June 2, 2003 June 9, 2003 June 16, 2003 June 23, 2003
Vol. 1, No. 13
June 2, 2003
1. The bells of St. Augustine Cathedral will be pealing joyfully the next two Saturday mornings as our Diocese celebrates the ordinations of four new priests and 30 new permanent deacons.
And in between the two Saturdays, a fifth new priest will be ordained for our Diocese.
This coming Saturday, Bishop Moreno will ordain Adolfo Martinez Escobar, Bardo Antunez Olea, Jose Manuel Padilla Elguezabal and Raul Valencia Garcia. I look forward to joining Bishop at this celebration.
On Thursday, June 12, I will ordain Eduardo Lopez Romo at Holy Family Church in Nogales, Sonora.
Five new priests certainly is a cause for celebration, and I am so pleased that Bishop Moreno, who has worked with these men from the time they arrived in the Diocese for their seminary study, will confer the priesthood on four of the five young men.
The ordination in Nogales is especially significant for me, as it will be my first ordination as the sixth Bishop of Tucson.
That all five of our new priests are from Mexico caught the attention of the Arizona Daily Star, which, as last week was coming to a close, was preparing a report on the upcoming ordinations. We are happy to share this good news with the larger community of Southern Arizona, and I appreciate the interest of the newspaper.
(The report, which was very informative and insightful, appeared in the Sunday Star. You can access it at: http://www.azstarnet.com/star/sun/30601ORDINATION2f2fdst.html)
Our Diocese always has been a special kind of "missionary church," and we are blessed with these five men who are willing to leave their homes and venture into a new culture, certainly in the same spirit of Father Kino, leaving what they are familiar with to come to the unknown.
While they will bring gifts and talents that will be of particular value in their ministry to Hispanic Catholics, they are here for service to the entire Church and to all its people.
(I will be writing in next week's memo about the ordinations of our new permanent deacons.)
2. Each year at this time, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat for Vocations and Priestly Formation issues a report on ordinations. The report on the "Class of 2003" is available at the Conference website (www.usccb.org), and is replete with a number of interesting facts and statistics about the priesthood in our country. For instance, dioceses in the U.S. will ordain approximately 500 priests this year. Currently, nearly 5,600 seminarians at 173 seminaries and houses of formation are preparing for the priesthood nationwide.
This year's report includes a survey of the Ordination Class of 2003, and I point out two results of the survey:
First, 78 per cent of the respondents said that their first consideration of the priesthood came about in a conversation initiated by their own parish priest. Second, an overwhelming majority indicated that their experience in their own parishes as Eucharistic Ministers, altar servers and lectors led them to further consider the priesthood.
These results certainly affirm and validate the important role that all of you in our parishes have in the promotion of vocations.
3. The planning group that Dr. Paul Duckro has assembled to prepare for three important in-service gatherings for staff of all parishes and schools on child abuse awareness and prevention had a productive meeting last week.
I was very pleased to see the partnerships that our Diocese is developing with community entities as part of our effort to protect children from abuse. Child Protective Services and the Southern Arizona Children's Advocacy Center will be participating in the in-service gatherings and will be invaluable resources for us as we proceed with the implementation of our Guidelines for the Response to and Prevention of Sexual Misconduct and with the U.S. Bishop's Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
The first of the in-service gatherings will be for all staff and employees of our Catholic Schools. It will be held on Sept. 15 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson. In-service gatherings for parish staff will be held in Yuma and Tucson in the fall.
Dr. Duckro and I will dialogue with parishioners of St. Odilia Parish in Tucson this week about the child abuse scandals in the Church and the efforts to restore trust. I welcome such opportunities to hear concerns and ideas and hope for restoring trust.
Next week, Dr. Duckro and I will be traveling to Denver for a meeting of the bishops of Region XIII. We will have the opportunity at this meeting to share and discuss the guidelines and polices our dioceses have been developing as we continue to meet our commitments to implementing the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
4. The sun was wilting, but the spirits were willing. That's a good summary of our "clean-up" experience last week at the site of the new San Miguel Catholic High School, adjacent to St. Monica Parish in Tucson.
Most all of our Pastoral Center Staff gathered at the site at 6 a.m. on Tuesday. We worked steadily for two hours, took a break, and then were joined by a bus load of young people from San Xavier Mission who brought some fresh energy to the effort. We filled a big dumpster with at least a ton of trash that had been discarded on the site over the years. We also cleared the area of weeds and other growth that represented a fire risk.
