Monday Memo, Feb. 29, 2016. Vol. 14, No. 8.

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas

facebook Eng







Yesterday marked the third Sunday of Lent. Yesterday also was the halfway point of Lent.


You may have noticed that the scriptures and the Gospel messages are getting clearer and clearer about what God is expecting of His people.


The first reading speaks of Moses and the burning bush and how the Lord tells Moses to go to the people to let them know that “I am the God of your fathers . . . the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob . . . This is my name forever; thus am I to be remembered through all generations.”

MMFeb.22 final_html_5aee3132

The responsorial psalm, “The Lord is kind and merciful”, reminds us clearly about the endless love God has for us which is the emphasis of the Year of Mercy. Then in the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians, Paul clearly outlined for early Christians that they all needed to follow the examples set forth by Christ. The Gospel reading from Luke was very firm: Christ told His followers that all needed to repent and amend their ways or perish.


Here in the middle of Lent, we have been told. We know what we must do: Look to the example of Christ, follow the earliest commandments – worship God, do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false witness . . . and live according to God.


This week, look within yourselves. How are you living? Are there places in how you live that need repair and change? Resolve to change and resolve to follow God.


Our merciful God is waiting for us to change and to follow Christ toward eternal life.


One last story:


Recently, Father William Dougherty, C.S.P. passed away. As I wrote in last week’s Memo, Father Bill spent his ministry working on behalf of others, even long into his retirement.


On Saturday morning, I learned of the death of Father Gerald Cote. Father Cote also spent his entire ministry leading others to Christ, and, in a video recording made just a couple of months ago, he spoke of how his favorite work had been at a poor parish, Holy Family, in downtown Tucson where he and the congregation worked together to bring worship and song together in Mass – times he called the happiest parts of his ministry. He played the accordion and the harmonica even several harmonicas at once. His music brought many into the Church.


Recently, Father Cote learned he was dying. When our Chancellor Kathy Rhinehart and Msgr. Jeremiah McCarthy, our Moderator of the Curia, went to visit with Father Cote, he greeted them as they entered his room, smiling and said to them, “Did you hear? I got my ticket!”


He received the news of his inevitable death as good news; he was headed home, at last.


I encourage you to reflect on Father Cote’s response to death. He lived a life of faith and greeted his passing into eternal life with a joyous and eager heart.


Thank you Father Cote for your example.


Father Alfonso Garcia Ramos and Father Jose Candelario Casillas, who arrived from Guadalajara last Thursday. These priests are here for three years to provide clergy support to our Spanish speaking parishes.


They already have been attending their two week intercultural integration program.


Cathedral Square Update
Work on Our Lady’s Chapel included the construction and installation of heating and cooling ductwork and plumbing. Work to remove an addition that was not part of the Chapel’s original construction now is complete. Work should begin soon on the oldest building on Cathedral Square, the Cathedral Rectory.


John Shaheen and Richard Fe Tom and his daughter, Kegan, of the Architecture Company, the project architects, continue to meet with offices at the City of Tucson as well as with the Historical Preservation Commission staff to prepare for our meeting with the Commission to approve the taking down of Cathedral Hall and the construction of a new Conference Center, Diocesan and Cathedral Offices on the site of the Cathedral Hall. The hall is far too small to service the growing needs of our diocese, the Cathedral and our downtown community. Furthermore, restoring that inadequate building would cost approximately $4 million and still could not serve the purposes or the mission of the Diocese.


We want to continue to be present downtown and to consolidate our presence on the Cathedral Square. We look forward to moving forward to present the plan to the Mayor and City Council for their approval in the near future.


The project will save Marist College Board of the Catholic Foundation was willing to sell the current Pastoral Center making it possible for the Foundation for Senior Living to both renovate Marist College and build a seven story building on the Pastoral Center site for low income senior housing. We are also saving Our Lady’s Chapel and the Cathedral Rectory.


Annual Catholic Appeal
The Appeal has gotten off to an amazing start. People continue to be so generous in helping us educate seminarians, care for our retired priests, minister to the young, assist the poor and to assist the many other ministries that are funded through the Appeal.


If you have not yet joined the many contributors to the Appeal, why not add your “widow’s might” that will benefit so many.


A week in Yuma:
As I mentioned in last week’s Memo, I am on a pastoral visit to the Yuma/La Paz Vicariate, visiting with the parishes, schools and ministries of the area and will continue to do so throughout this week.


Here is my schedule while in Yuma beginning with last weekend:


I attended a gathering of the Yuma Interfaith at the Guadalupe Chapel. The theme of the gathering was having a heart for refugees. There were representatives from the only Synagogue in town, from the United Church of Christ, the two Methodist communities and members of the Unitarians as well as Catholics from all three parishes in Yuma. Melanie Nelson, the head organizer, introduced the United Church of Christ minister Pastor Alberta Wallace, who recounted all the community was doing to assist refugees. I was proud to hear how they have opened their hearts to people in desperate situations.


