Catholic Vitamin O Obligations

If there is anything that causes discomfort among us Americans… even us Catholics is when we hear about OBLIGATIONS. We don’t like the notion of being told by someone else what we have to do. Give me liberty or give me death. And yet — we do have obligations: to love our God with all our mind, heart and soul. To love neighbor as self. To obey the Ten Commandments. To honor or marriage vows, etc. I could go on with examples.

One of the obligations we have is to act based upon a well-formed conscience. A properly formed conscience. And in part, this comes from listening to our bishops. Bishops are Christ’s legitimate authority on earth. We need to carefully attend to their teachings and programs.

For example — we have the issue of how to treat aliens. Here in Arizona, I’m sure you have heard that our governor signed into law legislation that makes it against the law to be an illegal alien. Many people of good heart and mindset believe this new law is a travesty of inhumane treatment of those who pick our lettuce and cultivate our landscaping. Some say that the majority believe the law (which parallels existing U. S. law) is ‘right on.’ They are sick of paying for jails filled with criminals who enter our country illegally. They are sick of paying for schooling, hospitalization and other benefits for people who haven’t entered the country properly.

Our guest on this show is one of our Arizona bishops, Gerald Kicanas. I hope you will listen to his position. I hope you’ll consider what the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is saying to us. And then pray before making a decision on the issue of illegal immigrants in our country.

We have the obligation to listen… to pray… to learn. Blessings.

Deacon Tom

Bishop Kicanas was born in Chicago on Aug. 18, 1941, the son of Frederick and Eva Kicanas. Ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago on April 27, 1967, Bishop Kicanas served in various capacities in the Archdiocese’s seminary system for more than 25 years. In 1984, he was appointed Rector of Mundelein Seminary at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, Illinois, which is the theologate graduate level seminary of the Archdiocese.  Concurrently, he served as a Lecturer in Community and Organization Development at Loyola University. Previous seminary postings include Rector, Principal, and Dean of Formation at the former Quigley Seminary South. Bishop Kicanas was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago on Jan. 24,1995, and ordained a bishop on March 20,1995. As Episcopal Vicar for Deanery I in the Archdiocese, he had pastoral responsibility for the Archdiocese’s northern tip, which includes Lake County and northwest suburban Cook County.  Educational accomplishments include a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, a M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from Loyola University, and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, IL.  Principal among his pastoral interests are vocations, the permanent diaconate, and encouragement of lay ministry. Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Kicanas the coadjutor Bishop of Tucson on Oct. 30, 2001. Upon the retirement of Bishop Manuel D. Moreno as fifth Bishop of Tucson, Bishop Kicanas became the sixth Bishop of Tucson on March 7, 2003.  Bishop Kicanas is the Vice President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). He is the former Secretary of the USCCB; a member of the USCCB Communications Committee; a member of the USCCB Administrative Committee; a member of the Committee for Migration; former chair of the Communications Committee; former chair of the Subcommittee for Lay Ecclesial Ministry; former chair of the Diaconate Committee; former member of the Committees for the Laity, Liturgy, Priestly Formation and Doctrine and the National Advisory Council.  Bishop Kicanas is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Pastoral Life Center;  chair of the Board of Directors of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA); a former member of the Board of Directors of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC).

His Excellency Bishop Kicanas mentioned two areas that are worthy of our attention and perhaps participation. The include the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops program called Justice For Immigrants. You can find information from the bishops, including parish activities and personal steps you might consider. This is all available at
The other resource is the wonderful organization Catholic Relief Services. Their website is found at:

Special thanks to composer and musician Bryan Murdaugh for the gift of 50 copies of his latest CD entitled Twenty Nine. You can find speaking and performance booking information on Bryan’s site:

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