Bishop Deeley appointed Bishop of Diocese of Portland

December 18, 2013

From the Boston Pilot: Bishop Deeley appointed as the 12th Bishop of the Diocese of Portland

PORTLAND—Pope Francis has appointed the Most Rev. Robert P. Deeley, J.C.D., Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston, as the 12th Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

The Holy Father’s appointment was announced on Wednesday, December 18, at 6 a.m. EST at the Vatican. The date of Bishop Deeley’s Installation Mass will be Friday, February 14, 2014, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland.

“As I prepare to serve the faithful of the Diocese of Portland as their new bishop and shepherd, I wish to offer my gratitude first to our Holy Father Pope Francis for entrusting me with this honor and responsibility and to Cardinal Seán O’Malley, who has taught me much of what it means to be a faithful shepherd through his word and example,” said Bishop Deeley in a statement. “Kindly pray for me and for all God’s holy people that we may be what the Lord calls us to be, the community of the Church showing forth the love that God has shown us in his Son, Jesus.”

Bishop Richard J. Malone, the current Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Portland, will hold a press conference this morning to introduce Bishop-Designate Deeley at the Diocese of Portland’s Chancery Office, located on 510 Ocean Avenue in Portland, starting at 10 a.m. Media members are encouraged to attend and are asked to arrive no earlier than 9:30 a.m.

The Most Rev. Robert P. Deeley, 67, was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Boston on January 4, 2013, at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. He has served as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia of the Archdiocese of Boston since September 1, 2011.

“We have known each other from the day we entered the seminary in September 1964,” said Bishop Malone. “While our educational journeys and ministerial assignments took us in different directions, our paths have intersected many times in these nearly 40 years we have known each other. And so it is that I can promise the people of our great Diocese of Portland that they will be pastored by a man who is, in St. Timothy’s words, truly ‘strong, loving and wise’ (2 Timothy 1:7). I know that our faithful people will welcome and collaborate with Bishop Deeley in the same spirit of warmth and openness that they showed to me in 2004 when Blessed John Paul II entrusted me with the pastoral leadership of the Diocese of Portland.”

“Pope Francis has blessed the clergy, religious and faithful of the Diocese of Portland by naming the Most Rev. Robert P. Deeley as their twelfth bishop,” said Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston. “The Archdiocese of Boston will greatly miss Bishop Deeley’s leadership that follows from a deep love for the Church. In particular, guidance of Disciples in Mission, the Archdiocese’s pastoral planning initiative, has helped us to begin the process of planning for the future. The Bishop’s significant experience in the life and work of the universal Church will greatly assist the people he serves as they carry out the mission entrusted to them by Jesus Christ. Our prayerful congratulations are with Bishop Deeley as he goes forward to lead the Diocese of Portland.”

Born in Cambridge, MA, Bishop Deeley grew up in Belmont, MA, as the fourth in a family of five sons. His parents, Michael and Mary, now deceased, were born in County Galway, Ireland. His family belonged to Sacred Heart Parish in Watertown, MA, and Bishop Deeley attended Matignon High School in North Cambridge. Following high school, he entered Cardinal O’Connell Minor Seminary in Jamaica Plain to discern a vocation to the priesthood. After two years of college, he received a Theodore Basselin Foundation Scholarship and began philosophy studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., from which he graduated in 1968. In 1972, he earned a degree in Theology (S.T.B.) from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Following a year of continuing studies in theology, he returned to Boston and was ordained to the priesthood on July 14, 1973, at his home parish, Sacred Heart in Watertown.

His first local assignment was as associate pastor at St. Bartholomew parish in Needham. In 1978, with his appointment as Secretary to the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Boston, Bishop Deeley began a ministry on the Tribunal which would last for over twenty years, the last ten of which he served as Judicial Vicar (1989-1999). Throughout that period, apart from his years of graduate study in Rome in Canon Law, he lived at Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish in Newton and St. Brigid Parish in Lexington where he was able to provide priestly presence and assistance. He was named a Prelate of Honor (Monsignor) on December 13, 1995.

Bishop Deeley was named pastor of St. Ann Parish in the Wollaston section of Quincy in 1999. He assumed the presidency of the Canon Law Society of America in 2000. He went to Rome in September 2004 to assist as an Official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Then, he served at the Congregation until being named Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia of the Archdiocese of Boston in the summer of 2011.

