VM. 013/2012 : Archbishop meets parishioners of OUR LADY OF GOOD COUNSEL CHURCH. SION

  Silent Voice

        A/7  Rodrigues Compound, Malwani Village, Malad (W),   Mumbai, 400095.   Contact No. 98707 19628
E mail:    silentvoice58@gmail.com
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Voicemail
VM : 013/2012      
16th, July, 2012
 
 Archbishop meets parishioners of OL OF GOOD COUNSEL CHURCH, SION
 
Hello Friends,
 
On Saturday the 7th, July, 2012, Parishioners of OLGC Church, Sion; met Archbishop Cardinal Oswald Gracias, at Archbishop’s House. They are agitated over unethical, untimely transfer of their Parish Priest, Fr. Leslie D’cunah. They perceive that injustice has been done to the Parishioners and the transferred priest. It was just two years that Fr. Leslie was appointed as Parish priest. In these two years, he has transformed the parish into hub of activities, which was dormant, all along. Parishioners were happy about it.
 
While doing so, he seems to have brushed some section of Parishioners on the wrong side, who used their clout with hierarchy and got him transferred. No amount of pleading with hierarchy bore any fruit. Parishioners then had no option but to approach Archbishop for a meeting. Outcome of the meeting is unknown. It will be put up on SILENT VOICE, as soon as it is received.
 
SILENT VOICE views this as reminiscent to transfer of honest public servant/ Police personnel, doing his duty sincerely, which comes in the way of undesirable activities of persons at the helm.
 
Attached letters to Archbishop, both, from SILENT VOICE and the parishioners, should give you insight into the whole matter.
 
The Delegation Comprised of following members: 1. Dulcine Furtado 2. Prosper D’souza 3. John Sequeira 4. Hilda Rego 5. Franklin Pereira 6. Philo Pereira 7. Sabhsten D’silva.
 
N.B:    Parishioners of OLGC, Sion, wanted “Yours Truly”, to be part of delegation that met Archbishop.
However, Fr. Neil Santos, secretary to Archbishop, declined permission to them.
SILENT VOICE is grateful to Fr. Neil Santos. MAY GOD BLESS HIM.
 
GREG
 
CATHOLICS FOR TRUTH TRANSPARENCY AND WEEDING OF
CORRUPT PRACTICES AT PARISH LEVEL.
 
P. S.:   Following link was mailed by one of the reader, which has been posted to Comments on
VM. 12/2012: CORRUPTION WITHIN CHURCH, TWO DIFFERENT VIEW POINTS.
When Priests Pilfer. TIME MAGAZINE.
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1590435-3,00.html
 
 
 
              Voice  OF A SILENT MAJORITY
Constituted Under Para 29 of Christifideles Laici
(Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of H. H. Late Pope John Paul II)
A/7, Rodrigues Compound, Malwani Village, Malad (W), Mumbai, 400095. Contact no. 98707 19628.
E Mail:         silentvoice58@gmail.com
 
23rd, June, 2012
 
To,
Most Rev. Cardinal Oswald Gracias,
Archbishop of Mumbai,
English: An image of Archbishop Oswald Gracious

