Monday, December 17, 2012
Vol.10, No. 20

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas


Please note: The Bishop Moreno Pastoral Center will be closed from 10:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 21 until Wednesday, Dec. 26 for the Christmas holidays.


Yesterday marked the beginning of the third week of Advent.  We call this Gaudete Sunday, meaning rejoice.  The Latin term comes from the entrance antiphon of this past Sunday’s Mass. Gaudete Sunday is the midpoint of Advent: the Lord is nigh.

We talk about Advent being a time of preparation, and this is true. One aspect of that preparation, one not so commonly discussed though, is that Advent, like Lent later in the liturgical year, also is a time of penance and making amends.

This is why penance services are being held all around our Diocese during this Advent season. The Sacrament of Penance is an opportunity to encounter God’s mercy and forgiveness, a time to change direction in life.

This week as we rejoice in the coming of Christ, remember also to continue your preparation. If you know there is an area in your life that needs to be repaired – a
relationship, an attitude, something that is taking you off course – begin the repairs by receiving the Sacrament of Penance, an encounter with the Divine Healer.


A terrible tragedy

We are shocked and dismayed by the horrible taking of innocent lives last week in Newtown, Connecticut. While law enforcement labors to learn the facts, we all pray for the very young victims and the six adults that perished.  We do not need to know now, what caused this to occur; we need only to keep all those involved and the Newtown community close in our prayers and our hearts.

The powerful, shocking images we have seen over these last few days move us to reach out in love and support to all affected by this tragedy.

I remember when we experienced the shootings in Tucson; how people from all around our nation wrote to express concern and offer words of condolence. Now we can do the same. I was pleased to learn that the children at St. Joseph School are writing such letters of encouragement and support. I am sure others are doing so as well.

Yesterday, some in our community gathered at Roberts-Naylor K-8 School to reflect and pray. Let us continue to remember the families and friends of those who have died.

Our strength comes in knowing that our God stands with us in such tragedies. We long for His healing touch.

Our country will surely begin again a debate about gun control. Yesterday, Most Holy Trinity Parish in Tucson began a difficult but important discussion about what we might do to address the senseless taking of human life that has happened in our country far too often. I hope we might continue this dialog in our parishes and in our community.


A look Eastimage003

It was my delight to visit St. Rosa of Lima on Saturday as the parish celebrated  its 75th Anniversary.

This celebration was held in the church building constructed in 1962, and which  had its first Mass on Easter 1963. Saturday, the beautiful church was almost filled to capacity. I asked the congregation if anyone there had been a member of the parish for the full 75 years. Nobody admitted to it, but Father Ed told me there were a few parishioners who might fill the bill. I was pleased to see both Thatcher Mayor Bob Rivera and Safford Mayor Chris Gibbs take part in the celebration.

One big surprise was a $3,000 gift from the parish’s Catholic Daughters of America presented by Mercy Rivera, regent for the group, to go to our diocesan fund for seminarian education.  My thanks to the Catholic Daughters for their amazing generosity.  Such a wonderful Christmas gift!

Just as Mass was ending, I asked those present to pray with me for those stricken by the tragic shooting in Connecticut.  Coincidentally, the St. Rose of Lima parish in that community had become a place of solace and comfort for the victims, their families and the whole area. How important our faith is in such moments.

After Mass, we gathered in the parish hall, which right now is home to an annual Safford tradition called the Festival of Trees, and so the hall had many Christmas trees decorated by local community groups such as the Knights of Columbus and the Rotary Club. image005 One beautiful little tree had been decorated by the Messengers of Mary group, which belongs to St. Rose of Lima.

One talented and devoted member showed me two very beautiful, hand embroidered  and hand beaded tree skirts with images of our Blessed Mother that  she had made. They were amazing, and each artistic flourish had a meaning or symbolized something about our Mother.

Truly, Father Ed and Father George are blessed to have such a loving and dedicated parish image007family. A group of women set up the potluck, then worked hard at  making sure everyone had enough to eat. The parish youth group sang Christmas carols for us and everyone I talked to was wonderful.

My thanks to Father Ed and Father George, Deacon Carl Vessels, and everyone at the parish who made it such a welcoming event.



At left, the newly welcomed members of the Holy Nativity Church with Father Andrews and Msgr. Steenson, Ordinary of the Anglican Ordinariate, standing in the back row.

At left, the newly welcomed members of the Holy Nativity Church with Father Andrews and Msgr. Steenson, Ordinary of the Anglican Ordinariate, standing in the back row.

Yesterday I was pleased to ordain into the Roman Catholic priesthood, Father Lowell Andrews. As part of the celebration Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary of the Anglican Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, received the congregation of the Church of the Holy Nativity into full communion in the Catholic Church.

He spoke to each person expressing the joy of the Church in welcoming them. After that it was my privilege to confirm many of them.

I was pleased that Father Bill Gyure, pastor of  St. Philip the Apostle Parish in Payson,  his two deacons, Ed Burgin and  Tom Fox, along with many of his parishioners attended the Mass of ordination and helped with the ceremony.

