March 1, 2004 March 8, 2004 March 15, 2004 March 22, 2004 March 29, 2004
Vol. 1, No. 45
March 1, 2004
I call your attention to several resources related to the release last Friday of three reports on the nature and scope of sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy.
The website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at www.usccb.org has links to the complete contents of the John Jay Study and the National Review Board report. The "Streaming Video" link allows you to view and hear the presentations of the study and the report that were made the Washington news conferences.
On our diocesan website, www.diocesetucson.org, under "Restoring Trust," there is the complete text of the letter I sent to parishes on Friday. (Pastors were to communicate a shorter version of this letter over the weekend.) Also under "Restoring Trust" is more specific information that reflects the experience of our Diocese in the tragedy of sexual abuse of children by clergy. My letter and a summary of information will be included in Catholic Vision for March, which will be distributed this coming weekend at our parishes.
I am truly interested in hearing the feelings and opinions of our laity, religious and clergy about what has come out both nationally and locally. Please feel free to express your feelings and opinions to me directly by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Diocese invited local news media to the Pastoral Center on Friday afternoon for a news conference.
Joining me and making brief statements at the news conference and taking questions from reporters were Dr. José Santiago, chairman of our diocesan Sexual Misconduct Review Board; Paul Duckro, director of our diocesan Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, Bridget Riceci, president and CEO of the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault; Msgr. Tom Cahalane, pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish; and Father Andrew Greeley, priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and well known sociologist and author who teaches at the University of Arizona. I am grateful to each of them for their presence.
For our Diocese, the interest of the news media in the release of the John Jay Study, the National Review Board's reaction to the study and the release of more specific information about our own Diocese's experience represented an opportunity to communicate some very important messages:
The protection of children is paramount; we are reaching out to victim/survivors of clergy abuse and we are praying for their healing; we have put into place policies and implemented programs and procedures for the creation of safe environments for children at our parishes and schools; we are deeply concerned about the prevalence of child abuse in all its forms throughout society.
I regret that some of the local television news stories reported that I was not welcoming to members of SNAP who said they came to the Pastoral Center to participate in the news conference. On the contrary, I met briefly with some of the SNAP members in my office prior to the start of the news conference and said I would be happy to meet with them that day or at some other time. They are not ready to do that yet.
I did not feel the SNAP members should attend the news conference since they never called to indicate they wanted to attend. They told me they had planned their own conference with the news media.
I hope in the future the members of SNAP and all victim/survivors in our community will feel less anger and resentment for the Church. They are our brothers and sisters and they have been hurt.
Reconciliation with victims remains a priority, yet each victim/survivor has different needs that must be respected.
1. Sacred Heart School of Theology -- I will be at Sacred Heart in Hales Corners, Wisc., on Wednesday to celebrate installation of 15 seminarians into the ministry of lector (reader). Sacred Heart, of course, is the nationally-known seminary for "second career" vocations which four of our active priests attended and where Bobby Rodriguez of Yuma is presently in formation. I serve on the seminary's Board of Directors.
2. Review of "Passion" Motion Picture -- The review of the "Passion of the Christ" by the Office of Film and Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is on-line at www.usccb.org.
It is a very comprehensive review, and I urge you to read it whether or not you intend seeing the film. I have not seen the film.
Those who have commented to me about the film indicate different responses. Some were moved spiritually, others found it too violent, while still others were confused that it took some liberties with the Gospel account. I pray that those who choose to see it will be more aware of God's great love for us in sending his only Son who died for us.
3. Ecumenical Way of the Cross for Justice -- This special Lenten service will take place at St. Cyril Parish in Tucson this Friday at 7 p.m. Loretta Tracy, who is diocesan ecumenical liaison, has helped to organize this service, which is a way for our Christian communities to gather together in prayer to acknowledge the suffering of migrants along our Diocese's border with Mexico.
4. Please Remember in Your Prayers -- Our Diocese has been blessed over the past two decades with the service of Sister Lauren Moss, O.S.F., who is truly dedicated to children and young people. In addition to her service in parish and school administration at our parishes, Sister Lauren served on the committee that developed our "Guidelines for the Prevention of and Response to Sexual Misconduct." Sister was a driving force behind the establishment of St. Augustine Catholic High School and was the school's first principal, a position that she recently had to give up because of severe illness.
The 6:30 p.m. Mass at our Mother of Sorrows this Wednesday evening will be dedicated to Sister; that God's special graces and blessings be with her. The parish invites her many friends and past students and co-workers to participate in this Mass.
5. In Memoriam -- His brother deacons and the community of Sacred Heart Parish in Nogales are praying for the repose of the soul of Deacon Rudolfo Vega, who died last week. Please pray for Deacon Vega and for the comfort of Christ for his family in their loss.
6. Operation Rice Bowl -- There is a huge basket in our lunch room here at the Pastoral Center that is filled with materials for Operation Rice Bowl, Catholic Relief Services' Lenten program of prayer, fasting, learning and giving.
