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Parishes hurting, leaving chancery to foot the bill

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We're all in this together  - that's the message from today's press conference hosted by the Archdiocese of Agana. Today they made sense of the numbers that show the Church is in the red with its daily operational finances.

For years there was no accountability. Now, with the help of Chief Financial Officer Josie Villanueva and the reinstituted Archdiocesan Finance Council, the Church has opened the books for each and every parish and Catholic school. What they found -  some parishes and schools were better off than others.

The end result - the Chancery left footing the balance.

For the last three years, the Chancery has paid subsidies to various Archdiocesan entities totaling over $906,000. What needs to happen?

AFC members Ric Duenas and Richard Untalan explain every parish and Catholic school will be assessed fees. For schools, this may or may not be translated into increased cost for tuition.

Duenas said, "We've met with all the principals with all the schools and we've laid  out our plan for funding these things. And we've given the flexibility of how they want to fund it. Of course the easiest way would be to work that into the monthly tuition, mainly with the annual fee work it into the registration fee, but we're relying on the expertise of our principals how they can best manage it. Will they be looking for additional fundraising?  Will they be looking for additional donations? That's the flexibility of every principal for every school."

The first assessment is a $25 per student per year.

This will be used to pay the $110,000 in operational costs for the Catholic Superintendent's Office.

In the past, the Chancery funded these operations.

The second fee is a $12 per month per student assessment.

That's a total of $144 a year, which will be used to fund the Chancery.

As for parishes, each one will be assessed depending on their current situation. The breakdown to be paid by each parish will be shared at a later date.

Ultimately, Catholics can be assured, said Untalan, "That matter has separate funding, separate source of funding, etc. We're not increasing the assessment because of the sexual abuse cases. I cannot emphasize that enough."

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