Monday Memo, March 18, 2013
Vol. 11 No. 10

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas


Bishop Kicanas answers questions from the media about our new Holy Father.

Bishop Kicanas answers questions from the media about our new Holy Father.

Bishop Kicanas celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for Pope Francis on March 15 at St. Augustine Cathedral. The Mass was concelebrated with serveral  priests

Bishop Kicanas celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for Pope Francis on March 15 at St. Augustine Cathedral. The Mass was concelebrated with serveral priests








Our New Pope
Habemus Papam! That was the cry last week that echoed throughout the Square of St. Peter’s as we waited to see who was selected by the Cardinals to be our next Pope. Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina, humbly stood before the thousands of people who gathered in front of St. Peter’s Basilica along with the millions who were watching on television or the internet.


Father José Funes, S.J., Director of the Vatican Observatory here in Arizona,  an Argentian who worked with the new pope many years ago, addressed those at Mass.

Father José Funes, S.J., Director of the Vatican Observatory here in Arizona, an Argentian who worked with the new pope many years ago, addressed those at Mass.

He asked for our blessing. Such a human and telling request!  I suspect that single act signals the beginning of what will be a most interesting papacy. Already Pope Francis has endeared himself to the world in his simple and humble style and by his call to the Church to be poor among the poor.


He will teach us; not so much by his words, but by his example. In the short time since his election he already is giving witness to his desire not to be served but to serve. He calls the Church to look less inwardly, and to look outward to care for people in need.


I was pleased that so many priests and people came to our Mass last Friday to pray for Pope Francis. I could see the excitement they were feeling. It was a special treat at the end of Mass to hear from Father Jose Funes, S.J., the Director of the Vatican Observatory here in Arizona, and Sister Gladys Echenique, O.P., both of whom are from Argentina as they shared their personal reflections about the pope. Father Funes met Pope Francis when our future pope was Provincial of the Jesuits and interviewed then layperson Funes as he applied to enter the Jesuits.


Let us pray that the Lord will give our new Holy Father the strength and the courage to lead and renew our Church.


Pope Francis I

Pope Francis

Palm Sunday
We are fast approaching the holiest of weeks in the liturgical year. This Sunday we walk with Christ as he entered the city of Jerusalem riding humbly on a donkey as people cheered and hailed him as a king. How fickle the people were. Very shortly after waving palms in his path, they would be calling for His crucifixion.

We relive the betrayal, passion, death, and resurrection of Christ two times beginning with the reading of the passion on Palm Sunday and again on Friday of Holy Week. Meditate on these powerful texts as we try to encounter Christ and His love for us in a more profound way.


I hope you will take part in the beautiful and elaborate parish celebrations beginning with Palm Sunday.


On Monday of Holy Week we will gather at St. Augustine Cathedral for the celebration of the Chrism Mass beginning at 6:30 p.m.  This is an annual liturgy and it will be my honor to bless the oils that will be used in the administration of the sacraments throughout our Diocese in the year ahead. The oil  of  the sick used in the Sacrament of Anointing, the oil  of catechumens used in the sacrament of Baptism, and the  Sacred Chrism used in baptism, confirmation, and the ordination  of the priest. I hope you can join us.


Make a point to attend the services on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday at your parish. These special liturgies help us to experience God’s love in powerful ways.


Lent logorevisedI am delighted that this year our Cathedral of St. Augustine again will be re-enacting the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday. It always is a vivid and moving experience. Members of Cathedral parish have been working hard to sew costumes of the soldiers, the priests and the people of Jesus’ to be used in the service.  I am grateful to Fred Tapia and those in the Cathedral who are getting everything ready for this powerful prayer, the living stations.


This Palm Sunday, as our Church begins to embrace the example and leadership of Pope Francis, let us try something radical. If we have been living lives of criticism, distrust or anger, let’s work to focus on compassion, kindness and hope.  If we are following our “old” ways because we are afraid, let’s try to face our fears and follow Christ’s example: Love one another as the Father loves us.


