Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A MESSAGE FROM DEACON STEVE MARTINEZ

"Open Communications, Not Closed Doors" – Pope Francis 12/16/14

First, let us give thanks and praise to our Lord Jesus Christ, who died that we might live. We wait in joyful hope for the innocent child who will redirect the course of history. Happy Advent to all!

They say that timing is everything, and this past week was for me a reminder of that adage. Last Wednesday started with anticipation, and ended with the realization that my participation in a newly formed organization could result in censure. That means the total stripping of my faculties to carry out my ministry of service as a deacon. My day ended deep into the night, prayerfully asking the Holy Spirit for guidance and courage in a decision I had to make. I cannot discuss the details, but that event is not yet over. However, it is not the central point to this writing. It is how our Church is constantly working to bring people to God through effective communications.


As usual, after morning prayers I read the PDN and then the Pope app on my phone. Pope Francis is a down to earth guy, and seems to connect to all people. It is easy to see the face of Jesus in this man, a holy figure who really cares for the poor, the disenfranchised, and the disheartened. The words he spoke to the Catholic press corps of Italy on the morning of December 16 seemed as if they were spoken by the Vicar of Christ directly to me as well. Pope Francis emphasized that “courageous frankness and freedom are the characteristics of the authentic communicator, and of Catholic communications especially.” You really have to admire a man that reacts to criticism by asking, “please, tell me more!”

We often see individuals, sometimes even very public leaders, who react to criticism in a different way. They try to drown out a dissenting voice. Spin doctors tell half-truths or outright lies to mislead the public. Some leaders try to squash the very existence of a dissenter. Perhaps worst of all is a leader who confronts questions of their policy with arrogant silence. So the Pope’s words were very significant when in my own particular situation I benefitted by hearing it from the Holy Father’s perspective.

Pope Francis went on to remind our Church leaders, “To open, and not to close,…” channels of dialogue “is the second task of the communicator.” We live in a world today where information is available almost immediately, and secrets are rarely successfully kept secret. Perhaps for old time communicators this information is startling or uncomfortable, where people can judge our actions almost before we can judge them ourselves. But the Pope’s message to the Italian Catholic press was clear…if you are confused at my actions, or disagree with my decision please come to me so we can talk about it like good Christian adults should. Succinct. Straightforward. Christian. Thank you Pope Francis for reminding us how Jesus taught us to resolve problems. Open and honest discussion actually works, and I hope more people give truth and dialogue a chance.

And by the way. In case you haven’t heard, there is a new group on Guam that also believes in open dialogue. They recently formed Concerned Catholics of Guam to try and help our local Church. The Articles of Incorporation state that the “primary purpose of the Corporation is to defend, … promote, … and develop the Catholic Faith…” These are lofty goals for an organization. These are ideals I have proudly affixed my name to. Let us pray for their success, and let us look to their example of communication as a way to solve our problems.

May the Baby Jesus bless and protect us all.

Deacon Steve Martinez

26 comments:

  1. Merry Christmas, Deacon Steve. Many blessings to you and your family this holiday season and throughout the new year.

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  2. Great write up Deacon Steve. This is a good reminder for all of us that open dialog is necessary to mend wounds of mis understanding, and opens an opportunity to resolve conflicts. From our humble Holy Father, we can see that he is certainly emulating what our Lord Jesus would have done. A very timely message to usher in the Coming of Christ Child.
    A Very Merry Christmas to Everyone..

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  3. Thank you Deacon Steve for your courage and love for our God and Church. I hope our leaders finally realize all the hurt they have caused everyone from young alter servers, ministers, congregations all the way to our mananko who have echoed "never in their lifetime have they seen so much problems with our Church". Who would want to take credit for something like that? All for personal gain, power and the NCW. It has done the exact opposite of what they are suppose to do. The problem is our leader (Our ArchBishop Apuron) is also a brother in their organization and these problems will continue until they are removed from power.

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  4. And Diana now takes Deacon Steve's letter apart...ending statement...Is it money or serving God! Never ending story...and so she says, the jungle has the picture of the tiger and full of dead fish, while hers is the picture of a mountain! Guess Diana is at the peak of her scrutiny and is now climbing the mountain.