Msgr. Steenson expressed gratitude for the wonderful gesture of the Holy Father extending his hand to welcome Anglican/Episcopal communities into the Catholic Church. He called for unity and a working together as Catholics in the Payson area to realize the new evangelization. He reminded us that joy is characteristic of a follower of Christ and that joy is contagious.

I am sure Father Lowell and his wife, Marilyn, and their community were thrilled by the joy present in the congregation.

There are several Anglican priests seeking ordination in our Diocese and one other congregation that is considering the possibility of entering the Catholic Church.

I am grateful to Father Miguel Mariano, Director of Liturgy, Sister Lois Paha, O.P., Director of Pastoral Services,  and Steff Koeneman, Director of Communications, for accompanying me to Payson for this celebration. Their help was much appreciated.

Holy Nativity Church, Payson.

Holy Nativity Church, Payson.

Presbyteral Council

Our Presbyteral Council meets today at the Bishop Moreno Pastoral Center. The agenda includes our usual Vicariate Reports, along with some key items, such as discussion on parish goals for the Annual Catholic Appeal; a review of the Center for Applied Research’s data as background for our effort to implement the Year of Faith in our Diocese and the new evangelization; clarification on boundaries for the parishes of St. George and St. Michael; and discussion of the Decree of Erection for Our Lady Star of the Sea parish, a Korean Catholic community. We will also hear from Sr. Gladys Echenique, O.P., on her work to enhance the formation opportunities for our Hispanic communities.


Annual Catholic Appeal

Leadership Training meetings to prepare our pastors and their ACA volunteers for the upcoming Appeal campaign will continue after the Christmas and New Year holidays.  The next trainings scheduled include:

Jan. 8 at Our Lady of the Mountains Parish in Sierra Vista for the Cochise Vicariate.

Jan. 10 at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish in Miami for the Gila-Pinal East Vicariate.

Jan. 14 at Yuma Catholic High School for the Yuma-La Paz Vicariate.

Jan. 17 at St. Rose of Lima Parish in Safford for the Graham-Greenlee Vicariate.

There also will be a meeting of the Catholic Foundation Board of Directors on Tuesday, Dec. 18.


Villa Maria

Tomorrow I will celebrate Mass for residents at Villa Maria Care Center in midtown Tucson.  I enjoy visiting with our senior citizens living at the Villa.  They are sometimes fragile, but many attending Mass still are independent in spirit – their rooms are just like tiny homes – and it warms the heart to talk with them.

My thanks to Sister Dorothy Ann Lesher, C.S.J., who arranges this Mass, and to the staff at Villa Maria who assist the residents with getting comfortably settled in the Chapel.


Advent dinner

Tomorrow evening, I will gather with the members of the Catholic Cemeteries, Inc., Board of Directors for an annual dinner at my residence.  I am so grateful to Jim DeCastro, Executive Director of the cemeteries and this Board who guide our Catholic Cemeteries – Holy Hope and All Faiths —  in their important work for people during times of sorrow. Members of the board include: Jim, John Fay, Board Chair, David Woodruff, Art Pesqueira,  Gina Brandt, Ralph Hunnicutt, Doug Rogers, Michael Slania, Tom Smith and Father James Hobert.


Pastoral Center Directors Meeting

Will take place Thursday at the Pastoral Center beginning at 8 a.m., followed by an all staff meeting.  These meetings give the Pastoral Center Departments an opportunity to hear about our progress on shared Diocesan goals, as well as to inform department leaders about upcoming activities and plans.


Call to priesthood

John Paul

John Paul

On Thursday during the noon Mass the St. Joseph Chapel of our Pastoral Center, I will call John Paul Shea, one of our seminarians, to ordination as a transitional deacon. He will be ordained to the diaconate on Saturday, Dec. 22 at 10 a.m. at the  Cathedral. I hope you can join us for that Liturgy which is always very special.

In the past, the transitional deacon period was considerably longer, but these days, it is often relatively short time.  In fact, Deacon Shea will be ordained a priest in June.

John Paul has been attending Mundelein Seminary in Mundelien, Illinois,  for the last four years in response to and preparation to this call to Holy Orders.


Mass for those on Death Row

These Masses always are so humbling.  This year, it is also ironic: earlier in the day I will call one man to a life full of the promise of helping others, then conversely will celebrate with men who know lives of pain and who have caused pain to others.

On Thursday afternoon I will celebrate Mass at the Browning Unit of the Florence State Prison.  At this Mass, I always find strength in the hope that these children of God, imprisoned for their actions, now do know and trust in our Lord.

So often, they show remarkable faith as their difficult journey continues.  I pray that someday soon our State will put an end to sentencing people to death, and that our State, too, will resolve not to commit this senseless means of punishment, when life sentences prevent more crimes by keeping these individuals out of society, and also prevent society from having to use the death penalty.

Other prison outreach

On Sunday, Dec. 23, I will say separate Christmas Masses for men and women inmates at the Pima County Jail.


Advent celebrations:

Friday afternoon, I will host the employees of the Pastoral Center to Mass and  lunch at my residence. These coworkers are my frontline: they answer phones, arrange and lead trainings for everything from personnel policies to pastoral services, to compliance to finance . They do so much every day. I count on them to assist parishes and pastors and people in the pews, and they are always there when I need them.


