Minutes of the Meeting with Cardinal, related to St. Anthony’s Church, Malwani Matter.

VOICE OF THE SILENT MAJORITY

(CATHOLICS FOR TRUTH TRANSPARENCY AND WEEDING OF CORRUPT PRACTICES AT PARISH LEVEL)

SILENT VOICE has been regularly bringing you, matter related to St. Anthony’s Parish, Malwani. We have also kept H. E. Oswald Cardinal Gracias in loop, about it. This post was supposed to be the last one in the series, but we don’t think it will be so.

As the title suggest, it is about minutes of the meeting between Cardinal and yours truly, which summarize entire matter in brief.

SILENT VOICE thanks our readers for standing by us, during this entire exercise.

GREG

LETTER TO CARDINAL

21st, July, 2018;
Your Eminence,
Thank you very much, for your valuable time, to discuss the matter related to St. Anthony’s Parish; Malwani; on 26th, June, 2018.
After about thirty five to forty minutes of deliberation on the issue, you decided to keep the matter open for further investigation, which I appreciate. This letter is just to remind you that I would be waiting anxiously for the outcome of this investigation, as soon as possible. I regret to say that there is a tendency among the hierarchy, to remain silent, in order to let matter die a natural death. His Lordship Bishop John Rodrigues did not report his findings to you, till the day we met, on my insistence to do so.
Your Eminence, I love my CHURCH for its values, particularly the TRUTH, as much as I love my Nation and Community. I have never liked any kind of malfunction of administration, in any of these wings of the society. I have been raising my voice, in whatever way possible, within my limits wherever any injustice is seen.
Towards the end of our meeting, though you committed to keep the matter open; I had made up my mind to put a lid onto it; reason for this is mentioned below. However, my conscience is not letting me do so. Hence, I am appealing to you, to look into this seriously, because your ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY, TOWARDS CORRUPTION is at stake over here.
I would like to put down briefly, in form of minutes, what transpired between us, in order to refresh your memory.