Additional materials will be provided at this morning’s press conference and will be available online at http://www.portlanddiocese.org leading up to the Installation Mass on February 14, the feast day of St. Cyril and St. Methodius. For those unable to attend today, a second release will be issued this afternoon including coverage of the press conference.

BCI congratulates Bishop Deeley on this appointment.  We had high hopes for him when he was initially appointed Vicar General of Boston. Some of those hopes were realized, but many were not. We have heard for some time that Bishop Deeley was  looking to have his own diocese, and we wish him much success with his new role and responsibilities.  It will be interesting to see who is appointed as his replacement. That person will play a very key role in the implementation of the DIM pastoral plan (Disciples in Mission).


Outlook for Boston Pastoral Plan, DIM

December 12, 2013

The more we see and hear of the implementation of the Boston pastoral plan, Disciples in Mission, the more we conclude the acronym for the plan, DIM, is a good way to describe the outlook for the plan.  One example of the problems are expressed in a guest column in a local paper, “Catholic church ‘collaborative’ plan shrouded in hypocrisy” written by a parish volunteer at St. Mary’s of the Assumption in East Walpole. Here are excerpts:

Guest column: Catholic church ‘collaborative’ plan shrouded in hypocrisy
WALPOLE —Christ’s message of love, respect and service to others seems to be missing from the Boston Archdiocese’s pastoral plan called “Disciples in Mission.” The ouster of the parish priests from their current assignments as part of this plan is the latest in a string of deceptive acts created by the hierarchy and imposed on the parish priests and their congregations. The plan is designed to keep churches “open” so that the money continues to flow in, but fails to address the priest shortage in any meaningful way, while inflicting pain on the parish priests and parishioners.

In gratitude for years of service, parish priests were asked to tender their “resignations” earlier this month. In the work world, requesting a resignation means the termination of employment. Requesting the resignation of priests who have taken a vow of obedience and know they can be reassigned at any time shows a complete lack of respect for these men.

At St. Mary’s of the Assumption parish in East Walpole on Oct. 20, when questioned about the need for resignations and the pain inflicted on the parish priests by this plan, Fr. Paul Soper’s response was that he went to the chapel and cried. How similar to Peter’s weeping after he denied Christ three times in the garden.

After the clergy sex abuse scandal festered for years in the Archdiocese of Boston, and across the globe, under legal pressure, the hierarchy finally admitted its wrongdoing.

In 2004, the Archdiocese under Cardinal Sean O’Malley made decisions with limited, if any, input from the congregations to shutter parishes. People left the Catholic Church.

Now we are looking at “collaboratives” instead of “closings” designed to avoid a negative response from parishioners and a huge drop off in contributions that occurred when parishes where shuttered. Will people leave the Catholic Church?

Handing down edicts has and will continue to alienate people. More egregious, however, is the failure to deal honestly and directly with the people. Were there no lessons learned from the sex abuse scandal and the 2004 closings? And where is Christ in this plan?

At St. Mary’s, Fr. Soper danced around the issues of whether parish could be removed from its assigned cluster and whether Fr. Delay could remain the pastor. After two hours of discussion and multiple inquiries, the answer was still unclear until a parishioner pressed for a “yes” or “no” answer. Fr. Soper’s response was “no.” The “flexibility” of the plan that Fr. Soper spoke about in The Pilot in November 2012 appears to be only for the hierarchy, not the parishes.

Even more upsetting than the lack of a forthright answer, however, was Fr. Soper’s outright refusal to bring to Cardinal O’Malley the concerns of the parishioners, including a request to allow Fr. Delay to stay at St. Mary’s until he retires. Removing St. Mary’s from Phase II and putting it in a later phase would accomplish this. But the hierarchy has spoken – the “collaboratives” are a done deal.

In response to queries about how decisions were made in the creation of the clusters, Fr. Soper, a Harvard educated man, selected for this task for his ability to “quantify and analyze data,” explained the laughable “sacramental index.” The formula was based on the number of Baptisms, First Communions and Confirmations, weddings and funerals, and the total offertory. Fr. Soper’s academic calculations fail to recognize that many registered Catholics come to Church only for the sacraments, using the Church as a backdrop for the photo opportunities provided at these “events,” with the occasional Easter and Christmas visits. There was little to no regard for the vitality of the faith community, the same people who are charged with evangelizing under this plan.

