Monday Memo, Dec. 9, 2014. Vol. 15, No. 19

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas

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The Second Week of Advent
As you know, Advent is a time of preparation. This was abundantly clear in last Sunday’s readings that included many references to preparing the way of the Lord.

 

image001What do we mean by preparing the way? During Advent, just like during our Lenten preparations, we are called to look at how we are living our faith. Have we been lax in our attention to God? Can we improve how we interact with our family members or others? Can we better tend to those in need, those around us who have no one to help them?

 

Preparing for the arrival of Christ, bettering ourselves and living more in the nurturing spirit of the Light does not require a dramatic change in our lives, but can be done in simple everyday actions, with profound results.

 

Last week, I wrote about bringing the Light of Christ to others. Our faith always has called us to help others. Need ideas? Just remember the Corporal Works of Mercy: Feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned and bury the dead.

 

There are many ways to help others during Advent, or any time. Preparing for the Lord, preparing the path for the Lord, does not just need to happen during holy days or specific liturgical seasons.

 

By remembering to help others in need all the time, we truly are preparing for God. One time help for others is a start, but building service and care for others into our everyday living is life-changing for us, and for those we help.

 

Share a smile. Share a meal. Share the goodness of God among us.

 

image008Hail Mary
The month of December includes two feast days dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Yesterday, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. This solemnity, which began as far back as the seventh century for the Eastern Church, and spread to the Western Church in about the 11th century, celebrates the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary within St. Anne, the mother of Mary.

 

We believe that Mary was, from the moment of her conception, preserved free from all sin through the grace of God.

 

The Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception is the patroness of the United States, Brazil, Korea, the Philippines, Portugal, and Spain

 

image010On Dec. 12, we observe the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Our Blessed Mother is most beloved as the Lady of Guadalupe, and is recognized as the Patroness of the Americas.

 

Many in our diocese know the 1531 story in which our Lady appeared to Juan Diego and how “Within a short time, six million Native Mexicans had themselves baptized as Christians,” reported one description of the apparition to Juan Diego and the miracles that followed. Mary’s importance to those of Mexican descent was well described by information on CatholicOnline.org

 

“The first lesson is that God has chosen Mary to lead us to Jesus. No matter what critics may say of the devotion of Mexicans (and Mexican descendants) to Our Lady of Guadalupe, they owe their Christianity to her influence. If it were not for her, they would not know her Son, and so they are eternally grateful. The second lesson we take from Mary herself. Mary appeared to Juan Diego not as a European madonna but as a beautiful Aztec princess speaking to him in his own Aztec language. If we want to help someone appreciate the gospel we bring, we must appreciate the culture and the mentality in which they live their lives. ”

 

Welcome to the Year of Consecrated Life
Sunday, Dec. 14 is the day our diocese will launch its Year for Consecrated Life. I will celebrate Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral, at 10 a.m. , and there will be a reception in Cathedral Hall with light refreshments and an opportunity 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.image012

 

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.

 

There are so many ways to serve God, and those working in consecrated lives as priests, brothers and sisters can be found in education, prison ministry, health care, mission work and almost every facet of work in almost every country in the world.

 

Yuma Catholic High School
Yesterday morning I celebrated Mass with the students at Yuma Catholic High School. Father Ramonito Celestial is the school’s chaplain and Rev. Emilio Chapa represents me on the Yuma Catholic Board. It was wonderful to visit with the students who are still aglow with pride over the Shamrock’s football championship win last week. Please scroll down to the bottom of the MM for photographs from my Yuma visit.

 

Welcome!
To Anne Marie King as Controller for our diocese. Ann Marie brings a wealth of experience to the position after working for Our Mother of Sorrows Parish for eight years. Anne Marie is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Management Accountant and also is a long time parishioner at OMOS.

 

Christmas Dinners and Breakfasts
This week I will host members of our Marriage Tribunal and the members of our Diocesan Pastoral Council for dinners at my residence.

 

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.

 

I will be again be having breakfasts for people from various parishes around the diocese to thank them for their good stewardship in service of our community. These are wonderful opportunities to meet the “hidden saints” who do so much good.

 

Priests Training
Today and tomorrow, some of our priests who have been ordained five years or less will continue with their ongoing training at the Redemptorist Renewal Center.

 

Untitled1 copyBlessings for St. Elizabeth Health Center
On Wednesday, I will offer prayers for the continued success for the newly formed St. Elizabeth along with leaders and employees of the facility.

