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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, January 28, 2017
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Hua Ming honors
founding fathers

In celebrating the Chinese New Year, the students of St. John's Institute along with their parents, faculty members, alumni and officials paid homage through a Eucharistic Mass to their founding fathers that helped build the school and the Queen of Peace Church.

The mass, in Mandarin, was concelebrated by Fr. Rhomel Mendoza, who stressed the need to continue the Chinese culture and serve as examples for future generations.

The Hua Ming community also took the opportunity to light incense candles in honor of their founders – Msgrs. John Liu and John Su - and donors, particularly Alfredo Montelibano Sr. and other members of the Chinese community that helped create the only Chinese Catholic school in Bacolod.

Odette Ong-Gomez, president of the school's Parent's Council, said part of the festivities was reading the names of the donors “to remind the students of the individuals who helped put up SJI, some of whom were not even Catholic but believed in the vision of our founding fathers.”

Recently, Hua Ming was in the news after it made an appeal to the Diocese of Bacolod to convert the Queen of Peace parish into a chapel and allow the school and its religious congregation partner to manage the same after a perceived conflict that parish management and activities have been hampering on school activities.

SJI Board of Trustees president, Cesar Villanueva, reiterated their call to Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon to resolve the conflict as soon as possible so as not to escalate the situation.

Villanueva pointed out that SJI has agreed to strengthen security measures in the campus which also houses the church after a series of attempted kidnappings and robbery.

Having a parish in their midst that needs to be open to the faithful at all times of the day has complicated things “but we have to protect our school, we have to protect our students, we have to tighten our security and we know that in doing so, that will also hamper the parish that's why we are hoping the Bishop will resolve this immediately,” he said.

Villanueva added they will do everything possible to ensure that they stay true to the wishes of Msgr. John Su, who appealed to then Bishop Vicente Navarra to bring the chapel back to the school before his death.

He said they are in a “continuing dialog” with the Bishop who told them he will arrive at a decision sometime April, thus they were caught by surprise when the parish pastoral council read in a letter alleging that Buzon already told them he will not grant SJI's appeal.

“We respected the Bishop's wishes to wait for a while but we are being pushed against the wall,” Villanueva said, adding they've already sent a letter to Buzon asking for clarification.

SJI said they are also making alternative plans and while legal remedies is “the last resort, if there is a deadlock, we may be forced to seek adjudication from the courts.”

Gomez, on the other hand, said that with all due respect to the Diocese, “when things are not working out anymore, and this has been ongoing for some time, it is best to resolve the conflict and think of the student's and the school's welfare.”*


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