Thursday, March 20, 2014


Note: I received this letter with the question of whether or not it should just be sent to Archbishop Apuron or posted on this blog. Since the letter addresses many of the concerns already posted on this blog, I recommended that it be shared here on behalf of everyone. I also had some questions as to whether the author was using a pseudonym or his real name, so I decided to redact the name of the sender, especially since the letter already speaks for so many. The letter makes several points which will be extracted in a later post so that the inquiries into financial accountability can be enumerated more clearly. Here is the letter (emphases mine):


Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron
Most Reverend Archbishop of Agana
Agana, Guam

Your Excellency:

My family has long supported the Church through our stewardship offerings of time, talent, and treasures. Our family has always supported the church, and my parents were an example of faith in action through their generosity.
While I have been aware of some of the issues raised in the media since July, 2013, I have tried to stay away from those issues, trusting that God will guide His church. Matters of ritual adherence and questions of parish unity do not directly concern me, as I know there are those who will decide on these. However, there has been quite a lot of discussion on fiscal responsibility, and I have not seen any clarification to questions asked, and accusations made. I am very deeply committed to helping the Church, but at the same time I am deeply concerned whether my funds are being used as stated.

While I do not speak for the people of Guam, I have been asked to speak on behalf of my family to clarify some issues we are concerned with. Once these are answered, our family will again meet to go over these issues to determine to what level we are to support the Archdiocesan Annual Appeal. All of my questions pertain to the information released to the faithful in the March 2 edition of the U Matuna Si Yu’os on pages 8 and 9.

Q&A #2 clarifies the difference between the “AAA” and the monthly parish assessment. While we have seen an annual reporting of how much is collected from the “AAA” we have never seen how much money has been received by the Archdiocese from the monthly parish assessment. We would like to know how much has been collected in total per year for each of the last five years. We do not need a breakdown by parish, but it would be good to see how parish contributions track between monthly assessments and the annual appeal. Open accountability will certainly help to restore confidence in my family on the needs of the Church, based on an overall picture of Church revenues. Many others on Guam probably feel the same way.

However, this would only provide half the picture for the Archdiocese. An annual financial reporting from the Archdiocese would help us to understand the needs of the Church and highlight the areas of focus by the Church. One of my sisters and quite a few of my cousins live in the Bay Area, and every year the Archbishop of San Francisco publishes a very detailed annual report, 23 pages for 2013. Other dioceses do the same, and it would also help us to see the needs of the Church so we can determine how best to help. I attended the stewardship conference a few years back, and the gentleman from North Carolina, Jim Kelley, stressed the importance of accountability for the growth and success of an annual appeal.

Q&A #3 shows the average CCA collection for the past 10 years is just over $102,000, yet the goal this year has swollen to $253,000 per Q&A #4. This raises several questions, first of which is what has changed from prior years that 2014 will need so much more money. The uses seem fairly consistent with prior years: to cover the seminary, to cover chaplains, to cover miscellaneous items. Why has the need grown by 250% this year?

Since it is obvious the attainment of such a lofty goal is unlikely, what will happen if the goal is not reached? Some have heard that parishes will be required to make up any shortfall from their individual goal, to come from normal parish operating funds. While I do not see that in the two page discussion I would like that particular question to be clarified. Q&A #3 does state all contributions are voluntary, but it does not clarify what will happen to the parish if they fall short of their elevated goal. My family is active in many parishes throughout Guam and we are deeply concerned with the impact this huge goal could have on the fragile welfare of our parishes.

The next question is if parishes are not required to make up the shortfall of their goal, how will the Archdiocese make ends meet? Will they cut chaplain and seminary funding, or will they terminate other programs? If other programs are sacrificed, which ones will suffer cuts?

Regarding the amounts going to various needs, the item “Clergy Support” is odd because it is so small, just $6,600 per year. What is this amount for?

The amount for Chaplains seem very high. A friend who works at Naval Hospital advises that they pay the Archdiocese more than $75,000 per year for chaplain services provided for at USNH. So that, in addition to the $73,300 listed in your Q&A means that three chaplains cost the Archdiocese nearly $150,000 per year. Can you please explain what costs require such a high funding level from the AAA? We understand the monthly stipend of $1,000 per priest, plus the $500 monthly housing expense paid to parishes, and medical insurance. That accounts for about $72,000 for the three priests, but where does the additional $78,000 in AAA needs arise from? Also, is it possible to get GMH and DOC to pay their fair share of services you provide to them?

