Friday, December 29, 2017

Church Gambling

Archbishop Apuron banned raffle drawings and all forms of gambling in the parishes and Archdiocese.  During those times, not a single parish closed down.  The Archdiocese under Archbishop Apuron did not rely on gambling to sustain their parishes.  The NCW mission families and itinerants are also living testimonies of God's providence. The RMS priests and seminarians who participated in the two by two mission can also testify.  For two weeks, they went out with nothing but their clothes on their back and with their Bible in their hands. 

The RMS on Guam is another example.  RMS did not rely on the Archdiocese for money.  In fact, they got very little from the Archdiocese.  In the last year, they got nothing.  Yet, RMS was able to stand.  It sustained itself without any money from the Archdiocese.  Why?  Because God is our true provider.   Mammon, on the other hand, only leads to disaster.  Mammon is never satisfied with what it has and will always want more.  

The article on Church gambling was dated July 2011 and worth a read.  You can find the article here.

Take no chances: Survey on church gambling

The parish hall is no place to develop a gambling habit.
Image result for Raffle drawingSt. Agatha’s Catholic Church in Milton, Massachusetts is sometimes referred to as the “Caesar’s Palace of Massachusetts bingo.” On Monday nights as many as 400 people show up to compete for the $3,000 top prize. In 2009 St. Agatha’s and the other licensed bingo hall in Milton generated more than $1.2 million in gross revenue. Bingo generated $44 million in revenue in all of Massachusetts that year. The proceeds from St. Agatha’s supports the grammar school. Bingo is the school’s largest fundraiser.
Like St. Agatha’s, many Catholic parishes have become dependent on gambling revenue from bingo and raffle tickets in light of dwindling numbers of parishioners and lower overall giving. It is not uncommon for a parish to fund its building project or a youth group event with a raffle, sometimes with exorbitant ticket prices, such as $50 tickets that offer the chance to win anything from a flat screen TV to a new Mustang convertible.
Sure, the funds from gambling at church are for a good cause, but there’s something wrong with this picture. In the words of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, “Gambling, whatever its benefits, [comes] with undeniable and significant costs.”
Ironically, while voicing opposition to the expansion of casino gambling in Massachusetts in 2009, the church in Massachusetts was sponsoring its own gambling houses. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church was affiliated with close to one third of the bingo parlors in the state.
In light of the conference’s arguments against casinos, I think it is important to reevaluate what kind of example the church is setting by sponsoring its own form of gambling.
The Catholic Church has a complex history in its moral thinking about gambling. Although the Bible does not forbid it outright, early Christians were largely opposed, with some of the earliest accounts of canon law forbidding games of chance under the pain of excommunication. The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) forbade clerics to be even present at games where any betting was taking place.
St. Francis de Sales in the 16th century addressed gambling in his Introduction to the Devout Life under the title “Of Forbidden Amusements”: “Dice, cards, and the like games of hazard are not merely dangerous amusements, like dancing, but they are plainly bad and harmful, and therefore they are forbidden by the civil as by the ecclesiastical law.”
Today, however, gambling is generally considered a harmless pastime, dangerous only when indulged excessively, as reflected by the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice. They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others. The passion for gambling risks becoming an enslavement.”
This is also the argument the Massachusetts Catholic Conference made in its legislative testimony: “The Roman Catholic Church is not opposed to gambling,” wrote the conference, citing the above passage from the catechism. But in light of the many dangers associated with gambling—such as abuse, victimization of the poor, addiction, and broken families—the conference argued that “the state should not depend on gambling for resources to pay for needed services.”
Neither should a parish. The problems with gambling in general apply to church-sponsored gambling as well, but there are several more.
Gambling is not an efficient way to raise money. Administrative costs, marketing and advertising, and prize payouts mean lotteries, for example, bring in significantly less revenue than a broad-based tax. Nationally, an average of 71 percent of lottery revenue goes back into prizes.
Parish-sponsored bingo may be even less efficient at generating profit. According to statistics on charitable bingo in Michigan, 77 percent of net revenue went back into prizes. Parishioners who play “for a good cause” might be surprised how little is actually going back to the church.
Gambling doesn’t generate a significant percentage of income. State lotteries still only bring in an average of 2 percent of a state’s budget. Even though bingo is often the biggest fundraiser for a given parish, as it is at St. Agatha’s, the overall revenue earned is only a small percentage of what the church or school needs to function.
