June 5, 2006 June 12, 2006 June 19, 2006 June 26, 2006
Vol. 4, No. 10
June 5, 2006
These first days of really hot weather remind us of the great perils that exist for migrants crossing the desert from Mexico into Arizona. Last year at this time, during just one weekend seven migrants died while attempting the crossing.
The terrible reality of the immigration crisis is that people are so desperate that they will risk their lives to enter our country. On average, one migrant a day is dying.
There is great anger and frustration about this situation, and many who feel morally compelled by their faith to do something wonder what they can do.
Keep praying. Keep informed. Keep letting Congress know how you feel.
The Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform is an excellent resource for keeping engaged in all those areas.
I encourage you to visit the Campaign's Web site at www.justiceforimmigrants.org where you will find resources for prayer, for information on the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 and for contacting Congress to let senators and representatives know how you feel as the Congress attempts to produce legislation to reform the immigration system.
While the process continues to reconcile the very different approaches of the U.S. Senate and House on immigration reform, our Church and other denominations and faiths and people of good will continue to press for reforms that are comprehensive, that are just and that are effective in protecting the common good.
In an interview last week with the Zenit News Service, Bishop Gerald Barnes, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, articulated very well the moral and civil complexities of the immigration crisis in light of Catholic social teaching. You can read the interview at www.zenit.org/English under "Daily Dispatches" for May 31.
1. "Let This Art Speak to You" -- "What sort of scene would an individual about to risk their life crossing the desert into the United States paint? What images would be depicted? What colors would be used? What message would such a painting bring to communities in the United States?"
These intriguing questions led Molly Ericson and Melissa Theesen, students at Hastings College in Nebraska, to Altar, Sonora, where they invited migrants who were waiting to cross the desert into Arizona to express their feelings and thoughts on canvas.
"The response to our request was astounding," Molly and Melissa write on the Web page that includes the artwork of migrants.
After reading their account of their experience in Altar and viewing the 48 paintings, I would add "overwhelming" and "profound" as descriptions of how the migrants responded and what they are communicating in paintings such as this:
I encourage you to visit the Web site at http://tinyurl.com/p2bgx and to respond to this invitation from Molly and Melissa: "The voices behind the art are not always heard, yet each migrant has a story to tell. Let this art speak to you."
2. Ordination of Father Jesus Acuña -- On Saturday evening, the Archdiocese of Hermosillo and the Diocese of Tucson gathered in the plaza outside the Kino Mission Church in Caborca, Sonora. What a beautiful sight to see some of our own people from the Diocese, from St. Monica Parish Tucson and from Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Somerton joining in prayer with people from Nuestra Señora de la Candeleria at the ordination to the priesthood of Jesus Acuña Delgado. Though the border separates our two dioceses, we can be one at least in prayer and faith.
Father Jesus will serve in our Diocese at Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Jude Thaddeus in San Luis. He will live at Somerton and help Father Raul Valencia, pastor of St. Jude, and Father Xavier Perez, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Jesus is from a very large family. Many of his brothers and sisters joined him on this special day. His parents, Alexjandro and Ofelia, are deceased, but surely joined us in the Communion of Saints at the Eucharist.
It was a joy to see the enthusiasm and excitement of the people in welcoming tour new priest. I wish many of our young people could have been there to see how valued and loved priests are in their call to serve God's people.
The celebration afterwards was festive, with much eating, singing and dancing -- a joyous celebration for Jesus, our Diocese and the people of Caborca. I am grateful to Father Joaquin and his people at Nuestra Señora de la Candeleria for their hospitality and welcome. They could not have been more gracious.
3. "Priesthood Ordination Class of 2006" -- Did you know that the average age of the men slated for ordination this year for service to dioceses and religious orders in the U.S. is 37 and that almost a third of the men were born outside the U.S.?
Would you be surprised to know that among the more than 300 men scheduled to be ordained this year are men whose life experience includes being a football coach, a drummer in a rock band, a fighter pilot and "a good down hill skier even though I come from flat south Texas?"
The facts and figures and some fascinating glimpses about the men being ordained this year in the U.S. are available at the "Priesthood Ordination Class of 2006" feature on at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Web site at www.usccb.org/vocations.
4. Editorial on Vocations -- I appreciate the thoughtful editorial in this morning's Arizona Daily Star about vocations to the priesthood. Headlined "Time to address the need for more clergy," the editorial noted, "We encourage youths in our community to pursue noble professions. We tell them to become doctors, lawyers, teachers and firefighters, to name just a few worthwhile careers.
"But how often do we encourage them to become priests and pastors, or rabbis, imams and nuns? Judging from the declining ranks of Catholic clergy, it's time for members of our community, particularly youths, to give those careers some thought."
I comment in the editorial on the decline in vocations to the priesthood that we have experienced here in the Diocese of Tucson and on how other denominations and religions also are experiencing difficulty in attracting people into service.
You can read the editorial on-line at www.azstarnet.com/opinion/131928.php.
5. Farewell to the Paulists -- The Star's editorial took note of the celebration held over the weekend at St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish in Tucson for the Paulist Priests as they prepare to leave the parish at the end of this month, ending 32 years of service there. A huge throng attended Sunday's farewell Mass that was concelebrated by Father Gil Martinez, C.S.P., Father Frank Sabatte, C.S.P., and Father Ed Pietrucha, C.S.P., who are the last Paulists to serve at the parish, Father John Duffy, C.S.P., president of the Paulist Fathers from New York and several Paulists who returned to join in the celebration.
There were several standing ovations for the Paulists. People wept, laughed and cheered in response to comments made by Father Gil in his homily and Fr. Duffy's comments at the end.
Father Fred Tillotsin, O.Carm., Head of School at Salpointe Catholic High School, who will begin as parish administrator on July 1, attended to express thanks to the Paulists for their great service. I was glad to add my thanks as well. The Paulists have been a blessing among us
6. National Association for Lay Ministry Convocation -- I was very honored to give the keynote address at last week's annual convocation in Cleveland. The convocation's focus was on "Co-Workers in the Vineyard: A Resource for Guiding the Development of Lay Ecclesial Ministry," the document approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops last November.
