Monday Memo, Sept. 3, 2014
Vol. 12, No. 4

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas



El Informe de los lunes (Monday Memo) ahora se publica en español. Haga clic aquí para leer el Informe en español, o búsquelo en nuestra página web del Ministerio Hispano.

El Informe de los lunes es una publicación electrónica semanal donde se difunden noticias e información presentada por el Obispo Gerald Kicanas.


Yesterday, many of us enjoyed the gift of a day off from work in observance of Labor Day. I hope all enjoyed the day – perhaps spent with family on a long weekend, or maybe just a day of doing the kind of “nothing” that somehow manages to renew our energy and revitalize our spirit through rest, reading and laughing.


As I prepared this week’s Memo, I came across this prayer with intercessions. I like the guiding force behind this prayer, as I think it conveys a very comfortable sense of what our work truly means to us in our daily lives. I have adapted it slightly, but I encourage you to take the time to read through it:


Lord, touch my heart and strengthen my hands

That I may see the reign of God as his loving and reconciling presence among humanity

Lord, touch my heart and strengthen my hands

That I may be good steward of my talents and gifts. That I may see my work as a means to partner with God in exercising dominion over His earthly creation.

Lord, touch my heart and strengthen my hands

That I may live as viewing my work as an opportunity to partner with God in bringing about “a new heaven and a new earth.”


Photo recreated from image at

That I may live with an awareness of God’s presence as I fulfill my responsibilities at work.

That I  may live in God’s presence at work acting with integrity to our faith’s values and act with justice for co-workers and those I  serve.

Lord, touch my heart and strengthen my hands

That I may live in God’s presence at work acting with love for those with whom
I am in contact.

Lord, touch my heart and strengthen my hands

That I may find in our work ways to make my parts of the world a better place for those in it.

Lord, touch my heart and strengthen my hands

That I may have the grace to willingly sacrifice for what is right and just.

Lord, touch my heart and strengthen my hands

That I may see the ways in which I can be God’s ambassadors of reconciliation as I work both inside or outside our homes.


Loving Father, we pray for all who shoulder the tasks of human labor—in the marketplace, in factories and offices, in the professions, and in family living.

We thank you, Lord, for the gift and opportunity of work; may our efforts always be pure of heart, for the good of others and the glory of your name.

We lift up to you all who long for just employment and those who work to defend the rights and needs of workers everywhere.

May those of us who are now retired always remember that we still make a valuable contribution to our Church and our world by our prayers and deeds of charity.  

May our working and our resting all give praise to you until the day we share together in eternal rest with all our departed in your Kingdom as you live and reign Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.   



Syria: A call for action from Pope Francis
Over the weekend, our Holy Father issued a call for all Catholics to work and pray and fast for an end to violence in Syria.  Earlier this year, I went to visit countries neighboring Syria that are acting as sanctuaries for the hundreds of thousands of people who have fled Syria – this was before the use of chemical warfare in that country. I spoke with refugees at that time and observed the work of Catholic Relief Services and other humanitarian organizations helping the innocent victims of politics in their native country.  Please read part of Pope Francis’ message below.  To view the entire message, please visit:


“Dear Brothers and Sisters, buongiorno!

Today, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to make add my voice to the cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world, from every people, from the heart of each person, from the one great family which is humanity: it is the cry for peace! It is a cry which declares with force: we want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.
“There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming.


“I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me. How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed! I think of many children will not see the light of the future! With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgment of God and of history upon our actions which are inescapable! Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.


“. . . To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.


“On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from 19:00 until 24:00, we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.”


boxPlanning for our future
Today, I will be hearing plans for two key areas of our Diocese. The first report covers marketing and increased public awareness for our Catholic schools. The second report is about the Hispanic Ministry Pastoral Plan for our Diocese.


I have mentioned ongoing efforts to support our Catholic schools in many of my recent Memos.  Today, members of a working committee from our Diocese, led by Kathy Linehan, a business consultant with Change Strategies, will outline a long-term marketing plan.


I have spoken many times with Kathy, who has been putting an incredible volume of work pro bono into helping us boost enrollment in our schools.  She has brought her expertise to our Diocese and has been gathering essential data about enrollment trends, demographics and other information for each of our 25 schools.


