Monday Memo, March 4, 2013
Vol. 11, No. 8

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas


Lent logorevisedFourth Sunday of Lent
The Fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday (Be Joyful) is also known as Rose Sunday or  Refreshment Sunday. We are just past the midpoint of Lent and are beginning to  see the approach of Holy Week and the early dawn of Easter. The Scriptures of Laetare Sunday, realizing that we are well along in Lent, call us to make the most of the remaining time to return to  the Father’s house. In the first reading, we are asked to rejoice in the Lord. He alone will satisfy our hunger and quench our thirst. Then in Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, we are told that our reconciliation to God through Christ allows us to become new “creations” or, as Paul wrote, ambassadors for Christ.


This week’s Gospel is the parable of the prodigal son. Again, the message is one of transformation as the father in the parable explains his joy  “ . . .   we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.”


I think it is easy to relate to Jesus’ parable.  Most of us can look back on our lives and remember times when we made poor decisions and ended up doing things that not only were bad for ourselves, but that also might have caused pain to others,  such as our loved ones.  Hopefully, those we hurt did exactly as the father of the prodigal son: their love of us allowed them to forgive what we had done to embrace us and to rejoice in our conversion, in our decision to return home to make amends.


So it is with God always.  We are called to remember the promises and sacrifice of Christ and to remember that the Lord our God is ready for us to rejoin Him and through our example, lead others to Him.


This Lent, I encourage all of us to remember times when we were embraced by others despite our mistakes. Take inspiration from the healing you felt by their love and the love of God. Then look for ways to return the favor. Try to help those who have lost their way and be ready to embrace them and to support them as they look for forgiveness and a chance to change themselves.


The joy we celebrate on Laetare Sunday is grounded in the ever loving mercy of our God who always welcomes us home.

Pastors and priests working within the Yuma/La Paz Vicariate met with Bishop Kicanas during his visit to the area.  Front row from left to right: Fathers Gustavo Benitez-Camacho, Xavier Perez, V.F., Adolfo Martinez Escobar, Ramonito Celestial, Richard Kusugh, V.C., and Chris Ordnorff. Back row from left to right: Fathers Tomas Munoz,-Gallardo, Manuel Fragoso- Carranza, John Friel, Bishop Kicanas, Oscar Magallanes, Bartolome Vasquez and Msgr. Richard O’Keefe, E.V.

Pastors and priests working within the Yuma/La Paz Vicariate met with Bishop Kicanas during his visit to the area.
Front row from left to right: Fathers Gustavo Benitez-Camacho, Xavier Perez, V.F., Adolfo Martinez Escobar, Ramonito Celestial, Richard Kusugh, V.C., and Chris Ordnorff.
Back row from left to right: Fathers Tomas Munoz,-Gallardo, Manuel Fragoso- Carranza, John Friel, Bishop Kicanas, Oscar Magallanes, Bartolome Vasquez and Msgr. Richard O’Keefe, E.V.

While  in Yuma
It is always a delight to visit our parishes and schools in the Yuma/La Paz Vicariate and to learn how well they are keeping and living the faith. On this trip, I had the chance to visit with most of our priests and deacons, and to visit all of our parish schools in the region, to celebrate Masses and to welcome the Elect, those seeking to join fully the Catholic faith on our third Rite of Election.


I also celebrated Mass with members of our military serving in Yuma at the Marine Corps Air Station.  It was a pleasure to meet with them and to thank them for their work in protecting our country and our liberties. It is inspiring to see how deeply dedicated our military personnel are – many are devoted to the point of being willing to risk their lives and their own comfort to protect our liberty.  And the commitment is not just from those in the service; their spouses and children also participate by giving of their own time with their loved ones as the enlisted and career military serve our country.


I am grateful to Father Richard Kusugh, V.C., who serves as a contract chaplain there and to Deacon Nieves Hernandez who serves at the Air Station providing a Catholic presence there. Msgr. Richard O’Keeffe has served as chaplain at the Yuma Proving Grounds for many years. It is good to see that he is recovering from an injury he incurred at a Yuma Catholic High School football game.


I performed five Confirmation liturgies while in Yuma confirming almost four hundred young people and adults.  Again, the spirit and faith of our young people ready to embark on their own adult faith journeys is so abundant.  They seemed to be well-prepared not only for the sacrament they received, but that they also possess the deep faith and resolve to live well and to be good servants of God.


My deepest thanks to all those involved in the formation of our young people, and to their parents for giving them the love and guidance needed to prepare them for Confirmation and for life.


