What’s up with BCI?

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:

Our Mission
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:

Our Mission

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.

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46 Responses to What’s up with BCI?

  1. Daniel says:

    My congratulations to Msgr.Paul Garrity of St. Catherine, Norwood on the new mission statement. It is good to see that all God’s children are welcome at St. Catherine Parish. Let the one without sin cast the first stone!

    • Little Red Hen says:

      Daniel, I see nothing exclusionary in the language of the old mission statement…

    • R and B says:

      Will those “Conceived through in vitro fertilization” be allowed to take the tattoo off their forehead?

    • Carol says:

      Daniel, By any chance did you go to St. John’s in the 70s? Because evidently, you don’t know that the role of a priest is not to accept and respect our iniquities and sin but to lead us to reject them, to repent, to the Sacrament of Confession and ultimately to the reception of the Eucharist with a clean heart and soul so that the superhuman strength of Sacramental grace overcomes the weakness that is causing us to fall the temptations.

      The appointment of Monsignor Garrity was a poisoning of a flock that had been previously preserved in sanctifying grace to sooth Christ’s Heart the Garden of Gethsemene and it is not of God.

    • rf5580 says:

      The insinuation is that all people were not welcome under Msgr McRae. There’s no way you could know him or the terrific faith filled, caring people and staff of his parish. By insinuation,you’re the one who is casting the stone.

  2. DOB says:

    Oh, boy! Perhaps the investigators of BCI should try investigating why so many people in the Archdiocese are making boatloads of money on the backs of financially struggling parishes and schools. Good think many of us have strong stomachs. Keep it up BCI!!!

  3. Frank says:

    Glad to know that BCI is alive and well! Look forward to your reports.

  4. Karen says:

    I cannot wrap my brain around the reality that the Boston Archdiocese would devote precious resources to persecute those who expose the truth rather than promote the truths of our beloved faith and yet, the facts appear to speak for themselves. I am brokenhearted that the ‘Smoke of Satan’ has brought us to this, and will continue to pray that all corruption be removed from the top on down. Thank you BCI for all that you do!

    • rf5580 says:

      One word comes to mind: corruption. That pastoral center/diocesan administration is a wasteful, beuracratic, self-serving entity. In fact, they’re getting just like the government.

      • Another former employee says:

        An expression that comes to mind is “getting even”. Unfortunately Jim McDonough wants everyone to love him and if you don’t and you are critical of him, his response is to get even by getting rid of you.

  5. Warren Memlib says:

    The partnering of the new schools resulting from the merger of Mt. St. Joseph Academy and Trinity Catholic High School with Boston College may not be for the better. According to the BC Observer (http://www.thebcobserver.com/2011/10/04/bc-club-teaches-sex-ed-in-boston-schools/), the Peer Health Exchange (PHE) chapter at Boston College has been recruiting student volunteers to teach sex education in the Boston-area high schools. The PHE website includes a “Teen Health Resources Card” with contact information and public transit directions for Planned Parenthood’s Greater Boston Health Center. The Boston Executive Director of PHE refuses to comment on whether and how abortion is included in the PHE high school program.

  6. Mr. D says:

    It’s sad to see what’s happening at St. Catherine’s. I attended the 8:30 Mass there last Sunday. I was appalled at the silly “clap-clap” during the Gloria, the obvious attempts by Msgr. Garrity to avoid using masculine pronouns for God, the total lack of mention anywhere that it was Respect Life Sunday (instead, a big banner in front of the church announced a “Pet Blessing” scheduled for 2 PM), and the fact that one of the prayers of the faithful regarding respect for human life said, “…from natural BIRTH to natural death.” I inquired of Msgr. Garrity after the Mass regarding that prayer and he said that the it had been downloaded from somewhere, but that he had caught and changed the wording in the copies used at the other Masses, but had missed the one for that Mass. Regarding the new mission statement, I have to wonder what Msgr. Garrity would say to those in objectively sinful situations. Would it be “Go and sin no more,” or something else?

    • rf5580 says:

      I can see it coming. Instead of worshipping God they will be worshipping ‘community’ and their “wonderful selves’.

  7. jbq2 says:

    The Boston Archdiocese is the “left coast” of the American Catholic Church. It is always interesting to read the BCI blog because it portends what will happen elsewhere. I read in St. Louis and you can bet whatever is discussed here on BCI will soon appear as a parallel entity here in the Midwest. This indicates a preorchestrated pattern of “dominoes”. Always interesting!

