Palma hears side of altar boys; ‘erring’ priest fails to show up-A A +A
Thursday, March 10, 2011
CEBU Archbishop Jose Palma met with the eight acolytes from Barangay Sta. Rosa in Olango Island, who claimed they were pushed and punched by the priest of St. Augustine Parish.
The prelate talked with them for an hour at his office yesterday morning. They were accompanied by a coordinator and a sacristan adviser.
Palma, who is on his second month in office, is expected to raise the issue during the Board of Consultors’ meeting today.
The group accused Fr. Leopoldo Palacio Jr. of hitting them when they arrived late for mass last Sunday.
“Si Father daw got mad because he (acolyte) was late. Basically that’s it,” said Palma, who lamented he could only share general testimonies because Palacio was not able to make it to yesterday’s meeting.
“Today is Ash Wednesday and he (Palacio) has services in the church so hindi siya maka-report (he could not report). Ang point unta, it would have been better if he were here also. I could have shared more or less his version and the version sa mga bata (of the teens),” he said.
When Palma called up Palacio last Tuesday to invite him to the meeting, the priest denied intentionally hurting the boys.
“I heard from Father (Palacio) more of joke lang kuno. Ang term is `gitukmod,’ `gisumbag.’ But according to the boy, masakit man kuno. We have to know how strong was the sumbag. (It was more of a joke. The term used was `pushed’ and `punched.’ We
don’t know, though, how strong the punch was. The boy said it hurt) I have to confirm with Father. I will not know until I talk to Father,” the prelate said.
“It (the incident) gives the priest an impression na (what happened was) improper and something has to be done. I expect Father to come here. I will make a follow-up now,” he said.
In a separate interview, parish volunteer and designated group spokesperson Flora Ford said the acolytes were relieved after their talk with Palma.
“They were scared that Fr. Palacio would remain in the parish. We asked that he be transferred,” she said in Cebuano.
She said the boys no longer want to attend mass and they also refuse to serve the
When asked who was left to assist the priest yesterday, which was Ash Wednesday, she said there were the lay ministers.
Ford said Palacio once had a scheduled 2 p.m. mass but he arrived three hours after.
“We are glad that even if Palma was busy, he gave his time to listen to the children,” she said.
Meanwhile, Palma was able to talk to Fr. Jona-than Lao, the priest assigned at the Colegio de San Antonio de Padua in Danao City. Lao was accused of shooting 19-year-old Mark Robert Cecilio Ymbong last month.
“I believe that in principle, the number one consideration is the good of the community. When we evaluate things, the important thing is we look at what is the good of the community,” he said.
“I told him if it is for the good of the community, I will not side with him. It is better kung pull out na lang,” he said.
Palma said the meeting of the Board of Consultors, which is his advisory council composed of church officials, will discuss issues involving Palacio and Lao.
“Tungod man gud na (It’s because) I’m new. I don’t know the priests. I don’t know their backgrounds. The board will help,” he said.
“In principle it’s the board, through prayer for discernment, that recommends the proper course of action,” he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 10, 2011.