Left, Deacon Antonio Gomez along with Father Adolfo Martinez Escobar and Father Xavier Perez at the blessing of the recently completed Shrine at Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission in Yuma. Above, Bishop Kicanas incenses the shrine and later blesses a member of the community.

Left, Deacon Antonio Gomez along with Father Adolfo Martinez Escobar and Father Xavier Perez at the blessing of the recently completed Shrine at Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission in Yuma. Above, Bishop Kicanas incenses the shrine and later blesses a member of the community.

Yesterday, I was happy to help with the dedication and blessing of the Virgin de Guadalupe Shrine at the Capilla bearing the same name.  I am sure our Blessed Mother is well-pleased by the shrine, but even more so with the love and spirit of collaboration that led to the completion of this beautiful shrine.  Many members of the Capilla community and of other parishes in the Yuma area have been working together on this project, and their devotion is very visible in the beauty they have created. Father Adolfo Martinez and all the community must be very happy and proud. So many came to join in the celebration. They prayed and sang fervently.


Later in the day, I made another presentation on two key documents that emerged from Vatican II. The documents, of course, are Gaudium et Spes and Lumen Gentium.  This presentation, which I have offered twice now, is part of our Diocese’s Year of Faith. I was grateful to the 150 people who attended this session.


I encourage everyone to attend one of the remaining two presentations, and to seek out some of the other Year of Faith events taking place in the upcoming months.  The next two presentations on the documents are: April 14: St. Cyril of Alexandria, 4725 E. Pima St. In Tucson; and Sept.8: St. Andrew the Apostle, 800 N. Taylor Drive in Sierra Vista.  Both presentations take place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.


On the same day as my presentation, Msgr. Carlos Romero, a priest of the Diocese of Margarita in Venezuela who is well known in our Diocese as a master teacher, offered a Year of Faith presentation in Spanish at Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma. His presence is always a welcome treat. There were about 150 who attended that session as well.


For more information on other Year of Faith presentations, please visit:


Special thanks to Father Xavier Perez, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish and Vicar for Yuma/ La Paz Vicariate, for organizing my week-long visit that provided me with so many wonderful opportunities to see the vibrancy of the faith in this region of our Diocese.


Priest Formation
This  morning, many of our priests will be participating in a day of Ongoing Formation with Father Ken Boyack, C.S.P., at the Redemptorist  Renewal Center.  Priests are required to attend at least one of two ongoing formation opportunities each year.


Father Boyack will present an overview of the elements of the New Evangelization and highlight ways in which we can incorporate these teachings into the works of teaching and preaching for our local church. He is Vice President of Paulist Evangelization Ministries and both knowledgeable and skilled in bringing to life the new evangelization.


Father Boyack will also be making a presentation tomorrow night at the Renewal Center beginning at 7 p.m. for anyone from the diocese. These opportunities for growing in our faith during this Year of Faith and this season of Lent are blessed opportunities. I hope you will plan to attend.


Father Boyack will repeat his public presentation in Yuma on Tuesday. Don’t miss it.


Tomorrow I will meet with students from Georgetown University who are participating in an immersion experience at the border. Father Kevin O’Brien has brought several groups of young people from the University to visit with us. It is always very inspiring to see the openness of these college students to learn first-hand what life along the border is like for people. They always have many questions and they seem to feel that the opportunity opens their eyes to the complexity of issues faced by migrants and our communities on the border.


Catholic Foundation
Tomorrow the Catholic Foundation Board will hold its regular meeting.  Topics of discussion will include the Annual Catholic Appeal and the upcoming Foundation Gala on April 12.  This year, the Foundation will recognize former diocesan Chancellor Ernie Nedder.  I will elaborate more on Ernie in future Monday Memos, but here in our Diocese, Ernie is known for his dedication to supporting the Foundation, the Catholic Tuition Support Organization (CTSO) and the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.  I also know him as a tireless worker and a friend, who truly is dedicated to our Diocese.


Catholic Extension Society also will be honored at the Cornerstone Gala. Extension helps mission, or underfunded dioceses – such as Tucson – provide needed pastoral programs. We have received millions of dollars in grants from Catholic Extension over the years and I am glad we can recognize Father Jack Wall, Director, and Catholic Extension for the countless ways they assist our Diocese and the work of the Church in rural and mission areas of our Country.


I also will be hosting Breakfasts with the Bishop for the Foundation at my residence on March 6 and again on March 7.


Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre
 I will gather with the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre on Tuesday, March 5 for Mass at 5 p.m. followed by dinner at the Skyline Country Club. This annual event gives the Knights and Ladies an opportunity to learn about the importance of their work for Christians in the Holy Land and to hear the progress being made in assisting the Latin Patriarch, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, in his work throughout the Holy Land. The Knights pray regularly for peace and provide resources to help seminarians studying to serve as priests in the Middle East as well as assisting children in two schools in Jordan.


