The following article appeared in Church News site
Trouble In Yet Another Mumbai Parish
February 7, 2011 at 8:33 am
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Allow me to share my experiences in the church in this regard.
When we had some trouble in the Parish Pastoral Council in 1996-97, Bishop Bosco(then our zonal bishop) had deputed the diocesan Chancellor, Fr. Oswald Gracias(now cardinal & archbishop) to oversee/chair 3 of our PPC meetings, to iron out the troubles. In the very first meeting chaired by Fr. Gracias on Sunday 15th Dec. 1996, he said that the PPC must have constitution and for that reason he gave us a sample of constitution with its bye-laws. In those bye-laws, it was stated that members can be re-elected for a second term, but cannot be members for more than 2 consecutive terms. Now what is the status on the election of Mr. Marceline D’souza & Mrs. Mildred Murzello? Then, what about some people the parish Priest nominates to the PPC? Do they follow a same rules or are they go on term after term without ceding?
The bye-laws also said that finances were outside the purview of the PPC. Bishop Bosco, too, has said the same thing on numerous occasions. Mr. Greg Pereira talks about properties and buildling repairs/constructions etc. Apparently, finances can only be discussed by a “Finance Committee’ , which is solely appointed by the Parish priest…. Of his choosing & fancies. ….or should we use elite words discretion, sagacity or prudence? So, clergy has ruled that PPC cannot discuss finance. Our ex parish priest last May before leaving put up the accounts on the notice board of last one year. More than 11 lakhs was shown as building maintenance and repairs, when apart from painting, nothing major work was done. When major works of renovating the entire living quarters was done in the previous years(for which no accounts were not put up on the notice board for 5 years) how much was the amount spent and who is going to question this?
Mr. Greg Pereira mentions about parish priest who assumes to be the “sole trustee”. Didn’t we hear this recently, what Fr. Hugh Fonseca of St. Michael’s parish said, regarding the Marianagar properties: “I am the sole trustee. I am the captain and the boss here. All properties come under me and I can give to anybody”. Do the words ring an echo? What did the satan say to Jesus in his third temptation(Mt. 4:8-9)? Indeed, the words of the scriptures are being fulfilled even now.
Mr. Pereira also mentions about ‘fair plan of election’ & ‘Election commissioner’. Any parish has this ever? Again let me go back to 1996 in our parish at Holy Family, Pestomsagar when I was the editor, along with the PP, of the church bulletin. When the elections were announced, the church bulletin printed election process & the nomination form in the bulletin. At that time I had told the PP to appoint a ‘Election Commissioner” to receive the nomination papers, scrutinize and conduct the election, which he refused to do. Then when the time came for announcing the results in the bulletin, I found that one S.C.C. results were not final. On enquiry the PP said there will have to be election. On checking with our S.C.C. personnel, I was told that they had given 3 names as per the quota they were told and the PP later added one more name of his own because he didn’t want one person nominated by the S.C.C. and hence the election. Again, just a few years ago, our PP announced during Sunday notices in April, the constitution of new PPC and that nominations will be received from those who would like to be PPC members. Came the month of June, it was announced that 5 nominations were received but they are in the zones where there are no vacancies. Now, how did these zones get filled up at all? And even if they were filled up, when another nomination is received, then the PP is bound have an election in that particular S.C.C. zone. Isn’t it clear that the nominations and manipulations are made by the parish priests? And we label only our politicians, government and police as corrupt?!
Jesus’ message of truth, justice, service is kept on the back burner.
By Richie Pinto