Week in and week out, Fr. Delay draws standing room only crowds at Mass. Father understands that the young people are the future Church. He involves the youth in the parish as altar servers, lectors, religious education teachers and through the summer Bible camp and countless other activities.

At the parish center meeting, parishioners recounted stories of Fr. Delay’s outreach to those in need – cooking and delivering a full Thanksgiving dinner for a woman with cancer so she could celebrate with her family, helping a family left homeless by a fire, comforting people in their time of sorrow and need and welcoming all, including members from two parishes in Norwood that were shuttered.

Just this past week, Fr. Delay held a prayer service for the teenagers of the parish grieving the tragic loss of a 14-year old classmate and friend. Through his words, and more importantly his actions, Fr. Delay serves as a role model and inspires the people of St. Mary’s to love and serve others and treat all with dignity and respect. It is painful to watch him be treated so poorly by the Archdiocese, yet he remains a humble servant.

There is no question that the Church needs to address the shortage of priests and the Archdiocese needs to consolidate the parishes. The hypocritical plan of the “Disciples in Mission” and the disgraceful treatment of beloved parish priests like Fr. Delay serve only to further alienate the very people who are expected to be evangelists. The Archdiocese needs to start dealing openly and honestly rather than developing duplicitous plans and obscuring the facts. The hierarchy needs to focus on Christ’s message of love, respect and service to others.

Mary Garrity is a volunteer at St. Mary’s Church in East Walpole.

BCI does not know much about Fr. Delay or about St. Mary’s in East Walpole, and we do not necessarily agree with all of the views expressed by Ms. Garrity. Still, we do agree there is are problems with hypocrisy and inconsistency in the plan. Some priests are made to retire at 75-years-old and some can stay on. Some priests can stay in their existing parish community as pastor of the new collaborative and many must leave.  Those issues will be the subject of a future post as we talk about the dim outlook for “DIM.”


Physician-Assisted Suicide is Back; Boston Archdiocese is Silent

December 9, 2013

In our next post, we will continue discussing the Pastoral Plan, Disciples in Mission, and the current problems and outlook for parishes.

Today, we discuss a bill to legalize Physician-Assisted Suicide, H1998,that  is about to come up for hearings with the Massachusetts Healthcare Committee on December 17.  This measure is much worse than the measure narrowly defeated at the ballot box in 2012. Ideally, it would be rejected in committee and no move on to a full legislative vote.  Mass Citizens for Life sent out an alert about the measure last week.  What have the Catholic bishops in MA or the Mass Catholic Conference said about this?    Nothing.    In fact, the Mass Catholic Conference has said not said a thing about any issue to people who follow their news alerts  in the past 9 months.  Silencio.  BCI questioned the capabilities and competency of the MCC head, James Driscoll, hired in 2011, and our reservations about him then have been proven valid.

Here is the MCFL notice:

The hearings of the Health Care Committee on H-1998, Doctor-Prescribed Suicide are definitely on for Tuesday, Dec 17th from 10am to 1pm in Room A-1 at the State House.  If there are a lot of people, they may extend the time.

There are 18 committee members.  Three of them are definitely with us and another is a possibility.  The rest take pro-abortion positions but are unknown on DPS.  This is a finger-in-the-dike operation.  The dike will not break this week, but…

This session the bill did not get out of committee in Maine and Connecticut.  In NJ it is out of committee but will not be voted on.

Vermont passed DPS in May.  It is a complete mess up there with the hospitals all opted out.  Almost every doctor practices at a hospital and is paid by the hospital, no pharmacists will participate.  So far, no one has used DPS and our people are hoping to repeal.  The situation is so bad that the lobbyist working on our side in Vermont has asked to address the MA committee on the 17th.

You need to know that H – 1998 is much worse than Question 2.  There is now no waiting period.  If a doctor or facility will not write a prescription, they must find another doctor or facility to write the prescription.  These people lost the ballot question but will never go away.

What can you do?

