Boston Archdiocese Unveils First Wave of Massive Parish Reorganization. Watch Out!

The first wave of a massive change to the organization of parishes in the Boston Archdiocese was unveiled on Thursday. BCI is getting concerned that a well-intentioned and much-needed plan has the potential to turn into a train-wreck based on some early indicators. Read on.

Here is a link to the announcement by the archdiocese, including the list from the Archdiocese of the 28 parishes that will be grouped into 12 clusters (or “collaboratives”) in the first phase of the reorganization plan:

1. Saint Luke and Saint Joseph, Belmont
2. Saint Mary, Saint Margaret, Saint John, Beverly
3. Saint Mary, Saint Theresa, Saint Andrew, Billerica
4. Saint Mary, Brookline (a one-parish collaborative)
5. Saint Mary of the Angels, Roxbury and Saint Thomas and Our Lady of Lourdes, Jamaica Plain
6. Saint Mary and Sacred Heart, Lynn
7. Our Lady of the Assumption and Saint Maria Goretti, Lynnfield
8. Saint Lucy and Saint Monica, Methuen
9. Sacred Heart, Middleboro and Saints Martha and Mary, Lakeville
10. Sacred Heart and Our Lady Help of Christians, Newton
11. Saint James, Saint John, Immaculate Conception, and Saint Anne, Salem
12. Saint Jerome and Immaculate Conception, Weymouth

Here is a summary from the Boston Globe:

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston on Thursday announced the names of more than two dozen parishes participating in the first phase of a major reorganization that will eventually group the archdiocese’s 288 parishes into about 135 clusters, each led by a team of clergy and lay leaders.

The reorganization, to be phased in over five years, is designed to help parishes cope with diminished Mass attendance, a shortage of priests, and anemic fund-raising. Church officials hope the plan will eventually strengthen parishes and help reverse those trends.

The 28 parishes participating in the pilot phase — diverse in size, wealth, ethnicity, and geography — will be grouped into 12 clusters, or “collaboratives.” The collaboratives will gradually take shape over the next two years, as clergy and lay leaders are assigned and trained, and teams from each one create a long-term plan.

The parishes will remain open, but church officials said they hope will learn to work together to share resources.

This topic merits much more attention than time and space permit BCI to give to it today. We will share a few initial observations.

First, a new pastoral plan is a necessity given the changing dynamics above–but, for the record, it should be noted that the biggest problems are failed leadership at the highest levels of the archdiocese and diminished Mass attendance, which then translates to lower contributions. When BCI looks at the numbers, though we have fewer priests, the ratio of priests to active Mass-going Catholics is actually proportionate today to what the ratio was decades ago when we had more priests and more Mass-going Catholics.  It is unclear why the media does not realize that and the archdiocese does not publicly say that. We will get you data in the near future.

Second, it seems to BCI that the archdiocese is putting the cart before the horse. Just as we were thinking this yesterday, one long-time reader observed to BCI via email:

“RCAB has done nothing to build trust in its Catholics.  It has done nothing to foster the proper formation for staff and laity to handle how these changes happen — they have definitely put the cart before the horse. So with no trust, and the average parish council member not knowing the canonical difference between “church” and “parish,” there is likely to be a lot more heat generated than light.”

The right sequence would be to get the right people with strong leadership qualities and proud adherence to true Catholic Church teachings on-board  first to help lead and guide the path ahead–and also get the wrong people out of any leadership roles.  Then, you form and educate people with real authentic catechesis, not just “the new evangelization training.” And after that, then you roll out the changes.  The archdiocese has the order all wrong.

