the Office of Worship at 520-838-2512 or worship@diocesetucson.org.

3. Friends of Serra Luncheon -- I am having lunch tomorrow with the leadership of the Serra Club of Tucson and their friends. These regular lunch gatherings give me a chance to thank the Serrans for their dedicated support of vocations in our Diocese.

One of the Club's activities is the annual essay contest for students in our Catholic Schools and parish religious education programs in grades four through 12. The announcement of this year's contest will be going out soon. The theme for the contest this year is, "What does the life of St. Paul teach me about being a Christian?"

3. Priests' Day of Prayer -- Our monthly Day of Prayer for priests is this Wednesday at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks. As we approach the beginning Lent, I encourage our priests to gather with their brothers for this time of silence and prayer.

4. Mass, Dinner at Benedictine Monastery -- I am delighted to be able to celebrate Mass and have dinner this Wednesday evening with the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Tucson. The Sisters have been in our Diocese since 1935, so what a celebration there will be next year for the 75th anniversary of their arrival in Tucson. You can learn more about the Sisters here.

5. Pima County Summit on Affordable Housing -- Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup, Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias and I are convening a gathering this Thursday of business leaders and government officials in Pima County to consider the need for a regional approach for affordable and sustainable housing in Pima County.

Facilitated by the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona and representatives of our local governments, the goal of this gathering is to gain the commitment of diverse leaders from business and government in Pima County to support an ongoing regional process to address housing issues. 

This gathering will be followed by events in March and April to begin planning next steps to launch a regional approach to ensure safe, decent, and affordable housing across Pima County.  Those meetings will include housing advocates and policy experts who have already been working on housing issues throughout Pima County.

6. Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson
-- From time to time, I have the opportunity to invite small groups to the Bishop's Residence for Mass and a dinner. These gatherings give me an opportunity to thank people for their support and for all that they do for our Church and our Diocese. This Thursday evening, I will welcome special guests from the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson.

This Friday evening, I will welcome more friends of the Catholic Foundation to the Bishop's Residence for the Foundation's annual Mardi Gras celebration. This is the fourth year for this festive event, which is for the benefit of the Foundation's programs and services.

7. Mass with Leadership of Carondelet Health Network -- I am grateful for the invitation to celebrate Mass this Thursday afternoon with the leadership of Carondelet Health Network in --Tucson.

8. Clergy Appreciation Dinner
-- The annual Clergy Appreciation Dinner hosted by the Knights of Columbus Roy Champeau Council 8077of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish is this Thursday evening. All of us priests and deacons really do feel appreciated when we experience the warm hospitality and delicious food at this annual event.

9. Meetings of Directors of Pastoral Center Offices and Departments -- Father Al Schifano, our Moderator of Curia and Vicar General, and I will hold our monthly meeting with the directors of diocesan offices and departments this Friday morning.

10. Mundelein Seminarian Ministry Immersion Experience -- As part of the two-year Pre-Theology Program at Mundelein Seminary, seminarians are required to participate in a ministry immersion experience .

This week we will we welcome seminarians Seth Brown, Greg Lange, Chris Manning , Mark Miller, Hyland Smith and John Whitlock as they begin their ministry immersion experience with the communities of the Tohono O'odham Nation. Father Jake Beltran, associate dean of Formation, is accompanying the seminarians. We will welcome the group to the Pastoral Center this Friday.

This year's other ministry immersion experience is sponsored by Catholic Relief Services Global Fellowship Program in Ghana and Birkina Fasa

11. Annual Retreat for Women
-- I will be participating in next Saturday's 6th Annual Retreat for Women in Globe. Ramona Ortiz, a lay ecclesial minister at Holy Angels Parish in Globe, began these retreats with the goal of nourishing women in their faith. Ramona also hopes the retreats will be an opportunity for women who have been away from the practice of their faith to "come home."

"Listening to the Quiet Voice of God" is the theme of this year's retreat. I will celebrate Mass with the retreatants and share with them a reflection on the Liturgy of the Hours. The retreat will take place in the High Desert Middle School Auditorium. Registration for the retreat is still open, and you are welcome to contact Ramona at 928-701-1906 for more information.

12. Black History Month Eucharistic Celebration -- In observance of Black History Month, our diocesan Office of Black Catholic Ministry invites all to a Eucharist Celebration at 5:30 p.m. this Saturday at St. Augustine Cathedral. Father Ivan Marsh, O.Carm., spiritual advisor to the Office of Black Catholic Ministry, will be the celebrant and homilist. Father Pat Crino, rector of the Cathedral, will be the concelebrant.
On behalf of the Father Ivan and the members of the Black Catholic Ministry Council, I invite all of our Black priests serving in the Diocese to concelebrate at this Mass. Father Ivan tells me it would be a great joy for him and the Council to have our Black priests present. A reception will follow the Mass.

You can learn more about the Office of Black Catholic Ministry and the Council here.

12. On the Confirmation Trail
-- I will confer the Sacrament of Confirmation at Lourdes Catholic School in Nogales this Sunday morning and at St. Joseph Parish in Tucson this Sunday afternoon.

