Archdiocese to adopt uniform payroll system

BRAINTREE -- In August, all parishes, schools, and cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Boston will begin implementing a standardized payroll system provided by a third-party vendor.

Payroll data-entry will continue to take place at the local entities, but an internet based system will be administered by a company called Interlogic Outsourcing, Inc. (IOI). The payroll service provider has had experience working with 20 other Catholic dioceses and archdioceses in the United States.

"Other dioceses have realized the need to do this type of standardization for platforms like benefits, so we're kind of following in that same venue," said Denise McKinnon-Biernat, director of parish services for the archdiocese.

According to initial surveys by Biernat and her team, switching to IOI will cut the costs of payroll administration for 73 percent of parishes. The standardized system will also pave the way for an archdiocesan-wide 401k-style retirement program to begin in January 2012.

"We needed a platform for the 401K; there's very stringent requirements on reporting and contributions and right now we couldn't support it," said Biernat.

A staggered roll-out will continue through December and training sessions on the new system have already begun. Implementation costs will be paid through the Central Ministries of the archdiocese. Ongoing fees for the payroll service will be continue to be paid on the parish level, as they are with current payroll providers.

The IOI system will allow parishes to process payroll and tax filings for both employees -- who receive an IRS form W-2 -- and non-employee contractors -- who typically receive an IRS form 1099.

The new system will allow payroll to be processed from any secure internet connection, so a parish administrator could file payroll from home or another location. The archdiocese will have a standard template for the entities, but parishes can adapt this template to fit their preferences.

The decision to move to a uniform payroll system was made after input from a 12-parish member focus group that began meeting last October. However, the initial idea came from Susan Healey, the business manager at St. Bonaventure Parish in Plymouth, in a passing conversation with Biernat.

"I really think that we need to leverage our overall size together as a community, to make the most of what we can get to keep costs down in the individual parishes," said Healey.

Healey, other business managers, and pastors of the focus group looked at the overall question of a uniform payroll system for the archdiocese.

One option was to have all processing take place at the Pastoral Center, an idea that was quickly eliminated. Another choice was that the parishes take care of their own processing through the QuickBooks software program. However, the system could be difficult to implement if a parish had multiple entities, such as a school and cemetery, each with their own accounts.

Once deciding on the 3rd party vendor plan, project manager Shannon Swan developed a survey that was sent to the parishes of the archdiocese. It was found that among the 100 parishes that replied to the survey, there were 13 different payroll providers.

"My gut feeling on this was confirmed that we could actually do something to benefit the parishes here," said Healey about the results of the survey. "Because everyone was concerned from the get-go that it's not about the 12 parishes (of the focus group), it's about the needs of all the parishes."

The focus group considered the needs and features they wanted in a payroll vendor -- what Healey called a "wishlist" -- not only for the present day, but for future growth as well.

"And it was a pretty formidable list because we thought we're going to go for more, rather than less," said Healey.

Requests for bids were sent to 11 vendors. Out of their responses, the field was narrowed to four. Of these, IOI was chosen unanimously by the focus group.

The results of the focus group and their action plan were presented to the Archdiocesan Presbyteral Council, which affirmed the plan of the group that implementing the IOI system should be mandatory for all parishes, school, and cemeteries.

In addition to setting a foundation for the new retirement plan, adopting a uniform system is also expected to streamline data-entry between parishes and the archdiocese. Currently, information from employees -- such as Social Security Numbers, date of hire and pay rate -- are recorded at the local level and again at the Pastoral Center.

"Anytime there's double data entry, there's room for error or just lack of receipt of the information," said Carol Gustavson, director of benefit trusts for the archdiocese.

The standardized platform could also be key in setting up voluntary benefits like short-term disability, and flexible-spending accounts, according to Biernat.

Jack Riley, business manager at St. Agatha Parish in Milton, also participated in the focus group.

Riley said he liked the cost savings from the large group approach, and also IOI's capability to streamline information.

"When you're talking about people's retirements and their paycheck, you have to be precise. This will allow us, across the board, do that," said Riley.

Today is 'hour of the laity,' Archbishop Gomez tells Encuentro delegates

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Hispanic Catholic leaders are living an important moment in the history of the Catholic church in the U.S. and are called to ...

