Monday Memo, Nov. 25, 2013
Vol. 12, No. 15

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas

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Happy Thanksgiving
Please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITqOwS7sjKQ#t=36 for a short piece called a Thanksgiving Litany.

 

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Thanksgiving in Greek is Eucharistia. Each time we celebrate the Eucharist we make an act of thanksgiving. God does amazing things in our lives, foremost being His gift of his very Body and Blood. There is much for which we can give thanks. Maybe this Thanksgiving we can give thanks for the people in our lives who have fostered and strengthened our faith. This idea, a great one, came from Sister Susan Jenny SC who presented at this year’s Religious Women and Men Convocation.

 

Yesterday, we celebrated the end of the Year of Faith that was initiated by Pope Benedict XVI just over 13 months ago.  I wrote a bit about it in last week’s Memo.

 

My hope is, that as you prepare this week for our annual secular feast of Thanksgiving, that you might also reflect deeper on the Solemnity of Christ the King, that we celebrated yesterday. This feast day was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 during “a time when respect for Christ and the Church was waning.”  At that time, the Holy Father hoped that the solemnity would help nations see that the Church has the right to freedom, and immunity from the state (Quas Primas, 32); That leaders and nations would see that they are bound to give respect to Christ (Quas Primas, 31); That the faithful would gain strength and courage from the celebration of the feast, as we are reminded that Christ must reign in our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies (Quas Primas, 33).

 

As I pondered the Holy Father’s goals in writing Quas Primas, I was heartened.  You see, last week, leaders here in Tucson, along with other religious, business and civic leaders in our sister cities of Yuma, Sedona and Phoenix held an event, titled “Arizona Speaks”, calling on our Arizona congressional delegation, congressional leaders and our president to work on immigration reform now.

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Now is the time for immigration reform

 

I hope our events will remind those in Congress that this country is one founded on the basic principles of morality;, that we are bound by faith and law to attend to the needs of others.  I am thankful for all who came together for this effort.  While I know not all of the participants came out of faith, their presence indicated a recognition for the need to change the immigration process, and caring for our fellow human beings is at the center of that process.

 

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Above, Bishop Kicanas is joined by many key community leaders at the podium during the Arizona Speaks event held Nov. 21.

Over 175 people attended the Arizona Speaks assembly in Tucson, 125 in Phoenix and 55 in Yuma. It did receive broad media coverage, especially in Phoenix. Those attending spoke highly about the experience and it encouraged them to write, call, and email our Arizona congressional delegation to take the lead in fixing a broken system. Many involved chose to sign their name to the letter and a full-page newspaper ad that will urge our congressional leadership to move forward with immigration reform. Not to take action on immigration reform is no longer feasible.

 

Special thanks to Peg Harmon, director of Catholic Community Services, Kevin Courtney, director of Pima County Interfaith, Steff Koeneman, Sonya Guttierez, and a numberof staff from the Diocese ,CCS and PCIC that helped at the event.

 

The speakers from various spheres of community leadership each shared powerful stories and poignant messages calling for reform. Among the speakers were Jim Click, Click Automotive; Rev. Grady Scott, pastor, Grace Temple Missionary Baptist; Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild; Dr. H.T. Sanchez, superintendent of Tucson Unified School District; Jessica Garcia,  “dreamer”, one of those hoping to gain permanent citizenship; Dr. Amy Bieter of Carondelet;  Dr. Lee Lambert, chancellor of  Pima Community College; Supervisor Ramon Valadez, chairman  of the Pima County Board of Supervisors; Lea Marquez Peterson, president of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Conference; Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor; and Msgr. Raul Trevizo, a member of the PCIC, pastor of St. John the Evangelist and our vicar general.

 

MM-OctPart way through the gathering there was a ceremonial signing of the letter to be sent to the Arizona congressional delegation.

 

This Thursday, take time to reflect on how God has worked in your life in the small ways  and in the larger ways.  I ask that you remember in your prayers the plight of those suffering from the natural disasters in the Philippines, in Vietnam and in our own country in the Midwest and Ohio Valley and the devastating tornado that occurred in Washington, Illinois,  destroying up to as many as 500 homes.

