Help Wanted: Director of Pastoral Planning

The Boston Archdiocese has announced that a search is beginning for a new Director of Pastoral Planning. With changes expected in how parishes are organized and pastorally led that will impact the archdiocese for decades, this is a very important position. So, we hope the archdiocese pays attention to two important things to make sure they get a fantastic person in the role. A look at the announcement and job description give cause for concern already.

Here is an excerpt from The Pilot announcement about the position:

“This position will be critically important in coordinating the activities of pastoral planning on behalf of Cardinal Seán,” said Father Bryan Parrish, assistant vicar for administration and special assistant to the vicar general and moderator of the curia. “Cardinal Seán and Msgr. Deeley are encouraging clergy, religious and lay leaders, with experience and interest in the essential work of pastoral planning for evangelization, to express interest.”

According to the archdiocese, the principal objectives of the pastoral planning process are to strengthen the Church’s ability to evangelize and hand on the faith in all areas of the archdiocese by a better structuring and allocation of the Church’s personnel resources.

We looked at the job description, and it looked pretty good, except for what is not said.  Besides a typo in the second paragraph (“principle responsibilities” should be spelled with an “a” as “principal”), the thing that most struck us was the absence of any explicit requirement that the person be a practicing Catholic who also believes what the Catholic Church believes and teaches. Does that not matter?

Here are excerpts from the job description:

Parish Life and Leadership – Director of Pastoral Planning

posted 05/24/2012

As a key leadership role, the Director of Pastoral Planning is a member of Cardinal Seán O’Malley’s extended Cabinet and a key member of the leadership team of the Archdiocese of Boston.  As such, s/he will represent the Archdiocese in many ways as part of his/her normal duties.

Principle Responsibilities include implementing a new pastoral plan for the Archdiocese of Boston as one of Cardinal Seán’s top priorities.  After the completion of an extensive consultation period, the Archdiocesan Pastoral Planning Commission (APPC) will submit a recommendation to Cardinal Seán for consideration and approval.  This key role is responsible for the day-to-day implementation of the approved plan, in close collaboration with the Vicar General, the Secretary for Parish Life and Leadership, the Regional Bishops and Vicars Forane, and other members of the Cabinet as appropriate.  The scope of work includes, but is not limited to:

  • Leading consultations and managing an ongoing process of consultation.
  • Assisting the APPC on the drafting of the recommendation of a Pastoral Plan for the Archdiocese
  • Project-managing the preparation phase and the implementation phase of the Pastoral Plan.
  • Managing the full-time, part-time and volunteer resources in the Pastoral Planning Office.
  • Communicating about the pastoral planning process to build alignment and positive momentum.
  • Executing the charges given to the Office of Pastoral Planning efficiently and effectively.
  • Serving as a staff resource for the Archbishop, Auxiliary Bishops, Vicar General and Vicars Forane on tasks related to the Archdiocese and our planning efforts.
  • Contributing to ongoing research in the area of Church planning and management.

S/he will interact heavily with the Archdiocese’s pastors, priests, parish staff and central administration leaders.

Must have a Master’s degree; advanced degree in Theology and/or the field of planning is strongly preferred.  One must be a creative and collaborative leader with a proven track record of organizing and managing implementation of major initiatives within a complex organization.  Must understand the Mission of the Church to “go and make disciples” and have in-dept familiarity with the Roman Catholic Church, its structure, teaching, beliefs and attitudes, with particular emphasis on the parish environment. Must be able to integrate and inspire those in the proposed pastoral collaboratives and pastoral service teams (PSTs) to advance this Mission locally.  Must embrace the opportunity to help Cardinal Sean lead the Archdiocese through this critical and challenging stage in its history to make a lasting impact on the Archdiocese and instill confidence and trust of those served by the Archdiocese and specifically the Pastoral Planning Office.  Specifically, this leader will display the following characteristics:

Functional Skills

  • Significant experience in explaining the structure, teaching, beliefs and attitudes of the Catholic Church, with particular emphasis on the parish environment

Personal Attributes

  • Strong knowledge of the Catholic Church, ideally within the Archdiocese of Boston.
  • Masters degree required; advanced degree in Theology and/or the field of planning is strongly preferred.
  • Unquestioned integrity and accountability.
  • A personal commitment to and passion for the mission of the Catholic Church. Ability to take a long-term perspective combined with the ability to set clear goals and the practical ability to get things done.