Photo by Dcn. Ken Moreland

I will celebrate Mass at the Senior Nutrition Center run by Catholic Community Services in Western Arizona and share lunch with the staff and elders served at the Nutrition Center. Evita Mendez-Counts, the executive director, and her staff are doing an amazing job of providing many of the services in the greater Yuma area that include, in addition to the Nutrition Center, a domestic violence shelter, an Adult Day Health Care Program and a counseling program.


Today (Monday): Spanish language Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel. The chapel is part of Immaculate Heart Parish. This beautiful chapel and its surrounding garden are nestled in a Yuma neighborhood and boasts a close-knit faith community. It has also been assisting the Yuma Border Patrol in temporarily housing women and children fleeing violence in Central America and elsewhere. While the number of refugees crossing the border has decreased, last week I met two mothers and their two children who were staying at the Chapel. They were so grateful for all the help they are receiving.


This evening myself and my brother priests, the area deacons and religious will be treated to a lovely appreciation dinner by the Knights of Columbus. The dinner will take place at St. John Neumann Parish. It is always a grand affair.


Tomorrow (March 1)
I will celebrate Mass with and tour the campus and classes at Yuma Catholic High School. I love visiting the “Shamrocks” – named, no doubt, through the influence of Msgr. Richard O’Keeffe, E.V., the greatest supporter any school ever had. This year Yuma Catholic earned the State Basketball Championship after winning last Saturday’s Championship game against Phoenix Country Day School. The Shamrocks went undefeated through the year.


Later on, I will celebrate the Rite of Election for people entering the Church from the Yuma-La Paz Vicariate. We had a similar liturgy for southern Arizona on Feb. 14 in Tucson.


It is my joy every year to celebrate the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion for the men, women and children who will become full members of our Catholic faith this Easter.


This celebration calls the Catechumens (those who have never been baptized) to be the Elect as they prepare for Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil. The Candidates for full Communion have been baptized in another Christian communion and will continue their journey to receive Confirmation and Eucharist at that time. As I have reported earlier, Sister Lois Paha, O.P., D.Min., or director of Pastoral Services, said there are 146 Catechumens and 219 Candidates joining the faith in our diocese this year.


School Mass and visit at Immaculate Conception School. Happily, this visit will include the confirmation of the eighth graders.


In the evening, I will attend the St. John Paul II Awards for the Yuma area at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Somerton. It is inspiring to see so many young people already aware of the need to help and serve others. My congratulations to all of the winners and to their parents, families and teachers for supporting the work these amazing young people do. I will be publishing the names of the students following the St. John Paul II Awards in Tucson.


Lunch and visit with people involved in the Clinical Pastoral Education Program and Eucharistic Ministers serving at Yuma Regional Medical Center.


I learned from the medical center’s website that “the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program trains ministers of all faiths to provide comfort and support to patients and their families during their hospital experience.”


I also learned that the CPE program is accredited through the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. (


In the evening I will confer the sacrament of Confirmation in English for young people at Immaculate Conception Parish.


Mass for students at St. Francis Assisi School. During Mass, I will confer the sacrament of Confirmation on the eighth grade students at the school.


In the afternoon, I will hold a liturgy for Confirmation of teens attending the Religious Education Program at St. Francis Assisi Parish.


It will my joy to baptize seven and celebrate a Mass with confirmations at St. Jude Parish, in San Luis.


I will then return to Tucson for the funeral of Fr. Gerald Cote.


Please pray for
repose of the soul of Jean Louis Capdeville , stepfather of Father Henri Capdeville, O.S.B., Jean Louis passed away Feb. 16.


the soul of Father William Dougherty,C.S.P., who died last week. Here is some additional about Father Bill and about his funeral:


Father Bill:


was born on May 29, 1930 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended Catholic schools and La Salle College in Philadelphia. Just out of high school he worked at a bank in Philadelphia and after three years enlisted in the Airforce for another three years before going on to St. Paul’s College in Washington D.C. to complete his seminary education.  He was ordained to the priesthood for the Paulist Fathers on May 11, 1963 in St. Paul the Apostle Church, New York, New York by Cardinal Francis Spellman.  Fr. Bill did post graduate work at the Clerical Institute at Notre Dame, and at the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio, TX. He had a Masters in Philosophy from St. Paul College in Washington D.C.


