Monday Memo, Aug. 18, 2014. Vol. 15, No. 3August 18, 2014
How are we doing?
Webster’s Dictionary online defines “goal” as something you or we are trying to do or achieve. That seems obvious, but in the day-to-day rush of trying to meet the needs of parishes, schools and over 300,000 Catholics living within our diocese, goals often get pushed around in the flurry of the everyday ministry we all do.
Setting goals is, to me, something akin to drawing a roadmap that can be followed to the end result. How far we travel on each road depends on many factors: participation, leadership, consistency and planning.
Here’s a report on how our diocese is doing on goals set for the 2013-2014 year a set of goals I often refer to as the six Is, and a brief update on goals set for the 2014-2015 year. I intend to share this information for the whole diocese in the September issue of the New Vision.
First, the six I’s
- Implement the Year of Faith Called for By Pope Benedict XVI: This project extended over more than a year and its effects still are evident in many of our parishes. The year opened with parishes showing a video inviting our people to make the Year of Faith something special and important. In the video we recalled our rich diocesan history, remembering those who planted the faith in this region and who sacrificed to build the churches, schools and Catholic institutions we now have in place. In the New Vision newspaper, we published the history of each vicariate and how the parish communities were formed. During the Year of Faith, people from our parishes shared their faith stories in the New Vision and in parish bulletins. Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council in his call for the Year of Faith. Remembering Vatican II helped guide the year. We learned more about Vatican II with the presentation by Dr. Massimo Faggioli in a diocesan wide gathering on the Council and we held discussions around the diocese on Gaudium et Spes and Lumen Gentium, two of the major constitutions of the Council. These are among the many ways the Year of Faith came to life.
- Inform People in the Faith: A new group of diaconate and lay ministry candidates began their four year program of formation in which they will grow in their understanding of the faith. Catechetical leaders and youth ministers participated in programs of formation made possible by the Capital Campaign (Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future) in order to better pass on the faith. Parishes continued to implement the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, a primary opportunity for people to enter the Church. Bible study opportunities were available in parishes and some parishes provided programs of adult formation, especially inviting parents to grow in their knowledge of their faith as their children received sacraments. We developed and implemented a pastoral plan for formation within the Hispanic Community. Young people attending our Catholic Schools and religious education programs regularly learned what it means to be Catholic. A number of opportunities were available for parish staffs to develop their administrative skills to carry on their ministries. Many learning opportunities happened over the year.
- Improve Communications and Use of Technology: A new email system, called DT Connect, is in place for parishes, schools and the Pastoral Center . The new email addresses use a person’s first letter of their first name followed by their last name, for example, email@example.com. This email system will make it easier to contact diocesan personnel and will enhance internal communication. I am on Facebook and our webpages and the Monday Memo have been redesigned to make them more attractive and user friendly, allowing for greater reader interaction.
- Increase a Sense of Stewardship: We reached our goal in the Annual Catholic Appeal through hard work and persistence. We have inched closer to reaching our goal in the Capital Campaign, called Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Future , and the campaign soon will conclude. Efforts are underway to encourage people to fulfill their pledges if at all possible. So much good has happened through the sacrifice of many to that capital campaign, including purchase of new land for future parishes, the renovation of our Cathedral, enhancement of our Catholic schools and the enrichment of our religious education programs, as well as providing needed support for our retired priests and toward Catholic Community Services outreach to the poor.
- Increase Enrollment in our Catholic Schools:Happily, the downward trend of enrollment in our Catholic Schools stopped. Last year enrollment held steady and this year a number of our 25 schools have seen a slight or significant increase in enrollment. In total we have about 500 new students who have entered Catholic grade and high schools. Efforts have been made to reach out to families attending parish religious education classes to invite them to send their children to Catholic school and to assist them with financial aid. Parents whose children attend a failing public school (rated D or F by the state) were encouraged to send their children to a Catholic school and were helped by the Empowerment Scholarship offered by the State of Arizona.
- Inspire Vocations: Our Vocation Office and Vicar for Religious provided a number of opportunities for women and men to consider service in the Church. Priest chaplains were assigned to each of our Catholic High Schools to encourage vocations. A vocation plan was developed calling for all to get involved in promoting vocations. Efforts were launched at the University of Arizona Newman Center to identify and to invite possible candidates to enter a life of service to the Church. The former Serra Club became the Padre Kino Vocation Ministry, and involves lay women and men in fostering and encouraging vocations.
While we made good progress on each of these goals more needs to be done on goal numbers 2 through 6, each of those goals will remain important challenges for us as we look to 2014-2015.