Call BCI a nit-picker if you wish, but this archdiocese already has had experience with people like the former Director of Human Resources, a proud ex-Catholic, who introduced yoga classes to the Pastoral Center this year among other concerns BCI has documented in the past.  We have Jack Connors, Jr, supposedly supporting Catholic Schools while he works against the Catholic Church by raising money for pro-abortion, anti-Catholic politicians.  Why is it not possible for the Boston Archdiocese to explicitly require that the person in this job be a practicing Catholic who believes what the Catholic Church believes?

Were we to ask so-called “practicing Catholics ” such as Jack Connors, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen.  John Kerry, and VP Joe Biden, about whether they “understand” the teachings and beliefs of the Catholic Church or “understand the Mission of the Church” they would likely say “yes.”  In public comments, they claim to be “practicing Catholics.” But do they accept and agree with the teachings of the Catholic Church as handed down by the Magisterium of the Church, and actually embrace, accept, and believe them?

It seems to BCI that the job requirements should say explicitly that a candidate must be a practicing Catholic in good standing who enthusiastically accepts and embraces authentic Catholic doctrine as entrusted and handed down by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.  Think of it like a version of a mandatum for key diocesan executives or key employees, where the candidate is asked to affirm that they agree with and will not dissent from Church teachings on the Holy Trinity, sin, salvation, celibate male priesthood, non-negotiable moral issues (eg. abortion, homosexual acts, marriage, euthanasia), role of the Pope as head of the Roman Catholic Church, and the Immaculate Conception. Candidates for the job should agree to refrain from representing in actions or words as Catholic teaching anything that is contrary to the Magisterium of the Church, and they should also agree to not give their support (e.g. jobs, hiring, endorsements, donations) to any individuals or organizations that advance positions contrary to the Magisterium of the Church.

Beyond the job description, it will be interesting to see who is on the search committee. As with almost every search that has taken place in recent years, BCI expects that the hand of Fr. Bryan Hehir will be present in this one.  Do not be surprised if at least one person on the search committee is currently on the Catholic Charities board or was on it in the past few years. Also look for the visible or invisible hand of Jack Connors. We wish that Vicar General Msgr. Deeley was given the freedom to choose the search committee members, but that is not how his boss and the bureaucracy works, and Fr. Bryan Hehir is still expected to wield influence, just as he did in the reconfiguration of 2004.

Our hope and prayer for Cardinal O’Malley and Vicar General Msgr. Deeley is that they at least insist all members of the search committee–along with the candidates and final hire–be practicing Catholics who enthusiastically embrace authentic Catholic doctrine as entrusted and handed down by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. The pastoral planning effort is a difficult enough one in the years ahead, and it would be a tremendous grace for the whole archdiocese to have a person in this key role who is a faithful Catholic and who believes what the Catholic Church believes.  Is that too much to ask?  What do you think?

32 Responses to Help Wanted: Director of Pastoral Planning

  1. cHARLENE says:

    Ahhhhhh I don’t think that is too much to ask???? Although miracles can happen…..if those who think they are in charge step aside and let God the Father and His Son and the Holy Spirit led the way………………….

  2. David S. says:

    The Archdiocese of Boston refuses to enforce Canon 915 and prohibit pro-abortion and pro-homosexual marriage Catholic politicians from receiving the Blessed Sacrament.

    It is a sacrilege and a public scandal that our religious leaders allow the continued desecration of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of God Himself by pro-abortion and pro-homosexual marriage politicians.

    If this doesn’t seem to bother the Archdiocese, why should they care whether some pencil pusher at their corporate office follows the teachings of the Church.

