Mangaluru: The Parish Priest of Holy Cross Church Cordel Fr Valerian, who was in the news regarding misappropriation of funds at Cordel Church, finally broke his silence and said that the allegations which were put on him by some of the parishioners are baseless.
Fr Valerian was welcomed by the parishioners at Church of Our Lady of Mercy Fajir. Fr Valerian took charge as a Parish Priest of Church of Our Lady of Mercy Fajir from Fr Stany Pereira.
After taking over the charge of Fajir Church here on June 3, Fr Valerian speaking to mangalorean.com said, “From the past 7 years, I have worked for the development of the Cordel Parish. I have beautified the entire surroundings of the church.” He rubbished the allegations leveled on him and said, “I don’t want to comment on it. I did not misuse the funds and all the accounts have been audited and submitted to my superiors.”
When asked about the allegation put on a contractor, which was published in the media stating that “Parishioners have recovered funds from the contractor”, Fr Valerian said, “Whatever we have paid for the contractor, they are his wages. He has done all the construction work in and around the church, and the news about recovering the funds from him is false. I have nothing to say; the allegations which have been put on me by some of the parishioners are false and baseless. I did not misuse any funds of the church.”
When asked about the rumours about him going missing, Fr Valerian said, “I was hospitalized as per the advice of the doctor to rest in Fr Muller Hospital, Derlakatte.”
One of the committee members who had a responsible post in the church said, “Many allegations have been put on Fr Valerian but we did not find any misuse of the funds. From the past three months, some of the parishioners have been defaming him in the name of misuse of funds.”
Speaking to mangalorean.com Sushil Noronha said, “For any work, there is a budget and we cannot fix a particular price; sometimes it may exceed the initial estimate. He [Fr Valerian] renovated the entire church except its structure, the cemetery, the church benches were changed, Adoration monastery, compound walls, open air auditorium, ten commandments. He has also extended the ground, and taught children to pray and has made every child to hold the Bible in their hands. He did a very good job by giving education to the poor and building houses for them. I have been a member of the Parish Council from the past 35 years. Being an experienced member of the council and a parishioner, I have very good experience. If there has been any misuse of funds, people should show us where exactly the mistake is. The Bishop is the highest authority and the parishioners should complain such issues to him so that a committee is formed to investigate the case. But without knowing the truth, the parishioners cannot blame the priest. On May 30, there was an inauguration of the Ten Commandments at Cordel Church, but the Bishop refused to inaugurate it because of the dispute between the parishioners and the priest. The Bishop said that the parishioners and the priest should be united for the development of the Parish.” He also said that from the past 4 and half years, “Praveen Patrao is the vice president but he did not bother to inform about the problems to anyone; suddenly from the past three months, the vice president of Parish Pastoral Committee alleges Fr Valerian of misappropriation of funds.”
“There is an allegation on a contractor that he has taken additional money from the priest. But the contractor did not take any additional amount. Fr Valerian has done the payment for whatever work he has done.”
When asked about the allegation that a bill of Rs 40 lakh was given for the electrical work done for the church, Sushil said, “From the past 7 years, I look after all the electrical work. I have carried out all the electrical work and in the 7 years of my work, my bill has not exceeded Rs 10 lakh. We have taken up 5 projects including the entire church electrical work while renovating it, but the rumours of paying Rs 40 lakh for the electrical work are totally baseless.”
When asked why the transfer of the Parish Priest was rescheduled from June 10 to June 3, Sushil said that many parishioners went to the Bishop and said that they will not allow the priest to continue there anymore, and that he should quit from the church immediately. “Fr Valerian was in distress and the doctor advised him to get admitted and take rest. According to doctor’s advice, we admitted him to Fr Muller Hospital in Derlakatte. He was discharged from the hospital on June 3 and directly came to Fajir Church to take the charge.”
“According to an official statement from the vice president made during the Parish Council meeting, the Parish Priest was asked to pay Rs 10 lakh to drop the issue. But Fr Valerian refused to pay”. He further said, “Let a committee be appointed to investigate the case.”
Msgr Denis Moras Prabhu, Fr J B Crasta, Fr Xavier Gomes, Fr William Menezes, Fr Peter Noronha, Fr Vincent, Fr Oneil and other priests were also present.
Mangaluru: Fr Victor Machado takes charge as Parish Priest of Holy Cross Church Cordel