Monday Memo, Dec. 21, 2015. Vol. 13, No. 41

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas

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Please note: The Bishop Manuel D. Moreno Pastoral Center will be closed from 10 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 23, and all of Dec. 24 and Dec. 25 in observance of Christmas. The offices will reopen on Monday, Dec. 28, but will close again on Thursday, Dec. 31 and Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.



The Monday Memo will take a short break and will resume on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016.



Be as Elizabeth and Mary
Christ’s earliest disciples


Much about yesterday’s readings had to do with the recognition of Christ as the long-awaited Messiah. There is the well-known story of Elizabeth and Zechariah and how, late in their lives, Elizabeth became pregnant and was to give birth to John the Baptist. Elizabeth and Zechariah recognized God in their lives very powerfully, and then as Mary approached Elizabeth to visit with her, Elizabeth felt her yet unborn son John leap in her womb and she became filled with the Holy Spirit and recognized that Mary was the mother of the Lord.


As one summary put it, “Both women recall and echo God’s history of showing favor upon the people of Israel.”


The same summary described very well how this Sunday is again about Mary’s role in God’s plan for us with Christ:


“It is appropriate in this season of Advent that we consider the role of Mary in God’s plan of salvation. Elizabeth describes Mary as the first disciple, as the one who believed that God’s word to her would be fulfilled. Mary’s faith enabled her to recognize the work of God in her people’s history and in her own life. Her openness to God allowed God to work through her so that salvation might come to everyone . . .”


This week, in these days before we celebrate the birth of the Savior, let us again strive to be more like Mary; open to allowing God to work through us, ever-faithful to Him and to His Son, Christ Jesus.



Photos by Steff Koeneman. Bishop Kicanas imposes his hands on George Holley during the ordination liturgy at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish Saturday. Below, Father Chris Corbally, S.J., congratulates now-Father Holley.


Welcome, Father Holley
We celebrated a beautiful ordination liturgy for Father George Holley on Saturday at his much-loved home parish of St. Thomas the Apostle in north Tucson.


Father George was born in Roswell, New Mexico. He was influenced by his mother Margaret and his father John. He attended Abbey Boarding School where he met the Benedictine priests and brothers. He was a Wildcat involved in a fraternity, a stock broker and a business man who owned the former Barbeques Galore in Tucson. After much discernment he heard the call of God to serve as a priest. He studied at Sacred Heart School of Theology and Seminary in Hales Corners, Wis. Father George is known as a “late vocation” or a “second career candidate”.


Among the priests who most influenced Father George were Msgr. Todd O’Leary, Msgr. Al Schifano and Fathers John Lyons and John Arnold.


Father George has been assigned as parochial associate at St. Mark Parish, working with the parish pastor, Father John Arnold, who also was a second career priest. He had been a lawyer before entering the priesthood.



Mass at Davis Monthan Air Force Base
Pat Poleski, director of Religious Education at the base, invited me to celebrate Mass yesterday for the many Catholics that live on-base. I have celebrated Mass there before and always enjoyed the chance to meet some of our service people and their families during this Christmas season and I am grateful for Pat’s invitation.


Photos by Steff Koeneman Above, Bishops Kicanas and Gonzalez process with students portraying Mary and Joseph looking for refuge during the Bi-National Posada.  Part of the journey followed along the border fence as seen above. At four stops along the way, prayers were said, and a recording of a migrant’s story was played.

Photos by Steff Koeneman
Above, Bishops Kicanas and Gonzalez process with students portraying Mary and Joseph looking for refuge during the Bi-National Posada. Part of the journey followed along the border fence as seen above. At four stops along the way, prayers were said, and a recording of a migrant’s story was played.



Border Posada Nogales
What a wonderful Posada we had at the Nogales, Ariz./Nogales, Sonora border yesterday. We have been holding these border posadas for years, but this event was special because we celebrated a bi-National Christmas with the new bishop from newly formed Diocese of Nogales in Sonora. Bishop Jose Leopoldo Gonzalez Gonzalez and I worked together for this event.


We are planning to celebrate three Masses together in 2016 along our common borders that will include a Mass at the border in Douglas, Naco and Nogales. These celebrations remind us that in God’s family there are no borders.


The Posada is a traditional devotion especially in the Mexican community. In our reenactment Sunday, we visited three homes only to be rejected as Mary and Joseph were turned down as they sought a place to rest. Finally, the owner of a final house invites us in. The story reminds us of our need to welcome the stranger. In this time of random violence that leads to fear we can become hesitant to welcome the stranger. But this story reminds us that if we welcome the stranger, the one in need, we may in fact be welcoming the Lord Himself.


