Monday Memo, Feb. 4, 2013
Vol. 11, No. 3

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas


Saturday, 100 pastors, members of our parish Boards of Directors, Diocesan Pastoral Council members and pastoral staff directors attended our seventh annual Board of Directors Convocation at San Augustine Catholic High School.


Jim Lundholm-Eades

Jim Lundholm-Eades

The theme for this year’s gathering was “Together in Christ: Doing God’s Work”.


The convocation included a presentation on strategies for collaboration by Jim Lundholm-Eades who joined us from the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management, an organization dedicated to providing coaching and teaching best practices for administrative tasks of a Diocese.  He started out our convocation with a fine presentation on practical ways that parishes can collaborate within and among one another.


Lundhold-Eades explained in great detail how collaboration always has been part of our Church teachings through its understanding of Church as communio, in which each member has a part to play in carrying out the Church’s mission. He reminded pastors of their responsibility to keep their parishes in communion with the bishop and the diocese. He explained how parish Boards of Directors can best fulfill their roles as parish leaders by acting in collaboration He encouraged Boards to stay focused on big, vision direction areas to enhance the parish rather than debating nitty-gritty issues of little importance. He invited directors and pastors to have coffee or lunch with others to share ideas and best practices. He encouraged parishes who have similar challenges to come together to seek ways to address those challenges. We learn from one another.


We will be emailing the presentation to parishes, so that others might also view the contents and gain a broader view of collaboration at the parish ministry level.


We also heard briefly from Steff Koeneman, our director of communications, and Victor Calderon, editor of our diocesan newspaper, The New Vision.  They had prepared a set of questions about the newspaper that they asked the conference participants to review and to answer in groups. The goal of the questions was to seek comments and suggestions to enhance our newspaper and make it an even better tool of communication. We also discussed how to improve and make more visible the Spanish language section of the paper.  There were many thoughtful ideas that came from this brief session, and I know Steff and Victor are eager to follow-up on what they learned.


Later in the morning, we all attended one of three breakout sessions:


“Laity, Parish Financial Council and Pastoral Council: Their roles and how they relate to the Board of Directors”, this session was presented by Father John Lyons, pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish and Judicial Vicar.


“The Do’s and don’t’s and potential pitfalls of accepting donations of land and/or buildings” and information on construction. Members of our Building Committee panel and John Shaheen, Director of our Property and Insurance Department, handled this workshop.


Safe Environment and compliance plans. This workshop was  presented by recently appointed Director, Dr. Rosemary Celaya-Alston along with her predecessor, Deacon Paul Duckro.  This was the first such presentation we’ve had from Rosemary, and she did a great job. She will bring many gifts to her new responsibilities in service of the Diocese.


As you may know, we have held these convocations ever since we separately incorporated our parishes during our Chapter 11 reorganization in 2005.


I am grateful to our Chancellor, Kathy Rhinehart, her staff, and to our Director of Corporate Matters, Veronica Valencia, for their hard work in preparing this important event.


Seton Awards
The annual Seton Award Ceremony was held at Salpointe Catholic High School
on Jan. 28. This year’s recipients were two outstanding educators in our diocese:
Sr. Georgia Greene, R.S.M. and Sr. Mary Evelyn Soto, I.H.M.


The Seton Awards were established in 1992. The awards are presented to an individual “who has made significant contributions to Catholic education in the Diocese of Tucson and the award “recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of individuals who give of themselves for the benefit of youth attending Catholic schools”.


I cannot think of two individuals who more aptly embody the traits for this award, which are “deep faith, courage, initiative, zeal, demonstrate leadership qualities, and be nondiscriminatory. The recipient must be a role model, generous, thoughtful and appreciate the value of good health while believing that love is a powerful instrument for good.”


Read the biographies of Sister Georgia and Sister Evelyn from the award program and you’ll see what I mean:
image005Sister Georgia
Sister. Georgia Greene, a Sister of Mercy from the Mid-Atlantic Community, entered religious life in 1963. She received a dual bachelor’s degree. from Gwynedd Mercy College in English and Elementary Education,  and a Masters in Educational Administration from Fordham University. Sister Georgia has devoted over 45 years of ministry to elementary education as a teacher and principal. A three-year hiatus from education was spent being a voice for the homeless for S.O.M.E. (So Others Might Eat), a comprehensive homeless program in Washington, D.C.


After experiencing the endless cycle of poverty through her experience with the homeless in D.C., Sister Georgia decided that education was a key element in overcoming poverty. In returning to education, Sr. Georgia asked God to find a place “that was poor, had few resources, and where no one else wanted to go.” St. Charles Mission School, K through sixth grade, on the San Carlos Apache Reservation filled all three requests. The school is  “a real oasis in the desert” as teachers and administrators provide quality, Catholic education to families that, in many cases, lack basic necessities.


