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Vol. 8, No. 13 June 7, 2010 One of the greatest joys of a bishop is to ordain a priest, and that was my experience Saturday at St. Augustine Cathedral when I ordained Oscar Mario Magallañes Villa to the priesthood. What a glorious celebration it was! The applause was frequent and sustained as people showed their delight for Father Oscar and their joy that we have a new priest to serve our Diocese. His ﬁrst assignment is to Immaculate Conception Parish in Yuma. Father Oscar was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, and from three months of age grew up in Nogales, Sonora. He entered the seminary at the age 13 for the Archdiocese of Heromosillo, but his discernment about his vocation in life took him on a different path when he was in his twenties. He left the seminary, and in 1975 he married Olga. They started their family and raised two sons. In his vocation as husband and father, Oscar began a career as a psychologist and worked at La Frontera in Tucson, counseling married couples and families. Still feeling the strong pull to serve the Church, Oscar became a candidate for the permanent diaconate and was ordained a deacon for our Diocese, serving at Our Lady Queen of All Saints Parish in Tucson. After Olga died and with their sons grown up, Oscar again felt called to the priesthood. He applied to be a seminarian for our Diocese, was accepted and went off for two years of study at Sacred Heart Seminary in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. Our special guests at the Cathedral on Saturday included Father Luis Enrique, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Heromosillo, who came to represent Archbishop Ulyses Macias, Father Mario Lorta and Father Alfredo Sepulveda, friends of Father Oscar from his early seminary years, and Father Raul Gomez of the seminary community. Father Jose Funes, S.J., director of the Vatican Observatory (here at the University Arizona and at Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father’s summer residence) surprised everyone by sharing a congratulatory letter to Father Oscar from the Holy Father. Father Oscar’s ordination is the inspiration for my column in this month’s issue of The New Vision, our diocesan newspaper. I wrote that when I was ordained a priest in 1967, Father Oscar would have been referred to as a “special.” Back then, most of my classmates and I were referred to as “lifers.” We had begun our studies for the priesthood in high school. A “special” was an older man who heard God’s call to the priesthood later in life. Today, we call men who become priests later in life “second career” priests, but they still are very “special,” and we are blessed in our Diocese by their service. We have a number of second career priests who have brought many diverse skills, gifts and talents to our Diocese. Some have taught school, practiced law and dentistry, served in the military, operated businesses and held high positions in the corporate world. Whatever their experience, they now enrich our presbyterate. Recently, I appointed one of our second career priests, Father Ricky Ordoñez, as our new vocation director. Like his immediate predecessors (Father Miguel Mariano, Father Vili Valderrama and Father Mike Bucciarelli), he will bring boundless energy to his work. And, I think his skills in the career he had before becoming a priest will come in handy. Father Ricky was an expert in promoting tourism. Now, he will be inviting men to consider going on a life-long journey of service to our Church. Even with his skills, though, on his own Father Ricky would be like a voice in the wilderness. But, if all of us – priests, religious, deacons, laity and especially parents – are involved, Father Ricky’s outreach will be pervasive. So, what can we do to support Father Ricky? We need to encourage younger men in high school and college to consider priesthood. And, we ought to look for potential candidates among older men, like Father Oscar, who might seek to be priests only later in life. The young bring idealism, energy, creative ideas and excitement. Older candidates bring with them experience, proven worth and acquired wisdom. God calls in unexpected ways, and a word of invitation to the young and not so young to consider priesthood can go a long way. We need to encourage parents to be promoters of vocations. Both young and more experienced candidates often speak of their parents as primary promoters of their vocation. That was true for me. My parents did not push me, but I knew they supported my interest. My dad was raised by a priest after his mother died and his father could not take care of him. That priest was revered by my dad. My mom, although not a Roman Catholic when I went to the high school seminary, grew very close to a priest who ultimately brought her into the faith. She, too, had a great respect for priesthood because of our young dynamic associate pastor. Although I suspect that they both would have wanted their only son to get married, have children and pass on our family name, I knew I had their support in my decision to become a priest. Their support meant the world to me. As our Diocese continues to pray and seek vocations to the priesthood, I encourage each one of us to identify those whom God is calling, be they second career candidates or younger men. Both have a place in ministry today. Both can contribute to the work of the Church. Both need to be invited. 