A PEACEFUL demonstration took place at the steps of the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagåtña yesterday evening, with dozens of Catholics gathering in opposition to what they said is the archdiocese's lack of transparency.
The Concerned Catholics of Guam led an islandwide motorcade stopping at various parishes yesterday afternoon with the final destination at the Hagåtña cathedral. Participants held signs with “transparency,” “accountability” or “Pope Francis Save Our Church” written on them. One man held a sign that said “Justice. Accountability. Action. Enough is Enough.” Cars lined the streets surrounding the cathedral, many had signs posted on the windows that read “I Love My Catholic Church.”
Speakers at the rally reiterated that they were gathered to pray for the church and pray for the archbishop. “The devil is looking at the fact that maybe we are complacent. The archbishop, to some degree, believes that,” said David Sablan, vice president of Concerned Catholics, to the crowd. “He is our leader and yet he doesn’t listen. ... We haven’t heard from him. This is not what a leader does. A leader explains.”
Mongmong parishioner Jose Martinez also addressed participants at the prayer rally. Martinez said the participants had come together for a rally for their own reasons, but mostly they came together because they are concerned about the church.
“So why are we all gathered here today? We’re all here for our own reason, our own concerns. Mostly I hope, because of a love of our own archdiocese and the love of our archbishop,” Martinez said. “Is this about money? It’s a factor. It’s really about salvation.”
The Concerned Catholics of Guam leadership has said in previous interviews that they think there is a link between Apuron’s ties to the Neocatechumenal Way and the way the church’s funds are spent.
As the crowd finished praying the Divine Mercy prayer, songs sung by a crowd of Neocatechumenal Way followers could be heard from two blocks away.
The songs were sung by a few dozen parishioners from the San Vicente San Roke parish in Barrigada who were gathered in front of the Nanbo Insurance facility at the intersection of Route 4 and Route 33. The group was listening to testimony from a parishioner as the Concerned Catholics at the cathedral ended their prayer rally.
A couple of cars sounded their horns as they passed the Nanbo building, catching the attention of Barrigada parishioners sitting under the tent.
The prayer rally at the cathedral was organized to pray for the community and to save the archdiocese from people working their way into the fabric of the church community, Sablan said yesterday.
Sablan questioned why the Catholics at the Nanbo building did not join the Catholics in front of the church. “They should be here,” he said to the crowd.