Seminary to close; compound up for sale

FORMER HOTEL: Rev. Julio Cesar Sanchez Malagon leads a media tour of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary, which used to be the Accion Hotel, in this file photo.

Forty-one properties owned by the Archdiocese of Agana have been deemed "non-essential" and will be the first to be liquidated if and when additional money is needed for settlement negotiations with litigants in the pending clergy sex abuse cases against the church.

Archdiocesan Finance Council President Richard Untalan told media during the third press conference held this week that "thousands of man-hours" went into compiling a list of all church properties.

The finance council provided media with two lists of properties marked "essential" and "non-essential."

"The Guam Catholic Church essential properties is defined as such: the church buildings and the surrounding grounds, the schools and the surrounding grounds, Kamalin Karidat, Catholic Social Service and surrounding grounds and four leasehold properties that we consider essential to maintaining the operation of the chancery and this archdiocese," Untalan said. "Everything else falls under non-essential."

Seminary, chancery 'non-essential'

The former Accion Hotel property in Yona which is currently being used by the Redemptoris Mater Seminary as well as the chancery complex in Sinajana, the two properties Untalan said the finance council believes are among the most valuable in terms of market value, sit atop the non-essential list and are "on the block."

"In other words, they are available for whatever is necessary to do for the settlement process that is currently going on," he said.

While he said the non-essential properties were not technically up for sale, Untalan confirmed the archdiocese would entertain offers for any of the properties listed.

Interested parties are directed to call finance council member Chris Felix at 689-2121. While he is unable to provide any information about property appraisals, Felix said he can provide additional information about the lots and the types, if any, of assets or buildings that may be on the properties.

The number of essential church properties totals 45 and includes four properties the church is currently leasing out. The money generated by these leases is already earmarked in the church's 2018 budget and is considered necessary for church operations, Untalan said.

Untalan said this includes the Epicure building in Hagåtña, which has been leased to the Judiciary of Guam for its probation office at a rate of $12,000 a month, with the first year free as the judiciary plans to invest about $300,000 in improvements to the building.

"So we put this together, again as a show of accountability and transparency – we're not hiding anything," Untalan said.

Felix told the media that there were between 30 and 40 properties still being assessed for ownership, and said the final list may change in the coming months. Of those assessed, Felix confirmed that at least one was deeded directly to Archbishop Anthony Apuron and was not included in the list since it was determined the archdiocese does not own it.

The fate of the seminary

While the RMS property has been marked "non-essential" and could potentially be sold in the near future, Untalan said the fate of the seminary currently operating there under the Blessed Diego Louis de San Vitores Theological Institute of Oceania is being reviewed by the newly appointed Delegate to the Neocatecumenal Way, Deacon Steve Martinez.