Monday Memo, May 4, 2015. Vol. 13, No. 18

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas







Photo by Steff Koeneman Some of our diocesan priests celebrating jubilees were able to attend the Priest Convocation and celebrate Mass with their brother priests. From left to right are: Father Clement Agamba, 25 years; Father Alex Mills, 25 years; Father Michael Bucciarelli, VF, 40 years; Bishop Kicanas; Father Joel Almendras, 40 years; and Father Thomas Koller, O.C.D., 25 years.




Priest Convocation
Our priests have returned to their parishes following the 2015 Priest Convocation. I am happy to report that our convocation, which focused a great deal of discussion about how our diocese can be more pastorally supportive to Catholics on areas related to marriage and family, was a tremendous success.



Our priests were truly engaged and involved in many hours of small group discussion. We had organized the priest discussions around the topics brought up by diocesan Catholics during four listening sessions I held earlier this year on Marriage and Family. Much of the information gathered during those sessions also had been brought up in an electronic survey of our diocese conducted in response to Pope Francis’ request for broad consultation, or information, from all dioceses to prepare for the upcoming synod on Marriage and Family.


We used the information gathered from Catholics during the listening sessions to create questions for the priests to discuss. Some of the questions were: What are concrete ways parishes or the Diocese can provide more support to couples preparing for marriage; to newlywed couples, to single parents and single parent families; and to families of homosexual children?


To my delight, the responses from the priests were compassionate and practical. Many ideas for programs, ministry or just small ways a parish can be more welcoming and more helpful to Catholics were brought forward. Likewise, there were many suggestions for ways our larger diocese can support and enable programs and ministries to support marriage and family.



Bishop Kicanas with Father Ed Pietrucha, C.S.P.

We took lots of notes and soon we will have a detailed outline of the results of the Convocation discussions. I will give you more information as we outline what our future steps will be in this area.


Another highlight of the Convocation is the recognition of our jubilarian priests. While not all of our jubilarians could attend the convocation, several were able to participate in the Mass and celebration dinner. We also recognized Father Ed Pietrucha, C.S.P. , who will be leaving our diocese to live with his Paulist brothers in retirement in New York. Father Ed has served our diocese for 26 years at St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish and we will certainly miss his wisdom and devotion. We said our farewells to Father Victor Lugo, A.M., a parochial vicar at St. Joseph’s, who is returning to the Philippines.


We also welcomed Father Joel Almendras, who although retired, will be assisting at St. Joseph Parish in Tucson.


My thanks to our Pastoral Services Department – Sister Lois Paha, O.P., D.Min., Ofelia James and Joe Perdreauville – for their hard work in coordinating the three day event; to Kathy Rhinehart, our chancellor and Angelica Lozier, executive assistant, for processing mountains of important documents for our priests; to our Communications staff for photographing and reporting on the convocation; and to all of the presenters such as Dr. Rosemary Celaya Alston, Director of our Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, Richard Serrano and Alicia Corti of our Human Resoures Department ,who made presentations on matters important to the Presbyterate.


Cornerstone Gala
On Friday we held our Annual Catholic Foundation Gala at the Marriott Starr Pass. This year’s Gala honored Angel Charities and the Deacons of the Diocese of Tucson. The ballroom was packed with 610 people – parishioners and friends who came to honor these servants of the community and the Diocese.


John Shaheen did a great job as Master of Ceremonies again this year. At the Gala, parishes, schools and Catholic organizations tied to the Diocese were awarded $300,000 worth of grants to assist with completion of their needed projects. Parish representatives glowed with pride and happiness for getting this help from the Foundation..


Special thanks to Annette Jones and her Gala Planning Committee along with Clara Moreno from the Catholic Foundation who pulled off another resounding success. Ernie Nedder, Director of the Catholic Foundation , was rightly proud for a delightful evening. Thanks also to Ann Dickson, Chair of the Catholic Foundation Board, and to Mike Marum and Larry McAlister for creating videos for the event.


Ken Moreland, our Vicar for Deacons, along with his associate vicars, received the Cornerstone Award on behalf of the many deacons who serve in so many ministries throughout the Diocese. Shelene Taylor, Chair of the Board of Angel Charities, received the Cornerstone Award on behalf of the volunteers who make up this organization that does so much good in our community. Jane Loew and Louise Thomas, co-founders of Angel Charities in 1983, were given individual awards of recognition.


It was a great evening.


Diocesan Pastoral Council
The Council concluded its year on Saturday. The Council elected its new officers. Deacon Tom Campbell of Sts. Peter and Paul was re-elected Chairman. Bob Rivera from St. Rose of Lima in Safford was elected Vice-Chair and Madeleine Cotsonas of Our Lady of the Valley was re-elected as Secretary.


The Council said farewell and gratitude to: Sr. Elizabeth O’Donnell, O.P. from St. Thomas More, Steve Fenn from St. Jude Thaddeus, Frank Pierson from St. Helen in Oracle, Michael McDonald from Our Mother of Sorrows and Rosario Otero from St. Kateri. They have served with distinction. We will miss them.


The Council has been a big help in deliberating and reflecting upon issues facing the diocese and its mission.


Annual Catholic Appeal
Recently a Casa Grande resident was talking with a member of the Catholic Foundation staff and asked “What do you believe the best thing to invest in is?” The staff member replied, people and education. The donor countered with “I believe the best thing to invest in is God. It says in the Bible:


“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” The donor, who cited Luke 6:38, went on share how numerous times in their life when they felt lost or in need they turned God and God always, always provided for them.



