Monday Memo, June 13, 2016, Vol. 14, No. 22

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas

facebook Eng 








Our prayers are raised for the innocent victims of the Orlando massacre and their families. What a senseless tragedy! Hatred, violence and acts of terror can never prevail. As we pray, we must also work to end gun violence, to care for the mentally ill and to stand up against any form of hatred and discrimination that treats people as anything less than God’s beloved children, worthy of dignity and respect.



Photos by Father Samuel Jandeh. Newly-ordained Transitional Deacons Martin Moreno, left of Bishop Kicanas, and Callistus Iyorember, right of Bishop, receive congratulations following the ordination Mass.

Two seminarians proceed on path to priesthood
On Saturday I ordained seminarians Martin Moreno and Callistus Iyorember, as Transitional Deacons at St. Augustine Cathedral. This is one of the last steps needed as both these men prepare for their own priestly ordinations in 2017.


As I wrote in my June column for The New Vision:



Deacon Martin Moreno with his mother, Dolores, and father, Alejandro, with Bishop.

Martin Moreno was an active member of Arcoiris, a Spanish language youth ministry that began in the Archdiocese of Hermosillo and that now is part of several of our diocesan parishes, including Sacred Heart in Nogales. Arcoiris is a program modeled after Cursillo, but designed for young people. One of its most powerful components is a retreat hosted by the young people for their parents. The youth give the talks and reflections and work to inspire their parents by the witness of their faith.


When I first met Martin, I felt he had great leadership potential. He is affable, outgoing and engaging. I also noticed that he has a sensitive heart. He listens to people and accompanies people in their struggles. At Mount Angel College Seminary he flourished. He was well-liked and respected by his peers and held seminary jobs that called for responsibility. He took part in many activities that demonstrated leadership. Later, while continuing his priesthood studies at Mundelein Seminary, he continued to excel and after careful, challenging discernment, he decided to move on to the next step toward priesthood and to be ordained as a deacon.


This summer he will serve at St. Mark’s Parish in Oro Valley while continuing an internship at an area hospital. He will return to Mundelein in the fall to complete his seminary studies.



Deacon Callistus Iyorember with his mother, Margaret, and father, John, with Bishop.

Callistus Iyorember came to us rather as an unknown. The Diocese had received his name from Father Angus Fraser, founder of the Via Christi Community in Nigeria, as someone that diocese wanted to study for the priesthood in the United States, and who, in turn, would serve in the Diocese of Tucson for 10 years following his ordination.


I have found Callistus to be a joyful person; someone very pleasant to be around. I am impressed by his humility, his openness to learn and to become immersed in a new culture. He clearly cares about people and seeks eagerly to serve others. He has adapted well to this new world and has become a leader in the seminary community at Mundelein. During his studies, he went to New York for his Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), and experienced how to minister to the sick and dying. Along with Martin and other seminary classmates, Callistus also studied in the Holy Land for one semester, walking where the Bible comes to life, following in the steps of the Lord.


He will serve at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Tucson this summer where he has already endeared himself. He said he is excited to host his parents, who will visit the United States for the first time to attend to his diaconate ordination. It will be a joy to meet them and to help Callistus welcome them to their son’s new home.



Thank you!
Our request that the Tucson City Council find that “no reasonable economic use” for the parish hall at St. Augustine Cathedral was granted last Tuesday when the Council voted unanimously — 7 to 0 – in favor of the request, thereby allowing the demolition of the existing parish hall (with conditions ) and also allowing the Cathedral and the Diocese to move forward with plans for Cathedral Square.


My thanks to everyone who made the time to attend the long meeting. Your presence and the information presented by some of you to the City Council played a tremendous role in helping the Council make its decision.


I am pleased that so very many of you responded to my call for help.


As you may know, there are four historic buildings on the St. Augustine Cathedral campus. The first and oldest is the parish rectory, built in the late 1890s, that now is undergoing restoration and building code upgrades; Marist College, that is set to be restored into eight apartments for low income senior citizens and a recreation center by the Foundation for Senior Living (FSL). In addition, the current Pastoral Center at 111 S. Church Ave., was sold to FSL, and the center will be raised so that the company can construct a seven-story building with 75 more apartments for senior citizens; Our Lady’s Chapel, that is now being restored with funds raised by our Catholic Foundation. The chapel had been used for storage for many years, but is being transformed into a beautiful place for daily Mass, small weddings and quinceaneras and private prayer and reflection.


