Welcome Home!

Today, we welcome several people back to the archdiocese after time away.

First, we welcome back Cardinal O’Malley. This weekend the Cardinal opens the 2011 Catholic Appeal with Mass at Blessed Mother Teresa Parish – St. Margaret Church in Dorchester on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. He is also celebrating Mass tomorrow, Sunday, March 6 at 9:00 am at St. Michael in North Andover, and then finally at St. Brigid in Framingham on Sunday as 12pm.  We think it is very good that the Cardinal is in town visiting parishes and we encourage him to spend more time in the Boston archdiocese visiting parishes and also engaging in governance of the diocese.

Much to our dismay, there is still no word about what was raised in the 2010 Catholic Appeal.  The Boston Herald reports “Like last year, archdiocesan officials didn’t set an official fundraising goal because of concerns that parishioners might feel stretched by several ongoing campaigns, including one for school improvements.”  School improvements?  Is that the Jack Connors’ Catholic Schools 2010 Initiative–the one that was supposed to end last year, where all of the  $70 million to be raised was supposedly coming from deep-pocketed friends of Jack?  Is that millstone now hanging around the necks of everyone in the archdiocese?

Can anyone get a straight story from this archdiocese about what goal the team of 15 people under Kathleen Driscoll is accountable for hitting?  BCI hears the top three people on her team are collectively paid somewhere in the range of about $700k in salaries alone.  How can they ask Catholics to give towards the 2011 campaign without ever telling us what they raised in the 2010 campaign?

We said it before and we will say it again about the hypocracy from 66 Brooks Drive. Last November, when Kathleen Driscoll was announced as the new Secretary for Institutional Advancement and the new Boston Catholic Development Services was formed to centralize fundraising, we were all told this new effort would “ensure donors of…accountability.”

For an archdiocese who publicly criticized this blog last August, for “unfounded claims,” it would seem to us that the real “unfounded claim” is that the new archdiocesan fundraising structure would ensure accountability.

If the new archdiocesan fundraising efforts are characterized by “accountability,” then why is it that no one is accounting for what they have raised for the Catholic Schools 2010 Initiative or the 2010 Catholic Appeal?  Exactly who is this fundraising group accountable to, and if they are not accounting to donors in the pews before they open their hands and ask for more money, who exactly are they accounting to?

Sorry, we got so wrapped up in the Catholic Appeal, we almost forgot the other welcome home.

Secondly, welcome back to Fr. James Flavin and Fr. Michael Medas, who just returned from a boondoggle conference in New Orleans.  They were attending the 2011 convention of the NOCERCC.  For those not familiar with the organization, it is the National Organization for the Continuing Education of Roman Catholic Clergy.

In case you do not know some of these names, here is who these people are:

  • Father Flavin has a degree in counseling who has been director of pastoral care of priests since 2008.  That means he primarily oversees treatment plans for priests with psychological problems including substance abuse, and as best as we can tell, he is liked and respected for his work in this area. However, the archdiocese also asked him since 2008 to oversee the Clergy Retirement Fund, even though he had no specific financial training or qualification for that function. To say the fund’s performance in recent years has not been good is an understatement. Then Carol Gustavson, who also had no skills in that area, got involved helping.  Now Joe D’Arrigo, a consultant who has been trying to stabilize the fund, has just been officially named Executive Director, Clergy Funds.  Fr. Flavin is no longer the fund facillitator, but maintains his role as director of pastoral care of priests–a very important role.  We wonder how the trustees of the fund would grade the fund performance since 2006.  Coincidentally, it may not matter anyway because the trustees have now changed, but that is a topic for a different post.
  • Fr. Medas is Director of the Office for Clergy Personnel.  According to this Pilot article, he was formerly director of the Apostolate for the Deaf and has lived in residence at parishes, including Our Lady Help of Christians, Newton, St. Mary, Ayer and at Holy Family Parish, Concord.

The NOCERCC and their convention are interesting when one digs a little deeper.  Here is a look at the 2011 NOCERCC convention schedule and here are the related links from the NOCERCC website to other websites.  We will leave it to you to reach your own conclusions after checking it out further.  Suffice to say, we need to pray for our priests.