As part of the evening I will be sharing  my experiences from recent visits to Iraq, Turkey, and the Holy Land.


I will be directing a pilgrimage to the Holy Land for members of the Knights and Ladies. The trip is open to anyone and  takes place Oct. 15 to Oct. 24, 2013.  There is an optional additional few days to visit Petra in Jordan. For more information about the trip and costs, please contact: Ernie Nedder, at


I am grateful to Ernie and Kathy Nedder for their marvelous leadership of the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre who contribute so much to our Diocese and to the larger church.


Catholic Community Services
Later Wednesday, I will celebrate my annual Lenten Mass for employees at Catholic Community Services.  CCS provides so many vital health and human services throughout our community, and I hope these Masses provide these hard workers with support and the inspiration to continue their fine work.


Congratulations Father John Lyons!
It will be my joy to join in a Mass on Wednesday evening with Father John Lyons as he celebrates his 25th Anniversary of Ordination to the priesthood. The Mass begins at 6 p.m. at Father’s parish, St. Thomas the Apostle. Father Lyons is known for his quick analytical abilities and his equally fast sense of humor – must have something to do with his past as an attorney!  He is well-loved and respected not only at his parish but throughout the diocese.


More congrats!
To Christopher O’Conner, a 7th grade student at St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish, for winning the Pima County Spelling Bee on Feb. 17.  Chris now will represent the Diocese at a state Spelling bee on March 23.  Way to go Chris and St. Cyril’s School!


Catholic Schools Marketing
Thursday afternoon I will be meeting with our Catholic Schools Marketing Committee to discuss the results of the pilot project on marketing our Catholic Schools with a video and Open Houses at schools. The video was shown in some of our parishes along with presentations by students and Catholic School parents at Mass. Other parishes showed the video to parents of religious education students to encourage them to consider sending their children to a Catholic School. We hope to augment our efforts to make known the rich opportunities available in our Catholic Schools and to help parents to see that our State provides generous opportunities for them to decide where to send their children to school by the assistance available from tuition tax credits and the new empowerment scholarships.


Knights of Columbus
Our Knights of Columbus again are supporting our Diocese with a Priests’ Appreciation Dinner at Council #1200 Thursday evening. The Knights are simply amazing in their capacity to serve; this is the second such dinner put on this year, and at each event I feel that we are so blessed to have such dedicated and generous support.


March 8 Dinner at Santa Rita Abbey
We are blessed to have the Trappestine Sisters in our Diocese. These talented and gifted women, who answered the call to minister in the desert, pray for us every day. I always look forward to joining them for Mass and dinner. Their monastery in Sonoita is a place of quiet and reflection, a holy place. The sisters are all multi-talented – a trait that grows out of their contemplative life styles. Sister Jeanne Bartholomeaux, our Vicar for Religious, will join me in our visit.


Sister Victoria is the Prioress of the community of nine that also includes Sisters Rita, Clare, Jacqui, Miriam, former Prioress, Esther, Kate, Pam, Margarita and Kathy, as well as their beloved senior dog, Shana.


What a gift these women are in our community. If you want a place of rest and renewal seek out their tranquil place for a day of prayer or a retreat.


You can learn more about the abbey at


Diocesan Pastoral Council
The Diocesan Pastoral Council meets this Saturday morning. Topics for this meeting will include: a faith sharing by one of the members, a discussion of projects related to the Year of Faith, especially the possible diocesan wide service project to assist the work of Catholic Relief Services, and consideration of how we can better realize the diocese’s need for vocations and the garnering of resources.


image013John Paul II Awards
Each year our Diocese honors high school students who excel in their parishes by their involvement in liturgy, catechesis or works of charity. This year, Joseph Perdreauville of our Pastoral Services Department, organized the first John Paul II Youth Awards presented in the Yuma/La Paz Vicariate. It was great that we could be in Yuma to celebrate the contributions of these teens closer to home, because in the past our young people often could not travel all the way to Tucson to attend. The young people from the area that were recognized for their service in liturgy, catechesis and evangelization, and Works of Charity.