Moreover, the revenue earned through bingo is an unreliable source of income. Most parish-sponsored bingo halls have lost money during the recent recession as attendance plummeted. As a result, parishes have had to seek out other sources of income to fill the void left by bingo.
Gambling revenues are also regressive, unfairly distributing financial burdens to the poor while benefitting the rich. While both poor and rich gamble, the “recreational cost” is a much higher percentage of the poor’s overall income than it is for the rich. In Massachusetts welfare dollars can be used for lottery tickets, which is especially problematic for poor people who are trying to dig themselves out of a hole on the off chance of a big win.
Church-sponsored gambling is also regressive, but more important, it also potentially preys on the poor, who may not have the money to spend on Friday night bingo, yet still play. One member of a parish that had to shut down its bingo operation recalled a woman who came to play with a check from the government. He was concerned that this may have been her only income, but he still let her play.
Even for those who win, gambling is problematic. About one third of lottery jackpot winners will end up bankrupt. More will end up divorced or estranged from family and friends.
The repercussions may not be as grave for those who win smaller prizes at the local bingo parlor or parish lottery, but the excitement of the win still fosters a sinister materialism and greed that is ultimately antithetical to the sort of character the church aims to foster in its members. Church leaders should ask themselves if the call to discipleship really includes fostering a competitive spirit for a $3,000 payout.
While church-sponsored bingo may unintentionally prey on the poor, parish lotteries may also exclude the poor from what amounts to an important social event in the life of the parish. A struggling family is not likely to have the ability to afford many raffle tickets, despite the allure of the prize. Wealthier parishioners can fork over relatively large sums to support a parish fundraiser—despite the fact that the “prize” is not likely to benefit them as much.
The biggest problem with church-sponsored gambling is that it gets people used to seeing gambling as fun, exciting, or even charitable, making them more inclined toward more dangerous forms of gambling that the Massachusetts Catholic Conference opposed in its testimony.
A fundamental insight of Thomas Aquinas’ moral theology is that we form our character through our actions. Those who gamble at a church-sponsored bingo parlor are more likely to see casino gambling as a desirable pastime—and indeed, once casinos come to town, churches have had to close their bingo parlors. For the clientele, it makes little difference whether the revenue is going to the church or to the house. The act itself is the same.
The habits developed by church-sponsored gambling feed societal enthusiasm for more insidious forms of gambling and all their associated dangers. We saw this with William Bennett, the Secretary of Education under President Ronald Reagan, who lost millions gambling. Bennett’s gambling problem began with church bingo.
It is hypocritical for the church to oppose these “predatory” forms of gambling while fostering in their own parishioners those very same habits that support a more widespread cultural acceptance of gambling.
A fundamental moral precept of the church is that “the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the church, each according to his own ability.” Maybe the next time the collection plate comes around or we get that letter in the mail from our parish priest requesting a pledge, we will remember our obligation and give a little more abundantly.
The solution to the church’s “gambling problem” rests largely in our own hands—and wallets.
"And the survey says..."
1. Bingo and raffles are harmless ways to raise money for the parish that have the added benefit of getting parishioners to socialize.
50% - Agree
34% - Disagree
16% - Other
2. My parish:
52% - Sells raffle tickets as a fund-raiser.
23% - Does not hold any events that include gambling or games of chance.
12% - Holds a regular bingo night.
12% - Hosts other games of chance.
3. I would give more money each month if my parish would stop asking members to gamble in order to raise funds.
20% - Agree
56% - Disagree
24% - Other
Representative of “other”:
“I give what I think is appropriate. Others may give by buying raffle tickets or playing bingo, but that is irrelevant to my own giving.”
4. If we were to get rid of bingo night and raffles, my parish would go bankrupt.
10% - Agree
72% - Disagree
18% - Other
5. The church should ban gambling at parishes.
34% - Agree
59% - Disagree
7% - Other
6. I gamble:
55% - Infrequently (less than once a month).
31% - Never.
3% - Semi-frequently (one to three times a month).
2% - Frequently (once a week).
9% - Other
7. I’ve had a family member or close friend with an addiction to gambling.
25% - Agree
73% - Disagree
2% - Other
8. Responsible gamblers shouldn’t have to quit gambling just because others have a problem with it.
62% -Agree
25% -Disagree
13% - Other
This article appeared in the July 2011 issue of U.S. Catholic (Vol. 76, No. 7, pages 23-27).
Results are based on the responses of 102 visitors.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Hits and Misses in TSW, 2017

The year is almost coming to an end.  In just a few days, a new year 2018 begins.  Guam made the hit list in the year 2017 according to These Stone Walls by Father Gordon MacRae.  You can read the story here.


