Monday Memo, Sept. 8, 2015. Vol. 13, No. 28

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas







Pope Francis
It was my privilege to meet Pope Francis during the pilgrimage to Rome with Catholic Extension. Thanks to social media, I saw many photos of Pope Francis with our group, which also included Archbishop Blase Cupich, of Chicago, Father Jack Wall, our pilgrimage leader, Bishop Curtis Guillory, Bishop of Beaumont, Texas, and members of the Catholic Extension Board and Mission Committee.


image001My Communications staff made sure to post one of the Catholic News Service photos on my Facebook as well. You can see that at

At right is one of several photographs taken at the Vatican by the L’Osservatore Romano photo service.


After his General Audience, the Pope customarily meets with each of the bishops present. As I approached the Pope, I spoke Spanish saying that I came from the Diocese of Tucson that includes the entire Arizona/Mexico border. I mentioned that migrants cross through our desert seeking a decent way of life at great risk. Some lose their lives in our Sonoran Desert. I thanked the Pope for his strong voice on behalf of migrants all over the world. He kept saying, “Pobrecitos. Pobrecitos” — those poor, struggling ones. I could tell by his expression that he felt their pain.


During the audience I was struck by the Pope’s energy and his personal attentiveness to each individual. As he passed through the crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square, he often paused to kiss a baby or to reach out to someone with disabilities. He exudes compassion and a deep humility. His smile beams and his faith radiates from him.


Our group from Catholic Extension had a surprise treat when they were called out front to meet the Pope. Father Wall presented the Holy Father with a cross to bless. That cross belongs to the Diocese of Monterey, Mexico and was removed from the grave of Blessed Junipero Serra, O.F.M. whom the Pope will canonize during his upcoming visit to Washington, D.C..


Catholic Extension also presented him with a “Flat Francis” that the organization uses around the country in anticipation of the Pope’s visit. The Pope gave out the most delightful laugh when he saw it.


CNS photo. Above, members of the Catholic Extension Board, Archbishop Blasé Cupich of Chicago, Father Jack Wall and I present the Holy Father with a cardboard “Flat Francis”.


Many of the group told Pope Francis that our country is waiting eagerly for his visit. He responded in English, “Big trip, pray for me.”


As you know, our Holy Father will enter the United States from Cuba. He will be in the country from Sept. 22 to Sept. 28 on a whirlwind tour of Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia. During his time in our nation’s capital, he will make a first-ever speech to members of Congress, and of course, will meet with President Barack Obama. In New York he will speak to the United Nations. And in Philadelphia he will attend the World Gathering of Families. Pope Francis, as we know, is very spontaneous so undoubtedly there will be some surprises on his visit.


While we do not yet know exactly what topics the Pope will be discussing during his visit, we do expect to hear more about his Encyclical, Laudato Si, on caring for the earth and humankind; about helping the poor and disenfranchised; about marriage and family and about the upcoming Year of Mercy, which begins Dec. 8.


I will be reporting next week about my visit to Haiti with Msgr. Tom Cahalane to meet with Joan Martin, a former teacher at Our Mother of Sorrows who has been serving for many years in the Diocese of Port au Paix in Haiti. She has been doing heroic work in which we can all take pride. In the meantime, here are a few events taking place that may be of interest to you:



Around the Diocese:

News from around our area that may be of interest to you

  1. New Diocese of Tucson Homepage

Take a look at our new homepage at

Please visit the redesigned and updated Diocese homepage. The new page includes quick links, social media, video clips and we think it is easier to navigate through various categories of information.


  1. New ownership of the Carondelet Health Network. The ownership affects St. Mary’s, St. Joseph’s and Holy Cross Hospital in Nogales, Carondelet Heart & Vascular Institute at St. Mary’s Hospital, Carondelet Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Carondelet Medical Group, and Carondelet Specialist Group.


Part of the press release issued by Tenet Healthcare Corporation said:


“On Sept. 1 Tenet Healthcare Corporation (NYSE:THC), Dignity Health and Ascension have finalized a joint venture to own and operate Carondelet Health Network based in Tucson, Arizona. Tenet is the majority partner in the new joint venture and will manage the operations of the network’s three hospitals, two physician groups, outpatient and ambulatory services, as well as other affiliated businesses in Tucson and Nogales, Arizona. Dignity Health and Ascension have minority interests in the partnership. The agreement changes the former Carondelet system from a non-profit to a for-profit system.


The joint venture will maintain Carondelet’s Roman Catholic heritage and identity through an agreement with the Diocese of Tucson. Additionally, Carondelet’s existing charity care policies will remain in place.”


