St. John Paul II Awards
I celebrated the first of two Masses with young people chosen to receive the Saint John Paul II Awards in our diocese last Saturday. The awards are given for teen service in one of the following categories:Catechesis and Evangelization, which includes assisting in religious education; youth group leaders or service during youth retreats; Community Service and Social Justice service through the parish, school or community such as food drives or serving meals at local shelters; and Prayer and Worship for teens who serve as Eucharistic Ministers, Cantors, Lectors or within the Choir/Musical Ministry.
The first award ceremony took place at St. Augustine Cathedral. A second ceremony, for teens living in the Yuma/La Paz area of our diocese, takes place on Feb. 28 at Immaculate Conception Parish.
It is so important for youth to be as immersed as much as possible in the faith. These awards recognize how well our teens respond as vital and active members of our Church in action. I think the following information, taken from the USCCB website sums this idea up very well:
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity."
“Young people are essential members of the Body of Christ. They have a unique zeal for justice, faith, and love of the Gospel. They long for Truth, and they won't rest until they find it. They challenge convention and inspire innovation. Young people inject a contagious energy into their communities and set hearts on fire. We cannot ignore young disciples for they are active witnesses to the love of Jesus Christ in our world today.”
Congratulations to all of you, and congratulations to your parents for their support of your interest in serving others.
We bid one more goodbye to our dear Benedictine Sisters yesterday as they get very near to their departure from Tucson. Already, several of the Sisters have gone back to their motherhouse in Clyde, Mo. and Sister Joan and Sister Dawn are tying up the last moving of Church furnishings and altar pieces from the Shrine and Monastery in Tucson. Happily, most have found homes in other rectories and churches elsewhere.
While we will miss their prayerful presence here in our diocese, we pray that all will come together safely as family once again in a few days more.
My heartfelt thanks and wishes for continued blessings to the Sisters for their nearly 83 years of service and ministry here in our diocese.
Bishop Emeritus Gerald F. Kicanas and Ernie Nedder remain hard at work raising money and creating broader awareness of the new Educational and Pastoral Center now taking shape next to St. Augustine Cathedral. Both men will be meeting with select people today to give an in-depth view of the new building and the how that building will be both an asset to our diocese, parishes and ministries, and to the greater downtown Tucson area.
Later this week:
The V Encuentro (Fifth Encounter) is not merely a single event, but an entire process that has been happening in the Tucson diocese, and in dioceses across the nation, for the past two years and extends from the initiative of the US bishops to integrate the Hispanic community to the bigger Church.
What is a Regional Encuentro?
The Regional Encuentro is designed to:
- Gather delegates from dioceses, apostolic groups and Catholic organizations together with the guests that the dioceses have chosen to share their experiences of reflection, discernment, consultation and evangelization.
- Reflect together on the different social, cultural and pastoral realities experienced by Hispanics / Latinos living in the United States.
- Propose practical answers to specific needs and the aspirations of the Hispanic community in a process of reflection and discernment of the regions.
- Make concrete commitments as a region to advance the New Evangelization by supporting the work of dioceses, small communities, ecclesial movements or other groups.
- Celebrate in our sharing in prayer and in the Eucharist.
Sister Gladys Echenique, O.P., our coordinator of Hispanic Ministry, reported that the Regional Encuentro meeting will be divided into sections, or “Moments” :
1. Taking the First Step
2. Getting Involved
3. Accompanying Everyone
4. Bearing Fruit
Who is invited to a Regional Encuentro?
Participants in the Regional Encuentro are primarily discerned delegates representing each of the dioceses in the area. These are delegates who in turn went through the parish processes and were discerned by their communities at that level. The diocese of Tucson is taking 96 delegates including me.
Msgr. Raul Trevizo, pastor of St. John the Evangelist and one of our Vicar Generals, will be the presenter of the first segment, “Taking the First Step”. Highlighting the blessings of being a missionary disciple and identify some experiences that have occurred during the missionary life in the region.
From Sept. 20 to 23, many of these representatives also will head to the National V Encuentro Meeting in Grapevine, Texas.
From next Monday through Saturday, I will be in Yuma for the week, mostly conferring the Sacrament of Confirmation on young people from the Vicariate parishes. On Tuesday, I will be presiding over the Rite of Election for those joining the Catholic Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, or RCIA process.
Friday, I will have the opportunity to meet with the Permanent Deacons of the Vicariate.
Trip to Notre Dame
Father Jorge Farias Saucedo and I will attend a three-day conference on “Cultures of Formation: Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment” being put on by the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
The conference begins with a keynote presentation by Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.
We are attending the conference, which has the goal of examining ”the cultural influences that form young people today and equip the Church with a renewed missionary creativity. The conference anticipates the 15th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the topic of young people, the faith and vocational discernment in October 2018 in Rome.” In addition, there will be a lecture by Nicholas Carr, an expert on technology and culture.