A few months ago, a minor delivered a dead fetus in our hospital. The staff thinking it was a simple miscarriage however, noticed something strange in the chest of the fetus. There were multiple puncture marks present which later came to be revealed was the technique utilized to kill the fetus in utero. Because partial birth abortion is a crime in Guam, this is the technique utilized now to perform late term pregnancy abortions to give the appearance of a miscarriage rather than an abortion.
Today in addition to abortion, same sex marriage and casino gambling also exist in Guam. For years, Archbishop Anthony Apuron successfully led the battle against these moral issues and they were defeated. Unfortunately, a subversion of his moral authority has occurred from within the Catholic Church where a few organized vocal groups along with some clergy led by Archbishop Hon have neither addressed these issues nor supported the moral authority of the Archbishop of Agana.
Yes, Mother Dawn Marie (former Malojloj Carmelite prioress) claims we live in a toxic environment. It has been fueled however, by her own desire to seek public attention and provide her rendition of the truth in regards to the seminary. She attempts to discredit Archbishop Apuron and deems him guilty in regards to the sexual abuse allegations against him without a trial. My recollection of this truth is substantially different from what she professed.
On February 2, 1999, Archbishop Apuron requested for a Redemptoris Mater seminary on Guam to the initiators of the Neocatechumenal Way in response to the shortage of vocations and to form priests for the new evangelization. He believed in the vision of the Pope and recognized the serious challenges facing Micronesia and the Pacific today.
On September 8, the request was granted and the decree for the erection of the Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary of Guam was signed on December 8, 1999, the feast of Santa Marian Kamalen. This marked the beginning of the first major seminary in the 300 plus years of Catholicism in the island.
Initially, it was located in Tai, Guam, in a small one floor building and the seminarians were housed by members of the Neocatechumenal Way. With the increasing number of seminarians, it was clear that a new facility was needed to board the seminarians, provide classrooms for their courses of theology and create an educational institute for their academics.
This was identified in August 2002 to be the Yona property of the Hotel Accion and over the ensuing months Archbishop Apuron was able to obtain approval from the various committees and apostolic delegate Archbishop Coveney to purchase the property for the Redemptoris Mater Seminary securing a loan from the Bank of Guam for $1.9 million dollars which was finalized in September 16, 2002.
The Redemptoris Mater Seminary has been the only archdiocesan seminary in Guam and its relationship with the Neocatechumenal Way has been public, open and clear since its origin: the Neocatechumenal Way has helped in the formation of the seminarians. While this fact is well known, it does not entirely diminish the diocesan nature of the seminary. Jesuits or Sulpicians are formators in other diocesan seminaries as well but does not make those seminaries Jesuit or Sulpician.
Benefactors to provide assistance to pay this debt were sought and the Carmelite Sisters of St. Joseph in St. Louis, Missouri, in the person of Mother Stella Maris, O.C.D. generously offered to initially pay off the loan with an interest free loan and then later made it a gift instead. The email interchange between Archbishop Anthony Apuron and Mother Stella Maris leaves no doubt that the intention of the Carmelite nuns was to pay off the debt that was incurred in the acquisition of the property for the Redemptoris Mater Seminary.
On January 2, 2003 Mother Stella Maris wrote to the Archbishop: We would like to help with the seminary situation and thought we could possibly loan you some money, interest free to use there.
On the same day Archbishop Apuron answered Mother Stella Maris writing: The loss of the temporary house of formation where the rector and the sixteen seminarians were residing only three weeks before the Dec. 8th super-typhoon, is really a miracle as we look back in that we were able to move the seminary to a new location about 10 miles south in a former Japanese Hotel which the Archdiocese purchased for about $2 million dollars. Over the last two years we had been making plans of just extending the formation center to accommodate up to 24 seminarians (living two by two in a room= 12 rooms), the rector, a visitor's room, a conference room, a chapel and a library.
On January 6, 2003, Mother Stella Maris wrote back:
Our wish is to pay off entirely the loan on the hotel building with this interest free loan. …We will be sending a total of two million dollars ($2,000,000) so after the loan is paid off whatever remains we give to you as a gift, not a loan, to use for repair work on the hotel building or whatever is needed there.
On the same day Archbishop wrote: I will share it soon with my quick visit to the seminary to inform the Rector, Fr. Raymond and the 16 seminarians for our archdiocese.
(See attachment with the complete exchange of letters between Archbishop Apuron and Mother Stella Maris).
Fr. Raymond, rector of the seminary at the time, wrote to us from Canada confirming these facts:
I feel compelled to speak out by the love of truth. I believe that Mother Dawn is not well informed since the donation was given not by her but by Mother Stella Maris (may she rest in peace) who knew very well that the building would be used to form missionary diocesan priests and that the ones in charge of the formation would be priests from the Neocatechumenal Way.
Before Archbishop Byrnes lifted the deed of restriction as the corporation sole of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary, the Yona property was an asset of the Archdiocese of Agana. After this was accomplished, the property remained an asset of the archdiocese.
There was no truth to the accusations and threats by various organizations and individuals that the property was “given away” to the Neocatechumenal Way by Archbishop Apuron and alienated from the Archdiocese of Agana. The Archbishop of Agana remains its owner with full authority and jurisdiction. This authority includes dissolving the Boards as he has demonstrated.
So, paradoxically, we are extremely happy that all the lies involving the loss of the property of Yona, that the Board of Guarantors authority superseded the archbishop’s authority, etc. (published even in the Archdiocesan newspaper) have been revealed for what they are: lies and calumnies. The property was never alienated, the authority of the archbishop has never been challenged and the new Archbishop Coadjutor, with a simple stroke of his pen, demonstrated the toxic nature of this gigantic mountain of lies.
While the truth has now been substantiated, we are disappointed that this castle of lies jeopardized two of the greatest assets of our island: a seminary and an Institute of Theology affiliated with the Lateran University, the University of the Pope.
The members of both Boards have always served at the Ordinary’s pleasure and discretion in an advisory capacity. This fact has never been disputed. These members were never monetarily compensated for their service, volunteering their time simply for the love of the seminary and its role in evangelization. These former Board members look forward in anticipation to the arrival of the new coadjutor Archbishop Michael Byrnes and will hopefully be granted an audience with him.
R. B. Eusebio, M.D., FACS