I was further honored during the convocation to receive the Association's Gaudium et Spes Award.
The award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated commitment to the vision of the Church as articulated in the documents of the Second Vatican Council and who have advocated and fostered in a special way the enhanced role of the laity in ministry.
The award was presented in recognition of my role as chairman of the Subcommittee on Lay Ministry in the development of "Co-Workers in the Vineyard."
While the award bears my name, I readily share this recognition with the members of the Subcommittee on Lay Ministry and the many theologians, bishops, formation directors, seminary rectors, priests, deacons, canonists, human resource professionals, attorneys and lay ecclesial ministers who participated in the development of "Co-Workers in the Vineyard."
"Co-Workers in the Vineyard" examines the theological foundations for lay ecclesial ministry, discernment and suitability for lay ecclesial ministry, formation of lay ecclesial ministers, authorization of lay ecclesial ministers and policies and practices in the ministerial workplace.
The National Association for Lay Ministry was founded in 1976 as a professional organization that supports, educates and advocates for lay ministry and that promotes the development of lay ministry in the Catholic Church.
For more information about lay ecclesial ministry and "Co-Workers in the Vineyard," visit www.usccb.org/laity/laymin.
7. Lay Ecclesial Ministry Colloquium -- All of us who worked on the development of "Co-Workers in the Vineyard" are very encouraged by discussions and study the document continues to generate. This Sunday, I will be at Loyola University in Chicago for a colloquium on lay ecclesial ministry that is being sponsored by the University's Institute of Pastoral Studies and the Archdiocese of Chicago. They are expecting about 100 people, including Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., several bishops, theologians, university people and a number of lay ecclesial ministers.
8. Meeting of Committee for Communications -- I will be in Washington tomorrow through Thursday for the spring meeting of the USCCB Communications Committee for which I serve as chairman.
The agenda includes a report on the "Jesus Decoded" Campaign, the response by the USCCB and the Catholic Communication Campaign to "The Da Vinci Code" movie, and discussion of how the Communications Department can assist and support bishops in communicating the Conference's public policy agenda.
This will be my last meeting as chair of the committee, but I will continue to fulfill the responsibilities of chairman until this November, when Archbishop George Niederauer of San Franciso assumes the chairmanship.
I have really enjoyed working with the dedicated clergy, religious and lay professionals in the USCCB Communications Department, the Catholic News Service and the Catholic Communication Campaign.
I have appreciated especially the untiring work of Msgr. Francis J. Maniscalco, secretary of communications for Conference. At last week's Catholic Media Convocation, Msgr. Frank was honored with the Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professionals' President's Medallion. The award recognizes lifetime achievement and service to Catholic communications. Msgr. Frank, a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, will be leaving his ministry at the USCCB in August and will return to his diocese after a four-month sabbatical. He joined the USCCB in 1993 as media relations director and has been secretary of communications since 1994.
9. Oblates of St. Martha -- My thoughts and prayers will be with the Sisters of St. Martha this Thursday as "Las Tres Hermanas" who minister to the household of the Bishop of Tucson celebrate the traditional observance in Mexico of June 8 as the feast day of Jesus, High Priest.
The ministry of the Oblates of St. Martha is inspired by the example of St. Martha, who saw to the hospitality and comfort of Jesus. The Oblates began their service to the household of the Bishop of Tucson during the episcopacy of Bishop Green
Presently serving in our Diocese and keeping the Bishop's residence and household matters with great diligence are Sister Francisca Lira, O.S.M., Sister Maria del Carmen Jimenez, O.S.M., and Sister Gabriella Zermeño, O.S.M.
10. Annual Catholic Appeal -- As we enter the last month of this year's campaign, I express my gratitude to our pastors and the nearly 17,000 parishioner families and individuals who have made this the most successful ACA ever. Pledges have reached $3,561,570 toward the goal of $3.15 million. To date, 54 of our 74 parishes have exceeded goal. A listing of parish results is available at www.diocestucson.org/acaparishrpts2K6.html.
11. National Encuentro for Hispanic Youth and Young Adult Ministry -- Among the more than 2,000 young adults, bishops, diocesan coordinators and other parish leaders from across the country gathering for the first National Encuentro for Hispanic Youth and Young Adult Ministry this week at the University of Notre Dame will be nine participants from the Diocese of Tucson
This historic meeting calls Hispanic young adults to a more active participation in the life and mission of the Catholic Church at a time when close to half of all Catholics in the United States under the age of 25 are Hispanic.
Participating from our Diocese are: Father Raul Trevizo, pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Tucson and Vicar General; Father Raul Valencia, pastor of St. Jude Thaddeus Parish in San Luis; Daniel Nunez and Ginger Jaramillo of St. Jude Parish; Jesse Demare and Octavio Godoy of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Yuma; Yvette Rubio of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Tucson and the newly-formed Diocesan Committee on Hispanic Youth Ministry; Benigno Martinez of St. James Parish in Coolidge and the Diocesan Committee on Hispanic Youth Ministry; and Jesusita Lopez of St. John the Evangelist Parish, the Diocesan Committee on Hispanic Youth Ministry and the Hispanic Pastoral Commission.
Guided by the theme of "Weaving the Future Together," the event is the culmination of parish, diocesan and regional encuentro meetings held nationally during the last year. Participants from 126 dioceses will attend, including 20 U.S. bishops. Bishop Adalberto Martínez of San Lorenzo, Paraguay, and Rev. Gustavo Monje of Bogota, Columbia, will lead a delegation from Latin America and speak about how immigration impacts pastoral ministry.
The Encuentro is being convened by The National Catholic Network de Pastoral Juvenil Hispana (La Red), a network of church-based organizations and pastoral ministers. The USCCB Committee on Hispanic Affairs, the USCCB Sub-committee on Youth and Young Adults and the University of Notre Dame are co-sponsors.
12. Listening Session at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish -- About 300 people attended the listening session at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson Friday evening. The community expressed some of the things that are going well in the parish, what the challenges are and what they look for in a new pastor. I had met earlier last week with the staff of the parish to hear their thoughts.
I was impressed that a number of young people attended, demonstrating their desire to be an active part of the community. It was so encouraging to hear the tremendous love the people of the parish have for their founding pastor, Father Tom Millane, who is retiring July 1. Many testified to the good that he did for them, especially in reminding them of God's love for them.