13. Please Remember in Your Prayers
-- Please pray for the repose of the soul of Deacon Bill Hughes of St. George Parish in Apache Junction. We pray for the comfort of his wife, JoAnne, and the family.

14. Meet Joe Perdreauville
-- A Monday Memo tradition is to ask new members of the Pastoral Center Staff to write a little bit about themselves so you can get to know them better as they begin their work. Today, meet Joe Perdreauville, our new associate director in the Department of Pastoral Services.

I was born and raised in Albuquerque. I came to Tucson to study architecture at the University of Arizona, and that is when I became involved at the Newman Center. Through my experiences there, I was invited to serve as a counselor with the Ulster Project, a month long peace building project with Catholic and Protestant teens from Northern Ireland. Through that amazing experience, I was offered a job at St. Cyril's and also met my future wife, Amy. Once we were married, I left St. Cyril to start youth and children's ministry programs at Corpus Christi Parish as the parish was just getting started. Ten years later, I am happy to work with the Diocese, promoting God's abundant and unconditional love through my work and life.  Amy and I have two great kids, Chloe and Clayton.

Welcome, Joe!
15. Father Joe Goes Rodeo -- Father Joe Rodrigues, S.D.S., will sing from his newly-released CD "Desert Rain" during a special evening of fun this Sunday evening at the Savoy Opera House in Tucson's Trail Dust Town.
The evening is a benefit for the Jordan Ministry Team that does so much in our Diocese to enhance our ministries to Native American Catholics, to the Hispanic Catholic Community, to those in detention facilities and to youth. Jordan Ministry also helps the Diocese and our parishes with faith formation for lay Catholic leaders.
The evening will include a Western meal, a concert by "Cowboy" Father Joe and his "Posse," dancing to country music and some "surprise" guests. For more information and tickets call 520-623-2563 or click here. The evening would be a great way to start Rodeo Week!

16. Meeting of the Bishops of the Church in America -- I returned Saturday from Argentina where I attended the 36th annual meeting of the Bishops of the Church in America. This annual gathering is an opportunity for the leadership of the three major organizations of Catholic bishops in the Western hemisphere to share the experiences of their local Church and to focus on a specific theme.

The three-day meeting near Buenos Aires included representatives of the 22 episcopal conferences in CELAM (Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano), and the leadership of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. We meet annually and rotate the location for the meeting.

Twenty-five bishops and the General Secretaries of the Bishops' Conferences represented reflected on the theme of evangelization and catechesis. Each conference gives a 45 minute assessment of what is happening locally, followed by another 45 minutes of discussion. It is a marvelous experience of fraternity and communion with the other Catholic communities in the Americas.

Pope John Paul II's Synod on the Americas that resulted in the document "Ecclesia in America" was the impetus to begin these gatherings. It was appropriate that we reflected on evangelization and catechesis in this year of Paul. He was the great evangelizer, going throughout the Areopagus to preach Christ and invite others to come to know the Lord.

I shared some of our initiatives in the Diocese for Lent in which we are inviting people to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and encouraging people to give a personal invitation to "come home" to members of their families and friends who have drifted away or have become alienated from the Church.

The Latin American, Mexican and Carribean bishops experienced a wonderful event two years ago when they gathered with Pope Benedict XVI in Apariceda, Brazil, that resulted in a document calling for a continental mission reaching out to all to come to know Christ in the Church, the Body of Christ. They are forming small faith communities where people can read the Word of God and share faith together. In our country, programs like RENEW (which is still active in some of our parishes) have provided an important opportunity for people to realize that faith is more than going to church on Sunday. It is a radical reordering of our lives.

As I listened to the other bishops, it was clear that we share many blessings and challenges.

17. Cathedral Placita Progress -- All I could say when I saw the newly-erected stage dome for the Msgr. Arsenio Carrillo Placita at St. Augustine Cathedral was, "Wow! That's big!"

The trellis-like structure is 22 feet tall and 30 feet wide. The next step for the stage dome will be the application of brightly-painted flowers, leaves, vines, birds and butterflies crafted in metal by Joe Hernandez of Adobe Anvil Works.

Our hope is to make the placita a welcoming space for parish fiestas, spiritual events and community gatherings. Looking at the framework for the dome over the stage, I think we are going to have a beautiful venue for performances.

I am grateful to the many friends of Msgr. Carrillo for their generosity to this project that will result in a wonderful tribute to his years of ministry at the Cathedral. We hope to dedicate the placita in April.

18. A "Lovely" Day for the Sacrament of Matrimony -- The community of St. Joseph Parish in Tucson celebrated Valentine's Day with the weddings of seven couples!

In his invitation to the parish community to be present, Father Miguel Mariano, pastor, wrote a beautiful reflection on the Sacrament of Matrimony.

"These brothers and sisters of ours in Christ will be united as one as they express and exchange their vows. This mystery of two people becoming one represents the mystery of Jesus' union with us. They are the ministers of grace to each other. The community and myself are simply the witnesses of the sacrament. These couples are to be a sign through which Christ makes Himself present in the Church. Let us pray for these couples and for all couples who are preparing to receive the graces of the Sacrament of Matrimony," Father Miguel wrote.