Monday Memo, June 6, 2016. Vol. 14, No. 21

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas

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Photos by Steff Koeneman Father Villi Valderrama lays his hands on Edson Elizararrás during the ordination. Father Villi will be Father Edson’s first pastor at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Tucson.

An Ordination
Last Saturday, it was my special joy to ordain Edson Elizararrás to the priesthood. He now is one of four priests – Father Robert Rodriguez, Father John Allt and Father Gonzalo Villegas – in ministry within our diocese as each of them was partially educated in Yuma. Father Robert is the only Yuma born of the priests.


I know Edson will be a strong person – anyone who can last more than 15 minutes in Yuma where the temperature was 116 degrees plus on Saturday – has got to be strong.


As I have written in earlier Memos, Edson has spent a long time knowing he was to be a priest and diligently pursued his call to the delight of his instructors and family.


He was joined by 20 priests, mostly from our diocese, as well as several priests from Mexicali, where Edson first began to consider priesthood. Each of the priests, along with me, imposed our hands upon his head, at last completing his journey to priesthood.



Father Scott Hebden, who represented Mundelein Seminary at the ordination, gives newly-ordained Father Edson a bear-hug welcome to the priesthood.

There also were many family members and Catholics from all around Yuma gathered for the ordination Mass at St. John Neumann Church. I also saw members of the youth group called Arco Iris at the Mass. Edson participated in Arco Iris and the group helped to move him to consider priesthood.


Father Scott Hebden represented Mundelein Seminary, where Edson received his last four years of priesthood formation. He, along with Msgr. Al Schifano, both testified during the ordination about Edson’s readiness to be ordained.


Two of Edson’s deacon friends, Deacon Valery from the Archdiocese of Atlanta– where he will be ordained in June — and Deacon John Bosco from Uganda, where he will be ordained in August, were among those present too.


St John Neumann is a beautiful, elegant parish and it lended itself well to this ordination celebration, and hosted a wonderful, prayerful Mass.


Many thanks to the parish family of St. John Neumann, and its pastor, Father John Friel. Thanks too to our Pastoral Services Department led by Sister Lois Paha, O.P., D. Min., for the work done in making sure all the many parts and pieces needed for the ordination made it to St. John’s Parish; thanks to Father Miguel Mariano and Father Albert Miranda for bringing the needed vestments and other staples for the Mass and for serving as Masters of Ceremonies. Thanks to our Vocations Department: Father Jorge Farias Saucedo, director for recruitment; Father Al Schifano, director for seminarians, and to the ever-present Vocations staffers, Ms. Marty Hammond and Mercy Ortiz, both of whom work with our seminarians until they are ordained.


Thanks to Carlos Zapien, our diocesan director of music, who led the choristers; to the many deacons from Yuma that attended and assisted with Mass; to our Communications Department for photographing and documenting the event, and to all those who joined the celebration.


And, as I looked about the church, I saw many of our seminarians taking part in the celebration as altar servers. I prayed for them, hoping that they too will continue on their paths to vocations and that they will be ordained in due time.


Father Edson will be a parochial vicar working with Father Villi Valerrama at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Tucson beginning July 1.


Remember also that we will be ordaining two seminarians, Martin Moreno and Callistus Iyorember, as deacons at St. Augustine Cathedral on June 11 at 10;00. This is one of the last steps needed as both these men prepare for their own priestly ordinations in 2017. Come and join us.


It will be my joy to confer the sacrament of Confirmation on young people at the following parishes this week: at St. Helen in Oracle; at St. Margaret Mary in Tucson and at St. Rose of Lima in Safford.


We need YOU!
Show support for Cathedral Square
Attend the Tucson City Council Meeting
Tomorrow, June 7, at 5 p.m.
Council Chambers, 255 W. Alameda
5:30 p.m.


Tomorrow, the Tucson City Council will be weighing and possibly voting on a request concerning the St. Augustine Cathedral Parish Hall. As you may know, the Diocese has been working hard to complete the Cathedral Square project. One last but extremely important part of this project concerns the aged parish hall at St. Augustine Parish.


Our plans call for a four story complex of meeting rooms, a conference center, training rooms and offices for both our Pastoral Center and for St. Augustine Parish to be constructed on the site of the existing hall.


In order for that to take place, the Tucson City Council needs to vote that there is “no reasonable economic use” to be made from keeping the current hall in place.


The hall is one of four aged buildings at Cathedral Square. The others are the parish rectory, which now is receiving much needed structural, electrical and other required upgrades; Marist College, soon to be called The Marist, that will be restored and will contain seven low income senior living apartments and a recreation center. The Marist will be joined by a seven story building housing an additional 75 apartments for seniors where our current Pastoral Center now is located. Both projects are being financed and handled by the Foundation for Senior Living. The third historic building is Mary’s Chapel, which is being restored now with funds raised by the Catholic Foundation.


The parish hall, the last of the four buildings, was built for a much smaller parish and can no longer render the services needed of it. The building is outdated, it lacks proper heating and cooling, and it would require vast amounts of money only to restore a building that will not be adequate for the Cathedral parish or the Diocese.


We hope the City Council can imagine, as we do, a fully restored Cathedral Square with three richly historic buildings brought back to life and beauty to serve the community and the Church, and that our request will be granted so that the new four-story building can be built to accommodate the needs of this diocese and our ministries, the St. Augustine Cathedral Parish and the larger downtown Tucson community as a valuable meeting place resource.


Please plan to attend the meeting on the first floor of the City building at 255 W. Alameda. Free parking is available at St. Augustine Cathedral, 192 S. Stone Ave.


Your presence can help us greatly!



Review Committee Meeting
This committee that reviews and advise me on possible misconduct cases within the Diocese will meet on Wednesday morning at the Pastoral Center.


It is vital that such boards meet to discuss areas of concern and suggest resolutions and other actions, and I am grateful for the board member’s counsel.


I invite you to read the May edition of The New Vision that has an extensive and informative column on protecting children and teens over the summer months. Dr. Rosemary Celaya-Alston, our director of the Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, wrote the information as one of her many protection columns. You also can find the column online at:


Campaign for Human Development and more
I will be in Long Beach, Calif., on Saturday evening to attend several committee meetings of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. These include the Campaign for Human Development, the Africa Subcommittee and the Latin American Subcommittee. This summer meeting of the Conference will include four days of retreat given by Cardinal Luis Tagle, Archbishop of Manila.



Please pray for
. . . the soul of Deacon Carlos Martinez who died on Sunday. Deacon Carlos ministered at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Tucson. Please pray also for his family at this time.


Please pray for
the soul of Deacon Carlos Martinez who passed away Sunday. Deacon Carlos ministered at St. Francis de Sales Parish. Please remember his family in your prayers as well.


…the continued recovery of Father Liam Leahy, who had major surgery last week.


Ordinations of Deacons
Saturday, June 11
St. Augustine Cathedral
192 S. Stone Ave.
10 a.m.


Join us for this ordination that further prepares our seminarians Callistus Iyorember and Martin Moreno for the ordination to priesthood in 2017.


Convocation of Catechetical Leaders
Our Mother of Sorrows Parish
August 20


This Conference is for faith formation, religious educators and Directors of Religious Education from parishes across the Diocese.