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Wednesday Update     

Prayer for Ash Wednesday
Merciful God,
look upon us as we enter these Forty Days,
bearing the mark of ashes,
and bless our journey through the desert of Lent.

May our fasting be hunger for justice; our alms a making of peace; our prayer, a chant of humble
and grateful hearts

All that we do and pray is in the name of Jesus
for in your cross you proclaim your love forever

Amen

 —

Bishop’s ‘round the Diocese tour
I left the beautiful communities of our parishes in the Gila/Pinal East Vicariate, and drove back into Tucson for a one day multi-parish meeting of our Pima West Vicariate. This region includes Immaculate Conception Parish in Ajo, the San Solano Missions in Topawa (Sells), St. Kateri Tekakwitha and San Xavier Mission. The Vicar Forane for this area is Father Seraphim Molina, S.T.

I have already visited two of the San Solano mission churches and met with Franciscan Fathers Alfonoso “Ponchie” Vasquez and William Minkle back in early December 2017 during a training for our recently ordained priests. That visit was very enlightening, and I learned a great deal about the service going on in those missions.

Saturday’s meeting provided another look into the ministries at parishes serving Native Americans.

Sunday and Monday, I visited parishes and schools within the Cochise Vicariate, beginning with Our Lady of Lourdes and Pastor Martin Atanga and parishioners in Benson; then out to Our Lady of the Mountains in Sierra Vista, with pastor and Vicar Forane Father Michael Bucciarelli.

Yesterday, we had a regional vicariate meeting, and then we visited All Saints Catholic School in Sierra Vista before driving out to the stair-stepped mining community of Bisbee and home to St. Patrick Parish, where I met one of our parish administrators, Deacon Tony Underwood.  A bit further on in Douglas, I celebrated Mass and visited with Loretto School students, Sister Mary Aloysius, OCD, and Father Greg Okafor. My next stop was in Elfrida to visit St. Francis of Assisi Parish, and then a visit to St. Jude Thaddeus in the Pearce/Sunsites area.

The terrain was so beautiful with the mountains and grasslands below.  I know so much history took place all around, from the mining stories of places like Bisbee to the towns to the stories of Cochise and the Native Americans that once called the area home.

This week
Please welcome Diane Coleman to diocesan employment. She joins us as Tribunal Notary, and will work alongside Father Manuel Viera, OFM, Father Art Espelage, OFM, and Veronica Garcia.

“I am from Tucson and come from a family of seven, I am blessed to have both of my parents, and three brothers and one sister, several nieces and nephews.  I am very close to my family, including my aunt, my mother’s sister who is like a second mother to me.  I worked at Intuit for almost 20 years. My home parish is St. John’s Catholic Church,” Coleman said. “ I now belong to Santa Cruz, where I am a Eucharistic Minister.”

The remainder of the week and the weekend are very busy. Saturday, I will attend the first of two John Paul II Award ceremonies. I will address the awards in the next Update when all of the winners have been named. Saturday afternoon, I will celebrate Mass and have dinner with members of the Italian Catholic Federation at Our Lady of the Valley in Green Valley.

Sunday, I will celebrate Mass for the first time with the Vietnamese Community at Our Lady of La Vang Parish.  The Mass is part of the parish’s annual Asian New Year celebration.  This year is the Year of the Dog.  The Asian Zodiac has plenty of symbols – Year of the Rabbit, the Dragon, the Monkey, etc.

If you are lucky to be born in the Year of the Dog, some of the traits you may have include loyalty, patience and reliability. Past years of the dog include 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994 and 2006. 

This will be my first contact with this community.  I am looking forward to meeting with people, enjoying new foods and enjoying the celebration.

Later Sunday, we will have the first of two Rites of Election. This first one, where 152 candidates and 134 catechumens will participate from around the northern, southern and eastern parts of our diocese.  A second Rite of Election will take place for those living nearer to Yuma and the La Paz Vicariate to the west.  That Rite will take place on Feb. 27 at St. Francis Assisi Parish in Yuma.

Candidates are people seeking to join the Catholic Church that already have been baptized in another faith. They are called candidates because they do not need baptism and are “candidates” for the catholic Sacrament of Confirmation to receive Holy Communion in the Catholic Church to become a full member of the Catholic Church. Catechumens are those who have not yet been baptized and so that process is included in their Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults.

On Tuesday, Bishop Kicanas and Ernie Nedder are holding an important meeting with those involved in the development of downtown.  This is an opportunity to again put Cathedral Square front and center, and to collaborate with others building in downtown.