Monday Memo, Vol. 14, No. 18. May 16, 2016

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas

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Graduation time
I am sure we all have noticed the news coverage, students walking downtown with caps and gowns and of course all of the proud family members headed to University of Arizona, Pima College or to the Tucson Convention Center for all the commencement ceremonies taking place. Soon the high school graduations also will be taking place, including graduation ceremonies for seniors at our six Catholic high schools in the Diocese.



There are 460 graduating seniors this year. More than half that number participated in Salpointe Catholic High School’s Commencement Saturday. The rest will be graduating according to this schedule:


Wednesday, May 18 Baccalaureate Mass and graduation at Lourdes Catholic High School. Mass begins at 2 p.m. at the school chapel and graduation following in the gymnasium.


Thursday, May 19: San Miguel High School Baccalaureate Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral at 7 p.m. with graduation on Saturday, May 21 at 9 a.m. and St. Augustine High School Baccalaureate Mass on Saturday at 11 a.m. followed by graduation at 2 p.m.
Saturday, May 27: Immaculate Heart High School at 6 p.m. and Yuma Catholic High School Baccalaureate Mass at 4 p.m. followed by graduation at the school at 7 p.m.


So much is on our student’s minds right now. Their thoughts are racing about their big day, about their friends, about attending college or other schools and about their futures.


During these days leading up to graduation, I encourage graduates and their families to stop every once in a while to just think. Try to remember a bit of everything, besides school work, that you all have learned over the last few years.


For students: You have grown up quickly during these past four years; you know much more about yourself that you did in the ninth grade. You are on the verge, many of you, of very much managing your own lives. Some of you will live away from home, away from the very secure environment of home, to live in dorm rooms and apartments that give you the ability to make choices about how you live, how you work, with whom you associate and how to best become successful. Hopefully, you have learned the tools for making wise and safe decisions. But remember, you can still call home when you are unsure about difficult decisions. I encourage you to keep your families and God close in your heart and in your thinking as you encounter new decisions and situations.


For parents of graduates: Your thoughts might be racing too. You are happy for your sons and daughters and yet there is a little worry. Your children are mostly grown up and now it is time for them to take more responsibility for themselves than ever before. “Did I do all that I could?” you may hear yourself thinking, or, “Do they know everything they should?”


It is time to let them move on now to grow more and to learn their strengths and weaknesses. It is time for them to live their values and to use their skills – the skills you taught them through conversation and example — to become the adults they will be. And, it is time for you to stand ready when they call and to support them in this growth. You have done what was needed to nurture them through youth and adolescence. Give them the chance to become their own adults, with your blessing and your love.


Here is a prayer that may be helpful at this time:

Father, we thank you so much for our time here together

For all the friends we have made

For all the days of laughter and fun

And for all the times of great discovery and learning.

We thank You for all who have given of their energy and skill

So that we can graduate today.

Our teachers and mentors

Our family and loved ones

We thank You for them and give them all to You in prayer.


As this chapter on our lives closes, so a new one begins.

We present ourselves like an open book before You.

Come and scribe Your words of life into our lives –

Fill our minds with Your thoughts

Fill our bodies with Your strength

Fill our hearts with Your dreams

That we might eternally love and serve You

This day and every day.


We ask all this in the glorious name of Jesus

Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit

World without end.



Thanks should be uppermost in our minds in this graduation season. I am grateful to our parishes that hold a graduate Mass in their parish honoring the young people from the parish who are receiving their diplomas. This brings a faith dimension to this important moment in the journey of these young people.


A new leader
Pope Francis named a new bishop of a Phoenix-based Eastern Catholic eparchy: Bishop John Stephen Pazak, C.Ss.R.


Bishop Pazak, 69, now will lead the Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix and will be a member of the Arizona Catholic Conference.


The Pope accepted the resignation of Bishop Gerald Nicholas Dino, the Phoenix eparchy’s previous head. The bishop had reached the age of 75, when all bishops must submit their resignation.


The Holy Mary of Protection of Phoenix eparchy serves the 2,700 Ruthenian Catholics of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii, according to information from the Catholic News Agency.


I am grateful to Bishop Gerald Dino with whom I have worked over the last few years. He is a very dedicated and committed leader who traveled all around his vast Eparchy to support the work of the Church. He will be missed.


It will be my joy to confer the sacrament of Confirmation at the following parishes this week: at Most Holy Trinity Parish; at St. Monica Parish; at St. Francis de Assisi Parish in Elfrida, and at St. Rita in the Desert Parish in Vail. Yes there are still confirmations and they continue all the way into June. I am grateful to our Vicar Generals: Msgrs. Jeremiah McCarthy and Raul Trevizo and our Vicar Foranes in the various Vicariates who assist in celebrating the Confirmations when I am not able to preside.


