Around the Archdiocese: Oct 30, 2011

So much has been going on lately, BCI has fallen way behind.  We will still put out another post on the “ad limina” visit to Rome November 1-12.  But first, here are a few of the latest goings-on we thought readers would want to know about:

Developing the Development Office
As if the size of the Development office and six-figure salaried staff was not already large enough, there is a new VP of Development who has joined the archdiocese recently.  We mentioned this position was being filled in “Fundraising Fiefdom” back on August 31. Everyone give a warm welcome to Mary Doorley Simboski, who now rounds out the staff of Secretary for Institutional Advancement, Kathleen Driscoll. 

Mary Doorley

Mary comes to the Boston Archdiocese from The National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management, whose Board of Directors, coincidentally, includes Fr. Bryan Hehir, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, and Leon Panetta (Trustee Emeritus, and former chief of staff to Bill Clinton). As we suggested in August, with Mary now coming in with 25 years of experience to help with “planning and strategy of the overall fundraising program” and to manage an initial staff of 3-4 people, and with there being another VP of Development, Mary Myers, already in place over the Campaign for Catholic Schools,  it makes one wonder exactly what Kathleen Driscoll is going to do to keep busy and earn her $250K+ salary and benefits. Anyway, welcome, Mary–you now bring the total number of employees who earn $200K+ in salary and benefits up to an even 10, for a total of about $2.7M in compensation and benefits for those 10 employees. Were the salaries of those ten people capped at a maximum of $150K/year, it would save the archdiocese somewhere in the range of about $900K to $1M annually. (But we digress…)

Another Empty Suit at Mass Catholic Conference?
If there was any remaining question as to whether the new executive director of the Mass Catholic Conference, Jim Driscoll, was going to lift a finger to fight the gambling legislation making its way through the statehouse, after Driscoll had spent 19 years as the general counsel for the state lottery, it was answered in the Friday edition of The Pilot.  In the article, Casino bill pushed through legislature, there is not even a comment from the Mass Catholic Conference or Massachusetts bishops.  The only quote is from the Kris Mineau, of the Mass Family Institute.  Driscoll is paid salary and benefits somewhere north of $150K/year and has said barely a word about the gambling issue as we said last month in “Catholic Conference Calm on Casinos.”

Jimmy, do you remember this quote you gave the Associated Press after you were appointed?  When James Driscoll was announced as the new Executive Director of MCC, an AP article in the Boston Herald reported the following:

Massachusetts is a heavily Catholic state whose lawmakers have shown a consistent willingness to defy the church on issues such as abortion and gay marriage. Right now, lawmakers are considering bringing legislation that would legalize casinos and slot machines in Massachusetts, a move the church opposes and an issue Driscoll said will likely be big from the start of his new job.  He rejected the notion that the church has a diminished voice among lawmakers…

BCI suggests to the ~$250K+/year Kathleen Driscoll that she tell her husband, Kevin Driscoll, to tell his cousin, Jim Driscoll, that faithful Catholics expect more from our senior lay leaders than what goes on in state government, where you can just collect a paycheck by sitting on the dole for a few decades without actually accomplishing much of anything.  And if you acknowledge an issue is going to be “big” from the start of your job, then you should do something big about it. Instead, your inaction and silence simply serve to reinforce the unfortunate reality that the Catholic Church has a diminished public policy voice and influence on Beacon Hill.

Catholic Cemetery Association
With the boss away for the next week or so at the “ad limina” visit in Rome, BCI suggests that Vicar General Msgr. Deeley poke around a little bit with the goings-on at the Catholic Cemetery Association. Cardinal O’Malley, the Vicar General, and the Chancellor are supposed to be on the Board of Trustees and officers, but BCI hears that neither the Cardinal nor the Vicar General attend meetings. Meanwhile, we hear that Chancellor McDonough is quietly making some changes to the composition of the Board to put some South Shore cronies on it. Also, if anyone can find copies of the minutes of the last few meetings, please send them to the Vicar General and to BCI.

From Cardinal Sean’s Blog
There were several interesting items in the most recent edition of Cardinal Sean’s blog.

