Monday Memo, Oct. 3, 2016. Vol. 14, No. 30

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas

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Attention:  Diocesan Pastoral Center offices moving
The Diocese of Tucson Pastoral Center offices are moving during the days of Oct. 12 – Oct. 17.


The move is part of the larger Cathedral Square project.  The Foundation for Senior Living  agreed to lease Marist College and restore the building, creating senior living apartments and a senior recreation center, but the Marist building was not big enough to accommodate all of the Foundation’s needs.  In order to ensure that the historic Marist College could be restored, the Board of Directors for the Catholic Foundation, owner of the Pastoral Center, agreed to sell the current Pastoral Center at 111 S. Church to the Foundation for Senior Living so that the organization could build a seven story building of apartments for low-income seniors to accompany the Marist building.


As a result, the Pastoral Center offices are moving temporarily to 64 E. Broadway Blvd. at the southwestern corner of Broadway Blvd and Scott Avenue.  The offices will remain there until the new office building at Cathedral Square is completed – about two years from now.


Our current offices will close for all business at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 11.  The new offices will open for business at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 18.  Our P.O. Box address, telephone numbers and fax will remain the same.  For a summary of important moving dates, please see the diocesan website at


A beautiful gathering
I am proud that our diocese served as a fine host diocese for the annual meeting of the Western Lieutenancy: Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem Sept. 29 through Oct. 3.


The group, which supports the Catholic Church in Jerusalem, stayed at the Starr Pass Marriott, but spent time at Most Holy Trinity Parish and St. Augustine Cathedral.  All but a few Masses were held at Cathedral due to the large number of people attending – more than 500 – and on Saturday, many of the Knights and Ladies visited Our Lady’s Chapel and expressed how beautiful the restoration work turned out.


Also on Saturday, the Promotion and Memorial Mass was held at Cathedral and several Cardinals and Bishops from other dioceses attended, including Cardinal Grand Master Edwin Frederick Cardinal O’Brien, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, retired Archbishop of Los Angeles, Archbishop Jose Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, Bishop Gerald Barnes, Bishop of San Bernardino, California and Bishop Joseph Pepe, Bishop of Las Vegas.


At the same Mass, Cardinal Mahony, who had been the Grand Prior of the Wester USA Lieutenancy, turned over the position after 25 years to Archbishop Gomez.


We have many Knights and Ladies living in our diocese, and many priests, deacons and a few Sisters also are involved with the Equestrian Order.  I am most grateful to the leaders of the organizing committee for this event, Karen and William McEwen, Councilors and Richard and Sandra Kolasa who organized the Wild West party Saturday evening, Sister Lois Paha, O.P. and Ophelia James who helped with the liturgies, and all those in our local order who have been hard at work planning accommodations, chapel and prayer times and Masses.


Carlos Zapien, Cathedral Music Director and the Cathedral Choir inspired everyone with their beautiful music, mostly written by Carlos.


Happy Feast Day
Tuesday, I will be visiting the village of Topawa on the Tohono O’odham Reservation in Sells, and celebrating Mass at St. Catherine’s Church in honor of the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi.


As you may know, the Franciscan Order of priests and brothers is heavily involved in ministry to Native Americans.  Father Bonaventure Oblasser, O.F.M., spent his lifetime working with our Native American population, in fact he became known as the Padre to the Papagos, back when that name was used for the tribe, instead of Tohono O’odham.  He also founded the church of St. Catherine in Topawa.


A summary of his work stated “His missionary work in Arizona resulted in the construction of over a dozen schools and churches on what would become known as the Papago Indian Reservation in southern Arizona. He was a member of the Committee that contributed to the formation of the reservation (1915), and he was a key advisor in both the legal battle against the Hunter Heirs in their claim to Papago Lands (1926) and in the formation of the tribal constitution (1936). During his tenure, he gathered unique information on the Franciscan influence in Pimeria Alta, and collected censuses and other ethnological data on Indian populations. In the course of his research, he built a collection of books on the region which are now housed in the Oblasser Library at Mission San Xavier.”


The Feast Day of St. Francis, naturally, is a big solemnity for members of the Franciscan priest and sisters orders and I have had the opportunity in the past to concelebrate the Mass on the reservation.  This year’s visit marks a happy return to the custom and I am glad to participate again.


Fathers Ponchie Vasquez, O.F.M., and Bill Minkel, O.F.M., now serve as priests in the many villages on the big reservation.


