Monday Memo, March 25, 2013
Vol. 11 No. 11

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas



Please note that the diocesan Pastoral Center will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Lent logorevised

Holy Week
Today we enter the holiest of weeks in the church year.


We begin as always with the Chrism Mass beautifully attended by so many priests and people from around the diocese. It is a real gathering of the Church of Tucson in all its splendor. The theme of this year’s Chrism Mass is “Together in Christ: Doing God’s Work” which is what this Mass celebrates. As priests, deacons, religious and lay people, we serve as co-workers carrying on the Lord’s call to serve.


Bishop Kicanas preparing the sacred oils during the 2012 Chrism Mass

Bishop Kicanas preparing the sacred oils during the 2012 Chrism Mass

At the Chrism Mass our priests will renew the promises they made at their ordination. From Msgr. Ed Carscallen, our most senior priest to Fathers Ramonito Celestial and Jorge Farias Salcido our newest ordained, the priests present at the Mass will pledge their desire and commitment to serve the Lord and His people faithfully as will I as your bishop.


During the Mass it will be my joy to bless and consecrate the sacred oils that the priests and deacons will use in distributing the Sacraments throughout our diocese. These oils symbolize the sanctifying and healing graces of our loving God.


I hope you will join us for this marvelous celebration as all of us recommit ourselves to living as Christ has called us to live.


The week continues with the beautiful celebration of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday when by the washing of the feet we are reminded that we are all called to serve.


The Good Friday celebration of the Lord’s passion is always moving especially as the congregation comes forward to reverence the cross by which we are saved.


This year, the annual re-enactment of the Way of the Cross is being handled by parishioners of St. Augustine Cathedral.  Many parishioners have been working hard during Lent creating the authentic looking costumes of soldiers, peasants, Pharisees and the trades people of Jesus’ time to bring the Stations of the Cross to life.  The living Stations takes place on Good Friday, beginning at 3 p.m. at the tiny chapel of San Cosme just a mile or so from the Cathedral and then winding through the nearby neighborhood until the entire group reaches St. Augustine.  Hundreds of people follow the procession – it is truly compelling!


The Easter Vigil with the lighting of the Paschal Candle breaking the darkness with the Light of Christ and the baptism of the many catechumens and reception into the Church of those who are becoming full members of the Church is the highlight of this holiest of weeks.  It will be my joy to baptize three people during the Vigil at St. Augustine Cathedral and to also receive 26 people into full communion with the Church.
I pray you will join your parish community for this Sacred Triduum.


Rome visit
As you know I was in Rome last week for meetings with several congregations as part of my responsibilities as Chair of the Board of Catholic Relief Services. Everyone was aglow with the election of Pope Francis. We continued to hear about the many remarkable and symbolic steps he is taking. The Pope plans to celebrate a Holy Thursday service with juveniles in prison and was known to have stopped by several places to meet with people. When Cardinal Theodore McCarrick fell sick while in Rome, the Pope called him to see how he was doing. Clearly the Holy Father is reaching out and giving us a wonderful example of service for us to imitate.


It was amazing to hear the excitement of people about the election of Pope Francis. On the way to Rome at the airport in Dallas and London people saw my clerical collar and wanted to know what I thought of the new Pope. “I like him,” people would say before I could get in a word. “He’s one of us, with the people, down to earth. I may come back to church”.


In our visits to the various dicasteries and councils at the Vatican, people still were expressing surprise that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio had been elected. The media were caught off guard which delighted the Vatican staff. Everyone commented on how Pope Francis has made an incredible impression. Everyone enjoys his informal style and is impressed by his obvious love and concern for the poor. The curial staff is expecting changes but do not yet know how extensive those changes will be. They are waiting to see what Pope Francis will do in the days ahead and what appointments he will make.


The Holy Father continues to surprise people. He is living at Santa Marta (A hotel for bishops and cardinals inside the walls of the Vatican) while he waits for remodeling of his apartment to be completed. He seems to have indicated that his residence in the Apostolic Palace is a bit too aloof and remote.


He also has been celebrating Mass in the chapel of Santa Marta with custodial staff of the Vatican. He joins them in prayer and greets each one after Mass. Some have been moved to tears by his care and interest in them. One man said, “We are just little people, but he comes over to us.”


We tried to get an audience with the Holy Father to share with him the good work of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) but his schedule would not allow it. Maybe next time.


Dr. Carolyn Woo, of CRS, and Bishop Kicanas during the recent trip to Rome.

Dr. Carolyn Woo, of CRS, and Bishop Kicanas during the recent trip to Rome.

Among the visits that Dr. Carolyn Woo, President of CRS, Sean Callahan, Chief Operating Officer of CRS and I as Chair of the Board made in Rome was an opportunity to visit the World Food Program (WFP) International Headquarters. The WFP is an agency of the United Nations. Even there, the staff was talking about how great the Holy Father’s installation was with its attentiveness to diversity and inclusiveness.