Hits & Misses of 2017: A Year Between Mercy and Grace

The year behind These Stone Walls brought some Concord Prison Blues, a Consecration to Divine Mercy, a corruption unmasked, and signs and wonders from Patron Saints.
Each year as a New Year dawns on These Stone Walls, I have posted a sort of year in review. I have traditionally modeled it after a weekly news commentary that I like on FOX News, the Journal Editorial Report.
Every Saturday afternoon (usually repeated on Sundays as well) Fox News hosts members of The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board as they weigh in on the week’s top news stories. Each episode ends with “The Hits & Misses of the Week.”
What follows are the Hits & Misses of the year on These Stone Walls. Instead of picking the “Hits & Misses” myself this year, I decided to let you do it. So I reviewed TSW’s stats reports and chose the twelve most-read and shared posts as our “Hits” of 2017, and the trying times in which I wrote them as “Misses.”
The posts you seemed to like the best in 2017 were usually written under the worst conditions. I wrote 47 original posts this year. One was hopelessly lost in the outgoing prison mail never to be seen again. I no longer even remember its title. Five others were guest posts.
You may recall that I type my posts on an old Smith Corona typewriter in a prison cell. From there, they are mailed to Father George David Byers in North Carolina where he scans, edits, adds the links and then emails them to New South Wales, Australia where These Stone Walls is published. There are sometimes snags along the route.
My August 23 post was the one lost in the mail as mentioned above. So when August 23 rolled around, we had nothing to publish. However, when our stats report came in the following week, I learned that the week we had no post at all saw the year’s highest traffic. Should I take this personally? It was a mystery to be solved.
It turned out that on the day we didn’t publish anything, a site in The Netherlands posted a Facebook message and link to a post I wrote on Fathers Day five years ago. From that site’s Facebook page, it went viral and was shared nearly13,000 times. So the most read and shared post of 2017 was actually one I wrote in 2012: “In the Absence of Fathers: A Story of Elephants and Men.”
Our second most popular post of the year was not even written by me. (Hmmph!) To honor the 100th Anniversary of the Apparitions at Fatima in 2017, historian Craig Turner produced a CD for Lighthouse Catholic Mediawhich placed the story in a riveting historical context. Craig then sent me a letter offering to let me use his outline if it might be a fit for These Stone Walls.
So I decided this would be a timely guest post. With Craig’s permission, I had to do a little editing to get it down to a size consistent with other TSW posts. It follows a fascinating thread from Fatima through the history of the 20th Century, and if you love history as I do, it was impossible to pass up.
With over 3,000 shares on social media, Craig Turner’s guest article was the year’s second most popular post. It was “How Our Lady of Fatima Saved a World in Crisis.”
The next two most popular posts of the year were published back to back in late June. It’s usually a time when TSW slows down a little while summer vacation plans rule the day. But not this year. I addressed two stories that much of the secular news had either brushed over or reported with blatant bias. Both stories seemed to presage the scandal that has since swept Hollywood and Washington, D.C. (More on that in coming weeks).
USA Today carried a shamelessly biased front-page account of a scandal that erupted on the Island of Guam. By the time it was over, a classic moral panic formed that ousted the Archbishop and implicated many priests – most of them long since deceased – in a spate of claims of abuse from decades ago.
As is typical for USA Today, the fact that the claims were forty years old, and accompanied by expectations of unquestioned monetary settlements, were the story’s most downplayed aspects. When I wrote about this story, the National Catholic Register’s The Big Pulpit made it the headlined feature post of the day.
On the Island of Guam, Is the Eighth Commandment Discarded?” was shared well over 1,000 times on social media and drew many readers in Guam and from around the globe.
That post and two to follow were our third, fourth, and fifth most popular posts of the year. One was “Will Fr Charles Engelhardt’s Prosecutor Take a Plea Deal?” It told the story of how the late Philadelphia priest, Father Charles Engelhardt died chained to a gurney in a Pennsylvania prison hospital ward after being wrongly sent to prison on trumped-up charges.
Rogue Philadelphia prosecutor Seth Williams was subsequently charged in multiple federal indictments for corruption and accepting bribes. After I wrote the above post, Seth Williams pled guilty to the charges and was sentenced to five years in federal prison.
Every objective observer of this story now believes that the charges he brought against Monsignor William Lynn and the late Father Engelhardt were bogus. Justice was itself one of Seth Williams’ victims.
Months earlier in early February, I wrote an exposé about revelations of long-suspected fraud in the victim rights group, SNAP – the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. I was shocked by how widely this post was read, not only at These Stone Walls but in multiple other venues like Pewsitterthat carried it. “David Clohessy Resigns SNAP in Alleged Kickback Scheme” was also featured on Father John Zuhlsdorf’s blog which brought thousands of readers to the post.
In the 15 years since the U.S. bishops haplessly invited SNAP representatives to speak and help formulate policy at the 2002 Bishops Conference in Dallas, this organization and its leaders brought immense damage upon the Church and priesthood in the United States. SNAP’s Executive Director, David Clohessy, and founder, the late Barbara Blaine, both resigned in the wake of the 2017 story of fraud and lawyer kickback schemes, leaving many questions still unanswered.
From a purely spiritual point of view, the 2016 Jubilee Year of Mercy was a pivotal year behind These Stone Walls. As it gave way to 2017, 1 wrote a January post about an event of great importance for the tapestry of our lives. It was a widely read and shared post entitled, “Consecration to Divine Mercy: 33 Days to Merciful Love.”