I added the four S’s to the goals I listed above broadening the focus of our ministry during 2014-2015:
- Strengthen Marriage and Family Life: This will be a major topic of the Extraordinary Synod in October 2014 and the Ordinary Synod of Bishops in October of 2015. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, is expected to come to the World Meeting of Families gathering in Philadelphia in September of 2015, and It seems fitting and important for our diocese to focus on how we can better support marriage and family life in our community. We have already begun a pilot program called Strong Catholic Families which, if successful, I hope will be implemented at all parishes. There are a number of programs already available to assist families such as Movimiento Familiar Cristiano, Marriage Encounter, and Retrouvaille that need to be expanded and strengthened.
- Success of our Diocesan Conferences: Co-Workers in the Vineyard, A People of Faith, Hope and Charity, the Rosary Celebration and our first Men’s Conference: Our diocesan Co-Workers event is planned for March 5-7, 2015 at the Tucson Convention Center; the Rosary Celebration is set for October 11, 2014 from noon to 3 p.m. at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish; and the Men’s Conference will take place Nov. 22, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish.
Plan to participate in at least one of these events. Each event has well-known and highly regarded people making presentations. Our hope is to engage as many Catholics in the Diocese as possible to get involved so that we experience what it means to be a diocesan family in Christ. More information on these gatherings will appear in parish bulletins and the New Vision in the next months.
- Solidarity with Pope Francis’ Call to be a Church of the Poor for the Poor: We will explore ways to understand better what Francis’ call means to us in the Diocese of Tucson and how we might implement that call in our community. I look forward to your thoughts on what we might do to live the social teaching of the Church, teaching that are among the richest legacies of our faith.
- Support our Religious as We Celebrate the Year for Consecrated Religious Life: There are many vocations in the Church that contribute to the Church’s mission. The Holy Father has asked us this year to look for ways to acknowledge and affirm the gift of consecrated religious life. A number of activities are being planned to raise consciousness of how those in consecrated life give witness to what it means to be a disciple of Christ through their vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
As you can see, we’re holding steady to our roadmaps, making our way to each goal.
Diocesan Finance Council
Our Finance Council will hold its regular meeting at the Diocesan Archives tomorrow morning. One important issue that will be addressed is whether we can continue with our present insurer, Western Catholic, which covers several dioceses on the West Coast. We have been working hard to create an insurance reserve to protect us from catastrophic issues and good progress is being made in this. The advice of the Finance Council is most helpful in this matter and as they review of financials.
As I mentioned earlier in this Memo, our 25 diocesan schools began their 2014-15 school year over the last two weeks. I am happy to report that preliminary enrollment figures show that our total diocesan enrollment has increased by about 500 students in grades kindergarten through 12, and our total enrollment is just under 6,800 students.
I believe the increased enrollment was a direct result of our intensive marketing work over the 2013-2014 school year, including the very strong efforts made by each school and to the help provided by Change Strategies marketing, under the guidance of Kathy Linehan. Kathy’s work really did a great deal to help our schools encourage families seeking Catholic instruction to utilize the Empowerment Scholarship Account, or ESA program provided by the state to gain scholarship assistance to attend our Catholic schools. We can be grateful also to Francisco Moreno who was hired last year to help parents navigate the opportunity for ESA tuition assistance from the State if their child was in a D or F-rated public school. Thanks also to Superintendent Sheri Dahl for this sustained effort to turn around our enrollment figures.
Sheri emphasized that with the increased number of students our schools will be concentrating heavily on programs and serving student needs. We want to welcome our newest students and, like a growing family that changes as new members enter the fold, give the students and our school teachers and principals the chance to adjust programs and instruction to best serve all students. We also want to support teachers as they work to provide strong academic instruction infused with our Catholic faith to those students.
Pima County Interfaith Coalition
Find out more at: http://www.pimacountyinterfaith.org/
The PCIC will be holding an important meeting tomorrow, where several new religious leaders will be gathered along with standing members of the PCIC to discuss community challenges and some of the ways those challenges can be worked on by the organization. This meeting will be held at Most Holy Trinity Parish.
PCIC is a founding member of the Arizona Interfaith Network. AIN is organized to address issues important to families and communities at the state-wide level, and it is one of 29 organizations throughout California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska
and Iowa that are part of the West/Southwest Industrial Areas Foundation.
I am happy to say that our parishes in our diocese were involved at the very start of the PCIC in this area, and we have continued that important involvement as we, along with other religious
denominations continue to work for the common good of our community.
Religious Educator’s Convocation
Those who work as Directors of Religious Education, or DREs, will be gathering at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish on Saturday (Aug. 23) for their annual convocation. I will be making a presentation to the group in the morning about how to bring the global mission of the Church into the awareness of catechists, teachers and the young people they serve. I also will give them some tips on conveying the principles of Catholic social teaching.