I pray the new pastor will guide, teach and pastor the community with the same zeal shown by Father Tom.
13. San Miguel High School Names New President -- San Miguel High School in Tucson has named Elizabeth S. Goettl to succeed Greg VanderZanden as its president, effective July 1.
Elizabeth has been serving as an assistant superintendent at Catalina Foothills School District. Among her many notable achievements during her 28 years as a Tucson educator are two Arizona A+ School awards, two National Blue Ribbon School awards and a National Distinguished Principal award.
In making the announcement, the Board of San Miguel thanked Greg for his outstanding leadership as the school's founding president.
14. A Pentecost Gift -- I received a surprise when I went into the sacristy of St. Augustine Cathedral yesterday to celebrate Confirmation on Pentecost with the parish community. Deacon Sam Fullen from Morenci had fashioned me a new crozier (bishop's staff). He made the crozier out of mesquite from a ranch near Hereford and copper, so important a metal in our Diocese.
Deacon Sam also incorporated many marvelous symbols in the design, including some remembrances of Padre Eusebio Francisco Kino, S.J., who first evangelized this region of Pimeria Alta. The design on the crozier also features six nodes craft from wood from Brazil to signify the six bishops who have served the Diocese. I am, of course, the sixth bishop, and daily delight in working with Bishop Manuel Moreno, our fifth bishop.
I am grateful to Deacon Sam for his kindness and this special Pentecost gift that will remind me daily of the beauty and richness of our Diocese.
15. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- We extend our deepest condolences to Father John Friel, O.S.F.S., pastor of St. John Neumann Parish in Yuma, whose sister Betty and brother-in-law John Rizas died in a rafting accident last Friday on the Snake River in Wyoming.
I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Father Joe Lombardo as pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson, effective Aug. 1. He is replacing Father Tom Millane, founding pastor, who is retiring on July 1.
Father Joe has been pastor of Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Green Valley since 1995. The parish's vitality reflects Father Joe's pastoral style of encouraging people to become engaged in the many dimensions of the Church's mission.
In my letter last week to parishioners of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton informing them of Father Joe's appointment, I told them Father Joe will bring with him many talents, enthusiasm and excitement about taking on the many responsibilities associated with pastoring a large, vibrant and busy parish and school. I also asked them to pray for Father Joe, their new pastor, and for Father Tom, their first pastor emeritus, as they both begin new phases of their lives as priests.
So that I can hear from the staff and parishioners of Our Lady of the Valley their hopes for their parish and their thoughts on the qualities they believe their new pastor should have, I will hold listening sessions on Saturday, June 24. I will meet with the staff in the early afternoon, celebrate Mass with the parish community at 4 p.m. and then meet with parishioners at 5 p.m.
1. National Pastoral Life Center Board Meeting -- I am in New York City today for the quarterly meeting of the board of directors of the Center.
The National Pastoral Life Center serves the leadership of the Church's pastoral ministry, particularly in parishes and diocesan offices. Founded in 1983 by Rev. Msgr. Philip J. Murnion, the Center carries out its mission through a variety of programs, projects and associations. More information on the Center is available at www.nplc.org.
2. Spring Meeting of U.S. Bishops -- I will be heading for Los Angeles tomorrow to attend the spring meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The conference meets in June and November of each year. Before the meeting convenes on Thursday, I will be participating in meetings of the USCCB Migration Committee and the board of directors of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network. These two meetings will include discussions of efforts in the Congress to reconcile differences between the Senate and House versions of immigration reform legislation.
The agenda for the spring meeting of the USCCB includes a vote by the bishops on the new English translation of the Order of the Mass and a discussion on plans for a major reconfiguring of the USCCB committee structure.
The new translation of the Order of the Mass was prepared by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). The Order of the Mass is that part of the Roman Missal that contains the prayers recited daily at Mass, as distinct from the prayers and Scripture readings that change from one day to the next. The commission was guided by Vatican rules that call for new versions of liturgical translations to adhere more closely to the original Latin text.
Liturgical translations must be approved by two-thirds of the members of a bishops' conference before they are sent to the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments for final review.
The Vox Clara Committee, a body of English-speaking bishops appointed to advise the Vatican on translations, assists the Congregation in reviewing the versions approved by national bishops' conferences. Bishops' conferences in English-speaking countries are voting this year on the new translation, and the committee expects to be able to complete its work of reviewing the English translations of all parts of the Mass by the end of 2007.
Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of Santa Fe is to present a proposal from the Committee on Priorities and Plans that would reduce the number of standing and ad hoc committees of the USCCB from more than 50 currently to 14. A reconfiguration of committees would be followed by national staff changes as part of an effort to curb expenses and limit the number of national projects and activities the bishops undertake as a conference. The bishops want their national offices to be more focused on priorities mandated by the Vatican or the bishops themselves and on limited number of projects that reflect those priorities.
3. Mass at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base -- I will preside at the 9:45 a.m. Mass this Sunday for the Christ the King Catholic Community at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in the Desert Dove Chapel. The community has some 250 families, and attendance at the Sunday Mass is usually about 400.
Even though after one year it has not been possible to provide a full-time Catholic Chaplain at Davis-Monthan, the community remains very strong, and I appreciate especially the ministry of Nancy Rambaran, Catholic Coordinator, and the pastoral services of Father Mike Martinez and Father John Allt to the Christ the King Catholic Community.
4. Dedication of St. Andrew the Apostle Church, Sierra Vista -- "When a church is erected as a building destined solely and permanently for assembling the people of God and for carrying out sacred functions, it is fitting that it be dedicated to God with a solemn rite, in accordance with the ancient custom of the Church." (Ceremonial of Bishops, Dedication of a Church)
It will be my joy this coming Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. to be with Father Greg Adolf, pastor, and the people of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish and to preside at the Mass of Dedication of their new church building.
Dedication of a church is among the most beautiful rites, with customs derived from rites used in France and in Rome dating back to at least the seventh century.
The dedication of a church represents a unique moment in the life of a community of the faithful as they set apart a building solely for the worship of God. Their "church" building becomes the "Church" that is gathered by the Lord around His table.
