Sunday, December 8, 2013


President, Catholic Extension Society
One wonders if the chancery has notified the Catholic Extension Society, from which it receives quite a bit of funding annually, that the Archdiocese of Agana no longer needs its money.

The Archdiocese of Agana is classified by the CES as a mission diocese, qualifying it to receive grants to the tune of at least a quarter of a million dollars per year. 

According to the CES, to qualify for mission status the archdiocese must be able to demonstrate that it cannot sustain itself without outside funding.

Apparently we can. Not only can we now afford to sustain ourselves, according to today's U Matuna we are now wealthy enough to sustain two seminaries one of which is organized solely for the purposes of sustaining a missionary outreach to the ends of the earth. 

A diocese which is wealthy enough to fund missions to other lands can no longer be itself a "mission", at least not in the sense that the CES defines it. So bye-bye CES funding to the Archdiocese of Agana (which essentially only funded the chancery payroll anyway). 

Let's review what constitutes a mission diocese and see if we still qualify. According to the CES, to qualify for mission status a diocese must demonstrate one or more of the following: 

1. There are many Catholics, but little institutional Catholic presence (i.e. ordained leaders, Catholic schools and church buildings).

Not! On Guam, there are more Catholic churches per square mile and more priests per Catholic than any other place in the United States. And, as per the 2010 Archdiocesan report for the clergy, Guam's priests have more leisure time than does the average U.S. priest.

2. There is a rapidly growing Catholic population, but limited financial means to support this growth.

Not! In fact we have a rapidly dwindling Catholic population as anyone who goes to Mass regularly can clearly see. What IS rapidly growing are all the other churches on Guam which are packed with former Catholics.

3. Catholics are spread throughout great geographic distances, making pastoral outreach difficult.

Obviously not.

4. Catholics are located in areas facing economic hardships.

Apparently not. We not only can afford two seminaries, we can afford to pay to bring foreigners to Guam, pay for their formation (how many we pay for that don't become priests but just go home, we don't know), and then pay for them to live and work elsewhere. We'll leave names out for now, but there are priests incardinated in this diocese who live elsewhere but are still on the local payroll. Think of that the next time your parish has to do a carwash or a bake sale in order to do afford a new paint job for your church or even CCD materials. 

5. Catholics represent the religious minority in their communities.

Obviously not.

So, what then are we doing taking money from the Catholic Extension Society? In fact, since Guam extracted itself from the U.S. Conference in 1984 and aligned itself with CEPAC, the Conference of Bishops of Oceania, and is only an "observer" to the USCCB, why are we still taking money from an organization whose mission it is to serve the "poor dioceses" of the United States? 

We may be politically aligned with the U.S. as a territory, but since we were big enough to strike out on our own and establish ourselves as an archdiocese and align with another Conference, and now big enough to establish two seminaries and send missionaries to the ends of the earth, WHY do we still have our hand out to the CES disguised as a "poor diocese"?

Maybe we don't. Maybe the chancery has written the CES and advised them that we will no longer be asking for grants. If so, please advise. If not, we will notify the CES ourselves. 

NOTE: Yes, we are well aware that the church views "mission" more generally. However, we are speaking here specifically of qualifying for mission status under the terms of the Catholic Extension Society for the purposes of receiving money.


  1. More to give to Catholic Charities Appeal?

    On a more sour note, have the Neo members hold a fundraiser such as a car wash, food plates and the sort to support the education of those sent from abroad.

    My money can be used to pay tuition at a Catholic School. If this is not good enough then maybe Harvest Christian or St Paul's can educated my children in a Christian way.

  2. FYI, we do have fundraisers for the seminary. Speak on what you know, and not what you think.

  3. It cost about $40,000 to educate, train, and form a seminarian to be a priest at St. Patrick’s. (St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, Calif.) The school has been around for over a 100 years. It has a faculty of 32 and a staff of 23. It receives support from the Oblate Sisters and other affiliations. It currently has 110 seminarians(representing 65 dioceses) who undergo 4 years of rigorous and spiritual education and training to be a priest. The president is the archbishop of the archdiocese of San Francisco. It is self-sustaining.

    Now, who do we have at the Chancery or in this archdiocese who can run a seminary? No one. The Yona seminary is not self-sustaining and the office of the rector and vice rector is like a revolving door—they come and go every two years, not a good sign of stability. So, if the archdiocese subsidizes the Yona seminary to the tune of several hundred thousand a year, how deep of a drain will the new one create? From an economic standpoint, the two should be combined to achieve some kind of economies of scale.

    The parishioners in Guam are donating to fund the education and training of foreigners to send them off to foreign places. If we are so awash with money, then why don’t we use these funds instead to fund a Catholic hospital, a Catholic nursing home, a northern Catholic high school, and to fund a program to reach out to thousands of Micronesians living in abject poverty. Why don’t we evangelize them instead?But because they are not in the Neo, who cares!

  4. Regarding funding...are the seminarians considered Redemptorist Priest or Diocesean?

    If they are a separate group of religious order then shouldn't their financial aid come from their Redemptorost headquarters? Do the Capuchins, the Jesuits, the Dominicans, the Religious Sisters of Mercy, the Notre Dame Sisters and other religious orders benefit from Catholic Charities Appeal? No! Their funding to educate those who enter their community comes from their own congregations. Let us be fair and pass the buck around to ALL religious orders.

  5. Maybe Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron believes that the Archdiocese of Agaña is eligible to be considered a "mission diocese" by virtue of the definition from the Catholic Extension Society, which states that "A mission diocese is a place where the Catholic Church is emerging, and even thriving, but the financial resources are scarce."
    Apuron probably thinks that "financial resources are scarce", given the dismal response to the Archdiocesan Annual Appeal (FKA Catholic Charities Appeal).
    On the other hand, IF Apuron recognizes that Guam really no longer meets the criteria of a mission diocese and continues to take the money under less than truthful circumstances, it would just be one more example of how he has the tendency to stretch and twist and distort facts to fit HIS version of "truth." Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive ...

  6. The NCW is not a religious order, but an "itinerary of Catholic formation". The confusion comes in where we were told that Redemptoris Mater Seminary was a seminary for the Archdiocese of Agana. It is not. It is a seminary specifically constituted to serve the international mission of the NCW. That's fine. But then don't take our money and tell us otherwise.

  7. Capuchins do an annual appeal within their Capuchin parishes...thus, some donate only to caps and not to the archdiocese annual appeal...just a fact...

    1. Thank you for clarifying the Capuchins annual appeal for the formation of those studying under their jurisdiction. So the Responsibles should also hold an annual appeal for the formation of those who desire to be missionaries, and use the Catholic Charities appeal for the men who wish to be regular diocesan priest.