Archbishop Oswald Gracious (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 
Sub:    Unethical, Untimely Transfer of Fr. Leslie D’cunha.
Your Eminence,
Attached herewith, a letter from Parishioners of OUR LADY OF GOOD COUNSEL CHURCH, SION; to you, which is self explanatory.
We are not surprised at parishioners attempt to approach you for redresses of their grievances. It is a common practice adopted by parish administration to ignore parishioners, these days. Therefore, the Parishioners have rightly sought your appointment to explain the reason for their opposition to Fr. Leslie’s Transfer.
Meanwhile, we take liberty to explain to you briefly, parishioner’s perception about Fr. Leslie’s transfer. A mass used to be conducted, since long, in Everard Nagar Colony, which falls under OLGC parish, on every Saturday evening. Now every practicing Catholic knows that Saturday evening mass is construed as Sunday mass, which is obligatory. Perhaps, Fr. Leslie thought it is not right to have Sunday mass out of Church on regular basis; this is the feedback we have received from Parishioners, he changed the time of the mass to 5.00 PM from usual 7.00 PM, for benefit of senior citizens. A resolution to this effect was passed in PPC meeting. However, the residents of the colony refused to accept the Change and stopped the mass, claiming that Fr. Leslie stopped it. Parishioners attribute Fr. Leslie’s transfer to this lie, these residents projected to higher authorities, using their clout.
The Parishioners are agitated, not because Fr. Leslie is transferred, but the kind of change he brought about in Parish, since his induction as Parish Priest. A dormant parish suddenly turned into a hub of activities. Parishioners were happy about it. But fear that it will go back to earlier situation. They also believe that a transfer of a priest is not their prerogative.
Your Eminence, though we don’t differentiate between Catholics, we are compelled to say that Home sitting Catholics have won over Church Going Catholics. As usual, Parish authorities have used this opportunity to divide the community, by their biased decision
The Parishioners have knocked at the door of every possible authority in the hierarchy, with no response. They therefore, had no option but to hold a peaceful protest, which was held on 21st, of June. Forthcoming protests may not be so peaceful, as per a statement in their letter addressed to you.
Your Eminence, A ‘mammoth’ exercise, Archdiocesan Consultation, carried out by Archdiocese, is in the news these days. Ways are being found to (Church) seek(s) image makeover to make faith more relevant. This was the title to the report that appeared in the media. There have been many reactions to it, including one from us. However, we produce one, what Sr. Mudita has quoted in this context. All they(Laity) need is a listening ear and perhaps, marg darshan– spiritual direction, someone to reflect back to them what they are doing, or what is right or wrong”.
The parish authorities, including the Bishops, instead of giving them a LISTENING EAR, have ignored their calls. Therefore, they have knocked on your door. Please respond to their call and give and appointment, as soon as possible. We would go a step further to request you, to use your discretion and revoke the transfer of Fr. Leslie D’cunha with immediate effect. It is obvious from the facts that a great injustice has been done to both, Fr. Leslie as well as the aggrieved Parishioners.
Yours always, in our LORD JESUS CHRIST.
 
 
 
GREG R. PEREIRA
 
CATHOLICS FOR TRUTH TRANSPARENCY AND WEEDING OF
CORRUPT PRACTICES AT PARISH LEVEL
Encl:               Copy of the letter from parishioners of OLGC, addressed to you.
 
Copy to:         The Parishioners of OLGC, Sion; C/O Dulcine Furtado; Vice President of PPC.
 
 
PARISHIONER’S LETTER TO ARCHBISHOP.
 