The dedication also binds the bishop to the local Church, as he invites the people to enter, as he sprinkles the walls and the people with holy water, as he dedicates the ambo for the proclamation of the Word of God, as he anoints the altar and 12 places on the walls with Sacred Chrism, as he incenses the altar and the people, as he witnesses the lighting of the altar and as he celebrates the Eucharist.
"As we build our Church, we will build our church" has been the motto of the parish throughout these past seven years of fundraising, planning and construction. This Sunday, Father Greg and the entire St. Andrew the Apostle community will celebrate the church they have build and the Church they are continuing to build.
The new church building is beautiful inside and out! When you are next in Sierra Vista, please visit. Photos of the new church are available at www.standrewapostlechurch.org.
5. Diocese of Tucson Liturgy Conference -- One of the three New Year's resolutions for our Diocese that I communicated way back in January (How fast this year is going!) was to work on enhancing the liturgical life of our parishes, with a special emphasis on enhancing participation and music, improving homilies and giving more attention to the environment of our liturgical celebrations.
My commitment to this resolution was to do what I could to make our parish liturgies more prayerful and spiritually nourishing and to encourage and prod our pastors and parish staffs to make Sunday worship a parish priority.
An important step in meeting this commitment will take place on Saturday, Sept. 30, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson. That is the date, the time and the place for "Enhancing the Sunday Liturgy: Full, Conscious, Active Participation."
This day-long liturgy conference will begin with an opening address by Father Jan Michael Joncas, S.L.D., who is well known for his liturgical music (On Eagle's Wings) and his academic leadership in sacramental and liturgical theology. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Theology and Liturgy from the University of Notre Dame and a Doctorate in Sacred Liturgy from the Pontificio Istituto Liturgico at the Collegio Sant' Anselmo in Rome.
In addition to the opening address, Father Joncas will offer two workshop sessions. The schedule for the day includes three workshop sessions with 12 workshops available for each session. Several workshops will be repeated to allow for participation in more than one area of ministry.
Workshop presenters include Tom Booth, Jaime Cortez, Father Miguel Mariano, Father Alex Mills,O.S.B., Michelle Benzenhoefer, Father Leon Strieder, Dr. Dolores Martinez and many more. Topics will include Youth and Children Friendly Liturgy and Music, Sacred Art: Its place in our liturgical History, Adorning the Worship Space for Sundays and Seasons, Forming and Supporting the Parish Liturgy Committee, Enhancing the Liturgical Ministries at Sunday Eucharist: Lectors, Communion Ministers, Altar Servers, Ministers of Hospitality/Ushers, Sacristans and more.
There will be sessions for priests and deacons, with a focus on their particular roles in the liturgy. English and Spanish workshops will be offered. The cost will be $25 (before September 1), which includes lunch and workshop resources. The registration flyer will be mailed in July and will be available on line.
The conference will conclude with Mass at which I will preside and give the homily. A special conference choir will be formed under the direction of Charles Lohr, choir director at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Following the Mass, there will be a special music concert and jam session for youth and young adults led by Tom Booth and Jaime Cortez.
So, consider yourself encouraged and prodded! I hope to see all our parishes represented.
6. Annual Catholic Appeal -- As the 2006 ACA campaign nears completion, I once again express my appreciation to all pastors, administrators and pastoral administrators for their outstanding leadership that has resulted in the most successful Appeal ever in our Diocese.
To date, pledges toward this year's ACA goal of $3.15 million total more than $3.5 million. Parish reports are available at www.diocesetucson.org/acaparishrpts2K6.html.
I encourage the parishes that have not yet made goal to give some last encouraging nudges to their communities in these final weeks of the campaign.
7. Welcome to Nancy Koppy, Our New Diocesan Archivist -- We welcome Nancy as she begins her responsibilities today as our new diocesan archivist. A recent graduate of the University of Arizona (Bachelor of Arts in History and Creative Writing), Nancy this fall will be entering the masters program at the UA School of Information Resources and Library Sciences. She will receive her orientation to the work of a diocesan archivist from Dan Brosnan, who is retiring as our archivist after 14 years of outstanding service. Dan most graciously will continue his service to the Diocese as a special consultant on archival matters.
The diocesan archivist is responsible for important record-keeping and preservation functions. Many persons seek the assistance of the archivist when they are searching for records of their Baptism, Confirmation and other sacraments.
One of Nancy's immediate responsibilities will be to work with Dan on the completion of his plans for the relocation of the archives from St. Augustine High School to St. Ambrose Parish. The old convent building at the parish is being renovated to house the archives. I am grateful to the Diocese of Tucson Charity and Ministry Fund for the special grant to support the renovation project and to the many parishes for their special contributions. Anyone who wants to support our efforts to preserve the precious artifacts of our Catholic history and heritage in the Diocese is welcome to contact me or Chancellor June Kellen.
8. Father's Day -- From the American Catholic Web site (www.americancatholic.org), I share "A Father's Day Prayer" by Gaynell Bordes Cronin:
Thank you, friend Jesus,
for my father who loves me,
for my grandfather who cares for me,
and for God, your father and mine,
who made me and is always with me.
How lucky I am! -- From Friend Jesus: Prayers for Children
Yesterday afternoon in Sierra Vista, nearly 1,200 people marched from the old St. Andrew the Apostle Parish church building, constructed in 1958, to the marvelous new church of St. Andrew. As we stood at the entrance of the church, a key was presented to me, which I handed to Father Greg Adolf, pastor. Father Greg opened the beautiful wood doors and invited us into the House of God. The streams of people filled this new magnificent church, bringing it to life. It was a marvelous sight to behold: the people of God gathered for prayer!
Father Greg's great appreciation for the missionary work of Padre Kino and his experience on the Board of Directors of Patronato San Xavier inspired touches of Sonoran architecture throughout the structure. The copula, ceiling and chandeliers, as well as the retableau behind the altar, are striking. The Divine Mercy Chapel brings you immediately into a reflective spirit for prayer in front of the Eucharist. The entire campus was newly painted. giving it a fresh, stunning appearance.
Statues throughout the church bring us to realize that when we gather, we gather in communion with all the saints and angels.
