March 10, 2003 March 17, 2003 March 24, 2003 March 31, 2003
Vol. 1, No. 1
March 10, 2003
Each Monday you will be receiving a memo from me. The purpose of the memo is to communicate information about the week ahead, to acknowledge the good things happening around the Diocese, and to address specific issues that may surface.
Good communication is critical for any Diocese, especially a Diocese of our geographic size.
I welcome any comments, suggestions, or recommendations on how to make this memo as helpful as possible. If you have something you want publicized in the Monday Memo, please send it to my attention c/o Monday Memo at the Pastoral Center, 111 Church Avenue, P.O. Bo--31, Tucson, AZ 85702.
This Monday Memo will not replace the information that is sent around on a monthly basis in the Diocesan mailing. This memo is from me and contains my reflection on what is happening within the Diocese. The memo will be sent to you by fax, one to each parish, school, and institution listed in our Directory. If you do not have a fax, it will be sent via the mail. I encourage you to post or duplicate the memo for others in your organization.
It also will be available on our Diocesan Internet site at www.diocesetucson.org/mondaymemo.html.
The information will be shared in random order and not by order of importance.
1. I will be out of town this week, participating in two programs. The first is a workshop on conflict that I will be conducting for the Doctor of Ministry candidates at the University of St. Mary of the Lake. Pastors and pastoral ministers spend about a third of their time dealing with conflict situations.
Most of us find conflict difficult. We try to avoid it. Yet conflict can be constructive. The only place where conflict does not exist when people are together is in the cemetery. They are together at peace.
The second meeting will be a meeting of the Bishops' subcommittee on Lay Ecclesial Ministry which I am chairing. The committee is made up of Bishops from pertinent committees in the Conference.
They include Bishop Gregory Aymond of Austin, Texas, representing Priestly Formation; Bishop Sam Aquila, Bishop of Fargo, ND, representing the Diaconate; Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, CT, representing Doctrine; Bishop Arthur Tafoya of Pueblo, CO, representing Vocations; and Bishop John Wester, auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco, representing the Committee on Pastoral Practice.
Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop William Lavada, and Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk are consultants for the committee.
The purpose of the committee is to develop a guidebook for the formation of laity involved in ministry within the Church.
It will be similar to the program of priestly formation for seminarians and the program of diaconate formation for deacon candidates.
However, this document will not have the force of law as do those documents. Laity are taking more and more leadership in the service they render within the Church. This work in the Church is not to replace lay involvement in the marketplace, which is their first responsibility, but their gifts and talents add immensely to the work of building up the Church.
2. There will be a meeting of the Catholic Foundation Board on Tuesday, March 11. The present membership of the Board includes: Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas, Chairman; Hon. Joseph Howard, President; Bruno Dispoto, Vice President; Ann Dickson, Treasurer; Charles Mahn, Secretary; Elena B.B. D'Autremont, Past President; Ginny Clements, William Stout, Rev. Joseph Lombardo, Ernest Nedder, Dave Sitton, Jannie Cox, Martin Camacho, Frank J. Felix, Donna Byers, Daniel Quigley, Rev. Todd O'Leary, Alonzo Morado. E--officio members are: Rev. Van Wagner, Vicar General, and Mary Huerstel, CFO, Diocese of Tucson. Mr. Gary Broussard is the Executive Director.
The Foundation plays a critical role for regarnering resources, personal and financial in the Diocese.
I am grateful for their work and eager to assist them in encouraging people to share their time, treasure, and talent. Gary conducts workshops in parishes on estate planning. If he has not made a presentation in your parish, you might consider inviting him to do this.
3. Our Sexual Misconduct Review Board will be meeting on Friday, March 14. The membership of that Board is: Dr. Jose Santiago, chairman; Rev. Msgr. Arsenio S. Carrillo, Mrs. Charlotte Harris, Mrs. Maureen Keegan, Sister Kathleen Kluthe, SSSF, Deacon Oscar Magallanes, Mr. Charles Pettis, Mr. George K. Robles, Ms. Sally Simmons, Rev, Frederick Tillotson, O. Carm., and Mrs. Mercy Valencia. Diocesan Attorney Tom Murphy provides legal consul to the board. Dr. Paul Duckro, director of the Diocesan Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, serves as staff for the board.
