Monday Memo, Aug. 12, 2013
Vol. 12, No.1

Posted on by Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas

El Informe de los lunes (Monday Memo) ahora se publica en español. Haga clic aquí para leer el Informe en español, o búsquelo en nuestra página web del Ministerio Hispano.

El Informe de los lunes es una publicación electrónica semanal donde se difunden noticias e información presentada por el Obispo Gerald Kicanas.


Please note: The Bishop Manuel D. Moreno Pastoral Center will be closed Thursday, Aug. 15 and Friday, Aug. 16 in commemoration of the Feast of the Assumption.


The-AssumptionHail Mary
This Thursday we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption. This holy day of obligation is among the oldest feasts of our Church since it became almost universally celebrated by Catholics by the sixth century.


The feast is believed to have come from a document called The Falling Asleep of the Holy Mother of God or De Obitu S. Dominae, bearing the name of St. John, that describes Mary’s death, her burial and her assumption into Heaven before any deterioration could occur to her body.


The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven at the end of her earthly life became dogma of the Catholic Church after Pope Pius XII defined the dogma in 1950.


Our Blessed Mother also is the patron saint of the Americas.  It is fitting that we try to follow her example as a way to be closer to Christ. Hers was a life of great devotion and belief in God, a devotion she followed through many difficulties.  I encourage all of us to embrace Mary’s way; to believe deeply and act as Christ with love and humility throughout our lives.


Father in heaven,

all creation rightly gives you praise

for all life and all holiness come from you.

In the plan of Your wisdom

she who bore the Christ in her womb

was raised body and soul in glory

to be with Him in heaven.

May we follow her example

in reflecting your holiness

and join in her hymn of endless life and praise.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.


Congratulations to Father Jose Maria Corvera and the Community of Assumption Parish in Florence as they celebrate the renovation of their renovated church. Msgr. Al Schifano will represent me in blessing the Church on Thursday. They are rightly proud in what they have accomplished. We wish them God’s choicest blessings.


Let me also congratulate St. Monica’s Parish.  I will be blessing the renovated church and new altar on Aug. 17.


Back to school
Where did the summer go?  I am sure every student is asking that question now that schools are re-opening for the 2013-14 academic year.  I am pleased that our Catholic schools also are opening over the next several days.  San Miguel High led the pack starting on Aug. 2; Immaculate Heart School and Immaculate Heart High School began on Aug. 5; St. Augustine and Salpointe high schools, along with Sacred Heart School in Nogales opened Aug. 6, followed by San Xavier, All Saints in Sierra Vista, St. Anthony in Casa Grande and Yuma Catholic High School on Aug. 7.


Our Mother of Sorrows, St. Ambrose, St. Cyril , St. Joseph, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and Sts. Peter and Paul all opened Aug. 8, and this week Loretto School, St. Charles, St. John the Evangelist, St. Thomas the Apostle, Santa Cruz, and Immaculate Conception and St. Francis of Assisi schools in Yuma all open today.


Lourdes elementary and secondary schools in Nogales open on Wednesday, Aug. 14.


Our Catholic schools do an amazing job teaching both faith and academics.  I am happy to report that earlier this summer, we learned that students at St. John the Evangelist, one of our schools operated as an ACE Academy in cooperation with Notre Dame University, marked an amazing milestone.  I’ll quote from a news release put out by Notre Dame:


In 2010, the class average in math for St. Johns 3rd graders was at the 17th percentile. Two years later, as 5th graders, they are at the 52nd percentile. They now outperform the national average.


While older students are closing the gap, the younger students dont experience a gap at all. 


Students in all three Tucson partner schools are consistently posting higher achievement scores year after year .


Besides St. John the Evangelist, our other ACE Academies are Santa Cruz and St. Ambrose schools.


I will brag just a bit more with this information, which also came from Notre Dame:


As 3rd grade teacher Adela Dinwiddie said of one St. John’s student . . .


Miguel started the last school year reading in the 40th percentile. By the end of the year, he was all the way to the 79th, and hes already talking about where he wants to go to college!


Fantastic!  This is what Catholic education is all about.  To find out more about our Catholic schools visit Catholic Schools website


You also can call our Catholic Schools Office at 520.838.2547, or best of all, visit one of our schools with your children.  You’ll see, our schools are worth a second look.