Diocesan Pastoral Council
… will meet this Saturday for their regular meeting. We will be discussing the Holy Father’s recent Post Synodal Exhortation and explore ways we can implement some of his observations.


The advice and counsel of the DPC is immensely helpful to me as are our Parish Pastoral Councils to the pastors. The Holy Father recently commented on how important it is for priests to get input and ideas from the laity so that their pastoral initiatives respond to the real needs of the people.


Arizona Catholic Conference
The Bishops of the Catholic Conference will be meeting at the Diocese of Tucson on Wednesday. Among other items, the Conference will meet with the Hon. Timothy Jeffreys, KM, the new Director of the Department of Economic Services.


His biography listed the following: Jeffries, KM, was appointed by Governor Doug Ducey on Feb. 18, 2015, and began working at DES on March 2, 2015. Prior to his cabinet appointment, Jeffries served as a senior vice president at IHS, Inc., (NYSE: IHS) where he led several global business optimization efforts over a six-year period. He also served as a founding executive with other ventures.


We will look back on the past legislative year and evaluate the legislation coming out of Phoenix. I am grateful to Ron Johnson who is the Director of the ACC for his constant prodding of our legislators to pass legislation that will benefit our community and uphold the dignity of life.


Haiti Collection
Our Diocese is blessed to have Joan Martin, a former teacher at Our Mother of Sorrows, serving in the Diocese of Port au Paix in Haiti. She is back in the United States this month and she will be visiting Tucson to film a video with Msgr. Thomas Cahalane and me in preparation for a second collection we will take up in the Diocese to support her missionary work.


Msgr. Tom and I had a chance to visit Haiti last year and see first-hand her incredible work among the poor. She is truly an inspiration serving in the most difficult of circumstances but always with a smile and an encouraging word.


Directors Meeting
Our Pastoral Center Directors will meet this Thursday as we continue to find ways to work together more effectively. These gatherings give everyone a chance to hear the priorities of each department and the progress they are making in reaching their goals.


Breakfast with the Bishop
This Friday, I along with the Catholic Foundation, will be hosting another of the breakfast events held with various people from the community. These Masses followed by breakfasts are good ways to meet with many people, gather their input and to learn more about their thoughts of the Diocese.


This will be the first occasion for our new Director of the Catholic Foundation, Sal Polizzoto to participate.


As you know we have a vast diocese with many Catholics, these breakfasts give me a chance to meet some of our Catholics and thank them for all they do to help the mission of the Diocese.


Kino Symposium
All are invited to join The Kino Heritage Society for its 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Discovery of Padre Eusebio Kino’s Grave. This free event begins at 2 p.m. on Sat., May 21, at St. Augustine Cathedral Parish Hall and features Symposium presentations by Kino historian Father Greg Adolf and Vatican astronomer Father Chris Corbally, S.J.


Please RSVP to: Information:


For more information about Kino, especially the discovery of his grave, please visit


Our prayer is that someday Padre Kino will become Blessed and eventually a saint. Pray to him that he might intercede for us.


Knights of Columbus
It will be my pleasure to attend the State Convention of the Knights of Columbus on Saturday evening. The convention takes place at the Casino Del Sol here in Tucson and continues through Sunday.


As you know, the Knights always are ready to step to assist with parish and diocesan projects and support the Church in many ways. Please pray for these dedicated servants as they convene.


I am grateful to our State Officers who constant support and encouragement means so much. Congratulations to Sir Knight Larry Becker and his officers for another great year.


This annual State Convention is an opportunity to celebrate the successes of the year and plan for the year ahead.


Father Pat Crino, pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul serves as the State Chaplain and he does a great job supporting the Knights and providing spiritual guidance.


Please pray for
continued healing for  Father Alfonso Garcia Ramos, one of the priest that arrived to serve here in February who has been working at Sacred Heart Parish in Nogales Father Alfonso is a priest of the Archdiocese of Guadalajara. It is not known how long he will be in the hospital but it is anticipated that he will need several weeks for recovery and rehabilitation. Please pray for his well-being and rapid healing.



Soccer Match
Priests vs. Seminarians
Friday, May 27

Golf Links Sports Complex Field A
2400 S. Craycroft Road
6 p.m.

The “Fr. Kino’s Cup” event is a rematch from last year’s soccer game between priests and seminarians, and the priests have been training for victory to make up for their loss to the seminarians This is going to be a great way to begin the summer! Both priests and seminarians need fans to cheer them on. Come join the fun. There will be surprises, hot dogs, a raffle and lots more.


Ordination to priesthood
Dcn. Edson Elizarraras
St. John Neumann Parish in Yuma
Saturday, June 4.