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Bishop warns faithful: ‘Fake congregation’ in Sorsogon

MANILA, July 11, 2007—Sorsogon Bishop Arturo M. Bastes, SVD warned the Catholic faithful against a Roman Catholic priest and his “fake congregation” deep into recruitment and fund solicitation.

In a decree dated April 20,2007 and addressed to the Diocese of Sorsogon, Bishop Bastes warned the clergy and the faithful of the existence of a group called “Sons/Sisters of Mary, Adorers of the Holy Eucharist (SMAHE),” with its main house known as “Domus Filirum Mariae” in Rangas, Juban Sorsogon and founded by Fr. Alejandre “Anly” Galias, also known as Fr. Franz Mariae Crucis.

After investigation, Bastes found Galias’ group is neither a religious institute or congregation, nor a public association with canonical rights. Bishop Bastes said the group does not possess a juridical personality according to Canon Law. “Hence, it does not posses a juridical personality according to Canon Law,” Bastes said.

The bishop recalled that Galias rejected as a seminarian in the Dioceses of Catarman and Calbayog, but was ordained in the Diocese of Balanga by then Bishop Celso Guevara, who at that time was in need of more priests for his diocese.

The priest reportedly organized the SMAHE while he was still in Bataan.

Galias was later expelled from Balanga and moved to Sorsogon where he was welcomed by then Bishop Jesus Y. Varela.

Since then, Bastes claimed, Galias has been “unscrupulously” raising funds, and even formed a congregation, luring seminarians to his formation house for free education.

“Being not a religious superior, he is forbidden to recruit for vocations, men and women, as well as to solicit funds for his group,” the bishop said.

Bastes also cautioned the other bishops during their 95th Plenary Assembly in Manila recently to inform and prevent their flock from being misled into joining the group. (Roy Lagarde)