Monday Memo, Dec. 1, 2014. Vol. 15, No. 18

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas







Please note: The Diocese of Tucson offices will be closed Monday, Dec. 8 in observance of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.



Advent begins
Yesterday in Catholic Churches and communities around the world, we began Advent with the lighting of the first of four candles on the Advent Wreath.


The symbolism of lighting the candle as we await the birth of Christ, our light, is compelling; strong and gentle, bright and warm, guiding our path to God.


I encourage you to read this month’s New Vision, and in particular, a column by Sister Lois Paha, O.P., D. Min., about the Advent season. She writes that we often think about receiving the light of Christ, but suggests that this year we could also consider bringing to others, or sharing that light.


What a good idea! Here’s a section from the column Sister wrote:


“Parishes, organizations, community centers, the local police and fire fighters, radio and television stations use this pre-Christmas time to ignite the generosity of the community to reach out to those in need.   Gifts of time, money, toys, food, clothing and more are gathered and given. These material items provide support to others and also become an opportunity of charity and self-giving for the providers. How can this activity enhance your life and be a source of light that you and your family can bring to others this year?”


Advent provides a wonderful opportunity to reflect on our faith and how we act in the faith. This season, consider taking action, really engaging in the spirit of the Light, and do something that brings that light alive to others.


Year of Consecrated Religious Life
The year of Consecrated Life is beginning at different times all around the United States but for the world, eyes were on Rome last weekend as Pope Francis began the Liturgical Year with the First Week of Advent Eucharistic Liturgy.  Our parishes were asked to put an announcement in their bulletins regarding this specially designated year and to include a prayer for consecrated religious brothers, priests, sisters and nuns during the prayers of the faithful at their weekend Masses.


Dec. 14, will be the day that the Diocese of Tucson will launch its Year for Consecrated Life.  Bishop Gerald Kicanas will celebrate Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral, at 10 a.m.  There will be a reception in Cathedral Hall with light refreshments and an opportunity to set up displays and to hand out materials for people to learn more about the consecrated Religious working in our area. This also will be the time when religious men and women new to the area are welcomed to the Diocese of Tucson.


The focus for the year is to “Wake up the World”, and Religious can show that it is possible to live differently in this world.


Congratulations Yuma Catholic!
Yuma Catholic won the State Title in Football by beating Tempe Prep 38-27. This is their second state title in a row, and the Shamrocks remain undefeated. Congratulations to Coach Rhett Stallworth, Principal Armando Valenzuela III, all the coaches and the team members.


Christmas Dinners
Tomorrow evening I will host the first of my annual Christmas season dinners. This first dinner will be with the members of the Catholic Tuition Support Organization (CTSO) Advisory Board.


These dinners give me the chance to thank the members of many different boards and committees who work all year long in service to the Diocese, and I enjoy sharing hospitality and conversation with these fine people in my home.




Franciscan Sister Pascalita teaching children at San Xavier Mission School

Congratulations San Xavier School!
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the 150th Anniversary of the Mission School run by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and later by the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity of Manitowoc, Wisc., On Wednesday, it will be my joy to celebrate Mass at the Mission to further remember this amazing anniversary.


There are two truly wonderful videos on YouTube about the school. These videos feature Sister Leonette Kochan, O.S.F., an educator who currently works as our Director of the Office of Human Life and Dignity; Sister Carla Riach, O.S.F.; Father Steve Barnufsky, O.S.F. and pastor at San Xavier; and Principal Shirley Kalinsowski, along with many members of the Tohono O’odham Nation.


image006Mass for Missing Students
St. Monica Parish
212 W. Medina Road
7 p.m.
Saint Monica Parish will be holding a Mass to call for prayers and support for the families of 43 students training to be teachers who were kidnapped near Iguala, Mexico Sept. 26. The students,who had come from a teacher training college in Ayotzinapa, had gone to Iguala to protest and raise funds when police stopped them. Six of those students were later found dead, and the 43 other students have not been seen since.


Mass will be celebrated as a call for peace and justice and a time to be one with the parents of those students.


