Someone just sent us an email saying, “Glad to see this blog has died an unhappy death.” Sorry to disappoint whomever sent the message, but reports of our death are greatly exaggerated.
We have been busy with other pressing responsibilities that required attention, and still do require attention. We have also been reflecting about where BCI goes in the future to be of best service to the Catholic Church in Boston. During the past month when we have been otherwise occupied and blogging very little, here are a few highlights of what we have missed and wanted to write more about:
Merger of Mt. St. Joseph Academy and Trinity Catholic High School into a new preparatory high school
Here is the Boston Globe report on it. The two schools were both facing enrollment and financial challenges. It comes across sounding like a merger of two independent schools in the news article and press release. What is unreported, of course, are issues such as how the teenage girls at the all-girls Mt. St. Joseph Academy feel about the change to co-ed, the uncertainty about jobs for teachers, and the minor matter of the role of who issued the press release. The press release says, ”It will form relationships with a range of community organizations, including neighboring Boston College and its Lynch School of Education, and with Regis College of Weston,” and the Globe says ”the new school, sponsored by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston, will partner with Boston College and Regis College to increase the variety and rigor of available courses.” Hmm. If you look at the press release, note who the press contacts are: John Dunn and Ed Hayward at Boston College. Seems to BCI that this is not a situation where the schools will partner in the future. Why would BC be the one issuing the press release and fielding press inquiries if they did not already play a heavy hand in this today?
Celebration of the Priesthood Dinner
1,100 turned out to honor and support Boston priests at an event that is raising money for a very worthy cause. The event was run by the archdiocese’s Boston Catholic Development Services (BCDS), which is in the final stages of striking a deal with Catholic Charities of Boston to run their fundraising after about a year of negotiation. More on that another time. Joe D’Arrigo, exec director of the clergy funds said they now have a break-even operating budget–which means expenses are equal to income. But, nothing in the article talks about how they will fund the several hundred million dollar shortfall between assets and expected retirement costs for aging clergy. It seems that a 401K-style plan is in the works.
New Employee Pension Plan
We could spend weeks on this alone. Many people are asking how and why TIAA-CREF was chosen, and financial experts tell BCI that the choices offered to employees of mostly front-end load funds are not the best approach to take. It means the fund managers make all kinds of commissions up-front, at the expense of retirees. We need a whole series on this, and have not had the time to get that to you. People should be immediately be asking about the past performance of the funds offered relative to the market and why load funds are the main choices.
Chancellor-Ordered Investigation of BCI
Apparently, because the staff in finance and IT at the archdiocese have extra time to spare, BCI understands they have once again been directed by Chancellor James McDonough to investigate BCI and try to determine who is behind the blog. As it works it way down the pecking order, the request from the Chancellor goes to John Straub, executive director of finance and operations, and then to the IT guy, Steven McDevitt, he brought in that he knew from when he worked in the federal government. Steve most recently worked for FEMA, as we posted here. Rumor has it that they have reached out for help and advice to people they know in the U.S. government with expertise in computer forensics. We are not making this up. If someone bumps into the new Vicar General, perhaps they might mention to him that time by the archdiocese finance and IT team–whose salaries are paid by donor contributions–is being expended investigating BCI, when perhaps those resources might be better utilized serving pastoral ministries and parishes.
Caritas Christi in the News
Multiple posts are needed here as well. Caritas CEO, Ralph de la Torre earned $2.2 million in 2009–that is, before the hospital chain was spun off to Steward Health Care. Meanwhile, the nurses union says that Steward backed out of the pension plan agreed to when the hospital ownership changed in 2010.
According to nurses and union officials, Steward went back on the terms of a pension plan negotiated with the nurses of Caritas Christi hospital, which was purchased by Steward last year. Although both sides reached an agreement in October 2010 after the Caritas deal was complete, union officials felt the plan offered to them in the last few weeks did not reflect the initial settlement. According to David Schildmeier, director of public communications for the MNA, the new plan redefined the five-year agreement for a multiemployer defined-benefit plan, changing the initial contribution and also altered the pension’s ability to grow. “They have reneged on their deal,” Schildmeier said. As a result of the dispute, both sides will move to arbitration in September.
About a month ago, BCI spoke to one of the nurses involved in the negotiation and got a number of additional details. Sure does appear that Steward backed out of the original deal.
Changes at St. Catherine Church in Norwood
A change in the mission statement in the parish bulletin by the new pastor as well as changes in the wording of some liturgical prayers (changing the word “He” or “Him” that refers to God, to the gender-neutral “God”) have sparked some considerable consternation at St. Catherine in Norwood. The former mission statement read:
Saint Catherine of Siena Parish is a Roman Catholic community established in Norwood, MA in 1890. Re- sponding to our baptismal call to holiness, we seek to live the teachings of Christ in the Roman Catholic tradition through worship, education, service and evangelization.
The new pastor, Msgr. Paul Garrity, created a new mission without input from the parish council, found here. It reads:
St. Catherine of Siena Parish is a Roman Catholic community established in Norwood, MA in 1890. Responding to our baptismal call to holiness, we seek to live the teachings of Christ in the Roman Catholic tradition through worship, education, service and evangelization.
ALL PEOPLE ARE WELCOME
AT ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA PARISH, Regardless of your status in the Church, regardless of your marital state, regardless of your prior religious experience, regardless of your personal history, background, or sexual orientation, please know that you are invited, accepted and respected at St. Catherine of Siena Parish.
Anyone can read their most recent bulletin here to see the explanation provided by the pastor a month after the change.
St. Jeremiah Church in Framingham sold
St. Jeremiah, one the closed parishes where people held a long-running protest vigil, has been sold for $2 million to the Syro-Malabar eparchy, an Eastern-Rite Catholic community that has already been using it for the past few years. Even though they have long-since exhausted canonical appeals, the vigil folks of St. Jeremiah say they will try to block the sale by requesting an “emergency restraining order” from the Congregation for the Clergy in the Vatican. Good luck with that.
We could go on and on with much more–these are just a few highlights. Blogging will remain a bit light but we will attempt to get you caught up on more going-on again soon.