The basket and materials remind us that Lent calls us to prayer, fasting and giving. Through Operation Rice Bowl, Catholic families and school and parish communities can do all three and help to fund CRS projects that will assist struggling people in other countries gain access to enough food that will meet their daily nutritional needs.
For more information on Operation Rice Bowl, please contact Joanne Welter of our Catholic Social Mission Office. Joanne is our diocesan CRS liaison/coordinator. And, you can visit: http://www.catholicrelief.org/what_we_do_in_the_united_states/operation_rice_bowl
7. "Come Home" -- My thanks to all in our parishes who have placed special emphasis on reaching out this Lent to Catholics who are not practicing, who have felt anger at the church or who have been hurt by the church.
Because they are separated from the practice of their Faith at this time in their lives, they are not in Church to hear that we care for them. That means we have to rely on their family members and friends who are at Mass to extend the invitation to "Come Home."
Please continue to spread the word about the special Lenten Season "Come Home" opportunities at St. Augustine Cathedral on March 11 and March 30. The 7 p.m. gatherings at the Cathedral are times for people who have felt distanced from the Church to join me for prayer and dialogue.
8. On the Road to Yuma County -- I will be traveling to Yuma County this weekend for confirmations in San Luis, Somerton, Welton and Yuma. I will be conferring the sacrament on nearly 400 young people in the various parishes. Such occasions are a great joy for me! More about my Yuma County schedule in next week's memo.
9. Future of Catholic Secondary Education -- I will be having a lunch meeting this week with pastors of the Pima East Vicariate parishes to talk about the present and future needs associated with the expansion of Catholic secondary education in the community through St. Augustine Catholic High School.
At the very beginning of our Diocese, Bishop Salpointe taught the value of Catholic education. When he went to the Catholic people, their supportive response was overwhelming.
As we seek now to expand secondary Catholic education in Tucson, the support and generosity of our Catholic people is critical for both St. Augustine Catholic High School and San Miguel Catholic High School.
How blessed we are to have Salpointe and Immaculate Heart in the Tucson area and Yuma Catholic High School in Yuma. We need to pray for and work for the success of our two newest high schools.
10. Called and Gifted -- First reports from our parishes for this year's Annual Catholic Appeal Campaign are very positive. Please encourage people to participate. My hope is that each parish will reach its goal. If we all do our part the ACA this year will be more successful than ever. I made my gift, and I hope each priest, deacon, and all the laity will give something from the blessings they have received. The reports will be posted on our diocesan Internet site. Just click on the "Called and Gifted" graphic.
11. One of Us at 111 S. Church -- I am so pleased that one of our 30-year veterans of the Diocese is this week's profile of a staff member here at the Pastoral Center. Mike Berger has brought great commitment and dedication to his ministry over the course of three decades.
"I am a 'not quite native' Arizonan, born in Ohio, but soon transplanted to Tucson in the late 1950s at the age of five. My three sisters and I grew up in central Tucson, where we all attended St. Cyril School and parish. I graduated from Salpointe Catholic and the University of Arizona. Today, like a growing number of laity, I have had the privilege of participating in two vocational callings -- that of marriage and family, and that of lay ecclesial ministry in the Church. My wife Sue and I have four children: Amy (27), Michael (24), Kate (21) and Matthew (12).
"During my years at the UA, I experienced some very powerful, life-changing conversion moments through the vehicles of youth and young adult retreats, inspiring mentors (clergy, religious and lay) and small prayer/faith- sharing groups. The words of Jesus, 'Come, follow me' became very real and challenging for me at that time, as they continue to be. The Lord gave me a wake-up call to a whole new perspective on the meaning of my life, which has been a real gift and blessing.
"It has been a great adventure to serve the people of God in the Diocese of Tucson these past 30 years in the areas of youth and family ministries and catechetical ministries. My co-workers here at the Pastoral Center, and the many gifted leaders in our parishes are the kind of dedicated and talented people who make it a joy to be part of a shared mission, and who make the struggles easier to bear. I look forward to the continued creativity which comes from this shared mission."
Vol. 1, No. 46
March 8, 2004
I am in Yuma as this week begins. I have just completed a weekend of confirmations at all the parishes in Yuma County: St. Jude in San Luis, Immaculate Heart of Mary in Somerton, Immaculate Conception, St. Francis of Assisi and St. John Neumann in Yuma and St. Joseph Mission in Wellton.
Confirmation celebrations are among the greatest joys of pastoral ministry for a bishop. As I complete my first year as diocesan bishop, I must say that I enjoy best the opportunities to be in our parishes, schools and Catholic institutions. I am writing a reflection about my first year as bishop which I will share with you soon.
1. Vocations -- I look forward to being with Knights of Columbus at their appreciation dinner in Yuma tonight for the priests and religious of the area's parishes and schools. As I said in my Catholic Vision column in this month's issue, the Knights in our Diocese have been wonderfully supportive of vocations, and that support includes events such as tonight's.