I thank all of the staff of the Pastoral Center as well as the young people from St. Monica and San Xavier Mission. It was so encouraging to work with these young people, some of whom may be among the first to attend San Miguel.
5. Preparations are in high gear for the August opening of St. Augustine High School on Tucson's east side. The south and west grounds at Regina Cleri Center have been plowed and graded to prepare for additional parking and athletic fields. Sister Lauren Moss is assembling an impressive staff, and the St. Augustine High School Board and parents are working hard to raise funds. We pray that all their efforts will be blessed.
6. I received an "in-person" update this week from Joan Martin on her missionary work in Haiti. (You may have seen the profile of Joan in Catholic Vision earlier this year.) Joan's parish, Our Mother of Sorrows in Tucson, supports her missionary work with prayer and financial resources. Joan's quiet zeal for her work is truly inspiring, and so is the support she receives from her parish (where she was also a school teacher for many years). If other parishes would like to be involved in such a missionary effort, Laura Staley at Our Mother of Sorrows (520-747-1321) can provide information.
7. I will be in Idaho the first part of this week as the retreat master for the priests of the Diocese of Boise as they go on their annual retreat. Please pray for us.
Vol. 1, No. 14
June 9, 2003
1. Dr. Paul Duckro, the director of our Diocesan Office for Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, and I are in Denver today and tomorrow for a meeting of the bishops and lay advisors of Region XIII. We are gathering to share and discuss the guidelines and polices our dioceses have been developing as we continue to meet our commitments to implementing the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Next week, I want to share with you a reflection on what has been accomplished in our Diocese in the year that has passed since the Bishops of the U.S. approved the Charter in Dallas.
2. There was considerable news media coverage last week of the announcement by the Maricopa County Attorney of the agreement reached between his office and Bishop Thomas O'Brien.
Certainly, it was a difficult week for the Diocese of Phoenix, and our thoughts and prayers are with Bishop O'Brien, the priests, deacons, religious and laity who serve the Diocese.
In response to news media inquiries from within our Diocese, I issued this statement:
The resolution reached between Bishop O'Brien and the Maricopa County Attorney emphasizes that the Church and society have come to understand that uppermost in our efforts should be the protection of children.
The Charter and protocols adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops last year identified essential steps and actions to be taken by every bishop in every diocese to ensure the safety and well-being of children.
Clearly, the agreement between Bishop O'Brien and the Maricopa County Attorney reflects many of the policies agreed upon by the bishops and which are now being implemented voluntarily in dioceses nationwide.
1. To promote healing and reconciliation with victims. This includes provision of counseling as well as the bishop personally expressing regret and offering to meet with victims.
2. To guarantee an effective response to allegations of sexual abuse of minors by reporting any allegation to law enforcement, turning over to law enforcement the investigation of allegations, and establishing special boards that include laity to review the handling of allegations and the disposition of those who have been accused.
3. To ensure the accountability of procedures by establishing a special office in every diocese and a person in that office to implement and monitor policies. This also includes never transferring a priest who has offended. In fact, priests who have offended can no longer continue to minister.
4. To protect the faithful in the future by on-going and continuing review and revision of diocesan policies.
Our Diocese of Tucson intends to continue working cooperatively with all the county attorneys and law enforcement agencies within its boundaries. Over the past year, these efforts have been helpful in addressing the past and in the establishing of procedures and accountability to ensure that the failings of the past will not be repeated.
3. The plight of migrants who cross the border from Mexico into Arizona, risking death to seek a better life for themselves and their families, remains a great concern. Three recent newspaper reports have examined this humanitarian crisis, centering upon Altar, Sonora, which is the staging point for many of those who cross the border.
The first report, by managing editor Maggie Burnett, is in this month's Catholic Vision. It covers the efforts of the interfaith community and of our Church on both sides of the border to prevent deaths in the desert, to offer humanitarian aid and to bring about changes in the social and economic conditions that are behind this migration.
The second report was in last Wednesday's Arizona Daily Star. The report portrayed most poignantly the deep faith of the people who attempt to migrate. You can access the report on the Internet at http://www.azstarnet.com/star/wed/30604ALTAR.CHURCH.html.
The third report is on the political dimensions of this human crisis and how organized crime is exploiting the situation. It was in the Thursday edition of The New York Times. You can read the report on the newspaper's website at this address: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/05/international/americas/05MEXI.html.
