Monday Memo, Dec. 6, 2015. Vol. 13, No. 39

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas

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Please note: The Manuel D. Moreno Pastoral Center will be closed on Tuesday, Dec. 8 in observance of The Feast of the Immaculate Conception.


Second Sunday of Advent
Yesterday’s responsorial psalm speaks to the heart of what we feel as those who have encountered the Lord in our lives. It reads: “The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.”


Just think of all the Lord has done in each of our lives. We have been given life, family, friends and faith. We have not earned any of this, but we received all of this through God’s graciousness.


Reflect this week on the amazing things God has done in our lives. Personally, I am so grateful for the gift of serving as bishop in the Diocese of Tucson now for 12 years. I have come to know and love our communities across the vast 43,000 square miles that comprise our diocese.


When I first arrived in this community from Chicago, I knew no one. I knew little about southern Arizona, but I now have come to realize what a gift God has given to me in bringing me to this beloved community. Being here has filled me with joy.


Like Paul in Sunday’s second reading, I pray for all in our community, coworkers who share with me the responsibility to make Christ’s mission come alive among us. As Paul expressed his affection for the Philippians, I feel profound gratitude and love for this community of faith we call the Diocese of Tucson.


Like Paul, my prayer is that you may love one another more and more and together we might come to know what truly matters, that is, to love God with all our heart, soul and mind and to love and to forgive one another from our hearts. This is not always easy but as we begin this Year of Mercy, we strive to extend to others the boundless mercy God has shown us.


Like John the Baptist in the Gospel for the Second Sunday of Advent, we now have the responsibility to be the “voice crying in the wilderness” calling people to find the joy only the Lord can bring, to prepare His way. Many voices shout at us, telling us what we should value and how we should live. These voices try to drown out John’s lone voice calling us to serve the Lord. The Lord’s way is the only way to true joy and happiness. Keep inviting others to encounter Christ, the One who alone satisfies our hunger and quenches our thirst.


Year of Mercy  
The Year of Mercy announced by Pope Francis begins tomorrow, Dec. 8. Here in our diocese we will be celebrating this year by taking opportunities to reflect God’s mercy to others by practicing the Corporal Works of Mercy – feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, give shelter to the homeless, visit the imprisoned, visit the sick and give comfort to those who mourn. In the coming year, a Mass will be celebrated, related to each of these corporal works. Dates and locations for each of these special Masses will be announced in the near future.


Tomorrow, I begin the Year of Mercy celebrating Mass in two units of the Arizona State Prison Complex on Wilmot. I have chosen to begin the year with those in confinement because it is only when all of us, like these men and women, know ourselves to be sinners that we can open ourselves to receive God’s mercy. Beginning the Year with people in prison is meant to say that no one is beyond God’s mercy, and that no one is hopeless in God’s eyes. Every person is made in God’s image to be treated with dignity and respect.


Pope Francis’ hope in calling for the Year of Mercy was to invite everyone to encounter a God who is not aloof from us, or distant from us: a God that is not revengeful and punishing, but a God of infinite mercy and love. I hope those inmates who attend these opening Masses at the Arizona State Prison Complex will come to know how loved they are and turn their lives more fully to the Lord.


Opening of the Holy Door of Mercy
As part of the Year of Mercy, please join us for the Opening of the Door of Mercy at St. Augustine Cathedral on Sunday, Dec. 13 at the noon Mass. We will begin in the Msgr. Arsenio Carillo Placita with the formal announcement of the Year of Mercy, then go in procession to the front door – the Holy Door – that will be ceremoniously opened as we enter the Year of Mercy. Parishes and organizations have been invited to send a delegation for this historic event. If your parish or organization is planning to bring a delegation, please contact Pastoral Services at 520-838-2542. Those who are coming can park in the Cathedral parking lot and come into the front area of the church. Since there will be reserved seating for these parish delegations, Pastoral Services needs parishes to advise about how many people will be attending.


Please RSVP at the Pastoral Services Department by calling Ofelia James, 520-838-2545 or email


Your presence at the Diocesan Opening of this Holy Year of Mercy will be significant as we join with Pope Francis and our Catholic communities throughout the world to proclaim the mercy and generous love of God!


Pope Francis has said that passing through the Holy Door throughout the Year of Mercy is a way of saying to God our earnest desire for conversion and a change of heart, a longing to turn our lives more fully to the Lord, to become the people God wants each of us to be.


Pope Francis also has indicated that one can gain a plenary indulgence by passing through any of the designated Holy Doors. To receive a plenary indulgence one has to have an interior disposition to avoid any sin, participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, receive Communion and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father.


