Monday Memo, April 22, 2013
Vol. 11 No. 6

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas

 

 

Note: The Monday Memo was delayed one day so that our Communications Department could participate in a Pastoral Center Staff retreat on Monday.

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Immigration Reform:  Speak up now!
Below is a copy of an Op-Ed article the bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference, wrote and sent to the major newspapers in Arizona and Gallup, New Mexico last week:

 

Comprehensive immigration reform, so needed, has remained elusive for years now.

 

The pattern of past debates is clear.  Immediately, sides form and positions harden. Emotions flare and disagreements persist; gridlock sets in. Politicians lose their nerve, become cautious and step back. We have been there several times already since President Reagan signed a legalization bill in 1986.

 

Simple, easy answers fall short of addressing the complexities of the issues surrounding immigration reform. Formulating legislation that can guide the nation through the intricate maze of issues remains daunting and can become paralyzing.

 

When can we become sure the border is secure? What is a fair and reasonable way to allow migrants living in the shadows to attain legal status? How can we provide needed workers, including low skilled workers, with legal access to work while protecting their rights? How can we unite families long-separated from one another?  What kind of benefits should immigrants receive? What should happen for undocumented immigrants who came to our country as children and have only known life in the United States?

 

Despite the challenges, despite the complexities, despite the controversy, and despite the failures of the past, the nation must act now. Now is the time for a bi-partisan solution that can repair a broken system.  We cannot wait to put an end to the separation of families, the exploitation of workers, and the death of hundreds of human beings in the desert every year. This suffering must end.

 

The “gang of eight” senators, including two from our State of Arizona, have worked hard to craft a bill to move the nation forward. Their efforts give the nation a chance to address a long standing impasse.  I commend their leadership and courage.

 

Surely some will shout that this proposal goes too far. It rewards those who violated the law. Others will demand that the draft leaves families divided, sets unreasonable conditions for a pathway to citizenship and expands Operation Streamline. So the discussion and debate begin again. In the effort at comprehensive immigration policy reform in 2007, angry, strident voices captured the moment and the legislation failed.

 

This time far more balanced voices need to speak up. No legislation is perfect but we cannot be stymied by expecting the perfect. The proposed legislation needs careful attention and modification which can occur through the engagement, the advocacy and the commitment of all to get involved in the debate.

 

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has long called for comprehensive immigration policy reform since this is an issue that affects human dignity, impinges on our communities, and has a moral dimension that needs to be considered. The bishops will work to improve the legislation where needed, but in a constructive, not destructive, manner.

 

Now it is critical to communicate with legislators and to speak up about the legislation and how it can be amended to most effectively address the wide range of issues it seeks to resolve. We believe most Americans understand that our immigration system is broken. Here is our chance to fix it.

 

——–

 

As the Senate begins its deliberations on the proposed legislation, it is our time to make our voices heard.

 

Pastoral Staff Retreat
We closed our Diocesan offices yesterday to give our Pastoral Staff the time to attend a day-long retreat at the Redemptorist  Retreat Center. All of us experience the hectic nature and pressures of the day-in, day-out work, and taking a day to rest, to pray and to just think can do amazing good for the spirit.

 

Father Jeff Wocken, S.D.S presented two sessions during our day reflecting on the Empty Tomb and its implications for us. Christ’s resurrection grounds our hope and joy. Father Jeff shared with us the various gospel accounts of the empty tomb and all the feelings it elicited. Christ overcame death; death  has no longer any sway over us. He also reflected on Doubting Thomas and reminded us that we have seen the Lord in so many ways especially in the example of faith we see in our coworkers.

 

Pastoral staff members shared their stories of faith and we all enjoyed singing and attending Mass in the lovely chapel at the center.  I hope the day filled our hard working colleagues with peace and inspired them to see how their work fits into God’s plan for our Diocese.

 

My thanks to John Shaheen, our Director for Property Management and Insurance, along with our Pastoral Services staff led by Sister Lois Paha, O.P., for their work on planning the retreat. Thanks also to the wonderful personnel at the Redemptorist Center for their help with the day. I was grateful to Grace and Charles Lohr and Sister Jeanne Bartholomeaux  for leading our morning  prayer and music at Mass.

 

There is no doubt of the value and importance of getting away from time to time to be with the Lord. I hope our parish and school staffs will consider doing the same.

 

Priests Convocation
Beginning tomorrow nearly all of our parish priests will be attending the annual convocation where we celebrate collegiality in the priesthood, and provide educational workshops and presentations, along with some presentations to encourage our priests’ spirituality.

