Monday, January 6, 2014

ANSWER: NO!


Last August, we shared with you the plight of Junee Valenica, a young man, desirous of becoming a priest and serving the Archdiocese of Agana, but who did not want to be formed for the priesthood in the context of the Neocatechumenal Way at the local Redemptoris Mater Seminary, which, at the time, was the only option available to him. (Related post here.)

It was "the only option", because, unlike before, men desiring to serve as a diocesan priest, are no longer allowed by this archdiocese to attend a seminary off-island. They must attend the local seminary: Redemptoris Mater.


We raised the issue that the local seminary was strictly a Neocatechumenal Way seminary which formed priests for missionary service beyond the Archdiocese of Agana, and noted that it was problematic to force men seeking traditional diocesan service into a missionary formation, particularly one as divergent and anomalistic as the Neocatechumenal Way.

In response, or at least it appears so, a new seminary was formed for men seeking to serve the Archdiocese of Agana as diocesan priests and not within the parameters of the Neocatechumenal Way. (See “A new diocesan seminary for Guam.” U Matuna Si Yu’os, December 15, 2013)

But other than a separate place for the current single seminarian to eat and sleep, the "new seminary", at this point, does not appear to actually be anything other than a boarding house. The single seminarian, Junee, must still attend the Blessed Diego Institute, located at the Yona seminary, and attend all the same classes as his neocatechumenal counterparts. 

The only difference other than living elsewhere appears to be that Junee is not forced to participate in the unique liturgies of the Neocatechumenal Way which the other seminarians participate in. So, other than serving as a hotel, one wonders what this new seminary is all about.

Recently, another young man aspiring to the priesthood as a diocesan priest in the service of this archdiocese, had such a question. Aaron Quitugua, a graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas High School, and a faithful familiar face at the cathedral, was zealous to be formed for the priesthood at the new seminary but had questions in regards to the proposed diocesan formation and the academic qualifications and credentials of the local institute he would be forced to attend. 

One of Aaron's concerns was that should he discern at some point in his seminary journey, as some do, that he is not called to the priesthood, would the academic credits, earned at the institute, be transferrable to a regular university or college. Also, having already embarked, at his own expense, on a college education, Aaron asked if the credits already earned would be transferable to the institute. The answer on both counts was no. 

In short, the academic credits earned at the Blessed Diego Institute have no value outside the Institute or its Lateran affiliation (and even that is under review). Should Aaron decide not to continue with his priestly studies and leave the seminary, he would have to begin a college career from scratch. 

Hoping to attend a seminary where he might obtain a fully accredited academic formation, Aaron sought other options. Since he was told that the only reason he could not be sent to a seminary in the states was due to the inability of the archdiocese to pay for it, he approached the vocations director, Fr. Adrian Cristobal, and volunteered to pay for his own education and seminary formation at Mt. Angel Seminary in Oregon, where he was ALREADY accepted, if ONLY the archdiocese would sponsor him. In other words, it would cost the archdiocese NOTHING. 

Aaron recently received his answer: NO. 

It appears that Aaron's only option, should he still wish to be a priest, is either to accept the questionable academic formation at the local institute or seek to be a priest elsewhere. Another local man, not wanted, not needed. 

25 comments:

  1. Junee and Aaron aren't the only ones. There are a two more local boys that I know off that were denied the opportunity to go the St. Patrick's Seminary. These two local boys opted instead just to give their talented services to the church free of charge.

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  2. It looks as though the "tangled web" that first came to my attention on July 16, 2013, continues to be woven. This latest one now involves Aaron Quitugua, a young man who I have observed for several years, first serving in Dededo with Fr. Paul Gofigan and now serving in Agana, often with Fr. Tom McGrath. It was no surprise to learn that Aaron wanted to be a priest.

    Aaron was told that the Archdiocese cannot afford to pay for off-island formation; BUT when he informed the Vocations Director that he is willing to pay for his education and only needs the Archdiocese to sponsor him — at NO COST to the Archdiocese — his request is refused! Clearly the issue is not the inability to finance off-island formation. If the issue is not finances, what is it?