At this meeting the board will continue to review allegations against Church personnel and determine the credibility of the allegations.
While this is difficult and painful work, I have been impressed by the wisdom and diligence of the board members. Their counsel has been deeply appreciated. They will also be working at the revision of the policies Bishop Moreno established less than a year ago. Many recommendations have come in from many sources. Dr. Duckro is gathering those recommendations. The board will determine whether the policies should be amended in response to those comments.
4. The staff of the Bishop Moreno Pastoral Center will be meeting on Friday, March 14, to establish priorities and determine any organizational changes that need to be made within the departments. The department Directors will be meeting on a regular basis to keep informed on what various departments are doing, and to offer recommendations on making the Pastoral Center more responsive to the needs of our parishes and institutions
They will be asked to consider the pastoral priorities that have been identified: restore trust, renew parishes, reenergize the presbyterate and others in ministry, recruit vocations, regarner resources, personal and financial, and to reach out.
5. On Sunday, March 16, I will be in Washington participating in a meeting of the Bishops' Committee on Doctrine, of which I am a member. My service on this committee will end in November. This committee reviews all documents from the Conference to determine their doctrinal orthodoxy and responds to queries from the Congregation for the Doctrine for the Faith in matters the Congregation is considering.
6. Progress continues to be made on the two new Catholic high schools that will be established in the Diocese.
The Board of St. Augustine Catholic High School is involved in a silent campaign to raise $7 million by June. Mr. Buck O'Rielly has agreed to serve with me as co-chair of the capital campaign for this school. His involvement and influence are critical for its success. They hope to enroll fifty to one hundred students in first year, which will begin in August of 2003. Sister Lauren Moss, OSF, is working very hard with her staff to prepare for the opening of school. Beginnings are always exciting, but challenging. I am grateful to the pastors of the eastside parishes for their support of this initiative. Their involvement is critical for its success. I am especially grateful to Fr. Bob Tamminga and the parish community of St. Francis De Sales for being good neighbors to this new high school.
Mr. Henry Rillos, Project Director for San Miguel Catholic High School, is working hard with the De La Salle Christian Brothers to develop plans necessary for the school's opening in August of 2004. We have had some excellent leadership gifts given to San Miguel from the Cassin Foundation, Mr. Jim Click, and Mr. Robert Hulesman of Solo Cup Co.
The board of San Miguel High School is very close to naming the President and Principal of the new school. They will play key roles in this initiative.
These schools, along with Yuma Catholic High School, Salpointe Catholic High School, Lourdes High School, and IHM, will make Catholic secondary education more available and accessible in our Diocese. I am grateful to all involved.
7. A reminder that Bishop Moreno and I are conducting a Diocesan Lenten Mission "Renewing Our Lives in Christ Jesus" on four Sundays during Lent. The remaining days are Sunday, March 16. March 23, and March 30.
The mission begins at 7:30 pm and is held at St. Augustine Cathedral. All are welcome.
I am very grateful for all of the Lenten opportunities that are available in our parishes. It is a season for renewal and turning again to the Lord. Everything we do whether in the parish, or in our schools or in our institutions must be done in relationship to growth in holiness.
8. Last week, we held the second Day of Prayer for Priests at the Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks. I have been very pleased with the turnout of our priests. These days of silence are welcome in the busy lives of our priests. The next Day of Prayer is Thursday, April 10, 2003.
The Chrism Mass to be held on Monday, April 14, will be an occasion for our priests and all of us to recommit ourselves to our own growth in holiness. Please plan to attend.
9. Please continue to pray for peace in these troubled and treacherous times. I encourage you to have a weekly petition, begging the Lord to grant us peace. Likewise, I encourage you to invite Rosary groups in the parish to pray the Rosary for peace as the Holy Father has encouraged us.
