Sunday, March 1, 2015

PROVIDENTIALLY...THE REST OF THE STORY


In a recent comment, a coward again tried to smear Mr. Lastimoza in order to defend Archbishop Apuron's mistreatment of Fr. Paul. Apparently only in the Neocatechumenal Way is one never forgiven (unless of course you join them). 

I wasn't going to address it and I thought long and hard before bringing this to a post. But an email I received yesterday providentially changed my mind. It's a part of the story that hasn't been told yet, at least not here. The sender gave me permission to share it:


We’ve known Joseph, Trisha and their daughters for some time. Joseph grew up in the Tumon area where my wife is originally from. As a background, my wife's parents are Filipino. She and her siblings were born and raised in the small area of Tumon where families knew each other and were considered close.

During the early 1980s, Joseph, along with his older brother, were involved in some very serious crimes in the small community of Tumon. My wife was the initial detective who arrested Joseph, charging him with rape of an adult victim, so she knows that case intimately.

No children were involved with that case. Joseph, at the time, was considered a hard core criminal, who you could not turn your back on. Eventually, Joseph went to prison.

Many years later, while attending Guam Community College, my wife saw Joseph and questioned why he was out of prison. She found out later that he was released for educational purposes, as was approved by authorities in charge. So.....she let it go and thought nothing more of it.

For over 34 years, my wife and I have been involved with Santa Barbara parish, as music ministers, marriage preparation coordinators and the stewardship committee. Around the year 2000, we began to see Joseph at Santa Barbara parish, We were informed that he was doing community service for the church as part of his prison release conditions. Although his crimes from 20 years previously were still fresh in our minds, we accepted this situation and saw it as no more than giving back to the community.

When Fr. Paul Gofigan became pastor, Joseph was hired as a maintenance worker for the church. He was quite up to the task and we saw him on a regular basis, always helping around the grounds and being there to assist with any and all issues regarding the building and the surrounding areas. We judged that Joseph had made a concerted effort to change  his life.

The dragging of Joseph into the mud was a heart struck moment for us. Even though it was my wife who had originally arrested Joseph and probably knew more about his criminal past than anyone else, for the Archbishop to use him and his family against Fr. Paul was a stab to our hearts. When we began hearing those stories coming out from the chancery about him, we were in utter disbelief.

You see, even though my wife was the officer who had arrested him all those years ago, we had seen the person Joseph had become. With Fr. Paul's help he had come back to his church and we had welcomed Joseph into our parish family.

In fact, when Joseph and Trisha decided to marry, my wife and I became their Sponsor Couple and helped guide them through their preparation for the sacrament of marriage and were with them when they attended a World Wide Marriage Encounter Weekend.

We wanted to share this TRUTHFUL account of Joseph and we hope this sad ordeal will end soon.

Sincerely, 

Ray & Fina Fernandez

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