CRS partners with the World Food Program in providing food to the most vulnerable people around the globe. WFP expressed appreciation for the good work CRS does in over 100 countries.


As I mentioned in the last Monday Memo, We did meet with Vatican agencies responsible for humanitarian aid and work on behalf of peace and justice as planned.  These agencies included Cor Unum, which is the Holy Father’s outreach to  the world’s poor; Caritas Internationalis, of which CRS is a member, which is present in every country doing humanitarian aid on behalf of the Church;  the Congregation of Oriental Churches, the Secretariat of State, as well as the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace. It was encouraging to hear the high regard all of these offices hold for CRS.


Among the matters discussed in our various meetings was the deteriorating situation in Syria with concern for all refugees and the plight of Christians now and even more if the government falls. The Holy See has spoken against the arming of anyone and the need to begin dialogue among all parties.


We stopped by a symposium that was being sponsored by Caritas Internationalis  on Syria at which Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, Syria, shared the sad account of the suffering taking place there and the fear that pervades the country. Despite the tragedy, he retains hope that peace can be achieved.


There also is growing concern about North Korea and the threat of the possible use of nuclear weapons. We discussed the continued tensions in the Middle East and the danger that Israel might take preemptive action against Iran.


Another concern that was raised continually was the struggle to garner sufficient funds to do the Church’s humanitarian work. It is difficult in these troubled economic times. We discussed the deteriorating economic situation in Cyprus and the struggle in most European countries.


To Christopher O’Connor, a seventh grade student at St Cyril of Alexandria Catholic School, who won the State Spelling Bee in Phoenix on Saturday. He now will represent St. Cyril School, the Diocese of Tucson, Pima County and the State of Arizona in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. as the only representative from Arizona.


St. Cyril Principal Ann Zeches tells me that the entire school will recognize Christopher today, and that the school already has planned a school wide send-off prayer service for him in May.


We can all be so proud of Christopher, and of St. Cyril’s School!


Read more about Christopher at


Chaminade University in Hawaii
I have been asked to give the Mackey Lecture at Chaminade University of Honolulu in Hawaii. The Mackey Lecture is named after Father Robert Mackey S.M., a Marianist priest, who was the founder and first president of Chaminade University. The Marianist have a long history of educating young people in high school and college. The lecture also is sponsored by St. Francis School, a high school run by the Marianists and the Marianist Center of Hawaii.


My presentation will focus on immigration policy reform. I will also give the talk for Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE), a community organization of churches and religious institutions on Maui.


While Hawaii is very different than Tucson, Arizona,  they also receive many immigrants from places like Japan, Korea, China, Samoa, Philippines, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Puerto Rico and Latin America. Maui has a large number of migrants who work the fields, just as we have in Yuma, Somerton, and San Luis. There are a number of undocumented people in the community and the University and community organization wants to highlight the importance of comprehensive immigration policy change.


Since 1990 Hawaii has seen a marked increase of immigrants. In 2010 it was estimated that Hawaii’s foreign born population was 18.2 percent. In that year Hawaii was home to 248,213 immigrants with upwards of 2,500 people living in the islands of Hawaii illegally.


Students from St. Mary’s College in Moraga
Over the last few years we have been visited by a group of students from St. Mary’s in Moraga who come to Tucson to visit the border and to learn about the complexities of this challenging situation.  This year’s students arrive tomorrow and I always enjoy meeting with these young people because they are so idealistic and hopeful. They want to make a difference with their lives and they are eager to learn about the struggles of migrants and what they can do to help.


Diocesan Finance Council
The Diocesan Finance Council will meet at the Diocesan Archives on Tuesday morning. We will look at the financial performance in the diocese over the last few months; review the progress on the Annual Appeal and Capital Campaign, and meet with Peg Harmon, chief executive officer of Catholic Community Services.


Directors and Staff Meeting
Our Pastoral Department Directors meet this Thursday, and will be giving various  progress and  detail reports on recent activities. I will share a bit about my experience in Rome.  A staff meeting follows, where we update all working at the Pastoral Center on various topics.


Please remember in your prayers Hank  Oyama, who grew up in the downtown barrio and who had a significant impact on our community in education and other community causes. I was blessed to know him, as did many others in our community, as a man of deep integrity and a desire to help others. Please also pray for his wife, Laura Ann, and his sons and daughters during this time.


We also remember Charlie Bent, who died suddenly last week. Charlie was the father of Katheryn Hutchison, who works in the Catholic Foundation.


Spring Break
Monday Memo will take a break after Easter and return on Monday, April 8.


I pray all of you will have a Blessed Easter and be filled with the joy and hope that the Lords Resurrection brings us. Good Friday can never be the last word since we know the Lord rose on the third day as he promised. We live in the hope that darkness will always be overcome by the light.