Since her arrival at St. Charles Mission School in 1995, Sister Georgia worked through three school accreditations, helped Native teachers to earn their degrees, and implemented technology, physical education, counseling and music programs to provide a full educational curriculum. Writing grants and seeking donors is just one of the many hats Sister. Georgia wears in order to keep St. Charles Mission School open. More importantly, she has a firm commitment to the precepts and teachings of Christ, guiding her in the school’s evangelizing and care for God’s disadvantaged and forgotten little ones.


image007Sister Mary Evelyn

Sister Mary Evelyn Soto, a native Tucsonan, graduated from Immaculate Heart Academy (then located downtown) and entered the congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.


As a religious Sister, she traveled to many of the mining towns near San Manuel, Bisbee, Clifton and Morenci on the weekends to teach catechism to the children. Sister Evelyn served as principal of Cathedral School downtown, St. Augustine and All Saints School.


She witnessed a need for Catholic education in the northwest area of greater Tucson and began Immaculate Heart Academy in 1986 with four students, acting as teacher and administrator. Each year thereafter the school grew until there were two classes for each grade, kindergarten through eighth. Recently, Sister Evelyn added a preschool for three- and four-year-olds.


She understands the importance of faith first, then academics and physical development. In 2009, she led a pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Madrid, despite her “advancing years.” She organized the entire twelve-day trip and oversaw all the activities. Her love for children is evident in her efforts to visit the preschool every day. Because of the foundation and inspiration they received from Sister Evelyn, many alumni come back to visit her. Her vision for students has always been “to be the best you can be and never settle for mediocrity,” according to Dan Ethridge, principal at Immaculate Heart High School.


I should mention that Sister Georgia, along with her colleague, Sister Ann Quigley, R.S.M. ,will be leaving St. Charles School at the end of this school year. We will surely feel their absence, and I know their students in San Carlos, who have become very close to their Sisters, will miss them terribly.


Sister Mary Evelyn – who once taught at the venerable Marist College – continues her fine work with young people as President of IHM School in Tucson.


Imagine the enduring legacy these two, along with all of our past Seton Award  recipients, have given us – hundreds, no, thousands of students well-taught in academics and in faith and love!


My thanks to Kay Sullivan, president of the Salpointe Catholic High School, to the Very Rev. William J. Harry, O. Carm., Western Carmelite Commissary Provincial, Salpointe Principal Helen Timothy, I.B.V.M., Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, C.F.M.M., our Catholic schools superintendent, and to Dan Ethridge for their work with this important award event.



This evening it will by my joy to install Father James Aboyi, V.C., as pastor at St. Francis Assisi Parish in Superior.


Father James has been shepherding the parish since July 2011. The parish is about 98 miles from Tucson, or about 65 miles west of Phoenix, on the southern end of the Tonto National Forest. The town, established in 1882, still very much has the look and feel of an old time mining town nestled in the Apache Leap and the Pickett Post mountains. In its heyday the town played host to Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday. There are about 3,000 people living in the community, many still working in the mining industry that coaxes copper, silver and gold from what is now known as Resolution mine, formerly called the Magma Mine.


Besides the mine, Superior also has been the “western” location for movies, including How the West was Won, The Prophecy, and The Fugitive.


The parish has about 300 families. Father James said the parish is moving along with many projects right now, from the Annual Catholic Appeal, to a 24-week Bible study program organized by winter parishioners Michael and Judy Walsh. The parish’s Legion of Mary organization is celebrating its one year anniversary this month. Father Aboyi said group members have been doing door-to-door visits and also visiting the sick.


“Most of our projects are for pastoral life in the parish and for the spiritual life of people,” he said, adding that St. Francis has a strong Catholic Youth Movement group with  about 45 active members, and  St. Francis’ religious education program is in high gear.


“It  is really wonderful right now; the enrollment is very encouraging,” Father James said, adding that there are two teachers for each grade, as well as assistants for each class, and the parish is blessed with many volunteers.


“My main focus is to create a collaborative ministry where we get so many people involved and share the work,” he said.


Meals with Bishop
This week I will be hosting several more groups at separate breakfast gatherings at my residence. The breakfasts are a wonderful time to meet with many of the people working hard for our Diocese. While short in duration, Margie Puerta Edson, Director of the Catholic Foundation and Nancy Kirk, Director of Planned Giving and I find that we gain a great deal of knowledge both about the groups people are working with, and about our guests’ insights into our Diocese.


I’ll be meeting with Southwest Medical Aid, founded by Jan Izlar, a Salvatorian Lay Member, on Tuesday for a working meeting in which their many volunteers are honored. I will share dinner with those supporting our Jordan Ministries Team on Wednesday. Jordan Ministry does so much in providing formation for our diocesan catechists, teachers, and parishes to deepen their understanding of the faith. Sr. Jane Eschweiler, S.D.S. director, and her staff are a true blessing and gift to our Diocese.


image010Recently ordained mentoring
Tomorrow and Wednesday, our newer priests will be attending our mentoring program for the recently ordained at the Redemptorist Renewal Center.  This program was established to “coach” and encourage clergy who have been ordained for five years or less time.  Attendance is required for our diocesan priests, and the program this week includes opportunities for prayer and reflection, plus sessions on the following: Hispanic Ministry and Parish Needs, led by Sister Gladys  Echenique; Canon Law in Parish Ministry presented by Father Manuel Viera; Insurance other Human Resources information presented by Richard Serrano and Alicia Corti;  Stewardship information on the Annual Catholic Appeal and the Catholic Tuition Support Organization, presented by Margie Puerta-Edson, executive director of the Catholic Foundation,  and Gracie Quiroz, executive director of the CTSO.