Third, the lack of financial transparency by the Boston Archdiocese is going to continue to hurt, rather than help build trust and enable success. Just one  example is described in this post, New Boston Chancellor Needs to Work on Transparency.  More than halfway into the fiscal year, there is still no published operational budget, as was published in 2010, 2011 and 2012.  Several readers report they wrote to Chancellor John Straub, some multiple times, and got no response. Any of the following could be the reason: a) He is not sufficiently capable or competent that he has produced a budget more than halfway into the fiscal year and is still working on it, b)  He is unconcerned about delivering what faithful Catholics are looking for in order to trust the archdiocese, c) He has a budget, but will not share it because there is something the archdiocese is hiding, such as mingling funds from separate entities, or borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, d) he flat out lied or deceived everyone when, upon his promotion to Chancellor, he said publicly, one of his goals would be to “continue to maintain that stability and transparency and enhance it where we can.”  Given this budget was published for the past 3 years, we have clearly gone backwards from the past. He has also failed to respond to inquiries about how the bills for 40-50% of parishes in the red are being paid. The next step for some readers is to take the matter to the Papal Nuncio and the Vatican  Congregation for Bishops. If the report does not appear soon, BCI may start a campaign calling for a new Chancellor to be named, since John Straub is already missing the mark.

Fourth, the arrangement of collaboratives, and nature of clergy personnel decisions could be wrought with controversy.  How will a doctrinally orthodox parish mesh with one that is doctrinally less orthodox?  For example, in Newton, the example cited with parishioner comments in the Globe article, a number of readers have written to share concerns because Sacred Heart has been led by a former seminary instructor and doctrinally orthodox pastor, Fr. John Connolly, who is in his 80s and near retirement, while Our Lady Help of Christians was led by the not-doctrinally-orthodox Fr. Walter Cuenin and is currently led by Fr. John Sassani, whose orthodoxy is exemplified by his recently permitting a Yoga Prayer program at the parish, despite clear admonitions from the Vatican’s Congregation of the Faith about the spiritual dangers of yoga. Sacred Heart has had pro-life Masses on a monthly basis, while in contrast, the Social Justice group at Our Ladys used to march in the annual Boston Gay Pride parade. Sacred Heart and nearby St. Bernards both have weekly Eucharistic Adoration on Saturday mornings; Our Ladys has no regular time for Eucharistic Adoration. When Our Ladys was renovated in the late 1990s, they installed a Protestant-style in-ground baptismal pool in the floor near the altar–and not long after the church reopened, BCI is told a lay Eucharistic minister fell into the baptismal pool during Communion, dropping a glass chalice on the marble floor, which shattered and spilled the precious blood of Christ on the floor. Now they have rubber mats and cordons to prevent that problem, but other liturgical concerns remain. The differences in the leadership, culture, liturgies and orthodoxy of the parishes could not be greater. Who will ultimately be the pastor of the collaborative? Will he be orthodox or not? How will the two diametrically different parishes blend together and make decisions? Beyond this collaborative, how will all clergy personnel decisions be made?  Will decisions be influenced by back-room dealings outside of standard pastoral appointment processes, as happened with the naming of Msgr. Paul Garrity to St. Catherine’s in Norwood in 2011 after Garrity had announced his retirement from the priesthood?  What will an orthodox parish do if and when their new pastor for the collaborative is not decidely not orthodox?

Lastly, the failed leadership at the top in the Boston Archdiocese will continue to undermine the chances for success of this broad, very important initiative. Bishop Deeley’s comments about why this effort will succeed are reflective of the problem. In the archdiocesan press release, he said, “We have confidence that Disciples in Mission will be successful because it is the fruit of a collaborative effort with clearly defined goals and objectives.”  Where to start on this one?

What are the measurable objectives?  How many Catholics is each collaborative expected to bring back to the Church by what date?  How much is weekly Mass attendance across the archdiocese expected to increase by, in what timeframe?

Worse still is the misguided notion that the initiative will succeed because it comes from a “collaborative effort with clear goals.” The Big Dig came from a collaborative effort with clear goals.  Obamacare came from a collaborate effort with clear goals. So did the 9/11 terrorist acts. So did the Nazi Holocaust. Are collaboration and having goals really the essential factors to have a model for “success”? Does the Vicar General really believe that collaboration with clear goals makes an initiative succeed?

