Welcome Fr. Pius

I am grateful that I was born to the loving parents who practiced their faith. The earliest memory that I have is in Seoul, S. Korea in an ornate chapel worshiping the Lord. My older brother and l both attended a private Catholic school. The subjects that I excelled in the most were mathematics and music. In addition, I enjoyed extracurricular activities such as ice skating and playing soccer.

When I was nine, my family moved to Orange County, CA where we continued to be involved in the life of a parish. My older brother and I enrolled in a public-school system which took on a different pace and structure to that of a Catholic school. It was also a period when my younger brother was born: I had become a middle child.

Throughout middle and high school, I was heavily interested in electronics. I had a desire to learn about sound programs and how sound systems worked. In addition, I started attending live concerts. Sounds in general were fascinating. This persisting interest encouraged me to pursue a major in music technology at the New York University.

In college, I had a strong inclination to stop practicing the faith. Busy with classes and internships, I lost interest in God and the Church. Upon an invitation to a friend to St. Joseph’s in Greenwich Village, the campus parish of NYU, I encountered the men in white habit who were known as the Dominicans. Before this period, I had never encountered priests who were
competent yet so personable. And I was sold by their preaching.

It was through a particular friar by the name of John McGuire, OP that I began to think about the priesthood. I had considered it a few times in the past, but the call seemed to be stronger this time around. To my amazement, I was praying the divine office, and I started attending daily Mass. I was on fire.

Upon graduation without thinking much of the details, I joined the Diocese of Orange to be closer to my parents and to answer the call to the priesthood. After spending three years in the diocese, however, I realized that I did not have a call to the Diocesan way of living. I strongly wanted a Dominican life: a strong zeal for preaching by the way of community and contemplation.

Eventually, with prayer and direction, I made the decision to leave the diocese and to become a Dominican in the western Province.

I have been very happy to be a part of this Province and the worldwide Order. In April of 2017, I made solemn profession, and in June of 2018, I was ordained to the priesthood.

My first assignment as a newly ordained priest was in Anchorage, AK where I practiced the art of the sacraments and where I learned about God from the parishioners and the people in the ‘bush.’

Perhaps the dark and cold nights of the never-ending winters will balance out in the heat of Tucson. I really look forward to meeting you, and to learn about God from you! – Fr. Pius Youn, OP

COVID-19 Updates

3/16/2020 4PM Pacific Time – the Bishop of Tucson has raised the response to Level 3. All public gatherings, including weekend Masses, will be suspended through April 6th and reevaluated at that time. The Diocesan COVID-19 page is linked here.

We will have more Newman-specific information coming soon. Thanks for your patience and understanding. Please make use of our Lent Resource Page for links to Daily Mass readings, daily reflections/meditations and apps to help you nourish your spiritual life.

3/13/20 – Dear Newman Community:

It seems like the situation related to the COVID-19 virus changes by the hour. Please know that we have been in constant communication with the Diocese of Tucson and Western Dominican Province related to any protocols that need to be updated. We ask that if you are not feeling well to please stay home and recuperate. Your faith community will be praying in a special way for all those experiencing illness as well as the safety of all caregivers and first responders.

In addition to the changes we made last weekend related to the distribution of communion by host only, the Sign of Peace and the Our Father portions of the Mass, we are also taking the following actions:

  • We are suspending the 7PM Mass. At this time, the other weekend Masses will continue, but this may change: Saturday Vigil Mass at 5:15PM, Sunday 9AM, 11AM and 5PM
  • Fr. Tom’s Café will be suspended (coffee and donuts after Sunday Morning Masses)
  • Collection baskets will no longer be passed throughout the congregation but will still be available at the entrances. We encourage you to please consider your giving by preparing your collection ahead of time in an envelope or making use of our online giving program.

We urge everyone to stay informed related to this viral outbreak but also to recommit to our Lenten practices of Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving to encourage the spread of charity and patience and not illness or anxiety. We also invite you to be prepared in case we need to cancel or postpone any of our pre-scheduled programming over the next few weeks and months.

Thank you for your understanding. May we all use our Newman Center’s Mission Statement to guide our way through these uncertain times: “to be transformed through an encounter with the Spirit of Truth and the Love of God.” This is happening everywhere, and our first concern is your health and well-being. Future updates will be posted on our website: UACatholic.org.

Respectfully Yours in Christ,

Father John Paul Forté, O.P.

Resources for more information:
• Diocese of Tucson COVID-19 Guidelines: https://diocesetucson.org/stayhealthy
• University of Arizona Notices: https://www.arizona.edu/coronavirus-covid-19-information
• Western Dominican Province Spiritual Resources: https://www.opwest.org/coronavirus/

Note from Fr. JP

Peace and Blessings in these days of heightened health awareness and elevated anxiety surrounding greater concerns with regards to the Coronavirus.

The St. Thomas More Catholic Newman Center is in Compliance with the strong recommendations from the Diocese of Tucson, which is also closely listening to those clear guidelines of the State of Arizona and our national and global updates.

If further changes are required we will be touch as soon as possible. Let us pray for all infected by this virus, and ask the Holy Spirit to help us to find a cure, as well, as to navigate lovingly and intelligently into the future.

Respectfully Yours in Christ,
Fr. John Paul Forté, OP