Committee to oversee reconfiguration funds

BRIGHTON — Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley announced on Nov. 30 the establishment of a Parish Reconfiguration Fund Oversight Committee, the third committee appointed by the archbishop to oversee aspects of reconfiguration. (see the committee charter here)

“Addressing the challenges of this archdiocese requires the active involvement of many who love the Church and are willing to share their time, energy and expertise,” said the archbishop in an archdiocesan press release. “I am very grateful to the members of this new committee who have agreed to assist the Archdiocese of Boston staff by applying their professional and financial expertise in the area of Reconfiguration Fund oversight and reporting.”

The seven-member committee, which held it’s third monthly meeting last week, will conduct “an independent review of the financial aspects of reconfiguration including monitoring the receipt and spending of funds from closed parishes, including the sale of parish property, and making recommendations regarding the integrity used in this process,” the release said. Members will advise the archdiocese during a three-year term.

“The intention is that they will look at how we manage the process of liquidating the assets and also the integrity of our reporting about how the money was used,” said chancellor David Smith.

The committee will confirm that no money from the sale of properties will be spent on abuse settlements and that no parties involved have a conflict of interest, he added.

Smith said he hopes the committee will promote “full, open and honest communication about reconfiguration.”

“We recognize that there’s a credibility gap,” and the best way to resolve that is to have outside oversight, he said.

At its discretion, the committee will report along with the chancellor’s monthly report on the financial aspects of reconfiguration in The Pilot.

The committee includes five members selected by the vicar general from nominees submitted by pastors from each of the five regions of the archdiocese. The committee chair and an as-yet-to-be-named member drawn from the archdiocese’s Finance Council are appointed directly by the vicar general. All appointments are made in consultation with the chancellor.

Three of the six already appointed members are from parishes being closed as part of the archdiocese’s reconfiguration, including the committee head, David Castaldi.

Castaldi is a former chancellor of the archdiocese. He is also a trustee of Voice of the Faithful and a member of the VOTF Structural Change Working Group.

“All of us on the committee are pleased to help our Church with its important task and are committed to ensuring transparency in the handling of the assets of closing parishes,” said Castaldi in the release. “We appreciate that our archbishop recognizes the importance of obtaining independent review and advice from lay Catholics and hope that this serves as a model for our Church in the future.”

The other two members from closing parishes are State Street accountant Maureen Corcoran and attorney Norman Sabbey.

The three others serving on the committee are lawyer and professor Timothy Schiavoni, portfolio manager Nan-Marie Jaeger and Kathleen Rabe who has a marketing and public relations background.

The archbishop also appointed an external Reconfiguration Review Committee “to review the reconfiguration process underway and make recommendations” and a Strategic Planning Committee “to assist with the development of a strategic financial plan,” the release said.

So far, 47 parishes have closed in reconfiguration and the archdiocese has announced that 16 properties are on the market. The archdiocese estimates that 82 parishes and 66 churches will close, and eight parishes will be created by the end of reconfiguration.