Sunday, October 16, 2016
How do we look back on past sins not as sins committed, but as sins confessed and forgiven? Fr. Damian Ference explains today using Peter as an example, showing how although he knew he was a great sinner, he also knew that Jesus loved him completely, as he was – a sinner.
We all know that Peter was the first pope. What we often forget is that Peter was also a terrible sinner. I can think of at least five times in the Gospels where Peter messed up, but the time that he denied Jesus was the absolute worst.
Saint Matthew tells us that it was a maid that first approached Peter in the courtyard – a maid, by the way, should not be able to intimidate a man that the Lord called “The Rock.” The maid recognized Peter as a friend of Jesus, but Peter denied knowing him. Second, another girl – not a woman, but a girl – saw Peter and said, “This man was with Jesus the Nazarene.” Again, Peter denied it. The third time St. Matthew tells us that it was a bystander who recognized Peter as a friend of Jesus by his speech. And once more, Peter denied knowing Jesus.
That’s about as bad as it gets. Just when your best friend needs you most, you deny even knowing him. And it’s not as if those questioning him were all that intimidating – a maid, a girl, and a random bystander – three people who wouldn’t seem to be much of a threat to a future pope. And Peter knew it. Saint Matthew tells us that upon the cock’s crow, “Peter went out and began to weep bitterly.” If I was him, I probably would have puked too.
Earlier that night Peter promised Jesus that his faith would never be shaken, but there it was, a crumbled mess. And there he was, the one that Jesus had handpicked to be the fearless leader of the apostles, off in the corner weeping like a baby. How pathetic.
Of course we know that there is more to the story. After Jesus suffers, dies, and rises from the dead he has another encounter with Peter. This time it’s on the beach where St. John tells us that Jesus invites the disciples to breakfast. It’s also the place where Jesus asks Peter if he loves him – three times. Three times Peter responds that he loves Jesus, and in doing so, Peter experiences Jesus’ love, forgiveness, healing and mercy. Jesus makes all things new, and in that moment, he makes Peter new too.
But a question remains. How in the world can Peter ever forget that terrible moment in the courtyard when he committed the worst of sins by denying that he even knew Jesus? Surely if we know about his terrible and cowardly act two thousand years later, people also knew well about it back then. And I’m sure that some even reminded him of it from time to time, saying, “Come on man, you’re the coward who denied even knowing Jesus, and now you’re telling me that I should believe in him? Please.” How in the world did Peter ever forget his terrible sin and move forward?
Here’s the truth: Peter never forgot the fact that he denied Jesus. That cowardly act was something that he could never take back. What’s done is done once it’s done. Peter couldn’t go back in time and make things right again. So what happened? How did Peter do it? How did the worst coward turn into one of the most courageous men in Christianity, eventually requesting to be crucified upside down because he thought himself unworthy to die in the same manner as his Lord Jesus?
What happened to Peter was that although he knew he was a great sinner, he also knew that Jesus loved him completely, as he was – a sinner. To paraphrase St. John Vianney, Peter knew that his sins were but a grain of sand in the ocean of God’s great mercy. It was the merciful love of Jesus that recreated Peter and that made him new. Peter couldn’t do anything about his sins other than confess them, but Jesus could. And he did. Peter denied Jesus three times, so in his love, Jesus offered Peter and opportunity to tell Jesus that he loved him – three times. And with that Peter was forgiven and made new. From that point on, whenever Peter thought back about the time he denied Jesus, he didn’t think about it as sin committed, but sin confessed and forgiven.
Via Padre Steve
Monday, September 26, 2016
Eddie Calvo: September 26, 2016 signed a bill that would lift the statute of limitations on child sex abuse charges for civil Cases
Hafa Adai my friends and family,
Our island family has been through much these past several months. I hope that we can now move forward and begin the process of healing.
Just as Pope Francis called on us to pray for the victims of sexual abuse during a Worldwide Day of Prayer, I ask everyone to pray for our island’s victims of this heinous crime, most especially the vulnerable of our community, our children.
In the words of Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz: “This universal expression of healing and sorrow, joined by our brothers and sisters around the world, will be a powerful reminder that no survivor should walk the path toward healing alone.”
We pray that the survivors of sexual abuse begin the healing process. We pray they receive deep comfort in the support of their family and friends and from the community. We pray that what has been stolen and broken will be restored. Most of all, we will continue to proactively protect our children and our island from this horrible injustice, so that no individual will have to undergo this pain and suffering.
God bless our children, our families and our island of Guam.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Arcdiocesan Missionary Seminary Redemptoris MaterArchdiocese of Agana, Guam:Visitation ad hoc Committee Report
Yona missionary seminary
Overlooking Ylig Bay in Yona, one can view the spacious land and facilities that have become the Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary of Guam. The name is Latin for “Mother of the Redeemer.” It was established on December 8, 1999, by Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron, OFM Cap, DD, Archbishop of Agana, for the purpose of training future priests for missionary work in the New Evangelization called for by the late Pope John Paul II. Recognizing the serious challenges Guam is facing today because of secularization and the serious shortage of priests, Apuron created the seminary – the first ever in Guam’s four-hundred years of Catholic history.
The first site of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary was at the prior Father Duenas Minor Seminary in Tai, which had been closed for some years. In December of 2002, the former Accion Hotel overlooking Ylig Bay became available for sale and the Archdiocese purchased the site for the seminary. Fortunately, the seminary began moving to its present location as, that same month, Supertyphoon Pongsona destroyed the Tai seminary building. The Yona seminary is now home to thirty-three seminarians from thirteen countries. On May 21, 2005, Alberto Salamanca, now pastor in Barrigada, was the first seminarian to be ordained a priest from this seminary.