    • Michael says:

      left coast … my foot … Fr. John Corapi came here and said this is ground zero in the spiritual war. He is correct. And he said it right in front of O’Malley. Our Cardinal is not a shepherd … but rather a cattle-herder … leading the faithful to the slaughterhouse.

  8. Presbyter says:

    Poor people of Saint Catherine’s, my heart goes out to you…you have a wolf in shepherds clothing

    • ItsAllGreekToMe says:

      You hit the nail on the head. Mr. Garrity will bring nothing but destruction to the good people of St. Catherine’s. May God be with them.

    • rf5580 says:

      Saint Catherine’s is a terrific, faith-filled parish. Msgr McRae is a good and holy priest and that parish has thrived for many years under his leadership. It will die a slow death under Garrity. That added statement about people being welcomed is an insult to Msgr McRae and the faithful at Saint Catherine’s. If there’s anybody who is one of the most hospitable and welcoming priests in the archdiocese, it’s Msgr. McRae. Cardinal O’Malley and others in leadership will see the destruction being done and will do nothing. A wolf in sheep’s clothing is a strong statement and I’m sorry and sad to say, it’s probably true. But believe me, there’s more than a few wolves in sheep’s clothing in the Archdiocese of Boston.

  9. teddyballgame says:

    Good post. Keep up the good work.

  10. Mack says:

    I’m glad you’re back! It’s hard to fathom that the chancellor would actually spend time and resources investigating BCI! It’s a good thing he has no power to do away with free speech. If there had been a BCI years ago, the sex abuse scandal would not have gone on for as long as it did.

  11. Charlie says:

    You’re doing a great job. If only people would listen; I hope readers forward this. Thanks.

  12. Another Priest says:

    In typical form, the leaders of the Archdiocese reward a priest like Msgr. Garrity (edited by BCI) with a beautiful parish like St. Catherine. I wish they would take a look around and find the guys that love the Church more than themselves. There are many out there, doing good and BEING good. Too bad we don’t see them rewarded.

    • jbq2 says:

      Are you kiddin’ (dropped g) me? So sad!

    • CuriousCatholic says:

      BCI should delete “another priest”‘s post. To think that a fellow priest would post such a serious allegation on a blog is totally scandalous. Unless you have hard proof, Father, you should be ashamed of yourself. I am not a fan of what Garrity is doing in Norwood, but he (or anyone else) deserves this. Think of the pain of false allegations against priests like Charlie Murphy or Gene Sullivan (to name two of many).

      BCI – you should remove.

  13. qclou says:

    Welcome back “JIM” keep on bloggin’ !!

  14. Plain Patty says:

    The reason that the Fund offerings in the 401K plan are front loaded is that the the Archdiocese has to pay the Graystone Group ( Morgan Stanley Consultants $$$$) who set up the plan and who selected the investment selections. Now the cost of management of the funds (graystone) and the recordkeeping role TICREF) will be on going and will be deducted from the monies contributed to the plan in the future. However since there are no monies in the plan now the cost supposely will be paid by the Arch Diocese…read fronted load, as soon as monies go into the fund there will be a recoop of those $$$$. I have attended a couple of the sessions both on the pension plan and the 401K, have extensive background in my former life with both instituting and managing 401K plans in the private sector and have grave reservations with what is going on. To say that professionalism is lacking is an understatement.

  15. BobofNewtn says:

    It is interesting to read these interesting comments. I note with saddness the passing of MSJ Academy and its “merger” with Trinity Catholic. The survivor entity will reside in Brighton, a property owned by the Sisters of St. Joseph order. Thanks for the merger because I, as a citizen of Newton, welcome the fact that the property of Trinity Catholic will be sold, the RCAB will reap some well needed $$$ and Newton will ger some tax revenue for this valuable parcel. This is a win-win for all concerned but a sad acknowledgement that Catholic “education” is on its way out with the Edsel!

  16. Lynne says:

    I was sad on the one hand about the merger of the two high schools because it’s gotten extremely difficult to find an all-girls’ Catholic high school in the Boston area. Nazareth Academy in Wakefield closed in 2009 and my daughter decided to go to Mt St Joseph (MSJA) in Brighton. One major source of disappointment was that Naz was one of the few high schools which annually sent a group of students to the March for Life in DC each January. MSJA usually did not although in 2010, they sent 3 students.

    • rf5580 says:

      The silence of most of these nuns concerning pro-life issues is deafening as well as scandalous. Their more concerned with vague notions of “justice” and “inclusion” and living like lay people with their outfits, cars and trips.