Marian Group
Congratulations to the Marian Group at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish. This week members there are celebrating their group’s 20th Anniversary. I understand that in addition to their devotion to prayer, the group also assists with charitable work.


On Wednesday evening, Msgr. Jeremiah McCarthy, our Moderator of the Curia, will be filling in for me as this month’s group meeting as guest speaker. He will be making a presentation about “Reflections on Faith and the New Evangelization: Strengthening our own personal journeys of faith with the help of Pope Francis, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and some spiritual companions and artists: Andrei Rublev, Flannery O’Connor, and Henry Ossawa Tanner”.


Monsignor’s presentation, I know, will be well received.


Catholic Cemeteries Board
This board meets Thursday. Board members will discuss cemetery projects at Holy Hope and Our Lady of the Desert; a report on last month’s groundbreaking for a cemetery for veterans in Marana; reports on the First Annual Grandparents Day event at the cemeteries that took place in September, on the All Souls Vigil Service and on the cemeteries’ financial information. Anthony Crespo,   Director of our Catholic Cemeteries, also will report on his visit to the Catholic Cemetery Conference , hosted by the Archdiocese of Newark.


In Yuma
I begin a five day visit to Yuma with a Vocations Discernment Group meeting Thursday evening. I am looking forward to meeting these young men who have expressed an initial interest in pursuing a vocation and who have been working with Father Jorge Farias Saucedo, our Vocations Director, for Recruitment, Father Emilio Chapa and Father Manuel Fragoso for the last several months.


On Friday I will start my day with Mass with the school children at St. Francis Assisi Parish. Later in the day, Sister Gladys Echenique, our Coordinator of Hispanic Ministry, and I will go to Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel Mission to meet with local Spanish speaking catechists who have earned their Level 1 certification. The last event of the day is the first of many Annual Catholic Appeal training sessions at our various vicariates to begin preparations for the launch of the annual campaign. This year’s theme is People of Faith, Hope and Charity, which truly reflects my experience of the people in our diocese.


Mass for Farmworkers
Almost since my arrival here in our diocese, I have tried to participate in the annual Mass for Farmworkers held in San Luis, outside of Yuma. As you know, agriculture is a major industry in the Yuma-La Paz area, and so the farmworkers that arrive to tend and harvest the crops are a crucial part of the region’s economy.


And yet, still, there are many dangers and challenges for those coming to work here. I am inspired always by these industrious workers, who toil in the intense heat and the cold and who withstand Yuma’s unrelenting windstorms to make a living for themselves and for their families.


This is the 20th annual Dia del Campesinos event that, according to a story published a year ago in the Yuma Sun, brings together an estimated 4,000 “farmworkers from the Yuma area and neighboring San Luis Rio Colorado and dozens of health and non-profit agencies that can offer the workers information and referral services relating to housing, education, health care and legal aid. The event also features live music performances and offers farmworkers a chance to win raffle prizes.”


It is my honor to celebrate this Mass alongside my brother priests and deacons from the entire Yuma-La Paz Vicariate.

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If you would like to attend, the Mass begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6, at Joe Orduno Park, 965 N. Park Ave., in San Luis, Arizona.


My thanks to Campesinos Sin Fronteras, a local non-profit that organizes the event, and Pastoral Campesina Yuma-La Paz, and to Teresita Kontos and Liliana Bustamante, the coordinators of the Pastoral Campesina in Yuma. This ministry is under the Hispanic Office, led by Sister Gladys Echenique, O.P.



Congratulations Father Chapa!
On Saturday evening I will celebrate a Mass for the installation of Father Emilio Chapa as Pastor of St. Francis de Assisi Parish. This is Father Chapa’s second assignment at St. Francis – he served their as an associate pastor there earlier in his priesthood – and I know both he and his parish community have been happy to be reunited.


Franciscan Sisters in Yuma
For additional information about the work of the Sisters in Yuma, try watching:


I will be celebrating Mass with the Franciscan Sisters at work in Yuma at Immaculate Conception Parish on Sunday morning. I think the O.S.F. sisters have become very media savvy – I found three more videos on YouTube about their work in the Yuma area alone. At any rate, the sisters have been in the area for years and years and still are hard at work teaching and ministering. My thanks to all of them for their devotion.