First off, an initiative like this will succeed, if and only if, it has strong leadership starting at the top, and the initiative is rooted from top to bottom in the authentic teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.  Strong leadership at the top means the archbishop is passionately committed to his episcopal responsibilities to teach, sanctify and govern. How is that going lately?  We have documented failures there since 2010. Furthermore, “leadership” as defined by an expert in the field, means attributes like integrity (alignment of words and actions with inner values, walking the talk, sticking to strong values, and building an entire organization with powerful and effective cultural values), dedication (spending whatever time and energy on a task is required to get the job done, giving your whole self to the task, dedicating yourself to success and to leading others with you), magnanimity (giving credit where it is due and accepting personal responsibility for failures), humility (recognizing that you are not inherently superior to others and thus they are not inferior to you), openness (being able to listen to ideas that are outside one’s current mental models),  and creativity (thinking differently, being able to get outside the box and take a new and different viewpoint on things).  On just the first three attributes–integrity, dedication, and magnanimity, the report card for our episcopal leadership is not very good. As for how well-rooted the archdiocese is in the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church, just look at their PR firm (filled with former Biden staff and Biden/Obama fundraisers), proudly ex-Catholic HR executive director, Secretary for Social Services and Healthcare (who speaks on panels with anti-Catholics like Barney Frank and thinks Catholic identity means supporting the controversial Catholic Campaign for Human Development), Campaign for Catholic Schools chair who raises millions of dollars for pro-abortion political figures, and certain parish adult faith formation programs.

BCI has been hoping and praying that the archdiocese can pull off this new pastoral plan successfully. But, the challenges and shortcomings above cause BCI to believe the archdiocese still does not get it. We wish we did not feel compelled to say this, but we simply do not think the Boston Archdiocese has what it takes right now to make this ambitious undertaking successful.  Longtime readers can attest that we have been right with our assessments a whole lot more since 2010 than we have been wrong. That is what BCI thinks.  What do you think?

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28 Responses to Boston Archdiocese Unveils First Wave of Massive Parish Reorganization. Watch Out!

  1. jbq2 says:

    Firstly, the merging of orthodox with not so orthodox is intentional. It is called pragmatism and calls into suspect the use of doctrine in the Church. Secondly, these clusters will eventually have women pastors parallel to what is happening in the Midwest. Women are being trained as pastoral associates which will then upgrade to pastors “at the proper time” specifically with the death of Benedict. Finally, priests are in such short supply that they will become “outriders” as in Medieval England in service to the cluster. Eventually, deacons will be ordained and possibly women. Many deacons have all of the intelligence and education in most instances as a barrell of brine. “It all depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is”.

  2. Newton Catholic says:

    BCI,
    Your characterization of the situation in Newton is spot-on but you missed a few things.

    Our Ladys presents themselves like they’re welcoming to everyone, but many of the parishioners were downright nasty to Fr. Chris Coyne, who came in as pastor after (“call me Walter”) Cuenin was pushed out, and the parishioners all but forced Fr. Coyne out of the place.

    I was at that Mass in 1999 when the Eucharistic minister tripped and fell into the wading pool and the glass chalice shattered. Besides the absurdity of the wading pool in the floor, why were using glass chalices, and why are they still using them? The chalice is supposed to be made of precious metal, unless you are in a poor country and precious metal is not available or can’t be afforded by the church. The liturgical abuse continues there.

    I don’t know how the two parishes will blend together. They need a new orthodox pastor to replace both Fr. Sassani and the wonderfully ageless and erudite Fr. Connolly.

    BCI, keep up the great work!

  3. Time for a change says:

    I know that BCI expressed concerns about Chancellor Jim but, say what you will, he was no dope. He stayed on the bridge long enough to get reappointed and save his reputation and got off before there was no way to publish a “balanced budget” or hide the fact that they are looting everything to cover the losses.

    That being said, there is likely no time to wait for reconfiguration 2. The ability to continue business as usual is coming to an end. Nothing left to steel.

    Interesting note: Pastors with influence (good old boys) get one Parish groups.

    Turns out that lawyers, Chancellors, administrators and educators who told the whole truth cost the church less than half what the dream team does.

