The following comment was made by Ellen or Eileen, which can be found here. The red belongs to Ellen while mine are in black.
According to the archbishop, the archdiocese of Agaña is a "poor mission diocese" and has been so for the past 30 years or it could not qualify for Catholic Extension funds. According to their website: "Catholic Extension uniquely contributes to the growth and vibrancy of the Church in the U.S. by strategically investing in POOR MISSION DIOCESES to unleash the power of faith that transforms hearts, lives and society."
The Archbishop never said that the Archdiocese of Agana is a poor mission diocese. So, do not put words in the Archbishop's mouth. The goal of Catholic Extension is to provide funds and resources to churches or communities that are struggling to keep the Catholic faith alive and growing. That applies to Guam and to many places in the United States. Over the years, Catholicism on Guam have decreased from 98% to 85% as many of our brothers converted to other Christian denominations. The number of church attendance on Guam have also dropped.
The Catholic Church itself is a "mission" church in that we were instructed by Christ to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Before the Way, the Archdiocese of Agana have been borrowing priests mainly from the Philippines because Guam was unable to produce enough priestly vocations to fill all the village churches. In that sense, Guam struggled with inspiring priestly vocations and with evangelization. I had more Pentecostals and Jehovah Witnesses knocking on my door. The Catholics did a poor job in trying to get back our brothers who left the Church and in evangelizing non-Catholics.
Our Catholic traditions have also disappeared over the years. At one time, people in every village would bring the Fatima to people's homes and we would pray together. Now, I do not see that anymore. At one time, families would gather around the Belen every Christmas to pray and sing songs. Now, I do not see that anymore. In fact, I do not even see people taking the time to make the Belen like in the good old days. At one time, baby Jesus would go around during the Christmas season visiting people' homes with carolers singing Christmas songs. Now, I do not see that in my village anymore. These beautiful Catholic traditions in our Chamorro culture have vanished as people became more busy with their jobs and other secular activities. Our life has become more secular.
In addition, Catholic Extension also recognizes outstanding individuals and awards them the Lumen Christi Award with a $50,000 grant to support the person's ministry. Kevin An Delgado of Mangilao was one of the top ten finalists for the 2015 Lumen Christi Award.
As a "poor mission diocese" how are religious expected to afford a $200 ticket to attend the archbishop's birthday gala?
"Ellen B. or Eilleen Benavente- Bles"
This is obviously your REAL gripe.....the Archbishop's birthday gala. The fact that we had to hold a fundraiser for the Archdiocese of Agana plus the two seminaries shows that the Archdiocese and Seminaries are struggling with finances. However, we are still fortunate than some parishes in the United States who had to close down their doors due to a lack of priests.
Holding a gala fundraiser for the poor is not a bad thing. But holding a gala fundraiser to help the Church and seminaries is also NOT a bad thing. A person does not protest things that are good.....only things that are bad. A birthday celebration is not a bad thing. A fundraiser to help our Church and seminaries is also not a bad thing. The fact that many people came out to support the Archbishop shows their love and generosity for the Church and seminaries. Of course, this does not mean that we do not care for the poor.
It simply means that you are in no position to tell the Archbishop how to celebrate his birthday and what to fundraise for. If you wish to fundraise for the poor, then by all means.....organize your own gala dinner. But by what authority do you have telling the Archbishop and others what they should fundraise for and how they should celebrate their birthday. What really irks you is that people spent $200 each to help the Archdiocese and the two seminaries. Why does that bother you so much? Is it because you would like to see the Archdiocese of Agana suffer and the seminaries shut down?