I will be attending the Andrew and Myriam Dinner for the Pima East Vicariate this Tuesday evening at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish.
I continue to marvel at and be inspired by the sincerity and interest of the young people who come to these dinners all over the Diocese to take part in discussions about vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
We are very blessed that we can respond to them with our "In Search" programs. These programs help to provide the opportunity for a new level of discernment and inquiry for those who are considering the possibility of a vocation to the priesthood or religious life.
2. Back in the Classroom -- I will be with the 2004 class of catechumens and candidates of St. Augustine Cathedral Parish this Wednesday evening. I was very honored to be invited by the class to be their teacher for their last formal session.
Olga Valenzuela, Cathedral's RCIA director, tells me this is a "United Nations" group of catechumens and candidates, with members from Venezuela, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Mexico and even Texas!
Of course, like all the catechumens and candidates across the Diocese, they are very focused now on their final preparations leading up to the Easter Vigil. After Wednesday night, I will be seeing this class next on Holy Saturday night at the Cathedral when I preside over the Vigil and administer the sacraments of initiation to them.
Please pray for all who are entering and continuing in the Faith this year. They are signs of hope for all of us!
I want all our RCIA directors and coordinators and all who assist them to know how much I appreciate their dedication.
3. Meetings This Week -- The Board of the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson meets tomorrow. The Foundation is receiving a good response from persons who are interested in the position of executive director. The Board of the Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of Tucson meets this Thursday.
4. Come Home! -- The first of two special Lenten services for Catholics who are not practicing, who have felt anger at the Church or who have been hurt by the Church is 7 p.m. this Thursday at St. Augustine Cathedral.
My hope for this gathering and the gathering on March 30 at the Cathedral, also at 7 p.m., is that I will be able to meet, talk with and pray with Catholics who are no longer in a relationship with their Church, whatever the reason.
5. Pastoral Center Staff Retreat Day -- The Staff of the Pastoral Center will be on retreat this Friday at the Redemptorist Retreat and Renewal Center at Picture Rocks.
Please take note that the Pastoral Center will be closed this Friday due to the retreat.
For emergencies only, please contact Chancellor June Kellen at 850-3441 or John Shaheen at 909-1489.
Our staff is very pleased that Father Joseph Nietlong of St. Helen Mission in Oracle and Father Martin Atanga-Baabuge of Immaculate Conception Parish in Douglas will be leading our retreat. The theme of our retreat is "Faith Brings Joy."
6. Second Annual Detention Ministry Mass -- I will preside at this special Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral this Saturday at 1 p.m. This Mass is an opportunity for our Diocese to gather spiritually around the many needs that are created by detention and incarceration.
This Mass is for all who participate in ministry to those who are incarcerated in the prisons, jails and other detention facilities within the Diocese, for the families of those who are incarcerated, for those who have had an experience of incarceration and for those who work in corrections.
Our Detention Ministry, directed with great dedication by Barbara Mattus, is a program of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona. I am grateful for the emphasis and support that Peg Harmon, chief executive officer of CCS, gives to this ministry, which trains, coordinates and assists the many lay, religious and clergy volunteers who provide religious education and worship services for inmates.
The primary mission of Detention Ministry is to communicate the Good News of God's unconditional love to those who are incarcerated. With the large prison population in our Diocese, this is truly a critical ministry.
This annual Mass also is an opportunity for the Detention Ministry Program to acknowledge persons in the ministry and in the field of corrections who display outstanding dedication to and support for spiritual services to the incarcerated.
This year, Detention Ministry will acknowledge Warden Charles Flanagan of the Arizona State Prison Complex-Tucson and Rev. Gordin Vernon, Arizona State Prison Complex-Tucson chaplain, for their support.
Two very special volunteers will be acknowledged: Ricardo Valdenegro of Blessed Kateri Tekekawith Parish who ministers with great sensitivity to Native Americans who are incarcerated; and Sister Esther Calderon, O.P., who ministers at the Santa Rita Arizona State Prison Complex-Tucson.
7. Lay Ecclesial Ministry -- I am leaving Sunday for Chicago and a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee on Lay Ecclesial Ministry.
We have made a lot of progress toward our goal of producing a new foundational document that will help to guide our Church in the U.S. toward a greater appreciation, understanding and incorporation of lay ecclesial ministry in the life of the Church.
This will be an important meeting of the subcommittee as we will be looking at drafts of the new foundational document. Our goal is that the documents will be published next year.
8. Annual Catholic Appeal -- I hope you have read the great news about the Appeal in this month's Catholic Vision.
I was so pleased to be able to announce in Vision that the Appeal is the beneficiary of a truly extraordinary act of generosity in the form of a $300,000 gift from the estate of Amy and Joseph Mesenburg, who were parishioners of St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Tucson.
Their generosity is evidence of great hope and trust in the mission of our Diocese.
The gift is reflected both in a new higher goal for this year's Appeal and in a first report for this year's Appeal that has us over half way to that new goal!