The Mass of Dedication of a New Church is among the most beautiful liturgies. Many people remarked how moved they were by the celebration, especially the anointing of the altar with chrism, the incensing of the new altar and the lighting of the candles that sent the light of Christ throughout the church.
I could tell people were very proud -- and rightly so. They gave Father Greg a rousing standing ovation, expressing their gratitude for his pastoral leadership along with that of Father German Bartolome Vazquez.
Father John Cullinan, who as pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes in Benson was asked by Bishop Gercke to begin a mission in Sierra Vista, Charles Towner who was the parish's first resident pastor, and previous pastors Father Tom Millane and Father Harry Ledwith also participated, along with a number of priests serving in the Diocese, including our Vicar General, Father Van Wagner. A number of sisters of Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Carmelite community in Douglas and sisters from Aqua Prieta came to join in the festivities. All the deacons of the parish took active parts in the celebration. I was very glad to see the wonderful representation from Our Lady of the Mountains Parish. A meal was served to all who attended, followed by a concert in church. It was a great day!
You can read a story on the dedication by reporter Bill Hess in today's Sierra Vista Herald at
I was impressed that five priests have their roots at St. Andrew Parish, including Father Dale Branson, Father Mike Bucciarelli, Father Chris Orndorff, Father Bob Gonzalez, and a Jesuit priest, Father Corcoran. Also from the parish are two women religious, Sister Corinne of the Benedictine Monastery in St. David and Sister Therese, who serves in Philadelphia. I pray every parish will have so many vocations!
1. Dedication at St. Rita in the Desert Parish, Vail -- I look forward to being with Father Bob Wicht, S.D.S., pastor, and the St. Rita in the Desert Community this Sunday to celebrate the opening and dedication of their new multi-purpose building. I will preside at the 10 a.m. Mass.
The new building will be used for weekend Masses and will help to relieve the overcrowding the parish has experienced in the Shrine of Santa Rita, which has served the far southeast of Tucson and Vail since 1935. Daily Mass will continue to be celebrated in the Shrine.
2. Mass at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base -- It was my privilege yesterday during Mass with the Christ the King Catholic Community at Davis-Monthan to confirm and give First Communion to Marine Corporal Gary Scott Hammonds, who served in Sri Lanka after the tsunami and in Iraq. He will be returning to Iraq soon. He is now stationed at Camp Pendleton and is soon to marry Celeste Garcia, who is the niece of Deacon Armando Valenzuela. Scotty prepared to receive his sacraments with great dedication, and it was a joy to share in this special moment in his faith journey.
Wing Chaplain Daniel Ferguson and his wife Esther were most gracious in welcoming to the Desert Dove Chapel for the celebration yesterday. Col. Michael Spencer has been most supportive of the work of the Catholic chaplaincy program at the base, and we will miss him as he moves toward retirement later this summer. bI am grateful to Nancy Rambaran, Catholic Coordinator, for her service to the Christ the King Catholic Community.
It was good to see the nice photo in the Arizona Daily Star over the weekend of Father John Allt, pastor of St. Joseph Parish, saying Mass at the Desert Dove Chapel, where he and Father Mike Martinez of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish provide Catholic chaplaincy.
3. U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Spring Meeting -- The bishops' meeting in Los Angeles last week went well. We prayed together. We reflected together. We discussed together. We made some decisions together.
It is always a powerful experience to be with the bishops from all around the U.S., some serving in large urban areas, some in small rural communities. It is fascinating to hear about efforts to make the faith come alive from regions in the far northwest, including Alaska, to the coastal regions of our country, to those of us who live along the border.
This year we heard from Cardinal Jaime Ortega, Archbishop of Havana in Cuba. His presence reminded us that we are as Catholics in communion with people all around the world. He spoke of the struggle in his country to secure religious freedom and about the importance of the voice of the Church in Cuba on behalf of the poor.
We listened to Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, England, who is the chairman of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), an eleven country board that oversees translations of the liturgy for the episcopal conferences in those countries. He explained some of the painstaking work that goes into translations and the importance of the document, Liturgiam Authenticam, which guides those translations.
The bishops discussed the continued work being done to translate the texts of the Sacramentary and the Order of the Mass. Some helpful amendments were made to the text received from ICEL, and the revised text passed by the needed two thirds majority. It will now go to Rome for recognitio.
The new translation of the Order of the Mass also contained some changes that include additional options for the penitential rite and other celebrant parts.
Some bishops had concerns about making changes to the responses of the people. They worried that this will only confuse and frustrate people. Some expressed concerns that the translations were so literal that they cannot easily be proclaimed well. But in the end there was strong unanimity among the bishops for the changes.
There is still much work that needs to be done on the Sacramentary, including the translation of all the prayers, so it is likely that this process will still need one or two years to be completed.
(As soon as we have a sense of when the new Sacramentary will be ready we will begin in the Diocese a full catechesis on the changes so people and priests know and understand what is being done and why. We probably will begin preparations for this catechesis at our diocesan liturgy conference, "Enhancing the Sunday Liturgy: Full, Conscious, Active Participation," that is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 30, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson. Please mark that date on your calendar and plan to attend.)
Bishop William Skystad, as President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a statement on immigration encouraging the Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration bill that includes an earned pathway to citizenship, a guest worker program with worker rights and an expedited process to unite families. A press conference was held on the first day to explain Catholic teaching on this subject and why the bishops are involved with one voice in promoting comprehensive immigration policy change.
The bishops also agreed to put out a brochure directed to youth to inform them about stewardship, the giving of their time, talent and treasure for the work of the church. This brochure, in Spanish and English, will encourage young people to be good stewards.
The bishops agreed to continue the national collection to assist in the ongoing care of the aging religious who served the church with such distinction and dedication. The annual collection was continued through the next ten years so that communities can care for their aging sisters and brothers. (As you know, our Diocese has contributed to this collection for a number of years and in the last few years has focused on the care of our aging and retired diocesan priests. Peoples' generosity has been astounding.)