St. Johns Seminary
“That evening, I attended an alumni dinner at St. John’s Seminary. Over a 100 priests came; including many priests from neighboring dioceses who had studied at St. John’s.”

It is nice that the Cardinal attended a dinner for alumni of St. John’s Seminary and paid attention to St. John’s Seminary in his blog. While we are on the topic, how is the repayment of the $5M note due to St. Johns Seminary as of January 1, 2011 going?  That was partial payment against the $44.2M owed by the Archdiocese to St. John’s as repayment for the land and buildings sold out from under them in 2007.  BCI hears negotiations are still underway 10 months later for the Archdiocese to give St. John’s a building in Brighton instead of repaying the $5M.  By the way, has anyone yet figured out how the Chancellor plans to repay the $36.4M note due to the seminary in August of 2017 for the balance of what is owed on the sale of their land and property?

Meanwhile, the seminary is so full, there are no more rooms for seminarians, so if the place keeps growing as it has been, some seminarians will have to live in another building in Brighton away from St. Johns Hall.  As BCI reported in “Seminary Squeezola” last year, to help solve the residential space problem, the seminary had at one time tried negotiating with BC to purchase back about 62 rooms over the refrectory (dining hall).  These were leased to Boston College in an arrangement which was a 99-year lease for $1–effectively a sale for legal purposes. Unfortunately, BC has been renovating that space and what were dorm rooms at one time are apparently no longer dorm rooms.

St. James Society Cushing Awards
“That evening I went to another event related to the missions: the St. James Society’s Cushing Award Banquet held at BC High….There were three honorees: Bill Burke of St. Sebastian’s School, Sister Janet Eisner of Emmanuel College, and Father John Unni of St. Cecilia Parish.”

BCI thinks the missionary work done by the St. James Society is fine, but BCI feels their award honorees this year are decidedly a mixed bag. For example, according to his parish bulletin, Fr. John Unni,  was recognized for his long–standing relationship with the people of Haiti. Given the fiasco and public scandal he brought on his parish and the archdiocese this past summer, it seems to BCI a bit counterintuitive to give an award to someone for their relationship with Haiti while their work back home brings scandal and embarrassment to the archdiocese. And there really is no excuse or explanation for how both Cardinal Sean  and Bishop Robert Hennessey (who we hear has been aspiring for some time to get his own diocese) stood by and allowed the scandal and ensuing public relations disaster to occur. A number of BCI readers said they contacted Bishop Hennessey and got either no response or a response of indifference.

Lastly, with no public word from the Cardinal about the “state of the diocese” prior to his “ad limina” visit, BCI assumes that we will have to write that up.  Stay tuned for that next time.

17 Responses to Around the Archdiocese: Oct 30, 2011

  1. rf5580 says:

    There has been no leadership in this archdiocese since Cardinal Law left. The administration of this archdiocese is quite similar to the government: local, atate or federal. Wasteful, arrogant, expensive, incompetent, self-serving and corrupt.

    • sheila says:

      Don’t forget that 66 Brooks houses the worst managers of people in New England. If it were a corporation they would have a union in a heartbeat.

  2. SE says:

    I hear its Cardinal Law’s 80 brithday this week…. There’s suppose to be a big party.

    • Anni says:

      I’ve heard several rumors that some priests from the Archdiocese are going to Rome, ostensibly to assist the Cardinal, but also to attend the “big party” SE refers to. Any info on this, BCI?

      • It is commonplace for several aides to accompany the ordinary for the “ad limina” visit. No surprises there.

        It should also be public knowledge that Nov. 4 is Cardinal Law’s 80th birthday. Just look here:

        As for a “big party” marking Cardinal Law’s 80th birthday, no one should be surprised if such a party occurs this week.

      • BobofNewtn says:

        Hi – There is a headline in today’s Herald about the big party. It seems like 80-100 people were invited to celebrate the birthday of the Archbishop Emeritus. The fact that people from the RCAB are attending is a real scandal in my opinion and I am pleased someone dropped a dime to The Herald about the party. Thank you for the heads up Anni!