The conference, coincidentally, took place just before Mardi Gras, when a number of pre-Mardi Gras parades take place. The Loews New Orleans Hotel is “within easy walking distance of…the French Quarter” and cost $149/night for a room. Conference registration cost for members was $500 per person.  Assuming the priests from Boston are NOCERCC members, the trip probably cost somewhere around $3,500 for 3 nights, 2 people, with airfares, conference registration and meals.  Last July, when the archdiocese cut 20 positions to save money and Vicar General Fr. Richard Erikson said, “Nearly all travel and conference budgets have been reduced,” some of us thought the archdiocese was actually trying to save money.  Apparently we misunderstood the memo.

So, a hearty welcome back to Boston to Cardinal O’Malley.  We sincerely hope you will be in town for a little while now and can work on reducing spending on excessive six-figure salaries.  And welcome back to Fr. Flavin and Fr.  Medas. We hope and pray that the learnings from the convention and benefits to the Boston presbyterate will pay off the expense many times over.

15 Responses to Welcome Home!

  1. Boston Catholic Insider says:

    Short addendum–we do not mean to suggest that archdiocesan officials should not attend educational conferences.But it seems to BCI that sending 3 people from the same office to the same conference is excessive.

    • Objec tive Observer says:

      Parishes and priests, as well as other RCAB entities, received the email weekly update on Friday which included the following (after literally thousands of words about the Catholic Appeal). Kind of makes you wonder why three priests had to go all the way to N.O. to learn how to do what the seminary is already doing:


      Liturgical Updates at Saint John’s Seminary with Monsignor James P. Moroney

      Children and the Liturgy
      (March 8th)
      A reflection on the Directory for Masses with Children and the Lectionary for Mass and their application to liturgical celebrations in parishes today.

      The Good Confessor
      (March 15th)
      A summary of perspectives on what makes a good confessor, including a review of the perspectives of the Rite of Penance on the celebration of the Sacrament and the imposition of penances.

      Celebrating Catholic Weddings in an American Context
      (March 29th)
      A description of major principles behind the Ordo Celebrandi Matrimonium, editio altera with a discussion of the challenges faced by Priest celebrants in an American cultural context.

      The Rites of Holy Week in the New Roman Missal
      (April 19th)
      An introduction to the rites of Holy Week, including the Sacred Paschal Triduum, in the new translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal.

      Designed for priests and seminarians, these 90-minute sessions consist of a 45- minute presentation, break, and discussion period. All visiting priests are encouraged to stay for Evening Prayer and dinner as a guest of the seminary.

      The updates take place on Tuesday afternoons from 3:30-5:00pm. Evening prayer follows at 5:30pm, with dinner at 6:00pm. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. To pre-register, go to http://www.sjs.edu and click on the Liturgical Update item on the lower left of the page, or call 617-746-5422. Priests are invited to make a donation of $10 per session.

      Saint John’s Seminary provides formation for nearly 100 seminarians from nine Dioceses and five Religious Orders, as well as 200 members of the laity in its Masters of Arts in Minstry and Certificate programs.

      Monsignor James P. Moroney is a faculty member of Saint John’s Seminary, a Consulter to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and Executive Secretary of the Vox Clara Committee.


      Long way to go, all the way to New Orleans, to reinvent the wheel… especially during Mardi Gras. Bet those hotel rooms were a bargain.

    • Carolyn says:

      How about a new RCAB initiative?

      We could call it, “Cardinal Come Home.”

  2. Quality Guy says:

    I disagree with you “Jim” , in my past expereince, multiple attendees who can coordinate their attendance at sessions, etc. can be much more effective at disseminating their ‘learning’ to their organization.
    The biggest value in atteding well run professional conferences is not only hearing what is ‘current/new’ but the development of networking opportunities for future help in problem solving, etc.
    considering that the schedul had a 12-Step meeting every night I guess the attendees face some problems of their own ! and you are right “Pray for our priests” we really need them.