  4. Fact Checker says:

    Once again, BCI has nailed it. Every point above illuminates all that is not well with the Archdiocese.

    Right off the bat, the RCAB calls out parishes that do not live within their offertory income, labeling them “in the red.” Yet RCAB routinely spends more than it takes in, and skims parish income to make up the difference. Hello?

    Would you trust the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston with your wallet? Do you believe the diocese is the most efficient financial model that should be emulated in the new pastoral service teams?

    Will pastors who agree to “gift” cash or part of real estate proceeds to Braintree, have their pick of assignments in the new collaboratives? Of course, under Corporation Sole, it all belongs to RCAB — all buildings and open space, and all bank accounts. Restricted accounts are tougher for Braintree to raid, but they try.

    BCI asks how parishes stay afloat that operate “in the red.” For some, it means having a lot of its real estate leased to unrelated institutions. Newton, cited by BCI, is a good example: Our Lady’s leases out one school, with hopes to lease another; it leases its convent to Catholic Charities (which can’t afford to own much of anything); leases a gym; and leases a lot of parking. The same is true of Sacred Heart: school, gym, and parking. So do they kill the golden geese (as Sacred Heart is doing with its sale of the former Saint Philip Neri Waban campus) and sell off real estate to take the lump sum of cash? Corpus Christi-Saint Bernard has transferred control of Corpus Christi, in exchange for financial considerations, to the use of the Korean Catholic Community. CCSB also exchanges weekday parking adjacent to the MBTA express bus stop for cash, leases out its school, and the houses it owns

    Who decides which assets parishes can sell and keep, and to whom property is sold? The theory of subsidiarity says the pastor decides what happens to parish patrimony, and can only be overridden by the Ordinary for grave cause. Will Braintree keep its sticky fingers out of the parish’s pocket? Will it, as it appears was the rule for Jim McDonough, make promises to favored developers who make it worthwhile to Braintree, or individuals connected there? Will parishes hold meetings, discuss the options, and make a recommendation to the pastor, only to have Brooks Drive do as it wishes, and the V.O. (very ordinary) remain in his soundproof booth?

    If only once, the V.O. would say, “Having heard you, my decision is…” Rather than, “The ya-da-da committee has made a recommendation and I accept it.” Imagine running a family that way? Or a business? Then why the Church?

    How many parents of teens have exclaimed, after some incident, “But we thought we could trust her?” How many parishioners have said the same of the Archdiocese of Boston?

    Brace yourselves for the facts.

    • Technically, the Archdiocese owns all diocesan property, and therefore it is the sole decision of the Archbishop (Cardinal Sean) what to do with the property. However, a bishop cannot just shut down your parish because they are operating in the red; money is not a grave reason according to Canon Law.

      • Fact Checker says:

        No, Chris. Under the theory of subsidiarity, he cannot do whatever he wishes. The pastor is granted a civil and canonical power of attorney upon taking office that enumerates his powers; he is the primary representative of the ordinary in the parish. Canonically and civilly, his decision can only be set aside for a very serious reason.

        After the “Skylstad” decree, issued to protect dioceses in the United States who were seeking bankruptcy, the bishop of a diocese cannot summarily take parish assets when one parish is suppressed, or when a parish sells a non-cash asset. He can, as that has evolved, ask for the funds or assets as a “gift.”

        A grave reason for overriding the pastor’s decision in the sale of real estate would include sale of a church property for a “sordid” use, notwithstanding relegation. So churches cannot become Keno parlors, or bars, etc. (Though this happened in other states when dioceses failed to restrict deeds.)

        The trouble comes because RCAB is a Corporation Sole, a civil entity, that gives the cardinal total civil control. Corp Sole as a corporate form for RCAB should be dissolved. It’s long past its sell by date. But that’s for a future Fact Checker topic.

  5. SamLynn says:

    I don’t agree with much that has been said, but I do think that the strategy is wrong. If you have seen the wonderful film “Chasing Ice”, I think it is a perfect metaphor. At the moment the focus appears to be deciding which ice floe one will hop on rather than dealing with global warming. Also, the passion exemplified by James Balog is for me not visible in Church leadership.