Dinner for Seminarians

On Dec. 22 I will host our seminarians and their family members to dinner at my residence. This dinner is time for me to better know the parents and other significant family members of our future priests.  I love meeting and talking with the people who so influenced and who continue to support our seminarians as they study and prepare for priesthood. The love and respect between these family members is evident, and sometimes, I even get to hear a little about our seminarians’ lives before their decision to enter seminary.  Each story is a precious part of the formation of these talented and devoted young men.  Before the end of the evening, I always try to thank the families, both for their support of these men, and for their role in inspiring them in their lives.


Christmas Eve

“Today you shall know that the Lord shall come and tomorrow you shall see His glory” (Invitatory of Matins for the Vigil of the Nativity).

I skd187639sdcwill be celebrating Mass on Christmas Eve at St. Augustine Cathedral at 4 p.m. and again at 7:30 p.m.

As Advent concludes, I pray that we all have very joyous Christmas celebrations with our loved ones.


Travel to the Holy Land
I will travel on behalf of Catholic Relief Services to the Middle East; this year to Turkey to visit with Syrian refugees that have had to flee their worn torn homes and to the Holy Land to participate in the annual meeting of the Coordination of Episcopal Conferences In Solidarity with the Church in the Holy Land.

I will return to the U.S. on Jan. 12.



Save the Date: Jan. 26 for a one-day conference on Rediscovering Vatican II. The main presenter is Dr. Massimo Faggioli, renowned author and Vatican II scholar and Assistant Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.

This is a Diocesan Year of Faith event.  In addition to the presentations by Mr. Faggioli, there are seven seminars open to attendance.  Please visit for information and to register.  You will also find registration forms in the January edition of our diocesan newspaper.

There is a $10 registration fee.  The conference will be held at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish, 1800 S. Kolb Road, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cursillo: There are several Cursillo weekends planned for 2013. For more information, please visit or email  My thanks to Lucy Wing, Lay Director for the English Secretariat, and to Juan Lomeli, Lay Director for the Spanish Secretariat, for their work in organizing these weekends.

Here is list of upcoming Cursillos:

March 14-17: English Cursillo for men, at La Purisima Retreat Center in Sierra Vista.

April 18-21: English Cursillo for women, at La Purisima Retreat Center in Sierra Vista

In Yuma at St. John Neumann Parish

June 6-9: English Cursillo for men.

June 13-16: English Cursillo for women.

June 20-23: Spanish Cursillo for men.

June 27-30: Spanish Cursillo for women

If you have not made a Cursillo, I encourage you to do so. it is a powerful


Knights of Columbus exemplification
I will be celebrating Mass for the new members of the Knights of Columbus entering the Fourth Degree on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 4 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Palo Verde.

I am very grateful to our Knights whose presence at diocesan and parish celebrations always add dignity and solemnity to the occasion.


Cathedral Vestibule Blessing:
On Sunday, Jan.13,  it will be my joy to bless the newly renovated Cathedral vestibule and some additional art work in the body of the Cathedral. The vestibule is being dedicated in memory of Msgr. Ed Ryle, a priest of the Diocese of Tucson who served for many years as the Director of the Arizona Catholic Conference fighting for the rights and dignity of those on the margins.

A special wood sculpture depicting his life will be installed inside the Cathedral vestibule over the main doors. The sculpture includes an image of Fred Allison, acknowledging his 28 years as Director of Communications for our Diocese.

I look forward to welcoming Joseph Anderson and members of the Msgr. Ryle Foundation , as well as John Alan, the designer and artist of the renovation of the Cathedral and vestibule.

The theme of the vestibule art is “In Communion “With The Angels and Saints” and the area contains images of saints from throughout history. John also is restoring many of the original statues in the vestibule.

This project also includes the installation of  “Treasures of the Heart” donor plaques. Generous donors have made it possible to beautify our Cathedral. Additional names will be added to the plaques as needed.

My thanks to John Shaheen, Director of our Property and Insurance Department, and  to Margie Puerta Edson of the Catholic Foundation, for their tireless work in this process of renovation and dedication.
Please join us.

Many in the Diocese have chosen to memorialize a loved one by sponsoring one of the murals or the new doors or new lighting or pews or ceiling tiles in the Cathedral. If you are interested please contact Margie Puerta Edson at the pastoral center 520-838-2509 or email


Please pray for

The soul of Rizaldy Yap, Sr., who died suddenly last week. He is the brother-in-law of Father Jose Corvera.

The soul of George Melton “Skip” Hutcherson, Jr., who died yesterday after a stroke. He was husband to Nancy, and the older brother of Father Bart Hutcherson, O.P.

For Father Alex Tigga’s brother-in-law, who died in India.

Let us also remember Father Patrick Kennedy’s father who is seriously ill.

Monday Memo will take break for the holidays, and will return on Jan. 14.


Finally Christmas greetings to all. May this season bring you much joy and the Lord’s choicest blessings in the NewYear.