 
18th June, 2012
 
His Eminence,
                        We are the parishioners of `Our Lady of Good Counsel’ Church, Sion, Mumbai which is managed and administered by Franciscans. We would like to seek your urgent appointment for the following reasons:
1.      Fr. Tony D’souza, OFM, Regional Superior, assured us on or about 31st May, 2012 when he met the parishioners that there would be no malicious or out of turn transfers of `Priest’ from our parish. Yet, Fr. Leslie D’cunha, Parish Priest, was untimely transferred in a very humiliating way, even though he had not completed even three years as parish Priest.  Fr. Tony D’souza categorically stated that one who has not completed his term would not be transferred. However, we have reason to believe that he knew we were computing three years from Fr. Leslie D’cunha taking over as Parish Priest and Fr. Tony D’souza deliberately suppressed that he would be computing three years from the time Fr. Leslie D’cunha was posted at OLGC, Church, Sion. Also, surprisingly other priest who have completed much more that one and two terms are still retained. There appears to be some ego problem between them. No doubt all this may be conjecture but the transfer is not above suspicion.
 2.     The said transfer is being perceived as punishment transfer with a stigma / blot on Fr. Leslie D’cunha, Parish Priest. Parishioners are shocked and surprised that Fr. Leslie D’cunha who has taken various initiatives and started some projects which are yet to be completed is transferred midterm and without any valid and cogent reason.
 3.     Fr. Babu Jose, OFM, Minister Provincial, also assured us that he would reconvene council meeting to reconsider transfer of Fr. Leslie D’cunha. We regret to say that Minister Provincial is now denying that he gave any assurance of reconvening council meeting. There were about 15 parishioners present in the parlour when he gave that assurance. He is well aware that parishioners had left with a clear impression and assurance that council would meet again for reconsidering Fr. Leslie’s transfer as suggested by the parishioners.
 4.     We were constrained to approach His Lordship Bishop Bosco Penha, Episcopal Vicar, Fr. Caesar D’mello & (while Your Eminence was away), His  Lordship  Bishop  Agnelo   Gracious,   as   our concerned Superiors Fr. Tony D’souza, Regional Superior, Fr. Carlos Dias, Principal & one of the Council Members, Fr. Babu Jose, OFM, Minister Provincial were deliberately not responding to our calls and were not prepared to look into our grievances or given us audience. They were simply procrastinating and avoiding facing the truth and laity.
5.     His Lordship Bishop Agnelo Gracious was to apprise you of the whole matter. As guided by him, we had already forwarded in writing our grievances and concerns, to enable him to brief you about the matter.
 6.     We regret to inform that Fr. Babu Jose, Minister Provincial is using language, unbecoming of a Priest on mail and orally. He has insulted Mrs. Dulcine Futardo, Vice President,  & parishioners of O.L.G.C. Church. He is using defamatory language against the priest. He is also giving veiled threats to the effect that Fr. Leslie D’cunha would be excommunicated / removed. He justifies all this by saying that we should not have approached Bishops concerned (which we did due to their non – availability). Power has made the Minister Provincial arrogant. Laity is being taken for granted and treated like dirt and injustice is being done to Fr. Leslie D’cunha, Parish Priest, O.L.G.C. Church, Sion, Mumbai. Clergy of our parish are under pressure and therefore utterly disregard the concerns and interest of our parishioners.
 7.     The parishioners of O.L.G.C. Church, Sion, are loosing their patience. They are bend on exposing the immoral life / misdeeds of Priest of our parish. The other well meaning NGO’s & “Gautan” organisation and also the parishioners of Holy Cross Church, Kurla, …. have started showing their solidarity. We are afraid all this may attract media attention. Situation is getting out of hand.    
           Please grant an appointment forthwith, to enable us to personally tell you about the whole `Transfer issue of Fr. Leslie D’cunha’ of our parish which is being considered as malicious out of turn transfer. We are also forwarding some mails / correspondence in this matter which are self explanatory.  Incidentally, it may be noted that we are aware of the fact that transfer is not our prerogative. But we cannot tolerate injustice either to our priest or afford to ignore the larger interest of our parish. We want to protect the honour of our priest viz. Fr. Leslie D’cunha and ensure that he is with us till he completes his term to show us the way forward. Moreover, this is not a simplicitor / routine transfer, which can be better explained personally if your Eminence spares some valuable time from your busy schedule.   
          Please note that the parishioners have not accepted the appointment of Fr. Richard D’silva as Parish Priest of O.L.G.C., Church, Sion as published in the Examiner. Please treat this as most urgent, failing which we shall not be responsible for the consequences beyond our control.   
Parishioners,
O.L.G.C. Church, Sion
 
 
PARISHIONER’S LETTER TO PROVINCIAL COUNCILAR
 
Dear Provincial Councilor and His team,
If a priest is truthful, honest just and righteous but a negligible part of the church opposes him because he stands for what is right and what is truth should the provincial councilor transfer him on account of this reason? In this case, what is the difference between a corrupt politician and a religious leader who are in a powerful position? Corrupt politicians transfer police personnel, CBI officers and other officers and all those who oppose the wrong and stand for what is right and what is truth.
I had so much respect for religious leaders but now I have realised that they play the same game the politicians play. Why should they succumb to the pressure of a handful of parishioners and transfer a priest who is so good and never did any discrimination?
Yes, I am talking about Rev. Fr. Leslie D’Cunha, the parish priest, Our Lady Of Good Counsel Parish Sion. Fr. Leslie showed the courage to be different, to be out of the ordinary. If the reward for doing that is pre-term transfer then no priest will ever take any initiative in doing good. He will be busy pleasing parishioners and dancing to their tune.
If your team and you are transferring Fr. Leslie based on the saying of 100 parishioners then let me tell you 100 parishioners do not constitute Our Lady Of Good Counsel Church Sion. We have 899 families and approximately around 3500 parishoners. If you and your team is just then take the opinion of each and every parishioner and see for yourself what they have to say about Fr. Leslie, the good reforms he has brought forth in our parish and the way they love and adore him for the kind of person he is. If not you are doing injustice to him.
I have been a parishioner of this parish for the past 17 years. During my time as a parishioner I have never seen such a good, interactive, and readily available, in discriminatory, encouraging, supportive parish priest like Fr. Leslie.
Let TRUTH AND JUSTICE PREVAIL. SUPPORT WHAT IS RIGHT AND WHAT IS TRUTH.ALWAYS OPPOSE THE WRONG NO MATTER WHAT PRICE YOU MAY HAVE TO PAY FOR IT, MAY BEYOUR OWN LIFE EVEN.       
Thnking you,
 
Yours faithfully,
Grieved Parishioners,
OLGC  Sion.
 