1. “What Makes a Really Great Priest?” – At the beginning of the Year for Priests, we invited readers of The New Vision, our diocesan newspaper, to share their answers to that question. Among the responses, this one communicates so well that priesthood matters and that our priests touch people’s lives in truly amazing ways: To celebrate the Year for Priests, I was motivated to remember many of the wonderful, talented pastors and assistant pastors – some in heaven and some still toiling in Christ’s vineyard – who have blessed my life: Gentle Father John Golias, who made sure to be in the hall when a worried little girl (who could not understand how to tell time) was sent by the teacher to the hall clock for a time check. He always managed to help her count by 5s to get the right answer. Father Joe Fleming, ﬁnancial genius and no-nonsense missionary for Christ, who advocated an annulment for two dear friends estranged from the Church by saying, “Just get off your duffs and DO THE PAPERWORK!” They did! Father Barry Baroni, former mechanical engineer, who related Scripture to family life to teach us and who, despite his marvelous wit and sense of humor, nearly died trying to make ends meet keeping a Catholic School and parish solvent in a rust-belt community. Father Jim Travis, himself ill with breathing problems, who courageously drove four-plus hours one-way many scorching hot weekends to ofﬁciate at Mass when our pastor was in hospital. Father Tom Dekaa, who traveled thousands of miles from Nigeria, to tend to the cares and concerns of Arizonans while having to worry about his own dear mother in delicate health half a world away. Father Bill Gyure, opera aﬁcionado just one of his strengths, who, when we vigil Mass musicians play a hymn that may not appeal to his musically astute ear, gently smiles and says, “I may be wrong but I think the melody for your Offertory hymn used to be the drinking song for a fraternity at Princeton.” (Kindly chastened, we defer to his well-tempered tympanum.) As I think about them all, these good, decent, talented men who serve Christ’s people and His Church in so many ways, I found it hard to keep the memories brief. The only gift I can return to them is my prayers of thanksgiving for them all. You can read more responses here. I have written a personal note to each of our priests expressing my thanks to them for their service and ministry. I am grateful to all our parish communities for coming up with creative ways to honor and thank our priests during this Year for Priests. They held dinners, organized writing of letters communicating appreciation, and asked parishioners to pray for priests. Those expressions of thanks mean a lot. I saw an example of this yesterday when I went to visit Father Martin Atanga and his communities of St. Jude Parish in Pearce/Sunsites and St. Francis of Assisi in Elfrida for First Communion and Conﬁrmation when it was announced that the parish was having a ﬁesta next week to honor Father Martin for his service to conclude the Year for Priests. The people of St. Monica Parish in Tucson communicated their thanks Saturday to Father Jim Hobert, their pastor. The parish’s celebration of Father Jim’s 25th anniversary of ordination included folkolorico dancing and mariachi music and was ﬁlled with many cheers, sustained applause and great appreciation for one who has served with distinction. I was delighted that Father Jim’s mom and dad, his sisters Mary and Camille, his brother John, his Aunt Honey and many cousins could be present for the celebration. The Movimiento Familiar Cristiana prepared and served food to all who attended the reception at San Miguel High School’s Gym. Clearly, Father Jim is loved by his people at St. Monica and by those he served at St. Ambrose Parish in Tucson and in the Douglas and Pirtleville communities. Father Jim has worked for many years in detention ministry and has served as our Priest Delegate for Continuing Education of Priests. At Father Jim’s anniversary celebration, at the ordination of Father Oscar and at last Wednesday evening’s installation of Father Peter Nwachukwu as pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Ajo, I was encouraged to see so many of our priests participate, reﬂecting the sense of fraternity that is growing stronger in our Diocese. It is important that priests see themselves as part of a presbyterate that works together, along with our laity, women and men religious and deacons, to carry on the mission of Christ. I have seen this spirit of fraternity especially among our priests from Africa. They travel long distances to show their support for a brother priest. They teach us a lot about how to be a fraternity of priests supporting and encouraging one another. 2. Conclusion of the Year for Priests – The Year for Priests concludes this week with a special international gathering of priests in Rome. Father Pat Crino, rector of St. Augustine Cathedral, is representing the priests of our Diocese. Father Pat is able to participate through the generosity of the Arizona State Council of the Knights of Columbus. The gathering of priests begins Wednesday at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls with prayer, a conference on the theme of “Conversion and Mission” and Mass. On Thursday, the priests will gather again at the St. Paul Outside the Walls for a conference on “The Upper Room: Invoking the Holy Spirit With Mary, in Fraternal Communion.” Following the conference, they will go to St. Peter’s Basilica for a vigil service during which Pope Benedict XVI will give a discourse. On Friday, at Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Holy Father will close the Year for Priests and mark the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney, patron saint of parish priests. 