We will conclude the mentoring program with Mass in the Chapel of the Redemptorist Renewal Center. I will celebrate the Mass and Father Ramonito Celestial, himself ordained just two years ago, will be our homilist.


I am very grateful to Father Ricky Ordonez, our director of Vocations, and his staff members Marty Hammond and Mercy Ortiz, for putting these mentoring sessions together.  This gathering provides good instruction to our newer priests, and also provides them an opportunity to share time with one another.


It’s hard to believe, but it is already time to begin confirming young people and adults at our parishes diocese wide.  The first confirmation is this Friday and will include students from Salpointe Catholic High School, and candidates from Sts. Peter and Paul Parish and Sacred Heart parishes at St. Peter and Paul Church.



image012Principals Meeting
Principals and Pastors from our 26 Catholic schools will be coming together on Friday for a very important meeting covering a variety of topics, particularly discussions on school safety standards with David Miller, our diocesan real estate and risk management specialist. Other topics include Instruments for Successful Catholic Schools, presented by Father  Joseph V. Corpora, C.S.C. from  Notre Dame University; information on Empower Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) from Gracie Quiroz, executive director of the CTSO; and updates on various school programs and school marketing.


I am grateful to our Catholic Schools Superintendent, Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, C.F.M.M.; Assistant Superintendent Sheri Dahl; Lupita Garay, the executive assistant; and of course to our pastors and principals for their ongoing hard work to provide the best academic and faith education possible to our students.


Women’s Retreat
On Saturday I will be concelebrating Mass and speaking to the participants at a Women’s Retreat at Tapestry of Hope in Globe, with Very Rev. Joseph Rodrigues, S.D.S., provincial of the USA Salvatorian Province, and Father Arnold Aurillo, associate pastor at Holy Angels Parish.


Tapestry of Hope  is a unique ministry for women, “creating a time and place to build a community of disciples as they encounter the Word of God and its transformative message of hope in the world.”


The organization also will be offering a Lenten Retreat for Women, “Alive in the Spirit”. For more information, visit


Asian New Year

On Sunday, Feb. 10 I will celebrate the 10:00 a.m. Mass at Our Lady of LaVang Parish to commemorate Asian New Year.  It is always a fabulous event as we pray and celebrate together. After Mass each person present is given a red packet containing money. This “lucky money” given out on New Year’s asks that this person receive many blessings in the year ahead.


image014After Mass the parish hosts a fabulous lunch along with entertainment. Each year the dragon appears seeking to steal the lucky money that was given out to everyone at Mass. There are fireworks galore exploding into the New Year.


Our Korean community also will be hosting a Mass and celebration of the new year at Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in Tucson.


I am grateful to Father Dominic Phuc Trong Pham, C.Ss.R. of Our Lady of La Vang and Father Ambrosius Changwoo Yoo  for their pastoral leadership among our Asian communities.


We congratulate our Vietnamese, Korean, and Chinese communities in the Diocese as they celebrate their New Year. This is the Year of the Snake. May it be a year filled with many blessings for all!


 Jubilees for our Religious

Our Golden Jubilarians are: Sister Marilyn Winkel, C.S.A.; Sister Ramona Varela, O.S.B.; Sister Therese Zamacona, O.C.D.: and Sister Georgia Greene, R.S.M.   Our Diamond Jubilarians are: Sister Rose Kordick, O.S.M.; Sr. Mary Senglaub, O.S.F.;   Sister Consuelo Pacheco, S.C.; and Sister Dawn Vercillino, O.S.B.

Our Golden Jubilarians are: Sister Marilyn Winkel, C.S.A.; Sister Ramona Varela, O.S.B.; Sister Therese Zamacona, O.C.D.: and Sister Georgia Greene, R.S.M.
Our Diamond Jubilarians are: Sister Rose Kordick, O.S.M.; Sr. Mary Senglaub, O.S.F.; Sister Consuelo Pacheco, S.C.; and Sister Dawn Vercillino, O.S.B.

Please pray for:
The soul of  Martha Ann Ramirez, wife of Deacon Frank Ramirez of St Ambrose Parish in Tucson. A rosary will be said at St Ambrose Parish on Feb. 5 with visitation starting for family and the deacon community at 5 p.m. and the rosary beginning at 6 p.m. The Mass of Resurrection will be held Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., also at St Ambrose Parish.

For Bishop James Wall of the Diocese of Gallup, NM, who is fighting thyroid cancer.  Bishop Wall is a member of the Arizona Catholic Conference.