In the afternoon, participants will have a chance to attend two breakout sessions, covering topics targeted at the skills needed in religious education, including: Sacramental Prep – First Communion and Reconciliation/Confirmation: The Challenge of becoming a Sacramental Community, Special Needs Resources for Parish DREs, What makes an Effective DRE/Coordinator of Religious Education, Global Faith Resources – Faith, Action, Results, Safe Environment Made Easy, and Family Catechesis: Fashion me a People!
My thanks to Mike Berger, our Director of the Office of Catechesis, to the parish family at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish for hosting the convocation, and to the many dedicated DREs attending the event for their dedication to passing on our faith.
To Monalisa Oreschnick , who joined our Pastoral Center staff as a secretary in our Human Resources Department last week. Monalisa is working primarily as the Pastoral Center receptionist, and many of you have probably already met her, since she volunteered in that position for the last two years. She and her husband, Robert, are parishioners at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish.
Hispanic Ministry meeting
Wednesday, Aug. 27
Redemptorist Renewal Center
Noon to 4 p.m.
The Office of Hispanic Ministry is hosting a first annual gathering for priests and deacons who are ministering to the Hispanic population in the diocese .
The main focus for this gathering is the implementation of the Diocesan Hispanic Ministry Pastoral Plan. The Pastoral Plan has four dimensions, Formation, Evangelization, Missionary Option, and Pastoral de Conjunto (Communion in Mission) based on the experience of many other dioceses in our country. The plan speaks of a Pastoral de Conjunto, reminding all of us that we need to work together as one family in Christ to grow in our relationship with the Lord and to intensify our efforts to carry on his mission. The heart and the success of the implementation will require regular review at the parish level. Our goal is to encourage the parishes with Masses in Spanish to give particular attention to these priorities of the Pastoral Plan over the next years.
Alfonso Lara, Director of Formation and Catechesis of Centro San Juan Diego of the Archdiocese of Denver, will be the main speaker for this gathering. Born and raised in northern Mexico, Alfonso was involved in youth pastoral ministry since a very young age and, later, studied Philosophy and Theology in the Diocesan Seminary of Ciudad Obregón. Alfonso has worked for the Archdiocese of Denver for more than 15 years in the areas of youth ministry, religious education and catechesis, and leadership formation. As Director, he has influenced the creation and curriculum of the San Juan Diego Pastoral Institute since its inception in 2003 He will share some of the efforts they have made in the Archdiocese to encourage the involvement of the parishes in these important areas of Formation, Evangelization, and Missionary Option.
If you haven’t registered yet, please RSVP to Sister Gladys Echenique at 520-838-2540 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, Aug. 22.
Annual Catholic Appeal
Thirty-Seven Parishes have met their goals!
It can never be said enough how grateful we are for the hard work of all the pastors, administrators, priests, and parish staffs and volunteers who labor to make the Annual Catholic Appeal successful in their parishes.
To date, 37 parishes have met or exceeded their pledge goal. This nearly matches the total number of parishes (40) that met or exceeded their pledge goal in 2013. Congratulations to:
Immaculate Conception – Douglas*
Our Lady of Lourdes – Benson*
Our Lady of the Mountains – Sierra Vista
Sacred Heart – Tombstone*
St. Andrew – Sierra Vista*
St. Luke – Douglas
St. Patrick – Bisbee*
Holy Angels – Globe
San Carlos Mission – San Carlos*
St. Bartholomew – San Manuel
St. Francis – Superior
St. Helen – Oracle
Holy Cross – Morenci
Our Lady of Guadalupe – Solomon
Sacred Heart – Clifton
Pinal West Vicariate
St. George – Apache Junction
St. Helen – Eloy
St. Michael the Archangel*
Santa Cruz Vicariate
Most Holy Nativity – Rio Rico
Our Lady of the Valley – Green Valley*
St. Ann – Tubac*
St. Theresa – Patagonia*
Pima East, North, South & West Vicariates
Immaculate Conception – Ajo
Most Holy Trinity – Tucson
Our Lady of La Vang – Tucson*
Our Lady, Star of the Sea*
Our Lady of the Desert
Our Mother of Sorrows – Tucson
Sacred Heart – Tucson*
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton – Tucson
St. Frances Cabrini – Tucson
St. Francis de Sales – Tucson
St. Kateri – Tucson
St. Thomas the Apostle – Tucson*
Yuma-La Paz Vicariate
St. John Neumann – Yuma*
St. Joseph – Wellton
St. Jude – San Luis
*exceeded goal in fulfillment
Of the 37 parishes that have met or exceeded their pledge goal, sixteen parishes have exceeded their goal in fulfillment. I know parishes who have not yet reached goal are striving to do so. I appreciate the efforts of these pastors and their staffs for continuing to encourage their people to participate.