  6. [...] Boston Archd. Unveils First Wave of Large Parish Reorganization – Boston Cthlc Insider [...]

    • SamLynn says:

      Thank you for the link to the article on “Les Mis”. I too have read the book, seen the stage play, and most recently the movie. My perception of most of the comments here is that they are written by “Javert” types – law and order above all. Bishop Bienvenue (welcome) had the same kind of passion that I saw in James Balog.

  7. Newton church-hopper says:

    Bingo!! BCI’s post should be read by everyone in the Archdiocese of Boston hierarchy.

    I live in Newton and have gone to both Our Ladys and Sacred Heart. I also went to St. Paul’s in Cambridge when Msgr. Dennis Sheehan was pastor there–he’s now parochial vicar at Our Ladys, where Fr. Sassani is pastor. Msgr. Sheehan was on the record at St. Pauls as NOT being helpful in the defense of marriage efforts back in 2004-2006–most parishes allowed folks to collect signatures on petitions after Mass to get the constitutional amendment defining marriage between a man and woman on the ballot. Msgr. Sheehan did NOT allow that at St. Pauls–I was with a friend in the back of the church after Mass, when Msgr. Sheehan said, “that wouldn’t be appropriate at St. Pauls.” If it’s appropriate to do at the back of every other Catholic Church after Mass, why not at St. Pauls??

    BCI you should look closer at Our Ladys. Besides glass vessels for the blood of Christ, look at the kinds of faith formation programs they have.

    Our Ladys Book Club was reading “sister” Joan Chittister’s “In Search of Belief” last fall.
    http://www.ourladys.com/3communications/12_OLbulletin1117.pdf
    Chittister is a dissident nun, 60′s leftist and new-ager, supports women’s ordination, speaks at Call to Action conferences.

    http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=160011

    What an insult to the Blessed Virgin Mary for Fr. Sassani to have “Our Ladys Book Club” reading a book by a dissident nun who disobeyed the Vatican’s request she not speak at a women’s ordination conference!!!!:
    http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=4090&CFID=32341358&CFTOKEN=68695370

    Then there’s the preaching. Fr. Connolly at Sacred Heart delivers a theologically rich homily every week geared to adults that adults and young people actually learn something from and are challenged by. At Our Lady’s it seems like the homilies are geared more to the level of a high school student. Never much of a challenge to folks.

    I’d be curious of others who’ve gone to Mass at Our Ladys are distracted by the presence of the choir in the sanctuary behind the altar on risers. I thought the altar and the priest are supposed to be at the highest level in the sanctuary, but it looks like at Our Ladys, the choir is at the same level or even higher when choir members are standing on the risers.Very distracting to me. I don’t know if they still have a guy playing the harmonica. All they do is music writen from the 1970s and on.

    sorry for the length of this comment. Keep up the great work BCI!

    • St Bernard's parishioner says:

      I just came back from the 10am Mass at St Bernards in West Newton. If Newton church hopper thinks the music is better elsewhere, keep looking. This morning, each part of the Mass got worse and worse. There was the dreadful blues-style Alleluia, Sing the Glory, then One Bread, Obe Body at Communion, and we closed with “And They’ll Know We Re Christians By Their Love.”. Nothing written before 1960.

      Don’t these music directors know Gregorian chant is supposed to have a place of prominence in the liturgy?

      BCI, I know liturgical music is off topic, but when we talk about combining parishes, what happens to liturgy planning? Does one music director prevail and the others ate let go? Who picks whether there will be yrue sacred music or modern greatest hits of the 60s, 70s and 80s songs?

      • Go to Mary Immaculate in the Upper Falls, they have a Traditional Latin Mass everyday (Sunday 10:30 am, MWF 12:30 PM, T-R 5:30 PM, and SAT 9am), but only music is on Sundays, Holy Days, and other special feasts. The music is Gregorian Chant and Baroque most of the time, with an occasional Classical hymn in there. Nothing after 1900.

