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Wednesday Update                                                            

I am at St. George's in Apache Junction.  Many may recognize Father Domenico Pinti, pastor, in the selfie.  Visit with Pinal West Vicariate
I completed my visit with parishes in our Pinal West 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.

I felt a wonderfully warm welcome at every parish. Nothing replaces visiting people in their own parishes. The area has some of our oldest churches as well as some of our newest.  All are beautiful and have become sacred by worship and sacramental life. Our parishes are well and thriving.

Each of the communities has its own identity that in turn determines the unique programs and services at each parish.  All of the parishes I visited seemed to share was the desire to be churches of service to others, places where the love of God is put into action each day.

I am visiting with parishioners at St. James Parish in Coolidge.I also got some love. A quilting group at St. George’s put together a beautiful quilt and presented it to me during my visit.

Thank you!

Catholic Endowment Dinner and Seton Award
The second annual Catholic Schools Endowment Fund dinner concert takes place Saturday, Feb. 3. Salpointe Catholic High School and Sister Charlotte Anne Swift, OP, have been named 2018 recipients for the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Awards, a 30-year-old annual tradition adopted by the Endowment Dinner.

The award recognizes “an honoree who has demonstrated a history of dedicated service, support and leadership within the Diocese of Tucson Catholic Schools.”

The goal of the dinner is to raise money for a Catholic school endowment should the state empowerment scholarship account, or ESA, program ever be discontinued.

A quilting group at St. George’s put together a beautiful quilt and presented it to me during my visit.Sister Charlotte Anne was born in Oakland, Caifl., and was educated by the Dominican Sisters from kindergarten through high school. After graduating from Bishop O’Dowd High School, she entered the Congregation of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. She also studied at Siena Heights College in Adrian, Mich., and at the University of San Francisco.

She was assigned in the Diocese of Tucson to Loretto Catholic School, Douglas from1959-64. She then served in various ministries in California and in the Phoenix area from 1964-75, returning to serve as principal of Santa Cruz School, Tucson from 1975-86.

Sister Charlotte Anne founded and was coordinator of Project YES (Youth Enrichment Support), an afterschool program in South Tucson from 986-87, and as executive director from 1987-2001. Since 2002, she has served as executive assistant to Bishop Emeritus Gerald  Kicanas, a role she continues following his retirement.

Salpointe Catholic High School was founded in 1950 and nationally accredited in 1987. It is owned and operated by the Carmelites and enrolls 1,160 students.

Religious Jubilees
We are blessed in this diocese to have so many active religious hard at work in a variety of ministries.  Each year, we celebrate Mass to recognize the Sisters celebrating jubilees.  The Mass this year takes place on Sunday at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Tucson.  Here is a list of our jubilarians – please note that the Benedictine Sisters, OSBs, are no longer working in our diocese, since they are returning to their motherhouse in Clyde, MO.  Please join me prayer for all of our Sisters!

Celebrating 20 years
Sister Lucia Anne Le, OSB
Sister Gladys Echenique, OP  
Sister Katherine Ann Smolik, OSB

Celebrating 25 years              Celebrating 35 years         Celebrating 40 years
Sister Patricia Vereb, OSB           Sister Angelica Valez, OP      Sister Irma Odabashian, CSJ

Celebrating 50 years
Sister Pat Duffy, DHM                      
Sister Joan Ridley, OSB   
 Sister Jane Eschweiler, SDS  
Sister Lucy Nigh, SSND                    
Sister Mary Ignatius O.C.D.              

Celebrating 55 years                                 Celebrating 60 years
Sister Ramona Varela, OSB                            Sister Marge Foppe, CSJ          
Sister Wilhelmine Galle, IHM                         Sister Charlotte Anne Swift, OP

Sister Marilyn Barnett, OP              
Sister Claudia Rushlow, SC               
Sister M Vivian Gallegos, IHM 

Celebrating 65 years
Sister Dawn Vercellino, OSB             
Sister Frances Wetzel, OP                 
Sister Mary Senglaub, OSF               
Sister Elaine Therese Cruz, IHM                 
Sister Rose Kordick, OSF                  
Sister Consuelo Pacheco, SC            

And wait, there is one more jubilarian: Sister Barbara Ann Gamboa, IHM, who is celebrating 70 years as a vowed religious. Congratulations to all.

Priest Council and Priest Personnel Board
Each diocese is required by Canon Law to have a Priest Council, comprised of priests representing the entire diocese. This group advises the bishop on a variety of matters which include both the pastoral concerns and operations of the diocese.  In our diocese, the priests that serve on the council are representatives from each of our 10 vicariates and include both ex-officio members and appointed representatives.

Now, I also have established a Priest Personnel Board that will look at the needs of the parishes for priestly ministry and based on the character of that parish, suggest well-suited candidates from the presbyterate (priests). They will also look at the individual priests themselves and focus on their pastoral skills and development when moving them to new positions.  

The following priests will now serve on the Priest Personnel Board:

Father Domenico Pinti - elected
Father Ariel Lustan - elected
Father Ed Lucero - elected
Father John Arnold - appointed
Father Gilbert Malu - appointed
Father Vili Valderrama - appointed

Ex-officio members are:
Msgr. Jeremiah McCarthy: Vicar General
Msgr. Raul Trevizo : Episcopal Vicar 
Father Pat Crino, as representative of the Priests Assurance Corporation.

The board will be meeting soon to begin the process of reviewing assignments of priests and making recommendations to Bishop.

Next week
Visit to the Santa Cruz Vicariate
I will be meeting with parish pastors and leaders of the Santa Cruz Vicariate on Sunday and Monday.  Father Jay Luczak, pastor at Sacred Heart Parish, Nogales, is the Vicar Forane for this region of our diocese that includes the following parishes: St. Ann in Tubac, Our Lady of the Valley in Green Valley, Sacred Heart and San Felipe de Jesus in Nogales, St Therese of Liseux in Patagonia, Most Holy Nativity in Rio Rico and San Martin de Porres in Sahauarita.

My visit begins Sunday with 5 p.m. Mass at San Felipe de Jesus Parish in Nogales, followed by dinner with the priests and deacons of the vicariate at Sacred Heart Parish, also in Nogales.

On Monday, I will meet parish leaders and the staff at Our Lady of the Valley in Green Valley.

Priest Appreciation Dinner
I am pleased to attend a Knights of Columbus Priest Appreciation Dinner at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish on Tuesday evening.

Please remember to pray for the soul of Deacon Oscar Bueno, who died Jan. 29. He was 89 years old.  Deacon Oscar served for many years at St. Augustine Cathedral. Please also remember in your prayers his wife, Maria Counseula and other family members.

Visitation will be held on Saturday, February 3, at St. Augustine's Cathedral, 192 S. Stone Ave.  The rosary begins at 12:30 p.m. and Mass, celebrated by Bishop Emeritus Kicanas, begins at
1 p.m. Interment to follow at Holy Hope Cemetery.