I am always moved by the generosity of our Catholic community, and to hear how our parishioners have given of themselves to God and experience how He cares for them is touching.


Because of the generosity of those giving to God through the Annual Catholic Appeal, the 2015 appeal is at 88 percent of its goal in promised pledges and seventeen parishes have reached their pledge goal!


Thank you and congratulations to Corpus Christi in Tucson, Holy Angels in Globe, Immaculate Conception in Ajo, Immaculate Conception in Douglas, Our Lady of Lourdes in Benson, Our Lady of the Desert, Our Lady of the Mountains in Sierra Vista, Sacred Heart in Tombstone, Sacred Heart in Tucson, St. Andrew in Sierra Vista, St. Bartholomew in San Manuel, St. Frances Cabrini in Tucson, St. Francis in Superior, St. Michael the Archangel, St. Patrick in Bisbee, St. Theresa in Patagonia, St. Thomas the Apostle in Tucson. Three additional parishes are about to reach goal. St. Francis de Sales, St. Joseph the Worker, and St. Mark are all between 97 percent and 99 percent in promised pledges.


I ask again that those who have not yet made a gift or pledge to the 2015 Annual Catholic Appeal please consider investing in God. Pledges can be made over the phone by calling 520-838-2515 or one-time gifts can be made by visiting the Catholic Foundation’s website at:


What a blessing it would be if everyone in our diocese would participate with even the smallest gift. So much good would result.


Diocesan Finance Council
Will meet on Tuesday, May 5, at the Diocesan Archives. The Council will review the 2015-2016 Pastoral Center budget and continue to discuss the revitalization and beautification of Cathedral Square as well as receive an update on the Annual Catholic Appeal.


I will confer the sacrament of Confirmation this week at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson, St. Bartholomew Parish in San Manuel; St. Pius X Parish in Tucson; and Corpus Christi Parish in Tucson.


Just think of the number of young people and adults who become full members of the Church each year through the gift of the Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation. I pray they will stay active and involved in the life of the Church.


Staff Retreat
On Wednesday the Pastoral Center staff will be involved in a day-long retreat at the Redemptorist Renewal Center. These occasions are critical to all involved in ministry, and the work the tireless staff do every day is indeed ministry. Please pray for all of us as we spend some time in contemplation and fellowship. My hope is that all of our parish staffs will take some time away to pray and learn together. Such renewal time can enhance a work environment so much.


In Chicago
I will be making a presentation to the Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants organization in Chicago on Saturday.


The organization describes itself this way: “Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants was founded in 2007 by a group of Catholic Sisters. The original collaboration centered on the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform initiatives. The group expanded membership to Associate members of religious congregations and to religious brothers. Over 150 sisters and brothers from over 37 religious communities are committed to prayer, pastoral care in detention centers, legislative action for immigration reform, and support of separated families.”


Later in the day, I will be working with a very similar group, called Priests for Justice for Immigrants (PJI) This group was created in 2005 and “is a coalition of 200 immigrant and native-born priests. The group represents over 150 parishes of the Archdiocese of Chicago (Cook and Lake Counties) and members of religious communities who have stood in solidarity with immigrants and engaged in education, pastoral care and legislative advocacy .”


Like the Sisters and Brother Organization, the priest group works to promote immigration reform in accord with the principles set forth by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops through the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform.


For more information please visit:



image015Mothers Day
Happily, my travels to Chicago coincide with Mother’s Day and I will visit with my mom, Eva Kicanas, who now is 102 years old. I am blessed to have my mother, and I encourage all of us to remember our mothers, here and those who have passed on, during this special day.



Gracious God,

We thank you for adopting us into your family through the miracle of your grace, and for calling us to be brothers and sisters to each other. Today, loving God, we pray for our mothers:

who cared for us when we were helpless

who comforted us when we were hurt

whose love and care we often took for granted.


Today we pray for:

those who are grieving the loss of their mother,

those who never knew their biological mother, and now yearn for her

those who have experienced the wonder of an adopted mother’s love

the families separated by war or conflict.

Lord, give them special blessings. Keep us united with you and with each other, so that we can be and become all that we are meant to be.



Please Pray . . .
For the soul of Deacon Edward Burgin, who passed away April 30. Deacon was ordained by the Diocese of Phoenix, but was given faculties to work here in our diocese. He served at St. Philip Parish in Payson, and was briefly parish administrator for a time when the then-pastor, Rev. William Gyure was recovering from a medical problem.   The funeral will take place May 9 at St. Philip’s Parish.


You can help create awareness for the need for priests and inspire future generations of priests by attending one or more of the family vocations events taking place in our diocese.


The next event is a soccer match between the Men in Black (a team of seminarians) versus the Padres … you know, some of our parish priests.   Guests are invited to cheer on their favorite cleric and have fun at the same time. This event will take place:


Celestial Soccer Match
Saturday, June 27

St. Augustine High School

Soccer field

8800 E. 22nd St.

Match play begins at 8 a.m.

Families and parishioners all are invited to attend this match of skill and sports moxie. A 5k run also is in the planning stages, so stayed tuned for information on that event. We believe the run will take place in the fall.


A Spiritual Journey to Turkey & Rome with Saints Peter & Paul

A pilgrimage under the Spiritual Direction of Bishop Kicanas

12-Days: Oct. 26 to Nov. 6, 2015.

For more information contact Ernie Nedder at the diocese’s Pastoral Center at (520)838-2509.