Monday Memo, Feb. 16, 2015. Vol. 16, No. 6

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas









As we all know, Lent begins anew this Wednesday. All around our diocese, we gather together to celebrate the first liturgy of Lent and to receive the ashes reminding us of our mortality and of our need to follow more closely the path of Christ.


More and more, I hear the message Pope Francis has been delivering – to live with and walk with our brothers and sisters though the light and the darkness; through their triumphs and especially to walk with one another through difficulty. Last week, I spoke to members of Congress on the topic of immigration on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


I urged the committee not to support three pieces of legislation that will be harmful to those suffering through the terrible struggles, hardships and inhumanity of trying to flee lives of poverty, drug and human trafficking and death for better lives in this country.


I pray those elected leaders listen. I pray they find the strength to imagine themselves in the situations faced by immigrants. I pray they work for an answer to human suffering.


(For more information about that hearing please visit: or for Bishop Kicanas’ statement, visit:


Here in our diocese during Lent, I ask that we all look for opportunities to listen and to love. I urge everyone to look around their lives. If we see someone without food, then let’s provide them with food, or better, let us try to find a way to permanently stop their hunger. Does that person on the corner need more than food? Perhaps the person seeks a job, or guidance to a shelter where there is food and other life sustaining resources. Is that person mentally incapable of helping himself or herself? Who can we call to help that person?


It is so easy to drop a dollar into a beggar’s hand. That will help, we tell ourselves.


Does it? Or have we simply taken an easy way out, a quick escape from the truth – the truth that the person before us is hungry, dirty, and lonely in ways that we do not want to think about? What prevents us from stopping and seeing and listening to that person before we drop that dollar? I am sure that person has much to say, if only we would stop to hear it.



Our Holy Father shows us almost daily how to truly love people. I am certain that some in the crowds swarming around him frighten him, but he moves forward and embraces people, no matter how they look. He cannot save them from the troubles in their lives, but he can love them, and he can remind them of Christ’s love. His embrace of others is a beautiful act of kindness.


Let’s try to be a little more like Pope Francis. Take a moment every day during Lent to remember that Christ often dwelt with the poor, the sick, and the shunned people of His time. Give the homeless a dollar. Then, give him or her a handshake. Look into their eyes as if that person were a brother or sister or a friend. Engage them as humans with the dignity God gave them at conception. Ask them what else can be done. Be with that person if only for a few minutes.


Let me tell you a story I heard from our Pastoral Center. On a shelf in the Director of Communications’ Office there is Statue of Mary of the Immaculate Heart. This statue has seen better days – her cloak has lots of missing flecks of paint, her face is chipped and she still carries some of the grime gathered in her previous life – yet that statue has been in the Communications Office for years ; it even made the journey from the old Communications office in the Marist building.


It turns out that the statue of Mary was brought to Fred Allison, the former Director of Communications, by a homeless man. The man asked Fred to take the statue because he could no longer care for it, could no longer protect the Blessed Mother’s image from being broken and destroyed.


Fred took the statue, and she remains in her spot, a precious gift from a homeless man who could not give her a home.


The man was dirty and left behind in society, but he remembered the faith. I ask that we do the same, and remember that all people around us are as Christ.



Ash Wednesday:
I will celebrate the noon Mass and distribution of ashes at St. Augustine Cathedral, 192 S. Stone Ave.



A conference for Catholics
Register now for the upcoming Co-Workers in the Vineyard conference, March 5-7 at the Tucson Convention Center.


We expect this conference to be a grand gathering of Catholics from around our diocese, and even have people from nearby dioceses registering to attend.


I’ll recap from a past Memo:
Our Conference keynote speakers include:



Father Robert Barron. Father  is the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, the Rector of Mundelein Seminary, and is the host of CATHOLICISM, an award winning documentary about the Catholic faith. He also is a widely-published author.

Father Barron recently returned from England where he is currently doing work in preparation for a DVD series on the lives of saints, including people like John Henry Cardinal Newman and G. K. Chesterton.


He is among the most sought after speakers.


Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Relief Services. I worked with Dr. Woo for three years while I was Chair of the Board for CRS. Under her leadership, the organization has served thousands of the world’s neediest people in dozens of countries and the United States, providing everything from emergency aid to food, safe water programs, and micro-loan and educational programs to assist people with achieving a better life and self-sufficiency.