Continued work was done on the restructuring of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. This effort is being driven by a need to be more cost efficient, as well as to better prioritize our work. The present plan calls for a reduction in the number of standing committees by consolidating those committees that are similar. For example, instead of having a committee for priestly life and for the permanent diaconate, there would be one committee for the clergy. The National Collections would be put into one committee as well. Concern was expressed that a Diverse Culture Committee that would include all ethnic and racial groups would perhaps diminish the need to focus even more on pastoral outreach to the Hispanic Community, which is such a large and growing community in the Catholic Church of the U.S. It is expected that the Conference will vote on this restructuring in November.
We concluded the meeting with an afternoon of renewal, a holy hour and liturgy at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles. Archbishop Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston gave the renewal, presenting a talk on the new evangelization and the role of the bishop in that new evangelization. The holy hour, benediction and Mass at the Cathedral were a fitting way to end these days of communion.
4. Safe Environment Program Audit Process -- We have begun the process for the annual Safe Environment Program audit. This year, we have developed what I believe is an even clearer procedure for collecting information. I hope that all our pastors and principals will find the instructions helpful.
An audit is never easy. There are forms to be completed and, inevitably, phone calls to clarify what has been reported. Knowing how stressful that can be, I appreciate even more the dedication and commitment of our pastors and principals, compliance representatives and all those in pastoral leadership in our parishes and schools.
Reports will be coming in throughout July and August. We will be reviewing the results and learning how to do things better in the critical area of providing safe environments for children at all our parishes and schools.
Dr. Paul Duckro, director of the Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, will give a report on the audit process at this morning's meeting of the Sexual Misconduct Review Board.
5. Mass for Families of Military Personnel -- I will preside at this special Mass this evening at 6:30 p.m. at St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish.
How this Mass has come about really has to do with the love of a father for his son. Mario Aguirre, a parishioner at St. Cyril, has a son serving in the Army in Iraq. He knows the anxieties and fears that parents endure when a child is in a combat area. He also knows the comfort that he has received from his faith. Several months ago, Mario felt called to create an opportunity for families of those serving in the Armed Forces to gather in prayer. With the encouragement of Father Gil Martinez, C.S.P., the Mass will be celebrated for the intentions of all who have family members serving in the military.
6. Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries Board Meeting -- The agenda for tomorrow morning's agenda includes the recruitment of new board members, a review of the Memorial Day Masses (more than 550 attended at Holy Hope Cemetery, more than 250 at Our Lady of the Desert) and an update on the Parish Outreach program. This past weekend, Family Service Counselors attended all Masses at St. Margaret Mary Parish, making themselves available to parishioners to answer questions pre-need arrangements.
7. Priests Day of Prayer -- Priests will gather tomorrow at the Redemptorist Renewal Center for this month's Day of Prayer.
The current issue of the "The Petroglyph," the Renewal Center's newsletter, has an article about the Day of Prayer that emphasizes the importance to priests of a communal prayer opportunity. You can access the newsletter at www.desertrenewal.org, under "Calendar."
8. Meeting of Diocesan Staff and Department Directors -- Staff and directors will gather this Thursday at the Bishop Moreno Pastoral Center for this month's meeting.
9. Vocations Awareness Retreat Weekend -- "It helped me personally to realize that there are others out there who have the same questions and are going through the same things. It was the absolute best weekend I have spent!"
That quote is from a participant in last year's special weekend for single Catholic men and women age 18 through 35, and it emphasizes just how important it is to provide fun, prayerful, low-stress and no-pressure opportunities to help people explore and discern the possibility of a vocation as a priest or woman religious. I look forward to participating in this weekend's retreat, which is being held at Holy Trinity Monastery just outside St. David.
Invitation and encouragement are essential steps in promoting vocations, so I invite and encourage you to think about the single Catholic adults you know who might really benefit from this opportunity. It's not too late to register, and information is available at www.diocesetucson.org/vocations.html or by calling the Vocations Office at 520-792-3410.
The Vocations Awareness Weekend is sponsored by the Diocesan Vocation Ministers Committee. I thank the Knights of Columbus and the Serra Club of Tucson for their financial assistance and support for this special retreat opportunity.
10. 50th anniversary of Sacred Heart Cathedral, Gallup -- We send our congratulations and best wishes to Bishop Donald Pelotte, S.S.S., and the People of the Diocese of Gallup as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sacred Heart Cathedral this Friday. Bishop Pelotte will celebrate the closing liturgy for the Cathedral's Jubilee Year on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart. Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of Santa Fe will be the homilist.
11. Bishop Francis Quinn's 60th Anniversary of Priesthood -- Bishop Quinn is marking the 60th anniversary of his ordination (June 15, 1946) this year, and celebrating that anniversary this week with him gives us the opportunity to acknowledge the wonderful ministry he has given to our Diocese these last 12 years. After his retirement as Bishop of Sacramento in 1993, Bishop Quinn began a second career in the priesthood with us. The energy, dedication, warmth, good humor and wisdom this young-at-heart 84-year-old shares with us are blessings!
12. Annual Catholic Appeal -- With two weeks remaining in this year's campaign, pledges now total more than $3.6 million! Again, I express my gratitude to all who have worked so hard for the success of this year's ACA and to all who have made gifts and pledges for the support of the 23 charities and ministries that depend upon the Appeal.
13. A Belated Announcement -- I forgot to announce several weeks ago that Father Dale Branson has been reappointed Vicar Forane for the Gila-Pinal East Vicariate.
14. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- A funeral Mass is being celebrated this morning at St. Odilia Parish in Tucson for Alma Bardon, mother of the late Father Brent Bardon. Please pray for the repose of her soul.
As this last week of June brings us to the conclusion of the fiscal year and to the end of the solicitation phase of the 2006 Annual Catholic Appeal, it's a good opportunity to report on the finances and administration of the Diocese.
The Diocesan Finance Council meets tomorrow here at the Pastoral Center to approve the budget for the Administrative Offices of the Diocese for the upcoming fiscal year.
Reflecting on this fiscal year that is ending, during which the Diocese emerged from Chapter 11, the fiscal health of the Diocese generally is good. However, we still have the challenge of significant long-term debt of $6.5 million from a $2 million line of credit from the Catholic Foresters and from the $4.5 million that the Diocese owes to parishes from the 2002 settlement of sexual abuse claims.