 

Our presenter this year is Father Frank DeSiano, C.S.P., Executive Director of Paulist Evangelization Ministries, and  a nationally known speaker, preacher, and writer.  His latest books discuss the mission of Catholic parishes in America and the 2012 Synod on the New Evangelization.  He has been a  consultant  for more than a decade to the US Bishops’ Committee on Evangelization, and also was elected President of the Paulist Fathers in 1994.

 

Father DeSiano will make three presentations during the convocation:

 

The Synod and the US Church; Serving Absent Catholics

 

A Review of factors that work against Church involvement and how to address them

 

An Evangelizing Agenda for Parishes Today: How can parishes develop an agenda that responds to today’s needs.

 

In addition, our priests will get updated information on Human Resources practices and procedures; get training on maintaining safe environments at parishes and schools through a presentation by Dr. Rosemary Celaya-Alston, our Director for the Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection; and participate in discussion and matters related to the Priests Assurance Corporation, which handles their pension and other retirement benefits.

 

The convocation is not all about work. On Wednesday night, there is a celebration dinner to recognize our jublilarian priests.  We have quite a bounty of jubilarians this year, led by six priests celebrating their 50th Anniversary in the priesthood.  Our statesmen priests this year are Msgr. Tom Cahalane, Msgr. Tom Millane and Father Charlie Knapp.  Also celebrating 50 years are priests from religious orders: Father Bill Dougherty, a Paulist, Father Nicholas Widhammer, O.F.M., Cap., and Father Foster Hanley, O.Carm.

 

Father John Allt, and Father Walter Baduck, O.F.M., Cap., this year celebrate 40 years as priests; and the following priests have reached their silver jubilees of 25 years in ministry: Father Peter Agema, Father Patrick Crino, Father Victor Lugo, A.M., Father John Lyons, Father Gilbert Mulu Musumbo, Father Gregory May, Father Gregory Okafor, Msgr. Raul Trevizo and Father Thomas Tureman.

 

At the jubilee Mass it will be my  honor to incardinate two priests who have come to our diocese  as missionaries. They now will be  priests of the Diocese of Tucson. Father Martin Atanga, who is from Ghana and who has been serving as pastor  of Holy Cross in Morenci and Sacred Heart in Clifton with its mission at St. Mary’s in Duncan; and Father Abram Guerrero, who is from Ecuador and who has been serving as Parochial Vicar of Santa Monica in Tucson, will pledge their promise of respect and obedience to  me and my successors. We welcome them and rejoice in their willingness to become members of our presbyterate in the Diocese of Tucson.

 

Immigration Meeting
I will attend a follow-up meeting with leaders from many faiths working on ways to minister to our immigrant community. This meeting will again take place in Casa Grande.  The Arizona Catholic Conference editorial is among the many ideas that emerged from earlier meetings with this group, which is working hard to bring immigration reform to the forefront by working with their individual churches and congregations to encourage broader public understanding of the need for immigration reform and to encourage people to speak with elected officials about the need for immigration reform now.

 

As I have written in the Monday Memo before, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, has spoken up for a path to citizenship for the 11 million or so people here without proper documentation. This would not be amnesty, but those here illegally would need to pay a reasonable fine, learn English, and take their place in line to become legal residents. Bishops have also advocated for a guest worker program for low skilled workers with worker protections as well as shorter waits for families to be united.

 

Refugee Meeting
On Friday, I will attend another in the ongoing meetings held recently with city, county, social service representatives, educators and religious leaders continue efforts to better assist refugees living in our community. Refugees have had to flee their homes because of violence or disruptions in their home countries. Obviously this is very disruptive and painful. Then, to have to come to another country to be resettled is even more traumatizing.

 

There is a need to make our community more conscious and aware of the presence of refugees from many different countries. Tucson receives about 800 to 1,000 refugees each year. There are many groups in our community who are trying to help refugees adjust and feel at home among us. We are exploring ways to work more collaboratively together.

 

In our community there are three settlement organizations that place refugees in our area including the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Lutheran Services and our own Catholic Community Services. These meetings are striving to assist these three organizations in the challenging work they are doing in our community.

 

 Confirmations
I will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmations this week at Sacred Heart Parish in Nogales; for St. Pius X and Corpus Christi parishes at St. Pius; for St. Luke, St. Bernard, Immaculate Conception Douglas and Loretto School, also in Douglass at the Douglas High School Gym; at St. Anthony Parish in Casa Grande and at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Florence.

 

St. Joseph Hospital Chapel
On Friday it will be my joy to dedicate a beautiful new chapel in the heart of St. Joseph’s Hospital on the east side of Tucson. The dedication will take place at noon in the chapel.