The first parish reports are available in the March Catholic Vision and on the Diocese of Tucson website under "Annual Catholic Appeal."
9. One of Us at 111 South Church -- And speaking of the Annual Catholic Appeal, this week's profile of a staff member here at the Pastoral Center features Tom Smith, our diocesan director of development and stewardship.
"I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, with four brothers and one sister. We all attended the same Catholic elementary and high school. Redemptorist priests and Servants of Mary sisters staffed the parish. I graduated from Creighton University and then served as an Army officer.
"After the military service, I began a work career in the truck leasing industry for Ryder System Inc. This 25-year career concluded in Seattle where I became attracted to the development ministry as a result of volunteering in my local parish. My work in the parish led me to a staff position for the Archdiocese of Seattle where I worked in its Annual Catholic Appeal and embarked on the first seven years of my own stewardship journey.
"In mid-2002, the journey lead me to the Diocese of Tucson where I am now proud to serve with the Bishops in the ministry of stewardship education and resource development. The most 'visual' component of my work is directing the Annual Catholic Appeal. The most satisfying components of the work have been my involvement with the board of directors of the newly incorporated Charities and Ministry Fund and building working relationships with the Bishop, priests, pastors and parish staff personnel throughout our Diocese.
"My wife, Michele, teaches at St. John the Evangelist School. We have three grown children and two grandchildren. I enjoy playing golf and Michele is a recreational horse enthusiast. We belong to St. Rita in the Desert parish and live in Vail."
10. Monday Memo Anniversary -- Monday Memo is one year old this week. This is number 46 of the first volume of Monday Memo, so only six of the last 52 Mondays have been without a memo. The memo goes out by mail, e-mail and fax. It's also available on our diocesan Internet site each Monday.
After one year, what do you think about this look at the week ahead? I really would like to hear from you!
Thanks for letting me share my week ahead this past year.
Vol. 2, No. 1
March 15, 2004
I am in Chicago as this week begins, attending a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee on Lay Ecclesial Ministry.
The subcommittee will be looking at drafts of the new foundational document that we hope will be published next year.
I am returning on Tuesday, so I will miss Chicago's big St. Patrick's Day Parade.
As we celebrate Bishop Patrick's feast day this Wednesday, please remember in your prayers the many priests and religious women from Ireland who are so important in the history of our Diocese.
The Ireland-Arizona connection is strong, from Hugo O'Conor's founding of the Tucson Presidio in 1775 through the presence of the still very young at heart priests and sisters from Ireland serving in our parishes and schools today.
You might enjoy reading on-line at the Tucson Weekly website journalist Margaret Regan's article that illustrates just how strong the Ireland-Arizona connection really is. Margaret recounts the story of Mim and Paddy Walsh by drawing upon Mim's diary of their life in Arizona after immigrating in 1916 to Bisbee. Here's a bit of the flavor of the story:
"Mim and Paddy had an uncanny knack for discovering fellow Irishmen in Arizona. On New Year's Day 1929, Mim wrote, 'After Mass we found ourselves in the midst of an Irish crowd--the Hunters, the Nelsons and the Barrys, all full of wishes for the New Year.' They knew Irish priests galore, especially once Tucson's Catholic bishop began making recruiting forays in the '40s to St. Patrick's Seminary in County Carlow, Ireland. The Walshes' longtime pastor at All Saints downtown, started in 1913 to serve the new wave of English-speaking Catholics, was a Father Thomas Connolly."
You will find our own Father Kevin McCardle, O.Carm., in the story, sharing his memories of the St. Patrick's Day dinners at Mim and Paddy's home. You can find the story at:
1. Pastoral Center Retreat Day -- On behalf of all at the Pastoral Center, I thank Father Joseph Nietlong of St. Helen Mission in Oracle and Father Martin Atanga-Baabuge of Immaculate Conception Parish in Douglas for the marvelous reflections they gave at our retreat day. They shared with us some of the proverbs of their culture, and their great joy and enthusiasm for the Faith engaged and inspired us.
2. Come Home -- About 25 people joined me at the Cathedral last Thursday evening for our special Lenten Come Home service for Catholics who are not practicing, who have felt anger at the Church or who have been hurt by the Church.
We shared in a beautiful prayer, which included reflections from four members of the Landing Program at St. Cyril's Parish, Sue Pearson, Joseph and Deeann Fimbres and Jeff Landwher. Each of them spoke of how they struggled about returning to the Church after having been away for a varying number years and how hard it was to approach the Church, but that through the kindness and welcome of some they came to feel very much at home again.
In the discussion afterwards, people talked about being away from the Church for 40 years, 20 years. There were tears and expressions of longing to find the Lord again in their lives. Some struggled with questions of previous marriages and how they could return to the Church. We talked a little bit about how divorce doesn't mean a person can't continue to practice the faith and receive Eucharist; it's only when one is married a second time that there is an impediment. I encouraged them to see if annulment might be possible.