Please
1) Read: Doctor Prescribed Suicide–this is not going away

http://masscitizensforlife.org/beginning-end-of-life/euthanasia-and-doctor-prescribed-suicide/

2)  Plan to testify on the 17th or to submit written testimony.
Stress that this is dangerous and poor public policy.  Pick one or two of the things that strike you as really dangerous and write your testimony around them

Here is what the Massachusetts Patients Rights Council says about this measure:

MASSACHUSETTS COMPASSIONATE CARE FOR THE TERMINALLY ILL ACT (H 1998)

On Tuesday, November 6, 2012, Massachusetts citizens defeated a measure (Question 2) that would have permitted doctor-prescribed suicide.  The ballot question cannot be put before voters again until 2018.  However, assisted-suicide advocates indicated that they would try once again to address the issue in the legislature.

On January 16, 2013, Representative Louis L. Kafka — who has introduced other doctor-prescribed suicide bills that failed — filed the “Massachusetts Compassionate Care for the Terminally Ill Act” (H 1998).  H 1998 is still pending.

Patterned on the Oregon and Washington assisted-suicide laws, the bill differs, in part, with those laws, creating additional loopholes that place vulnerable patients at risk.

The bill:

  • has a provision permitting a physician to dispense a lethal prescription without requiring a second physician to affirm the patient’s diagnosis and prognosis.  [Section 7 (2) (a)]
  • does not require that the prescribing physician refer a depressed or mentally ill patient for a psychiatric or psychological consultation unless the physician believes that the patient’s depression or mental illness is causing impaired judgment. [Section 8]
  • does not require any waiting period between the time the patient is diagnosed with a terminal condition and the time the lethal dose is prescribed.  It requires only one written request without any mandated oral requests.  [Section 3] requires two people to witness the written request.  However one of those witnesses can be a relative, an heir, or the employee of a health care facility where the patient is receiving medical care or is a resident. [Section 3 (3)]
  • may permit an appointed health care agent to request the lethal dose on behalf of the patient.  Massachusetts law provides that a health care agent “shall have the authority to make any and all health care decisions on the principal’s behalf that the principal could make.” [M.G.L.A. 201D § 5]
  • Nothing in the bill explicitly prohibits a health care agent from making the written request on behalf of the patient.

Therefore, as written, the Massachusetts bill would permit a physician to:

 Determine (correctly or incorrectly) that a patient has a terminal condition and, even though the patient is depressed, does not have impaired judgment;
and
Write the lethal prescription on the same day as the diagnosis, based on the patient’s written request which was witnessed by the patient’s emotionally controlling spouse and a close friend of that spouse.

Clearly this is a bad measure that needs to be stopped.  Why is MCC saying nothing about this?  Why did MCC say nothing about gambling this year?  What is MCC Executive Director, James Driscoll actually doing these days, and what has he done for the past two and a half years to justify his excessive six-figure salary?  (Driscoll had only worked in state government prior to his appointment at MCC and has acknowledged coming into his first job in state government out of college by virtue of his father, John T. Driscoll, a former House member and Chair of the Mass Pike. He is, coincidentally, the brother-in-law of Kathleen Driscoll, Jack Connors’ hand-picked Secretary for Institutional Advancement, and James Driscoll was chosen by Fr. Bryan Hehir).

If you want to find out what MCC is doing and why we have heard nothing from them in 9 months, write to James Driscoll <jdriscoll@macatholic.org> and Peter McNulty <pmcnulty@macatholic.org> at MCC and ask them what is going on.  Let us know what you hear.


Jack Schaughnessy, Sr: Rest in Peace

December 7, 2013

Jack Schaughnessy, Sr. died last week. He was a great man and major supporter of the Catholic Church and Catholic causesShaughnessy in Boston. Here are excerpts from notices in the Boston Herald, Boston Globe, and Cardinal Sean’s blog:

From the Boston Herald:

John J. “Jack” Shaughnessy Sr. of Milton, a retired construction business owner and benefactor, died Wednesday in Hingham after a brief illness. He was 86.

He graduated from Boston College High School in 1944 and studied at Williams College and Tufts University.

