JARO, Iloilo City, Mar. 3, 2016– Amidst the ongoing controversy in a parish over unauthorized treasure hunting inside an ancient Catholic cemetery, the archbishop here has appointed a parish administrator to watch over the pastoral care of the faithful.
Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo has appointed his Episcopal Vicar and Chancellor of the Archdiocese, Fr. Joenick Territorio, as administrator of San Joaquin parish in San Jaoquin town.
Due to the urgency of the matter, the appointment took effect immediately on February 28.
According to Msgr. Jomari Delgado, Director of the Jaro Archdiocesan Commission on Social Communications, Territorio will be reporting directly to the Archbishop about the pastoral care of the parish.
“Fr. Territorio’s task in San Joaquin is primarily pastoral. He will still keep his assignments as Chancellor, Seminary professor, Director of the Commission on Laity, Director of ICCRS, El Shaddai and Holy Trinity DHM. Pray for him”, Delgado added.
Leave of absence
As regards the parish priest, Fr. Nelson Silvela, Delgado stated that the archbishop has accepted his application for leave of absence indefinitely. He clarified earlier reports which said that the archbishop had suspended the priest.
“Legal issues related to this unfortunate event shall be addressed in the proper forum and according to the demands of justice by those concerned. The archbishop does not want that the spiritual and moral life of the people be neglected due to this unfortunate turn of events,” he pointed out.
Uniting the parish
On February 29, Fr. Territorio met the parish leaders and other concerned faithful in San Joaquin.
“They all promised to support the pastoral care of the parish,” Territorio reported.
On March 1, he also met San Joaquin Mayor, Eduardo Servidad, and all Sanguniang Bayan members at the Archdiocesan Residence. They too promised to cooperate with the archdiocese.
3 aspects of the issue
According to Territorio, this unfortunate event has to be seen in its three aspects: legal, cultural and pastoral.
“The legal aspect is now under the court of law and we will cooperate according to the rule of law.”
“The cultural aspect is under the Archdiocese, the Local Government Unit (LGU) and the National Historical Commission – talks on the rehabilitation of the San Joaquin Camposanto is ongoing.”
“The pastoral aspect is under the Parish Administrator and Fr. Solithur Panganiban, Parochial Vicar. Pastoral care must continue, especially as Holy Week is approaching,” Territorio explained.
“To address the specific concerns of Cultural Heritage sites, the Archdiocese of Jaro, through the Office of the Archbishop, reiterates its responsibility to administer and manage primarily its own cultural heritage assets,” the Archdiocesan Communications Director stressed.
“With the consideration of RA 10066 (otherwise known as the Philippine National Heritage Act of 2009), the Office of the Archbishop, through the Archdiocesan Committee on Cultural Heritage, will continue to open its line of communications with the National Museum and the National Historical Institute and work with them in projects which have been already authorized by the Archbishop,” Delagdo added. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas/CBCP News)