In our diocese there are three designated Holy Doors: at St. Augustine Cathedral, at Mission San Xavier and at Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma.


During the Year of Mercy, the New Vision will be publishing articles by individuals in the Diocese of Tucson who have either experienced God’s mercy or seen God’s mercy in the lives of others. Parishes will receive holy cards with our diocesan logo and prayer to be recited during the Year of Mercy and extra efforts will be made to make the Sacrament of Reconciliation available for our people in the Diocese.


I pray all of us will take this opportunity given to us by Pope Francis to encounter God’s mercy in a deeper way.


In Parker
It was a joy to install Father Richard Kusugh,V.C., as the pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Parker. People from the missions of the parish –  St. John the Baptist in Wenden, St. Kateri Tekakwitha in Poston, and Queen of Peace in Quartzsite –as well as some people from the towns of Ehrenberg and Salome, joined the community of Sacred Heart, the mother church, to welcome their new pastor.
The parish gave Father Richard a gift of a fishing trip in San Diego. He expects to catch a humongous Blue Marlin.

Father Kusugh also was delighted to see people from Blessed Sacrament in Mammoth and Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma, where he had served previously, at his installation Mass.

A number of brother priests joined him for the celebration including: Fathers James Aboyi (Mesa), Arnold Aurillo (Globe), Emilio Chapa (St. Francis, Yuma), Manuel Fragoso, (Somerton), Samuel Jandeh, V.C., (Superior), Ed Lucero (Payson), Nathaniel Mma (IC, Yuma) and Alex Tigga (Hayden and Kearney).
Father Kusugh’s parish covers 6,000 square miles and he celebrates seven Masses each Sunday. The community has many winter visitors including a number of Canadians.
One of the great ministries of the parish is the Vincent de Paul Society that served more than 100 meals to needy people and families over Thanksgiving and that will do the same for Christmas.



While in Yuma
The Annual Farmworkers’ Mass last Saturday was a very humbling and inspiring celebration. It is touching to offer Mass in the fields, in the workplace of the harvesters who toil daily to bring food to our tables.


It seemed fitting to celebrate Mass amid the fields of lettuce, kale and anise with those who gather the harvest. The farmworkers standing in groups dressed in their work clothes and hats and work gloves were joined at the Mass with members of the parishes in the Yuma/La Paz area. The farmworkers present were men and women, young and not so young who carry out this back breaking work on our behalf.


The field where we celebrated Mass this year is owned by farmer and Deacon Gary Pasquinelli, owner of Pasquinelli Fields in the Yuma area. Nearly 300 people attended the Mass. Each participant at the Mass received a prayer card and medal through the generosity of Santa Cruz Religious Goods Store in Yuma. The owners, Josie and Paul Edwards, said they wanted only that the farmworkers know our gratitude for their work as well as to encourage them to stay close to the Lord.


During the Offertory of the Mass, farmworkers brought up tools used to till the soil and to gather the harvest along with baskets of soil, seeds, and vegetables grown in the Yuma fields.


I am grateful to Sister Gladys Echenique, O.P., manager of our Hispanic Ministry Department, and to Teresita Kontos and Iliana Bustamante, coordinators of the Pastoral Campesina for the Yuma/La Paz Vicariate, who helped organize the celebration. I was grateful for the presence of a number of our priests from the area including: Fathers Emilio Chapa (St. Francis of Assisi, Yuma), Oscar Magallanes (San Judas Tadeo, San Luis), Nathaniel Mma (Immaculate Conception, Yuma), Javier Perez (Immaculate Conception, Yuma) and Bartolome Vasquez-Johnson (St. Joseph, Wellton) along with many area deacons. Steff Koeneman and Victor Calderon from our Diocesan Communications Office also attended.



Poverty 24/6 Annual Meeting
Monday afternoon I will be attending the Annual Meeting for Poverty 24/6. If anyone ever thought that all people in southern Arizona and Nogales have escaped the ravages of hunger and poverty, I would encourage them to visit the website at for another view.


This organization operates under the auspices of the Diocese of Tucson. As its website explains, “Poverty 24/6 is a Trust . . . whose ministry provides clothing, food, water, and other basic human necessities to improve the quality of life for those living in the most impoverished conditions within Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.”


Donations always are needed; food, clothing and volunteers can make a difference in the quality of life for so many. Please donate when you can!


Christmas dinners
It is my custom to welcome members of some of the various boards and committees that serve our diocese to join me for supper and conversation at my residence during Advent. The Diocese Tribunal will join me for dinner on Dec. 7 for the first such gathering this year and the Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC) will be hosted for dinner on Friday, Dec. 11. The Pastoral Council will hold their meeting the following day at the Pastoral Center.