It was wonderful to hear from FSL on Friday that the company had received the federal tax credits essential to their ability to move forward with the Marist College project. We now can be assured that the much-beloved structure will be restored and returned to service as we have been hoping. Congratulations to Steve Hastings and FSL for their successful work in obtaining these essential credits.


The final project of Cathedral Square is the removal of the outdated parish hall. The hall was constructed in 1916, but was built to address the needs of a parish with 300 people. The hall is now far too small for even parish needs, let alone the needs of the Diocese and its ministries.


In its place, we plan to build a four-story complex to house offices and meeting rooms for St. Augustine Parish; an entire floor that will have state-of-the-art conference space for up to 500 people and training rooms for ministries or community use; and the third and fourth floors will be the new home of the Diocesan Pastoral Center offices.


Such a facility has been long-needed in our diocese, and will allow both the Cathedral Parish and the Diocese to hold larger gatherings without having to rent space or find locations elsewhere in the Diocese.


I will keep you posted on our progress. We will be meeting with preservation groups and a designated architectural representative, Corky Poster, appointed by the City Council as required by the Council action. We are dedicated to meeting and achieving the requirements of all parties involved. All of us want to erect a building that our faith community and Tucson can look to with pride and that will serve the Diocese for future generations.



Bishops’ Meeting
I will be in southern California briefly this week for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Summer meeting. Among other items, I will be involved in discussion about the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and meeting with the subcommittee on Africa as well as the subcommittee on Latin America.


This year’s gathering will be in a retreat format with little business being conducted. Cardinal Luis Tagle, Archbishop of Manila in the Philippines will be the Retreat Director, giving two talks a day as well as a homily. He is a highly respected person who is very close to Pope Francis in his vision of Church.



2016 Annual Catholic Appeal
The Annual Appeal has nearly reached 95 percent of pledges towards the annual Appeal goal!   I am most grateful to all of you who have made your pledge or gift already, thank you. If you have not yet made your gift to the Annual Appeal, you can still do so at or by calling 520.838.2504.


To see if your parish has met its goal, please visit


Several parishes surpassed their goal in donations collected and I am so pleased to see that. Please keep up the great work! When Monday Memo comes back later in the summer, I pray that I will have news for you that we have surpassed our goal in pledges received. God bless each and every one of you.



Staff meetings
There will be both a staff meeting and a Director’s meeting held on Thursday at the Pastoral Center. The first meeting will be for the full staff and Tom Arnold, chief finance officer, who is facilitator for this month’s meeting will give a presentation on what the Finance Department does. At each of our staff meetings we try to inform the staff of the various departments within the Pastoral Center. The Finance Department certainly is central to our mission and there will be much information to learn from Tom and members of his department.


During these meetings we also try to do some formation of staff. This Thursday I will present a short reflection on Pope Francis’ new Post-Synodal Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.


During the Directors’ meeting we will continue to discuss plans for the transition to a new building.



Installation of New Eparch for the Phoenix-based Eastern Catholic Eparchy
Bishop John Stephen Pazak, C.Ss.R. recently appointed head of the Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy in Phoenix will be installed in Phoenix on July 20.


It was a joy to work with the former Eparch, Bishop Gerald Nicholas Dino, over the last several years. I look forward to working with the new Eparch who will continue to serve as the Administrator of the Slovakian Eparchy of Sts. Cyril and Methodius of Toronto, where he has served since 2001.



A pre-centennial celebration
I will have the rare opportunity to visit Bisbee on Thursday, and to linger there long enough to get a real sense of the history of St. Patrick’s Parish.


The glorious church, adjacent to Tombstone Canyon, was consecrated on Sunday, Sept. 30, 1917, by Bishop Henry Granjon.


The Catholic community’s story, however, begins back in the 1800s, when a small cabin near Naco Road was the first Catholic Church. Then from 1884 to 1890, worshippers gathered in a large adobe building on Quality Hill, before the growing community needed a yet a larger place to pray and in 1891 the Catholics moved into a frame building at School Hill.


