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Archdiocesan Pastoral Council hears report on diocese’s finances

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

By Carmen M. Hubbard

ST. FRANCIS DE SALES DEANERY — In its quarterly meeting March 7, the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council heard a report from Richard Kelly, archdiocesan director of finance, and Stephen E. Burger, archdiocesan controller, about the financial health of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Parishes with delinquent loans to the archdiocese have increased slightly to $32.8 million this year compared to $32.6 million in 2008, the 29 council members were told. Donations to the Catholic Ministries Appeal, formerly the Archbishop’s Annual Fund Drive, decreased to $2.48 million last year, compared to $3.5 million in 2007.

Healthcare premiums continue to rise for archdiocesan personnel; costs were $35.38 million compared to $33.8 million in 2007. Kelly explained that the restructuring of the archdiocese’s healthcare plan has been cost effective. The finance department plans to introduce a wellness initiative next year that could help reduce healthcare costs by promoting and implementing healthy living programs.

The Archdiocesan Pastoral Council executive committee, pictured here from left, consists of recording secretary Father Raymond Larger (ex oficio), Skip Fellinger, Franciscan Sister of the Poor Karen Hartman, Greg Feldkamp, Jim Frede, Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Coadjutor Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr and Father Del Staigers. (CT/Carmen M. Hubbard)

As for the archdiocese’s assets during the turbulent stock market, Kelly said they are sound. However, he doesn’t know when the stock market will improve.

“Our overall financial condition is stable,” he said.

The Archdiocesan Pastoral Council is comprised of laity, religious and clergy who offer advice to the archbishop on a wide variety of matters affecting the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Among the topics they also heard about was a new residence purchased for Coadjutor Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr.

“It’s not unusual for an archbishop to live in a house,” Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk told council members. “In the past, archbishops have lived in a real mansion. This house is not one of those. I do not believe this is an issue we need to spend a lot of time on. It’s not a question of principle but a question of taste, I suppose.”

Archbishop Pilarczyk said some parishioners have threatened to withhold Catholic Ministry Appeal contributions in response to the purchase.
“The needs of the fund drive are still there,” Archbishop Pilarczyk said. “People are angry at the archdiocese for buying a home in these troubled economic times and said they will hold off giving their money to the fund drive. That seems illogical. You don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.”

Archbishop Schnurr said he requested to live in a home located near the seminary. The Anderson Township home is within two miles of the Athenaeum of Ohio.

“(Archbishop Schnurr) needs a place to meet people and entertain. It’s a place for ministry,” added Archbishop Pilarczyk.

Both archbishops answered questions, and most council members expressed their well wishes and congratulated Archbishop Schnurr on his new residence.

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