Reaching out to the littlest and weakest among us is one of our Diocesan goals, and certainly among those most in need of our care are our brothers and sisters who are migrating. I urge you to read these reports and to pray about the issues that this continuing phenomenal migration raises.
Our diocese will continue to explore ways of responding to this serious humanitarian concern. We look to joining our efforts to those of other religious groups and those of governmental agencies. I invite you to share with me your ideas on ways that we can repsond.
4. Our Diocese joyfully celebrated the ordination of four new priests last Saturday at St. Augustine Cathedral. At the end of the liturgy, Father Miguel Mariano, our vocations director, announced the first assignments for the new priests. They all will be parochial vicars, and here are their assignments:
Father Adolfo Martinez Escobar, St. John the Evangelist, Tucson; Father Bardo Antunez Olea, St. Ambrose, Tucson; Father Jose Manuel Padilla Elguezabal, St. Francis of Assisi, Yuma; and Father Raul Valencia Garcia, St. Monica, Tucson.
This Thursday, I will ordain Eduardo Lopez Romo at Holy Family Church in Nogales, Sonora. His first assignment will be as parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Parish in Nogales, Arizona.
5. Ordination of 30 new permanent deacons will be this Saturday at St. Augustine Cathedral at 9 a.m. This too will be a joyous celebration for the new deacons, their wives, their families and our entire Diocese as they take on the special ministry of the permanent deacon. The next Monday Memo will include their names and the parishes at which they will be serving.
Please join us at the Cathedral for this celebration. Please pray for our new priests and new permanent deacons.
6. I met last week with a group that has taken on a truly inspiring ministry of compassion. The group is known as "Naim," after the town where our Lord was moved to pity for a widowed mother (Luke 7:11-15). The ministry of Naim is to provide spiritual comfort and support to cancer survivors, to families dealing with cancer and the to the families of those who have died from cancer. The group has touched the lives of more than 600 people the last few years through retreats and workshops. Parishes interested in this ministry and its resources can contact Toni Rogers in Yuma at 928-782-1875.
7. Here is a "good news" update on our efforts to preserve and rehabilitate the historic buildings that surround St. Augustine Cathedral. The Cathedral will soon be using the old Chancery Building (directly behind the office and rectory) on the south side of the Cathedral for additional office space. Renovation and repairs are being provided by the generosity of parishioners and in-kind gifts. Congratulations to Father Francisco Maldonado and the Cathedral Staff for helping to bring this about.
8. Father's Day will be celebrated this coming Sunday. To all the "Dads" on our parish and school staffs and at our Pastoral Center, "Happy Father's Day!" We will remember all our fathers, especially those who have died, on this day.
9. Monday Memo will take a summer break starting Monday, June 30, and will return August 18. Enjoy your summer!
Vol. 1, No. 15
June 16, 2003
"At the direction of the Second Vatican Council, the Permanent Diaconate has been restored as a vital ministry in assisting us bishops in the mission of the Church. By Sacred Ordination and their exercise of 'the ministry of the liturgy, of the word, and of charity,' deacons have a special relationship to us in fulfilling our responsibilities of bringing the knowledge and genuine comfort of Christ to the People of God."
-- Bishop Wilton Gregory, Presidential Address to the Bishops of the U.S. at the November, 2002, meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
This quotation from Bishop Gregory articulates beautifully the important role of the permanent diaconate in the life of the Church.
As ministers of Word, deacons proclaim the Gospel, preach and teach in the name of the Church. As ministers of Sacrament, deacons baptize, lead the faithful in prayer, witness marriages and conduct wake and funeral services. As ministers of Charity, deacons are leaders in identifying the needs of others, then marshalling the Church's resources to meet those needs.
Deacons are also dedicated to eliminating the injustices or inequities that cause such needs. But no matter what specific functions a deacon performs, they flow from his sacramental identity.
In other words, it is not only WHAT a deacon does, but WHO a deacon is, that is important.
Certainly, we have come to know, since its reinstitution in the 1970s in our Diocese, just how important the permanent diaconate is. So it was with great joy that I ordained this past Saturday at St. Augustine Cathedral 30 new permanent deacons for service to our Diocese.
We thank God for the gift of their vocation, and we thank their families, especially their wives, for giving encouragement and support.