Another custom that some parishes participate in for this feast day is the blessing of the animals, since St. Francis also is associated with his love of all God’s creatures.


Our Mother of Sorrows Parish at 1800 S. Kolb Road, will hold a Blessing of the Animals on Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 6 p.m. outside the church, and St. Odilia Parish, 7570 N Paseo Del Norte, will do the blessing outside the church on Oct. 8 at 10 a.m.


Red Mass
Tomorrow, Oct. 4
5:30 p.m.

St. Augustine Cathedral


Nationwide, dioceses, along with other legal field organizations, come together to recognize outstanding individuals with the celebration of the Red Mass.  Here in Tucson, our diocese coordinates with the St. Thomas More Society that makes the awardee selections.


image020Colonel Ernest (Skip) M. Skinner, Esq. (posthumous award)
Beginning in 2002, Ernest Skinner served as a law clerk to the Hon. John M. Roll, Judge (later Chief Presiding Judge) of the District Court for the District of Arizona. During 2005 and 2006 Skinner was a prosecutor while serving as a deputy Pima County Attorney. In 2006, Skinner started service as a volunteer attorney with the Volunteer Lawyer Program, conducting Title 14 Guardianship clinics and Bankruptcy advice clinics. He also volunteered as supervising attorney for University of Arizona law students participating in the Regional Municipalities Veterans Treatment Court.  Skinner passed away on Oct.16, 2015.


Colleagues remember him for bringing the organizational skills he acquired as a colonel in the Air Force and as an A-10 wing commander.  He also was a dedicated president of the  St. Thomas More Society of Southern Arizona.  He is further remembered for being willing to help always, and for often being the first to volunteer for service. And if that was not enough, He also was an excellent golfer, guitar, banjo and harmonica player (often playing the guitar and harmonica simultaneously).


image022Deacon Rick Valencia
Arizona Attorney General Special Investigation Section (retired)


Deacon Rick Valencia served three years of active duty with the United States Army after graduating from Tucson High School.


Valencia began his career in law enforcement by joining the Arizona Department of Public Safety. He was first assigned to the Benson area of Cochise County as a Highway Patrol Officer from 1977 to 1992, then worked in the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) from 1992 to 2004; and left the Department after 27 years in August 2004 as a detective. During his assignment in CIB, He was assigned to the Cochise County Boarder Alliance Group Task Force, a multi-agency group covering narcotic enforcement along the southwest border. Many of his assignments included working in high risk covert operations that spanned the entire state of Arizona.


Valencia joined the Office of the Arizona Attorney General Special Investigation Section within the Criminal Division from February 2005 until he retired in 2015. During his 10 years of service with the Attorney General’s office, Valencia served as a Special Agent and was promoted to the position of Supervising Special Agent in charge of the Major Fraud Unit and the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Section.


Since his June 2012 ordination as a Permanent Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church, Deacon Valencia has served at his home parish, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Benson.  He and his wife, Beverly, have been active on the Parish Board of Directors, the Parish Pastoral Council, Compliance Officer, Hospital Ministry, Knights of Columbus, Hospitality Ministry and the St. Vincent de Paul- St. Bernadette Conference.


“It has truly been a blessing and a sincere privilege to serve Our Lady of Lourdes Parish as well as the community over the past 39 years,” Valencia said. “With God’s grace we look to continue being of service to the great people of our parish and community and the Diocese of Tucson.”


Pastoral Center
We will be holding our last Pastoral Center staff birthday celebration combined with a goodbye building party on Thursday beginning with Mass at 11:30 a.m.   These parties give our very busy employees a wee chance to unwind – and lately there has been so much going on with ministries and packing – and to reflect on the past 15 years of serving the Diocese in the Bishop Moreno Pastoral Center.


Maryknoll China Conference
I will be traveling to New York at the end of the week to participate in the Maryknoll Conference on China.


Some years ago when I was rector of Mundelein Seminary in the Archdiocese of Chicago we received several seminarians from China through Maryknoll who sponsored their study in the United States.


Several rectors were invited to visit China to see the Church’s work there in order to prepare seminarians studying in US seminaries. It was an amazing experience.


As you know in China there are two Catholic churches: The Patriotic Church which is recognized by the government and the underground Church which is not recognized and that has been persecuted in the past.


Our visit to China was led by John Tong, who was a priest of Hong Kong and who now is the Archbishop and Cardinal of Hong Kong.


Pope Francis and Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict have been trying for many years to reconcile these two churches. Currently, bishops are appointed by the Chinese government, sometimes without approval from Rome, which is one of the serious disagreements that exists.


