Monday Memo, Nov. 21, 2016. Vol. 14, No. 38

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas

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Note:  The Diocese of Tucson offices will be closed Thursday, Nov.24 and Friday, Nov. 25 in observance of Thanksgiving.

 

Thanksgiving
Monday Memo readers may know that “thanksgiving” in Greek is Eucharistia. The Eucharist is a meal of thanksgiving, an expression of our gratitude to God for the gift of His Son who gave his life on our behalf. I hope you might consider participating in Mass on Thanksgiving Day for all we have and knowing that all we are is a gift from our loving God.

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I encourage you to begin or to end each day with an expression of thanksgiving and gratitude – for the day, for work, for health, for friends . . .  This simple act can set a healthy and happy tone in the living of our life. By beginning or ending the day with thanks, we change the perspective with which we view a hectic or difficult time and see the day in a different, more positive light.

 

A momentary thanks to God can be so very prayerful and is, truly, a way to keep God close to us and engaged in our lives.

 

Father in Heaven, Creator of all and source of all goodness and love, please look kindly upon us and receive our heartfelt gratitude in this time of giving thanks.

 

Thank you for all the graces and blessings. You have bestowed upon us, spiritual and temporal: our faith and religious heritage. Our food and shelter, our health, the love we have for one another, our family and friends.

 

Dear Father, in Your infinite generosity, please grant us continued graces and blessings throughout the coming year.

 

This we ask in the Name of Jesus, Your Son and our Brother.

                                                                                                 Amen.

 

image002Advent begins Sunday Nov. 27
I share this opening reflection found through Ignatiannspirituality.com.  The meditation begins with preparation, and then words to guide us through a reading or message.  Here is a meditation for the first Sunday of Advent:

 

As we begin this time of quiet prayer, I invite you to find a comfortable place to sit with your back straight and your legs planted on the ground. Allow yourself to notice your breathing as you breathe normally. Breathe in. Breathe out.

 

Take a few moments and close your eyes, preparing yourself to listen to what God may be saying to you during this prayer. As you sit with your eyes closed, use these or similar words: “Here I am, Lord. Here I am.” When you are ready, open your eyes and pray.

 

The Mountain of the Lord’s House
Imagine you are climbing up the mountain of the Lord.  As you start the path is wide with beautiful trees and flowers along the way.  You fill your lungs with the cool, clean air.  As you continue you notice the path is becoming narrow and steep.  There seem to be more rocks sticking up from the ground.  You find yourself a little out of breath as the air becomes thinner the higher you climb.  You decide to rest on a large rock to catch your breath.  You look up the path to see how much more you need to climb.  You see someone in the distance.  He’s looking at you.  It looks like his hand is waving for you to come.  Though you are alone, you are not afraid.  In fact, you feel a pull, a desire to go to this person.

 

You are standing in front of him.  He is dressed in long robes that are moving gently in the mountain air.  He smiles at you and asks, “What are you seeking on this path?”  What do you say to him?  What are you seeking?

 

“I am the prophet Isaiah.  This is the mountain of the Lord.  It is rich with life and dreams.  What dreams do you bring to this place?”  What are the dreams you bring to this mountain?  What are your dreams that you want to share with the Lord?

 

Isaiah looks at you with eyes that know how to dream.  “My dreams beat swords into plowshares.  They are dreams of peace, of life, of hope.”  What are the swords in your heart that need to be changed?  What are the swords that wound you and hold you back from dreaming and from climbing the mountain of the Lord?  Give those swords to Isaiah, the prophet, the dreamer.  Ask him to help you change them into something life-giving.

 

“I will change your swords into plowshares so you can till the soil of your soul and know that God is with you.  Are you ready for this dream to be real?”  You look into the eyes of this dreamer, Isaiah, and you say, Yes.  Yes, I am ready.  Isaiah smiles at you and takes your hand in his.  He looks at you with eyes filled deep with hope and life.  He understands you. “Come,” he says, “let us walk in the light of the Lord!”

 

Concluding Prayer

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning,

is now, and ever shall be,

world without end.

                            Amen.

 

Here at the Pastoral Center, as in our parishes, we have lit the first candle of the Advent wreath, such a powerful Advent symbol of waiting and longing. It marks the passage of time as we look for the Lord’s coming more fully into our lives.

 

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At the 100th anniversary of Immaculate Conception Parish in Ajo three elders in their 90s participated in the celebration: from left to right Manuel, Julia and Luis. Father Peter Nwachukwu was rightly proud.

 

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After Mass, IC had a full day of celebrating its anniversary with talent from the parish. The beautiful Mission design of the church in the background created a striking setting.

100 Years!
It was my pleasure to celebrate Mass and the 100th Anniversary of the parish community of Immaculate Conception Parish in Ajo.  The Mass was lovely, and to my delight, several charter members of the parish were on hand during Mass to be recognized.  Following the Mass, there were activities going on to continue the celebration.  Congratulations to Father Peter Nwachukwu and all parishioners.

 

Recap on U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Meeting;
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) during last week’s fall General Assembly in Baltimore.  Cardinal DiNardo has served as vice president of the USCCB since 2013.  Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles was elected as USCCB vice president.

 

Cardinal DiNardo and Archbishop Gomez are elected to three-year terms and succeed Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, and Cardinal DiNardo, who was previously the USCCB vice president.  The new officers’ terms began at the end of the General Assembly on Nov. 15.

 

Cardinal DiNardo was born May 23, 1949, and ordained a priest of Pittsburgh on June 16, 1977.  He previously served as bishop of Sioux City, Iowa, from 1998-2004 before being appointed to coadjutor bishop, then archbishop, of Galveston-Houston.  Pope Benedict XVI named him a cardinal in 2007, making him the first cardinal from Texas.

