Monday Memo, March 14, 2016. Vol. 14, No. 10

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas

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Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, March 20.

Beware of casting stones:
Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart; for I am gracious and merciful.

You may remember the responsorial psalm above from yesterday’s readings.


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As we ponder the Year of Mercy and our Lenten journeys, the psalm truly capsulizes everything we need in just those three sentences. Sometimes, God makes things sound so easy.

We have seen other variations of this brevity before in other scriptures:


     Ask and it shall be given you.


Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.
Judge not, lest you be judged.


These are the scriptures telling us, simply, how to be with God and how to live free of sin and the slavery of sin.


In the Gospel yesterday, we heard the familiar story of Jesus being confronted by the scribes and the Pharisees about how a woman caught in adultery should be treated. They were, we were told, testing Jesus to see if he would follow the Law of Moses that called for the woman to be stoned. Jesus said:


“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” In response, the accusers went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So Jesus was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they?
Has no one condemned you? She replied, ‘No one, sir.’ Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”


Of course, Jesus, the son of God, had no problem dealing with the scribes, and Jesus, son of our Forgiving God, had no problem forgiving the woman.


Most of us get the obvious lesson of forgiveness in this story. But there is another aspect that revolves around the whole idea of who should be judging others.


Jesus’ telling the woman’s accusers “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her,” caused each one of those poised to stone the woman to face themselves. Each of them knew they were not without sin and so each departed from the scene.


How easy is it for us to consider Jesus’ question to the accusers when we feel ready to accuse someone?


This week, let us try not to be accusers, but rather forgivers. Let us concern ourselves with what we can do better, or on what we can do to repair our own wrong-doing rather than hide behind the “wrongs” of others. We are not suitable to judge others; that is reserved for God.


And God is merciful, always.





Father Greg Boyle, who founded Homeboy Industries, an organization dedicated to helping those in gangs and to encourage life apart from gangs, speaks to the crowd at YouthFest.


YouthFest Recap
What a weekend! Thousands of junior and senior high school students stormed the Tucson Convention Center for Youth Fest 2016 on the theme of: A Thousand Hands Doing the Work of Christ. The energy and spirit in the Center was palpable and electric.


Joe Perdreauvile, our diocesan director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, who has worked closely with the planning committee, reported that there were more than 1,450 middle school and high school students from Catholic schools and parishes attended the YouthFest on Friday and that on Saturday there were about 800 middle school and high school students at the event.


The two days challenged the young to get involved in service of others. Teens attended workshops describing the great assistance being done by groups in our community to help those in need. The young were invited to lend their talents and gifts to get involved in serving others. They were encouraged not to sit on the sidelines but to engage their world in a helping way. They were told to use their hands to heal, to help, to soothe, to build, to care, to greet and to welcome.


Bishop Kicanas at YouthFest with some of the 1,450 teens that attended.

I was so grateful to Diego Javier Pina Lopez who was among the main organizers under the tutelage of Joe Perdreauville. Father Jorge-Farias Saucedo was our Master of Ceremonies for the event and he did a masterful job. The tech crew under the direction of Paul Flores managed the event with expertise.


I know we all are grateful to the teachers, catechists, principals, Directors of Religious Education, Youth Ministers and parents who chaperoned the event. Their dedicated service is a great model for these youngsters.


Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries gave a dynamic presentation on his work with alienated youth and gang members. He is truly doing the Lord’s work in very difficult and demanding circumstances. He had the young people’s attention throughout his presentations.


I was pleased that Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Mayor of Tucson, was able to attend the second day of YouthFest to greet and welcome the young people.


Dr. Lenn Ditmanson, director of Medical Services at COPE Clinic, gave a powerful presentation on the effects of drugs on damaging the lives of young people.



Bob “Righteous B” Lesnefsky

Dr. Ann Borik, a Catholic physician from Phoenix whose life of service and ministry is inspirational, gave a moving talk.


The workshops included presentations from Norma Valdez with Catholic Relief Services; Dr. Laura Gronewold, Ph.d, with Ben’s Bells ; Joanna Williams with the Kino Border Initiative and Teresa Baker with the organization called Youth On Their Own.