MINUTES OF THE MEETING

Ø ME: The parish priest Fr. Agnelo Fernandes has committed CORRUPTION, which is a serious offence. He has violated the directives of the Hierarchy, while spending over Rs, Forty Lakhs for various jobs carried out within the vicinity of the Church. As per guidelines, for every job that is taken up, at least three quotations are required to be invited, which wasn’t done in any of the cases. Besides, amount exceeding beyond Rs. Four Lakhs, needed to get prior approval from hierarchy, which has not been done in any of the cases.
Ø YOU: I agree with you that CORRUPTION is serious offence, but it is just a violation of laid guidelines. It can’t be called a CORRUPTION.
Ø ME: (Surprised) If bypassing guidelines and manipulating bills is not CORRUPTION then what could be other purpose for doing this? It has been done with mal-intention to CHEAT the Hierarchy and the Church. That is how I look at it.
Ø ME: I had a meeting with His Lordship Bishop John Rodrigues, for about an hour and explained the matter to him in details. Thereafter, his Lordship visited Parish and met the parish Priest. As per the information available to me, a third person, supposed to be a contractor, was also present. If this is true, then don’t you think it is unfair? Why should an outsider be present at a confidential meeting?
Ø YOU: Bishop John has not spoken to me on this matter, yet. I called you because you wanted to meet me.
Ø ME: At the committee meeting following this controversy where this issue was discussed, I asked to produce the copies of the quotations, which was not done, because they had none.
Ø ME: After this controversy, one more job for replacing an old gate has been taken up. Well, in this case, four quotations were received, thanks to my opposition/ruckus in earlier matters. However, interestingly, while three of the quotations were within limit of the expected cost, the fourth was exceeding three times of the expected cost, ie 4.50 Lakhs against 1.25 Lakhs. Surprisingly, it belonged to the same contractor, who got a major chunk of forty lakhs plus, without following due process. You can thus imagine, whether the fair amount is paid for the jobs done.
Ø ME: Around Rs four Lakhs have been spent on renovating the kitchen, in the parochial house. No doubt, the kitchen was in shambles. However, considering the road widening issue still pending, a minimum amount could have been spent, since the committee decided to bypass the procedure, looking at emergency situation. I mentioned this to Fr. Agnelo after the meeting.
Ø ME: Have you ever known about water logging in the area of the GROTTO, in the monsoon that it required increasing the level? Around Rs. ten lakhs have been spent for it; ignoring the fact that the area is within RL (REGULAR LINE), for road widening. Later on the reason for doing so was changed to BEAUTIFICATION of the area.
Ø ME: Your Eminence, these things are happening in every parish in the Archdiocese which you, me and everyone knows. In this case the matter has been brought to your notice in writing; hence it is expected of you to take action against him.
Ø YOU: (ANNOYED) What do you expect me to do; transfer him?
Ø ME: Yes, that is what the parishioners would be happy with. (Spending huge amounts at such a short time, has become talking point among parishioners; though all of them may not be aware of the controversy).
Ø YOU: How can I transfer him, just because he has not followed rule? May be, he will do it next time. Besides, you are the only one opposing it. What about other committee members? I can’t just go by what you alone are saying.
Ø ME: If the parish priest produces the proof ie. Three quotations for each job done, I will withdraw my complaint. Besides, none of the members will ever go against the parish priest, because, some derive financial benefit by being in the committee and others who want to be in his good books, just to be on some committee or a cell. This fact is known to all.
Ø YOU: By way of contracts?
Ø ME: You judged it right, your Eminence. These guys are known to parishioners. One of them was presented with a gold chain by a contractor, as per the information available to me. The other one, collected money from a stall owner, during the novenas and did not deposit it.
Ø YOU: Did you bring it to Fr. Agnelo’s notice?
Ø ME: I had forwarded the message, which I had received from the stall owner, to Fr. Agnelo. Till date he is silent over it.
Ø ME: I would like to share with you something about Fr. Agnelo, which is out of context. He has a history of being transferred within a year from OL of Lourdes Parish, Orlem; for similar controversy.
Ø YOU: (Looking perturbed) Mr Pereira, you should have done your homework, before making such allegations. You must take your words back and apologize. Fr. Agnelo has never been at Orlem.
I stuck to my statement. At this stage, you called for his file and found out that he indeed was at Orlem, though only for a year; about which you expressed surprised and apologized, which was really embarrassing to me. (At this stage I had decided to close this chapter, as mentioned above). Your Eminence, I am not sure, whether this was mentioned to you. A signature campaign was carried out by parishioners, to save a century old Grotto, which the parishioners believed, was sold to the builder, along with the plot on which it is standing. The Grotto still exists, but as per my knowledge it is still in the possession of the society, on paper.
Recently, this Grotto is embroiled in fresh controversy. It has just been renovated and the over century old Images, which certainly would carry a heritage tag and Antique Value, have been replaced with new ones. No one knows, where the old Images are, as per the information available to me. It would be interesting to know, where the images are at the moment. Fr. Warner, in charge of Heritage museum at St. Pius Seminary, denied having received these images.
Your Eminence, the Parish Priest might be a SOLE TRUSTEE, but the lay faithful, the Parishioners are TRUE OWNERS of the Church, they certainly would like you to act as per your policy of ZERO TOLERANCE TOWARDS CORRUPTION, lest their perception about hierarchy’s leniency towards errant clergy will be strengthened.
GREG R. PEREIRA

REMINDER

26th, August, 2018
Your Eminence,
This is just to remind you that it was assured that you are not closing the matter, but will keep it open and would investigate further. I would not know, how further the investigation has gone and what is the outcome.
However, at property and finance committee meeting on Monday the 20th, Fr. Agnelo gleefully announced that rules for the expenditure by parish priest are revised and the amount that the parish priest need not take any approval has been doubled. I think this change was overdue, since long. But my conscience is not willing to accept it as wise move. This will encourage the Parish Priests to spend more, where it is not necessary; just like what is happening at our parish; even before this revision could take place.
Besides, it is my perception that change has taken place, because of my complaint and in case of Malwani Parish; the revision means SHIFTING OF THE GOAL POST to save the accused.
However, since the related matter pertains prior to this revision, the change should not come in the way of fair judgment. The delay in the judgment has emboldened the accuse Parish Priest to continue with his charade of unnecessary expenditure.
We pray, to Good Lord, to shower upon you His choicest Blessings and WISDOM to do justice to your policy of ZERO TOLERANCE TOWARDS CORRUPTION.
Yours always, in Our LORD JESUS CHRIST

GREG R. PEREIRA

 

WE ARE COMMITTED TO VOICE OUR CONCERN, AGAINST ANY UNDESIRABLE ACTIONS WITHIN THE CHURCH, 

(To Be Continued)

From Archives :

Fitting Response from SILENT VOICE, to a LEGAL NOTICE Served By BISHOP……

 

 

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