Armed with that data, she is working with Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, C.F. M.M.,  our school superintendent; Sheri Dahl, assistant superintendent; Sister Leonette Kochan, O.S.F.;  Steff Koeneman, our communications director; Gracie Quiroz, executive director of the Catholic Tuition Support Organization (CTSO); and Margie Puerta Edson, executive director of the Catholic Foundation.


While not completely finished, the data now being collected will give us a clearer direction about where we should emphasize our marketing to attract students to our schools.  The planning also calls for stronger emphasis on the Catholic identity of our schools as a key element of what makes Catholic schools successful.


Since each of our schools has a different community, the planning also includes creation of a “toolkit” with materials that will both reinforce the Catholic identity and diocesan branding, and allow each school to tailor messages and information for its unique needs.


I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to get our schools to higher enrollments and financial security.  This long overdue planning has been and continues to be complicated as we factor in the many facets affecting schools – academic success, affordability and the need to remain, for lack of a better word, competitive among other private and charter schools as parents decide where to send their children to be educated.


I look forward to hearing more about this plan and to seeing all of many tangents come together to support our schools.


I just heard about this video posted online by Lourdes Catholic School in Nogales.  It is a beautiful video. This is just another way for us to share more about Catholic schools.


Hispanic Pastoral Plan
We are very fortunate to have been able to restore our Hispanic Ministry Office after several years.  We are even more fortunate to have Sister Gladys Echenique, O.P., as coordinator.  Since her arrival in September 2012, she quickly assembled colleagues at the parish level and began orchestrating Hispanic Ministry Level 1 certification in various vicariates.  During the last several months, she also has been working with a team to write the pastoral plan.image007


The new Hispanic Pastoral Plan (HPP) is a three-year strategy based on a 2009 Pastoral Priorities Report created during the Summit for Priests on the Hispanic Ministry.  The group also used the recommendations of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for guidance.  During a recent presentation of the plan to our Diocesan Pastoral Council, Sister Gladys shared that her team was inspired by a recent quote from Pope Francis, “Always step outside of yourself”.


Sister Gladys and her team discussed key areas of the HPP process including:  Remembering the Past with Gratitude, Challenges and Opportunities, Stages of the HPP Process, and the Pastoral Dimensions of the HPP.  The team has developed vision and mission statements and by-laws.  These by laws follow the core values of humility, service, respect, responsibility and joy.


The goal, Sister said, is to make the HPP a collaborative plan to include as many people in the Diocese as possible in its development.  Several outreach meetings have been scheduled and the next workshop will be at St. Joseph’s Parish in Tucson in September. That workshop will be presented in Spanish.  We’ll make sure to update Monday Memo readers in English and in Spanish as these workshops come up, so that as many people as possible can attend.


My thanks to Sister Gladys and the members of her core team for their hard work. Those members are:  Julio Cesar Lopez, of Sacred Heart Parish, Tucson; Jose Merino and Santiago Vásquez of Our  Mother of Sorrows Parish; Rosalba  and Sergio Cardona, of Saint Joseph Parish;  Lucy Quiroz and Allan Ortega, of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish; and Deacon Mario Aguirre, of St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish.


I also should mention that our Diocese has been able to re-establish the Hispanic Ministry Office through a grant from Extension Society.


Congratulations Father Viera!
Also on Tuesday, it will be my joy to offer a Mass to celebrate the appointment of Father Manuel Viera, O.F.M., our canonical specialist , as Judicial Vicar for our Diocese. We will also pray for Father Manuel’s good health and continued wisdom in his new role.


Father Viera has served as a canonical affairs specialist with the Diocese since September 2012. Prior to coming to southern Arizona, he served as Judicial Vicar in the archdioceses of Cincinnati and Santa Fe.


“The Judicial Vicar forms a court with the Bishop to deal with any dispute that may come to the Diocese,” Father Manuel said in a story published by the New Vision newspaper. “I’m looking forward to assisting where I can.”


Father Manuel replaces Father John Lyons, pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, who had served with great dedication and tireless effort as Judicial Vicar for more than a decade. We can all be most grateful to Fr. John for what he has done for our Tribunal Office. I am sure Fr. Manuel is happy to know Fr. John will stay involved with the Tribunal.


image009Read more in Facebook
I soon will be launching my Facebook page.  Many bishops now are using social media as a tool, and I too feel this is an avenue of communication that can be well used to tell you in our Diocese about not only diocesan events, but also to share my insights, scripture, or other ideas that are part of the Good News we are trying to bring to all.