Mr. Shaughnessy considered becoming a Catholic priest before enlisting in the Navy after high school. He was a member of the Naval Aviation program. After the war, he joined his brother, Al, in the family business and eventually created the largest and most successful crane, rigging and aerial-lift company in New England and one of the largest construction support companies on the East Coast.

Mr. Shaughnessy was a well-known Catholic philanthropist whose generosity helped to support programs and initiatives at organizations ranging from the Archdiocese of Boston to Boston College High School. He sought to emulate “the Cheerful Giver” as described in Corinthians. Some of his favorite charities included the Laboure Center in South Boston, which was named in his and his wife’s honor in 2002, My Brother’s Keeper, St. John’s and Blessed John XXIII seminaries, Oblates of the Virgin Mary, Ron Burton Training Village and the Rodman Ride for Kids.

Mr. Shaughnessy also served on many charitable and business-related boards, including Catholic Charities of Boston, Caritas Carney Hospital in Dorchester and New England Teamsters Health and Welfare Funds, among many others. He was a former trustee and benefactor of Boston College High School

From the Boston Globe:

Jack Shaughnessy Sr. concluded his keynote address at the Boston Catholic Men’s Conference in 2008 with words that from someone else might have seemed like false modesty.

“I’ve always been blessed with a very powerful and strong faith, and throughout my lifetime, everything good that’s happened to me and my family has been a gift from God,” he said. “So I don’t claim any particular shrewdness and or business acumen. I was never an MBA. I was just always a very, very diligent and hard worker blessed by God.”

Under his leadership as chief executive, his family’s transport business, Shaughnessy & Ahern, and Shaughnessy Crane Service, a second company he started from scratch, took their places among the region’s most successful enterprises, but Mr. Shaughnessy reminded people that deep faith and good luck played large roles in his life.

He used his good fortune to become one of Boston’s most generous philanthropists, helping a host of agencies and causes ranging from the Laboure Center in South Boston to the Rodman Ride for Kids, Catholic Charities of Boston, and My Brother’s Keeper, a ministry that delivers food and furniture to families in need.

“If there was a need, he was willing to help,” said his son Michael of Hingham. “That’s how he spent his life, and that’s how he taught his family and friends to lead their lives.”

Mr. Shaughnessy, who friends and relatives say lived his life embodying the “God loves a cheerful giver” passage from Corinthians in the Bible, died Nov. 27 in South Shore Hospital of complications from respiratory illnesses.

“Everything he did was about helping others who were less fortunate and in need and trying to do it as quietly as possible, never seeking accolades, except when he thought that by being honored at a dinner or accepting an award would help a charity turn around and raise more money for a particular cause,” said his son Jack Jr. of Hingham.

After Mr. Shaughnessy died, Monsignor James P. Moroney posted an entry on the St. John’s Seminary website calling him “one of the most generous and good-hearted men in Boston” and noting that he would be the first person the seminary would present the Archbishop John J. Williams medal.

Moroney recalled that when he told Mr. Shaughnessy not long ago about the impending honor, “in his usual humble way he suggested that someone else would be more worthy of the award,” which will be given posthumously in January.

From Cardinal Sean’s blog:

I returned to Boston on Friday, to be able to celebrate funeral Mass for Jack Shaughnessy on Saturday morning at Saint Elizabeth’s Church in Milton.

There was a tremendous outpouring of respect and affection for Jack shown by the many bishops, priests, religious, friends and members of the community who attended the wake and the funeral. I had visited him in the hospital just a couple days before he died. I prayed with him and entrusted him to Our Lady.

Jack Shaughnessy was a man who lived his faith very profoundly and who was generous to all causes, particularly helping the poor and his Church. Jack’s generosity to the Church, the Catholic community and many good causes that help people in need was extraordinary. Among his oft-cited mottos was the scriptural citation, “God loves a cheerful giver”, and Jack lived that truth. His son, speaking at the Mass, said that Jack had recently been audited by the IRS because they could not believe that anyone really gave that much money away!

Without question, Jack’s life was an expression of his gratitude for his many gifts from God, first and foremost the gift of faith and the gift of his beloved late wife Mary, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Jack’s final prayer in this life and our final prayer at his funeral Mass was the Memorare, a testament to his devotion to the Blessed Mother and his confidence, so often and readily shared with others, that her intercession was always dependable and effective, as had been his life-long experience. This beautiful prayer is a source of faith and inspiration for us all.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

Amen.