Dr. Woo was born and raised in Hong Kong, and immigrated to the United States to attend Purdue University, where she received her B.S., M.S.I.A. and Ph.D. degrees, and became a member of its faculty. From 2004 to 2010, Dr. Woo served on the Board of Directors of Catholic Relief Services, and currently sits on numerous boards and USCCB Committees.image014


I also will be a keynote speaker.


In addition, the Conference will feature two very well -regarded keynote speakers – Father Alfonso Garcia and Bishop Sigifredo Noriega Barceló of the Zacatecas Diocese, for those in our diocese that are Spanish speaking.


The theme of this year’s conference is “A People of Faith, Hope and Charity”


Faith – Our response to God, who reveals himself and gives himself to us.
Hope – Our desire from God of eternal life and the means of grace necessary to attain it.
Charity – Our ability to love God above all things and to love others out of love for God.


There will be 30 workshops in English and 30 workshops in Spanish with topics that we believe will be of wide interest to attendees.


For more information on the conference, lodging and speakers, please visit


Or ask your parish office for a copy of the February New Vision newspaper or the special conference tabloid that soon will be available for more information.


Presbyteral Council
There is a regular Presbyteral Council meeting this morning at the Pastoral Center. Topics on the agenda include: Annual Catholic Appeal and Extension Calendar Program; Better Orientation on IOI Payroll System; Lay Employee Pension; Teacher and Principal Salary Schedule ; Catholic Tuition Support Organization Outreach to Parish Religious Education programs; Processing of extern deacons wishing to minister in diocese; Standardized email expectations; Bishop’s Listening Sessions; Cathedral Revitalization ; and an update on the “Who will Fill my Shoes” vocations recruitment program.


Mass at Villa Maria
Once a year I visit with the residents and staff at Villa Maria. The assisted living facility has a chapel for the people living there (which Father Alex Mills, pastor of St. Ann Parish in Tubac, decorated), and it seems to pretty much fill up when I come to say Mass. Afterwards, I chat and take photos with the residents and some of their family members who might be visiting.


My thanks to Sister Dorothy Ann Lesher, C.S.J., who organizes my annual visit and who tends to the spiritual needs of those at Villa Maria, making sure that they can pursue their faith well into their senior years.


Also on Tuesday, I get to meet with some amazing volunteers working with Southwest Medical Aid. I will be giving the volunteers their appreciation certificates at Most Holy Trinity Parish in Tucson.


The organization truly fills a unique need. Their website describes the work done in this way: “Southwest Medical Aid is a distributor of reclaimed medical supplies. We receive donations of surplus medical supplies then organize and distribute them to those in need,.”


I like that useable medical goods are gathered and put to work in needed places; that these materials are nothing wasted and are used for benefit for others.


My thanks to Executive Director Cheryl Cecil, S.D.S., and the group’s Board of Directors:
Father Tom Tureman , S.D.S ., President and Pastor of Most Holy Trinity Parish; Father Keith Brennen, S.D.S. ,Vice President; Linda Sellner; Lisa Ripley , Treasurer; Raaizia Ahmed; Marcelino Flores; Raul Silva; Ethel Luzario, The 3000 Club; Diego Navarrette and Cheryl Wiess, S.D.S.; and of course, to the volunteers.


Priest Appreciation Dinner
Tuesday evening I will attend a Priests Appreciation Dinner put on by the Knights of Columbus at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. The Knights are always so gracious in showing our priests how much they mean to them. Their support means a lot.


For the Priests’ Retirement Fund
Thursday I will welcome Marty Ronstadt and Kelly Bequette From the Msgr. Donald Hughes Assembly, Fourth Degree of the Knights of Columbus to the Pastoral Center, where they will present the Diocese with a check for funds raised by the assembly for the retired priests retirement account.


Marty and Kelly, along with the rest of their assembly, work tirelessly to raise funds to support retired priests. Their continued efforts have led to retirement stipend increases over the years, and I know that our retired priests appreciate the efforts.


This year at the gathering at Skyline Country Club, we honored Msgr. Robert Fuller, pastor of St. Francis de Sales. Although not retired, Monsignor continues to serve well beyond the retirement age. He is another example of how dedicated our retired priests are and how important it is for us to support them.


