• School denies closing church over spat

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    BACOLOD CITY: The president of the St. John Institute (Huaming) Board of Trustees (SJI-BOT) has denied that they closed the Queen of Peace Church to its parishioners on Saturday.

    Cesar Villanueva, SJI- BOT president, told a news conference on Sunday said that what they closed was the main gate of the school compound.

    “We had to close the gate after an unfortunate incident took place involving our administrative and security staff and those who are running the church” the SJI-BOT said in statement posted at the school gate.

    Villanueva was referring to spat between him and the Queen of Peace Parish Rector, Fr. Ernie Larida, whom Villanueva said was supposed to be on leave.

    The incident was reportedly triggered by the hanging of a tarp for the schedule of Lenten Masses at the church on Saturday morning.

    Villanueva said that school administrative personnel had requested Larida to wait until they can confirm the matter with Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon which request Larida reportedly resented.

    He added that he went to the school to personally talk to Larida but the latter raised his voice.

    Villanueva said he was just trying to clarify if Larida has the authority to hang the tarp in the school premises because he (Larida) is on leave and the acting parish priest is Buzon.

    Villanueva alleged that Larida hit him in the stomach while saying “Let’s end this now,” referring to the long-standing feud between the school and the church.

    “ In order to avoid more violence perpetuated by no less than a priest and a leader of their church organization, we deemed it best to close the main gate,” the statement said.

    Villanueva said the pedestrian gate remains open for parishioners.

    It is not the first time that Larida quarrelled with school officials, he noted.

    In their statement, they said, “We have informed the bishop about this decision that while the front gates are closed, churchgoers can still enter the premises via the small gate. We reiterate that the Church will remain open to the faithful but we are also mindful about the security of our staff and the students who continue to use the facilities.”

    Villanueva said Buzon has called up and apologized for the “unfortunate” incident.

    According to him, while Buzon stated that the church will be reverted back to the chapel, it is not clear yet how this will be done

    When sought for comment, Larida said he had no intention of harming Villanueva.

    He claimed that while he and Villanueva were arguing loudly, he extended his hands as an act of self-defense when Villanueva made a move toward him.

    EUGENE Y. ADIONG

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    7 Comments

    1. What is due to God: The fruits of labors of Msgrs. Liu, Bong and Noly, and labors of FCCY organizers Frs. Clarence and Pete. Msgr. Liu went house-to-house to invite Fil-Chi brethren to actively participate as Catholicism and Chinese culture dont contradict. He also went Duc in Altum to reach out and build the Basic Christian Communities. Msgr. Noly envisioned two circles of communities, yet interdependent of each other’s strengths, and guarding each other’s backs like a great wall of Christians. Fr. Clarence envisioned gathering the Fil-Chi youth regardless of school, to share and spread the faith, and live it in their lives as grownups someday. Which of the parties are working towards the founders’ visions?

    2. “Give to Cesar what is due to Cesar, and give to God what is due to God.”
      What is due to Cesar: Security. SJI has stationed guards at the gate, to prevent vehicles from transporting “persona non gratas” into the property entrusted to him by businessmen partners (mostly Filipinos) to transform into a “premiere” institution.

    3. The giant faith of the other founder…
      Me: Father Principal, are you a Christian? Don’t you fear offending God if you say evil words?
      Msgr. Su: I don’t care if I hit you, God still loves me! I’m His priest. (He decided not to punish me) Now, go away. Go away. :-)
      Moral – honor God’s chosen authority.

    4. “Give to Cesar what is due to Cesar, and give to God what is due to God.”
      What is due to Cesar: Security. SJI has stationed guards at the gate, to prevent vehicles from transporting “persona non gratas” into the property entrusted to him by businessmen partners (mostly Filipinos) to transform into a “premiere” institution. It has been done – Queen of Peace Parish is no longer a territorial parish, but a personal parish – it now belongs to the Filipino-Chinese faithful from Tay Tung, STI-WNU, UP-IS, La Salle, etc., and other personal parishioners, among others. Thus, what needs to be done is to beef up the security at the gates/entrances of the buildings where he is working. He needs security. And as a Christian, it’s also our duty to enforce it. And if he wasn’t allocated budget for such, Fr. Ernie, as a sign of goodwill, can have a second collection. After all, the parish and its generous faithful took care of Msgr. Su in his last days when the school didn’t anymore spend for him.

    5. edgar altarejos jr on

      What has the closing of the gate got to do with the incident? Does closing the gate prevent the same incident in the future? The tarp was placed at the church wall, what has it got to do with the school?

      • edgar altarejos jr on

        They are just trying to intimidate everyone in the parish so that they could find reason to close down the parish. The more they do this, the more parishioners faithful to the parish will stand and defend the parish.