 

The Health Center, formerly called the St. Elizabeth of Hungary Clinic, was part of Catholic Community Services, but has since been legally separated from CCS and is aligned more formerly with El Rio Clinic retaining its Catholic identity. The new partnership will better enable St. Elizabeth Health Center to seek funding resources.

 

St. Elizabeth and CCS still will collaborate and work together, but as separate entities.

 

Advent Mass
Each year I look forward to celebrating Mass during Advent with the employees of Catholic Community Services. As you know, CCS provides health care and other services and ministries to those in our larger Tucson community, and even in the southeastern and western part of the Diocese through the CCS Divisions devoted to those areas.

 

Mass is a good way to remember all those in need and to pray for the continued work provided by the dedicated employees of CCS.

 

Pizza Party
I will host a pizza party at Most Holy Trinity Parish on Saturday for children who did poster drawings for the recent Rosary Conference. It is a joy to see the pride in the parents of those who were chosen as winners in the contest.

 

The Patronato San Xavier
For three days this week the Patronato, that works to preserve the beautiful and historic San Xavier Mission, held its annual Christmas Concerts at the Mission. It is my pleasure to attend the final concert Wednesday evening, an event that features the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus and the Sons of Orpheus Men’s Choir.

 

It is quite an experience to listen to such a fine performance in the Mission that was founded in 1692 by Jesuit Father Eusebio Francisco Kino. Construction on the first church did not begin until 1756, and work on the Mission we know today did not begin until 1783.

 

If you would like to donate to the preservation of the Mission please visit http://www.patronatosanxavier.org/donate/

 

Mass at Salpointe
It will be my delight to visit with and celebrate Mass with the students at Salpointe Catholic High School on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I am sure our Blessed Mother is pleased by the work of our Salpointe scholars. My thanks for the invitation from Principal Helen Timothy, I.B.V.M. and to her faculty and staff for working so hard on behalf of all the Lancers.

 

Feast Day procession
St. Joseph Parish in Tucson is hosting a variety of prayerful and fun activities to celebrate the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

 

I am honored to have been asked to launch the parish’s first-ever Grand Procession beginning Friday evening at 5:30 p.m. at the soccer fields at Golf Links and South Craycroft roads. Families and individuals of all ages and from various groups, as well as candle bearers and musicians will process down Craycroft Road praying the Rosary.

 

Once everyone arrives at the Church at 215 S. Craycroft Road, we all will proceed into the Church for additional prayers before the image of Our Lady.

 

For more information visit http://www.stjosephtucson.org/

 

Diocesan Pastoral Council Meeting
The Council will continue its reflection on the recent Synod on Family Life as well as offer guidance on our Diocesan goals and view the new video for the Annual Catholic Appeal.

 

Hispanic Ministry
Also on Saturday, I will be celebrating Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral in thanksgiving for the “graduation” of 100 people who have earned their Level 1 Certificates in Hispanic Ministry around the Diocese including four different Vicariates.

 

One of the many goals set forth by Sister Gladys Echenique, O.P., our coordinator of Hispanic Ministry, and her leadership team, has been the training of ministers to serve our many Spanish speaking parish communities and organizations.

 

A similar Mass and celebration was held in Yuma last weekend for 26 Hispanic Ministers who received their Level 1 certification in the Yuma-La Paz Vicariate. There are a couple of photos below.

 

Congratulations to all!

 

Here are some photographs from other parts of my Yuma visit last week:

 

 

Following the Campesinos event, I visited a farm, where I spoke with farmworkers on the job.

 

On Saturday evening, I celebrated a Mass of Installations for Father Emilio Chapa as Pastor of St. Francis Assisi in Yuma.

On Sunday, I blessed a new columbarium constructed on the campus of St. John Neumann Church in Yuma, then went on to a Mass at Immaculate Conception parish, celebrating the work of the Franciscan Sisters in Yuma:

 

Sunday afternoon I held the first of my four listening sessions for additional input about matters of faith with marriage and family life.

 

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. We did the initial round of information gathering, and now I am holding four listening sessions around our diocese. The first sessions was held at Yuma Catholic High School, where 60 people came to share their ideas and comments.

 

 

Upcoming

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

Tuesday, Dec. 9, Maria en los Evangelios
The second and final Advent presentation
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 gechenique@diocesetucson.org , or Ofelia James at 520 838-2545 or email ojames@diocesetucson.org

 

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, Dec. 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 gechenique@diocesetucson.org