      • Jack O'Malley says:

        Chris Whittle, you are right.

        In fact, “nothing after 1900″ ought to be a watchword for the Church of the future. Including the Missale Romanum. Bugnini and his masonic mavens were at work even before V2.

        Bring back the old Holy Week and Triduum. The ancient calendar. The only innovation I would countenance is the introduction of the name of St. Joseph into the Canon. That was a well merited liturgical change. The Patron of the Universal Church.

        I have privately recited the old Holy Week rites for the conversion of the Jews. “Go ye and teach all nations” does not exempt the brethren of the Lord. If a centurion and a Samaritan woman were recipients of the “old” Evangelisation, then the modern Jews are as well. Else would we not have had a Saint Edith Stein, a Cardinal Lustiger, or a convert Israel Zolli.

        I will have to attend Mary Immaculate of Lourdes during the week. I have not assisted at a low Mass in ages. The Sundays are glorious with the Solemn High Masses. Though I think that there has been a change with something intermediate between a Missa Solemnis and a Missa Cantata (acolyte (?) singing the Epistle, celebrant singing the Gospel). I’m not sure what’s going on there but it is in any event ad maiorem Dei gloriam to be sure.

  8. Chris says:

    Saint Elizabeth of Hungry in Acton, which I visit when I’m in that neighborhood, has all glass “cups” and ciborium. Gray paint, no decorations, itt looks like a stripped down church in a communist county. Bad music, ’70s feel, way too many Eucharistic ministers. People stand in solidarity all through communion. Please add it to your list to avoid.

    • 510jrb2301 says:

      Thank you BCI for your straight talk. In my opinion the new initiatives will come a-cropper because they fail to deal with the causes for the decline. Without correcting the causes the decline can be expected to contine, no matter how much reorganization it elects to do. The causes clearly go back many years and just as clearly involve the failure of the Boston archbiishops to fulfill their canonical responsibilities.

      • Perfect comment, very accurate. The archbishop is responsible for everything that goes on in the archdiocese (and in his province to a certain degree). If someone knows something is wrong, and the problem cannot be corrected at the diocesan level (i.e. Boston), then you have to let the Vatican know.

      • Michael says:

        Straight talk … I like the sound of that

    • Stephen says:

      It is a stripped down church in a communist country

  9. The “fruits” of the council that keep on giving.

  10. Chris Roy says:

    No one ever talks about what has happened in Maine as a result of clustering. Churches were closed when they said they would not be. People are leaving in droves. The sense of the local community is gone. People from various towns go to church and are unknown to most. Mass is frequnetly celebrated by retired priests who run in and out, without even introducing themselves. The collections are going down every year. They talk of envangilazation, but the exact opposite has occured. One of the most serious complaints is that they can’t get a priest to administer the last rites. Go up and ask the people.

  11. Texas Catholic says:

    Holy Cow. Here in Texas we tend to open new parishes due to American migration from other states and illegal immigration from Mexico. God bless you. Sad to see decline in previous areas of staunch, numerous Catholics.

  12. Brockton Catholic says:

    I have been a longtime reader of BCI, always in agreement with your views! You couldn’t be more precise in your analysis of a “train wreck waiting to happen!” Believe me, the train wreck has occured in the Brockton parishes! The word was that the three Brockton parishes, Our Lady of Lourdes, Christ the King and St. Edith Stein, were supposed to be the example for the future waive of collabratives to come. The Brockton effort has been a disaster! Extemely poor leadership on the part of Fr. Joseph Raeke. After a year and a half he hasn’t even put togwether a functional parish leaderhip team. Parish Pastoral Council meetings are a farce. He compiles a set agenda with his business manager (who is only an accountant, hired from one of his previous parishes). Input and concerns from council members are ignored! Fr. Raeke hired a new Director of Religious Education for St. Edith Stein, only consulting his business manager. Hired at top salary with the title of “director” you would think the gentleman would know how to compile class lists and syllabuses each week for each grade level …..not a clue! Classes have 30+ students because no one wants to teach under such conditions! Fr. Raeke has now had to hire an additional person (again from one of his former parishes!) to run the program. As far as adult catechesis ……. zero! Haven’t even heard the term “Year of Faith” at all! Seems Fr. Raeke is too busy conducting pilgrimages overseas (two this year) and taking vacation time to deal with the “train wreck” in the three parishes. The “tri-parish” as it is called is being run by the business manager, not the pastor! A sure recipe for disaster. BCI and the Archdiocese would be well advised to check out what’s going on in Brockton, and those parishes in Phase One would be well advised not to follow the example set here!