  3. BobofNewtn says:

    Another excellent post BCI. Thank you.

  4. jbq2 says:

    Do you mean to tell me that the name of Leon Panetta didn’t set off a hurricane warning red flag? Just what do you think that the C.I.A. does for a living? They manipulate. There is a leadership roundtable for a reason. The purpose is to reform the American Catholic Church into a political framework designed by the “powers that be”. Pastoral associates are being attached to most parishes (salaried) to learn the ropes of being a pastor and then to take over administratively at the proper time when we have a “proper” pope. The “sacrifice of the Mass” has been changed into a liturgical event. Take out your hidden copies of Malachi Martin.

  5. Frankank says:

    Your mention of Fr.Unni in this post prompts me to ask if BCI has any further details on the costly renovations (and “vanishing” funds at St. Cecilia Parish?

    Also, any update on the status of Holy Trinity Church?

    • rpw0210 says:

      I met Father Unni once, seems like a nice guy, but he certainly has a vibrant parish in a location (downtown) that would seem to be a good fit for tourists who want to worship when they are in Boston. There are Gay Catholics in our midst and they deserve a welcome as we should accord the same to divorced and remarried Catholics, Catholic women who have had abortions, people who practice birth control, pedophile priests, pedophile parents, etc.

      However, an assertion that there are “vanishing fuinds” at the Parish is one that should properly be made directly to the Attorney General’s office so that those assertion can be substantiated and to determine who, if anybody, is the culprit. To level an assertion without follow-up is a gutless tack to take given the fact that it comes from someone who is nameless on an Internet blog. No offense intended to the author of this post.

      • The topic of this post was not about whether someone is a “nice guy” or about Catholics who “deserves a welcome,” so please do not stray from the topic of the post. The objective reality is that what happened over the summer caused a local and national scandal.

        BCI has posted previously about the costly renovation at St. Cecilia’s which drained the $14M in assets the parish once had in the bank from the sale of adjacent property. The parish has been raising funds via a capital campaign to pay for the renovations whose cost ran above the cash they had in the bank. BCI will come back to the St. Cecilia renovation in another post at another time.

      • Mack says:

        Yes, rpw, everyone deserves a welcome, just like Jesus welcomed the woman who had committed adultery. He told her, “Go and sin no more.”

  6. Little Red Hen says:

    People have good reasons for giving less, or not giving at all, to the Appeal. But the Archdiocese seems to believe that by hiring ever more vice presidents of development — and squandering ever more money on their bloated salaries — that they can make those reasons disappear. They remind me of that passage in the Declaration of Independence: “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”

  7. Former Employee says:

    I seem to be left with more questions than answers by this post.

    I seem to recall a scandal sometime back (mid-1990s) about a Director of the Boston Catholic Cemetery Association embezzling money. Can BCI find the story and tell us if anyone involved then is involved now?

    Also, I took a look at Ms. Simborski’s profile. A little bit lean, I would like to see a more detailed Vitae, I think is would assuage some of the fears that she might not be quite qualified.

    That said, no offense to Ms. Simborski, but it does seem the the BCDS is getting a bit top heavy.

    Last question, what happens to the Catholic Charities employees who currently funraise when the absorbtion happens. I believe there to be six (one South, one North, four Central, could be wrong on the current count) who’s responsibilities are strictly fundraising, lay offs or added to the fold?

  8. Dan Brown says:

    Has the development office hit its goals? The last time I saw numbers for a grand annual collection, they were $15m and then $15.1m when Scot Landry was still there. Have the numbers exceeded that? It might justify the development turnover, no?

    • Michael says:

      Is that the same Scott Landry who steals money from the Archdiocese in the form of “taking more than that which he justly deserves?”

      Here is how it works. You see I raise some money … take a little, push the pile over to Mary Grass O’Neill and let her take some, then she pushes some in the direction of Ms. Simborski, and she gets to take some. Yes, that’s right and now the pile moves back to me … and we start over again. See how easy that was? Okay ready … now push the pile …

  9. Quit paying these people six figures and there are people who are starving to death; souls are at risk!

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