    Why can't Aaron — and Junee, for that matter — follow in Fr. Richard Kidd's footsteps and receive formation off-island? If I recall correctly, Fr. Richard entered the seminary in 2007 (or thereabouts), 8 years after the RMS had opened its doors. Why are these young men being denied the opportunity that was given to Fr. Richard? Please don't let it be the fact that both Aaron and Junee have had connections with Fr. Paul!

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  3. Fr. Kidd did not have an easy time of it. I understand he had to fight every step of the way.

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  4. I know of another young man who wanted to become a priest and to serve the community on Guam. I'm not sure who he spoke to, but as I learned it, he was told that he had to be formed in the Neo way at RMS if he wanted to be a priest on Guam. He didn't want to be a Neo. So, he left Guam and I haven't heard from him since; but, I assume he went to seminary somewhere else and is serving or will serve as a priest somewhere else. Let's face it: the RMS is not intended to benefit the regular Catholic church on Guam. Rather, it is part of the larger effort to replace the regular Catholic church on Guam with the Neo church. Isn't that obvious? All RMS seminaries are Neo and for the benefit of Neos.

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    1. That seems to be the Catholic Church on Guam these days...if you want any role you have to be Neo. The last batch of Deacons were all forced to join the Neo by Tony. And guess who was the vocation director back then also...Adrian. They were told it was a matter of obediance. How many people trapped in the Neo today stay in this cult because of misguided obedience?
      There is a new batch of deacons forming...when will they be forced to join this cult? Be strong men, don't let the management of today change your desire to serve us in our churches. We need your type of diversity. Hopefully, by the time you are ready to be ordained we will have real leaders in our Archdiocese.
      For Aaron and Junee, and all others who have a calling...as the Neo always says, have courage! It is God who will open the path to your service, so be open to him, and not the human aspect that we see today in our leadership. The Neo will eventually implode inwards because of its arrogant attitude. Too bad, but they are really truly blind as the the great harm they are causing.

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  5. It is very sad that Guam's sons are treated in this manner. It is quite clear in this case that finances are definitely not the reason Aaron is being denied sponsorship in this Archdiocese. I admire Aaron's courage and I am glad he did not "give in" and become a neo or agree to a neo formation. Aaron, and other young men who hear God's call to the priesthood should be allowed the option to study in a seminary that will properly form them for their ministry. And people wonder what causes the division in the Archdiocese?Why can't the leadership of the Archdiocese of Agana be fair to everyone?Why do the local boys have to suffer for a select group?
    Hang in there Aaron - If God is for you, who can be against you?

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    1. only the Archbishop, who is supposed to be Aaron's pastoral father...failed again!

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    2. Anonymous (January 6, 2014 at 3:52 PM), clearly the operative phrase is "SUPPOSED TO BE …". Unfortunately it appears that the Archbishop is quite selective in terms of who will benefit from his pastoral fatherhood — so very, very sad …

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  6. Reflecting today on archbishop flores. He worked so hard for Guam, gave so much of his personal wealth to Guam. Apuron is now wasting our finances and our property. He is like a rich kid squandering the wealth he inherited. Flores must be turning in his grave watching Apuron today. Is it not time for a Guam uprising to make it known we no longer support Anthony Apuron as spiritual leader of Guam. I feel a pacific spring in the air.

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  7. Guys, let's be honest here and call a spade a spade. I do not know Aaron how you evaluate him sounds ok to me. But for sure, if Aaron was or is a handsome hunk from brazil, or south America, he would have no problem with archbishop Apuron or Adrain, he would be able to attend any seminary he wants. We notice our chancery boys seem to like good looking south a,Erica's men. What do readers think.

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    1. That's just silly and gutter minded. Makes me think, being honest and calling a spade a spade, you came here as a pretender.

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    2. To 6:13: GROW UP! You sound as though you are not well educated. STAY ON TRACK with the issues.

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    3. Anonymous 6:13pm
      Your comments makes no sense whatsoever.

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  8. As we move on it may not be as silly as it sounds.

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  9. May we confirm if the seminary school costs for Father Richard Kidd were paid by the archdiocese or is there still a debt owed to st. Patrick's seminary menlo park California.

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  10. Let's focus on the NCW issues. Other issues will be resolved in due time.