The ministry of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts reached into this prison in profound and wonderful ways this year. Father Michael Gaitley, MIC, and the Marian Community embody the Corporal Works of Mercy, not only in their fraternal spiritual outreach to me as a priest but in their spiritual adoption of Pornchai Moontri who has come to hold a special place in their hearts.
And that spiritual adoption has had a global reach. People on five continents have reached out to Pornchai to help restore his life after reading of him not only at These Stone Walls, but in Marian Helper magazine. Recently, a reader wrote that he called a Catholic monastery to request a Mass intention for Pornchai for Divine Mercy Sunday. The voice at the other end said, “Pornchai Moontri? You must be reading These Stone Walls.”
It’s a mystery that 2017 started off that way spiritually while for the next eight months your friends behind these stone walls were enduring the most trying conditions we have faced in this prison. The most spiritually hopeful post of 2017 was written in the most bizarre conditions and those conditions became another of our most read and shared posts of the year, “Hebrews 13:3: Writing Just This Side of the Gates of Hell.
The year wore on, as you may already know, and we were delivered from the place where I had spent the last 23 years. Unlike the round-the-clock confinement of where I’ve been, our new quarters have unfettered access to the outside and exercise. I now climb up to 1,000 stairs a day out there and have lost about fifteen pounds. Writing suffers a little because of this move, and some of you may have noticed my slow response to mail, but I have 23 years of “outside” to catch up on.
The hardest post I have ever written came at the end of October this year. It was very well read and shared, but as the year draws to a close I hope it doesn’t lose its momentum. It isn’t an easy post to read, but its many incisive comments reveal the depth of justice in the hearts of those who read and shared it.
It’s a natural inclination for Americans, especially, to see and trust in our judicial and criminal justice systems. But this post delivers a much-needed dose of reality. Our justice system has become self-contained and self-referential, and as the story of rogue prosecutor Seth Williams reveals above, it repels oversight and public accountability.
People have forgotten that in a democracy, police, prosecutors and judges are public servants. Accountability and transparency are part of a sacred trust upon which the sun has set.
The post I refer to is one that I hope you will read anew, understand, and share with others. It is too easily overlooked because it reveals an uncomfortable and inconvenient truth. So at year’s end, I want to ask readers to revisit “Plea Deals or a Life Sentence in the Live Free or Die State.”
The New Year will be ushering in a major change behind these stone walls. I don’t mean the blog, but rather the place in which it is written. The New Hampshire Department of Corrections is following a trend sweeping prisons across the United States.
After 23 years with severely limited contact with the outside world, a computerized tablet system will become available for sale to prisoners here in the first months of 2018.
This prison has contracted with a company called Global Tel link ( to sell tablets to prisoners with a series of paid subscription services to include email, video email, telephone, ebooks, subscriptions, and a list of other paid services such as music and movies. The nine-inch tablet will be similar to an Android-based Samsung with touchscreen for $149.00.
The biggest change for me will be the availability of Internet-based telephone and email services. Presently where I live, there are two telephones available for 96 prisoners. The phones are outside which means that placing a call during a New Hampshire winter to hear your messages and comments requires up to a one-hour wait bundled up against the cold and wind.
When I purchase a tablet, it will have a headset and the ability to place calls right from our toasty 60-square-foot cell with no waiting outside for an available telephone. Friends can still not call me but will be able to leave me messages. This will be the first time in my 23 years here that anyone can reach me directly from the outside world.
The motives behind this are not necessarily stellar, but it doesn’t matter. With draconian and every growing restrictions on prison visits and incoming mail, I suspect there is an underlying hope to limit – or even eliminate – most first class mail and perhaps even visits.
In the process, the Global Tel Link Company will make a lot of money from prisoners and their families and friends, and the prison system will share in the profits. Prison officials also have an interest in keeping everyone distracted and occupied in an overcrowded, understaffed prison. So everyone wins.
The prison administration says this program will bring the technology available to prisoners from about 1980 to 2018 almost instantly. This seems almost surreal after over 23 years of severe restrictions in contacts with the outside world. So no matter what machinations lay behind it, this is a promising development for prisoners, and the enthusiasm for it is building as the New Year unfolds.
In addition to the initial costs for the tablets and services, telephone calls will have a per-minute charge, and emails will be charged per message and by volume of text, but the fees seem reasonable. Readers who are able and want to assist with the expenses may do so here at These Stone Walls or through the means described at our “Contact” and “Donate” pages. I will have further news about this in January.
In the year to come, May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He let his countenance shine upon you. May He bring you peace.
Note from Father Gordon MacRae:
My “Hits & Misses” are the most-read posts at These Stone Walls in 2017, but not the most important posts. I could not write at all but if not for signs and wonders from the intercession of our Patron Saints. They walked with us in dark times this year. In this Year of Grace, may they walk with you as well. These posts honor our Patron Saints behind These Stone Walls:

Obituary: Fernando Fernandez

Fernando Fernandez: Father, Catechist, and Hispanic Office Staff

A familiar and welcoming face around the Pastoral Center and, prior to the move to Braintree, for many years at the chancery in Brighton, Fernando Fernandez died Dec. 12 in Revere at the age of 59. He had been waging a heroic battle against cancer for the last four years.

Fernandez served the Archdiocese of Boston for over 20 years as the office coordinator of the Hispanic Apostolate Office, and more recently as the translation specialist for Spanish in the Office of Lifelong Faith Formation and Parish Support.

He is survived by his wife Maria (Montserrat) Fernandez and his six children: Juan; Javier; Manuel; and Raquel, all of Revere; Andres of Maynard and Pablo of Everett. Pablo Fernandez is a staff member of Pilot Bulletins.

Michael Lavigne, assistant cabinet secretary for Evangelization and Discipleship, described him as a "humble, gentle, and dedicated disciple of Jesus Christ. He was an example of the hope we should have, in any situation, because of a God who loves us into existence each and every moment."

Fernandez arrived in the United States with his wife and six children from his native Spain in 1996. They came following an invitation of Cardinal Bernard Law, as a missionary family with the Neocatechumenal Way to work with the newly arrived Hispanic immigrant community at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in East Boston; there he was instrumental in starting a Hispanic apostolate ministry which he helped lead for the next two decades.

During these years, beyond his contributions to the Church both at the parish and archdiocesan level, Fernandez was also a catechist with the Neocatechumenal Way, and helped form Neocatechumenal communities in several parishes of the archdiocese including Immaculate Conception in Revere, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Immaculate Conception in Marlborough and Our Lady of the Assumption in East Boston.

Fernandez's Funeral Mass was celebrated at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in East Boston on Dec. 14. It was presided by longtime family friend Father George Szal, SM and was concelebrated by 26 priests, a testament to the impact that his ministry has left in the archdiocese.

Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, who was in Rome for meetings with the Holy Father, sent his condolences to the family and celebrated Mass for the repose of Fernandez's soul on the day of his funeral.

He was interred at St. Mary Cemetery in Lynn.

Taken from The Pilot.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Archdiocese Supporting Gambling???

God is one brought the following to my attention when he/she posted the following comment: 
God is oneDecember 26, 2017 at 9:47 PMDiana look at what I found on the archdiocese website  
I took a look at the Archdiocese website and found more than I expected.  Indeed, the Archdiocese of Agana website provided the W-2G form for certain gambling winnings. You can see it here. Does this mean that Archbishop Byrnes has now taken a different stand toward gambling?  Did he not praise Senator Nelson for passing a law banning casino gambling at the Liberation Carnival?  Furthermore, the Finance and Accounting Policies of the Archdiocese stated:
1. A raffle and fund raising committee must be established and is responsible for overseeing and administering the activities, setting up controls to handle finances and preparing necessary financial and government reports. It’s officer and at least one of its member must have undergone a training for administering of raffle on record. Fund raising committee and its members must be trained by Department of Revenue and Taxation (DRT) and approved by the Archdiocese of Agana (AOA).  
Was Archbishop Byrnes ever informed that Archbishop Apuron had banned raffle drawings because it was a form of gambling?  While it is true that gambling itself is not a sin, it is known to lead to sin.  And yes, Guam has a gambling addiction problem, which led to the creation of two treatment centers for gambling addiction in Guam.  According to KUAM news dated July 21, 2013 (the bold is mine):
From June 4th to July 5th GPD received 79 reports of burglaries to residences and businesses and 59 burglaries were reported to vehicles. These statistics are alarming while these crimes happen throughout the island, spokesman Lt. Art Paulino shares that some areas are prone.
"We are seeing quite a number of burglaries being committed in the central area, specifically Barrigada, but more so in the Agana Heights-Sinajana area but still statistically I think it's in the Dededo area," he shared.
While some burglaries are committed by juvenile offenders, according to Paulino often times burglaries are fueled by a drug or gambling addiction and are deemed crimes of opportunity where the payout outweighs the chances of capture. 
Senator BJ Cruz was once a family court judge in Guam.  This is what Senator Cruz had to say according to the Guam Daily Post:
"The people of Guam have decisively rejected casino-style gambling at the voting booth five times since the year 2000. It's time our laws honestly reflect that fact," said Cruz. "As a family court judge, I saw the human cost of gambling addiction every day. And until you look in the eyes of a child who is forced to sell herself to feed her little brother – because her mother gambled away her paycheck – don't tell me addictive gambling is a victimless act." 
Is Archbishop Byrnes aware that there is a gambling addiction treatment center in Guam sponsored by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in Tamuning and at the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center?  If gambling addiction was not a problem in Guam, why then have two treatment centers for gambling addiction? Both the police department and Senator Cruz (who was once a family court judge) have seen the cost of gambling addiction in Guam. 