The people were from a number of different parishes, and they were invited to indicate if they wanted to participate in one of the parish programs for returning Catholics or whether they wanted their own parish to contact them.
Tuesday, March 30, at 7 p.m. is our second Come Home evening at St. Augustine Cathedral. That evening, our presenters, from Our Mother of Sorrows Parish, will be Bill Altimari, Jean Fedigan and Robert Keenan.
Once again, I ask you to spread the word about this opportunity. I ask our parishes to include at Mass prayers for Catholics who are not practicing or who are angry or alienated from the Church, that they might come home during Lent.
3. Catholic Committee on Scouting -- Our Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting will gather this Wednesday evening to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions of persons who support the fostering of Catholic values for our young people through the Boy Scout and Girl Scout programs.
I am humbly honored that the Committee is acknowledging the support of Scouting in our Diocese through the presentation of the St. George Emblem to the Bishop of Tucson. The purpose of the St. George Emblem is to recognize the recipient's outstanding contribution to the spiritual development of Catholic youth through the Boy Scout program. I will accept the emblem on behalf of all the dedicated Scouting leaders at our parishes and schools.
4. Multi-Faith Border Conference -- This very special gathering on Thursday at Congregation Anshei Israel in Tucson will bring together religious leaders of different faiths and Christian denominations to reflect on the theme, "Ye Shall Not Oppress the Stranger -- Being Faithful in the Borderlands."
This ecumenical and interfaith gathering will be an attempt to articulate the religious voice related to immigration policy. The day will begin with a look at the human face of people on the move, realizing that migrants are indeed our brothers and sisters and that their needs for human dignity and respect are important to all of us.
There will be an opportunity for attendees to reflect on what each of the faith traditions present says about people on the move. We will review the national policies on migration that affect our border with Mexico, and we will look at how congregations can become more involved and educated in this area and how the religious voice can participate in the on-going discussion about immigration policy.
We will hope to leave the day with a series of principles that, from the perspective of faith and our common concerns, we can suggest to guide the development of public policy on migration.
I am grateful to Joanne Welter of our Social Mission office and to the organizing committee for their hard work in helping to bring about this special conference.
5. Yaqui Stations of the Cross -- I will be joining Father Dan McLaughlin, S.T., of Blessed Kateri Tekekwitha Parish this Friday at El Señor de Los Milagros for the Yaqui Stations of the Cross.
The Stations are part of the traditional Yaqui Easter ceremonies that originated about 400 years ago in Mexico. The ceremonies are a unique blend of Yaqui tribal traditions and Catholic ritual.
They ceremonies begin on Ash Wednesday, end on Easter Sunday and include a total of six Stations of the Cross processions on the Fridays of Lent. There also are processions and ceremonies on Palm Saturday, Palm Sunday and during Holy Week. Visitors may watch and participate, provided they don't take pictures, notes, draw sketches or otherwise record the events.
You can learn more about the rich history of the ceremonies in "A Yaqui Easter," by Muriel Thayer Painter, portions of which you can access on-line at:
6. Diocesan Pastoral Council -- The Council meets this Saturday at the Pastoral Center. The major agenda item is a session on parish pastoral councils. Pat Mullen from Ascension Parish in the Diocese of Phoenix will lead this session. We will be hearing about and discussing what is necessary for an effective parish pastoral council.
7. Arizona Knights Centennial Celebration -- I will be in Bisbee Saturday afternoon and evening for Mass and the special celebration of the centennial anniversary of the Knights of Columbus in Arizona.
It was 100 years ago this year that the first Knights Council in Arizona, Council #863, St. Patrick, Bisbee, was started.
I hope you had a chance to read my column in this month's Catholic Vision about this special anniversary. I really look forward to this occasion!
8. Confirmations -- From Bisbee, I will be taking the highway to Douglas on Sunday for confirmations at Loretto School. Confirmations at our school communities are always special occasions. There are 29 students who will be confirmed in a class of 31. One student already has received the sacrament, but she went through all the preparations with her classmates. The remaining student is Lutheran, but he will have a special role in the day as well. He will be assisting as a server.
9. New Director of Diocesan Chorale -- If you had the opportunity to attend the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion liturgies the Sunday before Lent and the first Sunday of Lent you heard the beautiful singing and music of our Diocesan Chorale.
I am very pleased to announce that Grace Lohr is our new director of the Diocesan Chorale. Grace has been in music ministry for 25 years at different parishes in the Tucson area. Presently, she serves as Liturgy and Music Coordinator for St. Mark the Evangelist Parish. Grace follows Claude Haynes as director of the Chorale. Claude's work required a move to the Phoenix area. We all are grateful for the years of dedicated service he rendered to our Diocese.
I am grateful to all the members of the Diocesan Chorale, who come from local parishes, for their dedication and commitment to providing music for the major liturgies and events at the Cathedral.