10. One of our priorities for the Diocese is to recruit vocations. Persistent prayer, beseeching the Lord for vocations to serve the Church, will make a difference as the Lord has promised.
So again, I encourage you to have a petition asking God to grant us more vocations to the priesthood, religious life, diaconate, and lay ministry for the Diocese of Tucson. This is especially important in our schools. Persistent prayer makes us aware of the importance of that for which we pray. Persistent prayer may move some to respond to God's call in answer to our prayer.
11. Friday, March 8, truly was a wonderful day for our Diocese and for Bishop Moreno and myself. We both are so grateful to all who helped make the noon Liturgy a prayerful and inspiring occasion. (I wish we could have given more advance notice to you, but that simply was not possible.)
I think even the news media felt how special the Liturgy was.
Congratulations to the new Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Tucson. Our Pastoral Center now bears his name -- The Bishop Moreno Pastoral Center.
12. Once again, please duplicate this memo and distribute it to key parish and school staff, as well as key members of your institution.
Vol. 1, No. 2
March 17, 2003
Happy St. Patrick's and St. Joseph's Day to all of you!
Bishop Moreno has told me how he becomes Irish each St. Patrick's Day by adding an "O" and an apostrophe at the front of his last name. So, today, I am proud to be Bishop O'Kicanas.
We do think today of the wonderful service that priests and religious women from Ireland have provided -- and continue to provide -- to our Diocese. Just think of what it must have been like for them to leave the Emerald Isle to come to Sonoran Desert. Please remember our Irish priests and religious in your prayers today.
1. Last Friday, I met with the staff of the Bishop Moreno Pastoral Center. The entire staff, including Bishop Moreno and myself, numbers 49, which includes the Catholic Foundation's staff of three and the two staff members of the Catholic Relief Services Mexico Project.
I met first with the heads of major departments. They are Father Van Wager, our Vicar General; June Kellen, our Chancellor; Mary Huerstel of Fiscal Services; John Shaheen of Property and Insurance; Gary Broussard of the Catholic Foundation; Fred Allison of Community Relations; Helen Evans of the Tribunal; Regina Sasseen of Parish Life and Ministry; Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz of Catholic Schools; and Dr. Paul Duckro of the Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection. (Tom Smith of Development Services and Father Miguel Mariano of Vocations were not able to be present). We discussed ways to effectively communicate amongst ourselves and the importance of coordination. We touched briefly on some organizational needs.
I then met with all the staff, and it was a most enjoyable and productive meeting. I shared my observation, after more than a year of working with them, that they are generous, hard-working and genuinely caring people.
We had a very open exchange, with questions, answers and opinions on a number of subjects.
For instance, I heard from them recommendations for a "suggestion box," the development of a handbook for Pastoral Center staff, opportunities for prayer and community service and a calendar for major diocesan events and needs. We will follow up on all of these recommendations.
I was asked what my expectations are of the staff of the Pastoral Center. I told them that their ministry is one of service to our parishes and schools, to all the people "in the field." And I told them I wanted them to always be welcoming and responsive.
Interestingly, when I asked them what they would rather be called, Chancery Staff or Pastoral Center Staff, there was a unanimous, "Pastoral Center!"
2. I informed the Pastoral Center Staff on Friday and I am pleased to inform you now that Father Van Wagner has accepted my invitation to continue as Vicar General. The Vicar General has some specific canonical responsibilities, but, in general, he is the bishop's "alter ego." I am very honored that Father Van will continue in his special ministry. His service is a great gift to me and to our Diocese.
3. I also am pleased to inform you that Sonya Gutierrez, who served Bishop Moreno so faithfully and diligently these last nine years, is remaining in the Office of the Bishop as an executive assistant. Sister Charlotte Anne Swift, who served in that capacity while I was coadjutor, joins Sonya in the Office of the Bishop as an executive assistant.
