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Wednesday Update

Catholic Extension Society

Bishop Francis Clement Kelley, who founded Catholic Extension in 1905.

This week I join other bishops from  "mission" dioceses at a conference presented by Catholic Extension. Since 1905 this outstanding organization has been financially assisting dioceses in areas that are under resourced.  Tucson has been a mission diocese for many years.

Key areas supported by Extension include: construction and renovation of churches and church facilities; providing education, training and support to seminarians, priests, sisters, deacons and lay leaders; and supporting pastoral, youth, young adult, campus and outreach ministries, Catholic schools and religious education.

Here in our diocese, Extension heavily supported seminarian education for many years.  Extension also provided the funding needed to re-establish our Hispanic Ministry Department several years ago, and we continue to receive grants in support of our ministries.

I feel a strong connection to Extension for other reasons. It was founded by Bishop Francis Clement Kelley who was the second bishop of Oklahoma, where I was ordained a priest. 

 I read the two-volume book on his life, published by Msgr. James Gaffey of the Diocese of Santa Rosa, Calif., who did the work for his doctoral dissertation at Catholic University of America for Church History. 

Photo, information from Catholic Extension
Catholic Extension began on the railways. Priests would say Mass and distribute Holy Communion from the back of train cars.

Before becoming a Bishop, Father Kelley was visiting a town in western Kansas in the early 20th century and saw a poor priest struggling to celebrate Mass on the back of a buckboard wagon.  It was hot, and because of the destitute poverty among the immigrant farmers there, the poor priest could barely pull together vestments, bread, and wine. After seeing this, Father Kelley went home to Chicago, where he was serving at the time, and decided to do something about  poverty and the struggles of the Church in the United States. 

That poor priest trying to celebrate Mass on a wagon was working in Western Kansas within the Salina Diocese, my previous diocese.  Thus, I have a triple connection to Extension Society:  it was founded by the man who would later be the second bishop of Oklahoma, it was motivated by an experience that took place in the Salina Diocese, and I now find myself in my third mission diocese connected to Extension.  Its funding is phenomenal and we here in Tucson are very dependent on it.

I return to the Diocese on Thursday, and plan on attending Salpointe's Homecoming game against Catalina Foothills High School.  Go Lancers!

Happy Anniversary

     If you had a photo taken with Bishop Weisenburger at this Mass,
     the photos will be available to download on Monday, Oct. 20.

     Visit the Wedding Mass 2018 button at 
     to get your photo.

The longest married couple registered at the Anniversary Mass  last Sunday (Oct. 14) was Joseph and Mary Ferrang from Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Green Valley.  They are celebrating an amazing 71 years of marriage! We also welcomed Babs and Marty Ronstadt, whose surprise attendance was heart-warming.  The Ronstadts, Anniversary Mass regulars, are celebrating 72 years together.

Arizona Rosary Celebration

This popular celebration of prayer to Our Lady takes place Saturday, Oct. 20 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish from 10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.  This is my second Rosary Celebration and I look forward to seeing again all the parish groups, young people and devotees of Our Lady.  There also is a celebration in Phoenix on Sunday.

The guest speaker at both events is Bishop Patrick Zureck of the Diocese of Amarillo, Texas.

Red Mass

Across the country, dioceses celebrate the annual Red Mass sponsored by the St. Thomas More Society at the Newman Center and the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson. 

Here in our diocese, the Red Mass takes place Monday, Oct. 22 at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, 1946 E. Lee St., beginning at 5:30 p.m. The honorees this year are Timothy Reckart, Esq. and Nogales Police Officer Jesus Manuel Cordova, whose recognition in being presented posthumously.

Reckart has a long history of service to the community and the church and Officer Cordova died on duty while handling a carjacking situation in late April.

This Mass of the Holy Spirit is offered to inspire, guide and strengthen judges, lawyers, law enforcement officers, public officials and all involved in the legal and law enforcement community and their families. 

I invite those working in legal occupations and law enforcement to join with us on Monday.

We also will present the annual scholarship in honor of Judge John Roll to a University of Arizona Law Student.  For further information, email Laura Conover at

Please remember in prayer:

Father Lowell Andrews, former pastor at the Church of the Holy Nativity, in Payson who passed away Oct. 3. Here is the information provided by the Personal Ordinate of the Chair of St. Peter.

"Father Andrews was born in Creston, Iowa on November 26, 1934.  After High School, he served honorably in the United States Air Force before beginning his career in the Episcopal Church.  He earned his bachelor's degree with a philosophy major and a sociology minor, he continued graduate work at Arizona State University in Social Work and at the American Institute of Adlerian Studies.  He and his wife, Marilyn Joanne Kieffer, married on April 25, 1987.  

"A life-long Episcopalian, Father Andrews served as a social worker and school headmaster in the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona until his retirement in 2002.

" On January 8, 2005, Father Andrews was ordained as deacon for the Anglican Church in America.  His ordination as a priest followed on December 3 of that year.  As an Anglican clergyman, Father Andrews faithfully served the people of God at the Church of the Holy Nativity in Payson, Arizona, leading them into the full communion of the Catholic Church in 2012 after the establishment of the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter.  On December 16, 2012, Father Andrews was ordained to the Catholic priesthood and was appointed by Rev. Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, then-Ordinary of the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, as Parochial Administrator of the Church of the Holy Nativity.  He retired from active ministry at the beginning of July 2017."

Please pray for Father Lowell and for his wife Marilyn at this time.  A memorial Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Steven J. Lopes, Bishop of The Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, at Holy Nativity Catholic Church, 1414 North Easy Street, Payson, Arizona 85541, on Saturday, November 3, 2018.


Vocations Discernment Retreat

Date: October 26-28, 2018

Where: St. Helen of the Cross Parish

205 W. 8th Street

Eloy, Arizona 85131

This is a discernment retreat for men, so please be open to God and His will for you.

Please contact Fr. Jorge Ricardo at 520.838.2531 for additional information.

The retreat begins Friday, Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. and concludes on Sunday, Oct. 28 at 2 p.m.

Participants will  meet at the main entrance of the Parish Hall then proceed to dinner. Please be considerate of others and arrive on time. We will begin promptly.

Please bring comfortable clothes to wear and jeans are allowed. Also, please bring personal hygiene items, sportswear, a sleeping bag, Bible, notebook and snacks to share. You also are encouraged to bring your own pillow and extra blankets.

Registration is required, please visit to complete the forms.