Monday Memo, Jan. 27, 2014
Vol. 13, No. 3

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas

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Bishop responds to documents released by Archdiocese of Chicago:

This past week, Tucson media have made inquiries about the release of files in the Archdiocese of Chicago related to sexual misconduct by Chicago priests. As most know, I was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese and served there as a priest, rector and auxiliary bishop before coming to image001Tucson. So it is not surprising that my name, along with other authorities, would appear in some of that documentation.

 

In fact, my name is found on seven of the more than 6,000 pages released. So you can see that my involvement in the 30 priest files was peripheral and my involvement in the cases did not include an authoritative role.  The cases mentioned by Tucson media related to Russ Romano and Robert Becker.

 

In the Russ Romano case, the then-rector of Quigley Seminary South, Father John Klein, called me in April 1985 for advice about a situation involving Romano as a member of the faculty. Since I had been a teacher and rector at Quigley until December of 1984, it was understandable that he would call me.

 

MM-OctIn no official capacity, after hearing the information provided by Father Klein, I made suggestions to Father Klein that he (Father Klein) address the Romano concerns immediately.  At that point in time, it was up to Father Klein to handle any allegations received at Quigley Seminary South.

 

Until earlier this week I had never seen the documents in which my name appears.  It is clear that those documents are not written as transcripts, but rather as recollections, and the information about my conversation with Father Klein in the documents does not always match my memory of the situation.

 

Even the order of the occurrence of events and when information was known is contradictory within the documents.

 

Had the severity of Romano’s behavior been known and told to me when Father Klein called for advice, I would have suggested that Father Klein take more forcible action than just confronting him immediately, but that information was not conveyed to me and it is not clear that it was known at that time. As it turned out, Father Klein and others at Quigley did later take stronger action when more information was available, including reporting Romano to Children and Family Services in 1986 and terminating Romano’s work at the school.

 

In the case of Father Becker, the documents only refer to a request by then Cardinal Joseph Bernardin to me (then rector at Mundelein Seminary), to a possible request that Father Becker teach part-time at the seminary.  I declined the request.

 

Clearly the abuse of children by Chicago priests or any priest is abhorrent. I have met with victims of sexual abuse here in Tucson during my 12 years as bishop of the diocese. I have heard their pain and the trauma this abuse inflicted on them. The Church and our diocese have and will continue to do whatever possible to help victims heal and prevent any further abuse within the household of faith.


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Convocation photos by Steff Koeneman
Bishop Kicanas reviews the agenda for the Director Convocation with Danielle Palmas, executive assistant for Corporate Matters.

Director’s Convocation
We had an extremely successful  annual Board of Directors Convocation on Saturday at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish.  Approximately 180 people who serve on the Boards of Directors and at our parishes attended, beginning with a Mass for the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.

 

As I wrote in last week’s Memo, participants listened to a keynote panel on “Shepherding Stewardship” moderated by Margie Puerta Edson with presentations by Father Viliulfo Valderrama, Clara Dupnik and Richard Sauerbrey of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Tucson; Deacon Anthony Underwood, of Saint Patrick Parish in Bisbee; Father Joseph Lombardo and Rob Cammack of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in

Tucson; and Father Greg Adolph and Bob Heslinga of St. Andrew the Apostle in Sierra Vista. The panel made marvelous presentations on how to foster stewardship and offered best practices emphasizing the role of the pastor and encouraging Directors not to be afraid to ask people to get involved. A Bible-based stewardship program was suggested and some helpful examples on how to help people return the blessings they have received. The Directors and Diocesan Pastoral Council also had a chance to view a video on stewardship done by the Diocese of Jefferson City, which was well received.

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Maryann Hockstad, from St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista, participates in a group discussion.

 

 

Parishes that fulfilled their corporate responsibilities for the first time were recognized with plaques that can be updated each year. Some parishes received new engraved plates to add to their plaques, indicating they again have shown excellence in maintaining their corporate structure and responsibilities.

 

As always we held an open forum to present a State of the Diocese report. The day ended with orientation and training by Msgr. Schifano, Danielle Palmas and Kathy Rhinehart for new board members and others who wanted to be updated on corporate matters.