Father Constant Mandin

Finally, in 1913, French-born Father Constant Mandin came to Bisbee and found his new parishioners in a church that still was too small. Father Mandin got his community on track to build a permanent church “large enough to serve the parish but also worthy of being dedicated to the glory of God.”


In the history posted on the parish website, I learned that “On Labor Day 1915, parishioners began excavating the hill of rock where the new building would stand. After bone-chilling shifts in the mines, parish men reported to Higgins Hill to work another four hours transforming rock into level ground. When construction began, Fr. Mandin often donned work clothes and labored alongside his parishioners and non-Catholic supporters to complete what had become a community project. Four cars of terra-cotta from Gladding McBean Co. of Lincoln, CA were delivered by railroad to Bisbee in 1916. The original slate roofing tiles were shipped from Vermont, and the stained glass windows from St. Louis, MO.”


And so, St. Patrick’s was built and remains still.


Which brings me to my visit. I first will go to the parish mission of St. Michael in Naco to view the completed Chapel Annex. Returning to St. Patrick’s I will receive a sculpture of the intrepid Father Mandin, then I will view and bless a mural on one wall of the Church.


I will get a look at the old sacramental records of the parish – imagine all the names of frontier explorers and miners from the real Old West – before we celebrate Mass, where I have been asked to bless the new altar. Incidentally I was in Safford for Confirmation last week and signed the baptismal register for Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Solomon. It was striking to see the first entry from 1892. How rich in history are so many of our parishes!


So there you have it: a look at our past, remembering those who guided the faith before us, and a chance to bring some new elements to add to the cherished parish.


I can’t wait for the trip.




A brief return to relief work
I will be traveling to Vietnam and Cambodia at the end of this week to work again with Catholic Relief Services in those areas.


As you may remember, I visited the area while I was Chairman of the Board for CRS, and I am looking forward to seeing what positive changes have taken place there over the last couple of years.


CRS has worked in Vietnam and Cambodia for some time now. I’ll quote from CRS to give you an idea of its efforts there:


“(Vietnam’s) transformation to a middle income country is threatened by the widening disparity between rich and poor, environmental degradation, climate related risks, limited access to health and social services by the vulnerable population, poor governance, lack of corporate social engagements, as well as other societal problems such as human trafficking and HIV/AIDS. Catholic Relief Services works with many partners to meet emerging needs and ensure that all citizens benefit from Vietnam’s recent economic growth and development. Much of CRS’ work centers around education — especially for those with disabilities — strengthening civil society for social inclusion of persons with disabilities, landmine risk education, assistance to landmine survivors, and disaster recovery and risk reduction.


CRS’ work in Cambodia is similar, although I understand that much of the effort in that country is directed at helping people with health issues such as tuberculosis.


Part of the visit will include on site observations of the programs in which CRS is involved in these two emerging countries.


I will fly back to Chicago on June 30 to visit with my mom to celebrate, God willing, her 104th birthday. I will then head out again with Catholic Relief Services this time to Serbia, Greece and Lebanon to see CRS’ work with Syrian refugees. This is, of course, a dire situation which has left people in desperate situations. Dr. Carolyn Woo, president of CRS, will be leading this delegation and I will return to Tucson on July 19.



The Monday Memo also will take a vacation, and will return on August 1.



Convocation of Catechetical Leaders
Our annual diocesan convocation of parish catechetical leaders at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish on Saturday, August 20, 2016.


This year, an invitation is being extended not only to our parish directors of religious education, but also to our parish youth ministry directors/coordinators. Open to these key catechetical leaders: your director of religious education and  to parish  director/coordinator of youth ministry.



Father’s Day
Sunday, June 19
My prayers to all the fathers, step-fathers and grandfathers working to nurture, provide for and protect their families. I have many fond memories of my own dad, and I ask that we pray in thanksgiving for those fathers who have passed on too.


God our Father, We give you thanks and praise for fathers young and old.


We pray for young fathers, newly embracing their vocation; May they find courage and perseverance to balance work, family and faith in joy and sacrifice.


We pray for our own Fathers around the world whose children are lost or suffering; May they know that the God of compassion walks with them in their sorrow.


We pray for men who are not fathers but still mentor and guide us with fatherly love and advice.


We remember fathers, grandfather, and great grandfathers who are no longer with us but who live forever in our memory and who sustain us with their love.