  3. jbq2 says:

    You can bet as in most liberal job openings that this is a perfunctory posting for which the candidate has already been chosen. In fact, the resume was without a doubt written to fit the characteristics of the individual in question.

    • BCI does not believe that they have a candidate already chosen. It has been exceptionally hard for them to find good people for this office. We should pray that they find someone good.

    • A Priest in the Know says:

      They do not have a candidate chosen I can assure you of that. They were caught with their collective pants/skirts down on this one with not one but both guys leaving the office.

  4. Warren Memlib says:

    Maybe they vetted the ad with the ACLU to prevent what happened when they were negotiating a purchase agreement for one of the closed parishes:

    Boston archdiocese drops restrictions on parish property sale after ACLU objects

    Catholic World News – May 31, 2012

    The Archdiocese of Boston has agreed to go forward with the sale of a parish property without legal guarantees that the property will not be used to house clinics or laboratories engaging in abortion, euthanasia, or embryonic stem-cell research.

    The restrictions had originally been written into a purchase agreement for the sale of St. James Church in Wellesley, an affluent suburb of Boston. The archdiocese had reached an agreement to sell the property to the town of Wellesley, but sought assurances that the parish land would not be used for immoral purposes. Those legal restrictions drew protests from the American Civil Liberties Union, which charged that the purchase agreement gave the Church power over the use of town property.

  5. teddy ballgame says:

    What is a S/he?

    • Michael says:

      Teddy, I am not exactly certain but I have a theory. This isonly a theory. In the spirit of being all inclusive, the hot shot archdiocesan lawyers have required that all types of dysfunctional and objectively disordered people be allowed to apply for any and all positions within the Church. Transgender candidates (S/he candidates) are not only welcome, but encouraged. This will please the ACLU and keep the Church’s 501(c)(3) status in tact. BCI, turning over a new leaf of open-mindedness and not wanting to be disagreeable in any way, seems to have accepted the ACLU approved wording and is encouraging this inclusive hiring policy.

      Again, just a theory.

      • Michael, BCI is not sure if you are serious with your comment about BCI or are intentionally trying to provoke us and make us waste time responding. Do you seriously think BCI would write that the candidate needs to be a practicing Catholic who accepts and embraces the doctrine of the Catholic Church, yet be encouraging transgender candidates to apply? You need not worry about BCI turning over any “new leaf” of not wanting to be disagreeable or encouraging some inclusive hiring policy.

        We cannot explain or justify the use by the archdiocese of the gender-neutral pronoun “S/he” in the job description. Do us a favor–instead of trying to provoke BCI and making us waste time to respond, write to and and ask them to explain the “S/he” and change it to “She or he” for clarity.

      • Michael says:

        It was in the spirit of sarcasm. Sorry if it wasn’t clear.

  6. Little Red Hen says:

    BCI, do we know how much the Archdiocese plans to pay this person?

    • Little Red Hen, What the Archdiocese plans to pay depends on whether they hire a lay-person or a priest/religious. ie. The former director, Fr. Couturier was paid the normal clergy salary. The job description says lay candidates will earn a competitive base salary and benefits, and for clergy or religious, normal compensation schedules for clergy and religious will apply..

      • Michael says:

        If that’s true, then I want the job. I would love to make $250,000 a year plus

  7. The want ad headline should read: “Help Wanted to assist in the destruction of the Church” because this “Pastoral planning” stuff is only a recipie for the apoclylpse. It’s safe to say that this position is not worth $100,000 per year.

    • Carolyn says:

      With respect, Chris, your head is pretty far into the sand. Take a turn at the desk of the person who pays the bills in your parish. Then try to manage the property during a snowstorm an hour before Mass on Sunday morning. Then try to explain to a young couple why they can’t get married on the beach in Hull and still have a priest preside. Then cover six burials a week — including the ones where the family do not want a funeral Mass. Then tell the seven people at the noon weekday Mass that you really can’t make it back across town every day from the other parish in time to say this Mass, so it will now be a 9 a.m. Mass two days per week. Then call your mother’s doctor and explain that you can’t make it to take her for her MRI on Tuesday at noon, but you could take her on Wednesday at 6:30 a.m., because that’s the only slot you have open for the next three weeks.