All in all it was a marvelous day and a real shot in the arm for those who work with youth. They have great gifts for good.


Congratulations to the planning committee: Diego Javier Pina Lopez; Joe Perdreauville; Michelle Buh; coordinator of Student Services for our Catholic Schools Department; Deacon Andy Corder; Andrew Starbuck; Susanna Chapman; Michelle Benzenhoefer; Patsy Gonzales; Paul Flores; Isabel Madrid, administrative assistant for our Pastoral Services Department and Father Jorge Farias-Saucedo, our Vocations Director for Recruitment.


Also thanks to Ross Hellend and his Band for the fabulous music during the event.


Tuesday I will confer the sacrament of Confirmation on teens attending Salpointe Catholic High School. Usually this is celebrated at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish but this year will take place at Salpointe for the whole student body to witness. I hope it will remind the other students and teachers of their own Confirmations and encourage them to use the Gifts of the Spirit they received.


Annual Catholic Appeal
People’s generosity to the Annual Catholic Appeal is so encouraging. So many are sharing their resources to help respond to the needs of our retired priests, to aid in the formation of seminarians to serve as our future priests and to help those in need through the programs of Catholic Community Services. Your gift reaps many benefits. If you have not yet participated, please prayerfully consider a sacrificial gift which will accomplish much good.



Equestrian Order
I will celebrate Mass and attend the Mid-Year Meeting of the members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. The Knights and Ladies of the Equestrian Order work to reinforce the practice of Christian life through the work of its members; to sustain and assist the religious, spiritual, charitable and social works and rights of the Catholic Church and of the Christians in the Holy Land, particularly of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.


Members have instituted a scholarship fund for a student at Bethlehem University. They have helped seminarians studying to serve the Latin Patriarchate. They have assisted schools in Zurka and Jordan and have done so much to assist the fledgling church in the Holy Land.


Review Board meeting
The Sexual Misconduct Review Board will be meeting Wednesday at the Pastoral Center. Their work is immensely helpful to me in responding to concerns that come forward about those serving in ministry. They do so much to help our Diocese restore trust and provide safe environments for children and vulnerable adults.


The Monsignor Edward J. Ryle Fund
Later Wednesday I will be in Phoenix at St. Francis Xavier School to attend at luncheon for the Ryle Fund.


The Fund was founded to recognize and to continue the legacy of Msgr. Edward Ryle, who as a priest of the Diocese of Tucson provided a lifetime of service to the people of the state of Arizona, especially the most vulnerable and the disenfranchised. The Fund’s mission is to encourage scholarly dialogue around public policy issues affecting the common good in Arizona. The Fund also provides community grants, as well as scholarships for faith-based, public-policy studies at Seattle University.


Msgr. Ryle was a priest serving the Diocese of Tucson. Beginning in 1956, he went on to earn several advanced degrees. He taught at Catholic University’s School of Social Service in Washington, D.C., and served as dean of Marywood University’s Graduate School of Social Work in Scranton, PA. In 1969, Msgr. Ryle became the first Catholic Charities Director of the new Diocese of Phoenix. He led the Arizona Catholic Conference in 1984, lobbying on behalf of the state’s Catholic bishops for nearly 20 years before retiring in 2003. In honor of his retirement, Gov. Janet Napolitano proclaimed Jan. 31, 2003, “Monsignor Ed Ryle Day” in Arizona.


There is a wood engraving in the front section of St. Augustine Cathedral recognizing Msgr. Ryle and others working on behalf of the voiceless and underprivileged. The Ryle Fund contributed to the restoration of our Cathedral.


Following the luncheon, I will be a presenter at the Fund’s Community Conversation on economic justice.


Diocesan Planning Meeting
The Directors of the Pastoral Center, our Moderator of the Curia, Msgr. Jeremiah McCarthy, and I will participate in a day long spiritual renewal session on Friday(March 18) at the parish hall of Corpus Christi Church.