Jack Schaughnessy also happened to have left a few comments on BCI, where he identified himself by name.  In response to a BCI post from November 2012, “Archbishop Chaput: Being a Saint is the Only Thing that Matters,” Jack wrote:

“BCI: How best to get a copy of the 1966 film, A Man for All Seasons ? p.s.: your various posts are extraordinarily well written and “right on the mark”

In the midst of the campaign to oppose physician-assisted suicide, when the Globe editorialized against the ballot measure, siding with the Catholic Church, Jack wrote:

“BCI : one of the very few occasions that the Globe is one the right side of any issue that is supportive of Christian values or conservative causes. Jack S.

Eternal rest, grant unto Jack Schaughnessy, Sr.  O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.


Boston Latin Mass community under threat by archdiocese

November 25, 2013

As implementation of the new Pastoral Plan in the Boston Archdiocese progresses, complaints continue to come in about problems with the plan.  The latest comes from the Latin Mass Community at Mary Immaculate of Lourdes–the only church where the Latin Mass is celebrated daily and weekly–which is currently under a threat of being disbanded by the Boston Archdiocese.

As background, in March 2007, the Boston Archdiocese announced that the Traditional Mass held at Holy Trinity in Boston was being moved to Mary Immaculate of Lourdes in Newton Upper Falls, effective April 22, 2007.  Holy Trinity was subsequently closed and relegated to profane use.  Someone familiar with the situation shared the following background with us:

“The ability to formally join the parish was especially important for those who had come to Mary Immaculate from the Latin Mass Community at Holy Trinity in Boston.  The Archdiocese had considered these people a movable apostolate which could be moved from Holy Trinity to facilitate its closure.  To lure them to Mary Immaculate, they promised a pastor favorable to the Extraordinary Form (Fr Charles J. Higgins ’88 ) and parishioner status so they could not be easily moved.

Apparently, Mary Immaculate was hoping their special one-of-a-kind situation–being a canonically open parish in which persons may freely register–would exempt them from the pastoral plan and allow the Latin Mass to continue uninterrupted. (Attendees of ordinary form Masses, as well as the Extraordinary Form Mass, have been able to formally enroll in the parsh even though they do not live in the Newton-Needham area originally attached to Mary Immaculate).   Not so any more.  Here is a notice in the Mary Immaculate bulletin this past weekend:

Any discussion of our parish stewardship though cannot be separated from the way in which the Archdiocesan parish re-organization plan Disciples in Mission may be applied to Mary Immaculate of Lourdes. In last year’s Report, I explained that the Planning Commission had informed me that Mary Immaculate’s place had not been decided. I had interpreted this as a positive sign that my own letters, the joint letters signed by two groups of parishioners, and various individual letters sent by some others of our parishioners had impressed upon the members of the Commission the total unsuitability of their plan for this parish. In this I was much mistaken.

In August I received another letter from the director of the Pastoral Planning Commission, informing me that Mary Immaculate of Lourdes was to be joined in a Pastoral Collaborative with St. Bernard’s Church in West Newton, whose official name is now Corpus-Christi/St. Bernard Parish. When I asked for further clarification on how such a plan could be reconciled with the special apostolate of the traditional Latin Mass in place here, I was informed by another letter in October that, since the Latin Mass can now be said anywhere, the canonically open status of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes will be revoked and that it will be up to the future pastor of the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes—Corpus-Christi/St. Bernard collaborative to decide whether or not to continue offering it. I then wrote another letter as a response-to-their-response. This letter went unacknowledged. After a month, I followed up with an e-mail inquiry. The reply I received was that the final decision had been made, the matter was closed, and there would be no further discussion with me.

On Wednesday, November 13th, I convoked a meeting with a new Parish Pastoral Council and presented them with all of the correspondence related to this matter. We had a very thoughtful discussion and the consensus was that the Parish Pastoral Council should continue to make representation to the powers-that-be in this Archdiocese on the things that are most important to us as a parish community.