Promotes world unity in Christ
The facilities at the seminary are used for functions of the Neo Catechumenal Way and also for periodic archdiocesan events. The seminary is in the process of establishing a theological institute. Both the seminary and the theological institute operate exclusively on volunteer help.
By Eric Forbes, OFM Cap.
Most of you know me as Dr. Eusebio, a surgeon who has practiced on Guam for many years. Some perhaps from my childhood going to Sinajana Elementary school, St. Jude Thaddeus School or now known as Bishop Baumgartner Memorial School and graduating from Father Duenas Memorial School, Class of 1972. What perhaps most of you don’t know is that Archbishop Apuron has appointed me to be a member of the Board of Directors of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary since 2002. All the recent speculations in regards to the ownership of the seminary, quality of education, amount of monies spent, etc. has brought sadness and disappointment. As you are well aware there are always two sides to a story and my desire is perhaps to clarify some misconceptions or misunderstandings revealing the truth as I know it.
The Redemptoris Mater Seminary is an Archdiocesan missionary seminary ordaining and educating diocesan priests. There are many orders of priests Capuchin, Carmelite, Benedictine, Jesuit, etc. and Diocesan. (There are no Neocatechumenal Way priests.) These priests belong to the diocese of Guam. They are missionary however and may be sent on missions at the discretion of the Archbishop. Since 1999, our seminary has produced 17 Diocesan priests. From the very beginning, it was the desire of this Archdiocese to find a place to permanently house the seminary. The availability of the Hotel Accion property made this a reality. It is important to understand the INTENT of the Archdiocese to purchase the property FOR the Redemptoris Mater Seminary. The initial handwritten application for the loan to the Bank of Guam listed the purpose of the loan was to purchase the property for the Redemptoris Mater Seminary. The unanimous approval of the Archdiocesan Finance Council to purchase the property known as the Hotel Accion was in order to permanently house the Redemptoris Mater Seminary. The approval of the Apostolic Delegate for the Pacific, Archbishop Coveney, to purchase the specified building was to house the Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary. There has never been a question who the Archdiocese acquired the property for and therefore Archbishop Apuron placing a deed restriction on the property never changed the INTENT of the Archdiocese to permanently house the Redemptoris Mater Seminary on that property.
The Archdiocese of Agana is a Corporation Sole, the Redemptoris Mater House of Formation is a Corporation sole and both list Archbishop Apuron as the only member. You can have as many advisors, committees, directors as you want but only one person makes the decision to approve or deny anything, the Archbishop. This contrasts with a corporation aggregate which has many members who have fiduciary responsibilities, to stockholders for example, and vote to decide whether to approve or deny a motion. This is typical of many business corporations but is NOT the situation with the Archdiocese. Therefore, if for example, the Board of Directors of the Seminary were to decide to sell the property, they could not without the approval of the sole member of the Corporation. A deed of restriction for the use of the property by the Redemptoris Mater Seminary does not change ownership of the property nor the ability of the owner to sell the property. This legal opinion was confirmed by the Lewis Roca Rothgerber law firm from Denver, Colorado whose expertise is on civil and canon law. Additionally, a title search by Pacific American Title company on August of 2014 listed the Archdiocese of Agana as the owner of the Yona property, housing the Redemptoris Mater Seminary.
In regards to the deed of restriction, Archbishop Hon claims that the Holy See directed Archbishop Apuron to lift or rescind this deed but failed to clarify that the office making this “request” was his very own Congregation of Evangelization and he as the Apostolic delegate was the one making the request. The pope, as stated by Archbishop Apuron, never made the request. This request, however, was sent to the Congregation of Legislative Text (the highest Vatican Body for the Interpretation of legislative act) for an opinion and stated, “ the Archbishop’s act of assignment, therefore, can neither be considered a sale nor alienation, but only a [required] transfer of ownership between two “Corporation Soles” which have only one member who alone enjoys all the powers of extraordinary administration.” Additionally, Bishop Arrieta, the Secretary of the Congregation, stated, “ what seems to emerge from the whole affair is that the Archbishop (Apuron) has limited himself to only fulfilling a required act and truth”. The Vatican, the Holy See, the Pope has many arms or congregations to oversee the Catholic Church and both of these Congregations are “branches” of the Pope. Why Archbishop Hon fails to mention these facts remains to be understood.
The Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Guam and Blessed Diego Institute is accredited by the Lateran University or what many people refer to as the Pope’s University. It is one of the most prestigious universities in Rome. Representatives from the University examined the facility, curriculum and staff, deeming it worthy of affiliation. The seminarians graduate with a degree from the Lateran University. Furthermore, 4 ordained priests have enrolled to graduate education in Rome without any difficulty and one will be completing his doctorate this year. Why would any graduate school accept a student from a seminary that is a “Sham”?
In regards to seminary finances, it was costing the Archdiocese over $40,000.00 per year per seminarian before the Redemptoris Mater Seminary existed and now it is only costing approximately $9000.00 per year per seminarian. This is a significant cost saving!! Most of the seminary income come from private donations and the “subsidy” of the archdiocese is only about 12% of the total income. Last year the subsidized amount was $73,800 for the year and the year before was $83,700.00. Where the reported $200,000.00 amount came from is unclear but these are the reported figures from our Board meeting.
The facts I presented are true to my knowledge and hopefully clarifies the position of the Seminary. Many of the facts have previously been stated but drowned by extracurricular voices. A lot of mud has been thrown with the hope that some of it sticks. I pray that some of these facts I presented washes some of it away so that you may have clarity. The seminary is a jewel that we do not want to loose. It is critical in our role to evangelize which was given to us when we were baptized as Catholics.