It brings me great joy to see how the good people of the Diocese of Tucson embrace and put into action the words of Luke:
“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”-Luke 6:38
Pope Francis’ visit to Korea
I am sure our Korean community in Tucson was delighted to see the Holy Father visiting their country last week. The visit, his first ever to Asia, was received wonderfully and much good happened. Our Holy Father has been a champion speaking up and working for peace around the world. He reminded us of the importance of our quest for peace especially in a world torn by war and violence. He continues to urge us to be a missionary church going out to the periphery to bring the message of joy and peace that comes from Christ.
While these trips must be exhausting, they continue to accomplish much good. We look forward to a possible papal visit next year to the United States.
Please remember in your prayers the soul of Father Luis Chavez who died in Mexico last week. He was a priest of our diocese, who most recently served at St. Monica Parish. After retirement he returned to Mexico to live. His services were held there.
Please also remember in your prayers Father Phil Floersh, C.M., a Vincentian priest who served some time in our diocese. He died at the Vincentian Motherhouse in Perryville, MO.
Father’s first apostolic assignment was the faculty at St. Louis Prep Seminary. After two years, he entered military service as a chaplain. He served as a U.S. Army chaplain with honor and distinction for 26 years, retiring as a Lt. Colonel in September 1992.
After his military service, Phil served as a Spiritual Advisor of the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Phoenix and Tucson; as Associate Pastor at Vicentian parishes in Perryville and Cape Girardeau; and provided sacramental service in various parishes in the Southwestern U.S. In January, 2010, his declining health led him to Apostle of Charity where he lived until his death.
I am grateful for Father Phil’s service among us here in Tucson.
For the soul of Father Villi Valderrama’s mother, Gloria Islas Hernandez, who passed away earlier this month. There was a service at Our Lady of Fatima Parish on Saturday to remember her.
For the family of Dr. Rosemary Celaya-Alston following the death of her first cousin Andrew Celaya, who passed away last week. The funeral was held Saturday at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Florence.
Upcoming in the Diocese:
Director of Religious Educators’ gathering
Saturday, Aug. 23
The annual gathering of parish Directors of Religious Education will be held Saturday, Aug. 23 at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish, 1800 S. Kolb Road. The gathering begins at 9 a.m. with a presentation from Bishop Gerald Kicanas and continues until 3:30 p.m.
To register contact Isabel Madrid at email@example.com or call 520-838-2544with your name, parish and how many are attending from your parish. The deadline is Thursday, Aug. 14.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha Annual Indian Festival
El Senior de los Milagros (behind Pueblo High School)
3410 S. 16th Ave. in Tucson
Fill you weekend with healthy food, fellowship and a good deed! The festival includes souvenir booths, food booths, games for children, mini-raffles ad lovely Native American and Mexican music and dancing, plus karaoke.
Proceeds from the festival go to will go to family catechesis, the Strong Catholic Family Project and youth ministry.
Reachout Pregnancy Center Gala
The Annual Celebrate Life Gala will be held Saturday, Sept. 6 at Skyline Country Club, 5200 E. St. Andrews Drive in Tucson. The guest speaker is Tiana Ronstadt, a Tucson mom and blogger who had a son who was diagnosed with Leukemia.
A reception begins at 5 p.m. with dinner to follow. The event is $70 per person and there is a silent auction and raffle during the evening. Tickets may be purchased online at www.reachoutforlife.org/2014-gala .
Proceeds benefit Reachout’s services for expectant women. All services are free.
Marriage Encounter Weekend Sept. 12 – 14
Get away from everyday distractions and focus on each other Sept. 12 – 14 in Tucson. Worldwide Marriage Encounter is a positive and personal couple experience, offering a loving communication technique that helps couples deepen and strengthen their relationship with each other and with God.
If you are looking to explore, rediscover and reconnect in your marriage, more information is available at 520-477-2121 or www.wwmearizona.com.
Annual Marriage Mass with Bishop Gerald Kicanas
Sunday, Sept. 21
St. Augustine Cathedral
Couples celebrating their first, 10th, 25th, 50th or 60th anniversaries are invited to this annual Mass with renewal of vows celebrated by Bishop. Couples must register to be included and the deadline to be included is Aug. 31. Please fill out the form below, or get a form from your parish office and send the completed form to:
Grace Lohr, Office of Worship
P.O. Box 31
Tucson, AZ 85702