Social Ministry Training
In parishes around our region, social justice committees are doing great work. This past weekend, representatives from those committees in the Diocese of Tucson as well as Las Cruces, El Paso, Santa Fe, Phoenix and Gallup, gathered at Most Holy Trinity Parish for two days of talks, discussions, and planning to strengthen our outreach to those in need.


Some of themes of the training included: Catholic  Social Teaching; Spirituality of Service and Justice;  Ministries of the Unborn, the Poor and the Homeless; Abolition of the Death Penalty; St. Vincent de Paul; the Kino Border Initiative; Climate, Immigration, and a ‘hunger experience’ meal.


A number of exhibits were on display including information from Reachout Pregnancy Center, Advocacy to End the Death Penalty, the Kino Border Initiative, including Kino teens from Nogales as well as other border initiatives, St. Vincent de Paul, our own Office of Human Life and Dignity, Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Community Services and Catholic Charities Nationwide as well as several Tucson parish social ministry programs.


The event was attended by more than 100 people. I was delighted that Father Lawrence Snyder, Director of Catholic Charities USA delivered the keynote address followed by a series of talks and workshops to enhance parish efforts to uphold the dignity and respect due all human life. Rachel Lustig of Catholic Charities USA also presented.


Thanks to Peg Harmon, director of Catholic Community Services for the Diocese of Tucson and Joanne Welter, director of the Diocesan Office of Human Life and Dignity along with the program committee for hosting this important event in our Diocese.


Religious Discernment meetings
I am happy to report that Sister Jeanne Bartholomeaux, S.C., our Vicar of Vowed Religious, said that the recent discernment events were very successful.  Two meetings were held March 9, one at our Pastoral Center, the other at the Schools Sisters of Notre Dame Convent in Douglas. Sister Jeanne let me know that 14 women attended in Tucson and two women attended in Douglas.  Those interested came from the following parishes: St. Monica, Immaculate Conception, St. John the Evangelist, St. Cyril, St. Joseph, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.


Sister Jeanne and her committee meant the day to be a day of prayer, quiet reflection, and exploration for the women to learn more about how to discern God’s plan in their lives. Here are some of the comments Sister Jeanne received from participants:


“What I liked the most about this retreat was that it helped me open my eyes more and follow my dreams with the help of God.”


“I am very happy to have attended this retreat. The call to open our hearts to the calling of the Lord meant a lot”


“This experience has been a day to remember. It has helped me see another life that I had never really learned about.”


My thanks to Sister Jeanne, and to the other planners of the successful discernment day: Sister Gladys Echenique, O.P. ;Sister Lucy Nigh, S.S.N.D.; Sister Eileen Mahony, C.S.A.; Sister Judy Bourg, S.S.N.D.; Sister Graciela Garcia, C.F.M.M.; Sister Christine Garcia, S.S.N.D.; Sister Lupita Barajas, O.S.B.; Sister Rosemary Sampon, M.M.S.; and Sister Ellen Pachmayer, O.S.F.


Sister Jeanne, who took over the big job as Vicar of Religious at the beginning of this year, will be attending the National Assembly of Vicars of Religious in Chicago this week. The gathering’s theme is “Faith: Cornerstone of Vowed Life in keeping with the Year of Faith.”


image015Up north, a little
It was my joy yesterday to travel to the northern part of our Diocese, where I celebrated confirmations for the young members of Infant Jesus of Prague Parish in Kearney, and then,  a bit later, for the young adults at St. George Parish in Apache Junction.


I always enjoy visiting these parishes: Father Thomas Dekka shepherds the community at Infant Jesus of Prague, and Father Domenico Pinti, leads his flock at St. George along with Father Stan Nadolny.  Both communities offer me warm welcome and always are eager to show me the very best their parishes have to offer, and I am very grateful for my visits.


I also had the pleasure to hold a special blessing of the ground that will someday be the home of St. Michael the Archangel Church in the San Tan Valley. Right now, members of our 77th parish gather in a school facility under the guidance of Father Dale Branson, but don’t be fooled by the outward appearances; the school truly becomes a house of God. Daily Mass is offered at Father Branson’s home, where Father Dale and his parishioners have outfitted a comfortable chapel and parish office in the largest rooms of the house.  The parish met with Sister Lois Paha, O.P., our Director of Pastoral Services, in 2012 and already has formed its parish council.