My page soon will be found at  Our New Vision newspaper also has a page at


Annual Provincial Meeting
Wednesday and Thursday I will join my fellow bishops of Gallup, Phoenix, Tucson, Santa Fe and Las Cruces, meeting in Santa Fe, Sept. 5. The focus of the meeting is Catholic schools. Sister Rosa Maria, our Catholic Schools Superintendent, also will attend.


These Provincial meetings are an opportunity for neighboring bishops to talk together about pastoral issues of common concern, like our Catholic schools, as well as a chance to share what is happening in each of our dioceses. Each of the bishops gives a report on the status of the diocese and they present the key highlights of what has been happening in their area. I will discuss the six I’s which are our diocesan goals: Implement the Year of Faith, Increase Vocations, Inform People in the Faith, Increase a sense of stewardship throughout the Diocese, Improve our communication and use of technology, and Increase Enrollment in our Catholic schools. I will highlight the progress we are making in accomplishing these goals.


Following the Provincial Meeting, I will travel to Illinois to attend a Board Meeting for the University of Our Lady of the Lake, Mundelein Seminary.


While at Mundelein, I will concelebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit at which four of our seminarians –Callistus Iyorember, Martin Moreno, Edson Elizarraras and Alan Valencia — will be declaring candidacy at the Mass celebrated by Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago. I understand Edson’s family will be traveling to Chicago to participate in the celebration. George Holley and John Gonzalez, seminarians from Sacred Heart Seminary in Hales, Corners, Wisconsin will come down to join in the celebration with our Mundelein seminarians.

Above, some of our recently ordained priests (seated to the left of the altar) are Fathers Oscar Magallanes, Jorge Farias, John Paul Shea; and Edgar Lopez, O.Carm., look on as Bishop Kicanas preaches at a Mass at Casa Maria.  Opposite Bishop, is father Samuel  Jandeh, V.C.

Above, some of our recently ordained priests (seated to the left of the altar) are Fathers Oscar Magallanes, Jorge Farias, John Paul Shea; and Edgar Lopez, O.Carm., look on as Bishop Kicanas preaches at a Mass at Casa Maria. Opposite Bishop, is father Samuel Jandeh, V.C.


Recently Ordained Gathering
Part of this first gathering of priests ordained five years or less included an opportunity to do service at Casa Maria, one of Dorothy Day’s Houses of Hospitality, directed by Brian Flagg. It was an opportunity to celebrate Mass with their community as well as to serve food for hungry souls.


One of the recently ordained priests mentioned how moved he was at the singing during Mass and the faith present in the faces of those who attended. Another commented on how inspiring the volunteers were to him, seeing their eagerness to help without any recognition, doing this day after day and week after week.


The group helped dish out soup, pack bags of groceries for families, prepare sandwiches and lunch bags and just mingle with those who find their home at Casa Maria.


Pope Francis is right in reminding us that in the face of the poor we encounter Christ. That was the sense of those from our recently ordained who took part in this service.


Photo courtesy of John Munoz Father Alonzo smiles during the Mass of his installation as pastor at St. Helen’s in Eloy.

Photo courtesy of Jose Muñiz
Father Alonzo smiles during the Mass of his installation as pastor at St. Helen’s in Eloy.

Congratulations Father Alonzo!
On Saturday, I celebrated Mass for the installation of Father Alonzo Garcia as pastor at St. Helen of the Cross Parish in Eloy.


Father Alonzo is the ninth pastor of the parish, which began as a mission of St. Anthony’s in Casa Grande in 1936.  The Mass and parish gathering following the installation were both very well-attended, a sign of the strong parish family in the area.


As I mentioned last week’s Memo, the parish Facebook page is very lively, and already has many images from Saturday.  You can view the photos at


Please pray
For the soul of Harry Uhde, who passed away on Friday in Maine.  He is the father of Chaplain Father Peter Uhde, who serves at Fort Huachuca.


Year of Faith presentation on Vatican II documents by Bishop Kicanas, Saturday, Sept. 8 at St. Andrew Parish, Sierra Vista, followed by Life Teen Mass at the parish.