Stay close to the suffering, forgive one another, pope tells Latvians

AGLONA, Latvia (CNS) -- What would Mary do? was the question Pope Francis, in effect, asked Latvian Catholics gathered at their nation's popular Marian ...

Joy, hope contagious for Encuentro participants as they discern priorities

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Joy, hope, energy and a spirit of continued collaboration are contagious among the participants of the Fifth National Encuentro, ...

Update: Pope in Lithuania: Don't let anti-Semitism, hatred resurge

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Outside the former KGB headquarters in Vilnius, Pope Francis ended a day of paying homage to victims of totalitarianism and ...

God is patient, even with failures, pope tells young Lithuanians

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Meeting young Lithuanians in Vilnius, Pope Francis said he wanted a relaxed conversation, like they were sitting in a pub ...

Update: Vatican signs provisional agreement with China on naming bishops

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- For the first time in decades, all of the Catholic bishops in China are in full communion with the pope, the Vatican announced. Pope ...

Find strength in tolerance, solidarity, pope tells Lithuanians

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- In Lithuania, a nation that experienced invasions, atrocities and persecution, Pope Francis began his visit with a plea to ...

Ospino: Encuentro reflects 'energy, maturity' of a church 'here to stay'

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- The thousands of Hispanic Catholic ministry leaders gathered in Texas for the Fifth National Encuentro shared views on the maturity ...

N.J. cardinal won't attend synod, asks to remain home at 'time of crisis'

NEWARK, N.J. (CNS) -- Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark told the people of his archdiocese Sept. 21 that Pope Francis has granted his request that he ...

Detroit Archdiocese welcomes investigation into Michigan dioceses

DETROIT (CNS) -- Michigan's attorney general has opened an investigation into the handling of sexual abuse by clergy in all of Michigan's seven Catholic ...

Catholics believe in God but 'don't believe in us,' Miami archbishop says

MIAMI (CNS) -- The crisis the Catholic Church is facing is not "a crisis of faith" or "mainly about a crisis of sexual abuse by clergy," but is "a crisis ...

Update: Disney animator says grounding in Catholic schools led to success

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (CNS) -- Ron Clements is a renowned animator, screenwriter and producer-director of award-winning Disney films, including the blockbuster ...

#WhyImCatholic movement aims to share hope at difficult time for church

CHICAGO (CNS) -- Catholic Extension has launched a new social media campaign called #WhyImCatholic to offer "hope and unity" for Catholics by inviting ...

Continue to be an evangelizing church, nuncio tells Encuentro delegates

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Quoting from Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation "The Joy of the Gospel," Archbishop Christophe Pierre encouraged Hispanic Catholic ...

Encuentro opens with procession, papal message, prayers for abuse victims

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- A video message from Pope Francis and a procession of Encuentro crosses representing all of the participating episcopal regions ...

Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop failed to report abuse, withdraws from ministry

Green Bay, Wis., Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay, has withdrawn from public ministry saying ...

Dolan 'impatient' waiting for apostolic visitation in response to McCarrick

New York City, N.Y., Sep 20, 2018 CNA.- The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that while he has confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the ...

Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down ...

Celebration of the Priesthood dinner raises over $1.8 million

BOSTON -- A record 1,700 people attended the 10th annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner to raise funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust ...

Lawrence parish helps community cope with gas explosion aftermath

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Ceremony, Mass kick off St. Augustine Chapel bicentennial

SOUTH BOSTON -- St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery began its year-long bicentennial celebration on the weekend of Sept. 14-16 with tours, special Masses, ...

Mass. Knights install new officers

The Massachusetts State Council Knights of Columbus recently held its Installation of State Officers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton with ...

Deal will keep Sancta Maria Nursing Facility open

CAMBRIDGE -- Sancta Maria Nursing Facility announced Sept. 17 that it has negotiated a comprehensive operational contract with Advocate Healthcare Management ...

From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission ...

N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has named a former federal judge to study archdiocesan policies and procedures with respect to sexual ...

U.S. reports poverty declines, but agencies finding needs remain great

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau Sept. 12 was that the poverty rate dropped for the third straight year in 2017 and median ...

Class-action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania dioceses

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 17 against eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding the dioceses provide proof that ...

Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

Update: Irish singer Bono calls pope 'extraordinary man for extraordinary times'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band U2, said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland "it looks as though the abusers are being ...