      • Stephen says:

        Go make me a sandwich.
        “Help Wanted to assist in the destruction of the Church”
        If you don’t grasp that this is the task at hand you are in
        complete denial.

      • Boston Priest says:

        The scenario Carolyn described is reasonably accurate for a parish priest serving in Boston. What would you have the archdiocese do differently, close 100 more churches? Offer the Latin Mass in every parish in the archdiocese and the diocese will instantly be transformed to have more priests and Mass-goers? If we keep going on the current path, there just aren’t enough priests to serve all of the open parishes. Look at the furor some readers here have over one parish, Star of the Sea in Squantum seven or either years after it was ordered closed! What do you propose the Archdiocese of Boston do differently? Who will manage that? I’m not overjoyed with the current plan, but I don’t have a better suggestion. If you have a better suggestion you think will work, please propose it!!

      • Marie says:

        Stephen, Carolyn speaks of “life”, real life; day-to-day life.

        Take the schedule she speaks of and plug in, instead, what applies to your life. The job dictates: mom, dad, priest, Director of Pastoral Planning, Stepen; and, if one is multi-tasking, Carolyn expresses it even more perfectly. She would probably tell you, too, that sandwich making can be part of the job, if and when, required.

        The resolution, as Boston Priest seems to allude to is not with the Director of Pastoral Planning; it can only be, then, with the administration. The selection of Director will correspond directly to the objectives of the “administration” and, therein, lies the problem.

        Boston Priest, I must say that if the Archdiocese admitted that they have made wrong decisions in some church closings and gave back to the people who built the churches and gave back to the church community the churches they built, that would go a long way to getting back on track.

        You seem quite defensive and quite frustrated over the current plan. If you are not overjoyed, you cannot simply follow; you must have thoughts, feelings, input that might make a difference. Someone had better have a better suggestion.

        As for Mary Star of the Sea Squantum, it remains a vibrant and active group and vibrant church community, a community of young and involved parents and an aging community each entity needing the presence of an accessible neighborhood church. Why was it closed; who benefited, who benefits if sold?

      • Capt Crunch says:

        @Boston Priest,
        First thanks for your service to the Archdiocese and us parishioners!!!

        In response to your question about what more could the Archdiocese do. There was a post in another BCI entry that stated that both the ICKSP and the FSSP wanted to take over a parish in Boston and would fund and run it themselves but both organizations were vetoed by the RCAB. I do not any of this is true so take this previous statement as a rumor far removed from the source….

        However, what about that as an idea to help the RCAB with the priest shortage? Why doesn’t the Archdiocese invite the ICKSP and the FSSP into Boston to alleviate the pressure on the priests? While I understand that this may impact the RCAB because these organizations would be independent of the RCAB, at least I think thats how it works, what is more important peoples eternal salvation or the RCAB coffers? Not to mention assistance it could for parish priests.

  8. Objective Observer says:

    Search Committee: Cannot comprise any person who could potentially benefit from the decisions made by this person. So, no Ann Carter, no banker, no real estate developer, etc.

    Members of the APC and PC should have the opportunity to meet the finalists and pose questions to them.

    Questions the candidates should ask of RCAB:

    Does this position coordinate closely with a Canonical Office with standing to shape decisions so that they reflect good Canon Law? For example, under the Canons, with the ACLU decision, the Wellesley property now must be sold to some other party than the city of Wellesley, because it is clearly a serious issue of Canon Law if the prohibition on sordid use cannot apply to the civil law document governing the sale. This happened in Quincy and the property was NOT sold to the city — the agreement was rescinded by both parties and the property was sold to the YMCA with the sordid use prohibition in place. The original use of the property was to be a clinic for children, but the clinic would have provided birth control and abortion counseling. The Y made it an after school program location with an agreement that it offer only academic and recreation activities.

