Monday Memo, Sept. 9, 2013
September 9, 2013
Vol. 12, No. 5
El Informe de los lunes es una publicación electrónica semanal donde se difunden noticias e información presentada por el Obispo Gerald Kicanas.
Together to help Syria
As international concern for Syria continues to grow, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has become increasingly involved following Pope Francis’ calls for all Catholics to pray and work for cessation of violence in Syria.
Many dioceses in our nation held prayer events this weekend to answer this call. While the Diocese of Tucson has not planned anything specific at this time, rest assured we Catholics here in Arizona are well aware of the need for God’s intercession in this matter. I sent a letter to all pastors, asking that their parishes pray and act in accordance with the Holy Father’s request, and the Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference – myself, Bishop Thomas J. and Olmsted, Phoenix Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares of the Diocese of Phoenix; Bishop Gerald Dino, of the Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix; and Bishop James S. Wall, of the Diocese of Gallup, N.M., which is included in the Arizona Conference — sent the letter below to our Arizona congressmen on Friday. Here is the text of that letter:
“As Catholic bishops we are praying for you as you take up the debate regarding the use of military force in Syria. We wish to offer our perspective as pastors of our Dioceses and your constituents.
The use of chemical weapons by any nation is morally reprehensible. The use in Syria has led to many deaths and intense suffering.
With you we mourn for the lives lost in so tragic a way and grieve with the families of the deceased. One hundred thousand Syrians in this civil war have lost their lives. Two million have fled the country as refugees, and more than 4 million within Syria have been driven from their homes by the violence. This tragedy cannot continue. We ought not to fuel violence but seek a negotiated resolution. We ought to learn from the Iraq tragedy that rushing to conclusions without clear evidence can have disastrous consequences.
We have heard the urgent calls of Pope Francis, and our suffering brother bishops of the venerable and ancient Christian communities of the Middle East. They have begged the family of nations not to resort to military intervention in Syria. We join our voice to theirs. We believe a military attack will be counterproductive, could exacerbate the situation, and could have negative unforeseen consequences.
We call on you as members of our Congressional delegation to urge the President to seek a negotiated political settlement. We believe that more lives and livelihoods will be destroyed by military intervention. On this question Pope Francis has been clear: “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!”
The longstanding position of our Conference of Bishops is that the Syrian people urgently need a political solution. We ask you to work with the President and Congress to engage other governments to obtain a ceasefire in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens, including Christians and other minorities.
Please be assured of our prayers.”
Already people in our Diocese are answering the call for prayer and fasting. Employees at the Bishop Manuel D. Moreno Pastoral Center included prayers and intentions for Syria in the monthly benediction at the St. Joseph Chapel, and leaders of our Hispanic Ministry team prayed and changed their meeting meal plans to “fast” as much as possible.
You can view some local coverage of the Arizona Catholic Conference’s letter to the Arizona Congressional delegation at http://www.kvoa.com/news/arizona-bishops-call-for-peaceful-solution-to-syria-conflict/
In my capacity as Chairman of the Board for Catholic Relief Services (CRS), I will be in Washington, D.C. this week to attend the biannual Administrative Board Meeting of the USCCB which develops the agenda for the full Conference meetings in November and June. At this meeting all the chairs of the various Conference committees will make a report and present any action items the committees want on the November agenda.
I will be making the report on CRS’ work to the Administrative Board. I will be asking for time on the agenda in November to report to the whole body of bishops on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of CRS. I am sure that my fellow bishops both at the Board meeting and later in November will want to learn how CRS is dealing with and providing humanitarian support to the refugees fleeing Syria, and how other organizations and CRS are working together in the countries of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey – all of which share borders with Syria.
According to the United Nations, more than 2 million people have fled the hostilities of the Syrian civil war. Many others are internally displaced in Syria. Last week, the UN reported that the average number of people fleeing the country was approximately 5,000 a day. Imagine the struggle for neighboring countries to provide any type of shelter for that many people surging across their borders. Imagine the enormity of providing food, basic medical care and other services so deeply needed by the refugees, more than half of whom are children.
The Washington Post wrote a good summary of the impact of the refugee situation. I encourage you to check out that story at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/un-more-than-2-million-syrians-have-fled-their-country/2013/09/03/37b03b52-148c-11e3-b220-2c950c7f3263_story.html
I visited the region in June of this year and reported on the programs and refugee centers operated by CRS in cooperation with local Caritas organizations to provide for the dire needs of these poor people forced to flee for their lives. CRS has committed over $18 million for these programs, primarily to provide food and relief items to countries across the region, including Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and Lebanon. Aid also goes to care for the elderly, infants and nursing women, and unaccompanied women and children.
