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Wednesday Update  

Reminders:  The Monday of Holy Week is March 26.  Our diocese will celebrate the annual Chrism Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral at 2 p.m.

The Mass of the Last Supper will be celebrated on Thursday, March 29, also at the Cathedral. That Mass begins at 7 p.m.

The Diocese Pastoral Center will be closed on Good Friday.

It is not always easy to read the Bible. Many times, the language used and the way sentences are structured takes a bit of time to process. Often, we need help to “translate” or to uncover the message of scripture from others more learned or more practiced at reading the Word.

But the verses below from the Book of Romans is very straightforward.  If any one of us is looking for a direct “how to” for good living, this might helpful.  During Lent, we are asked to take a look at our lives and to see how we might resolve to do better.  Now at the fifth week of Lent, we are poised to participate in Holy Week; it is not too late to seek a guide in this evaluation process. 

Romans 12 1:2 and 9-13 and 14-21

      1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

      9Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;12rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. . .

      14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.18If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 . . . 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Live well. Follow God.

 

Mentoring program for newish priests
This mentoring program is for priests that have been ordained five years or less. The two and a half day program this time includes sessions about youth ministry, visiting parishes and responsive liturgy. I also will be making a presentation about my vision for a new and more energized culture of vocations.

The former church building of Our Lady of Grace ParishYesterday, we spent most of the day in northern Pinal County, an area of population growth.  We visited St. Michael the Archangel Parish in San Tan Valley, Our Lady of Grace in Maricopa and St. George Parish in Apache Junction. 

Our Lady of Grace was established in 2007, but beginning in the mid-1960s, it was a mission church of St. Anthony Padua Parish in Casa Grande called St. Francis de Sales. Father Marco Velasquez became the first pastor the newly-formed parish of Our Lady of Grace.

The mission community and Our Lady of Grace Parish both worshipped in a building with a seating capacity of about 200 people. As the population in the surrounding area grew, the parish recognized the need for a larger church, and started a capital campaign in 2008.  The new, beautiful church, with room to seat approximately 500 people, was dedicated in February 2016.

You can view the parish website at http://maricopacatholic.org/

The new church. The parish is 95 miles from Tucson.Our group then visited St. George Parish in Apache Junction- a parish with a congregation that swells with winter visitors and then decreases when the visitors leave for the season.  Msgr. Al Schifano, who is leading the visit, described how the parish also is located in an area where parishioners identify more with Phoenix than the Diocese of Tucson, “Father (Domenico) Pinti  … can also share with us how he interacts with and coordinates nearby priests from parishes in the Diocese of Phoenix. “

Another parish the priests learned about is St. Michael the Archangel in San Tan Valley, where population also grew quickly.  The faith community, established in 2011, first worshipped in a local community facility, then a school. Over the several years , the parish raised funds and was able to construct a building on the church property.  Father Dale Branson, pastor, discussed the challenges of starting a new parish in an area that also is newly developed.  St. Michael’s is about 93 miles from Tucson.

For more information, check out the

parish website at http://www.stmichaels77.org/fathers_corner.html

 

Father Dale Branson, pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish, explains the various stages of future construction planned for the parish to those attending the program for recently ordained. Bishop Weisenburger and Father Domenico Pinti, pastor at St. George Parish in Apache Junction, celebrate Mass.  St. George also has worked through the challenges of growth in the northern Pinal County Area.Father Marcos Velasquez, pastor at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Maricopa, points out some of the church's construction details to the priests. The parish is planning for future growth in the surrounding area.

 

Catholic Foundation Grant Awards
I will be attending the grant award ceremony tomorrow.  Each year, parishes, schools and social ministries across our diocese apply for grants to support their needs ranging from fences and roofing to vehicles. The Foundation, the fundraising organization working on behalf of the Diocese of Tucson, receives contributions for these grants from various funding sources, including the Annual Catholic Appeal, endowments and the upcoming Cornerstone Gala. The Foundation reported that it will be giving a record amount of grants this year, amounting to more than $750,00o to 26 parishes, 17 schools and 17 agencies.  Last year also was a record year in which the Foundation awarded $571,000 in grants.  Another $95,000 was awarded during 2017 to assist parishes with emergency needs grants.

Grants are distributed according to available resources and may from year to year.

Mid-year meeting of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem

Members of the Order are meeting in Tucson.  The Order “is dedicated to being witnesses to the faith, to lead an exemplary Christian life of continuing charity in support of the Christian communities in the Holy Land, and to practice the charitable commitment of a Christian.”

The Equestrian Order works to serve the Catholic Church and to maintain the Christian presence in the Holy Land.