Friday, August 21, 2015

THE LOSERS ON THE HILL

During the time I managed the Cathedral Gift Shop I would often frequent the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in the morning. 



In 2013 I began to notice that there was beginning to be evidence of water damage to the ceiling. I knew Msgr. James was always on top of maintenance so I figured he was aware of it and would repair it soon. 

But it didn't get repaired and grew worse.

I thought that was strange. But the Cathedral is a big place and repairs are constantly needed so I figured it was simply on the list of things to do. 

It wasn't.

Why?

Msgr. James actually had plans to fully renovate the chapel, but  the Losers on the Hill had other plans. 

Two years before Msgr. James was removed and about the time the chapel began showing signs of needed repair, Msgr. James approached Apuron requesting permission to renovate the chapel. It wasn't going to cost Apuron or the Cathedral a dime. As usual, Msgr. James had a donor willing to pay for the entire project. Plans and costs had already been mapped out. 

Apuron told Msgr. James "not to touch the chapel.

Why would the bishop of a diocese NOT want to repair the chapel of his own Cathedral, especially the chapel dedicated to the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament, and especially if the entire project was already paid for?

Because the Losers on the Hill had other plans. 

In another instance, Msgr. James approached Apuron about replacing the aging air con units at the Cathedral. Again Msgr. James had identified a donor. Again it would have cost Apuron and the Cathedral nothing. Again Apuron said "NO."

Why?

Because the Losers on the Hill had other plans. 

While I was managing the Gift Shop, which required me to be there on a daily basis, I became very aware of the tremendous costs of keeping the place up as well as maintaing the huge payments on the the original 1998 renovation project as well as the later projects: the museum space and the St. Therese chapel as well as the landscaping and the need for its constant care.

There was no doubt that under Msgr. James, the Cathedral had become a truly beautiful place and something to be proud of, but how was Msgr. James paying for it all? The Cathedral parish is amongst the smallest on the island (since few people actually live in Agana), and the Chancery was not coughing up one red cent to help. In fact, the Chancery was adding to the financial burden because every time Apuron wanted to have a big thing there, the Cathedral parish had to pay for it. 

Yet, Msgr. James kept it all going...which made him all the more hated - by the Losers on the Hill. 

They had other plans.

To be continued....


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