In fact, right now, CRS is working on providing schools to help children have some normalcy in their lives. I invite you to read about CRS’ work in Syria, especially about the schools, by visiting http://emergencies.crs.org/help-syrian-refugee-children-recapture-childhood-in-school/
As mentioned earlier in this Memo, the USCCB has issued several statements calling for an end to the violence in Syria. I was invited to assist with one of those documents, issued nationally, last week. Even our Holy Father, Pope Francis, is calling for all Catholics to work, pray and fast for the end of this terrible violence and war.
While in D.C., I also will be participating in a meeting of the USCCB subcommittee on Africa.
Again, CRS is very active in Africa, serving in 37 different regions of that country. CRS works in food security, peace building, HIV and AIDS, civil society building, emergency response and health services among others.
The CRS website at http://www.catholicrelief.org/africa/ has each of the 37 African service locations listed, and most of the links will take you to a brief summary of that area, some demographic statistics, and a short explanation of what CRS is doing there. Here’s an example:
While CRS is involved in humanitarian outreach to anyone in need, the Subcommittee provides resources to dioceses in Africa to assist in the pastoral programs and facility needs of those dioceses. The Subcommittee makes grants to Bishops’ Conferences, religious communities and dioceses throughout Africa through the contributions from Catholics to the Collection for Africa.
As Catholics, we are called to come together to help the smallest and weakest among us. I pray that you will take time this week to seek those who need help here in our own communities. Perhaps, after reading about our brothers and sisters in other parts of world, you too might feel called to pray or to act for those people in need.
Dinner with the Apostolic Nuncio
Tomorrow all the bishops on the Administrative Board will have the opportunity to dine with Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who was appointed to the post of Papal Nuncio to the United States by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011.
The Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See to the United States is the “diplomatic mission” of the Holy See to the United States. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò serves as both ambassador of the Holy See to the President of the United States, and as delegate and contact between the Catholic hierarchy in America and the Pope. Communications from the USCCB and various dioceses in the United States to the Holy See also are handled through the nunciature. The Nuncio has an important role in the appointment of bishops.
He is always most gracious in welcoming the bishops to his home, and always has some thoughtful words to share and extends to us the greetings of the Holy Father.
CRS Board Meeting
On Thursday I will be in Baltimore for the regular meeting of the CRS Board which takes place after the Administrative Board. At the CRS Board meeting we will hear reports from the various committees and decide on the action items presented by the various committees. Dr. Carolyn Woo, president of CRS, and Sean Callahan, chief operating officer, will describe the current status of our overseas operations and activities within the United States to inform Catholics of what CRS does in their name around the world.
This weekend marks the beginning of the next Common Formation program for our Diocese. This is an intensive four-year program to prepare candidates for the Permanent Diaconate and also to train candidates to become certified Lay Ecclesial Ministers.
I am happy to say that the Deacon Class of 2017 will open with 26 deacon aspirants and 17 LEM candidates from 22 parishes around the diocese.
The program centers on the four areas of formation for ministry – Human, Spiritual, Intellectual, and Pastoral – as required by the National Directory for the Formation and Life of the Permanent Deacons in the Dioceses of the United States (2005), and Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord: A Resource for Guiding the Development of Lay Ecclesial Ministry (2005).
I am grateful for the commitment these men and women bring to our Diocese and their parishes. As I wrote above, the training is in-depth; one weekend each month, nine to 10 months of the year for four years. The candidates for the Permanent Diaconate and Lay Ecclesial Ministry work together during the Friday evening sessions, Saturday sessions, and some of the Sunday morning sessions each year. Once ordained or certified, they will be spending much of their personal time in service of others, and their work is very much needed in our Diocese.
I look forward to welcoming all the new members of the Class of 2017 who come from the Cochise, Santa Cruz and Yuma/La Paz vicariates, as well as several of the Tucson area parishes.
My thanks to Sister Lois Paha, O.P., D.Min. , Joe Perdreauville from the Office of Pastoral Services, and Deacon Ken Moreland, Vicar of Deacons, who will be hard at work over the next few years working with our candidates.
Holy Cross, Morenci
Read about Holy Cross Parish’s 100th Anniversary in the Eastern Arizona Courier at http://www.eacourier.com/copper_era/news/holy-cross-in-new-morenci-to-celebrate-centennial-sept/article_0947a00a-14de-11e3-b7f2-001a4bcf887a.html
On Saturday I will journey to one of the more storied parts of our Diocese to celebrate a Mass, to install Father Martin Atanga-Baabuge formally as pastor at Holy Cross Parish in Morenci and Sacred Heart Parish in Clifton, along with its mission in Duncan. We also will celebrate Holy Cross’ 100th Anniversary.
You may know that Morenci , located about 50 miles northeast of Safford in beautiful mountain terrain, is known around these parts as a mining town. I was reading about the now giant Morenci Mine at the Freeport McMoRan webpage, which reported:
“Phelps Dodge & Company invested $50,000 in the property in 1881, marking the New York mercantile’s first venture into mining. Through acquisition, Phelps Dodge & Company consolidated all mining operations in the district by 1921. Initially underground, Morenci transitioned to open-pit mining beginning in 1937. The operation nearly doubled its production capacity during World War II at the urging of the U.S. government to meet wartime needs. Morenci’s first SX/EW plant was commissioned in 1987. Once home to two smelters, the last smelter ceased operation in 1984. Both have been demolished and reclaimed.”