The Diocese of Tucson has agreed to act as Catholic Sponsor. As part of the new ownership agreement, Tenet agreed that pastoral care will remain a key component of the care given in the Carondelet Hospitals in our diocese. Tenet is committed to retaining the Catholic identity of the system. That commitment calls for the hospitals to provide adequate chaplains to attend to the spiritual needs of patients; adherence to the ethical and religious directives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and to continue to provide health care to the poor. Tenet will retain the number of chaplains now available to assist patients and families, recognizing the importance of spiritual care for those dealing with health issues.


Refugee Crisis
It has been said that the world today faces the largest refugee crisis since the World Wars and maybe even a greater crisis than ever before. Four million people have fled Syria alone where that country’s civil war continues to rage. Likewise, large numbers of refugees have fled Iraq and many more have fled many countries in Africa.


We have seen some of the dreadful pictures of people suffering and dying seeking safety. The images of children, desperate and lost, tug at the heart. How tragic was the drowning of the two Syrian brothers and their mother last week? The boys and their parents had sought to make it to a place of safety.


Europe finds itself overwhelmed and struggling to meet the crisis.  Countries have responded differently. Some want to turn back the refugees, keep them out.  Other countries like Germany understand that there are many in desperate need and because Germany has been so greatly blessed economically, leaders there feel a responsibility to help and to welcome as many as they can.


This past week Pope Francis issued a call for dioceses throughout Europe to open their doors to refugees. He indicated that the Vatican would house some refugee families and asked that parishes, religious houses and Catholic institutions throughout Europe consider taking in a refugee family.


What a wonderfully compassionate call the Holy Father made. We do have a responsibility to care for people in flight, in danger, in risk of their lives. We ought not to close our doors on refugees, but rather welcome those in desperate need.



Annulment Process
The Vatican has indicated that today, September 8, Pope Francis will issue two Motu Propios on the new processes for nullity of marriages recommended to the Holy Father by the Commission he established to study the issue some months ago. I will describe the new processes in detail next week after a careful review of those new guidelines.

Many have felt for some time that the annulment process was too complex, tedious and lengthy. Necessary revision will help people struggling after a failed marriage to seek an ecclesiastical consideration of their marriage to determine if that marriage can be annulled for one of the reasons such annulments are granted.


Annual Catholic Appeal
At the end of last week the Annual Catholic Appeal reached 99 percent of the annual goal in promised pledges. I am so pleased that parishioners from every corner of the Diocese have come together to ensure that the services and ministries of the Diocese of Tucson have the resources needed to serve the people of our Diocese. Because we are a diocese full of People of Faith, Hope & Charity, I’m confident that the upcoming Amen Sunday efforts by parishes under their individual goals will be fruitful and get us over goal which would mean some funds to be given in grants to needy parishes. So many of our parishes have limited means and great needs. Your gift to the ACA will not only make it possible to fully fund the 26 ministries and charities dependent on the Appeal but also assist parishes in need.


If you have already given, thank you for your support. If you have not yet made a gift please do so by contacting the Catholic Foundation at (520)838-2504, or online at





Concert for Vocations
Plan to attend. I know it will be a delightful and entertaining opportunity.

Sat, Sep 26

St. Augustine Cathedral Placita

192 S. Stone Ave., Tucson

6 p.m.


Marriage Mass
Renewal of Marriage Vows
Sunday, Oct. 11
St. Augustine Cathedral
This annual Mass is for couples celebrating 1st, 10th, 25th, 40th, 50th and longer anniversaries. The liturgy is celebrated by Bishop Kicanas and includes wedding vow renewals.


Couples have to register to participate. Please contact Pat Gerardo in Pastoral Services at
520-838-2512 for registration information or email her at


Cathoimage006lic Foundation
In the Mood
Dinner and Big Band dance
Friday, Nov. 20

Savoy Opera House, Tucson

No host cocktails: 5:00 p.m.

Dinner: 5:30 p.m.
Dancing: 6:30 p.m.

Music performed live by the Big Band Express


Come remember the days when Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, the Glenn Miller Orchestra and singers like Dinah Shore, Lena Horne, Doris Day

and Ella Fitzgerald lightened our hearts and caused us to dance.


Join the Catholic Foundation during this event to benefit Cathedral Square as we rock the Savoy – the Savoy Opera House in Tucson.


The Foundation will bring the music, the dance floor and great food to put you “In the Mood” for a lovely evening of dinner and dancing. Those attending are encouraged to wear 1940s attire with the chance of winning the “best dressed” award.


Tickets are $125 per person.

Contact Clara Moreno at 520-838-2507 or email, or you can reserve your spot at


Proceeds benefit Cathedral Square.