Communications Committee
I serve on the Communications Committee for the USCCB. The committee “seeks to support the work of evangelization and faith formation through a comprehensive approach to media that includes media relations, media production and programming, policy, review of entertainment media, publishing, distribution, and licensing with sensitivity towards culturally diverse communities.”


The committee is having a video on Thursday. Other members of the committee, which is chaired by Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City include:

Most Reverend Gregory M. Aymond, archbishop of New Orleans

Most Reverend James D. Conley, bishop of Lincoln, Neb.

Most Reverend Christopher J. Coyne, auxiliary bishop of Indianapolis

Most Reverend Ronald P. Herzog, bishop of Alexandria, La.

Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann, archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas

Most Reverend Joseph J. Tyson, bishop of Yakima,Wash.

Most Reverend James S. Wall, Bishop of Gallup, N.M.


The Committee is planning for the upcoming visit of Pope Francis.


Pastoral Center Service Day
Each year, my staff and I here at the Pastoral Center pick a service project. This year, we decided that our own house, the Pastoral Center, needs some organization and cleaning – inside and out. We will hold our service project on Friday.


Some of us may be familiar with the term “dust bunnies” as a reference to the day-to-day stuff that builds up on floors and so forth. I don’t know if we have dust bunnies in the Pastoral Center, but we have got lots of other “bunnies” ranging from parts and pieces of office furniture, paper trimmings and boxes of old labels , (I mean really old) that long ago lost their usefulness and so on.


Outside the center, there are plenty of plants and branches to trim and patios to sweep, and across the street, we plan to tackle the contents in the long-closed Marist Chapel. The Chapel furniture is long gone, replaced years ago with boxes and items from another time.


Thanks in advance to the Pastoral Center staff that is going to put their backs into the work and to our clean-up leader John Shaheen, aka our Director of Property and Insurance.


Knights of Malta Healing Mass
Saturday, I will be celebrating a Mass for Healing at St. Augustine Cathedral for the members of the Knights and Ladies of Malta.


There are many Orders – organizations of philanthropy and service – operating in the Catholic Church. Here in our own diocese we have the Knights of Columbus, the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Knights of Malta.


Here is description of those in the Order of the Knights of Malta:


“Today the majority of Knights of Malta belong to all classes of society. The members of the Order may be defined as Catholics enlivened by altruistic nobleness of spirit and behavior. All Knights of Malta must meet the traditional requirement for the bestowing of knighthood: distinguish themselves for special virtues. The knighthood nature of the Order has kept its moral value, characterized by the spirit of service, sacrifice and discipline of today’s Knights of Malta. Battles are no longer fought with swords, but with the peaceful tools of the fight against disease, poverty, social isolation and intolerance, as well as witnessing and protecting the faith.”


Convocation: Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection
On Saturday, most of the more than 78 compliance officers working in our parishes and schools will be participating in a day-long convocation at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish.
The theme is “Promise to Protect, Pledge to Heal”, and I know that the event and guest speakers will be of tremendous help to our employees working to ensure that all those working or volunteering for our diocese, and that all those attending and being supported by their parishes, schools and ministries are safe from harm.




Dr. Rosemary Celaya-Alston, director of the safety office, and Rachel Guzman, program manager for safe environment, have outlined a training session that will captivate and well inform these critical employees and volunteers in our diocese. I know Dr. Rosemary invited Charles Flanagan, who just recently served as the Director of Child Protection Services for the State of Arizona, as a speaker to the convocation. He knows well the challenges of kids and those who work with them.


Viva Italiano!
Saturday evening I will celebrate Mass at Our Lady of the Valley in Green Valley for members of the Italian Catholic Federation. This group is very generous in helping us support the formation of seminarians. There are three councils in our Diocese, one at Our Lady of the Valley, one at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and one at Sts. Peter and Paul


To Father John Arnold, who will be installed as Pastor of St. Mark Parish in Oro Valley on Sunday.
I look forward to pastor installation Masses; while the liturgies themselves follow a common path, every parish provides individual personal touches that truly represent the parish community.


In addition to his work as priest and pastor, Father Arnold, who was a lawyer in his pre-priest life, often has assisted the Diocese with his legal expertise , and in addition to a degree in law, he also holds a J.C.L. Juris Canonici Licentiatus, or Licentiate of Canon Law.