In the meantime, we should continue work at the building up the kind of parish that reflects the descriptive words of Pope Paul VI which we have adopted as our Parish Mission Statement:
“What then is a parish? It is the smallest section of the one universal flock which has been entrusted to Peter by the Lord. Under the authority of a responsible priest who has received the care of souls from his bishop, the parish is, within the Church of Jesus Christ, the first community of Christian life; it is a community cut to human dimensions, in which the shepherd can know his flock and the flock can know their shepherd …”

A reader also commented, “Thus, it seems that, just as the lack of parishioner status was exploited to move Extraordinary Form Mass parishioners out of Holy Trinity, these people may be stripped of their canonical rights – they are enrolled parishioners – if it suits the convenience of the Archdiocese.  The same goes for people who, attracted by the reverent manner in which the Ordinary Form is celebrated at Mary Immaculate, have enrolled there instead of their territorial parishes.”

BCI readers complaining about this situation find a number of aspects of this troubling.  First, the claimed justification by the Archdiocese that the “Latin Mass can now be said anywhere,” is a spurious claim, and the archdiocese knows they are trying to fool people with it. Yes, the Latin Mass can, in principle, be said “anywhere”–but the reality is that few priests know how to say the Latin Mass, and no other diocesan parishes offer it on a weekly and daily basis. (It is offered weekly on Sundays at St Adelaide in Peabody and in the basement at the Cathedral).  People want to belong to a parish and should be members of a parish, so even if the Latin Mass can, in theory, be said “anywhere,” it needs to actually be offered on a regular schedule somewhere. That it is offered on a weekly and daily basis in a centrally located parish, such as Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, allows the greatest number of faithful to attend, and indeed, many come from a great distance to attend the Latin Mass. What is the Boston Archdiocese proposing as the parish where the Latin Mass will be offered on a weekly and/or daily basis?

Furthermore, there appears to be a bit of a double-standard in play with respect to language-specific Masses and communities. The Boston Archdiocese has a designated parish with regular weekly Masses for the Korean Catholic Community at Corpus Christi in Newton. There is a weekly Haitian Mass at St. Charles Borromeo in Waltham. The Vietnamese Community is at St. Rose in Chelsea. There is a Cape Verdean Community at St. Edith Stein Parish in Brockton and St. Patrick & St. Peter Parish in Boston. If we can have a designated parish and priest for regular weekly Masses for Korean, Haitian, Vietnamese and Cape Verdean, why not the same for the Latin Mass in a regular parish?

Lastly, the Boston Archdiocese says a”final decision” was made, the matter was closed, and “there would be no further discussion.”  Sounds like a far stretch from the supposed “transparent” operating approach the folks at the Pastoral Center claim to be operating under.

Readers, what do you think?


After 10 years, Cardinal O’Malley finally meets with Mass. lawmakers

October 18, 2013

BCI has quite a backlog to catch-up on.  We are going to go in reverse order on some of the more recent news.

The local media reported last week, “Cardinal O’Malley moves to raise Beacon Hill profile.”

BOSTON (AP) – Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley is moving to raise his profile on Beacon Hill by inviting more than 100 state lawmakers to breakfast.

The Boston Globe reports that the invitation said legislators would be given an overview of the church’s political, educational and social programs. The invitation to the continental breakfast at the Union Club on Park Street in Boston was sent to lawmakers who represent the 144 cities and towns in the archdiocese.

“We want them to get to know us better so they understand the broader value of the church in the community,” said Terry Donilon, spokesman for the archdiocese. “If the Catholic Church went away tomorrow, there would be millions upon millions of dollars put on the backs of cities and towns in Massachusetts.”

If we are to understand Terry Donilon correctly, the reason the Catholic Church and our ministries are important to the state is because if not for the Catholic Church, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts would be spending millions upon millions more dollars to support cities and towns?  Really?!  Could someone at 66 Brooks Drive please enroll Terry in a faith formation class so he can learn Catholicism 101?
The Globe gives more details on the actual meeting that took place, with more commentary from Terry Donilon:

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley hosted some 60 state lawmakers at a breakfast meeting this morning that was meant to help rebuild his church’s rapport with the Legislature.

The meeting…was the first in which the cardinal has met with a large group of legislators since he became the Roman Catholic archbishop of Boston in 2003.