Was Archbishop Byrnes aware of the gambling initiatives that was defeated in Guam?  According to the Guam Legislature:
Further, I Liheslaturan Guhhan finds that legalization of gambling in Guam has been the subject of several initiatives, specifically those submitted to the voters of Guam in the 1996, 2004, 2006 and 2008 elections, and all of them were rejected by the voters.
Apparently, the majority of voters are well aware of the gambling addiction on this island. What was the Archdiocese of Agana thinking when they made these finance and accounting policies and provided the forms for gambling winnings?  Why should gambling forms be made available at the Archdiocese of Agana website?  Who is in charge of making these policies for the Archdiocese of Agana?

Kamalen Karidat

Pictures tell a thousand words.  Below are photos of Kamalen Karidat feeding the homeless during Deacon Tenorio's time.

Employees from the Naval Facilities Engineering command (NAVFAC) Marianas volunteered their time to feed the homelss at Kusinan Kamalen Karidat in Hagatna on July 24, 2013.  You can read the story here.  

HAGATNA, Guam (July 24, 2013)— Tobias Perez-Theisen, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Marianas program analyst, leads a line of volunteers as they prepare dinner for the homeless at Kusinan Kamalen Karidat in Hagatna July 24. NAVFAC Marianas employees and families volunteered for the event. (U.S. Navy photo by Jesse Leon Guerrero)

The Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Guam have been feeding the homeless since 2012 through Kamalen Karidat.  You can see the story here.

It was also Deacon Tenorio who expanded the services of Kamalen Karidat to the village of Dededo.  Below is a photo of the Chinese Chambers of Commerce of Guam helping Kamalen Karidat feeding the homeless at the Dededo Senior Center during Deacon Tenorio's time. You can see the story here.

Every month, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Guam dedicated to feed the homeless at Kamalen Karadat.  Below is another photo taken at the Dededo Senior Center. You can see the story here.

NAVFAC employees volunteered at Kamalen Karidat in 2012 to feed the homeless.  You can read the story in the Stars And Stripes Newspaper.

Serving the Community: From left: Lorraine Unpingco, Natti Pisaro, Winnie Camacho and June Concepcion  from Naval Facilities and Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Marianas plate a feast at the Kusinan Kamalen Karidat in Hagatna Nov. 6. The group from NAVFAC Marianas, called the Sisters in Christ, volunteer monthly at the facility, feeding dozens of fellow community members. U.S. Navy photo by Shaina Marie Santos/Released

Below is a photo of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Guam Board of Directors and Moylan's Insurance employees.  Together, they combined their efforts in feeding the homeless at Kamalen Karidat on December 2016.  You can see the story here.


The Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Guam, the Chinese Ladies Association of Guam, the employees at Moylan's Insurance, NAVFAC, and all those who volunteered at Kamalen Karidat under Deacon Tenorio's time can testify that the homeless were being fed. 

CCOG, on the other hand, made a serious allegation against Archbishop Apuron and Deacon Tenorio.  They claimed that Kamalen Karidat was a sham and that the donations were going for the personal use of Archbishop Apuron and Deacon Tenorio.  They made the accusation; therefore, they need to produce their evidence rather than calling for an investigation.  You call for an investigation ONLY after you produce some evidence of your accusation.  Even the courts do the same.  They go to trial only if there is enough evidence to render a trial otherwise it becomes a waste of time and a waste of taxpayers' money.   

Friday, December 22, 2017

RMS In Texas

This article dated November 28, 2017 is about the growing number of priesthood in the Immaculate Concepcion Catholic Church in Texas......thanks to the RMS and NCW.  The highlights are mine.  You can find the article here.

Men of God: Immaculate Conception has five young men entering priesthood

Francisco Moran.jpg
Francisco Moran, left, with a visiting priest from Chicago. Pictured at Immaculate Concepcion Catholic Church