Here are our new permanent deacons and the parishes at which they will serve:
Gilbert Bracamonte Most Holy Trinity -- Tucson
Raul Cantua St. Luke Douglas
Robert Carlin St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Tucson
Joaquin Carrasco Immaculate Conception Douglas
Jesus Castillo Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Miami
V. Mario Castillo St. Luke Douglas
Nick De La Torre St. Monica Tucson
Jim Espinosa St. Joseph Tucson
Donald F. Ferris St. Francis de Sales Tucson
George Fischbach St. Francis of Assisi Yuma
Richard Grijalva St. Ambrose Tucson
Michael Hoerr Holy Family Tucson
Joseph Kushner St. Andrew the Apostle Sierra Vista
Victor Leon Sacred Heart Parker
Miguel Lopez St. Margaret Mary Tucson
Rodger Miller Our Lady of the Mountains Sierra Vista
Kenneth Moreland Most Holy Trinity Tucson
Thomas Morgan St. Francis de Sales Tucson
Daniel L. Mulloy Immaculate Conception Yuma
Jorge Muñoz St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Tucson
David Nehmer Our Lady, Queen of All Saints Tucson
Mario Ortega St. Anthony of Padua Casa Grande
Frank Ramirez Santa Cruz Tucson
Edward P. Sheffer St. Thomas the Apostle Tucson
Francis Sherlock St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Tucson
Gene Tackett Our Lady of the Mountains Sierra Visa
Anthony Underwood St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Tucson
José Valadez St. Francis of Assisi Yuma
Armando L. Valenzuela St. Monica Tucson
Carlos Vessels St. Rose of Lima Safford
We now have 147 permanent deacons in our Diocese. Their ministry is a true blessing for us!
1. Dr. Paul Duckro and I had a successful trip to Denver last week for the workshop on the Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth and the Essential Norms which guide our canonical response to allegations of child abuse.
The primary focus of the workshop was the implementation of the commitments made at the Dallas meeting last year. The presenters and attendees shared what they have learned so far. Topics included victims assistance, background checks, educational programs, procedures for reporting, review board operations and canonical processes.
Of course, we also discussed in detail the upcoming audit that will be done in each arch/diocese. The dates for our audit are August 11-15. Two auditors, from among a group of independent contractors engaged by Kathleen McChesney of the USCCB Office of Child and Youth Protection, will review all that we have done since June 2002 and have planned for the next year to meet the commitments made in the Charter.
The audit will consider our policies and procedures for responding to allegation of sexual misconduct with minors and our actual experience in doing so since June 2002. We will also be presenting our experience with and plans for victim outreach, preventive education programs, communication through public media, background investigations of new and current personnel (including volunteers), evaluation of candidates for ministry of all types, evaluation of priests transferring to our diocese and collaboration with broader research and social movements to understand and prevent child abuse.
It is a big task we have before us. We are talking about much more than weathering the current crisis. We are talking about changing our whole way of doing things, our whole way of thinking. We are taking on a change in our culture. It will take many years before we have accomplished it, but I am committed to see it through for the long term.
2. It was one year ago this week that Bishop Moreno and I were in Dallas for the summer meeting of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. It was an extraordinary meeting during an extraordinary time. With the entire nation and much of the world watching, we bishops confronted the terrible tragedy of child abuse within the Church and we committed ourselves to a pastoral plan, under the title of Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, that we prayed would help heal the breach with those who have suffered sexual abuse and with all the people of the Church.
When Bishop Moreno and I returned from Dallas, we promised to do our best to restore trust and to address what had led to tragic incidents of child abuse by Church personnel in our Diocese. Much has been accomplished in the year that has passed.
First and foremost, Bishop Moreno and I have reached out personally to victims and their families to apologize to them and ask their forgiveness. Meeting with the victim/survivors and their families has had a profound effect on us both, and we are grateful for their response to us.
Second, our Diocese established the Victim's Assistance Program (a cooperative effort of Catholic Social Services and the Pima County Attorney's Office that can be accessed by calling 623-0344 in Tucson and 1-800-234-0344 outside Tucson). We have communicated and will continue to communicate our wish to respond to any victims who have not yet come forward, and we urge anyone who has experienced abuse from within the Church, no matter when or where it may have happened, to come to us directly or through the Victim's Assistance Program.
Third, our Diocese has met all of its legal responsibilities under Arizona law to respond immediately to any and all allegations of child abuse that have been made against Church personnel.
Fourth, our Diocese has cooperated and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement in all jurisdictions of the Diocese in any investigations of allegations. We have communicated and will continue to communicate to law enforcement the names of any Church personnel about whom we receive an allegation of child abuse.
