Friday, August 23, 2013


A few days ago, we referred to the "targeting of a young man" from Santa Barbara parish. No names, but in short, the young man was told that if he wanted to be a priest in the Archdiocese of Agana he would have to attend the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Yona and could not go off-island for his priestly formation - as was his wish and as others have done before him. 

This would seem to make sense. Prior to the establishment of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Guam in December of 1999, the archdiocese had no seminary and had to send men desiring the priesthood to seminaries in the states. Now that we have a seminary on Guam it can be expected that men who wish to serve the Archdiocese of Agana should be formed here. So what's the problem? 

On the surface, the issue appears to be that the Redemptoris Mater Seminary is uniquely related to the Neo-Catechumenal Way and that the young man does not want to be a priest in the Neo-Catechumenal Way. But there is something else.

The Redemptoris Mater Seminary is NOT just a seminary for the Archdiocese of Agana.  It is in name, definition, and objective,  a "missionary" seminary. The full name is REDEMPTORIS MATER ARCHDIOCESAN MISSIONARY SEMINARY OF GUAM.

Priests formed in this seminary are not formed specifically for the Archdiocese of Agana but for an international itinerancy consistent with the goals and objectives of the Neo-Catechumenal Way. They must be "ready to go anywhere" as stated in a 2010 special section story of the Guam Pacific Daily News.

Normally, diocesan service and missionary service are two very different callings. One seeks stability, the other itinerancy. Should one desire to be a missionary priest, he would seek out any one of a number of missionary orders. If a man felt no such calling "to go anywhere", but felt the call to serve in the diocese of his birth - as many have - then he would seek admission to a seminary which would form him for service in his diocese.

However, the Redemptoris Mater Seminary pretends to do no such thing. It is specifically NOT a traditional diocesan seminary. It is a MISSIONARY seminary. This is a good so far as one is called to be a missionary. 

True, all the baptized are called to be "missionaries" in a sense, but not all are called to leave their homes and embrace the life of an itinerant. Yet, to be formed in the Redemptoris Mater Seminary would require exactly that.

Certainly, every priest should "be ready to go anywhere",  and may, at any time, be called upon to do so. However, specifically seeking to be formed as an itinerant missionary is  - at least traditionally - another matter. (Perhaps "traditionally" is the real issue here, but we'll save that.)

We do not know why the young man in question is not amenable to attending the Redemptoris Mater Seminary. However, what IS known is that the Redemptoris Mater Seminary does NOT form priests specifically for service in the Archdiocese of Agana, but forms them for service throughout the world, and in fact, draws candidates from throughout the world. It is an international seminary with an international aim. 

There is everything good about such an aim. BUT, if a man does not feel called to serve internationally, does not feel called to be an "itinerant", but feels called to serve only his home and his own people, what is he to do? The nature and mission of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary is clear: it is "missionary". It is designed to form priests to serve elsewhere, even though their first station may be Guam.

Whether or not this is the quandary of the man who was told he has no choice but to attend this seminary if he wants to be a priest in the Archdiocese of Agana, we don't know. It could be said that no one is forced to serve away from Guam, but the clear objective of the seminary is that one must be "ready to". This is truly a unique feature of this particular seminary.

We will end here by restating that the missionary life, one that requires a life of geographic instability and itinerancy, is a calling, and a high calling at that. But it is uniquely God's calling. However, at least according to what we have heard for a while now, if a man seeking the priesthood does not accept this form of life, then he is not "called" to be a priest in the Archdiocese of Agana.


  1. how sad that it has come to this in our Diocese. the "church" is bigger than the NCW, has been in existence long before the NCW, and is now being persecuted by the NCW.