    Who reports to this position? Why?

    Who has standing to reverse the actions of this position? Why? If the answer is anyone but the VG or the cardinal, you have trouble.

    How large a staff will this person have? What’s the budget?

    How is the subsidiarity of the pastor guaranteed?

    Who deals with city governments, preservation councils, local neighborhood groups, Who has the pastor’s back with these people?

    Will the cardinal personally make frequent public statements of support for this position and for the work of this office?

    What happened to the predecessor in this position?

    Why has no formation of the faithful preceded the work of this office? What authority does this position have to develop and implement broad-based formation of the laity through vicariates? This anticipates the newly-formed pastoral and finance councils will be required to attend monthly formation sessions. When laity do not understand the fundamentals of ecclesiology and canon law, they cannot be expected to embrace changes, nor can they be expected to encourage others to return to the Church. In my own parish, full of people with graduate degrees who are probably on the high end of informed about their faith, people are still asking why we can’t import priests from Ireland. This complete lack of understanding of the Church and how it works is probably the most serious single issue facing Pastoral Planning in the Archdiocese of Boston. If that isn’t fixed, nothing else can be.

    That’s a start — there are many other questions to be vetted as well.

  9. Alice Slattery says:

    Will we be assured that members of the Voice of the Faithful organization and any priest who supports this organization will NOT be allowed to have any position in this Pastoral Planning position, as well as those who will be chosen to assist him/her?
    The National Catholic Reporter issue of March 16,2012 reported:”Bishop urges change in ‘church teaching concerning all sexual relationships'” by Jerry Filteau ,that the Voice of the Faithful, along with other dissident organizations such as Call To Action,Dignity, and New Ways Ministry, in 2008, invited Bishop Geoffrey Robinson retired Australian Bishop of Sydney,Australia, to speak at many of the VOTF meetings across the country and at churches around the Boston area and at the Paulist Center ( when he came to spread his dissident teachings which would require that the Catholic Church change the teachings on homosexuality, and in fact, on all sexual morality teachings, in order to agree with “the general perception of modern society”.
    Bishop Robinson and his VOTF supporters have influenced the Structural Changes Board of VOTF to take the position that :”We do not advocate …the exclusion of homosexuals from the priesthood.”
    The Cardinal Newman Society Campus Notes of March 30,2012 reports that Dr. Paul Lakeland, a former Jesuit priest, who serves on the advisory board of VOTF ,in his book The Liberation of the Laity, he wrote:”What we have is an episcopate of men selected more for their commitment to the party line on outmoded ideas about contraception, ordination and homosexuality, more for their administrative capabilities than for their stature as spiritual leaders.”
    Another leader of VOTF,William D’Antonio, was a signatory of the letter in support of the pro-abortion rights Kathleen Sebelius which was the “brainchild of a group called Catholics United which was described by Cardinal Chaput as having ‘done a disservice to the Church, confused the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching,
    undermined the progress pro-lifers have made, and provided an excuse for some Catholics to abandon the abortion issue instead of fighting within their parties and at the ballot box to protect the unborn.”
    Parishioners in the Boston Archdiocese do not want members of VOTF who consider themselves to be the elite leaders in their “administrative capabilities” leading the Pastoral Planning administrators down the deadly path they have chosen and insisting that the Catholic Church follow their lead!

  10. Stephen says:

    Dear Boston Priest,
    My suggestion? I’m glad you asked.
    Focus all your energies on offering the sacraments. (and funerals)
    Flatly refuse goofy unreasonable demands.
    Offer only one Mass (service) on Sundays at 10am like 99% of protestant sects. (enjoy the Easter like crowd every week!) Following Mass empty the tabernacle and offer a basic Catholic catechism class based on the Baltimore, Trent, Irish or any other Catechism except the modernist 1993 one.
    When you get push back from ANYONE consider your vocation, the communion of Saints, the day of your ordination, the salvation of your parishioners and of course the four last things.
    If you get pressure to cover other parishes gladly go along as long as it does not interfere with your Sunday morning Mass and teaching – and demand somebody drive you.