Recipients of the John Paul II Youth Medal  and their parishes or school were:
Leonardo Sanchez, Immaculate Conception
Amairanie, Arzola, Immaculate Conception
Suleima Guerrero, Immaculate Conception
Martin Lopez, St. Francis of Assisi
Paola Galindo, St. Francis of Assisi
Paloma Jacquez, St. Francis of Assisi
Kaycie Waters, Yuma Catholic High School
William Magallanes, Yuma Catholic High School
Alex Deckey, Yuma Catholic High School
Angel Torres, Immaculate Heart of Mary
Felix Medina, Immaculate Heart of Mary
Brenda Mercedes Muñoz, Immaculate Heart of Mary
Karina Callejas, St. John Neumann
Nicholas Corvera, St. John Neumann
AngelicaContreras, St. John Neumann
RandyReyes, St. Joseph the Worker
LauraGutierrez, St. Joseph the Worker
Evette Juarez, St. Joseph the Worker
Michelle Meza, St. Jude Thaddeus
Karen Hugues, St. Jude Thaddeus
Zaida Zavala, St. Jude Thaddeus


The evening was skillfully hosted by Isabelle Madrid and Joe, both of our Pastoral Services Department. The adult honoree was Deacon Jose Valadez, who has focused his ministry in the area on assisting in youth formation and youth conferences to share the faith with them.


There will be another Awards presentation in Tucson on Saturday at St. Francis de Sales Parish.  At that event more teens that have done outstanding work for Christ and the Church will be recognized along with the dedication and achievements of Father Foster Hanley, O.Carm. Father Foster has had a long career teaching at Salpointe Catholic High School, and has been involved in the SEARCH for Christian Maturity Retreats.


I will be sure to list all this week’s in my winners next Monday Memo!


New IT Director joins the Diocese
I am delighted to announce that Mr. Marc Haley, a parishioner at St. Pius X, joins us as Manager of Information Technology for the Diocesan Pastoral Center. Marc had worked for the University of Arizona, where he did a phenomenal  job in creating and developing  their IT program for athletics. He begins today and brings a wealth of experience to his new responsibilities. For some time now we have hoped and prayed that we could enhance our IT capabilities and Marc’s position was made possible by a grant from Catholic Extension Society. This is a true blessing for all of us in the Diocese.


Scout Mass
On Sunday, it will be my pleasure to celebrate the annual Mass for Scouting at St. Augustine Cathedral.  We have a number of scout troops active in our Diocese, and through the work of this time-honored organization, many of our young men and women learn the steadfast values of being honorable, trustworthy and self-confident. Scouting also teaches them the teamwork and organizational skills that will serve them well as they work through school and on to their careers.  Hopefully, our scouts are learning all this while having great fun on the many trips and other activities I know our troop leaders provide.


My thanks to Joe Perdreauville and Virginia Robillard, who heads up our Catholic Committee on Scouting, and all her associates who bring hard work and good living into focus for our youth.


We should soon hear about the start date for the Conclave to elect the new Pope, as the cardinals begin their preliminary meetings today. We continue to pray for the cardinals to be guided by the Holy Spirit in their deliberations.


image011Annual Catholic Appeal
I have heard encouraging news from many of our parishes on the generous response to this year’s Annual Catholic Appeal. The next several weeks are critical to reaching our goal of $3.7 million dollars. I hope we will encourage everyone to participate and give whatever they can. Together in Christ we can accomplish much good in supporting seminarian training, caring for retired priests, training deacons and lay ministers, and serving the poor. We need your help; first in giving a generous gift and then in encouraging others to give.


Let us remember to pray for the recovery of Father Foster Hanley, O.Carm., who is seriously ill.  Father Foster has taught many years at Salpointe Catholic High School, and is this year’s recipient of the John Paul II Adult Award for service to youth.


On Saturday, I was saddened to learn of the death of Brother Michael Graf, O.F.M. Cap., who served in several of our parishes and who was a good friend of many. His death came suddenly. I extend our  sympathies to the Capuchins at the loss of a dedicated brother of their community. A memorial Mass will be celebrated  at St. Augustine Cathedral on Friday at 10:30 a.m. and Michael will be buried back in the mid-west with his community.


Saturday, March 9
“Future of Faith Formation” conference featuring John Roberto. Registration deadline has been extended until Wednesday, March 6. For additional information, contact Isabel Madrid at 520-838-2544 or email to


This one day program is designed to assist all those involved in parish faith formation. The session takes place at Most Holy Trinity Parish, 1300 N. Greasewood, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $10 per person, or for groups of four or more participants from the same parish or school registered together, the cost is $6 per person.


Roberto is editor of the journal Lifelong Faith and is coordinator for the Faith Formation 2020 Initiative. He also is author of several books: Faith Formation 2020: Designing the Future of Faith and Becoming a Church of Lifelong Learnings. He was the founder and director of the Center for Ministry Development, where he worked for 28 years.