Music is so important to liturgy, and I am impressed with the care and attention that is given to music in our parishes, even at those whose resources are very limited.
10. St. Elizabeth of Hungary Clinic New Executive Director -- The Selection Committee for the Executive Director of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Clinic is pleased to announce that Nancy Metzger has accepted the position of executive director. She will begin her new responsibilities on March 29.
The committee's announcement pointed out that Nancy is no stranger to the clinic, to Catholic Community Services or to the Diocese of Tucson. Nancy has served in the past as president of the Board and is presently president of the Board of the Diocese of Tucson Charity and Ministry Fund. Nancy also has a strong academic and professional background in health care. I am very pleased that Nancy will apply her skills and her care and commitment to the mission of the Clinic.
Nancy follows Sister Barbara Anne Stowasser, C.S.J., as executive director. Sister Barbara Anne's wonderful ministry and leadership at the clinic is so deeply appreciated by myself, the Catholic community and all of the Tucson community.
11. Congratulations -- To the seventh and eighth grade Science Olympians at Our Mother of Sorrows School. Competing against 27 schools, the team has won the State Science Olympiad Tournament for the fourth year in a row. They will now participate in the national competition in May. Twenty-seven teams participated.
12. Detention Ministry Mass -- My thanks to all who gathered at St. Augustine Cathedral on Saturday for our second annual Detention Ministry Mass. The songs and music were presented beautifully by talented musicians from St. Pius X Parish. It was very encouraging to be able to recognize the commitment and dedication of so many volunteers in our Detention Ministry Program. We video taped the Mass so that it can be shared soon with inmates in the correctional facilities around our Diocese.
Vol. 2, No. 2
March 22, 2004
I am on my way to Washington this morning, leaving springtime in Arizona behind for another taste of wintertime back east. I have three meetings to attend the first part of this week.
The first is the meeting of the administrative committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. This committee is made up of all the chairmen from the nearly 50 USCCB committees and a representative from each region of the Conference. The administrative committee has the responsibility for developing the agenda for national meetings of USCCB, as well as to address other issues related to the Conference.
One of the discussions at this meeting of the administrative committee will be about the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People that is the framework of our effort to protect children and to create safe environments. As a Conference, the bishops will be reviewing the Charter annually. It is my expectation that there will be no major changes.
The second meeting on my agenda this week is with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, on whose board I have served. The USCCB created CLINIC in 1988 to meet the legal immigration needs of the USCCB, religious orders and communities, dioceses and Catholic Charities' organizations. CLINIC's mission is to enhance and expand delivery of legal services to indigent and low-income immigrants principally through diocesan immigration programs and to meet the immigration needs identified by the Catholic Church in the U.S. I have been asked to make a presentation on the Multi-Faith Border Conference and on the experience of religious leaders who have journeyed to Altar, Sonora. We also will be looking at immigration issues in light of this election year.
The third meeting is the final consultation on lay ecclesial ministry as we near completion of the Subcommittee on Lay Ecclesial Ministry's work on the foundational document that we anticipate will be published next year.
This consultation is on the importance of the call of the bishop to lay ecclesial ministers to share in the work of the bishops and priests in pastoring people.
Dioceses use different terms to refer to actions taken by ecclesiastical authorities when assigning lay ecclesial ministers, terms such as "authorization" and "certification." How are these terms to be understood and what does canon law understand by these terms? What is the relationship between authorizing someone and certifying someone to do ministry? What ritual format could dioceses use to do this authorization? We will be consulting with experts on canon law to consider how canon law affects the call of bishops to lay ecclesial ministers.
One of the things we will look at is the model that has been developed in Chicago by Cardinal George to commission pastoral associates and directors of religious education.
1. Multi-Faith Border Conference -- What a powerful meeting we had at Congregation Anshei Israel last week! It was so encouraging to have people of different faiths sharing a common purpose and goal: the care of the stranger. It was very informative to hear each faith tradition speak of its own approach to the movements of peoples. We hope to have a summary of that reflection in next month's Catholic Vision.
Several actions flowed out of the conference. One was to continue to encourage other religious leaders who weren't able to be at the conference to participate in an effort to bring the religious voice to immigration questions. We will be sending out a summary of the meeting to the 1,200 religious communities in Arizona inviting them to participate. We talked about a common humanitarian project that we might undertake. We talked about identifying a particular weekend on which all congregations would be encouraged to reflect on the questions surrounding immigration and the role of faith in addressing those questions. We set the date of April 19 for a delegation of religious leaders to meet in Phoenix to issue a set of faith-based principles that we hope would be considered for the development of immigration policy both on state and national levels. And, we talked about exploring a forum for presidential candidates to be held in Arizona on the questions around immigration. I am very grateful to Pegi Dodd of our Pastoral Center staff, to Joanne Welter of our Catholic Social Mission Office and to Erica Dahl Bredine of Catholic Relief Services Mexico Project for helping to bring this conference together.