For many reasons, it seems that recruitment of good men to wear the collar of a Catholic priest has been difficult. The Catholic Church has taken some hard knocks over the past couple of decades. Scandal over molestation has definitely become widely discussed by critics of the Church. Others point out that it could be old fashioned to expect young men to uphold a vow of chastity.
Since the mid-70’s until now, the church population has boomed, but the number of men becoming priests has declined. In Corsicana, only one church serves the Catholic community. Immaculate Conception is proud to have five young men who are on their way to becoming priests.
“I love it. It’s a testament to faith,” said parish priest Father Marco Rangel.
Three of the men are seminarians and serving overseas in Guam, India and Ukraine. Another is becoming a deacon and a fifth gentleman is just starting his studies at the seminary. Fr. Rangel believes that it might be the unique Neocatechumenal community at Immaculate Conception that is attracting men from Corsicana to the priesthood.
“In the Neocatechumenal way, people are learning more about faith, the Eucharist and scriptures. They are doing it as a community,” he said.
Not all Catholics live the Neocatechumenal way. In fact, not many of them know about it. Fr. Rangel notes that of the 1,100 churchgoers at Immaculate Conception, about 300 of them are part of this community. At Immaculate Conception, the Neocatechumenal followers also happen to be Hispanic. At times, they worship and meet separately from other church members though it is not a secret society and they often join the regular church crowd.
“They group themselves in communities with about 50 members. They support one another in a more intimate way. If someone needs help, then they are there to help. It’s like a family,” Rangel said.
Seminarian Francisco Moran is on the path to priesthood while serving in Vinnytsa, Ukraine. Moran, who is originally from Mexico, came to the United States as a 20-day-old infant. He was raised in Dallas and moved to Blooming Grove with his family around the age of 16. Though he has been Catholic all of his life, admittedly he was not much of a churchgoer in his early years.
“Around 24 years old, I was studying to teach at Carroll Elementary. I was attending mass. I prayed everyday,” Moran said.
As Moran’s involvement with the church grew, so did his commitment to God. He said that three times he was asked at youth meetings to stand up if he felt the calling to the priesthood.
“I was scared,” he said. “Then I went to World Youth Day in Brazil. I finally stood up.”
Moran trusted in God and as such accepted his assignment to a war-torn Ukraine.
“You see tanks once in a while” Moran said.
Tanks aside, Moran also said that he sees a willingness in the people of Ukraine.
“They are very poor,” he said. “What little they have, they want to share.”
Oscar Galindo is another seminarian from Immaculate Conception. Galindo serves in Bangalore, India. He too became a part of the Neocatechumenal way.
“I understood this is what a Church is, a community of communities,” Galindo said.
Though Galindo admits India is very different than the United States, he feels he is exactly where God wants him to be.
“Thanks to the Neocatechumenal Way, I had a Christian community, composed of Indian lay families, here as well,” Galindo said. “They supported me with their prayers and with their lives by opening their homes to me and allowing me to be one with their family.“
Though Galindo is a world away, he still considers his Neocatechumenal group in Corsicana his family.
“Until today, I am still in this community when I go home — we have been together now for 14 years. They support me not only spiritually, through their prayers and love, but financially as well. They are a great encouragement for me. I have really seen miracles in their lives.”
The Neocatechumenal way started in the 1960’s in Spain. This particular type of worship has been in the Corsicana community for about 20 years.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Rev and Tax: Kamalen Karidat exempt

Deacon Tenorio did not file taxes at the Department of Revenue and Taxation because he was under the impression that it was not required for Kamalen Karidot to file taxes.  The conclusion from the Department of Revenue and Taxation publicly revealed that Kamalen Karidot did not have to file taxes.  This is why Father Mike Crisostomo should NOT be so quick to jump into the media and start talking negatively about his predecessor and placing him in a bad light.  It is always prudent to wait until the investigation is over.  News report stated: 
Crisostomo, when sought for comment on Camacho's letter, said a statement would be forthcoming.  As of press time Wednesday, no statement has been received.  
Tony Diaz, communications director for the Archdiocese, said Wednesday afternoon that the Archdiocese reserves comment until the Kamalen Karidot board meets sometime in January 2018.  

As for CCOG, their complaint never had anything to do with filing taxes. They made a very serious allegation against Archbishop Apuron and Deacon Tenorio. They alleged that Archbishop Apuron and Deacon Tenorio used the donations from Kamalen Karidot for their personal use.  CCOG was the one who made the allegation; therefore, they are the ones to produce the evidence.  Where is the evidence?  It is bad enough that CCOG and the jungle accused RMS of money laundering in the past.  Whatever happened to that allegation? CCOG must produce the substantial evidence rather than continue inventing stories that causes division in the Archdiocese. According to the Pacific Daily News:

Department of Revenue and Taxation Director John P. Camacho says Kamalen Karidat isn't required to file an annual financial information because it's an "integrated auxiliary of a church." The Concerned Catholics of Guam disagrees.
David Sablan, Concerned Catholics president,  on Wednesday said the Internal Revenue Service defines "integrated auxiliary" as an entity that gets financial support primarily from the church, and not from the public or government.
Kamalen Karidat gets monetary and in-kind donations from the general public and has since it was created in 1994 by Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron to help feed the poor and homeless.
Father Mike Crisostomo has said the Archdiocese of Agana doesn't financially support Kamalen Karidat. Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes appointed Crisostomo to take over Kamalen Karidat on March 1.
On Dec. 11, the archdiocese took over the soup kitchen and other charitable work of Kamalen Karidat and renamed it Ministries to the Homeless. Kamalen Karidat's bank assets, less than $200,000, were frozen until the board meets in January 2018.
Concerned Catholics has alleged mismanagement and possible fraudulent activities at Kamalen Karidat, adding that Rev and Tax, the Office of the Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney's Office should investigate. Sablan said these local and federal agencies should bring criminal charges against Apuron and Deacon Frank Tenorio if fraud and abuse are uncovered.
Concerned Catholics said Kamalen Karidat couldn't account for cash and in-kind donations and expenditures since 1994 because of a lack of records.