I don’t know all that much about mining, but I do know that this mine has given up thousands, maybe even millions of pounds of copper ore. Other precious and commercially used metals also are mined from that rich ore. At one time, the mining town surrounding the mine was found to be sitting on top of a vast copper vein, so Phelps Dodge removed the entire town and moved it to another location!
I spotted this YouTube video that sings the praises of Old Morenci and its neighbor, Clifton, Arizona at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfGJLP4SgGE
While the mine is giant, the town of Morenci is small. In 2010 there were fewer than 1,500 people living in the town itself, but I know that thousands of people come into town on their way to jobs with the mine.
I am grateful to Father Martin for his service as a pastor of three communities, Morenci, Clifton and Duncan. Each of these communities has their own history and take great pride in their churches.
Mass for Movimiento
Every year I join with the many members of the Movimiento Familiar Cristiano and celebrate Mass at a different parish. On Sunday, this annual Mass will take place at St. John the Evangelist Parish, 602 W. Ajo Way at 3:30 p.m.
The movement works through networks of parishes and small groups of families. Movimiento Familiar Cristiano and the Christian Family Movement reinforce Christian values by encouraging their members to reach out in action to others in ministries such as refugee sponsorship, religious education and couple counseling, foster-parenting and prison ministry.
One of my hopes is that we can find more ways to help strengthen marriage. The institution of marriage faces many challenges. As a church we need to do more to support married couples. Movimiento is one excellent example of what needs to be done.
Reachout Women’s Center 40th Anniversary Gala, Saturday, Sept. 21 at Skyline Country Club, 5 p.m.
I wrote about the Reachout Center in one of my Monday Memos last year. At that time, Reachout was celebrating the “arrival” of a brand new ultrasound machine, and I joined that celebration by blessing that amazing piece of technology. It can “see” a heartbeat when a fetus is just six weeks old. http://www.diocesetucson.org/mondaymemo/?p=448
In 2011, Reachout helped about 5,000 women, and in 2012 it helped even more women with pregnancy tests; sonograms; pre-natal counseling and guidance; adoption information and referrals; counseling for women, counseling for women with parents, boyfriends or husbands; as-needed referrals for medical and employment planning; help and guidance in all related areas; and clothing and diapers. All of these services are provided free of charge.
Reachout relies completely on private donations. As I wrote last year, if you are looking for a holiday charity, consider Reachout. If you’d like to help out now, maybe the upcoming Gala on September 21 will provide just the right opportunity. Call 321-4300 for information, or visit http://www.reachoutwomenscenter.com/
Sunday, Sept. 15
Our Diocese will celebrate Catechetical Sunday on Sunday, Sept.15, and will focus on the theme, “Open the Door of Faith”
In our parishes, this is an opportune time when those whom the community has designated to serve as catechists of children, youth and adults can be called forth and commissioned for their ministry.
Notice of Catechetical Sunday resources sent several weeks ago can still be viewed and purchased at the USCCB website at http://www.usccb.org/
Catechetical Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel.
In our diocese, resources, training and certification of parish catechists can be found on the diocesan webpages of the Offices of Catechesis, http://www.diocesetucson.org/catechesisoffice.html,
Hispanic Ministry, http://www.diocesetucson.org/cms.diocesetucson/index.php?id=119, and the Jordan Ministry Team at http://www.jordanministry.org/music.aspx
A visit to Sierra Vista
Yesterday I gave the last of my Year of Faith presentations on the Vatican II documents at St. Andrew Parish in Sierra Vista. Happily, there were over 200 people there for the presentation, many from the neighboring parish of our Lady of the Mountains. Following the presentation, I celebrated Mass with members of the Life Teen group at St. Andrews.
My thanks to the St. Andrew Parish family; Father Greg Adolf and his staff created a unique event by hosting a luncheon just before the presentation and together with my presentation and the Mass called the entire day a “Festival of Faith”.
I was hosted to a lovely rainy day, and a warm welcome!
I recently went to Mundelein Seminary where I concelebrated the Mass of the Holy Spirit where four of our seminarians –Callistus Iyorember, Martin Moreno, Edson Elizarraras and Alan Valencia —declared their candidacy at the Mass celebrated by Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago. I thought I would share a photo of these seminarians with you.
Please pray for
The soul of Rita Berger, who passed away yesterday. Rita was the mother of Mike Berger, director of our Office of Catechesis. We pray also for the comfort and consolation of the Berger family. Rita was just eight days shy of her 91st birthday.
Vol. 12, No. 5 El Memo del los Lunes, Septiembre 16 de 2013
Vol. No. 6 →