2. Anniversary of Iraq War -- We continue to pray for the members of the military and their families from within our Diocese who are so directly affected by the violence and danger in Iraq, Afghanistan or other situations of danger around the world. We continue to pray for the progress and process of peace in Iraq. Although its first years have been marred by war and terrorism, our prayer is that we can realize soon the Holy Father's hope that this New Millennium will be a time for peace and harmony among nations.
3. Ministry to Gay and Lesbian Catholics -- I met with the members of the Diocesan Gay and Lesbian Ministry Task Force last week. The members expressed their desire to restore and re-energize the task force and its work to help support gay and lesbian Catholics on their spiritual journey. Mike Berger had for many years served as liaison to this ministry, but because of Mike's additional responsibilities as director of the Office of Catechesis he has been unable to continue in that capacity. I assured the members we will look for a way to identify the needs of gay and lesbian Catholics and how as a diocese we can respond to those needs. The task force has been very helpful in providing a support group for gay and lesbian Catholics and in providing support to parents of young people who are struggling with identity questions.
4. A Bounty of School Honors -- I am very pleased to report a bounty of honors related to the achievements of our Catholic schools and their students.
St. Ambrose School had three winners in the recent Southern Arizona Regional Science and Engineering Fair. They were kindergartener Sienna Yarab, second grader Michael Allen and sixth grader Adrian Marshall. Sienna's project was entitled "Don't Eat Ice Cream on a Windy Day!"
Ss. Peter and Paul School was represented very successfully at the recent University High Math Fair Competition that included 29 teams. The seventh grade team (Mark Duarte, Anthony Moreno, Kelly Farrell, Ethan Kernek, Ashley Rusing and Hugh Hiller) placed fifth and the eighth grade team (Kristin Preble, Paula Castilli, Michael Schoen, Nick Ryan, Maria Fallon and Megan Gerrish) received fourth place honors.
The teachers and parents who coached and prepared all these students share very proudly in these achievements.
St. Thomas Pre-School is one of 10 pre-school programs nationwide to be chosen by the National Catholic Education Association for the SPICE program in "Early Childhood Education." SPICE is a project that identifies, validates and communicates exemplary Catholic elementary, secondary, regional, and diocesan-wide educational programs so that other educators may replicate or adapt them.
I have one more very special honor to share with you. Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, C.F.M.M., our Superintendent of Catholic Schools, is this year's recipient of the O'Neil D'Amour Award. This national honor is given in recognition of outstanding contributions in the movement to establish effective boards of Catholic education. We all know of Sister's commitment and dedication to Catholic education, and it's wonderful that she is being recognized. She will receive the award at next month's National Catholic Education Association convention.
5. Community Support for Our Schools -- The Chaparral Foundation has donated 10 rebuilt computers to Santa Cruz Catholic School. Dave Perrin and Adrian Whitney represented the Foundation and installed the computers in three classrooms at Santa Cruz. Chaparral Foundation is a non-profit organization that helps other non-profits. The Foundation has donated more than 500 refurbished computers with monitors, printers and other computer equipment to 17 Tucson area service groups, churches, day care centers and schools. We all realize how important it is to have computers in the classroom. Thank you, Chaparral Foundation!
6. New Executive Director of CCS in Western Arizona -- I am very pleased to announce that Sarah Seneker is the new executive director of Catholic Community Services in Western Arizona. The selection committee noted Sarah's academic background and her clinical and supervisory experience, both with CCS and other organizations in Arizona. The committee communicated to me that Sarah "is a person who has a strong sense of mission and vision for the people we serve."
7. Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Orientation Video -- The video tape based on the training programs of last fall has now been completed and distributed to our parishes and schools. This tape will be most useful for orientation of new staff and volunteers; however, it also can be used for more general training sessions. This tape moves us yet another step forward in realizing our common commitment for the protection of children and vulnerable adults.
Vol. 2, No. 3
March 29, 2004
I am going to be spending a good part of today with some of the people who really make our parishes the great places of ministry and service that they are.
Today is our first annual "Parish Support Staff Appreciation Day," and all of us at the Pastoral Center are very honored to be hosting nearly 90 of our co-workers from 24 parishes as a way to honor and recognize their work.
We will gather this morning at St. Augustine Cathedral Hall and get to know one another better. Father Greg Adolf, pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista, will facilitate and lead reflection and discussion on the ministry of support. All our department heads will introduce themselves. We will celebrate Mass at noon at the Cathedral, have lunch and then tour the offices here at the Pastoral Center.
The goal for today is to forge a stronger relationship between and among our Pastoral Center support staff and the support staff of our parishes. I am grateful to Chancellor June Kellen, her staff and to Father Greg for their work in helping to bring about this important day
1. Dinner with Retired Priests -- I am going to be in some good company this evening, some very good company. Some of the retired priests in our Diocese are coming to my home for dinner, and I am honored to host them. This is an opportunity for me to show my appreciation for all the great work they have done and continue to do, even in their retirement. Without their willingness to serve, our Diocese often would be hard pressed to provide emergency or vacation support in many of our parishes. The group I will be with tonight will include some of our retired diocesan priests, retired priests from other dioceses who make their home here or who are winter residents and retired religious order priests.