4. During our Friday meeting of Department Heads, Father Van encapsulated, in a creative way, some of my hopes for the Diocese that I expressed in my first pastoral letter as Bishop and in my remarks at the Mass on March 7. He calls them the "Six Rs." They are: restore trust; reenergize our priests and all in Church service; renew our parishes; reach out to the littlest and weakest among us; regarner our resources; and recruit more vocations to ministry, especially to the priesthood and religious life. I didn't realize the alliteration at the time, but Father Van surely did.
5. The first "R," restoring trust, will be the focus of the annual priests convocation that will be held Tuesday to Thursday, March 25-27, in Tucson. We will be looking for ways to restore and rebuild trust -- between bishop and presbyterate, between leadership and the people and among the priests themselves.
6. I am learning that "Arizona Highways" is not just a magazine, it's the unofficial motto of the Bishop of Tucson. It takes a lot of driving to cover the territory of our Diocese. I bring this up because I am beginning the second round of my visits to pastors. These visits are important because they give me the opportunity to affirm the work and ministry of our priests, to hear their priorities, to learn about their parishes and to reflect with them on how they are doing personally and spiritually.
7. I look forward to being with the students of Immaculate Heart High School and their families on Thursday as we celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation. These occasions are very special for me. I take joy in seeing young people take this important step in their faith and into their coming adulthood. I especially enjoy reading the letters they write explaining why their faith is important to them. The service projects they participate in are a great introduction to the life of a Christian.
8. Congratulations to our Olympians! Our Mother of Sorrows School Science Olympians have won their third straight Arizona Science Olympiad. I will be celebrating this honor with them this Friday with Mass at 8:30 a.m. After Mass, I will see how they won as I participate with them in some of the projects involved in the competition.
9. I'll be leaving Our Mother of Sorrows on Friday for the Gila East Vicariate Meeting. These meetings are very important in the structure of our Diocese. They are an opportunity for priests, religious and, sometimes, staff to gather. The meetings are conduits for our 11 vicariates across the diocese to provide information to the Bishop.
10. Pio Decimo Center in Tucson, one of the si--member agencies of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, celebrates the completion of a major renovation project this Friday. The renovation, made possible by a grant from Angel Charity, will enable the Center to provide even more services to families and children. I look forward to being with Center director Margaret Kish, the Pio Decimo Staff, community leaders and families for the celebration. I welcome this opportunity to acknowledge Margaret's hard work and selfless dedication, attributes that are shared by her staff and volunteers.
11. I will join the Pastoral Council of St. Luke Parish in Douglas for a meeting on Saturday. The councils of our parishes and our Diocese are essential to the work of the Church and the mission of our Diocese. They are a primary means of lay participation, and I hope all our parishes will move towards the formation of parish and finance councils.
12. Our Diocesan Lenten Mission, "Renewing Our Lives in Christ Jesus," continues this Sunday and concludes on Sunday, March 30. The mission begins at 7:30 pm and is held at St. Augustine Cathedral. All are welcome.
13. My first installation of a pastor since becoming Bishop of Tucson will be on Sunday, when I will be in Bisbee to celebrate with the people of St. Patrick's Parish the installation of Father Larry Kasper. It is during the installation that the bishop formally gives to the pastor the "care of the souls" of the people. It is a beautiful ceremony, and it reminds us of the importance of the role of the pastor and all the responsibilities that go with it. It brings home to us that we can't be a Church without a priest.
14. I started this memo with St. Patrick and I have ended it with St. Patrick. That's the luck of the Irish-Lebanese!
I hope you have a good week filled with God's blessings.
Vol. 1, No. 3
March 24, 2003
Pray for peace!
The war in Iraq came home to our Diocese in a tragic way last Friday when Immaculate Conception Parish and School in Yuma learned that Marine Maj. Jay Thomas Aubin died when his helicopter crashed while returning to Kuwait from a mission into Iraq. Seven other soldiers died in the crash. Maj. Aubin was stationed in Yuma. The Aubin Family belongs to Immaculate Conception Parish, and both children are students at Immaculate Conception School. We pray for the repose of the soul of Maj. Aubin, and we pray that in their grief his family will receive the loving comfort of our Heavenly Father.