Fifth, our Diocese has communicated and will continue to communicate to our parish communities and to the larger community the name of clergy who are removed from ministry because of an allegation.
Sixth, we promulgated our Guidelines for the Response to and Prevention of Sexual Misconduct by Church personnel that were recommended to us by a panel comprised mostly of laity.
Seventh, we established the Sexual Misconduct Review Board that is required by the guidelines. The board is comprised primarily of laity. The Board has met monthly since it was established, and its work has been of great value.
Eighth, we established the Office for Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection that is required by the guidelines and we hired Dr. Paul Duckro as its director. Dr. Duckro is overseeing all our efforts to prevent child abuse and respond to it immediately and effectively should it happen.
Ninth, our Diocese, with the assistance of Dr. Duckro and the Sexual Misconduct Review Board, is working diligently to ensure that we are in complete compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
Tenth, we have made every effort to be open and transparent with the Catholic people of the Diocese and with the larger community about our efforts to prevent child abuse from within the Church and to respond immediately and effectively should it take place. We communicate regularly and frequently through our Diocesan newspaper, Catholic Vision, through our Diocesan Internet site, and through local news media.
I sincerely believe that our efforts to restore trust are receiving the support of the Catholic people of the Diocese and the communities within the Diocese. There are many hopeful and positive things happening in our Diocese that tell us that we are moving forward.
3. Monday Memo starts a summer vacation after next Monday and will return August 18. Enjoy your summer!
Vol. 1, No. 16
June 23, 2003
I am completing this Monday Memo while in St. Louis for the spring meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
It has been difficult to be away from home at a time of great concern for our friends and co-workers in the Diocese of Phoeni--and while a wildfire is wreaking terrible damage in the Santa Catalina Mountains and on a much-beloved community, Summerhaven.
1. Regarding the events that transpired last week in Phoenix, let me share with you the statement I released to the news media:
I pray that the Holy Father's acceptance of the resignation of Bishop O'Brien will begin a process of healing for the Diocese of Phoenix. I pray, too that Bishop O'Brien will find some personal peace as the investigation about the hit and run accident continues and is ultimately resolved.
Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe has had to deal with difficult and painful situations before, and I am confident that he will be a source of healing and renewal for the priests, deacons, religious and laity of the Diocese of Phoenix.
The Diocese of Tucson will do anything possible to assist him in this healing.
2. This past week I also expressed, on behalf of myself, Bishop Moreno and all the Diocese, our prayers for all those who have lost homes, businesses and property in the Aspen Blaze in the Santa Catalina Mountains. We continue to pray for the safety of all those who are fighting this serious fire and pray that they will be able to gain control over the flames as quickly as possible.
3. My brother bishops in St. Louis were very aware of all that has been happening in our state, and they prayed with us and for us during the time of our meeting, which came at a critical time and dealt with several critical issues.
The bishops engaged in a significant discussion with the John Jay College staff who are responsible for conducting the first of two major research projects regarding the child abuse scandals within the Church.
The purpose of the first study is to identify the nature and scope of the sexual abuse crisis in the U.S. Our diocese is in the process of assembling our report. I am grateful to Dr. Paul Duckro and others who are preparing our data. We are cooperating fully with this effort.
While the results will be disturbing and difficult, we need to know what has happened. The study will identify the number of priests involved, the number of victims, during what period of time these instances of abuse took place. It will also detail the financial costs to the dioceses. They hope to have the results of this study made public in January.
The second study will attempt to understand the causes of this situation. That study will be more complicated and take some time to complete, perhaps several years.
Later in the meeting, the bishops reflected on three important pastoral questions. The first dealt with the sacramental life and the need for catechesis. It is critical that we pass the faith on to others. As you know I am establishing an Office of Catechesis and an Office of Formation that will help to strengthen our catechetical outreach to the young and adults as well.
The second area of discussion among the bishops was the role of the laity and the contemporary cultural milieu. How does faith affect culture and vice versa. In that discussion a strong emphasis was given to the role of the laity in the marketplace. I hope we can begin structures of dialogue between Catholics in society toward an understanding of how they can bring their faith to their family and work settings.
The final area of discussion was on the identity and spirituality of priests and bishops. Clearly there is a need to develop our ongoing formation of priests and to strengthen the bond between them and others involved in ministry. This is one of my key goals for our diocese.
I hope that our presbyteral council and our diocesan pastoral council will carry on discussion of these topics in our own diocese.