2. Morning of Prayer and Dialogue -- Parish catechetical and pastoral leaders will gather tomorrow morning for prayer and dialogue at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Tucson. I will talk to the group on the theme "Called and Gifted: the Evolving Roles of the Laity." We will engage in a dialogue about the blessings and challenges of catechetical ministry and conclude our morning with prayer and a "sending forth."
This gathering of catechetical leaders is sponsored each spring by the Office of Catechesis and the Diocesan Religious Education Task Force. The task force is a group of dedicated and experienced directors of parish catechesis, both past and present, who have provided support and direction for the development of catechesis within the Diocese for the past 16 years.
Goals of the Office of Catechesis and the task force are to highlight the importance of formation of our catechetical leaders at all levels and to provide resources and opportunities for such formation.
3. Come Home -- The second of our special Lenten Come Home services is tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. at St. Augustine Cathedral. This evening is for Catholics who are not practicing, who have felt anger at the Church or who have been hurt by the Church to gather for prayer and dialogue. The evening also will include presentations from Bill Altimari, Jean Fedigan and Robert Keenan of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish's program for welcoming persons back to an active relationship with their Church.
The experience of the first Come Home service earlier this month was very inspirational for me. It emphasized the importance of "invitation" in the process of evangelization. I am grateful to all in our parishes who made the extra effort to set up and promote their own special events and services for those who have felt distanced from the Church.
4. Pinal County Special Liturgies -- I will be on the road to Pinal County this Thursday and Friday for two special liturgies. On Thursday evening I will install Father Domenico Pinto as pastor of St. George Parish in Apache Junction. The installation of a pastor is an extremely important occasion because it is at that time a bishop entrusts the care of the people to their pastor through the beautiful rite of installation. On Friday evening in Superior I will ordain William Kornovich to the permanent diaconate for service to St. Francis of Assisi Parish
5. Lenten Mass at CCS -- I will be celebrating Mass with the staff of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona this Wednesday at CCS headquarters. We have had the beautiful tradition in our Diocese for many years that the Bishop celebrates Mass with the CCS staff at their headquarters during the seasons of Lent and Advent.
6. New Pio Decimo Center Executive Director -- I am very pleased to announce that Joyce Walker is assuming the responsibilities of executive director of Pio Decimo Center, one of the six member agencies of CCS. Joyce had been with CCS as the program director of the Adelante Program since 2000. I thank Margaret Kish for her outstanding commitment and dedication to Pio Decimo Center as executive director. Margaret also has rendered exceptional service to our Diocese as a member of the Diocesan Pastoral Council.
7. Stations of the Cross for Vocations -- We will pray the Stations of the Cross for the intention of vocations at 10 a.m. this Saturday at Mission San Xavier del Bac. The St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish Youth Group will reenact the Stations outdoors, beginning at the base of the hill that is to the east of the Mission. All are invited to participate.
8. Sentencing of Bishop O'Brien -- Here is the statement I released on Friday following the sentencing of Bishop Thomas O'Brien:
"With the sentencing of Bishop O'Brien, the judicial process has been completed in the tragic situation of the accident that took the life of Mr. Jim Reed. I very much respect the careful analysis and process by which Judge Stephen Gerst reached his decision on a sentence for Bishop O'Brien. I respect the sentence he gave Bishop O'Brien. Obviously, this has been a terribly painful time for Mr. Reed's family and for Bishop O'Brien and his family. Tragedies such as this leave great pain. I pray that Judge Gerst's great sensitivity for justice will begin a process of true healing that will relieve some of the pain."
I ask the prayers of all in the Diocese of Tucson for the Reed family and for Bishop O'Brien and his family.
9. Holy Week 2004 -- Holy Week begins this Sunday with Palm Sunday. I will preside at the noon Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral.
Our ministry and our work now are focusing on the preparations for all the special liturgies and spiritual occasions of this week that is indeed "Holy." The care and attention we give to these special liturgies and celebrations are so important.
Our focus and unity of purpose for Holy Week will be emphasized by the celebration the Chrism Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral a week from today.
During this Mass, our priests renew together their commitment to priestly service, receiving the prayers and support of the people. Also at this Mass, I will bless the three holy oils that are so essential to our rituals and sacraments. Oil of catechumens is used for adult catechumens and infants; oil of the sick for anointing the sick; and the sacred oil of chrism for baptism, confirmation, the ordination of priests and the consecration of altars.
Since the blessing of the sacred chrism is reserved to a bishop, this Mass also highlights his ministry and his union with the priests and the faithful.
I have invited three of our priests to share brief reflections on their life in the priesthood as part of our celebration of the Chrism Mass.
I truly hope that you will be with us next Monday evening at the Cathedral for our celebration of the Chrism Mass.