Clergy of these days are like Serpents sitting on Pot of Wealth, belonging to and for the benefit of Laity together with Church. This is the story at all the parishes in the Archdiocese of Bombay. There is no transparency in financial matters. The Parish Priests shields himself under the garb of SOLE TRUSTEE powers which has been bestowed upon him by hierarchy.
St. Joseph Church, Mira Road has been in turmoil since long, as regards to financial improprieties. Brave parishioners have been fighting the Parish authorities to expose their corrupt practices. SILENT VOICE has been publishing the matter from time to time. This is the latest in the series related to the the Parish..
It’s New Year’s first day and I thank you all for the prayers and support which I and us have received throughout the year 2014.
Your accompaniment strengthened our resolve and gave us food to persevere to deal with the issues related to St. Joseph Church, Mira Road.
The Good Lord has been generous in revealing to us information that we would never have dreamed of. The Lord was instrumental in showing us the corrupt attitude of our pastors who are supposed to be examples for us to emulate. They remain defiant the litany of empty promises still continue for us. Enough! No more games!‘Transfer’ of priests is NO SOLUTION. There is a limit for everything. So we had to do what we did not want to: GO TO THE CHARITY COMMISSIONER. Absolutely no regrets; SO in brief:
On 23rd Dec 2014, the letter dealing with the financial issues of our parish, St. Joseph Church, Mira Road East was lodged with the Office of The Charity Commissioner, Thane. With this a long and tiring journey of disbelief, disappointment and frustration seeking justice, takes on a new hue and character.
Could we have avoided this step? Yes of course.
So what made us take this decision to approach and seek solution outside the church?
It’s the response from our own Parish Priest, Fr Nelson Pinto, Provincial Charles Serrao and the Bombay Archdiocese hierarchy. The sheer scale of the happenings of the past few years and our bringing to the awareness of those concerned, be it Fr Dominic, the main culprit, the former Provincial Fr Archibald and even their hierarchy did not cut much ice. Instead of being cautious the actions only became more dirty and corrupt. That goes for the Carmelites.
What about the Diocesan authorities?
Even after following the due process of putting up the issues through different levels of the pastoral structure, the experience was a big letdown and of frustration. If only the actions were taken promptly, lacs and lacs of ruppees could have been saved. It’s not just the money issue; let us understand that monies were always linked and sourced to sacramental activities. So it is sacramental abuse too.
We are talking about illegal construction, putting up of school which is not recognized and not approved by the authorities. It is a rental tie up with a private party confesses Fr Nelson. There is news that this is a 60:40 partnership between the Carmelites and the private party. Big mess which has become a big headache for them confesses Fr. Nelson. Fr. Diego, Superior, is even thinking of leaving the Carmelite Community because of the situation that he finds himself in. We are talking about possible use of funds collected for the parish infrastructure being diverted to the unauthorized and illegal construction of Anubhav extension. Allegations were made of such possible transfer during the construction of the main Anubhav building earlier but for reasons unknown not pursued. This is the revelation made by the Auditor himself. We are talking about many issues presented to the hierarchy but somehow the wheels of redressal and justice move so slow that it seems they are made to move that way to finish off the resolve of anyone who wants to highlight something abnormal in the parish. IT is absolutely unbelievable!
Take for example one heading of collection (income) and that is Tanzania Mission collection:
We, parishioners are aware that monies are collected every year for Tanzania Mission at an average of 2 lacs plus.
The Audited statements presented to the Charity Commissioner from 2009 displays a liability of Rs. 4225/- towards Tanzania Mission. This figure always left a question mark for us till on 1st Nov 2014, in our meeting with the Auditor appointed by our parish, Mr. V.N.Khandekar revealed that when collections were accounted till 31st March in that year during Fr Rudolf’s time some funds still poured in (Rs 4225/-) and when the Auditor asked Fr Rudolph and Fr Dominic who was the Provincial that time, they replied that the Tanzania account has been closed. The Auditor told them to settle this amount by sending it. It is still not done and therefore appears as liability. Friends, so what happened to the monies collected during all these years since no income from Tanzania Mission collection reflects anywhere in the accounts. This is cheating and concealment of funds.
Take Rents from Community Hall, Infant Jesus Hall, Grounds and Royalties…not a drop of income is reflected in the Auditor’s Statement. Years back when the issue of Rents was taken up by the Auditor, he was told that there are 55 communities in the parish and there is no place even for them to conduct their activities. So the question of rent does not arise. Shocking Isn’t it? No wonder the Audited Statement for the year 2013-14 is still pending because of the ‘gafla’ in the accounting. There are so many Income Heads where monies are not recorded at all. A reading of the Auditor’s Remarks, a copy of which we got from the Parish Priest in Nov 2014 reveals the nature and plunder of the loot in the Lord’s Name. Also the way monies are handled by the Maharashtra Carmelite Charitable Society (Anubhav Building) are shocking to say the least.
There are still many details more. This is just a glimpse of the sham religiosity which is being conducted on the innocent parishioners whose sweat and toil has no value. This is not surprising since if 5 priests on the Altar on 1st June 2014 can tell a lie that Fr Dominic fell in Mangalore, then anything is possible. The entire blame of his misdeeds are put on the former PRO of our parish and his dabbling with occult practices says Fr Nelson, the present Parish Priest.
Extremely disappointed with Fr. Nelson’s posture too. He promised us a lot in the beginning of his tenure but sorry to say his actions betray and are not at all healthy for our parish in the future. I have had a one on one meeting with him and the conversation details present a grim picture. We’ll keep it for next time. You might get the impression that we are after Fr Nelson. Won’t blame you dear; But if I make a statement I own it and stand by it.
Yes, we some are butt of jokes, ridicule and curses and we are damned to hell by some of our own parishioners. So be it!
If I have to go to hell for standing up for the mandate of Jesus then I don’t mind going to hell again and again.
We want God’s money (Not Carmelite’s personal purse) meant for our parish back by hook or crook and we will not rest until then.
HAVE A BLESSED YEAR OF GOD’S PRESENCE ALWAYS FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.
God bless you