Monday Memo, Sept. 5, 2017. Vol. 15, No. 27

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas

 

 

 

Care for those in our country
As you know, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has long worked on behalf of immigrants and their children living in this country.

 

In some cases, those children who arrived as infants or toddlers have never known a country besides the United States.  The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival Program (DACA), implemented by former President Barack Obama, gave these children an option to remain in the United States for at least an extended period of time. While not a permanent solution, it did provide legal protection for these young people going to school and contributing to our society.

 

The Trump administration formally announced the end of DACA today (Sept.5), but gave lawmakers six months to save the protections provided before those with DACA status begin losing their status on March 5, 2018.

 

For months, religious, community and elected officials all have encouraged President Trump to protect these children and young people from deportation.

 

Last Friday (Sept. 1) the bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference – comprised of the dioceses of Tucson, Phoenix and Gallup, New Mexico, joined by the dioceses of Santa Fe and Las Cruces in New Mexico – each signed a letter in support of DACA and encouraged the current administration to not only stand by the agreement, but also to seek permanent solutions to those seeking to remain legally in this country.

 

Imagine living here all your life, going to school, having dreams and working toward a future with a career and family safe in this country.  Then imagine all of that being stripped from you.

 

Such actions are not how our country came to greatness.  All of us alive today were raised in a country that taught compassion to others.  The United States has been the salvation of millions of immigrants and those immigrants’ contributions to our country –whether physical labor, scientific, engineering or medical achievement, or just their effort to be part of our country and their willingness to work hard to better the lives of their families – have made American strong and beautiful with rich cultural heritage.

 

We are a nation that embraces and assists our fellow human beings.  That commitment to humanity is the goal of the bishops’ statement issued Friday. That is the goal of the ongoing calls for comprehensive immigration reform by the USCCB; that is the nature of this country.

 

I encourage all Catholics to join their voices with those of Bishops Thomas Olmsted and Eduardo Nevares of Phoenix; of Bishop James Wall of the Diocese of Gallup; of Archbishop John Wester, our Metropolitan and the leader of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, NM; of Bishop Oscar Cantu, bishop of Las Cruces, NM, and me in advocating for immigration reform beginning with protection of those now covered by DACA.

 

More ways to give
We thank God that the great storm Harvey is working itself out of power.  But the vast devastation and suffering left behind by this force of nature is profound and overwhelming to millions of people. Those living in Texas and Louisiana are in great need of our prayer and our assistance.  Thousands of these people were just recovering from Hurricane Katrina, another devastating storm 12 years ago.

 

I have asked each parish to hold a second collection over the weekend of Sept. 9 and 10 for victims of Harvey. Our diocese will gather these contributions and will send them to Catholic Charities USA for use in the storm-affected areas.

 

If you prefer to give on your own, please visit catholiccharitiesusa.org

 

At this time, I ask that we all continue to pray for those affected in Texas and Louisiana, and that we now add prayers for those struggling against a different force of nature – wildfires.  As you know there are huge fires raging in parts of northern Los Angeles, and the 29 fires burning in Oregon and Washington and Montana.

 

Please pray also for those bracing themselves and their homes and businesses against Hurricane Irma  – which has grown to a Category 5 storm now threatening Florida.  May God protect all.

 

Welcome
Margaret Yonkovich, who joined our Pastoral Center last week as diocesan Controller.  She comes to us with 30 years of experience, including work as Chief Administrative Officer for Core Logic, a Los Angeles-based firm with 4,000 employees. She has been the Finance Director for Santa Catalina Parish for the last year.

 

Catholic Extension
I will be in San Jose, Calif., part of this week to lead a meeting of the Catholic Extension Mission Committee that I chair.  Mission dioceses are at the very center of the work done by Extension, an organization committed to providing financial resources to under-funded dioceses, such as our own, so that ministries and charities can carry out the work needed in those dioceses. In the past, Extension assisted the Diocese of Tucson greatly with providing the needed monies to train our seminarians, and more recently, contributed to the re-creation of our Hispanic Ministry Department.

 

As Vice Chancellor of Extension, it is my joy to see the amazing work done by Extension across our country. While in San Jose, we will visit some of the programs funded by Extension in the Diocese of Monterey in northern California.

 

Diocesan Pastoral Council
Will meet this Saturday morning for the first time since the summer break. This Council, made up of representatives from all of our Vicariates, is immensely helpful to me in reflecting on issues of concern in the Diocese. We will welcome several new members of the Council and reflect on the upcoming Synod on Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment as well as update the Council members on the progress of our Cathedral Square Project.

 

I also welcome the following new members to the Pastoral Council: Marilou Harms and Jennifer Ratkovich, members at-large, and Rosie Simpson, representative for the Santa Cruz Vicariate.

 

Convocation for the Religious
Also on Saturday is the annual Convocation for those in Vowed Religious Life.  This gathering of our Sisters and Brothers will take place at the Benedictine Monastery in Tucson.  Father Greg Adolf, pastor at St. Andrew Parish in Sierra Vista and our own favorite historian, will be the keynote speaker. I will have discussion time with the convocation participants which will be followed by Mass.  I look forward to hearing their questions and also to hearing the comments of our hard-working ministers in the field, who have good insights into education, social services, medical care and working with prisoners.

 

Our Religious are a blessing and gift among us. I am grateful to Sister Jeanne Bartholomew, S.C., for her service as Vicar for Religious and her work on preparing for this convocation.

 

Bishop’s Book and yard sale
After 15 years of being Bishop, I find I have the need to share some of my hundreds of books and items I have gathered over these years through a yard sale. Proceeds from the sale will benefit Cathedral Square.

 

Besides many wonderful books on religion and lots of other topics, there also are many items from foreign countries, religious and non-religious artwork and many handmade items.   There also will be some of my own photographs, many matted, for sale.

 

The sale takes place outside St. Augustine Cathedral, 192 S. Stone Ave., on Sunday, Sept. 10 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 

Please stop by.

 

Listening Session for Young People
Join us for the upcoming Listening Session in preparation for the Synod on Youth, Faith and Vocations on Sunday, Sept. 10  at the University of Arizona St. Thomas More Newman Center.  Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m., followed by the listening session.

Pope Francis determined that the next synod should focus on Youth, the Faith and Vocational Discernment, and as he did with the Synod on Family, he again has asked for a broad gathering of information from dioceses worldwide. Here in the United States, dioceses are holding listening sessions or inviting youths (in this case, active and non-active Catholics between the ages of 15 and 29) to answer various questions pertaining to their view of the Church and how they are or are not involved with the faith.

 

You too may want to answer the Vatican survey. Please visit:

https://survey- Synod2018.glauco.it/lime survey/index.php/147718

 

Please feel free to invite others to take this survey.

 

Movimiento Familiar Cristiano Católico
I will celebrate Mass with members of the Movimiento on Sunday at 3 p.m. at Sacred Heart Parish in Tucson.   I enjoy this annual Mass with its devoted participants.

 

The group is active nationwide and works with families to unite their efforts to promote human and Christian values of the family, educate persons in the faith and to work in support of the Catholic community.

 

My thanks to Ana and Luis Jimenez who serve as the leaders of the Movimiento locally. They are parishioners from St. Ambrose Parish in Tucson.

 

Please pray for
… the soul of Cyrus Fuller, younger brother of Msgr. Bob Fuller, pastor of St. Francis Cabrini Parish in Tucson.  Cyrus passed away last week.

 

Msgr. Fuller and his sister, Nicky, could not attend, and I ask that we pray for Father and his family at this difficult time.