In addition to these important discussions the body of bishops passed two documents important to our diocese. The first was the National Directory for the Formation of Deacons. This document will guide the development of our new program.
The second document was the National Catechetical Directory. This will be important for the development of formation programs for adults.
4. This summer will see a number of pastoral personnel changes at our parishes.
Father James Hobert is leaving St. Ambrose Parish to become pastor at St. Monica. Father Luis Chavez leaves St. Monica to go on sabbatical. Father John Arnold will be pastor at St. Ambrose. Father Mike Stallings is leaving St. Theresa Parish in Patagonia to become pastor of Holy Angels Parish in Globe. Father Marcos Velasquez will be the administrator pro-tem of St. Theresa. Father Gilbert Malu, pastor of St. Luke Parish in Douglas, will assume additional responsibilities as he becomes pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Douglas and St. Bernard Parish in Pirtleville. And, we welcome Father Michael Fones, O.P., as the new pastor of St. Thomas More Newman Center.
My office has received many phone calls and letters about this round of pastoral changes. It is wonderful to hear the love and support the people have for the priests who are taking new assignments, as well their recognition of the hard work and ministry of the priests.
I think it is important that changes in pastoral assignments be seen as a sign of the confidence of the bishop in each community of the faithful that the changes will be for the good of each parish faith community.
5. As we being the summer season, a number of construction projects have been completed or are underway at parishes across the Diocese. These projects could be grouped under the headings of "What's Up," "What's on Its Way Up" and "Up and Coming."
A new social hall and expanded sanctuary, new parking lot, new parish center...
St. George Catholic Community in Apache Junction has moved into their newly expanded social hall and sanctuary and is completing their new meditation garden. The garden will contain the Stations of the Cross and a water pond, seating area.
Can't find a place to park in Sierra Vista...Well, there is plenty of parking at St. Andrews the Apostle Parish. They have recently completed their parking lot addition to accommodate an additional 141 cars.
The parishioners of the Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish Community have a wonderful new parish center for worship, social gatherings, and education. The center in South Tucson replaces the St. Nicholas Indian Center. You are welcome to join in the Native American celebration on any Sunday at 9 a.m. The new parish center is located at 507 W. 29th Street in South Tucson.
What's on Its Way Up
A new elementary school, high school renovation, a new school office, a new social hall...
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Elementary School in Tucson is just past the half way point in its construction project and is on schedule to open this fall for grades one through three. The eventual Pre K-8 school will be state-of-the-art.
No summer vacation for the staff of St. Augustine High School. The new high school will open this fall at the former Regina Cleri Center in Tucson. It is amazing to watch the staff bring this altogether. They are in full throttle to complete the necessary renovations to the existing buildings, establish the curriculum and complete staff hires to open in time for the coming school year.
Our Mother of Sorrows in Tucson continues to improve the parish campus. Construction will begin early this summer of a new 1500 square foot school office. The new office will be more visible to the public, while providing a safer environment for the students.
Santa Catalina Mission Church in Catalina, situated between the retirement communities of Sun City and Saddlebrooke, broke ground in April on the conversion and expansion of the former sanctuary into a social hall. The hall will contain a commercial kitchen, conference room, and a hall that can be partitioned into religious education rooms. It expected to open in the fall.
Up and Coming
A new mission church, a new sanctuary, a new high school...
St. Mary in the Desert Mission will submit final development plans this month to the county for approval. With approval, the mission will apply for building permits to erect the new metal building structure to house the parish center.
St. Rita in the Desert Parish in Vail and its architect will update the Diocesan Building Committee on the drawing progress of their new church. The Vail area is one of the fastest growing communities in metropolitan Tucson.
The architect for San Miguel High School at St. Monica Parish on Tucson's south side is finalizing the development plans for the school/church campus. It is very exciting watching this whole project evolve from an idea to actual plans.
6. I will be speaking this week at the Priest Institute connected with Seton Hall University. My theme will be the spirituality and life of the diocesan priest. This Institute provides programs of ongoing education for priests from around the country. Each week several speakers conduct seminars on a wide range of topics. I had the opportunity to participate in this program as a presenter several years ago. I was impressed by the number of priests who attended. The discussion was very rich. Please pray that it will go well again this time.
7. Monday Memo is now officially on vacation, to return in early August. Thank you for your faithful readership these past 16 weeks. Enjoy your summer. You are in my prayers.