The outlook for the upcoming fiscal year generally is positive, and consequently we will be addressing two significant areas: financial accountability and future growth.
First, we have created the new position of internal auditor and are advertising the position at the present time (www.diocesetucson.org/employ). The internal auditor will work with parishes to assist them in all aspects of fiscal management, including the financial reports each parish will be making annually.
We also are addressing the phenomenal growth that is taking place across the Diocese, especially in Pinal County. We have decided to establish a new parish in Maricopa in Pinal County, and I soon will be seeking a pastor to begin the work of establishing that new parish.
We find ourselves about five years behind in planning, and with the encouragement of the Diocesan Finance Council we presently are looking into the possibility of creating the position of long-range planner. The long-range planner would be of great assistance to me and to our pastors and parishes. A significant challenge to our efforts to respond to population growth is the lack of land for future parish sites. As you know, all properties owned by the Diocese that were intended for future parishes were sold as part of the Chapter 11 reorganization plan.
Openness and transparency remain priorities in the Diocese's fiscal management, and this brief update is just one way that I can carry out my commitment to those priorities. We plan to present a comprehensive report on the finances of the Diocese by the end of this year. Our parishes also have made the commitment to openness and transparency and will be assisted in meeting that commitment by their parish finance councils, parish pastoral councils and parish corporation boards of directors.
As this fiscal year ends, our parishes are marking their first six months as individual non-profit corporations. Father Al Schifano, our moderator of the curia, has been attending every meeting of the parish boards of directors in his capacity as a member of the board. I had the opportunity last week to attend the boards of directors meetings of St. Ann Parish in Tubac and St. Helen Parish in Eloy. As Father Al and I have discussed, it has been very interesting to participate in these board meetings. First of all, we are blessed to have the lay directors whose competence and commitment are great gifts to their parishes and to the Diocese. Second, the board meetings are an occasion for the pastor to receive counsel and advice for the pressing matters facing the parish. It is helping to make our parishes more accountable and more thoughtful in their work.
This new structure of our parishes as individual non-profit corporations has put our pastors, the lay members of the parish boards of directors, Father Al and myself on a steep learning curve. Overall, I am very pleased with how the new structure is working, and I remain deeply grateful to our pastors and their lay members of the boards of directors.
I will be meeting tomorrow here at the Pastoral Center with the board of directors of the Diocese of Tucson Charity and Ministry Fund to review the 2006 Annual Catholic Appeal, which last week passed $3.6 million in pledges, making this year's campaign the most successful in the more than 40 years the Appeal has provided resources for the religious and charitable ministries of the Diocese.
The generosity of parishioners to this year's Appeal is evidenced not only by the record amount in pledges, but also by the number of parishes that met or exceeded their Appeal goals for this year -- 52 of 74 parishes. This generosity demonstrates to me the great commitment that our Catholic people have to the mission of their Diocese.
The solicitation phase of the 2006 ACA ends this Friday. The pledge redemption cycle continues until the end of December.
Also at tomorrow's quarterly meeting of the board, we will be reviewing grant applications from needy parishes, from Catholic charities from throughout the Diocese and from the offices and departments of the Diocese. Grant funding is available for distribution when the Annual Catholic Appeal exceeds its annual goal. There are 11 grant applications totaling $90,000 that will be evaluated by the board this quarter.
1. St. Rita in the Desert Parish, Vail -- It was my joy again this past weekend to be with a community in their new worship space. Last weekend it was the dedication of the new church of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista. Yesterday, I dedicated the new altar and multi-purpose center at St. Rita of the Desert Parish in Vail. The parish's historic but small church has served the community since its founding. With the incredible growth in the area there has been a need for a larger building to serve the community. Father Bob Wicht, a member of the Salvatorian Community, and the parish have worked hard for a number of years to raise the needed funds. Many parishioners gave generously of their time and talent to complete the new space. Much of the work in the center was done by local artists and artisans. It was a real family affair.
The enthusiasm and emotion present made it clear to me how proud people are of their parish and how deep is their faith. They gave Father Bob a standing ovation, expressing their thanks for his pastoral leadership.
2. Vocation Retreat -- Thirteen men and women participated in the weekend vocation retreat at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks. The program was directed by Sister Carla Riach, O.S.F., from San Xavier Parish and a team that included Sister Sophia Becker, O.S.B., Brother Nick Gonzalez, F.S.C., of San Miguel High School, Father Charles Talley, O.F.M., Brother David Buer, O.F.M., of San Xavier Mission, Terry McCarthy, director of the Secular Franciscans, Brother Juan Moreno, O.C.D., Sister Rina Cappelazzo, O.P., Father John Williamson, O.C.D., and seminarians Jorge Farias, Gabriel Romo, Phil Johnson and T. J. Pierson. I could sense the hunger that the participants have for the Lord and their desire to learn what it is He is calling them to do with their lives. I pray that some of them will persevere in their interest in a vocation to serve in the Church. It is very encouraging to me to meet people like these seekers, who are striving to know the Lord more fully in their lives.
3. Diocese of Tucson Catholic Cemeteries -- The board of directors of the Cemeteries will acknowledge and thank two board members for their distinguished service at an appreciation dinner tomorrow night. Gary Brown has served on the board since its establishment in 2002. His expertise as executive director of the Diocese of Phoenix Catholic Cemeteries has been of invaluable assistance to us. Frank Naughton has served on the board and also has served as interim director of the Cemeteries. Earlier this year, we were able to thank and acknowledge two other board members who are ending their terms of service, Constance Howard and Fernando Castro.
4. Meeting of Board of Directors of Catholic Community Services -- I will join the Board of Directors of Catholic Community Services this Wednesday for the final meeting of the fiscal year. The agenda includes the presentation of the proposed budget for the next fiscal year, discussion of an application to the state Department of Housing to purchase and renovate a building to serve as a new domestic crisis shelter in Douglas and the final review and approval of changes to the by-laws and articles of incorporation for CCS. The board members of CCS are a hard working and diverse group of individuals from our community. They give generously of their time and expertise to help the Diocese serve the people in our communities who often have the lowest income or who are the most vulnerable. The work of CCS could not happen without the help of these committed members. I thank all of them for their service, and especially the president of the board, Linda Werbylo who finishes her two-year term as president with this meeting.