    In a few months of this practice the former unreasonable demands will turn into gentile requests for the Latin Mass.

    Consider the phone calls from Braintree to be the flatulence in wind that they are. Consider smoking cigars to keep softer people at an appropriate distance. Completely ignore whiners.

    STOP worrying about a Priest shortage – all the faithful need is you. Thank you for your vocation.

    • Sacerdote says:

      I agree with what you say except the thing about cigars. SMOKING IS A SIN!!! Hard to believe a Traditional minded bloke as yourself would promote sinful behavior.

      Oh, it has something directly to do with the 5th commandment, in case you forgot about the 10 commanments Mr. Bwain.

  11. anonymous says:

    Dear Boston Priest (s):

    Thank you for all of your unselfish work.

    It would be a mistake for all of you to underestimate how valued you are:

    At the end of the day what is important is the men who defend the homeland, and, those who provide peace and stability and hope for all. And, you stand for peace in the most serious manner.

    Even the individuals you are concerned with are only donating
    money and working hard because they had the fortune of
    good priests in their past.

    Your work is priceless, and, you are treasured.

  12. Sue says:

    Having read some of these postings for a while, I do not understand this idea that “bringing back the Latin Mass” will solve all of these problems. I do agree that it has a place in the diversity of worship in a large diocese, but it will not fill all of our churches. There are many parishes that are truly alive with the faith that have no Latin Mass.

  13. Mack says:

    I agree with BCI that the person chosen should be a practicing Catholic who believes in and supports Church teachings–all of them. In normal times, that would be a given, but we are living in strange times indeed.

    A question: last Sunday in my parish bulletin, the pastor noted the RCAB has an “improved financial relationship model” (IFRM) with the parishes. The goal is to improve the financial stability of both the parishes and the central ministries of RCAB. Under this plan, parishes will pay a monthly tithe to RCAB instead of multiple fees; the tithe is 5.3% of parish base revenue.

    What do you think of this plan? Is it a good thing? I know it’s probably a topic for another post but wanted to mention it. Thank you.

  14. jwsr says:

    Hi, Sue;
    The Latin Mass has indeed been under-represented and has a following among Catholics that are more fervent than the usual Parishioner. Individuals committed to the Latin Mass are much more likely to have a Priestly Vocation, as evidenced by the full seminaries of the Latin Mass “Orders” (really “societies”). The Archdiocese could in fact help the Priest shortage by opening up to those societies (FSSP and ICKSP).

    You are right, though, that the Latin Mass is not for everyone. It will not be THE answer to the Archdiocese’s problems, but could help.

    • Capt Crunch says:

      Hi Sue and jwsr,

      As Roman Catholics there are two rites of the Mass, the Ordinary Form (OF) and Extraordinary Form (EF). Both forms of the Mass are equally valid. If there are two equally valid forms of the Mass both should be treated equally and available to all.

      The most expedient route to make the EF available to more folks in the RCAB is to bring in the FSSP and/or ICKSP. For those of us that live on the South Shore it is not feasible to travel to Newton every week which is my only option since the good Father Worthley was moved last year. In fact, the SSPX, CMRI and indepednat Catholic churches are not available on the South Shore either.

      Will making the EF available solve all the RCABs problems? probably not nor will it hurt. I think it will make things better.

      • jwsr says:

        Hi, Capt;
        Have you tried Fr Mullen in Bellingham or St Francis in Hyannis? St John in Quincy or St Anthony in Fall River are lovely. The Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston or Holy Family in Providence would also be closer.

  15. Alice Slattery says:

    I wish Fr. David Mullen,pastor of St. Brendan’s Church in Bellingham, would apply for the position as Director of Pastoral Planning. He is a trustworthy servant of the Boston Archdiocese who tells the truth regardless of the bitter consequences that are heaped upon his head! His vision for what should be happening in the Boston Archdiocese could be of immense help to get us through the difficulties that lay ahead.

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