    • Catholic Joe says:

      Quality Guy,
      I dunno about this thing. I also noticed the 12-Step meeting every night also, so why run a conference like this so close to New Orleans’ French Quarter? The very first Related Link goes to the Aquinas Institute in St. Louis, which has repeatedly run afowl of the Vatican for dissent. Their previous president came out in favor of removing Terry Schiavo’s feeding tube in 2005 even though the Vatican said 4 times church teachings opposed the withdrawal of Terri’s palliative and ordinary care –her ‘nutrition and hydration,’–and the Vatican called such removal a “murderous act of Euthanasia.” The same president opposed the Vatican on their seminary visitations after the sexual abuse crisis and resigned to avoid facing the wrath of Rome over his public opposition to the Pope’s instructions concerning ordination of homosexual priests and the apostolistic visitation to his seminary. In 2008 The Aquinas Institute had to cancel their prestigious annual Aquinas Lecture at the request of then-Archbishop Burke because the Georgetown prof who was invited to speak had written a book that Burke found “presents central tenets of the Catholic faith in a manner which is confusing and misleading,” and the archbishop concluded that the planned speaker “is not a reliable teacher of the Catholic faith….”

      That’s the first link. I think the fewer people from Boston who’d have attended, the better.

      Here in Boston though, if someone is not a reliable teacher of the Catholic faith, I tihnk that makes them even more likely to be on the speaking platform.

  3. […] Welcome Home! Cardinal O’Malley – Boston Catholic Insider […]

  4. Wishin' and Hopin' says:

    I tithe 10 percent of my income, but not a penny goes (willingly) to the Cardinal’s Appeal. Unfortunately the way the Archdiocese gets around this is taking a certain amount from each parish anyway, so when I contribute to my parish weekly, some of it goes to the central administration. I want to support my parish and my hard-working lone priest, but it’s tough to separate the wheat from the weeds.

  5. Dave says:

    It’s good that the Cardinal is home as this week also kicks off the biggest fundraising event of his tenure. No its not the Appeal. Its the attempt to intimidate thousands of former employees out of their peinsion money. Perhaps he can come personally and explain why we should pay for all of this wild spending?

  6. Larry says:

    A hugely funny addition to the online commentary about the archdiocese is Fake Sean O’Malley on Twitter. It advertizes itself as what’s going on inside the Cardinal’s head. Extremely funny. You can get it on Twitter at @fakeseanomalley. If you’re not on Twitter, sign up for a dummy account – it takes two minutes. Hysterical material this week about the Catholic appeal.

  7. The frugal nun says:

    I don’t really have a problem with them going to the conference; there can be a value in such things. As a frugal nun, though, on the (rare) occasions I go to such events, I arrange to stay if possible at a nearby convent, etc., to be as frugal as possible.
    What is more troubling are the excessive salaries, as you have noted, and the huge costs associated with the endless parish vigils. The time to end them was 6 years ago.

  8. Jack O'Malley says:

    Bernie Law said after his appointment as archbishop, “After Boston there is only heaven.” (Bernie evidently didn’t foresee his banishment to the temporal purgatory of a papal basilica at the time.)

    Seán O’Malley on the other hand has apparently decided that he ought to see most of this world before his post-Boston trip to the next.

    Céad míle fáilte romhat abhaile, a Sheáin. Don’t be a stranger now that you know where we live.

    • Liam says:

      Actually, what happened when Law was appointed is that Pio Laghi said “After Boston, there is only heaven” – intended as a classic Roman shot across the bow (that is, Law would be going to heaven *instead of Rome* after Boston….) It was a remark American newsmen misunderstood, as they don’t speak romanita…

      • Jack O'Malley says:

        I knew Law had designs on a higher station in Rome though it was a stretch to have ever thought him papabile. But I had not known that the Pio Laghi was the source of the quote. All the more deliciously ironic then that after Boston, there is only Rome after all.

        If the man had any nobilità or even romanità he would be a tragic character. As it is, he is merely the pulcinella of an Atellan farce.

        A small blessing for the archdiocese that him at least we won’t be welcoming home again.

      • Jack O'Malley says:

        Mi scusi, volevo dire “nobiltà”.

  9. michele says:

    I don’t think Fr. Flavin is qualified for this position.

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