This year the School Office and our Catholic schools will be making a big marketing push to invite parents – especially those who have children enrolled in our parish religious education programs – to consider sending their children to a Catholic school. It is affordable and will further enhance their children’s’ religious formation.  In addition, through state funded Empowerment Scholarships, or ESAs, parents whose children currently attend a failing public or charter school can apply to receive a scholarship from the State of Arizona to send their children to a Catholic school. Contact your local parish school office for more information.


Photo from Bellows A typical view in Patagonia, where monsoon rains have created lush greenery throughout the area.

Photo from Bellows
A typical view in Patagonia, where monsoon rains have created lush greenery throughout the area.

Pastoral visit to Santa Cruz County Parishes
As the summer draws to an end, I have had some time to begin pastoral visits to our outlying parishes. I enjoy these visits immensely. Seeing the good that is being done around our diocese picks up my spirits!


During the first weekend of August, I visited San Martin de Porres Parish in Sahuarita, St. Ann Parish in Tubac, Most Holy Nativity Parish in Rio Rico, and San Felipe de Jesus and Sacred Heart parishes in Nogales. I already had been at St. Therese of Lisieux Parish in Patagonia several weeks ago for the blessing of the ground for the new mission church of Our Lady of the Angels in Sonoita.


Santa Cruz County is one of our most beautiful regions. The mountains and countryside were so green because of the abundance of monsoonal rains in the area this year.


My visits included an opportunity to talk with the pastor or pastoral administrator of each parish, meet some of the parishioners, visit the homebound members of the congregations, take part in parish activities and celebrate ordinary parish Masses with the community.


Public Safety personnel attended Mass at St. Ann’s in memory of the fallen Hotshot Firefighters lost in Yarnell, Arizona. Also pictured, at right, is Father Alex Mills, pastor at St. Ann’s.

Public Safety personnel attended Mass at St. Ann’s in memory of the fallen Hotshot Firefighters lost in Yarnell, Arizona. Also pictured, at right, is Father Alex Mills, pastor at St. Ann’s.

Among the memorable moments I had in Santa Cruz were:


– Hearing how proud the people are of their parishes


– Celebrating a Mass at St. Ann’s for 19 firemen killed recently fighting the Yarnell fire near Prescott


– Listening to people in Rio Rico about their longing for their new church


–  Participating in the installation of new officers for the Knights of Columbus at San Felipe


– Attending a meeting with young people at Sacred Heart organized by Father Ricky Ordonez and our diocesan seminarians. The members of several youth groups, including Arco Iris groups from St. James in Coolidge, Our Mother of Sorrows, Santa Monica, Most Holy Nativity and the parishes in Nogales all participated.

Bishop Kicanas annointing in the Bibee area aug 2013

But the most memorable moment was visiting those local Catholics who are homebound. Their faith and trust in the Lord made a great impression on me. It was a privilege to pray with them, to anoint them and to bring them Communion.





Pastoral visit to Cochise County Parishes
This past week I met with the parishes of Our Lady of Lourdes in Benson, Sacred Heart in Tombstone, St. Jude Thaddeus in Pearce-Sunsites, St. Luke, Immaculate Conception, and St. Bernard in Douglas/Pirtleville, St. Patrick in Bisbee and Our Lady of the Mountains and St. Andrew’s in Sierra Vista.


I was impressed listening to the pastors/pastoral administrator speak about the joys and frustrations of their ministry. These are not easy days to exercise spiritual leadership. Sometimes it is so hard to bring people together, to break down divisions among leaders that can surface in parishes, and it is sometimes difficult to get people involved as good stewards.


Above, parishioners in the town to tough to die, bestowed 10 gallon hats to Father William Gyure and me.

Above, parishioners in the town too tough to die, bestowed 10 gallon hats to Father William Gyure and me.

But it is clear in these parishes that there are many people who give generously of themselves and respond generously to the invitation to get involved and make their faith active.


As we walked around the parishes, I could see how happy the pastors and pastoral ministers feel about the good things that are happening.


Celebrating parish Masses gave me a chance to pray with our people. They pray hard and I was pleased to see how carefully parishes prepare their Sunday liturgies for regular Sundays and not just for special occasions.


Among the memorable experiences were:


-Seeing the parishioners volunteering to fix up their parish facilities in Benson and Tombstone


Parishioners from St. Jude Thaddeus in Pearce-Sunsites and from St. Francis in Elfrida came together for Mass. Just left of me is Father Richard Tule who is filling in as temporary administrator until Father Greg Okafor returns from Nigeria.

