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

28 comments:

  1. Beautiful story, Ray and Fina. Thank You for sharing that story with us. If I were Mr. Lastimoza, I would have sued the pants off of Apuron already. It is obvious to me that Mr. Lastimoza is trying very hard to follow the teachings of Christ, while Apuron so obviously is doing the opposite.

    To Mr. and Mrs. Lastimoza, if you decide to sue Apuron, know that you have the approval and support of the Catholic community, in general. You might even hear comments such as, "It's about time!" Remember, you will not be suing the Catholic Church, nor even the position of Archbishop. You will be suing a man (he is only a man), who has abused the position of Archbishop.

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  2. A testimony of faith and conversion void of scandalizing sordid details? Go figure!

    Thank you Ray and Fina for this truth. God bless you both for demonstrating a fine example of God's forgiveness and mercy.

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  3. Wow. This is inspiring.

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  4. This story reinforces the fact that fr. Paul is a good and holy priest and that the archbishop is just plain mean and vindictive and hateful.

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    1. Not only that, indications are that the archbishop was pressured by his Neo masters to remove fr. Paul to pave way for a Neo takeover of Santa Barbara parish. Actually it was probably just a nudge but AAA was more than happy to oblige given his eagerness to please his Neo masters. What a puppet! Puppet etgui!

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  5. Anon 3:18, you now have the full story of Mr, Lastimoza's penance, absolution and return to the One Holy Apostolic Catholic Church as detailed by my close friends from Santa Barbara Parish. I always use the term Apostolic because, I too watch the counter continue to climb as we await the documents promised to show that Rome has approved the way the NEO's celebrate the New Eucharistic Order. Please stop being a coward and use your name if you continue to pass judgement on others before knowing the full story. Thanks Ray and Fina for sharing the truth to all of us. Continuing to pray from a distance for reconciliation and unification of the Catholic Church in Guam. God Bless all of you for your continued prayers, patience and vigilance.

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  6. Ray and Fina, thank you for sharing this. Our Lord is truly merciful and it is up to us, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, to seek His mercy. God Bless the Lastimozas and all of His beleaguered children.

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  7. If only the archbishop can be as repentant and humble as mr. Latimoza.

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  8. It is good to finally hear the truth. Archbishop you have lots of explaining to do. God help you and you wonder why we don't donate to your appeal? lies Lies and more LIES!

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  9. Gerald A. TaitanoMarch 2, 2015 at 5:15 AM

    Ray and Fina, thank you. It's depressing to see just how low AAA can go to ruin our lives to please his Neo handlers. It's going to get worse. If AAA, Adrian, and David are not stopped, we'll be seeing our churches turned into small community halls for the Neo. We have got to act. Remember, faith without action is moot. See you at the CCOG Agana meeting at 6:00 p.m. this Thursday, Agana Mayor's Office.

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  10. Marilu Diaz MartinezMarch 2, 2015 at 8:20 AM

    Fina and Ray, you've exemplified the true meaning of "loving your neighbor" as Jesus teaches and asks of us.

    Thank you for your example. What a fitting period in our Faith's liturgical season -- during these Lenten days -- for us to be inspired by your example. God bless you both for sharing the truth and for the courage you both have shown.

    May yours and the family in your story receive and experience God's loving Mercy a hundred fold and the constant care and protection of our Most Blessed Mother Mary along with all the Angels and Archangels.

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  11. Janet B - MangilaoMarch 2, 2015 at 9:53 AM

    The 5th paragraph of Ray and Fina's letter should be a point of focus for all people, but its importance may have been missed by some.

    Before Fr Paul hired Joseph, Joseph was doing voluntary work at Santa Barbara to fulfill court ordered community service. Obviously, the court found no issue with Joseph working at Santa Barbara. And we know from a previous post on the Jungle that the Church also agreed to the court ordered community service. And it would have been none other than Arch-Tony himself who approved the court ordered community service.

    How very duplicitous of our dear, fallen Tony. When he buried the axe in Fr Paul's back, it was because Fr Paul had allowed Joseph to work as a volunteer at the Church. Our poor fallen Tony also seems to have a damaged memory to accompany his severely damaged heart.

    I do hope his heart is healed, but the people of Guam cannot afford to wait until that day happens, we are suffering too many problems in the meantime.

    Rome - PLEASE HELP OUR CHURCH!

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    1. Just like the song, Tony left his heart in San Francisco. Leave now Tony before it becomes painful and arduous. Call me Tony!

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    2. Archbishop Hon: Saw you on the Curia retreat on the Vatican News. Now that you are spiritually refreshed, please help us! You were one chair away from the Pope! Please don't forget us!

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    3. Welcome Back, Janet B. HAROLD has had the run of the island without you.

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  12. Wow, powerful story without embellishment! This seems to be a case of a former criminal whose life has become more noble than the self-absorbed cleric who spews out words from the pulpit that are devoid of action and fall flat right after it is uttered. This story of redemption is proof that both government and church systems are in place for a reason. This almost mirrors the epic battle between Valjean and Javert in the classic tale Les Miserables, wherein the accuser's malevolent and relentless pursuit became his undoing. Something to reflect on during the penitential season of Lent wherein we are offered the graces for introspection into purifying our motives.