My great thanks to Father Branson and all of his parish.  It is wonderful to see the progress made in our newest Catholic community. There was a good turnout for the blessing of  the ground with several generations of parishioners including some of the youngest and some seniors. All were excited and eager for the parish hall to be built as a first step.


Review Board
This morning the members of our Sexual Review Board will have their regular meeting at the Pastoral Center.  The members of this board work very hard to protect the safety of all those entrusted to the care of our schools, parishes and ministries.  As we continue on our path of protecting others, I ask that we all pray for those working behind the scenes to ensure our work follows the very best practices to safeguard the safety of all.


I know Dr. Rosemary Celaya-Alston, who joined our Diocese about two months ago and who now directs our Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection, has been on a fast track to get acquainted with all of our diocesan compliance officers. She is now working to enhance her department’s web page to make it easier to locate needed information.


Presbyteral Council
Later today, our Presbyteral Council also will meet at the Pastoral Center. Topics on the agenda include:  Reports from our Vicariates; a report on the progress of the Annual Catholic Appeal; discussion with Dr. Rosemary Celaya-Alston; plans for the upcoming Chrism Mass and Holy Week; plans for the annual Priests’ Convocation; and discussion on sending someone to observe the June meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to be held in San Diego in June. The Council will also consider assignment changes for priests that will  go into effect on July 1.


Bishops Plan Insurance Company Dinner
I welcome the board members of the Bishops Plan Insurance Company (BPIC) and the staff of the A.J. Gallagher affiliate companies on their visit to Tucson this week. They will be coming from all around the country to hold their quarterly meeting at the Marriott Starr Pass Resort tomorrow and Wednesday.


Many of you may not know that our Diocese is an equity-owner with other dioceses around the country in two insurance companies that provide property and liability coverage for all parishes, diocesan schools, cemeteries, and Catholic Community Services.


John Shaheen, our Property and Insurance Director, is a board member of BPIC, while Tom Arnold, our Chief Financial Officer, sits on the finance committee. Sadly, I will not be able to host the board dinner on Tuesday, as I will be on my way to Rome.  I do want to send my personal gratitude to all the board members, who volunteer their time, and Bishop Thomas Paprocki, their episcopal moderator, for their hard work and effort to keep our insurance premiums affordable.


To Rome
I will be traveling to Rome this week along with Dr. Carolyn Woo, President of Catholic Relief Services, and Sean Callahan, Chief Operating Officer for CRS, as part of our annual visit to  the various dicasteries that relate to  the church’s works of  charity worldwide.


The work of CRS does much good in 100 countries serving the poorest of  the poor. CRS focuses its work on emergency relief, agriculture, health and assisting people with finding or creating incomes. Pope Francis is a strong advocate for the poor as we are learning. While in Rome we will have discussions with Cardinal Robert Sarah, President of the Pontifical Council, Cor Unum for Human and Christian Development, with Cardinal Peter Turkson of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and with officials of the State Department.


CRS relates especially to the Pope’s mission to work for human and Christian development through his organization titled Cor Unum (One Heart). Cor Unum  “expresses ‘the care of the Catholic Church for the needy, thereby encouraging human fellowship and making manifest the charity of Christ’(Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus, art. 145). This office’s objectives include: Assisting the pope and serving as his instrument for carrying out special initiatives in the field of humanitarian actions when disasters occur, or in the field of integral human promotion; foster the catechesis of charity and encourage the faithful to give a concrete witness to evangelical charity; and encouraging  and coordinating the initiatives of Catholic organizations like CRS through the exchange of information and by promoting cooperation in favor of human development.


I am most grateful to all in the diocese who have contributed to the mission of CRS through our parishes.


Palm Sunday
I return to Tucson just in time to celebrate Mass on Palm Sunday at St. Augustine Cathedral at 10:00 a.m.