Superintendent Alvia leads Updating the Faithful on Catholic education

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By Anne Marie Rodriguez
and John Michael D. Pineda
Umatuna Si Yu’os

This month’s Updating the Faithful was about Catholic education and was held at the St. John Paul II Center for Evangelization at the Chancery on Monday, Oct. 2.

Archbishop Michael Byrnes opened the segment with a prayer before introducing Richard Z. Alvia, the recently appointed superintendent of Catholic schools.

Alvia updated the faithful on his progress over the four months of being appointed Superintendent of Catholic Education and introduced four newly appointed principals for Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic School, Saint Francis Catholic School, San Vicente Catholic School, and Santa Barbara Catholic School.

The faithful were briefed on the school visits that Alvia had conducted while emphasizing the idea of “reaching out” and “listening” to the schools to listen to address the accomplishments and challenges of the students and administrators.

The superintendent had met with the 14 principals of the Catholic schools with the purpose of “bringing out the vision of Catholic education.”

Notre Dame High School was the first Catholic school on the island to be accredited six full years by the Western Catholic Educational Association. Two schools will be going through accreditation around Feb. to March 2018.

The superintendent had also held his first professional development at the Academy of Our Lady and expressed his openness to holding more at the various Catholic schools.

Several projects of Alvia’s include revisiting archdiocesan Catholic schools protocol and policies regarding the bus management and partnership as well as the protocols surrounding imminent missile threats and foreign student exchange immersion programs.

One of Superintendent Alvia’s goals is to “really see the schools” by meeting with several individuals including school presidents, pastors, chaplains, counselors, health coodinators, athletic directors, curriculum coordinators, the parent advisory board as well as the student leaders at each school.

The Office of Catholic Education in the archdiocese is funded by the Title V-A Consolidated Grants, which provides the office with the appropriate resources, opportunities for professional development and technology.

Present at the briefing for the Catholic high schools were president of Notre Dame High School, Sister Jean Ann Crisostomo, SSND and Principal Mariesha Cruz-San Nicolas, M.Ed., and Academy of Our Lady of Guam Principal Mary A.T. Meeks.

For the Catholic elementary school principals, present were Rita D. Duenas, Ed.D., principal of Bishop Baumgartner Memorial Catholic School, and Sister Mary Emiline Artero, RSM, president of BBMCS, and newly-appointed principals Lisa A. Baza-Cruz, Ed.D. of Saint Francis Catholic School, Nelba R. Aquino of San Vicente Catholic School and Sister Maria Rosario Gaite, RSM, M.Ed. of Santa Barbara Catholic School.

Present from the nursery and kindergarten schools were principals Barbara G. Ungacta, RSM from the Infant of Prague Catholic Nursery & Kindergarten, Sister Anotia K. Addy, MMB, M.Ed. from Maria Artero Catholic Preschool & Kindergarten, and Belen F. DeFant from Mercy Heights Catholic Nursery & Kindergarten.

‘Tribunal results pending’

In separate matters, a reporter asked Archbishop Byrnes if he had received results of the canonical trial of Archbishop Anthony Apuron in Rome.  Archbishop Byrnes said that the Vatican had informed him that “a sentence has been determined” but they were awaiting signatures of tribunal judges before providing results to him.

The term “sentence” is a canonical term meaning “the formal written decision in a particular case,” according to the Canon Law Centre’s Glossary of Canonical Terms. It differs in meaning from usage of “sentence” in civil law. The Vatican official explained to Archbishop Byrnes that canonically, a “sentence” has several parts: 1. The particular charges of a case, including applicable canon 2. The decision which would be either guilty, not guilty, or not proven 3. The penalty imposed.