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Wednesday Update                                                           

Coming up: Catholic Schools Week
The week of Jan. 28 to Feb. 3 is Catholic Schools Week.  Generally, this is the time when the 25 schools operating within our diocese work to inform their parish communities, school parents and potential students about the goals and priorities of Catholic schools. This information may include details about program offerings and about how to navigate tuition assistance.

The week also is a celebration of what makes Catholic schools unique: our Catholic identity. This identity is comprised of faith instruction, learning to put faith into action, solid academics, and the work to develop in young people the foundation for strong, honest and compassionate people with a sense of the need to serve others.

I am new to this diocese, but after visiting a couple of schools, and through brief interactions with Superintendent Sheri Dahl and her staff, I know that Catholic identity is strong in our schools and that we are working to give our students more than academics. Think about it, academic success for the sake of acquiring knowledge alone is only so useful to the world. Academic knowledge combined with the desire to help others by reversing or eliminating disease, ending hunger, improving housing, easing suffering . . . this fruitful use of knowledge is needed worldwide.

Next Wednesday I will attend my first Catholic Schools Rally at our state capital.  I know the Diocese of Tucson will be well-represented by our schools and students that will have journeyed to Phoenix to make their own statement about the importance of Catholic schools and Catholic identity.  I look forward to seeing the Holy Spirit at work in these young people and in their mentors.

My thanks to the principals and teachers in our schools. Teaching is so important. Teaching and inspiring life-long faith values are crucial to all of us and it has been well-entrusted to you.

This week:
I welcome a visit with Father Michael Bath, Superior of the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity.

Annual Convocation of Compliance Officers
This very important annual training for the Compliance Officers working in our parishes and schools takes place on Saturday at Our Lady of Fatima Parish.  I will lead the opening prayer and then Dr. Rosemary Celaya Alston will begin the first of many poignant presentations for the group. Her topics include a discussion on understanding how power or status can be abused, followed by information on “Protecting Child Dignity in the Digital Age.:

Presentations also will be given by experts from the Pima County Juvenile Court, a facilitator from Sold No More , non-profit ministry combating minor sex trafficking, and others.

Bishop’s visit with Pinal West Vicariate
This weekend I will spend the better part of two days visiting with the parishes and leaders of the Pinal Vicariate. This vicariate includes Saint Anthony of Padua Parish in Casa Grande, St. George Parish in Apache Junction, St. James Parish in Coolidge, St. Helen of the Cross in Eloy, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Florence, Our Lady of Grace in Maricopa and St. Michael the Archangel in San Tan Valley. Father Ariel Lustan, pastor of St. Anthony in Casa Grande, is the Vicar Forane for this area.

Here is an abbreviated version of my schedule:

Sunday, Jan. 28
Mass at St. Anthony’s, Casa Grande. Following Mass there will be brunch at the Community Center with parish delegates.

Mass with Hispanic Community, followed by a chance to meet with people.

The afternoon will be filled with visits to St. Helen’s in Eloy, St. James in Coolidge, and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Florence.  We will conclude the day with Mass at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Maricopa.

Mon. Jan. 29
The day begins with Mass and visit at St. Anthony’s School in Casa Grande, followed by a visit to the San Tan Valley and then to Apache Junction.

Next week
On Tuesday I will be in Phoenix for the next meeting of the Arizona Catholic Conference, meeting with my fellow bishops Most Rev. Thomas Olmsted, Most Rev. Eduardo A. Nevares, Auxiliary Bishop of Phoenix and Bishop John Stephen Pazak, C.S.s.R., Bishop of Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix.

The following day, I will be at the Mass and School Rally as mentioned earlier in the Update.

Please remember to pray for the soul of Father Wayne Weinlader, who died Jan. 8. Father was 81.

Father Weinlader came to the Diocese of Tucson in 1995 after retiring as a chaplain serving several years at various military bases and places around the world. In 2003, he left the Diocese and retirement to continue his ministry in Namibia for six years and then returned in 2010 to resume his retirement in the Yuma/La Paz Vicariate. In the Vicariate he offered clergy assistance to parishes.Benedictine Sisters provided some of the music for the Monastery's closing Mass.

Recap of last week
We had two noteworthy events in our diocese last week.  The first, on Friday evening, was the first of two Masses of Thanksgiving for the Benedictine Sisters who are moving from the beautiful Church of Perpetual Adoration where they have ministered since the late 1930s. They plan to rejoin the other Sisters in their congregation living in Clyde, MO. Here are some photos from that Mass: 

Saturday, I celebrated Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral with about 700 people before the start of the annual Right to Life March.  About 500 of us braved the chilly weather and began the four-mile march just behind the Cathedral and headed north until we reached Holy Hope Cemetery where there was a brief ceremony.

Sister Dawn Annette, OSB, Prioress General of the Congregation along with Bishop Emeritus Kicanas and Bishop Edward Weisenburger.

About 500 people gathered at Holy Hope Cemetery following the March.Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger walks with Shannon Federoff, right, as he pushes a stroller occupied by her grand-daughter, Lilly, 4, during the March for Life in Tucson Jan. 20.