Lastly, we are troubled by the amount going to the seminary. The amount seems much higher than previous years. And since the funding of seminarians takes a full two-thirds of the AAA budget, it would be good for us and the people of Guam to see a budget for the seminary. Where do funds come from and where is money being spent? A budget for 2014 with a comparison to the 2013 budget would be of great help, and also a statement of actual income and expenses for the past two years would certainly provide for good accountability and open governance.

I am a bit confused with Q&A #5. It states that “both seminaries train men…”. It was always our understanding, since the formation of the second seminary, that the seminary was merely where a person resides, and the institute is where men are trained. Thus, the RMS Seminary has a rector, Fr Pablo, while the Blessed Diego Institute has a Dean of Studies, Mgr. David C Quitugua. Can you please clarify if our understanding is incorrect.

Q&A #5 further says that there are 39 seminarians at RMS Yona, but that 10 of these will not “belong” to our Archdiocese, but are being formed for service to their bishops in Samoa, Texas, and Kiribati. Since AAA will cover 10% of the cost of our seminarians that means it costs $980,000 per year to train 29 men, or nearly $34,000 per student. Can you confirm this? We may consider giving a scholarship to selected seminarians. Will that be possible?

Q&A #5 also says that the other 10 seminarians from other diocese are paid for by their bishops. Can you please advise how many dollars were received in 2013 for their formation? On a related note, do the families and parish communities of the seminarians coming to Guam from foreign lands pay an amount for the cost of their training? If so, how much was collected in 2013 for these men?

Q&A #5 says that one seminarian is in Malojloj, and the cost for that one seminarian is $66,000 per year. That is more than $180 per night for housing. Since the seminary is only where one resides, why does it cost $66,000 per year to house this one person? Would our money be better spent if he stayed in Yona where the building is completely paid for? Also, isn’t the seminary in Malojloj also completely paid for? This seems like an unreasonable expense for us to bear. A hotel room every night of the year would be far cheaper than this seminary. You pay parishes $500 for Chaplains who live “in-residence” in parish housing, why not find a parish for the one seminarian to live in? We request to see the budget for the $66,000 for this one seminarian.

In summary, we have requested for financial information that is common and ordinary for Catholic dioceses to provide to the faithful. I am certain that other parishioners praying over this AAA 2014 appeal would also appreciate this accountability and openness by yourself. We are prompted because of the huge increase in the AAA 2014 goal, and several apparent inconsistencies of the Q&A in this past Sunday’s U Matuna. Budgets and income statements will clarify some of the questions we have, but we also request for a direct response to all the questions contained in the above paragraphs.

Our family wishes to continue supporting the Church to the greatest extent possible. However, we need to clarify these items before moving forward. I am certain many other families on Guam will want to have the same questions answered before they determine the level of support they can provide. After all, it is but one of many causes that seek our hard earned money. Going back many years, the CCA was always a Lenten appeal, and we have always kept that tradition, even though the Guam Church has recently extended the appeal until Pentecost. In order for us to keep the Lenten timetable, we request to hear back from you by  March 21 so we have time to bring the family together during this holy season and gather the agreed upon offering.

Thanking you for a direct response to this matter and may God bless you.

[Name redacted]

My note: I received this letter in early March, thus the request for the Archbishop to answer by March 21. I held it back for my own reasons. But regardless of the deadline date, it is never too late for the Archbishop to answer these questions. It is time!


  1. Well stated. Archbishop Apuron please answer the questions.

    1. Very much doubt these questions will be answered.

    2. True. They won't be answered because they are only being asked here. Or even if the letter was sent, it would surely be ignored. It is each parish finance council which must officially request the accounting, and request if from the diocesan finance council.

      The Archbishop is counting on everyone wanting to stay anonymous and not having the courage to put their name on any official inquiry. So far, he's been proved right. It's up to you, all of you. But it has to start with ONE. Let it be you.

    3. Unfortunately, I think Tim is correct. If it will take an OFICIAL request for accounting from a Parish Finance Council to the Archdiocesan Finance Council, then NOTHING will happen. I seriously doubt that any of the parish finance councils will submit such a request.