There are many military families in our parishes. I am so grateful for the efforts of our parishes to reach out with prayer and care to these families. In the weeks or even months ahead, our parishes and Diocese may be called upon to offer extraordinary service to the families of our military men and women.
Please do not hesitate to inform me of any special needs or situations that may arise. Especially, please inform me if families in our parishes and schools have members who become casualties. You may contact Sonya Gutierrez or Sister Charlotte Anne Swift in the Office of the Bishop.
1. I will be participating in today's meeting of the Ministry Formation Planning Committee. This committee is doing groundbreaking work that will result in a first-of-its kind diocesan formation program. We expect this program to integrate some elements of our present lay leadership formation programs with our diaconate formation program. This means that deacon candidates undergoing their formation and laity who are seeking leadership formation could share in academic preparation together. Formation will remain separate. The members of the committee are: Deacons Bob Sadorf, George Gaun, Rudy Noriega, Oscar Magallanes and Carlos Gelabert; Father Michael Kendell of Jordan Ministries; Regina Sasseen, Mike Berger, Margaret Lordon and Ruben Davalos of our Department of Parish Life and Ministry; and Father Van Wagner, vicar general.
2. Our Diocesan Finance Council and our Presbyteral Council both meet on Tuesday at the Pastoral Center. I look forward to a presentation during the Presbyteral Council meeting by representatives of "Journey for Peace," a movement that encourages the praying of the Rosary. Certainly, at this time of war and great anxiety, we need to encourage the praying of the Rosary and we need the encouragement that praying the Rosary will give to us. On Oct. 26 of this year we will conclude the Year of the Rosary with a special liturgy at St. Augustine Cathedral. We are hoping that Archbishop Montalvo, the Apostolic Delegate to the U.S., will be the main celebrant. I hope all our parishes will be able to send representatives to this special liturgy.
3. Priests of the Diocese will be gathering in Tucson Tuesday afternoon through Thursday morning for our annual Convocation of Priests. The focus of this year's convocation is "Rebuilding Trust." The hope is to discern as a group how the Spirit is working at this time and how we might collaborate in that work. Bishop Moreno will give a reflection, looking back on his 21 years of service as our bishop. I will offer some comments as we look to the future. Father Dismas Bonner, OFM, and our own Dr. Paul Duckro of the Office for Child, Adolescent, and Adult Protection, will make presentations. A special part of the convocation will be our "Celebration of Priesthood," during which we rejoice with our brother priests who this year celebrate special anniversary years of their priesthood. This year "jubilarians" are: Father Bob Gonzales, Father Tom Santa, C.Ss.R. (25 years); Msgr. Tom Cahalane, Father Charlie Knapp, Father Tom Millane, Father Foster Hanley, O.Carm., Father Tim Howard, S.J., Father Dan McLaughlin, S.T., and Father Andrew Whitman, S.J. (40 years); Father John O'Rourke (55 years); and Father Kevin McArdle, O.C.D. (60 years.) May God bless these good priests in this special anniversary year for each.
4. Thursday afternoon I will be joining representatives of our Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona and the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona in a meeting with Congressman Raul Grijalva, whose district comprises much of our Diocese's border with Mexico. We are going to be exploring how the Catholic and Jewish communities together can address the moral and social effects and implications of the on-going migration of Mexican citizens into the U.S.
5. On Friday, the staff of the Bishop Moreno Diocese of Tucson Pastoral Center will be on retreat at the Center from 9 a.m. until noon. This will be a special time for all of us at the Center as we "retreat" from the work of the Diocese to reflect and share on the faith that joins us in our work. In our various workplaces around the Diocese, I am sure we all know the "person" each of our co-workers is. How well do we know the Christian inside each of our co-workers? Our retreat will be an effort at getting to know each other as an individual person of faith. During our retreat time, the Pastoral Center switchboard will be closed, but a message on the recorded greeting will give instructions on how to access us in an emergency.