Parishioners from St. Jude Thaddeus in Pearce-Sunsites and from St. Francis in Elfrida came together for Mass. Just left of me is Father Richard Tule who is filling in as temporary administrator until Father Greg Okafor returns from Nigeria.

-The pot luck in traditional costumes at Tombstone and visiting their vibrant thrift store


-The Spirit of the communities of St. Jude Thaddeus in Pearce Sunsites and St. Francis in Elfrida. We celebrated Mass together and enjoyed a great conversation about the strengths and concerns the parish community is experiencing.


In both Vicariates I was able to join the priests and some parish leaders for a Vicariate dinner. There was a wonderful spirit in those two gatherings. Everyone seemed comfortable, relaxed and able to enjoy a nice night out.


Seminarian Convocation
Last week Father Ricky Ordoñez, our Vocations Director, and I met with our seminarians as they prepare to begin or return to their seminary studies. We are blessed to have 14 seminarians this year.


The 2013-14 Diocese of Tucson seminarians are: (back row l-r) Alan Valencia, Ivan Garcia and Jesus Humberto Sanchez. Middle row (l-r) Martin Moreno, Zachary Ferell, Bill Duffert. Front row (l-r) Edson Elizarraras, Thomas Quirk, Paul Grandi and George Holley.  Not pictured: John Gonzales, Callistus Iyorember, Marco Carrasco and Albert Miranda.

The 2013-14 Diocese of Tucson seminarians are: (back row l-r) Alan Valencia, Ivan Garcia and Jesus Humberto Sanchez. Middle row (l-r) Martin Moreno, Zachary Ferell, Bill Duffert. Front row (l-r) Edson Elizarraras, Thomas Quirk, Paul Grandi and George Holley. Not pictured: John Gonzales, Callistus Iyorember, Marco Carrasco and Albert Miranda.

At Mount Angel in Portland, Oregon, a college seminary, there are three students in their third year college: Zachary Ferell from St. Mark’s Parish; Ivan Garcia-Hernandez from St. Helen of the Cross Parish in Eloy; Paul Grandi from St. Thomas the Apostle Parish; and one second year college seminarian: Jesus Sanchez from St. Jude Thaddeus Parish in San Luis.


At the University of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois, there are two students in their fourth year of studies: Marco Carrasco from Immaculate Conception Parish in Douglas and Albert Miranda at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson. God willing, they will be ordained to the Diaconate on Dec. 21, 2013 and then to the priesthood in the summer.  Alan Valencia is a third year student from Sacred Heart Parish in Nogales. He will be attending a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the second semester of this year. Edson Elizararras from Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma is in his second year of theology and will be in our diocese during the second semester for his parish internship. Martin Moreno, also from Sacred Heart Parish, is entering first year theology studies at Mundelein.


We also have three new seminarians entering Mundelein: Callistus Iyorember, a member of the Via Christi community from Nigeria, is entering first theology, William Duffert from Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma, who originally is from Minnesota, and Thomas Quirk from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Tucson. Bill and Tom begin their pre-theology studies this year.


At Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wis., we have two returning seminarians: John Gonzalez from Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Green Valley, who is going into first year theology, and George Holley from St. Thomas the Apostle  Parish, who is entering  his second year of theological studies.


Part of the seminarian convocation was thanking the many people who pray and support our seminarians. Father John Lyons, Pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle, and his parish, hosted the annual seminarian support Mass and dinner. His parish gave a monetary donation to assist our seminarians, as did the Catholic Daughters of America.  Representing St. George Parish in Apache Junction, Father Domenico Pinti, V.F., presented the keys to a parish truck for our seminarians to use while at Mt. Angel Seminary. I am deeply grateful to the organizations and individuals who do so much to show our seminarians how important they are to the Diocese and to our people.


On the final day of Convocation, the seminarians heard input from Dr. Rosemary Celaya-Alston about how to live healthy lives in ministry and how to take advantage of their seminary formation to identify and address their challenges as they prepare for priesthood.


Father Manuel  Viera, O.F.M.

Father Manuel
Viera, O.F.M.

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Father Manuel Viera, O.F.M., as Judicial Vicar for the Diocese of Tucson effective Sept. 2. I have every confidence Father Manuel will be an effective Vicar with his extensive background in Canon Law. His service in our tribunal over this last year has been a blessed addition.


I am grateful to Father John Lyons who has served generously and effectively as our Judicial Vicar since the time of Bishop Manuel Moreno. Father John has a deep pastoral sensitivity that he brought to these additional responsibilities. Over the years he has assisted countless couples in their request that the Church consider declaring their marriage null and void allowing them to remarry in the Church.