O’Malley and his staff offered a broad overview of the archdiocese and its work, according to those who attended, highlighting the church’s youth programs, assistance to immigrants, parochial schools, and care for the poor in 144 cities and towns in Eastern Massachusetts.

Rushing said O’Malley devoted a great deal of time to speaking about immigration, and discussed his decade of work with Hispanic immigrants in Washington, D.C., before he became a bishop. The US Catholic church advocates reforming US immigration policy and offering a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

“It means they want to talk about everything,” Rushing said.

The cardinal, in a statement, called the meeting a good first step toward improving communication with lawmakers on Beacon Hill.

“It is my hope that today’s dialogue will strengthen the Church’s collaborative relationship with the citizens of the Commonwealth,” he said.

Among those who spoke was James F. Driscoll, executive director of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, the lobbyist for the bishops of the four Roman Catholic dioceses in Massachusetts — Boston, Fall River, Springfield, and Worcester. But Driscoll talked only briefly, and he was followed by other church leaders.

“We share many common concerns about the poor, about education,’’ Donilon said. “We thought it was a good chance to open some dialogue so we can get to know each other better.’’

Donilon said O’Malley wanted to hold such a meeting earlier, but has been focusing on rebuilding and reshaping the archdiocese in the wake of the priest sex abuse scandal.

“We see the immense dysfunction going on in Washington,” he said. “It was to show what we do in those 144 cities and towns.’’

At long last we see James Driscoll, paid a handsome six-figure salary as head of the Mass Catholic Conference, doing something.  But it was almost nothing.  Speaking of almost nothing from the Mass Catholic Conference, we hear that MCC has not even issued so much as an email to people on their email list since March of this year. Is there absolutely NOTHING in front of the Mass Legislature that merits input from faithful Catholics?  What exactly is their staff doing these days besides arranging the first meeting with the Cardinal and legislators in a decade?
Then there is Terry Donilon’s explanation for why it took 10 years to schedule a meeting: Cardinal O’Malley has been focused on “rebuilding and reshaping the archdiocese.”  He forgot to mention all of the worldwide traveling outside the archdiocese and blogging of the photo-ops. Are we to also understand that the diocese is now sufficiently “rebuilt” and “reshaped” that the Cardinal is now ready to move on to something less important, like trying to impact the laws that affect our ability to live in a well-ordered society according to some semblance of a moral compass?
Terry and James, thanks so much for arranging the meet-and-greet with legislators now that the Cardinal has been here for 10 years to let them know what the local Catholic Church is up to and how much we are saving the state.  Could someone now arrange for the Mass Catholic Conference to communicate with faithful Catholics and let us know what MCC is up to?

Is Boston Archdiocese Giving Sweet Deals on Sale of Church Properties?

September 19, 2013

Given the financial condition of the Boston Archdiocese, one would think that the archdiocese would try to get as much money as possible when selling properties.

Not necessarily.

Here is an example.   St. Catherine of Siena Church in Charleston was recently sold.  The properities sold were assessed at more than $8.7M. The were sold for just $1.4M to Suffolk Company. (Note Suffolk Company appears to be different from Suffolk Construction).

A year ago in 2012, according to this article, the value of the property was follows:

  • The church building is 22,000 square feet on a plot of 17,000 square feet. It was built in 1890 and is presently assessed for $2.5 million.
  • The former parochial school property built in 1900, which is part of the entire package, has a land area of 31,400 square feet and a structure of 29,000 square feet and is currently assessed for $6.2 million.
  • There is a third property – The Annex –  built in 1920 – which has a 2000 square foot school building. This structure rests on the school parcel aforementioned.

This spring, all three of these were sold.  This April 6 report says:

The property included the church, school, annex buildings and parking lot. Separated from the sale are the rectory and the small parking lot behind that building. The property was sold to Suffolk Company, Inc. for $1.4 million. 

To be fair, we do not know the value of the rectory and small parking lot behind it. Still, it is difficult to not look at this sale and question why the Boston Archdiocese has sold a property in a prime location with assessed value of $8.7M at about a $7M loss. Unconfirmed rumors suggest that the redevelopment of the property will include a  Walgreens and Women’s Clinic.
If anyone out there knows why this property was sold at such a substantial discount off the assessed value, do let us know.

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