The posada procession went through different neighborhoods and concluded at the Comedor operated by the Kino Border Initiative. There, pilgrims and migrants ate together.  Below, Bishop Kicanas serves punch to Cecilia.

The posada procession went through different neighborhoods and concluded at the Comedor operated by the Kino Border Initiative. There, pilgrims and migrants ate together. Below, Bishop Kicanas serves punch to Cecilia.



As you may recall, Pope Francis created the Diocese of Nogales, Mexico, in March. The Diocese covers 17,000 square miles, and has 25 parishes, with just more than 381, 000 Catholics within its boundaries.


About 200 people participated in this posada.



Presbyteral Council Meeting
The council meets this morning (Dec. 21) at the Pastoral Center. Some of the topics to be covered include: improving Pastoral Center to parish communications; an update on the ACA and Cathedral Square and hearing from the new Director of Catholic Cemeteries for the Diocese, Tom Hanlon.


image025Advent Gatherings
This evening I host Directors from the Pastoral Center and their loved ones. These folks work hard every day to keep our diocese running and to provide services to parishes and ministries across the Diocese. I will host the entire Pastoral Staff to lunch on Dec. 23. The very festive event brings joy to my heart, as all of us get a chance to unwind and take in a much needed bit of merriment as a group.


I should mention that Helen Evans, one of our longest serving Pastoral Staff employees, recently celebrated her 40th – yes 40th year – as our employee! Wow. Helen is the Tribunal Office Manager and works with Father Manuel Viera, O.F.M., J.C.L., our diocesan Judicial Vicar. Thank you Helen!



Christmas Eve
I will spend much of Christmas Eve day visiting those who are imprisoned. The day begins with Mass at the Pima County Jail at 9:15 a.m., later followed by Mass with teens at the Pima County Juvenile Detention Center. Surely Christmas is a time of deep reflection for those who are completing their sentences; my hope is that Mass and friendly conversation about our Lord renews the spirits of those detained, and reminds them that they can change their lives with God’s help.


I will celebrate the Christmas Eve family Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral at 4 p.m. and also will celebrate a later Christmas Eve Mass there at 7:30 p.m.


With that, I pray that your Christmas Eve will be serene, hope-filled and happy with loved ones and friends around you; I pray that we all will find the goodness of the Christ and use that goodness to help one another; and, I pray for the grace of the newborn Christ to surround us with genuine and lasting peace and to help us to bring an end to hunger, homelessness and poverty in our country and all over the world.



Merry Christmas!



Reminder: Support Vocations with the 5K Run
Learn more by visiting:




I will be participating in this first-ever vocation event. I hope you will join me on the walk or run. The bishop and priests plan to come in first across the finish line. We are hoping that some of our parish youth groups and some of our Catholic Schools will enroll a team to see if they can keep up with the bishop and priests. The run and walk at Reid Park sounds like fun! Here are the details:

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




This is a 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 seminarian, or participate for fun and good health. Email for registration information.


On Sunday, Jan. 3, it will be my joy to formally install Father Joseph Le as pastor of Our Lady of La Vang Parish in Tucson. The parish offers worship to members of our Vietnamese speaking community. Every year I attend the Asian New Year celebration at the parish, where I am treated to great food and culture. The parish has about 700 members.


Welcome Bishops
Each year for the last several years the bishops from Region XIII take retreat here in Tucson. On Jan. 3, we all will gather for dinner and they will enjoy about a week on retreat.


Retreat leader
I will be leading a retreat for Bishops of Region IV and XIV that generally includes dioceses from the southern United States and Florida at a retreat center in Tampa during the first week in January.


I planned the retreat around the theme, “Boundless Mercy Received, Now Given ”


It will be good to handle a different type of work for a bit of time. Planning a retreat provides the opportunity to focus, to ponder and to read scriptures and other works to provide inspiration and education to others.


This region includes some of the oldest dioceses in the United States like Baltimore, Richmond, Charleston, Wheeling, Savannah, Wilmington and St. Augustine, Florida.



Kino Legacy Festival
Sunday, Jan. 10
Tumacacori National Historic Park
1 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Free admission


I look forward to celebrating a Mass in recognition of the 325th Anniversary of Padre Eusebio Kino’s presence in Arizona. Kino, a missionary explorer, met with the Tohono O’odham people in January 1691 and later established a mission in Tumacacori that was part of Kino’s mission work for the next 30 years.


The Mass is part of the Kino Legacy Festival that includes tours of the Park’s Heritage Garden and other presentations. For more information, visit or


Please pray
For the soul of Kerney Eugene Rutland, Jr., who was the Father-in-law of Danielle Eckhoff, executive assistant to the Moderator of the Curia. Mr. Rutland, was father of Joel Eckhoff. He passed away Dec. 11. He led an amazing life as an aviator. Read more at:


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:



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


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