  2. The NCW has brought many people back to the Church. I am not in the Way, but my friend comes from a family of drug addicts and abuse. They joined the way and all the speak about is Christ and how it is important that they discovered it. Many people "find" Christ in other churches. The NCW is in the Catholic Church. I followe my friend to something where they are to go the homes , knock on doors, and hate their experience with the Church and their lives. Many are rejected, and some are open to the visit. The residents would ask, "what church are you from?" And they would answer "THE CATHOLIC CHURCH MA'AM/sir". They were in shock that the people in the Catholic Church are going from door to door just to give the good news. So how can you bash something within our faith tht is helping people find Christianity again? I'm pretty sure other people in different churches are just looking at how foolish we are because of this incident. Be open brothers, the NCW is not the enemy.

  3. That last comment posted on Aug 24 at 6:39 PM sounds exactly the same language that comes from someone in the NCW. The testament is always of someone who is down and out in the worst possible scenario, which to me speaks to their state of vulnerability, and then goes on to say how the NCW saved their life. It almost reads as if this vulnerability is exploited, but that is another issue in a different forum.

    Mainly, I don't think this blog post was about maligning the good works of the NCW. It is about forcing individuals to join the NCW or else leave. It is uncharitable to force someone into a community that is not of their calling. These strong arm tactics are unconscionable and does not go unnoticed.

  4. I'm of the opinion that in matters of faith, it is truely an individual and free choice for one to express his or her believe in God based on the light of truth that one receives. If there is any truth to statements that believers are being forced to follow a certain group within the church, especially a sect that has sprouted recently, my opinion is this truely is an injustice that goes against our God given right to choose freely. Can you imagine what life would be like if we are forded to love? However I must also ask, Do not the believers have a choice to join the NCW or not? Can someone force us to go against our free will in this free country? Is it really the devicive
    action of the enemy that is at work trying to sow hate and discontent within the Church? I choose to pray for all parties that God will touch the hearts of all affected by this crisis in the body of Christ.

  5. Friend of a friend, of a friend of ChristSeptember 30, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    I have A former co-worker who became a deacon a long time ago in 2002. He and all the other men in that group were forced to join the NCW or they were told (by the person in charge-?) that the Archbishop would not let them become deacons.So most joined and became deacons, and then decided whether to stay in the NCW or leave. Most decided to follow different ways to Christ, and I heard the Archbishop was very upset. What did he expect?
    I think out of that group all have been very helpful to the Church. I hope the Archbishop sees that there is more than one way to bring Christ to the world! And I hope no one else will be FORCED to enter just so they can serve.


  6. IRS Commits to Auditing Churches but Keeps Procedures a Secret
    Related Links

    In the News

    July 29, 2014

    Does the IRS have procedures in place for auditing churches? Apparently so, to the surprise of many.

    And the agency is adding further fuel to the fire of its critics by keeping the details a secret.

    The controversy began in 2009 when a Minnesota church successfully challenged the IRS in court over its procedures for auditing churches. A judge agreed with the church that the individual designated by the IRS for initiating church income tax audits was not sufficiently high-ranking to be consistent with federal law.

    In the five years since that case was decided, the federal government has failed to finalize appropriate regulations dictating who in the IRS should have the authority for approving these church audits.

    This sparked a recent court battle between the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) and the IRS over enforcement of political activity rules within churches. The IRS and FFRF reached a settlement in the case earlier this month, with FFRF agreeing to drop its lawsuit after “receiving satisfactory assurances from the IRS that it has resolved internal policies preventing examination of church politicking claims, and no longer has a blanket policy or practice of non-enforcement of political activity restrictions.”

    The IRS has declined requests to comment on the case or to provide details regarding the settlement. So, while FFRF has reportedly been provided with information on the IRS’s policies and procedures for auditing churches, everyone else is left to wonder for now.

    The Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious liberty advocacy group and sponsor of the Pulpit Freedom Initiative for churches, announced in a press release that it has filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding details from the IRS.

    ECFA will continue to provide updates on the outcome of this case and developments relevant to churches.

    For additional background on this issue, download the following article published by Michael Martin, ECFA’s director of member services and legal counsel, in the University of Akron Tax Journal: Why Congress Adopted the Church Audit Procedures Act and What Must Be Done Now to Restore the Law for Churches and the IRS.

    This text is provided with the understanding that ECFA is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.