    To each and everyone, Merry Christmas!




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    1. LOL. Yes, the Dianas check my blog constantly. Can't remember the last time I even looked at theirs. The diseased lack of intelligence was too much for me.

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    2. Tim, you are mean. Diana is a doll.

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    3. to anon 10:48.....how can you be sure that Diana is a she or he..or whatever...hahaha LOL! Could be a priest or a nun....but afraid to be seen or known in public...most likely not even from around here!

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    4. True, 12:02 could be Barbie or Ken doll. Diana is still a doll!

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    5. You don't mean it....could Diana be Sister Marian Arroyo? hmmmm.

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    6. Possibly true 10.33am.

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    7. I seriously doubt Sr Marian would say she is a concelebrant the way Diana did when she came on stage in the beginning of her reign over the Insiders View. Don't think she's in the Neo, IS SHE???? Anyhow, she is in a real huff and puff mood.

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  5. Warm wishes to you, Deacon Steve, this Christmas season. May the Christ child bring peace, joy, and many blessings to you and yours.

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  6. Good Morning Deacon Steve thank you for your thoughtful words and a beautiful and timely message from Pope Frances. Something worthy of hearing and practicing for all of us who care to live a peaceful, happy, healthy and holy life.
    I highly commend you for your courage and taking the higher ground during this very difficult time in your life. Not being silent nor condemning another during such adversity is a true sign of inner strength and oneness with our creator. God is right where your are at all times, so you have every reason to demonstrate great courage. Not that it is always easy to do but to do is the truth as I know it. That is why prayer is such a great reminder of truth for us.

    Being an idealist I can not help but wonder if the seeming mess our Guahan Catholic church is now experiencing is for a higher purpose. If we can forget our little selves with the sadness, disappointment, fears and anger for a moment. And live in the question, What is the higher purpose for the Catholic Church on the tiny island of Guahan to be playing out at this time. With its leader's appearance of injustice, vengeance, lies, instability and incompetence for all the world to see? The world also gets timely relevant inspirational messages from Pope Frances. In the larger scheme of things I wonder if it is just possible for the intense pain experienced here to be a reflection of pain many Catholics also experience world wide. For obviously different reasons but no less intense and hurtful. Could Guahan's suffering and strongly expressed faith, voice and commitment contribute in part to the inspiration for Pope Francis to speak out, world wide with such love and compassion. He is helping to bridge long divided gaps, that have continued without restoration for many many years and a reason for many Catholics to leave the church. Just like what could happen here. Instead people here have chosen the church and to speak out on injustice like the Pope too is doing.

    I believe there is always good to be found in all adversity because God is right there. I don't know if my theory is true. I might be because the Vatican is watching. It really doesn't matter. What matters is to remember God is right where we are and what good can we do knowing that.

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    1. Everything has a purpose. Remember the story of Joseph. Remember what Joseph told his brothers when he revealed himself to them and they were scared that Joseph might put then in jail or worse, had them killed. And I paraphrase. God used the wrong that you did so I will be where I am now able to help you during this time of need. God works in mysterious ways.

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  7. "Please tell me more." Alas, in Guam it is "Tell me no more." No "please". Just the additional "no".

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  8. I bought a magazine in Manila that has Pope Francis in the cover. The first word in the article was "parresia." The frankness of a friend to another friend with the intent of making the friend better. This is what Pope Francis is promoting. This is what the discussion in the recent Synod on Family was all about. Frankness. Saying what is truly in your heart with love. With love for the other person. And this is, in my heart and mind, is what you are trying to do. As I said before, you are a class act, Deacon Steve. May the Holy Spirit continue to bless you with a pure heart.

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    1. My prayer is that the priests and deacons of Guam will partake in the renewal of the church of Guam and return it to the authentic message of the Gospel . Time for change is now. We cannot continue in this present way which brings pain to so many of our people.

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    2. @8:00 pm Alas, some will pull with all thier might in the opposite direction.But, then, there is always conversion.