 

The hospital has been without a chapel since the original chapel space was needed for other purposes. For some years, the community has expressed a desire to create a sacred place for prayer and worship at the hospital. The goal has come to fruition, thanks to people like Charles and Pat Pettis who have raised the money and guided the design and implementation of our new chapel. It is a little jewel with its stained glass and wonderful landscaping that sets the chapel apart for prayer and reflection.

 

I know Mr. Jim Beckman, Chief Executive Officer of Carondelet Health Systems of Ascension Health; Tony Fonze, St. Joseph Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer and all at the hospital are delighted with the new chapel facility that will offer solace and comfort to those suffering and their families.

 

Catholic Cemeteries
Mr. Jim DeCastro has left his position as Executive Director effective April 19. Audra Romero will act as interim director until the Board of Directors completes a search for a new director. Jim served as Director these past seven years. We have now begun a national search for the new Director.

 

Please pray
For the soul of Father Gino Piccoli, O.F.M., and pastor of St. Charles Parish in the Apache Community of San Carlos, who passed away suddenly last week. Funeral services were held this morning in the community.  Father Gino lovingly tended the small community at San Carlos and made the tiny church there a beautiful, prayerful space with many traditional Native American features and customs to welcome his people to prayer.  He will be missed.

 

Priest Assignments:
Here is the list of priest assignment changes. These changes usually become effective on  July 1.

 

Father. Juan Carlos Aguirre
To: San Martin De Porres Parish Sahuarita – Pastor
From:  St. Helen of the Cross Church Eloy – Pastor

 

Father  Arnold Aurillo
To: Holy Angels Church Globe – Administrator

From:  Our Lady of Blessed Sacrament Church Miami and Holy  Angels Church in Globe- Parochial Vicar

 

Father  Walter Balduck, O.F.M. Cap.
Renewed at  Blessed Sacrament Parish Mammoth – Administrator

 

Father  William Cosgrove
Renewed at St. Therese Parish Patagonia – Administrator

 

Father Alonzo M. Garcia

To: St. Helen of the Cross Church Eloy – Pastor
From:  Our Lady Queen All Saints Parish Tucson – Pastor

 

Father  William L. Gyure                                                           

To: Sacred Heart Parish Tombstone – Administrator

From:  St. Philip the Apostle Church Payson – Pastor

 

Father  Jens-Peter “Jay” Jensen, Jr.                                    

To: St. Thomas the Apostle Parish Tucson – Parochial Vicar

From:  San Martin De Porres Parish Sahuarita – Administrator

 

 

Father  Patrick Kennedy                                                           

Renewed at  St. Mark Parish Oro Valley – Administrator

 

FatherEdward F. Lucero                                                           

To: St. Philip the Apostle Church Payson and its missions- Pastor
From:  St. Rose of Lima Parish Safford & Our Lady of Guadalupe Solomon- Pastor

 

Father  Adolfo Martinez-Escobar                                   

To: St. James Parish Coolidge – Administrator
From:  Immaculate Conception Church Yuma – Parochial Vicar

 

Father  Gregory Okafor                                                           

To: St. Jude Thaddeus Parish Pearce and its mission at St. Francis in Elfrida – Administrator
From:  St. Pius X Parish Tucson – Parochial Vicar

 

Father  Jose Manuel “Manolo” Padilla                       

To: Our Lady Queen All Saints Parish Tucson – Administrator
From:  St. Jude Thaddeus Parish Pearce – Administrator

 

Father  Robert Rodriguez                                                           

To: St. Rose of Lima Parish Safford & Our Lady of Guadalupe Solomon – Pastor
From:  St. Joseph Parish Hayden – Administrator

 

Dcn.  John Paul Shea                                   

To: Ss Peter & Paul Parish Tucson – Parochial Vicar
From:  Mundelein Seminary – Newly Ordained

 

Father  Virgilio “JoJo” Tabo                                               

To: St. Christopher Parish Marana – Pastor
From:  St. James Parish Coolidge – Pastor

 

Father  Abran Tadeo                                                           

To: St. Margaret Mary Alocoque Parish – Pastor

From:  St. Christopher Parish Marana – Pastor

 

Father  Matthew Thayil, MSFS                                               

To: St. Joseph Parish Hayden – Administrator
From:  Sts. Peter & Paul Parish Tucson – Parochial Vicar

 

Father  Alexander Tigga, M.S.F.S.                                               

To: Infant Jesus of Prague Parish Kearny – Administrator
From:  St. Thomas the Apostle Parish Tucson – Parochial Vicar

Father Sylvester Nwaogu

From: pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus at Tombstone to retirement.

 

Father Thomas Dekaa

From:  Pastor  of Infant Jesus of Prague at Kearny to an assignment in another diocese.