Feast of the Virgen de Guadalupe
Friday is the Feast day of the Virgen de Guadalupe, a magnificent celebration for our Lady. History tells us that for several days in 1531, the Virgin appeared to Juan Diego. Beginning on Dec. 9 and continuing until Dec. 12, there were five apparitions of the Virgin, who asked that Juan Diego carry her request to the local bishop that a shrine be built “where she could demonstrate her love, her compassion and her protection” of the people.


No wonder she is so revered, and thank goodness for her love for us.


Many of our parishes have special activities for this Feast Day. I have listed a few below, but by all means please contact the parish nearest you for additional information.


I will be processing and celebrating Mass for the Virgin at St. Joseph Parish here in Tucson. Father Ricky Ordonez started the grand procession in honor of the Virgin last year and over 1,000 people attended. There were dancers and song and the event was filled with joy. I hope that many will join us for this year’s celebration. The procession begins at 4 p.m. at the park at Golf Links and Craycroft. Mass will begin at 6:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Parish, on Craycroft just south of Broadway.


Here are other Feast Day events:

St Augustine Cathedral has a rosary procession at 10 p.m. the night before (Dec. 11), then a midnight “Las Mañanitas” service. For information call, 520-623-6351


Santa Cruz Parish: The parish celebrates Masses at its Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel. Call
520-623-3833 for more information.


St. John the Evangelist Parish
602 W. Ajo Way, Tucson. Call 520-624-7409 for event details.


Certainly there are many other major celebrations throughout the Diocese. I hope many will participate as we honor Our Lady of Guadalupe.



Please pray
For the soul of Ruben Cimarrón Davalos, who passed away Monday. Ruben served as Director of Evangelization and Hispanic Ministries for the Diocese of Tucson from 1990 until his retirement in 2008.


A Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Saturday Dec. 5, 2015 at St. Cyril Parish, 4725 E. Pima St., in Tucson. He is survived by his wife Maria del Rosario Davalo; sons Ruben, Miguel, and Ricardo; and by his daughter, Emma. Condolences can be sent to 9107 E. Lippia St., Tucson, AZ 85747.image018


For the soul of Father William Shuppert, who was living and ministering out of St. Francis de Sales Parish. Father Bill died unexpectedly over the weekend. He had been a military chaplain and most recently was parochial Vicar at St. Francis de Sales. Prior to military service he was rector at St. Augustine Cathedral as well as Pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary in Somerton which also at that time served San Luis. He will be missed.


Father Bill’s funeral Mass will be celebrate Saturday, Dec. 12 at noon at St. Francis de Sales Parish, 1375 S. Camino Seco.



Bi-national posadas

Tuesday, Dec. 15, Douglas
From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Douglas Port of Entry


During this, the first of three such posadas, residents of both Douglas and of Agua Prieta on the Mexican side of the international border will process toward the border. At the border, there will be prayer and exchanges of small gifts. The procession symbolizes the pilgrimage of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. Information for the next two posadas is listed below:


YUMA – Wednesday, Dec. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Parish, 505 S. Ave. B., to honor the workers of the fields.


NOGALES – Join Bishop Gerald Kicanas and Bishop Jose Leopoldo Gonzalez Gonzales of the Diocese of Nogales in Sonora on Sunday, Dec. 20 at 3 p.m. Meet at the DeConcini Port of Entry.



Cathedral Concert series
Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m.
St. Augustine Cathedral
192 S. Stone Ave.
Tickets required


Wonderful Music in a Beautiful, Sacred Space is the theme of the 2015-2016 Cathedral Concert Series set for St. Augustine Cathedral under the direction of Carlos Zapien, St. Augustine Cathedral and Diocese of Tucson Director of Music.



All of the events are scheduled for Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. Future Concert Series performances include:



Dec. 15: On Wings of Song featuring Carlos Zapién, Tenor and Alexandr Pashkov, piano.



Jan. 19: Piano Recital featuring Claire Huangci, on piano.


Feb. 16: The Misa Criolla with the Cathedral and Community Chorus with Jessica Pierpont, Conductor.




Vocations 5K logo with Priest and Nun copy5K Walk/ Run for Vocations
“Powered by the Spirit”
Jan. 2, 2016
8 a.m. to noon
Reid Park, Tucson


Plan to attend the upcoming 5K walk or run to benefit Vocations for the Diocese of Tucson. This is a family friendly event and one that people of all ages may want to attend. Cheer for your favorite priest or seminarians, or participate for fun and good health. Email For registration information visit the registration web page.