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  9. I believe in the chancery where honesty and true love should prevail, it is only Deacon Steve who has the compassion to tell the Archbishop that he "wears no clothes." Compassion to let the Archbishop realize the error of his ways.

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  10. Fr.Matthew BlockleyDecember 24, 2014 at 1:52 PM


    Thank you Deacon Steve Martinez for the this beautiful reflection. True renewal of the church takes place when people like Pope Francis and deacon Martinez work together for a common purpose to renew the church. All over the world today in different ways, people are listening and acting on the spirit of Pope Francis, for by doing so we will bring renewal. When simple people take a stance we can make a difference to our church.

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  11. Yes Pope Francis is a Powerful Force for Loving Kindness and Goodness to be reckoned with. Not only are non practicing Catholics listening even non Catholics listen and say how they like him. But true to nature there are some Catholic leaders who choose to make him wrong.

    We can in deed be very grateful on Guahan that people like Deacon Steve and others in the Jungle are listening to the Pope's messages and sharing them with us all. It reminds me how many Catholics in Ireland displayed pictures of Pope John 23rd in their homes.
    Powerful great leaders seem to have been in short supply as of late and for longer than I care to remember.

    Perhaps Pope Frances will be the force of inspiration for great leadership to prevail again. As we are seeing here lately with Deacon Steve and others in the jungle who remind us of the great faith, humility and love of the Pope and what he is says and demonstrates. BUT not for the appearance sake to elevate one's self. If you know what I mean, as we also see demonstrated on Guam by a few of the unfortunate.

    I am happy to say I often see gratitude expressed in the jungle for good works. I know it is when I too am experiencing a peaceful heart. It is easy to recognize Real Love and Unity of God demonstrated, for we too are bathed in its power and blessings and are uplifted. Great faith creates great works.

    An image of walking on water comes to mind. Not literally but figuratively. We walk tall and don't drown in what's going on around us. Although we are surrounded by what could pull us down. THANK YOU TO ALL FOR YOUR CONTINUED INSPIRATION. Being Sincere In the Spirit!! May God Bless You!!

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  12. In general, I would encourage us all NOT to make a hero out of anyone, including Pope Francis. While we can hope and pray that he will always do the right thing, history has proven that pope's don't always do so. The charism of infallibility protects them from OFFICIALLY teaching error in the areas of faith and morals, but not from making administrative mistakes.

    Perhaps this is why Archbishop Krebs, in July, told the clergy that we would have to solve our own problems. We will.

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  13. Yep, so true when Archbishop Krebs said " we would have to solve our own problems" it gave us the green light to do so. Together as a community we will .

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  14. Actually Tim I couldn't agree with you more. I well remember in the 50's having to kneel down by my bed every night as a child. Before we prayed the rosary, my mother would take that opportunity to teach me to pray for the Pope, who she said would be persecuted and needed our prayers. I think it is no different today. The pope still is in need of our prayers and is being persecuted by certain sectors. Both from with in and outside the church.

    I would also like to add that appreciating Pope Frances mentoring of humility for good thoughts and deeds is not hero worship but a reminder to use our faith in practical ways for the good of all including ourselves.

    Actually Tim, if the truth be known, we could all make you and a few others heroes on Guahan. But I know that it is easy to fall from such lofty positions. It is not necessarily easy to lead. I would say it is more of a calling or a choice that you have no choice. And you could probably care less what we thought of you because you are going to do what you are called to do that's inside you. Regardless what is said by anyone in this jungle. Much like the Pope and what he feels called to do inside him. No matter what some are saying.

    Having said that, I do appreciate the fact that you do endeavor to take a balanced approach even with all the passion and emotion that pours out of peoples minds and hearts. Again Thanks.

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    1. Sorry, no offense, but I need to correct you: it's Francis, not Frances. For anyone else I don't care, but you are referring to the Pope, whose name should be spelled properly. Thank you. Merry Christmas.

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  15. I believe Archbishop Krebs very much wants CCOG to continue in full force solving the serious dysfunctional management dynamics of San Ramon hill.

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