Rite of Election
It is my joy every year to welcome those who studied and who are working to become full members of our Catholic faith to one of the last steps in their journey, the Rite of Election. The first of two such rites will be held at St. Augustine Cathedral on Sunday. The second Mass, in Yuma, will be celebrated on March 1.


Sister Lois Paha, O.P., D.Min, ,tells me that this year we have a total of over 100 Catechumens   and more than 250 Candidates joining the faith. A candidate is someone previously baptized in another Christian faith. Catechumens are people ever been initiated into a church community before joining the Catholic Church.


Congratulations to all in nearing end of your journeys into full membership.


It is a best kept secret that many come into the Church at the Easter Vigil. Some of the elect include those never been baptized and others, who though baptized, now want to enter the Catholic Faith. It is a privilege to receive them in the name of the Church.


Annual Catholic Appeal
The first week of the 2015 Annual Catholic Appeal passed and it was wonderful to hear from the Catholic Foundation staff that the generous people of our diocese already were beginning to make their pledges and gifts this year.


The Annual Catholic Appeal is a unified effort in which all members of our diocesan family join together to provide critical, financial support to diocesan services, programs, and ministries.


By participating in the Annual Catholic Appeal, donors help those whose needs are the greatest – the poor, the vulnerable, those on the margins of our society. Gifts to the Appeal demonstrates commitment to Catholic education for children and those who will lead our parishes in the future; it supports those who are ill, the imprisoned and dying; and helps to strengthen struggling families, as well as to offer those who have drifted away from the Church a way back. The success of the Appeal enables thousands of individuals and families throughout the Diocese make positive changes to improve their lives.
As Catholic it is in our nature to help where we see a need, but It is impossible for one person, or parish, to do it all; however when we all work together we help thousands of people.


Over the last few weekends, many parishes shared my Annual Catholic Appeal video message with their parishioners. If you did not have an opportunity to see the video, you can view it by visiting or at the Catholic Foundation’s Facebook page, Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson.
To be amongst the first to make your gift or pledge to the 2015 effort visit the Annual Catholic Appeal page on the Catholic Foundation’s website at: or contact the Foundation staff directly at 520-838-2504.


Mundelein Seminarians
A group of seminarians in pre-theology at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein will be working this week with Father Ponchie Vazquez, O.F.M. , and his staff at the Tohono o’Odham community in Sells. They will be doing work to assist the people there. It is a wonderful occasion for these men, just beginning their seminary training, to see the needs of our Native Americans and learn how best to serve them. I will be hosting them for prayer and dinner at my home this evening. They are joined by Father Brendan and Father Marek on the faculty at Mundelein.


Diocesan Pastoral Center Directors Meeting
Will be taking place on Thursday. At these meetings we are updated on the progress our departments are making in meeting their goals for the year. This meeting, Kathy Rhinehart and Dr. Rosemary Celaya Alston will discuss files maintained at the Pastoral Center.


Recap in photos


Bishop Kicanas attended the annual Asian New Year Celebration at Our Lady of La Vang Parish in Tucson.




image026Please pray for
The soul of Alfie Norville, who passed away unexpectedly Feb. 10. She was the wife of Allan Norville, and together they worked as real estate developers and philanthropists, and established the Allan & Alfie Norville Endowed Chair for Heart Disease in Women Research at the University of Arizona Medical Center’s Sarver Heart Center, among many other charitable contributions. They are members of the Equestrian Order of the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre and she was involved in many charitable projects.
Please read for more information on Alfie’s amazing contributions.




Who Will Fill My Shoes?

Feb. 28
St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Yuma
Noon to 2 p.m.image028


An information session for men between the ages of 18 and 35 years old, who have thought about the possibility that they may interested in a life of service to others.


For those who are unable to attend one of our sessions, please take the time – just about 3 minutes – to view the video on our diocesan homepage at, or visit our YouTube channel at  There may be something in the words of the priests featured in the video that speak to you.


I was delighted that so many came to the session in Tucson. These are wonderfully generous men who are discerning whether the Lord is calling them to serve. Please remember them.


PCIC 25th Anniversary Celebration
Sunday, March 8
2 p.m.
St. Philip’s in the Foothills Church
to purchase tickets or to donate.


Pima County Interfaith Council, an organization dedicated to “identifying, bringing together and developing leaders across our communities, to accomplish more together” than as separate entities, will recognize its 25th Anniversary on March 8.