Fr. Bill came to the Diocese of Tucson on June 1, 1986 after serving at a number of parishes across the country including, New York City, Boston, Richard, Santa Barbara, Austin and Columbus OH. His first assignment in Tucson was at St. Cyril parish as a parochial vicar for 4 years. In 1987 he became involved on the faculty for the Married Deacon’s program. On October 1, 1991 he was named pastor of St. Cyril Parish. In 1998 he was appointed Vicar for Pima East Vicariate and served on the Presbyteral Council for Bishop Moreno for two years. In 2000 he left our diocese and was named pastor for a parish in Austin, TX. In August of 2004 he returned to our diocese to continue ministry here as a Senior priest. Fr. Bill ministered his last years offering clergy support in parishes in the Tucson area and in the past few years he was mostly helping out at St. Pius X. He was loved by many in our diocese.


Father Bill’s vigil service will be held at St. Pius X on Tuesday March 1, and his funeral Mass will take place on Wednesday, March 2, at 10 a.m.


For those priests planning to concelebrate please bring your own vestments.  Kindly remember Fr. Bill, his religious community and his family in your Masses and prayers.  May eternal rest be granted unto him, O Lord, and may he rest in peace.


Condolences can be sent to:

Rev. Eric Andrews, C.S.P.

President of the Paulist Fathers (C.S.P.)

405 W. 59th St.

New York, New York 10019


We pray also for the soul of Father Gerald Cote, who passed away early February 27. Father Jerry Cote was born in Laconia,New Hampshire on January 17, 1929 to Rock A. Cote and Beatrice L. Lesieur. He grew up in Laconia, New Hampshire, the oldest of four children, French-Canadian stock, of a hard-working, lower middle-class family.


He attended public school through high school and then went on to study at St. Anselm’s in Manchester, NH for two years. He continued his studies at Oblate College for two more years and Seminary in Natick, MA with one year of Theology. Father Jerry completed his seminarian studies at St. Charles Seminary in Philadelphia, Penn. He was ordained into the priesthood by Most Rev. Matthew F. Brady at St. Joseph Cathedral, Manchester, New Hampshire for the Diocese of Tucson on May 26, 1956.


In a recent video recoding, Father Jerry remembered fondly how his seminarian classmates felt sorry for him “‘because he was going to the desert and there was nothing (there).” He laughed and said that he felt he was the lucky one. He loved the desert even though his first taste of Arizona was arrival at Sky Harbor in 93 degree weather dressed in woolen suit.


He began his ministry in the Diocese of Tucson as an associate at St. Anthony Parish in Casa Grande. From there he was transferred three times – serving at Sacred Heart-Nogales, Our Mother of Sorrows-Tucson and Our Lady of Perpetual Help-Glendale (before the Diocese of Phoenix was formed in 1969). In 1962 he was sent to St. Luke in Douglas where he was able to utilize his Spanish. He returned to Tucson in 1965 to Our Mother of Sorrows and in 1968 was given his first Pastor appointment at Holy Family parish in Tucson where he served for 12 and a half years.


During that time, Father Jerry became a core promoter of the Charismatic movement at Holy Family and across the diocese. In 1985 he asked to be transferred out of Tucson because of an allergy to the smog. He was sent to St. Francis of Assisi in Yuma for a year and spent four years in Ajo as Pastor of Immaculate Conception. He also served at St. George in Apache Junction and St. James in Coolidge before his retirement in 1992.



He also was a Senator and Consultor, on the BCD Advisory Board, member of the Diocesan Pastoral Council, Council on Diocesan Allocations and Chaplain for the Legion of Mary.


Father Jerry continued to be a very active clergy support priest. He celebrated Masses at Our Lady of Valley in Green Valley, Our Lady of Fatima, Holy Family in Tucson and even held Masses at Tucson Estates near his home.


Father Jerry said that he was so glad to be a priest while both Bishop Kicanas and Pope Francis were leaders in the Catholic Church. He had great admiration for them both.


He will be missed by many who knew him and loved him. He is survived by his sister Lucille Lessard, his nephews Paul, Barry, Dave, James, Tim and Tom Lessard, his niece Kimberly Koch and their families.


Condolences may be sent to:

Mrs. Lucille Lessard

24 Tabor Crossing

Long Meadow, MA 01106


Lessard Family

c/o Paul Lessard

34 Entry Brook Dr.

Springfield, MA 01108


Services will be held Saturday, March 5, at Holy Family Parish, 338 W. University Blvd. in Tucson: Viewing at 4 p.m.; Rosary at 6 p.m.; Funeral Mass at 7 p.m. Bishop Kicanas will be the celebrant of the Mass. Interment to be held at a later date.


Clergy who intend to concelebrate should bring their own vestments. For more information on concelebrating the Mass please contact the parish office at 520-623-6773.