    • Boston Catholic Outsider says:

      “The Brockton effort has been a disaster!”

      Why the exclamation point?? Does this make you happy or excited? Sure sounds like it!!!

      Anyway, with regards to your brilliant analysis of this persons inability to attract CCD teachers: Did you consider THE FACT that upper class, middle class and lower class income level mothers all love……….
      FREE CHILDCARE!!–YES!!

      What would you do to attract more CCD teachers?

      • DBP says:

        Dear “BCO” – with all due respect, are you an employee or just a complete fool? Brockton Catholic sounds, to me, disgusted by this turn of events; what would possibly lead you to conclude that he or she was excited or happy? Additionally, it’s not Brockton Catholic’s job to attract more CCD teachers – that’s the pastor’s responsibility.

        I’ve worked with Joe Raeke before, and everything this person says rings true. Why he is a “golden boy” in the eyes of the Archdiocese is beyond me (and everyone else I’ve ever spoken to who has had the misfortune to work with or for him). His lack of leadership is well-known; ask the good folks in Holbrook and Bridgewater. He was famous in those two parishes for taking extended days off, leaving other priests to cover daily Mass for him or, if none were available, simply cancelling the Masses. In common parlance, he’s “not a heavy lifter.” For the savants on Brooks Drive to install him as the exemplar for parish collaborative leadership bodes extremely poorly for the wave of mergers that has just been announced.

        May God help us! (And that exclamation point is not because I’m happy, in case you’re wondering.)

  13. Mack says:

    What strikes me about all the sad state of the Boston Archdiocese is that there is too much talk and concern about money and material goods, and not enough about the spiritual welfare of the faithful and the call to evangelize.
    I don’t know the ultimate solution, but it won’t come from planning and human efforts alone. It requires prayer, sacrifice, and dedication to the Gospel.

  14. Boston Catholic Outsider says:

    Perhaps, he is “a golden boy” as you describe him because he
    has dedicated his life to his work, and, would probably not stoop
    so low as BCI and Brockton Catholic and smear personal reputations anonymously.

    His facebook account has 2,300 “likes”, and, his parish ran a
    6,900 deficit last year. Is he given a “blank check” to go and
    hire whoever he wants at any price?

    With regards to his frequent absences, why don’t you write him
    a letter and ask for the reasons?

    I am not an employee or a fool. However, it is obvious
    you love Brockton Catholic who is “ALWAYS IN AGREEMENT”
    with your views!!!.

    P.S. Why is it only the pastors responsibility to cultivate
    more opportunities for CCD instructors?

  15. [...] The event was great. The only criticism BCI has comes from a reader who notified us of what they felt was a disturbing removal of their comment from the live chat by the Catholic Media folks monitoring the chat. Near the end of the program, an announcement was made by Catholic Media Secretary Scot Landry about the next session, featuring Fr. John Sassani on “How did Jesus pray?”  The reader tells BCI they posted a comment questioning why Fr. Sassani would be leading a faith formation session sanctioned by the archdiocese when he has permitted a Yoga Prayer program at his parish, despite warnings from the Vatican about the spiritual dangers of yoga and when he has a book club at his parish reading  a book by noted dissident nun, Sr. Joan Chittister, “In Search of Belief.”  The reader tells BCI they were on the online chat after the event while people were posting comments about the program when they posted their comment, and then saw it removed, while other comments about the program added subsequently were allowed.  The reader pointed BCI to the Our Ladys bulletin and a comment by a reader, “Newton church-hopper” on our last post: [...]

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