Father John Lyons

Father John Lyons


While we will miss Father John he has assured me that he will continue as Judge in our tribunal. I am certain Father Manuel will build upon the work of Father John and continue to enhance the efforts of our Marriage Tribunal.


At San Carlos
I am very grateful to Father George Wilkinson, a retired priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, who came to our Diocese to be of help to us in our pastoral work. He wanted very much to experience ministry on the reservation and was willing to fill in as administrator of San Carlos Church on the Apache Reservation. Father Wilkinson will remain in the Diocese after he completes his service at San Carlos..


I recently received word from Father John Hardin, O.F.M., provincial of the Franciscan community, that Father Ignatius DeGroot, O.F.M., will begin his service as pastor of San Carlos Church on Oct. 1 of this year. Father Iganatius, you will remember, served in our diocese recently at Sells and its missions. We welcome him home.


St. Maximillian Kolbe, O.F.M.

St. Maximillian Kolbe, O.F.M.

Visit to the Arizona State Prison Complex
Yesterday I visited the Arizona State Prison Complex in Tucson to hear confessions and to celebrate Mass with the inmates at the Manzanita unit.  There were 15 to 20 people at the Mass.  Following Mass, Mike Gutierrez, detention ministry coordinator, and I presented the men with prayer cards of St. Maximillian Kolbe, O.F.M. Conv. Kolbe was a Polish Franciscan friar, who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz.  I hope the men at the prison will find comfort in knowing that others pray for them and hope for their conversion and a life of peace.  The prayer card image is a photograph of St. Maximillian as depicted in the vestibule at St. Augustine Cathedral.


While talking of volunteers, I should mention that there are 16 volunteers currently providing weekly services at eight different units in the State prison complex here in Tucson.  We also have many volunteers going to the state prisons, detention centers and jails in Bisbee, Douglas, Yuma, Florence, Eloy and Safford.  Volunteers are always  needed  as well as well as are paperback bibles.  If you would like to help or donate or if you have questions about this Ministry, please contact Mike Gutierrez at the Detention Ministry Office at 520-670-0853.


Catholic Relief Services
I have received a number of very kind comments about my August Vision article on Catholic Relief (CRS) Services and its work with Syrian refugees, in Colombia, Peru and India. Sadly, of late, a few groups have challenged CRS saying that it is doing things like passing out contraceptives and abortafacients in countries like Madagascar, and even quoting bishops and priests from there who are asserting that these actions are occurring. This is regretful since CRS, as an agency of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, fully upholds Catholic teaching.


In fact Cardinal Timothy Dolan, President of the Bishops’ Conference, Dr. Carolyn Woo, President of CRS and I talked with those Archbishops and they asserted that CRS is not doing anything contrary to our teaching and offered praise and recognition for the work of CRS. It is important to check out what people say and not take allegations at face value. If you have any questions, go to the CRS website and you will read CRS’ response to these allegations.


As U.S. Catholics we can be rightly proud of the work CRS does in our name in nearly 100 countries around the world.



Deacon Convocation at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson Friday, Aug. 16 and Saturday, Aug. 17 nearly 200 deacons serving the Diocese and their wives are expected to participate. The convocation will include:


-Safe Environment training for the deacons and their wives


– A presentation by Sr. Lois Paha, director of Pastoral Services, on her doctoral thesis on the training of deacons’ wives


– A presentation by Father Scott Brubaker of St. Helen Parish in Chandler on the Deacon and Vatican II


– a Mass and renewal of vows by the deacons to Bishop Kicanas


Annual Gathering of Parish Directors of Religious Education.
Saturday, Aug. 17, at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish Hall, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  This is a chance for DRE’s from around our diocese to meet with Bishop Kicanas, hear presentations, discuss topics pertinent to parish catechetical programs, and to network with other leaders from across the diocese. Presentations at the gathering include:


Child Development and Catechesis: Speaking the Learners Language.
Presented by Dr. Joseph White, a clinical child psychologist and National Catechetical Consultant with Our Sunday Visitor Curriculum.


Balancing the need to Know: Catechetical leaders and our Call to Protect
Presented by Dr. Rosemary Celaya-Alston, director of the diocesan Office of Child, Adolescent and Adult Protection


  Catechists and the New Evangelization
Presented by Bishop Gerald Kicanas.