Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron
Archdiocese of Agana
196Cuest San Ramon Ste B
Hagatna, Guam 96910-4334
Hafa Adai Archbishop Apuron,
I’ve become aware of statements you made during a recent visit to parishioners of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Church. When questioned about the abrupt closure of the National Museum of the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral- Basilica, I understand you responded that Monsignor James closed the museum. I must say I expected more from our island’s spiritual leader and I am disappointed that you continue to mislead people about this matter. After you made it abundantly clear that Monsignor James was not to have any authority over the museum, it hardly seems fair that you would now accuse him of closing the facility. In fact, Monsignor David is the only one who had the authority to either open or close the museum.
Below is a brief chronology of the events that transpired over the past few months with regard to the museum:
- July 25: Announcement that Monsignor David would now be responsible for museum operations.
- Week of July 27: I contacted Cathedral staff to find out if the museum would be opened as had been announced. Monsignor David, the new rector, and his administration did not respond.
- August 1: Mary Kidd gave me approval to move forward.
- August 2: Coreen Leon Guerrero, who identified herself as a representative of Monsignor David, informed me that the museum would in fact proceed as planned. At this time I noted that some families who had provided materials for the exhibits were concerned about the museum’s future and had already removed some of their personal collections. However, Monsignor Calvo’s family had agreed to loan their collections for a short while longer.
- August 4, Father Adrian and Monsignor David contacted me about meeting to discuss opening the museum. Based on that conversation, it was quite clear that Monsignor David possessed the authority to open or close the museum. This fact was supported by statements made by Father Adrian Cristobal to KUAM News.
- August 4: The following item appeared in a KUAM News report:
“Today Archdiocese spokesperson Father Adrian Cristobal addressed the concerns of the island's Catholic community saying the museum's closure is only temporary. He added Monsignor David Quitugua is overseeing the transition, noting, "And in this change of administration Monsignor David desires that the persons that are you know involved with volunteering helping managing the museum that everything is order and that the transition process be taking place in such a way that we can assure that it will be open again and to assure to the public that the administration will be taking care of these things the new administration."
- August 6: A 10 a.m. meeting of museum volunteers was scheduled to determine the future for the museum. However, at 9:15 a.m., Mrs. Kidd called to inform me that the meeting would be cancelled indefinitely due to other activities at the Cathedral. The former Finance Committee will be holding a press conference.
Throughout this situation, numerous announcements, including bulletin messages, have been made regarding the museum. Even if you did not actually write these messages, you, Monsignor David and Coreen Leon Guerrero must certainly have been aware of them. The fact that they continued suggests you condoned the messages, and it is disingenuous of you to state otherwise.
I was at the museum from 5:30 am to 2:30 pm, at no time did anyone informed me that the information announced was incorrect.
It is now October, months after this project began. I am troubled that you continue to blame Monsignor James and others for the museum closure. Neither Monsignor James nor the volunteers who spent countless hours preparing the facility have the authority or capacity to open or close the museum. I hope you will acknowledge this truth and proceed accordingly, rather than continuing to perpetuate falsehoods that have no place in our church or our community.
So you are now making your way throughout the various parishes making your pastoral visit. For what? What is the purpose of this sudden decision on your part to hold these meetings, meetings such as the one at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament? Is it to defend yourself and continue to malign Monsignor James? When is all this going to end? When are you and Monsignor David going to stop blaming everyone but yourselves for how you’ve destroyed this archdiocese?
Since you refused my personal invitation to see the new layout of the museum during the Woman Chamber of Commerce presentation at the Government House in July, I have attached pictures of the museum to show you what you have destroyed.
Evangeline C.D. Lujan
Parishioner of Agana Cathedral Basilica
PDF downloadable copy here
Go here to view the photos of what used to be our museum. Go here for a slideshow.
Here are a few of the pictures:
What a shame that this was shut down only a few hours after it opened and after thousands of hours of work and planning. What a shame.