Reconfiguration committee members announced

The Archdiocese of Boston announced the names of those who will sit on the Central Committee for Reconfiguration. The central committee, which is overseen by Bishop Richard G. Lennon, moderator of the curia, will review the recommendations of each of the parish clusters and advise Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley in selecting parishes to close.

The archbishop announced the establishment of the central committee when he first detailed the reconfiguration process to the priests of the archdiocese back in December 2003. The central committee consists of priests and lay persons from each of the five regions of the archdiocese. Several archdiocesan officials also sit on the committee in addition to members of religious congregations and a number of members who have experience with ethnic apostolates.

At least one pastor and one lay person from each region of the archdiocese was chosen to be on the central committee. According to Kathleen Heck, who oversees the reconfiguration process, the regional bishops were asked to nominate candidates from each region. Pastors who were nominated were required to posses “good knowledge” of the facets of their region, such as the presence of ethnic apostolates and schools. It was necessary for lay candidates, Heck said, to have “demonstrated continuous involvement in parish life ... and [to] have volunteered in a significant capacity in parish life.”

The central committee was scheduled to hold the third of four orientation meetings March 10, during which they were to hear “comprehensive presentations on such things as demographics, priestly personnel and finance,” explained Heck. According to Heck, the central committee is scheduled to complete its orientation period, which began in late February, on March 23. They will begin to receive the cluster recommendations on March 26.

The central committee will review each cluster’s recommendation and may decide to do one of three things, said Heck: endorse the cluster’s recommendations, endorse the recommendation with qualifications, or add their own recommendations if the cluster did not provide any or if their recommendations could not be supported by available facts.

When making its decision, the central committee will take into consideration the clusters’ recommendations, the assessments made by the vicars and regional bishops and the situations in abutting clusters, said Heck.

The committee has yet to decide on their meeting schedule or when they will conclude the process. However, Heck said, they have discussed possibly meeting for several eight-hour Saturday sessions along with a number of four-hour weekday evening sessions.

The process is “open-ended,” stated Heck, but “it’s not meant to take forever.”

A number of ex-officio members, those on the committee by virtue of their offices and expertise, sit on the committee. Among them are archdiocesan Superintendent of Schools Sister Kathleen Carr, CSJ; Secretary for Pastoral Services Father Arthur M. Coyle; president of Catholic Charities Father J. Bryan Hehir; and Secretary for Institutional Advancement Kenneth Hokenson.

Representing the Central Region of the archdiocese on the committee will be: Sister Virginia Bobrowski, SSND, pastoral associate of Sacred Heart Parish in Roslindale; Msgr. George Carlson, pastor of Holy Name Parish in West Roxbury; and Pierre Monette.

Representing the North Region will be: Laura Chan; Sister Kathleen Crowley, SC, pastoral associate of St. Pius Fifth Parish in Lynn; Father John E. Farrell, VF, pastor of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Lynnfield; Angnes Lugira; and Paul McDonald.

Representing the South Region will be: Anne Barbosa; Thomas M. Callahan; and Father Francis J. Cloherty, VF, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Brockton.

Representing the West Region will be: Father Brian Kiely, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Natick, and John O’Brien.

Representing the Merrimack Region will be: Father James M. Carroll, VF, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Georgetown, and Deb O’Hara Rusckowski.