 
 
 
Parishioner’s Mail to Archbishop
 
His Eminence, Dear Cardinal Gracias,
I am one among the eight who had come to meet you from the OLGC parish Sion with regard to the unethical and untimely transfer of Fr. Leslie. You had promised us that you would refer the matter to the general. Have you done that? If you have not done it kindly do so urgently and as early as possible let us know what he had to say. If you keep quiet we will have to plan our future course of action AS IT IS MATTER OF INJUSTICE METED OUT TO THE PARISH PRIEST AND WE ARE NOT GOING TO KEEP QUIET UNLESS THE JUSTICE IS RENDERED TO HIM.
Hilda Rego.
 
PARISHIONERS SOS TO ARCHBISHOP.
 
1:18 PM , 15TH, July, 2012
 
His Eminence,
Sources say that Fr. Leslie has been transferred on account of three reasons. The first one, being, asking the Everardians, to pre-pone the mass timings, i.e. to have the mass at 5pm, instead of the 7pm. Now your Eminence, if you really do not know what does Everardian mean, let me explain it to you. We have 10 communities in our parish. Everard is one of them. The parishioners living in Everard are called Everardians. Some 18 years back, the then bishop had granted permission to the Everardians to have mass in their community. The Everardians really took advantage of the permission, granted to them and started having daily mass, Sunday mass and even christmas mass there. Thus they have segregated themselves from the parish. We could hardly see any Everardian coming to the church for mass.
The noble intentions of the parish priest in asking them to pre-pone the mass timings were:
1) He felt that the Sunday mass should be celebrated in the church, as one single community by the parishioners.
2) Everard has a great talent. He felt that the talent should be used in the church as well.
3) He felt that the mass at 5pm in their community should be attended by the old and the sick and all the young, healthy people should participate in the Sunday mass in the church. Fr. Leslie did not put an end to the mass at Everard. The Everardians themselves have stopped the mass by refusing to the proposal, placed before them by the parish priest.
After the mass has been stopped in Everard, the following changes are noticed in the parish.
1) The church which used to be empty for Saturday evening mass is now full.
2) It is nice to see Everardians take part in singing, reading etc.
3) Its so wonderful to see an Everardian sit beside a parishoner from Dharavi (Asia,s biggest slum) which is a part of our parish.
Now His Eminence, kindly give an honest reply to our question. Did the parish priest do any wrong in doing this? Why did the then bishop grant this special privilege to the Everardians? Everard is situated only one stop distance from the church. There are parishioners who stay 5to6 stops away from the church. There are equal number of or even more senior citizens, old and sick in other communities than in Everard. Why are the other communities deprived of this privilege? Are the church leaders sowing favoritism, partiality and division? These questions confront us.
We have heard that similar practice is prevalent in Colaba, Juhu etc. Please put an end to this evil practice. As long as this evil practice is prevalent, there will always be difference of opinion among the parishioners and it will always be a cause of division. Let us all strive to unite the church and not divide it.
For the past 18 years several parish priests have come and gone. Did they not feel that the Everardians have taken advantage of the permission granted to them?  Certainly, they too must have felt. Then why they did not act? They wanted to play safe, be diplomatic, dance to the tune of the parishioners and were more interested in securing their post as a parish priest than in the welfare of the parishioners because they knew if they did anything of that sort, there will be threat to their position. How selfish?
Our parish priest Fr. Leslie had the courage to be different, to be out of the ordinary, he stood for what is right and truth and opposed wrong and if the reward for doing this is, pre-term transfer, then which priest will take the initiative to do good and to stand for what is right and truth?
Sources say that the 2nd reason is this: The Sion Unit of Bombay Catholic Sabha had closed down on account of some irregularities going on there. When Fr. Leslie was appointed as the parish priest, here-started the Unit. But he did not wish to have entirely the old members, thinking that they will always have a upper hand. So he called for a fresh election and most of the old members withdrew their nominations and did not get elected. So they became enemies of Fr. Leslie and started abusing him, ruining his reputation and wanted him out of our parish. Again we would like to ask you the same question, “Has the parish priest done anything wrong by doing this?”