      • BobofNewtn says:

        Hi – Please look around when you say “nuns” – they are, for all practical purposes, an endangered species. Those still around are aged, infirm and without any form of clout or influence and there worry and concerns revolve around medical and mental care and not worldly events. BTW, pro-life concerns are not in the forefront because people’s concerns are with the economy, the economy, and the economy. Catholics will not change that focus and to think otherwise is pure folly. Enjoy the week.

      • Lynne says:

        There traditional orders of nuns that are bursting the seams with young women but you’re right, Bob of Newton, the nuns in polyester pantsuits who are more like social workers are dying on the vine. Those orders did not bring good fruit and so they are dying.

      • rf5580 says:

        Hi Bob: Some Religoius Communities of women are thriving. Daughters of Saint Paul, Sister of Life, Dominican Sisters of Nashville and the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist anr just a few. The communities that have a strong community prayer life, wear a Habit, have a common apostolate, are faithful to the Holy Father and devoted to the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Mother are doing quite well. Take a look at their web sitges. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    • BobofNewtn says:

      I know of no “nuns” other than the teaditional kind. However, thanks for the update about a group of nuns’ orders that “are boursting at the seams”. I guess I must be missing something here.

      • Little Red Hen says:

        I think Lynne might be referring to the Dominican Sisters of Mary and the Sisters of St. Cecilia, both located in Nashville. These are only two of the newer teaching orders; they both have more takers than they can handle. Take a look at their website, Bobof Newtn, and see what you’ve been missing…

      • BobofNewtn says:

        Hi – Thanks for the tip and I am pleased that nuns are starting to re-appear again (even if it has to be in TN – LOL). However, I don’t think I am missing much by failing to track them on the Web.

      • Serviam says:

        When is the Cardinal going to invite these good sisters to Boston? What is he waiting for? NB: I’ve been advocating the “Nashville Dominicans” for at least 10 years. Why to the CSJ’s and SND’s congregations continue a ‘lock hold’ in Boston, as their presence continues to diminish?

        I’ll continue to raise this issue? Why doesn’t the Cardinal offer any of the vital young teaching orders a sschool and convent, before everything is sold off? I am only told they need to be invited. What is the real intention, secular “Catholic” schools? New Evangelization indeed!

      • BobofNewtn says:

        The link you post is to a site run by Boston’s Childrens Hospital! I see utterly no problem with the site or the fact that Trinity Catholic posts it. We cannot ignore the requirement that educators have a duty to educate students about “life” even if we prefer to keep certain aspects of it under wraps. Enjoy the rest of the week.

    • q says:

      Especially since the coed Trinity refers its girls (under the “health” tab) to

      http://www.youngwomenshealth.org/sexuality_menu.html

  17. Anonymous says:

    If the Chancellor is that concerned with this site then you must be doing something right.

    Thanks for your good work. may the exposes continue.

    • rf5580 says:

      The chancellor has $250,000 reasons to be concerned about BCI (It may be more as they may have gotten a raise this year). He just may end up like Sal DeMasi, Chuck Turner and Diane Wilkerson.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Caritas/Steward pays de la Torre an exorbitant salary and then turns around and recently increased the parking fees for employees and also cuts the cafeteria discount from 15 to 10%.

  19. qclou says:

    and they have consolidated most of their financial employees into one location [ for efficiency of course ] and have cut so many of them [ contrary to their prior to sale promises !! ] that the remaining dedicated people are working 12 hour +++ days and many weekends. Plus you may have noted that the All Saints [?? ] Hospital, in Lowell has cancelled their ‘take-over’ by Steward in favor of merging with Lowell General, [ not the spiffiest place in the Merrimack Valley ]

  20. Dorchester Catholic says:

    Oh no! My wife wants to look at a house in St. Catherine of Siena Parish, now I am scared.

    The mission statement is one thing, I find it odd, but I could deal with it, they are in my personal opinion unecessary for Catholic Parishes as they all have the same mission….”To Preach of Christ and Him Crucified” should be sufficient in my book.

    I understand why they write them (it’s the process of formulation requiring introspection), but still can’t figure out why Parishes in the Universal Church do not have a Universal Mission statement.

    Changing the words of the Mass to diverge from the approved ICEL is another huge problem (Msgr. Ryan often did this at St. Gregory).

    I am worried about this Parish big time, I also attended a first Communion Mass where Fr. Luongo referred to the Blessed Sacrament as “the Holy Bread” when he was at Holy Name in West Roxbury….where coincidently Msgr. Carlson diverged from the “Through Him, With Him, In Him”.

    Language is powerful and needs to be respected.

    Quo Vadis St. Catherine of Siena Parish.

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