We hold this planning session each year to discuss the accomplishments of the previous year and look forward by deciding on the major diocesan goals for the year. Our directors are currently working on their departmental goals, and also are doing special assessments for our Pastoral Center facilities. But this year we will focus on our collaboration as members of the Pastoral Center and how we can support one another in our varied ministries.


We will also have a chance to continue our discussion of the move of our Pastoral Center as early as 2017.


Who Will Fill These Shoes
Saturday, March 19

Sts. Peter and Paul Parish

1946 E. Lee Street

12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
I will join Father Jorge Farias-Saucedo and the Vocations Department on this Saturday for another of the sessions open to men who are interested in pursuing priesthood. Registration can be done online at


Men between 16 and 35 years old who have thought about the possibility of becoming a priest are welcome to attend this session. It is a good time to hear about how to discern a calling from God to be of service to others and to ask questions about what a vocation entails.


I encourage our priests, deacons, religious and lay ministers to invite someone they know to attend the session. You are our best vocation recruiters. I hope they also will accompany these discerners to the event.


St. Joseph of Carondelet Fund for Health Care Initiatives Board
This new fund was created from the Carondelet Foundation since Ascension Health no longer sponsors our Catholic Hospitals under the ownership of Tenet.


This Board will give grants for Catholic Health Care Initiatives within the Diocese. The Board consists of Mary Ann Faye; William Assenmacher; John Lauer; Sister Irma Odabashian, C.S.J.; and I.


This first meeting will focus on organizational matters to begin the process of developing a plan for distribution of funds.


Cathedaral Square
Here are some photos of work taking place on the ongoing restoration of our Lady’s Chapel:




Chrism Mass
Monday, March 21
St. Augustine Cathedral
2 p.m.



On Monday, I along with priests from throughout our diocese will celebrate the Chrism Mass. One of the most beautiful of liturgies, there are many prayerful and serene moments during this Mass.


During this Mass, I bless the sacred oils:


The oil of catechumens (Oleum Catechumenorum” or “Oleum Sanctorum”): This oil is used in connection with the sacrament of baptism.


The oil of the infirm (“Oleum Infirmorum”): the oil used for the sacrament of the anointing of the sick.


The holy chrism (“Sacrum Chrisma”): a mixture of olive oil and balsam, an aromatic resin. This oil is used in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and holy orders, since they impart an indelible sacramental character of those anointed.
These oils will be taken to the parishes by our priests and used throughout the year for sacraments in our parishes.


All are welcome to join us for this Mass.


Priest assignments
Effective tomorrow, March 15, Father Javier Perez, pastor at Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma, will be taking a personal leave of absence for health reasons. It is hoped that he will return in between four and six months. Keep him in your prayers as we await his return. As a result, the following priest assignments also will take place:

Father Manuel Fragoso-Carranza
, from Pastor at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Somerton, to Administrator Pro-Tem at Immaculate Conception Parish and the Mission of Our Lady of Guadalupe, also in Yuma. Father Manuel also will serve as Interim Vicar Forane for the Yuma/La Paz Vicariate.


Father Bartolome Vazquez Johnston, from Pastor at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Wellton, to Administrator Pro-Tem at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Somerton.


Father Abraham Guerrero Quiñonez, from  St. Monica Parish in Tucson, to Administrator Pro-Tem at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Wellton.


The Chancellery is working to find priest coverage for the parish of St. Monica to assist Rev. Raul Valencia, the pastor of Santa Monica.


Please pray
for the soul of Elizabeth “Betty” Joan Sly, mother-in-law of Monalisa Oreschnick, receptionist at our Pastoral Center. Ms. Sly passed away March 7. Please also pray for her family during this time.


For the continued healing of Sister Corina Padilla, O.P., who has been hospitalized for the last several days.


For the healing of Deacon Chuck Bent (Louisville, KY), brother of Katheryn Hutchinson, executive assistant for the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson, who became ill suddenly last week.


For the full recovery of Father Richard Fliss, retired priest, helping in several of our parishes.