 

My thanks to all the members of our Diocesan Pastoral Council and our Boards of Directors for their dedicated work in the diocese and in their parishes, and for their willingness to give up a day to stay current on important topics and skills.  Some participants had to leave home as early as 4:30 a.m. to be present. It was the largest group to attend our Convocation in the seven years the corporate boards have existed.

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Father Joseph Lombardo, pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, spoke during a panel discussion on stewardship.

 

Additional thanks to Father Joe Lombardo and the staff at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton for hosting all of us, and of course, my gratitude to Msgr. Al Schifano, our Moderator of the Curia; Danielle Palmas, who organized the day for the first time; Kathy Rhinehart, our Chancellor; Margie Puerta Edson, Executive Director of the Catholic Foundation; Kathryn Hutchinson, with the Foundation; and Steff Koeneman of our Communications Department, for their event planning and support of the Convocation.

 

A church dedicated
It was my honor to preside at the Mass of Dedication at St. Mark’s Parish in Oro Valley yesterday.  The lovely new church, still gleaming in its newness, was filled with parishioners for the event.

 

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Photo by Victor Calderon
Bishop Kicanas blesses those attending the Mass of Dedication at the new St. Mark Parish church.

It was good to have both Father Liam Leahy, pastor emeritus, who began the massive construction project, and Father Patrick Kennedy, the current pastor, who picked up the baton and brought  the project through to completion, present for the Mass and celebration.

 

Building a new church is big job, and I am proud of how well the folks at St. Mark have handled this labor of love.  While it took a long time, as building a church always does, they got the work done in a marvelous way. There are many people to thank for this project, including the two pastors, the St. Mark’s Board of Directors, the parishioners, the architect, project manager, contractor,  and John Shaheen,  the diocesan director of Property and Insurance, who played a role in the successful completion of this marvelous place of worship. They can be
mighty proud.

 

I was grateful to Father Abran Tadeo, pastor of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Parish, who served as Master of Ceremonies  for the Mass and to Sister Lois Paha, O.P. who helped with the liturgy.

 

Seton Awards
Each year Salpointe Catholic High School recognizes someone who has contributed significantly to Catholic School Education in our Diocese at a breakfast hosted at the school. This year they honored two people who gave so much of their time and talent to enhance the academic and formation programs of Salpointe: Gail and Mike Urbanski. Both worked for Salpointe until recently. They contributed greatly to Salpointe’s excellence. What a fitting tribute as we begin Catholic  Schools week in the Diocese. Mike and Gail are two examples of the wonderful presidents, principals, teachers and staffs that make up our 25 Catholic schools in the Diocese.

 

Finance Council
Our Diocesan Finance Council meets tomorrow at our Archives.  Topics for discussion include review of the Diocese’s performance in relationship to this year’s budget, a look at investments and how the financial picture of the Diocese can be strengthened.

 

Council members were delighted that for the first time in a long time we reached our goal in the Annual Catholic Appeal –amazingly, the appeal has a 96 percent fulfillment rate. They also were delighted to know that the Capital Campaign, Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future that is moving toward completion, has generated $30,700,000. The campaign will provide money for a land trust for new parishes, improvement of our Catholic schools and religious education programs, care for our retired priests, and the renovation of the Cathedral, as well as support for Catholic Community Services. Our hope is to get to $32 million which would allow us to fully fund the cost of the campaign and each of the listed purposes for the campaign.

 

Legislative days
I will be in Phoenix on Tuesday and Wednesday. First, I will attend the regular meeting of the Arizona Catholic Conference with my brother Bishops from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, Gallup and the Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix.  The Arizona Catholic Conference handles lobbying efforts at the State Legislature to uphold Catholic values and missions. Ron Johnson serves as the Executive Director.