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    1. Anonymous 10:07a.m. What a great analogy and insight! I also loved the opera and movie "Les Miserables." Jean Val Jean who had been a criminal became a saint whereas Javert the police investigator became so narrow and evil it destroyed him. Javert's god was the law, much like the legalistic pharisees of old. How sad that our archbishop is not holy, healing and forgiving like the bishop in "Les Miserables!"

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  13. Thank you Ray and Fina.

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  14. Fr. Paul was removed because of disobedience. Disobedience to what Jesus would NOT do. The Archbishop said that he can't do anything because the case is with Rome now. When I heard the Archbishop said this during his pastoral visit at Santa Barbara (even said that he can't comment on the case of Msgr James because it is also with Rome), I accepted it as such. When somebody asked the same question to Tim last village meeting in Dededo, he said the Archbishop can reinstate Fr. Paul today and the case in Rome will be moot and academic. Why is it that I believe Tim more? Shouldn't be the case. But I do. Lord forgive me. Time to bring back Fr. Paul.

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    1. It's a lie, it's a lie, it's a lie. In both cases, before anything went to Rome there were many attempts by both priests to work things out with the Archbishop. He refused to see them. Now he tells us he can do nothing. It's a lie, it's a lie, it's a lie. No money. No money. No money.

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    2. Ask archbishop hon if this is true. Question becomes did archbishop Apuron forward all his completed paper work to Rome.?

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    3. Archbishop Apuron did you send Fr.Paul's case to Rome? Congregation for clergy hard time finding file

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  15. Janet B - MangilaoMarch 2, 2015 at 1:41 PM

    Sadly, our Archbishop is powerless...not because of Rome, but because of Kiko!

    A bishop can always act to restore justice and reach an acceptable agreement with one of his priests. So his words are insincere and lies. What is even more despicable is that we now know Rome never told Tony he couldn't do anything about Fr Paul. We know this because Rome never had received Fr Paul's case.

    Gee, you might ask. Why did they not have it? Because the Chancery never forwarded the case to Rome. Does anyone else smell a rat?

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    1. He is powerless by choice. He can step out of the NCW should he decide but as for now his loyalty is with Kiko given how spiritually weak he is.

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  16. Becky Terlaje TovesMarch 2, 2015 at 6:09 PM

    Thank you Ray and Fina. For the many who don't know Joe Lastimoza, their impression of him may be skewed by the mud thrown by the archbishop. Don't be misled.

    From personal experience, I know that when Joe was on work release and was attending classes, he was a model student. He was truly trying to reform his life. Because I, too, am an active parishioner at Santa Barbara, I saw him around the church often while he performed his work duties. On many occasions, I needed his assistance for one task or another. Every single time I did, Joe always helped me. He never complained and always had a smile. In other words, he acted with a servant's heart. That's what we should all aspire to do.

    When the crisis with Fr. Paul and Joe arose, I was extremely troubled by the way they were treated by the archbishop. Neither on them deserved it.

    Recently, the archbishop came to Santa Barbara for his pastoral visit, and he outright claimed he has done nothing wrong. UNBELIEVABLE! His list of travesties started long ago, but in his delusion, he thinks there is no division and has no plans for healing our church. What kind of spiritual leader is that? Definitely not the kind I want.

    I attended the last CCOG meeting, and it was quite clear that people want to know what they can do. It's quite simple: SPEAK UP! Don't give money to the archdiocese. And more importantly, continue to PRAY. (There is a concerted effort to pray the rosary outside the chancery. Participate in that).

    Don't be fooled people. There is a SPIRITUAL WAR going on. By virtue of our confirmation, we must ACT!

    Rome - If you're reading this, I implore you to rid us of this archbishop (just like you did in Malta). We need someone who the faithful of Guam trust and believe in. We are suffering, and we need a leader who takes care of all of his flock and not just a select group.

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    1. Well said Becky; as a former active Santa Barbara Parishioner, I too believe that what was done to both Father Paul, Mr. Lastimoza and their families is unforgivable. How can a spiritual leader order a priest to remove a person who has been absolved thru the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Would Jesus say to San Dismas (thief that stole heaven) in the Kingdom promised while on the Cross " Welcome to my Fathers Kingdom, however because of your past transgressions you are not allowed to be free like the others that live here." I feel that there is no way out of this web that has been weaved. My continued prayers from a distance.

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    2. Also during the last CCOG in Dededo, I said that I thought we had enough people with no hair or with white hair (enough old people) to deserve some answers to our queries. I guess not. I can't believe the Archbishop not even trying to appease the likes of a Ms. Carmen Kasperbauer by calling her and clearly up things with her. But what can you expect from someone who thinks he hasn't done anything wrong. As Becky said. Unbelievable.

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  17. We the laity, need to come together, to DEMAND the resignation of the archbishop!!! He is no longer fit to lead!

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