The third reason: Everardians opposed Fr. Leslie for preponing the mass timings. Old Bombay Catholic Sabha members opposed him because they did not get elected. But these opposers knew very well, if they approach the provincial with these reasons , the provincial may not be convinced for Fr. Leslie’s ouster. So they maligned Fr. Leslie’s name by pairing him with a lady parishioner, who is a widow and gave most of her time, talent, money and everything that she had for the church. Being members’ of different cells and associations, we are most of the time in the church. From their body language we know that there is nothing of that sort going on between them. The accusers hardly come to the church. So how can they falsely accuse and link that lady with Fr. Leslie? A certain priest of our parish and a lady parishioner flirt openly for the past several years and every Tom, Dick and Harry knows about it. Why these accusers having known the truth have not approached the provincial and complained about that priest?
The sources say that some of our parishioners knew about Fr. Leslie’s transfer in the month of March. It had appeared on FB they say. Fr. Leslie was kept in the dark. He should have been the first one to know about it. It was made known to him just 15 days before the announcement of the His Eminence, sources say that Fr. Leslie has been transferred on account of 3reasons. The first one being, asking the Everardians to pre-pone the mass timings new parish priest. Is this the way the provincial insults and humiliates a parish priest? We have to give one month prior notice if we want to resign our jobs. Does not he follow any rules? Does he do as it pleases to him?
Sources say that someof our parishioners who opposed Fr. Leslie had gone to Bangalore to meet the provincial and complain against him. What kind of a provincial we have, who has heard one side of the story and arrived at the decision regarding Fr. Leslie, transfer? 100 or 200 parishioners who oppose Fr. Leslie do not constitute Our Lady Of Good Counsel Church, Sion. We have 899 families with approximately 3500 parishoners. What about the rest of the parishioners who hold him in high esteem for the kind of person he is: readily available, supportive, encouraging, interactive, who maintained personal touch, brought innumerable reforms, undertook several development projects, who has won the hearts of the poor of our parish by reaching out to them.
Transfers and postings are a part and parcel of our jobs. We were never against Fr. Leslie’s transfer. All we requested the provincial is to let him complete his term of 3 years.
I would like to share with you a small incident to show how          Fr. Leslie was impartial. I had approached Fr. Leslie for help for a widow in my cluster and he did help her. Fr. Leslie felt that there are some irregularities going on in the SVP of our parish. He asked me to join SVP. Due to health problems I said no. SVP meets in the mornings of every Sunday.Fr. Leslie told me that if I do not join SVP, I should not approach him for help for the widow. I speak konkani and hail from Mangalore. There is an East Indian who is also a member of SVP. He said that he has no time to visit the adopted families of SVP. So, Fr. Leslie being an East Indian himself asked him to quit. As far as the welfare of the parish and parishioners were concerned, Fr. Leslie was very firm and never made any discrimination whether the person was from his community or from another community.
We have heard from sources that Fr. Leslie was asked to compromise by a priest of OLGC parish and was told he would have to pay a heavy price if he failed to do so. Hurrah Kudos and cheers to Fr. Leslie who did not compromise and trade his principles values and morals.
We, the parishioners have been deeply grieved by the injustice meted out to Fr. Leslie. You have heard what we had to say. Now, if you feel that there is sense of truth in what we have said and feel that injustice has been done to Fr. Leslie. Kindly intervene in this matter and give justice to Fr. Leslie. Ask the provincial to let him complete his term as a parish priest.
We have already lost respect for the provincial and his team who have become puppets in the hands of the influential and have succumbed to the pressure and took the decision of Fr. Leslie’s transfer. If you too, do the same, we are very sorry to say, will lose respect for you.
Designations do not indicate the greatness of a person. Whether the person is a prime minister or the pope, the chief minister or the bishop we are all human beings with human frailty and a tendency to falter. We would rather salute a daily wage earner who stands for truth, justice and righteousness than a great religious leader who succumbs to pressure and tries to be in good books with his colleagues and the influential and trades all his principles, values and morals.
Hilda Rego
and
Aggrieved Parishioners,
OLGC, Sion
Blog : http://www.silentmaj.wordpress.com
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7 Comments

  1. November 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    […] VM. 013/2012 contd : The Voiceless get Voice, Come Out In Support of Fr. Leslie D’cunha VM. 013/2012 : Archbishop meets parishioners of OUR LADY OF GOOD COUNSEL CHURCH. SION […]

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  2. November 6, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    […] VM. 013/2012 contd : The Voiceless get Voice, Come Out In Support of Fr. Leslie D’cunha VM. 013/2012 : Archbishop meets parishioners of OUR LADY OF GOOD COUNSEL CHURCH. SION […]

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