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Wednesday Update

Diocesan Pastoral Council

Wed Update Pastoral CouncilWed Update Pastoral Council Wed Update Pastoral Council
Photos by Steff Koeneman At left, participants at the Pastoral Council Meeting work on answering questions for the meeting. Above, Father Jorge Farias Saucedo, director of Vocations Recruitment explains the needs of supporting discernment for priesthood.

In the past, this diocese had a Diocesan Pastoral Council comprised of representatives from across the Diocese and that met monthly to discuss topics decided by the bishop.

I have reorganized the Pastoral Council in this way:  there now is a one-day, once a year gathering of lay representatives from each vicariate. We held our first DPC meeting last Saturday.

I chose the topic of encouraging vocations for this meeting. I began the meeting with a brief overview of the challenges facing our diocese due to a shortage of priests.  Specifically, I reported that over the last  year, we lost 15 active priests:  several to retirement, one died, and several of our international priests were called back to their home countries to serve there.  Later in this Update, there is a section on priest assignments; These assignments became necessary because of our priest shortage.

Father Jorge Farias-Saucedo, our diocesan director of Vocations for recruitment, discussed how parishes and parishioners all can work to help support vocations by encouraging young men and women that show the skills, faith and interest in service to others to consider priesthood or sisterhood.

The Pastoral Council members were seated at tables by vicariate. Some vicariates required two tables.  Each table was given four questions that were very specific and that had more than one part to answer.  After group discussion, a "scribe" at each table wrote the groups responses.  When each question was completed, each table reported the answers. We have not yet summarized the results, but here are the questions answered:

  1. What opportunities exist at your parish for parishioners to hear God's call to greater service in the Church? How do you promote opportunities? How do you invite people into serve at your parish?
  2. How does your parish accompany individuals in their discernment of God's call to greater service in the Church? How can the diocese assist your parish and/or your parishioners in their discernment of God's call?
  3. Concerning parish life: What are the current strengths of your parish?
  4. Again, concerning parish life: What does your parish NOT have that would be great to have (in place) and that is realistically attainable?

Joe Perdreauville, our assistant director of Pastoral Services, who is coordinating the organization  of the new Pastoral Council, reported that 84 people, representing all 10 of vicariates attended Saturday's meeting. Many had to come a long way to participate, such as the 11 people that came to Tucson from the Yuma/La Paz area, and the nine members that came from Gila/Pinal East, which includes towns such as Duncan, Ariz., which is just 75 miles from Silver City in New Mexico.

In the afternoon session I decided to make the listed topic shorter and instead have an open forum discussion with the representatives about the crisis issues facing the Church.  I was exceptionally pleased with the open discussion and conclude that the feedback I received was of great help to me in discerning how I need to work with our priests and ministerial leadership in the Diocese to respond in the future. 

I was impressed with the care and thoughtfulness the participants used when answering the questions and in their interest in giving insight into the actions or tools that seem to support vocations and discernment in their parishes.

Priest Assignments

These assignments reflect the need to fill vacancies created by retirement or other priest. The following priest appointments are effective as of Nov. 3:

Father Virgilio “Jojo” Tabo, Jr.  who was pastor at St. Christopher Parish in Marana will become pastor of Immaculate Conception and St. Luke Parishes in Douglas, along with Saint Bernard Parish of Pirtleville.

Father John Arnold, pastor at St. Mark Parish in Oro Valley, alsowill serve as Parish Administrator of St. Christopher Parish in Marana until a Pastor or Administrator is appointed next July.

 Father Callistus Iyorember, parochial vicar at St. Mark, nowsacramental minister and priest in residence, to St. Christopher Rectory in Marana to provide the majority of pastoral and administrative ministries under the supervision of Father John Arnold.

Father Gregory Okafor, pastor at St. Jude Thaddeus Parish in Pearcewill become Administrator of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Wellton.

V Encuentro

Wed Update Pastoral Council

 Diocese V Encuentro delegates headed to Grapevine TX

 

For more information about V Encuentro please visit https://diocesetucson.org/Communications/Catholic%20Outlook/PDFs/CO.May17.pdf

The 50 delegates from 20 parishes of the Diocese of Tucson who will be attending the Fifth National Encounter gathered for their final preparation session on Sunday, Sept. 8.  I visited with the group and  encouraged them and also reminded them of the opportunity and important work this process will bring to our diocese.  The call to all of the delegates involved in V Encuentro is to be Missionary Disciples and witnesses of God's love as we prepare to bring this message back to all the parishes of the Diocese.  The national Encuentro takes place Sept. 20 to Sept. 23 in Grapevine, Texas.

Our Office of Hispanic Ministry and our  Pastoral Services Department will implement the outcomes set out by the national Encuentro.  I encourage everyone to go to the V Encuentro website to see the schedule of events and participate by live stream in some of the happenings.  https://vencuentro.org/ 

Newly Ordained Mentoring Program

Twelve recently-ordained priests (priests who have been ordained less than 5 years) gathered this week with Msgr. Al Schifano, director of Vocations for Seminarians, at The Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks in Marana AZ. This is the second of their three annual 3-day gatherings this year. The focus of this session is "Running a Parish with a Catholic School."

Presenters included: Gracie Quiroz Marum, executive director of the Catholic Tuition Support Organization Deacon Greg Henderson, diocesan chief financial officer, Richard Serrano and Alicia Corti from our Human Resources Department and Rachel Guzman, program manager for the diocesan Protection Office, who spoke on the financial, human resource and child safety considerations for a Catholic School; Superintendent Sheri Dahl and Assistant Superintendent  Barbara Monsegur on the role of the DOT Catholic School's Department; and Fathers  John Lyons and John Arnold who provided a candid and helpful look at practical issues they faced when then had parishes with schools. Yesterday, the priests visited two parishes with schools: Our Mother of Sorrows with Msgr. Tom Cahalane and Principal Erin Vu and St John the Evangelist, with  Msgr. Raul Trevizo and Principal Minh Solorzano.

I am very grateful to our presenters. These mentoring sessions also provide these newly-ordained priests to share experiences and develop a sense of community for the many years of service that ahead of them.