 

Following the meeting, I will be participating in the annual School Legislative Day at the state capitol, where we will meet with Gov. Jan Brewer; Senate President Andy Biggs; and the Speaker of the House, Andy Tobin, to discuss contemplated legislation for this year. The next day the Arizona Catholic Conference hosts a breakfast for legislators at the Capitol. Later we will celebrate a Mass at Sts. Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix for students and teachers from Catholic schools in Phoenix and Tucson.  A rally follows on the Capitol grounds in support of tax credit measures that enable parents to send their children to a Catholic school. The State of Arizona is among the best in our nation in allowing parents to get financial assistance to send their children to Catholic school including measures such as the individual tax credit, corporate tax credit and the recently initiated Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, or ESAs, that provide tuition funding to enable children to transfer from D- or F-rated public schools to other schools, including Catholic schools.

 

Congratulations Father Lucero!
From Phoenix, I will head to Payson, in the beautiful White Mountains, to celebrate a Mass of Installation for Father Ed Lucero as pastor at St. Philip the Apostle Parish.

 

St. Philip’s is our only parish that has more parishioners in the summer than in the winter when the cooler summer climate draws Phoenix residents from the much warmer city. Payson is a relatively short 89 miles north and east of Phoenix, and at an elevation of over 4,900 feet, Payson gets snow.

 

Father Lucero is busy; he has two missions – St. Benedict’s in the community of Young, Ariz. and Our Lady of the Lake, in Tonto Basin, Ariz.  I was pleased to select the names for both of these parishes – Our Lady of the Lake, in honor of the nearby Roosevelt Lake, and St. Benedict’s –  the name  preferred by the local parishioners.

 

It is a very welcoming community and I know they have already been pleased and delighted with their new pastor.

 

Compliance Representative Annual Meeting
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish
8:30 a.m. to 2 pm.

This very important gathering of the safety compliance officers from each parish and school in our Diocese will include a panel of state and Diocesan leaders presenting safety topics.

 

Our compliance officers help ensure that all employees and volunteers working in our Diocese have had background screenings, and that all are trained to recognize abuse and to report concerns immediately to protect all those working or receiving care from the ministries in our Diocese.

 

I encourage you to check out the monthly column in the New Vision written by Dr. Rosemary Celaya-Alston, the Director for the Office of Protection. Those articles offer helpful ideas and suggestions for maintaining the safety of your loved ones.

 

Tucson is a melting pot
On Sunday I will be treated to the traditions and celebrations of two cultures. First, I will celebrate Mass with the parishioners at Our Lady La Vang for the parish’s annual celebration of the Lunar New Year.

 

image015After Mass, there is lots of good food, games, dancing and even a giant Dragon coming together to bring in the New Year.  For those of Chinese ancestry, 2014 is the Year of the Horse, and as I read online, “The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people’s ethos – making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. The horse is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able.”

 

Later in the day, I will visit St. Cyril’s to celebrate Mass for the Polish speaking community as they celebrate the anniversary of the Mass in Polish celebrated there. Father Ed Pietrucka, a Paulist Father fluent in speaking Polish, has served this community since the Mass was begun at St Cyril Parish.

 

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Sister Elizabeth Ohmann

Please pray
For the soul of Sister Elizabeth Ohmann, 80, who died on Jan. 12 at St. Francis Convent, Little Falls, Minn.  Sister worked in our diocese for 20 years as an educator, organizer and activist with Border-Links and Humane Borders. According to an article published by the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, Sister Elizabeth  “used her gifts to ease the suffering of the migrants and to raise awareness of immigration policies that made it necessary for people to put themselves in life-threatening situations. Whether dealing with Border Patrol, judges, immigration officials or critics of the programs, she spoke with confidence and quiet strength. Sister Elizabeth was universally respected and loved by those whom she served and with whom she ministered. Humane Borders recognized her as Volunteer of the Decade in 2010.”

During her ministry, Sister Elizabeth also volunteered to serve in Peru. Where “ her focus there was improving the lives of the poor in the Altiplano. She studied and learned the Aymara language in order to reach the women, most of whom did not speak Spanish. Returning to the United States, she served in administration at the Motherhouse. There, her concern centered on the needs of the elderly and infirm sisters.”

 

Survivors include John (Charlene), Greenwald; Reverend Daniel, Tanzania, East Africa; Janet (John) Haas, Tucson, Ariz.; sisters-in-law Erna, St. Paul, and Gloria, Pembina, N. Dakota; nieces, nephews and her Franciscan Community.