This year I hope to make a visit to the fields to see first-hand the incredible work done by our farmworkers to bring food to our tables. Several years ago I joined Bishop Isidro Guerrero Macias from Mexicali in writing a Pastoral Letter on farmworkers after we visited them in the fields. It was a very powerful experience. The faith of the people and their willingness to work so hard for their families is an inspiration.


Columbarium Blessing
Some time ago, Father John Friel, pastor at St. John Neumann Parish, and other Catholics living in Yuma approached me about the possibility of having a regional columbarium constructed to serve families in the western part of the Diocese.   After only two years, that request has been realized, thanks to Anthony Crespo, director of our Catholic Cemeteries, to Father Friel and to his committee, with the cooperation of all the pastors in the Yuma-La Paz area.


Bishop’s Listening session
Sunday, Dec. 7
Yuma Catholic High School
2 p.m.

You may recall that prior to Extraordinary Synod on “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization” held this past October, our Holy Father had asked Church leaders to gather input about marriage and family from a broader group of people than is normally done in preparation for a synod.


At that time, Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, the Secretary-General of the Synod, newly appointed by Pope Francis, asked the various episcopal conferences to “share as widely as possible in the deaneries and dioceses” the list of questions proposed by the Vatican to start gathering information. Our diocese participated in this information gathering last November by creating an electronic survey, through a service called Survey Monkey, with the questions. There were nine areas covered by the survey, and we broke the Vatican questions into 57 survey questions. That survey was emailed to all of our priests, deacon, religious, marriage ministers and those leading our Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) programs, Lay Ecclesial Ministers, members of our Diocesan Pastoral Council and our Pastoral Center Directors. Other Catholics also were invited to participate in the survey.


After compiling our information, it was sent to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and added to the information from other dioceses across the U.S. and then sent on to the Vatican.


Now, I will be holding four area listening sessions to gather additional feedback from Catholics in our diocese about faith matters in marriage and family. The first of these sessions will take place in Yuma. The session will be held on Sunday evening at Yuma Catholic High School, beginning at 2 p.m.


The other sessions will be held in Tucson, Casa Grande and somewhere in the Cochise Vicariate. I will keep you posted on exactly when and where those sessions will take place.




Diocese of Tucson – Office of Hispanic Ministry presents:
Advent 2014 presentations by Monsignor Carlos Romero-Moreno

Two conferences in Spanish of preparation:

Tuesday, Dec. 2

Destellos de Maria en el Antiguo Testamento



Tuesday, Dec. 9, Maria en los Evangelios

Both presentations will be at Most Holy Trinity Parish,

1300 N. Greasewood Road

7 p.m. to 9 p.m.


For more information contact: Sister Gladys Echenique at 520 838-2540 or at , or Ofelia James at 520 838-2545 or email


Monsignor also will offer a similar presentation in Yuma on Dec. 6
Immaculate Conception Parish
505 South Avenue B
2 p.m. to 4 p.m.


Holiday Card to Tucson
A musical performance presented by the University of Arizona

Sunday, Dec. 7 at 3 p.m. and again at 7 p.m.

St. Augustine Cathedral
192 S. Stone Ave.
For information call 623-6351


Annual Bi-National Posadas
Held each year during the Advent season, here is a listing of the events at three ports of entry:


Agua Prieta – Tuesday, December 9th at 4 p.m.

Beginning at the west side of the Douglas Port of Entry and concluding at the Migrant Resource Center in Agua Prieta.


Nogales – Saturday, December 13th at 3 p.m. Meet at the DeConcini Port of Entry. The event will take place in Mexico and a festive dinner will follow at the Kino Border Initiative.*


Yuma – Wednesday, December 17th at 6 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Parish, 505 S. Ave. B.

For more information, please contact Sister Gladys Echenique, O.P., at 520-838-2540, or email