The seminar is to look at the status of the Catholic Church in China. It will include some presentations including one by Father Robert Schreiter, who knows the cultural and religious situation very well.


New Vision Managing Editor
The job description for a new Managing Editor of the Catholic New Vision newspaper will be posted later this week online at


Basic skills needed for this very important position include, a solid background in journalism, with at least 10 years reporting experience and at least five years of editing.  Being bilingual in spoken Spanish is preferred by not required, and the successful candidate will be able to produce clear, interesting stories that include facts, historical and trend perspectives to give readers a complete understanding of the events and topics affecting our diocese.


If you have questions about the soon-to-be posted position, please call our Communications Director, Steff Koeneman, at 520-838-2561 for more information.


Because we are searching for an editor and because we are in the process of moving the Pastoral Center offices, we will suspend publication of The New Vision for November and December. The next edition of the newspaper will be published in January. In the meantime, information about the happenings in the Diocese can be accessed by looking at the Monday Memo which is published every Monday online and by viewing the news posted on our webpage at


Priest Retreats
Two priest retreats for 2016 begin this week.. About 35 priests will participate in this week’s retreat, directed by Bishop Michael Sis, Bishop of San Angelo in Texas. The following week’s retreat will be directed by Bishop John Stowe, O.F.M. We are blessed to have these two fine preachers resource our priests during these important days of retreat.


Catholic Community Serices
Catholic Community Services will recognize employees at its annual Employee Recognition Dinner this year at Hacienda del Sol. Oftentimes we don’t appreciate the contributions of those working for our agencies day after day. They contribute so much to the mission of the Church and this is one way that Peg Harmon, chief executive officer,  can express they agency’s appreciation for all people do in service of others.


Please remember Patrick Olmsted, father of Bishop Thomas Olmsted in your prayers. His father died last week. We pray he will enjoy eternal life.


For the full recovery of Ellen Marie Smith, 28, niece of Monalisa Oreschnick ,secretary in our diocesan Human Resources office, and daughter of our former diocese volunteer Charlotte Canales-Smith. Ellen is hospitalized in serious condition.


Welcome Single Parent Families – A gathering for you
Saturday, October 15
2 p.m., concluding with 5 p.m. Mass with Bishop Gerald Kicanas
Our Lady of Fatima Parish Center
1950 W. Irvington Pl., Tucson


Single parents are invited to gather as families, parents and children, for an afternoon of food, prayer, community building and conversation.  Childcare and activity sessions will be offered for the children. Adults will have the opportunity to share your blessings and concerns as single parents.  A pizza and salad lunch will be served.  This invitation includes single grandparents who are raising children.


Please register by Oct. 8 by postal mail, email, fax, or register by phone.  Registration is available at


Registrations can also be returned to parish schools or religious education offices and they will be forwarded to the Office of Human Life & Dignity, Diocese of Tucson.


Marriage Mass
St. Augustine Cathedral
Oct. 16
Reservations required
Each year, Bishop Kicanas celebrates Mass with couples celebrating their first, 10th, 25th, 50th and longer anniversaries.  The Mass is a beautiful testament to the love and faith of couples.  Each couple receives a photograph with Bishop.  Registration is required.  Contact Ofelia  James at ojames@diocesetucson for more information.


Dioceses without Borders
Mass on the Border
Nogales along the international border fence
3:00 p.m.


The final border Mass will take place on Oct.23, in Ambos, Nogales. The new Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, will be joining us for this Mass. Archbishop Pierre was the Apostolic Nuncio in Mexico before being named by Pope Francis to work in the United States.   Bishop Kicanas and Bishop Jose Leopoldo Gonzalez Gonzalez also will be concelebrants of the Mass.


Catherdral Concert Series
Presents guitarist Ivar-Nichoas Fojas

Thursday, Oct. 27
Our Lady’s Chapel
On the Cathedral campus at  192 S. Stone Ave.
7 p.m.


Suggested Donation: $15


The opening of the concert season will take place at  the recently restored Our Lady’s Chapel, the beauty of the space and its acoustics makes the Chapel a perfect place for chamber music. Guitarist Ivar-Nicholas Fojas, a doctoral candidate at the UA Bolton Guitar Studies Program and a Fulbright Scholar from the Philippines, will be performing works by Sor, Scarlatti, Albéniz, Moreno Torroba, Llobet and others. For more information or to buy tickets call the Cathedral at 623-6351.