      • NONE of the Neo parish priests would allow his parish council to make such a request; and
      • Non-Neo priests and/or parochial administrators would not dare risk incurring the wrath of the Archbishop or any of his minions by allowing such a request to be sent.

      As long as the majority of concerned “Regular” Non-Neo Catholics want to remain Anonymous and not make waves, we will continue to get what we have had to endure — a divided Church, under the thumb of a NeoCat archbishop who is no longer a spiritual leader but a follower — a member of a parallel church — following the directives of Kiko-Carmen.

    4. The inquiry does not have to come from just a parish finance council. One parish is putting together a group of concerned parishioners to demand answers to these questions. Another is putting a group together to go to the Archbishop to let him know that they do not want the Neocatechumenal Way in their parish. Clergy can do very little in this regard. Had the parishioners of Santa Barbara been proactive like this instead of just hoping to be left alone, Fr. Paul might still be their pastor.

    5. Tim is correct. The parishioners of the various parishes need to be much stronger in dealing with archbishop. Turning to the media to give them facts is now a necessity. Once facts become public on Guam it gets international attention.

  2. Some may counter and think that talk of money is evil, but the way I see it, hiding away the information is even more harmful. What is there to hide if all is well and good?

    R. Camacho

  3. Isn't this the job of the auditors to point out if something is wrong? Isn't every parish being audited?

    1. No we are not. Every parish has to provide a monthly report to the Chancery.

    2. The churches are still being audited but this does not include the Chancery!

    3. Parishes were audited last year. Staff was informed a general meeting was to be held to go over auditor's findings and recommendations. To date, no report has ever been issued; no meeting held.
      Maybe the people at the Chancery need to work overtime to provide a cover up before any report is released to the people.

  4. Stop the money to the archbishops appeal.

  5. Archbishop Apuron is causing division in the church on Guam, he is attacking the faith of our island, and he asks the people to pay for what he is doing. As long as we pay him to do this he will. But once , WE, The people of Guam, terminate financing the archbishops destructive ways he will be forced to stop. It depends upon the people to abort his leadership.

  6. Cathedral has already collected 20,000 USD. Sorry God will support .

    1. Let me check the bulletin tomorrow. I am sure that it will be posted. If not I can check.

      Not unless you donated the $19,000.

    2. ...and did you know that the Devil can also garner support through lies and deception?, piti.

    3. Please don't use 'sorry' and 'God' in the same sentence if you're not sincere, that would be a LIE! so don't toot your horn too loud.

    4. Maybe you are the one garnering the Devils lies and deceptions!

    5. Or maybe it's the one that's soliciting for AAA. After all they want the money to promote their insidious agenda. Wink wink.

    6. Doubt very much Monsignor James already raised 20,000 USD in two weeks.

    7. Nice if they raised 20k for the AAA. Maybe whomever donated can consider being more generous because the Basilica is up to their neck in debt. They can't meet their basic obligtions. That 20k covers power alone for the month. Other payables are let go with token payments here and there.

    8. I'm pretty sure when 9:57 said the "Cathedral", he/she meant the Neocatechumenal communities of Agana. The neocats see themselves as their own church, so it would be natural to refer to the money they collected as "the Cathedral".

    9. Again right on the money Tim.

    10. Your right Tim. I did not understand the context of the 9.57 anon. The cathedral does not refer to the cathedral parish. Having asked around the 20,000 was collected within the organization to help the seminary. It was not raised in the parish for the appeal. So it looks like double dipping. That 20,000 raised by neo people in the parish, would have contributed to the parish collection by logic. So if they have not given to the cathedral, it means the cathedral parish people will find it hard to raise their amount. The source has been split, but same amount expected from Monsignor. Am I correct.

    11. This is the case across the board. The money collected by the neo communities is money that used to go to support the parish. It now goes to neo-specific causes...whatever those might be.

    12. Ok now understand why so many priests finding it hard to meet the requirement. It is not a just system for the parishes and pastors.