5. Celebrations of Retirement -- We extend our best wishes to Father Tom Millane and to Father Van Wagner, vicar general, as they celebrate their retirement from active ministry. Actually, they both are being celebrated, thanked and acknowledged for their years of dedicated and faithful ministry in our Diocese.
I was pleased to join the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish community in Tucson in their celebration yesterday acknowledging the contributions of Father Tom Millane, thanking him for his 26 years of service as their founding pastor. The love people have for Father Tom was apparent as they stood and gave resounding applause for his service. There will be a dinner this Thursday at La Paloma to pay tribute to this fine priest.
This Wednesday, all of us in diocesan administration will be celebrating with Father Van his retirement with an evening that we are calling "VanFest."
Father Van and Father Tom have contributed so much to the Diocese and to the parishes they have served, and we all wish them the best and God's blessings as they enter this new time in their lives as priests.
6. Cursillo -- I will be making a Cursillo later this week in Yuma. Cursillo (Spanish, meaning short course) is a spiritual movement that most often is associated with a three-day spiritual gathering and process. This will be a first-time experience for me, and I feel very privileged to participate in the Cursillo that will be the first following the reconstitution of the movement in our Diocese.
Summarizing the spirit of the Cursillo Movement would be very difficult, so suffice it to say that Cursillo really is about creating environments for living the Christian life. I encourage you to visit www.natl-cursillo.org to learn more about the movement.
When you talk to Cursillistas, they express immediately how powerful the experience was and the lasting effect it has had on their spiritual lives. I hope many in our Diocese will participate in the upcoming Cursillos. Several Cursillos in Spanish and English are planned for the next few weeks.
The new permanent Cursillo Secretariat for our Diocese was constituted earlier this year. I am grateful to Deacon Armando Valenzuela and the new Secreteriat for their steadfast work in laying the groundwork for the revised Cursillo. I also am grateful to Father Raul Trevizo, vicar general and pastor of St. John the Evangelist the Parish in Tucson, and Ruben Davolos, director of the Office of Evangelization and Hispanic Ministry, who have guided this reinstitution of the Cursillo Movement in our Diocese over the last year.
7. Diocese of Tucson Lay Ecclesial Ministers -- The Diocese of Tucson Lay Ecclesial Ministers (TALM) will meet on Saturday, Aug. 19, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at St. Joseph's Parish Hall in Tucson. I will give the opening address and a reflection on "Coworkers in the Vineyard of the Lord," the foundational document for lay ecclesial ministry in the U.S. Margaret Lordon and Sister Lois Paha, O.P., will present the highlights of the recent convocation of the National Association for Lay Ministry. We will conclude with a business meeting that will be focused on supporting and strengthening lay ministry in the Diocese of Tucson. Members of the TALM steering committee include Dee Dee Gradillas, Michael Berger, Margaret Lordon, Barbara Mattus, Sister Lois, Loretta Tracy and Joanne Welter. For information on TALM and how to participate in the meeting, please contact Pegi Dodd in the Office of Formation at 520-838-2545.
8. Our Lady of the Valley Parish, Green Valley -- I celebrated Mass at Our Lady of the Valley Parish on Saturday and afterward had a chance to listen to the community identify the blessings and needs of their parish as they now await the appointment of a new pastor.
Both the staff meeting before Mass and the gathering with more than 200 parishioners after Mass gave me an excellent sense of the parish's needs. This is a community made up of many senior citizens, as well as many young families now moving into the area. Their description of what they are looking for in a new pastor was impressive. They want someone who can attend with compassion and concern for the elderly, who is involved with the young families, who is a good preacher and administrator, who has energy, who is insightful and a person of vision who can help the parish and the area respond to the growth that is happening all around them.
It is a powerful experience to listen to a community reflect on their life as a parish. It impressed me to hear the sensitivity the people have for our priests and the pressures they are under because of the shortage of priests we face. They mentioned several times their concern for their priests. I only wish our priests fully understood how loved and valued they are.
9. Itinerary of Relics of Martyred Priests in Arizona -- The Arizona State Council of the Knights of Columbus has announced the July 13 through July 19 itinerary in Arizona of the relics of six Knights of Columbus priest martyrs of Mexico who were canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2000. The visit of the relics is as part of a nationwide pilgrimage organized by the Knights of Columbus. Thousands have already turned out to venerate these same relics in Washington, D.C., California, Texas, Colorado, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Mexico the past three months.
The itinerary in the Diocese of Tucson is: Sierra Vista on July 17 at St. Andrew the Apostle Church, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Tucson on July 18 at Our Lady, Queen of All Saints, 8:30 a.m. - 11 a.m. and St. Augustine Cathedral, noon - 6 p.m. and a procession from the Tucson Knights of Columbus Council 1200 at 7 p.m. to St. Ambrose Church where the relics will stay until 3 a.m. on July 19.
Fathers Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Lucero, Miguel de la Mora de la Mora, Jose Maria Robles Hurtado, Luis Batiz Sainz, Rodrigo Aguilar Alemán and Mateo Correa Magallanes were martyred for their faith during the religious persecution in Mexico in the 1920s and 1930s. One of the priests -- Father Lucero -- was ordained in the U.S. in 1918 before returning to Mexico, where he was killed in 1937.
10. Community Kudos -- Father Rudy Rosales, pastor of Holy Angels Parish in Globe, has received the Community Pride Award from the Arizona Department of Children, Youth and Families and Child Protective Services Family Group Decision Making Program. The award recognizes Father Rudy for his generosity in making the parish hall available to the program for a meeting that resulted in the placement of a young child and her ailing grandmother.
11. The Summer Break -- Let's all take some encouragement that the cloudy skies of the last few days and the forecasts of storms this week will bode well for the monsoon season and for some quenching rains that will put a dent in this continuing drought. We celebrated the feast day of St. John yesterday in the traditional way in Tucson by praying for rain. My neighborhood on Tucson's eastside got a downpour in the late afternoon!
I am going to be taking a little time off starting next week, so Monday Memo is going on summer break. The memo will return in August.
Have a safe summer!