 

I will be spending Thanksgiving in Chicago visiting family. Many blessings to all  of your families on this wonderful holiday when we turn to God with grateful hearts for all His many kindnesses in our  lives.

 

School visits
It will be my pleasure this morning to celebrate Mass with the students at St. Joseph Catholic School and to read to the little ones in pre-kindergarten class. On Wednesday, I will celebrate Mass with the students at Our Mother of Sorrows School. I enjoy these school visits, filled with the cheerful young people who listen and ask questions and who have such great potential.  It is refreshing and always I learn something from the students.  Learning truly is a life-long process and if we pay attention, we can learn something every day.

 

My thanks to Donna Betterton, principal of St. Joe’s School, and to the St. Joseph community, and to David Keller, principal at Our Mother of Sorrows School and OMOS for their invitations.

 

I hope more parents will recognize the value of sending their children to a Catholic grade or high school. It is the very best gift they can give their child. In Arizona, parents have good options to receive financial assistance from the state to afford Catholic education. Each time I visit our Catholic Schools I am so impressed by what a gift this financial assistance can be to families in our community. For more information on our Catholic schools, visit http://www.diocesetucson.org/cms.diocesetucson/index.php?id=52, and be sure to check out school stories in the New Vision newspaper.

 

In appreciation
The Catholic Cemetery Board Chairman, John Fay, along with our cemeteries Director Anthony Crespo are hosting an appreciation luncheon for workers at our Catholic Cemeteries. I am very grateful for the job our cemetery employees do, helping people at very difficult times in their lives.  It can be a thankless work, and I hope this luncheon reminds our employees that we value their contributions. Burying the dead is a corporal work of mercy and our cemetery employees help us to care for grieving families and make sure that the burial place of their loved ones is properly cared for.

 

Confirmation
I will be conferring the Sacrament of Confirmation to adult members of the Most Holy Trinity, Sacred Heart and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parishes this evening at Cathedral. These adults are choosing to become full disciples of Christ. Some are trying to turn their lives around. Some are preparing for marriage. Some want to be able to sponsor a baptism or First Communion for a family member. All are seeking the gifts of the Holy Spirit that will guide them in their life journey.

 

I will confirm young people at St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish on Tuesday.

 

Diocesan Finance Council
Our diocesan Finance Council will met this week to review financial statements for the Diocese and the insurance. There also will be a follow-up discussion on a recent meeting concerning Marist College, and an update on how a Request for Proposal (RFP) is being received by potential developers interested in working on the building. To review the RFP, please visit http://www.diocesetucson.org/maristrfp.php

 

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Sunday we begin Advent. Our diocesan logo for Advent says “Deepen our faith as we await You.” The logo shows the Virgin with Child, the amazing event of the birth of our God made man. Advent is a time to intensify our living of the faith. We do that by making time for prayer, by finding ways to be of service to others, by reading the Word of God and by learning more about what it means to be a disciple of Christ.

 

I hope that during this Advent we might be more attuned to Christ’s coming into our lives which happens in so many surprising ways.

 

Christ comes again when we engage in His works of mercy. We can bring Christ and the hope He alone can provide when we care for those in need, when we listen to someone who is aching, when we visit someone alone or encourage someone who is down. We can be Christ bearers each of the days of Advent.

 

Make Advent matter, not just the passing of time until Christmas. Advent calendars invite us to make each day of this preparation a time  of doing for others. The Advent wreath which we light on each of the Advent Sundays can prod us to use this time of waiting to live more faithfully. This time gives us the good news of glad tidings that our God cares so much for us, that He was born one like us in all things but sin.

 

Go teams!
The weekend rains caused playoff games for both Salpointe and Yuma Catholic to be delayed until this evening. Good luck – we’re rooting for you!

 

Congratulations
To Father William Harry, O.Carm., who was elected Prior Provincial of the Carmelites, reflecting the high regard all hold for him. Father Harry has been in the Diocese for many years. He served as the temporary administrator at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish after Msgr. Todd O’Leary retired. He has helped in many other ways in the Diocese as well as being part of the Carmelite presence at Salpointe Catholic High School. He brings many gifts to his new responsibilities. We will miss seeing him around as often, but he knows Tucson is always home.