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The Wednesday Update                          

Second Week of Advent
I found a good summary online of last Sunday’s readings for this Advent season.  The website is http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2017/12/06/2nd_sunday_of_advent_-_dec_10,_2017/1353217.

Remember, Advent is a time of preparation as we await Christ. We all can be looking for ways to improve ourselves and to act more Christ-like. 

“All three readings for Advent II Sunday focus on the absolute necessity of our readying ourselves by repentance and reparation for Christ’s coming. In the first reading, Isaiah assures his people that the Lord will restore their homeland to them and care for them as a shepherd cares for the sheep. ... the Responsorial Psalm (Ps 85) also speaks of the return of shalom (perfect peace), and pardon to the people. The second reading gives an answer to those who scoff at the expectation of the Second Coming of Christ, explaining that God’s way of reckoning time is different from ours and that God has His own reasons for delaying Christ’s second coming. Peter gives us the assurance that Jesus is sure to come again although we do not know when.

“Finally, the Gospel tells us that the restoration of the fallen world has already begun, starting with the arrival of John the Baptist, the messenger and forerunner of the Messiah. John speaks of one, more powerful than he – Jesus Christ – who will baptize us with the Holy Spirit. Each of us has received the gift of the Holy Spirit in Baptism, and now we live in the Spirit each day, waiting for the return of our Lord. Thus, we become John the Baptist's successors, preparing for Christ's return which will bring a new and perfect world." 

Diocesan news
We lost Father Oscar Magallanes, pastor of St. Jude Thaddeus in San Luis, Ariz., late Monday evening following a brief illness. He was 67. 

Father Oscar brought a kindness and practicality to his service of others and was very well-loved by his parish community. A story about Father Magallanes’ life will appear in the January edition of the Catholic Outlook. 

Viewing will take place at St. Jude Thaddeus Parish on Friday, Dec. 15 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., with a rosary taking place at 6 p.m. Mass also will take place on Friday, at 6:30 p.m., with Bishop Emeritus Gerald F. Kicanas presiding.  I will celebrate a second Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral on Saturday, Dec. 16 at 1 p.m.  Internment will take place on a later date. 

Please join me in offering prayers for Father Oscar’s soul, and pray also that the Lord brings comfort to his family and friends.

Kino Boarder Initiative
Congratulations to the Father Sean Carroll, SJ, and the Kino Boarder Initiative. The organization received a check for $35,000 from the Catholic Church Extension Society.  The check led to a matching grant to be given to KBI for its Legal Fellow Program, that provides legal assistance to people facing deportation. 

Photo by Michael Brown. From (l-r) Joe Boland, from Catholic Extension; Bishop Emeritus Gerald F. Kicanas; Father Sean Carroll, SJ, from KBI; Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger; Tom Gordon and Kevin McGowan, both from Catholic Extension, presenting a check to Father Sean.Thanks to Catholic Extension, an organization dedicated to assisting under-resourced dioceses and Catholic organizations. 

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
I am happy to report that this very popular feast day for Our Lady was celebrated in many ways around our diocese. Many of our parishes had Masses in honor of the Virgen de Guadalupe, and some were held a day before the feast day.  St. Augustine Cathedral, in conjunction with Pio Decimo Center, held a short procession from Pio Decimo Center to the Cathedral, then held Mass at 11 p.m. and sang las mañanitas at midnight.  Talk about devotion.  St. Joseph’s Church in Tucson held their Annual Guadalupe Procession from Freedom Park to the church at South Craycroft Road and East Broadway Blvd. The procession began at 6 p.m., and Mass filled with dancers and music from many culture took place once the procession arrived.

Masses
I made my first visit to Salpointe Catholic High School, to celebrate Mass with them yesterday morning. 

Today, I celebrated Mass in what has become an annual holiday tradition for the employees of Catholic Community Services.

Advent Masses at Catholic Cemeteries. I will celebrate Mass at Holy Hope Cemetery, 3555 N. Oracle Road on Friday morning at 8:30 a.m.  Another Mass will take place on the same day and time at Our Lady of the Desert Cemetery, 2151 S. Avenida Los Reyes. Father Ricky Ordonez will be the celebrant there. 

Many thanks
In addition to Advent being a time of preparation, it also serves as a time for me and Bishop Emeritus Gerald F. Kicanas to say thank you to the many people who serve on the various committees and boards of directors for the Diocese and its affiliated organizations such as Catholic Community Services, Catholic Cemeteries, the Catholic Foundation, and Arizona’s Catholic Tuition Support Organization.

It is difficult to come up with the proper words to describe just how much our board members’ and committee members’ hard work, devotion and dedication mean to the overall work of our diocese, and we truly are blessed to have such a large number of faith-filled professionals at work for us. 

In the past we have held individual dinners and social times for each of these committees, but this year, Bishop Kicanas and I thought that after all of the moving, transition and the Installation Mass, it might be a welcome relief to all to have just the one large event that will take place on Dec. 17.

We look forward to seeing all of our “angels” to thank them and to wish them Merry Christmas!