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One year later, move to new Pastoral Center praised

Main entrance of the Pastoral Center of the Archdiocese of Boston. The archdiocesan headquarters moved to a new location in Braintree one year ago. Pilot photo/ Antonio M. Enrique

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BRAINTREE -- One year after relocating from Brighton to Braintree, officials praised the move saying the Archdiocese of Boston’s central administration is now more effective and collaborative.

“We have created a great workspace,” said Kevin Kiley, director of budget and planning who coordinated the move.

“It’s really been a beehive of activity.”

Previously, the archdiocese’s more than 200 employees were scattered through seven buildings in four different locations -- Boston, Dorchester, Natick and West Roxbury. The consolidation has led to decreased costs and increased communication between employees, he said.

Kiley said that employees quickly acclimated to their new surroundings, even those who were uncertain about how the move would change their workplace.

The move has also led to the unexpected interaction between Catholics throughout the archdiocese and those who work at the Pastoral Center, Kiley added.

The foot traffic at the new building has increased as many faithful attend meetings, workshops or daily Mass there, he said.

Father George Szal, SM, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Revere and a regular visitor to the center, said the new building is spacious and more convenient to drive to than the chancery in Brighton.

“There’s a new spirit in the archdiocese. There’s more of a desire to work together. Our parishes are not little islands out there, little fortresses in competition with each other. We are engaged in something bigger. That’s what the Pastoral Center does,” he said.

The Brighton property was home to the archdiocese’s central administration from the late 1920s to last year. The first parcel of property was sold to Boston College in 2004, the second in 2006 and the remaining property and buildings, save St. John’s Seminary, in 2007.

When Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley announced the final sale, he said the relocation of the central administration was part of a strategic, long-term plan to strengthen the archdiocese.

The archdiocese was provided a 10-year-old, 140,000 square foot building in Braintree by Thomas Flatley, a long-time benefactor of the archdiocese who passed away in May 2008. A plaque honoring him was dedicated at the center on Oct. 19, 2008.

The Braintree building, which opened on June 30 last year, features more modern meeting spaces, a larger chapel, more parking, a staffed cafeteria and greater classroom space. There is a new phone system, state-of-the-art conference rooms and upgraded technology.

Scot Landry, director of the archdiocese’s development office, said the building is “nobly simple in its design,” and that it is a reflection of the archdiocese’s commitment to practice “good financial stewardship.”

“The new building has lived up to our hopes and expectations,” he said.

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