6. I am grateful for the invitation from the Women Religious of our Diocese to pray with them Saturday on their retreat day at La Purissima Retreat Center in Hereford. (On May 2 of this year, we will be honoring the Religious Women of our Diocese at the Annual Catholic Foundation dinner. Beginning with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, our Diocese has been blessed by the service of Religious Women in our communities.)
7. From the quiet and serenity of La Purissima I will be going back to Tucson on Saturday afternoon for the noise and joy of our annual Teen Day. Organizers expect more than 500 teens and parish youth ministry leaders to attend. Please pray that our youth are inspired to deepen their relationship with God and with the Church community. The theme of this year's Teen Day says it all: "Love Fest 2003." The teens will experience each other and some "awesome" sessions, with featured guest "Breakdown."
8. On Sunday I will celebrate Mass at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. at our newest parish San Martin de Porres in Sahuarita. San Martin had been a mission of Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Green Valley. We all rejoice when another community of faith "grows up" to achieve parish status. We rejoice as well as we look to the future and the growing need for new parishes. Planning for new parishes means finding a place to put them, and we presently looking for sites near Oracle Junction, Gold Canyon near Apache Junction and Maricopa in Pinal County.
9. Congratulations to Father Joe Baker, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Tucson, for his recognition by the Arizona branch of the National Association of Social Workers. The group named Father Joe its "Public Citizen of the Year." Father Joe has helped lead Holy Family Parish in service to the community through the parish's Caridad feeding center for the poor and homeless.
10. Congratulations to the Minim Sisters, who will be celebrating the 117th anniversary of their founding on Tuesday. The Minim Sisters came to our Diocese in 1926 as refugees from religious persecution in Mexico, and they have been ministering to our people since then. Our Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, is a Minim Sister.
11. I shared with you last week that Sonya Gutierrez and Sister Charlotte Anne Swift would be partners and co-workers as my executive administrative assistants in the Office of the Bishop. So you will know which of them does what, Sister will handle in-coming matters such as phone calls, calendar scheduling, mail, e-mail and some specific projects. Sonya will take care of out-going matters such as correspondence, day files and specific projects. She also will assist Bishop Moreno one day a week. I am grateful for the support of these two dedicated, gifted and generous members of our Pastoral Center staff.
Vol. 1, No. 4
March 31, 2003
I am happy to share a brief report on our annual convocation of priests that was held Tuesday afternoon through Thursday morning of last week.
This was my second convocation since coming to the Diocese, and I experienced again the joy of gathering together and the rich diversity of our presbyterate.
As you know, the theme of the convocation was "Rebuilding Trust" in the aftermath of the sexual misconduct scandals that have so deeply affected our Diocese and other dioceses around the nation. Father Dismas Bonner, O.F.M., our guest presenter, gave a powerful talk on the crisis and its causes.
An excellent discussion followed that included encouragement for the possibility of a Diocesan Synod.
Dr. Paul Duckro of the Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection led us in a very open and important conversation about how we might live more together as a fraternity of priests.
On Wednesday night, we celebrated with 11 of our brothers their jubilee anniversaries of priesthood, and what a joy it was to extend to these good priests, whom I named in last week's memo, the congratulations and blessing of our Holy Father.
It meant very much to all of us to receive from many of our parish staffs and from the staff of the Pastoral Center cards and messages expressing their prayers for us during the convocation.
1. Over the weekend, I reported by letter to nine of our parishes concerning allegations of sexual misconduct involving minors that had been made against clergy who had once served in the Diocese. I noted in the letter that while reports of this nature are painful and discouraging, we realize that we must provide such information because it helps lead to the healing of victims.
These reports to our parish communities were made after our Sexual Misconduct Review Board had completed four months of careful review of allegations that were present in archival records or that had been reported to the Diocese by victims or by law enforcement.