 

Archbishop Gomez was born December 26, 1951, in Monterrey, Mexico.  He was ordained a priest on August 15, 1978.  He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Denver in 2001, and in 2004, he was appointed archbishop of San Antonio.  He was appointed coadjutor archbishop of Los Angeles in 2010, and was installed as archbishop of Los Angeles in 2011.

 

In other action, the bishops discussed ways the Church in America might assist Christians in the Middle East.  The efforts to improve assistance and support for Christians in the Middle East cover three main focus areas: advocacy, humanitarian aid, and ecumenical support.

 

In the area of advocacy, the bishops urge the U.S. government to increase U.S. humanitarian aid and development assistance for refugees as well as internally displaced persons and those countries in the region hosting large refugee populations.  The bishops also urge the U.S. Government to promote peace in the region and encourage the building of inclusive governments while working with other nations to stand against ISIS and hold them accountable for their genocidal acts.

 

Regarding humanitarian assistance, efforts include: developing a plan to assist Iraqi and Syrian Christians in the future in rebuilding churches, hospitals, schools, homes and livelihoods; the promotion of a linking (twinning) of parishes and dioceses between the U.S. and Churches in the Middle East; and continued funding efforts for various Catholic charities including Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) and Knights of Columbus (K of C).

 

Efforts in the area of ecumenical and interreligious support include: working ecumenically with interfaith partners to draw attention to the need for basic human rights, full citizenship rights and religious freedom for people in the Middle East; collaborating with human rights and refugee organizations to highlight the crisis and advocate for measures to alleviate suffering; and strengthening ecumenical and interreligious outreach to deepen witness and foster respect and support for Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.

 

Presbyteral Council
Meets this morning at the interim Pastoral Center Offices.  In addition to reports from each of our 11 Vicariates, the following topics will be discussed:  Pastoral responses for parishioners following the recent presidential election; strengthening communications between the Chancery and parishes and how welcoming parishes are during incoming calls (e.g. voicemail, email and website contact); an update on Corporate Matters; and an update on the Annual Catholic Appeal; an update on the progress of Cathedral Square and on the Benedictine Convent in Tucson; information on RETA dividends; the process of Pastor Emeritus returning for wedding and funerals; and the prospect of a Diocesan Anniversary Book for Adults and another for teens or children.

 


image005Congratulations!
To Ernie Nedder, former executive director of the Catholic Foundation, and to Maryann Hockstad, a former member of the Catholic Foundation Board of Directors, who both were named Spirit of Philanthropy award winners at the 29th Annual National Philanthropy Day celebration last week.

 

Ernie has been a steadfast supporter and volunteer for our diocese for many years, and still is hard at work, so to speak, raising funds for our Cathedral Square project.  Many also know him from his work in publishing, and from his time as our Diocese Chancellor.

 

image006Maryann, originally from New York, moved to Tucson and after graduating from the University of Arizona, moved to Sierra Vista in 1970. In 2005 she retired from Fort Huachuca after a 35-year career.

 

She was Treasurer of the Diocese of Tucson Catholic Foundation, is a life-member of the Girl Scouts USA, serves on the Sierra Vista Arts & Humanities Commission and sings with local choral groups. Maryann was elected Treasurer of the St. Andrew’s Parish Board of Directors in December of 2013.

 

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Closing of the Holy Door
It was my pleasure to celebrate Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral yesterday, which included the closing of the Holy Door for the Jubilee Year of Mercy, concluding the Year of Mercy.

 

PRAYER TO HOLY SPIRIT IN PREPARATION FOR APPOINTMENT OF OUR SEVENTH BISHOP

Holy Spirit come down with your wisdom and counsel to guide our Holy Father Francis in his appointment of the seventh bishop to serve the Diocese of Tucson.

May our new bishop be a true shepherd who deeply loves his people and serves them faithfully. May he be someone who shows mercy to those who struggle and kindness to all.

May he be a missionary who gives witness to what it means to be a disciple of Christ. May he have a love for the unborn, for poor, the sick, the migrant, those homeless or in prison.

May he be a collaborative coworker serving alongside our priests, religious, deacons and laity who make up the Body of Christ.

Holy Spirit come down to enrich our diocese with a new pastor who knows what it means to serve, who will inspire all of us to care for one another, to support each other and to send us out to invite others to come to know the Lord.

Holy Spirit come down to give us a bishop who listens, who leads and who lives faith.

We ask this through Christ Our Lord.

 

Please pray for
… the full recovery of Father Clement Agamba, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, who had very serious emergency surgery last week.

 

Upcoming

Saturday, Dec. 3

Annual Farmworkers Mass in Yuma

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Also on  Saturday, Dec. 3

COLORado River Walk for Vocations in Yuma

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A similar walk will be held at Reid Park in Tucson on January, 7.  To register for either walk, go to diocesetucson.org/vocations and click on the banner for the 5k you wish to join.

 

Liturgical season of Advent

Dec. 4 – Second Sunday of Advent

Dec. 11 – Third Sunday of Advent

Dec. 18 – Fourth Sunday of Advent

 

Cathedral Concert Series

Presents vocalists Humberto Borboa and Yunnie Park

Friday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m.

Our Lady’s Chapel

On the Cathedral campus at 192 S. Stone Ave.

Suggested Donation: $15

 

The concert season takes 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.  Tenor soloist Humberto Borboa, and Soprano Yunnie Park perform this month.  For more information or to buy tickets call the Cathedral at 520-623-6351.