'Not required'

Camacho clarified the filing requirements of Kamalen Karidat in a Dec. 19 letter to Crisostomo,
"A review of information on file with this department indicates that, as a thrift shop offering used goods for sale at nominal prices as part of its charitable mission under the Archdiocese of Agana, Kamalen Karidat Inc. is considered an integrated auxiliary of a church. Therefore, Kamalen Karidat is not required to file 990 returns," Camacho wrote.
A Form 990 is used by nonprofit organizations to publicly disclose their revenue and expenses.
Crisostomo, when sought for comment on Camacho's letter, said a statement would be forthcoming. As of press time Wednesday, no statement had been received.
Tony Diaz, communications director for the Archdiocese, said Wednesday afternoon that the Archdiocese reserves comment until the Kamalen Karidat board meets sometime in January 2018.
The term "integrated auxiliary of a church," as defined by IRS, refers to a class of organizations that are related to a church or convention or association of churches, but aren't such organizations themselves.
The three requirements to meet the definition, set by IRS, are:
  1. Be described both as an Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) organization and be a public charity under Code section 509(a)(1), (2) or (3);
  2. Be affiliated with a church or convention or association of churches; and
  3. Receive financial support primarily from internal church sources as opposed to public or governmental sources.
Attorney Ray Cruz Haddock, an expert on tax laws, on Wednesday said Kamalen Karidat could fall under the definition and its purposes of feeding the poor would seem consistent.


The Pacific Daily News last week submitted a Sunshine Act request, asking Rev and Tax to provide Kamalen Karidat's annual tax forms from 1994 to 2016. Camacho, in his response to the request, stated there are no such filings by the organization.
Camacho also said Rev and Tax was reviewing Kamalen Karidat's tax-exempt status.
Camacho, in his letter to Crisostomo, said every organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(a) must file an annual exempt organization return, except:
  1. A church, an interchurch organization of local units of a church, a convention or association of churches; or
  2. An integrated auxiliary pf a church -- a charitable organization affiliated with a church.
Concerned Catholics' Sablan said Kamalen Karidat is an entity separate from the Archdiocese of Agana or the Catholic Church. He said the only link to the church is that the board has clergy members, including Apuron and Deacon Frank Tenorio.
Apuron is under Vatican canonical trial. He left Guam in May 2016 after former altar boys publicly accused him of raping or sexually abusing them in Agat in the 1970s. Apuron also faces clergy sex abuse lawsuits in federal court, and a libel suit in local court.

In defense of Deacon Tenorio

Former Attorney General Douglas Moylan, one of the 19 original board members of Kamalen Karidat, on Wednesday said he knows Deacon Tenorio personally to be an honest, considerate and thoughtful servant of the church community. 
"I would be very surprised if there was any intentional wrongdoing on the part of Deacon Tenorio, and hope that the finances be reviewed in light of the dedication, charity and giving that those who have run Kamalen Karidat have given to those persons and families most needing in our community," Moylan said.
Moylan said while he was one of the original Kamalen Karidat board members, he was replaced sometime thereafter. He said because it was a long time ago, he recalls attending only one or a few, if any, board meetings.
"It was my further understanding that this organization was an arm of the Catholic Church on Guam, under the direction of the Archbishop," Moylan said.

Guam annual report

Camacho said Kamalen Karidat as a nonprofit corporation registered and operating on Guam is required to file an annual report pursuant to the Guam Code. Crisostomo stated earlier that for whatever reason, Kamalen Karidat hadn't filed an annual report after 2006.
The report shows the date of an organization's incorporation, its business office and the names of its directors and principal officers, among other things.
When Crisostomo took over Kamalen Karidat in March, the priest worked with Rev and Tax and others to bring the corporation into compliance with the requirement. 

HAGATNA, Guam (July 24, 2013)— Tobias Perez-Theisen, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Marianas program analyst, leads a line of volunteers as they prepare dinner for the homeless at Kusinan Kamalen Karidat in Hagatna July 24. NAVFAC Marianas employees and families volunteered for the event. (U.S. Navy photo by Jesse Leon Guerrero)
HAGATNA, Guam (July 24, 2013)— Tobias Perez-Theisen, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Marianas program analyst, leads a line of volunteers as they prepare dinner for the homeless at Kusinan Kamalen Karidat in Hagatna July 24. NAVFAC Marianas employees and families volunteered for the event. (U.S. Navy photo by Jesse Leon Guerrero)
 Above is a photo taken during Deacon Tenorio's time when Naval personal helped volunteers feed the homeless at Kusinan Kamalen Karidot.