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  11. Reading the comments it is correct about archbishop Flores. The Good archbishop floes gave his personal wealth for establishing a retirement fund for our priests. Archbishop Flores loved his priests and wanted them looked after in old age and when sick. Certainly he would never have allowed the present situation on Guam between a bishop and a priest to have evolved.

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  12. Mary Lou. Thank you for your informed comments. It would be correct to say that archbishop Apuron has always been selective to who he gives help to. Over the years I have watched him deal with two different priests, in the same situation, but treating them differently. For example in 1992 when ray cepeda was reported to the archbishop, why did the archbishop do nothing for ten years. Why was he sent to study canon law. Answer. Because they were close friends.

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  13. In all honesty after studying the articles of Tim Rohr whom we greatly respect it is clear to us that His Excellency Archbishop Anthony sablan Apuron metropolitan archbishop of Agana Guam USA should seek the blessing of the Holy See to take a period of sabbatical leave from Guam to pray, reflect and discern before God his future as spiritual leader of Guam.

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  14. Of course, it must remain clear that I have presented no personal opinion, only facts, facts already generally available.The blog has only made these facts more widely available.

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  15. Comments left on this page which kind of shocked us at first have been followed up by further investigation. We believe we may be looking at something which is much larger than the Ncw. Mr. rohrs articles have simply encouraged people to reflect and think. People comment. We then study the comments and the comments are connecting with problems with archbishop Apuron going back to 1990. Shortly much more detailed comments will be left on this page. The people of Guam and the mariana islands can draw their own conclusions.

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  16. Is every priest in the archdiocese of Agana Guam and in the diocese of Chalan Kamoa accounted for. If not we need to look closer. If any priest has been out of the diocese for a ten year period I think it's time we start asking questions.

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  17. Besides the issue of forcing non-Neo diocesan seminarians to take all their classes at the 1) Neo 2) Missionary seminary, just how good of a seminary is it for the formation of parish priests? Let's take a look at the new group of priests ordained from Redemptoris Mater. Many people would say that their preaching is horrible. They all sound the same. Repetitive, unnecessarily long, the same 2 or 3 themes Sunday after Sunday no matter what the Gospel or readings are, strong accents so we don't understand what they say anyway. In liturgy many of them don't know what to do. Altar servers sometimes have to tell them what comes next. In their dealings with parishioners, ouch! Very rough, and some of them seem to like that, as if that's actually a good thing to offend people. Add on top of that the crash courses they often take, with a professor who hardly speaks English (well, many seminarians hardly speak English, too, but we're talking about our local seminarians' welfare) teaching complicated things in 2 or 3 weeks. Something that would take a whole semester in a standard seminary. Add to that the "everyone passes" no matter how poorly they learned (an unwritten policy) which a former teacher there can testify if asked. He quit teaching there because of that. Add to that what some of those priests have said openly that "it's not important to be smart, just holy." For all this our dollars in the Catholic Charities or whatever they call it now are going. Also to house and feed them, fly in their crash course professors, pay for the seminarians, too, to fly all over the world and their medical insurance, too. These guys from Colombia never had it so good. The seminary rector can hardly carry a conversation in English (try talking to him). Their shining star is an American priest who is the brain behind the infamous same-sex marriage position paper that said, more or less, "at least the Muslims know what to do with their homosexuals" and "the jihadists know the value of sacrifice." Yes. THIS is the seminary we want our future priests to be formed in!

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  18. The standard of formation in the Guam seminary is alarming. The priests can hardly preach, what they do say is like a recorded message been given them, the contents does not speak to the life of our people on Guam, and honestly they show signs of not at all being able to communicate the Gospel message to our parishes. There is no standard this is the problem.

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  19. How can you Expect the seminarians new priests of Guam to have standards when the three in the chancery leading the NCW have no standards in their personal life. The three are just a joke on Guam and now in the international church. At dinner in Rome December met priest who knew David and is following this blog. Did you know it took David years more than any other student to earn a church degree. He hardly ever mixed with priests or class mates, was socially out of himself, so not surprised he involved himself in the NCW as a foundation to super him. As was said on this web page NCW appeals to people who lack character and values.

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