I am making a full report to the Diocese in the April issue of Catholic Vision, which will be distributed in our parishes this coming weekend. The report also is available on our Diocesan Internet site at www.diocesetucson.org under "Restoring Trust."
Our reports to parishes and to the large community help us fulfill our commitment to continue to be open and transparent about allegations of abuse. I expect to be relating to local news media on Monday morning, after the report is made available over the weekend.
2. My visits to pastors continue this week with a full afternoon schedule of visits in the Tucson area on Monday.
3. Many of you may not be aware that one of our valued Diocesan Staff, Regina Sasseen of the Department of Parish Life and Ministry, is retiring this August. Reggie has directed DPLM for nearly 13 years. I am pleased to acknowledge her numerous contributions to the ministry of the Diocese, and I am sure we will have more opportunities to reflect on the good work Reggie has been a part of as her retirement approaches.
Over the next few months, she and the staff of DPLM will be extremely helpful to me as we look to the future and the opportunity to restructure the department's important ministry areas, which include adult faith formation, lay leadership training and development, youth ministry, training of catechists, evangelization and Hispanic ministry. We are looking at the possibility of a bi-lingual director of formation who would coordinate the diaconate and lay ministry formation programs.
4. I'll be visiting two of our parochial schools this week, San Carlos Mission School in San Carlos on Tuesday and St. Cyril School in Tucson on Wednesday.
San Carlos and San Xavier are our two parochial schools on Native American reservations within our Diocese. Both are beautiful examples of how our Church works with Native peoples to provide a good education that teaches faith and that helps preserve and pass on important cultural traditions.
These schools visits are really energizing and fun for me. Last week at our Mother of Sorrows School in Tucson, I celebrated Mass with the student body and then went one-on-one with the school's Arizona championship Science Olympiad team in some challenging science events. (I thank the Arizona Daily Star for its fine report on that visit.) There is always "Good News" at our schools, and we all share in the accomplishments of our students, their teachers, the staffs and principals.
5. Friday evening and Saturday morning I will be attending an important gathering of our committed Pro-Life Catholics at the Holy Family Conference in Tucson. I am honored to be a speaker on Friday, and I look forward to the Mass we will celebrate together on Saturday. The conference will be held at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, and more information is available at 575-2759. This conference points out the critical importance of Pro-Life activities in our Church and our need to be attentive to the entire range of Pro-Life issues present in our society.
6. Monday of Holy Week is two weeks from today. I call the attention of all to the importance of the annual "Chrism Mass" that by tradition in our Diocese is celebrated on the evening of that day.
I extend this special invitation to you and all who work in our parishes, schools and agencies to join me at 6:30 p.m. at St. Augustine Cathedral on Monday, April 14.
It is especially important for us to be with each other this year on this night, for it will be a special time and occasion for us to seek God's forgiveness for the failings and sins of the past that have brought such sorrow to the whole Church.
I will value your presence immeasurably, for I want to pray the Stations of the Cross with you in a very special and unique way at 6:30 p.m. to help us prepare for the Mass and its important rituals of commitment.
7. Please direct any and all who seek to assist the innocent people of Iraq who are suffering the effects of war to the Catholic Relief Services Iraq Humanitarian Response. CRS has provided substantial humanitarian assistance to the people of Iraq throughout the country since the end of the Gulf War, helping undernourished children; pregnant and lactating mothers; and the elderly, handicapped and very needy. In 2002, the program reached more than 30,000 vulnerable persons throughout Iraq with food and medicine. CRS is prepared to provide immediate and long-term assistance to those affected by war as soon as access becomes available.
Donations can be made directly to CRS by calling 1-800-736-3467 or by sending checks to P.O. Bo--17090, Baltimore, Maryland 21203-7090.
8. Please pray for peace and for the safety of all who are in harm's way because of the war. Our Diocesan website has a link to prayers in time of war. Just click on the graphic of the candle. Also, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has a variety of resources for parishes and individuals on its website at "Iraq: The Way To Peace," which can be accessed at this address: www.nccbuscc.org/sdwp/peace/index.htm.