3. Priests’ Convocation, Diocese of Lake Charles – I am on my way to the Diocese of Lake Charles in Louisiana this morning. I am very honored to have been invited by Bishop Glen John Provost and the priests of his Diocese to be with them for their annual Priests’ Convocation. I will share reﬂections with them this evening and tomorrow on the theme of their gathering, “Priest: Minister of Love in Truth.” Visiting the Diocese of Lake Charles Website gives me a perspective on how geography is a great inﬂuence on the mission of the local Church. For instance, while we here in our Diocese are deeply concerned about immigration and the dangers posed by of our desert’s summer heat to migrants, in the Diocese of Lake Charles they are praying that efforts to contain the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will be successful. Bishop Provost also is asking his people to pray for the safety of all as their region enters the hurricane season. 4. Pastoral Center Staff Meetings – I will meet this Thursday morning with the directors of our diocesan ofﬁces and departments for our monthly meeting. Following that meeting, we will meet with the entire staff of the Pastoral Center for our quarterly meeting. We will share the results of a survey of the Pastoral Center staff that asked each staff member what is going well and what they would change if they were the bishop. The comments were very helpful in getting a sense of where we are at the Pastoral Center in our service of the parishes and schools of our Diocese. 5. Visit to Jewish History Museum – I was privileged last week to visit an important landmark of our region’s faith history. The Jewish History Museum is just a few blocks from St. Augustine Cathedral on South Stone Avenue. I was welcomed to the Museum by its executive director, Eileen Warshaw, and by Fran Katz, chair of the board of the Jewish Community Center, Jeff Katz, chair of the board of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, Dr. Barry Friedman, president of the board of the Jewish History Museum, Howard Schneider, treasurer of the board of the Jewish History Museum, and Stuart Mellan, president and chief executive ofﬁcer of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. The Museum is a tribute to the care and concern of the Tucson Jewish Community for their history. The building that is home to the Museum served the Jewish Community as Temple Emanu-El from 1910 to 1949. In 1994, when the building was in danger of being demolished, some caring people from the Jewish Community acted to save it. As the Stone Avenue Temple Project, they worked to ﬁnd ways to restore the building. In 2006, the Stone Avenue Temple Project and the Jewish Historical Society of Southern Arizona merged to form the Jewish History Museum. This October, our entire community will join with the Jewish Community in celebrating the centennial of the building of the ﬁrst Jewish house of worship in Arizona Territory. Chancellor Ernie Nedder and John Shaheen, our diocesan Property and Insurance Manager, accompanied me on my visit. We learned about the history of the building that houses the Museum from Eileen Warshaw and Dr. Barry Friedman. I toured the exhibit “Rebirth After The Holocaust.” The exhibit, which concluded last week, shows the history of the Bergen Belsen Displaced Persons Camp and explains the important role of the camp in the history of the formation of the State of Israel. From left to right: Fran and Jeff Katz, Dr. Barry Friedman, Howard Schneider, Eileen Warshaw, myself, Stuart Mellan, Ernie Nedder and John Shaheen. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. What the Jewish Community has done – and continues to do – to preserve the history of the Jewish Faith in our community inspires me. Their efforts support the priority that we have placed on our Archives and Museum, the renovation of our Cathedral and the preservation of the Pamplona Cruciﬁx. 6. Remember in Your Prayers – Please pray for the repose of the soul of Olga Ruiz, mother of Father Tony Ruiz, who died last week at age 99. The vigil service is at 7 p.m. today at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson. The Funeral Mass will be tomorrow at 10 a.m. Please pray for the repose of the soul of Anne Krekorian, mother of Ginny Clements of Tucson, who died last week. Ginny has served on many diocesan boards and been a great supporter of our Diocese. We pray her mother will enjoy eternal rest and that her family will ﬁnd consolation in the Lord. Please remember Msgr. Richard O’Keeffe and Father Liam Leahy in your prayers. They recently have had some health challenges. 7. Looking Ahead – I will be leaving for St. Petersburg, Florida, this Sunday for next week’s Spring Assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Monday Memo will take a break and will be back June 21. I will be returning to the Diocese from the Spring Assembly on Saturday, June 19. On Sunday, June 20, I will be joining the participants in the Priesthood Vocation Discernment Retreat at La Purisima Retreat Center in Hereford.