  7. I think it should have been sent. It still should be sent.
    The author is right. most every other Diocese publishes a detailed annual financial report.
    Valid Concerns, all of them. We shouldn't have to wait for an auditor.
    Isn't there a requirement for non-profits to disclose all monies received and spent?
    To be all secret about it makes one suspicious even if everything is legitimate.
    Jesus said love of mammon is evil, but we still need it to live in this world.
    To talk about what exactly you are going to spend it on is not.
    Why do I feel like we're at the circus... look at my right hand..., no,no don't look at my other hand...

  8. It may be the job of the auditors to bring out questionable procedures or financial transactions, but is the diocese audited? are the parishes audited? We don't know because we don't see financial reports from the diocese level nor from the parish level! Perhaps this AAA questions will motivate financial transparency steps for all from the diocese to the parishes.

  9. This is what the AAA goes to in San Francisco:
    The Archbishop’s Annual Appeal (AAA) assists in funding the overall budget of the Archdiocese and provides services parishes cannot do themselves. Along with other funding sources, your generosity and commitment to the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal allows Archbishop Cordileone and the dedicated staff of the Archdiocese to provide important services to our Universal Church and our local community. Through the Appeal, the Archbishop continues to strengthen the good works of the ministries and agencies that minister to those most in need. The AAA continues to support our children’s future by ensuring the availability of a Catholic education. It continues to sponsor ethnic ministries to reach our diverse communities, to assist those embarking on religious vocations, to provide religious education to our parish youth, to strengthen the faith of our young adults and to speak to our greater community about important social policy concerns.

    Ministries you support by contributing to the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal:

    Parish / School Ministry Support
    Parish and School Subsidies, Religious Education, Office of Worship, Youth Ministry, Evangelization, Marriage and Family Life, Respect Life, Family Grants, Teacher Incentive Grants, Inner City Elementary schools

    Centralized Services
    Human Resources, Property Services, Real Estate, Archives, Finance, Payroll, Administrative Services

    Support of Universal Church
    Holy See, California Conference of Bishops, USCCB, Catholic San Francisco / El Heraldo Catolico, TV Mass, Communications

    Archdiocese Direct Ministry
    Ethnic Ministries, Restorative Justice, Catholic Studies Institute, ACCW, The Tribunal, Vicar for Spanish Speaking, Vicar for Filipinos, Young Adult Ministry, Ecumenical and Inter-religious Programs, Respect Life, Natural Family Planning, Hospital Chaplains

    Clergy Support
    Vicar for Clergy, Vicar for Religious, Vicar for Priests, Vocations, Deacon Formation, Permanent Deaconate, Continuing Education of Priests, Priests Retirement, Council of Priests, Auxiliary Bishops, Serra Clergy House

  10. I was watching the AAA on Vimeo, and Junee Valencia was the most sincere in asking for AAA. Father Luis talked about the material donations, air conditioning, etc. from the AAA that helped in his formation as a priest. The reasons for me was not good enough. Father Mike was not really able to express himself just as he can't express himself during his homily. Junee on the other hand said which I like was what you give will hopefully be given back to you. He spoke as a person who is very honest and sincere with his vocation.

    Wish there was a way I could help Only Junee in his quest.

  11. AAA's (or similar diocesan appeals) in other diocese always benefits or goes back to the diocese in the various ways that are broken down and can be clearly accountable as shown in the San Francisco Appeal above.

    The Archbishop's AAA brochure is transparently vague, very general information that are merely "a stretch" of their imagination, bordering on, if not actual "spin control" efforts
    to deceive and to pull the wool over our intelligence -- obviously they're not even good at that. We got them!

  12. Parishioners of Santa Barbara were asked to stay seated while the AAA DVD was shown. Although some walked out, the rest of us sat through and listened to the garbling, waiting for Father's final blessing. The Archbishop mentions in this DVD that the money is going to go towards formation of priests. There are people in Dededo who think this means Aaron Quitugua. This is not true! If you are not sure, ask Aaron's family members. According to his mom, the Archbishop has not given Aaron sponsorship. People of Dededo, you are being misled to believe your contribution is going towards Aaron. It's going to the needs of the Neo.

  13. That's the problem the archbishop himself is vague, he has no leadership, no values, no character, swings which ever way leads to personal gain, it is the very reason why the archdiocese has no leadership from him. He can be vague in his own life, but he will not be allowed to be vague with our money we give him. He lives on our money don't forget.