Archdiocese completes IFRM phase-in

BRAINTREE -- With a decree issued this week by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, the archdiocese is implementing the fourth and final stage of the implementation of its Improved Financial Relationship Model (IFRM) designed to simplify the way parishes contribute to supporting the central ministries of the archdiocese.

Since 2010, the IFRM has already been phased in at more than half the parishes of the archdiocese on a voluntary basis. The decree issued by Cardinal O'Malley requires the remaining 141 parishes to participate as of July 1.

The IFRM eliminates a complex system of payments, fees, and taxes charged to parishes, in favor of a more streamlined model. Under the new system, parishes will be required to contribute 10 percent tithe on the three-year average of their total offertory, grand annual, and rental income. Parishes with schools will pay a reduced tithe of 5.3 percent, to account for expenses related to the school.

"Even though there are fewer components, it has more to offer to both the parishes and the archdiocese," said director of parish services Denise McKinnon-Biernat.

Based on results from prior phases, archdiocesan financial officials said the model is more equitable and fair than the previous system because it adds accountability by simplifying the amounts and means by which parishes contribute financially to central ministries and services. The amount contributed to the archdiocese under IFRM is also anticipated to be more predictable and easily budgeted for.

"Everybody was accountable to the same number, or the same percentage. So it started, not only to put everybody kind of on a level playing field, but it also added the accountability factor too. So, there wasn't that disparity between some parishes supporting at two percent, or some supporting at a much higher level," Biernat said.

In addition to the tithe, each parish will be expected to raise an amount equal to 8 percent of its annual income in contributions from parishioners to the annual Catholic Appeal.

Parishes that surpass the assessment for the appeal will receive at least 50 percent of the overage directly back to the parish, with the remaining 50 percent of the overage available to fund abatements, according to IFRM project manager Patricia Fraser.

Parishes that are facing financial difficulty or unable to meet the appeal goal may apply for an abatement from either the tithe or Appeal assessment. Requests for abatements will be reviewed by an abatement committee to be established by the cardinal.

In 2008, the archdiocese established the Improved Financial Relationship Committee (IFRC) to review the system in place at the time for parish financial support of the ministries and offices of the archdiocese, and for making recommendations for improvements to the system.

"The committee was charged with finding a way to simplify a pre-existing reality, which was really this hodgepodge of taxes, assessments, fees and goals," said Father Bryan Parrish, an IFRC member who co-chaired the committee representing pastors from 2008 until 2011.

The IFRC included representatives of the Archdiocesan Finance Council, the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, the Presbyteral Council, pastors of the Archdiocese, and staff of various offices of the archdiocese with expertise in law, pastoral care, fundraising, and finances.

At the time, the IFRC began its work as it surveyed all of the pastors of the archdiocese and requested feedback on the system in place at that time. It also surveyed other archdioceses and dioceses across the United States, where it found that 23 of 30 archdioceses and dioceses surveyed had some form of a broad-based financial model to coordinate financial support of the ministries and offices of the archdiocese or diocese.

"All of that really shaped how the model ended up being finalized and presented," Father Parrish said.

In 2009 Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley accepted the IFRM as a viable financial blueprint. The IFRM went into effect over time, in phases and through a series of consultative efforts. The first phase of 33 parishes adopted the model in 2010, followed by the second phase of 45 parishes in 2011. After Cardinal O'Malley consulted with the Presbyteral Council and the Finance Council, he approved the IFRM for final implementation in two remaining phases.

The third phase would see 68 parishes enter in 2012, with remaining parishes scheduled to join in July of 2013, based on the recommendation of the committee formed to review the prior system.

Father David Michael, currently pastor at St. Joseph in Needham, experienced the first phase of the IFRM as a pastor at St. John Chrysostom in West Roxbury and a Presbyteral Council member at the time. He was so impressed with how the IFRM worked at his previous parish that he proposed it to the finance council shortly after becoming the pastor at St. Joseph.

"It replaced a whole set of sort of jerry-rigged fees with a proportionally equally system for everybody, for every parish," he said.

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 ...

Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors ...

Church crisis response: Healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, ...

Pope names Minnesota priest as auxiliary bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Juan M. Betancourt, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as auxiliary bishop ...

Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Stanford University to remove saint's name from some properties

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- California's Stanford University will strip the name of 18th-century Franciscan friar, St. Junipero Serra, from some of its properties ...

Catholic Charities distributes disaster relief to areas hit by Florence

RALEIGH, N.C. (CNS) -- The Carolinas were hard hit with record rainfall and flooding rivers from tropical storm Florence since it made landfall Sept. ...

Archbishop Lori assures diocese he's with them in journey toward healing

WHEELING, W.Va. (CNS) -- In his celebration of Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling Sept. 15, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said ...

Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

HOVE, England (CNS) -- "The Moth has landed," tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesan Facebook ...

Words, promises are not enough to prevent abuse, archbishop says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Inviting presidents of the world's bishops' conference to the Vatican to discuss abuse prevention reflects an understanding that ...

Pope praises Capuchin order's charism of authenticity, simplicity

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Capuchins are called to be men of peace, reconciliation and prayer and to be close to all people, Pope Francis told members of the ...

Path to healing starts with seeking forgiveness, Cardinal Wuerl says

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A "Season of Healing" for sexual abuse survivors began in the Archdiocese of Washington with a Sept. 14 Mass at the Cathedral of St. ...

Archbishop McCarrick's unofficial role in Vatican-China relations

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Following reports that the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China could be about to sign an agreement ...

Archbishop Chaput: When we forget faith, we forget our humanity

Spokane, Wash., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- When man tries to cling to reason and separate himself from faith, he forgets who he is and loses his source of hope, ...

Pope Francis warns priests against living a double life

Palermo, Italy, Sep 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- During a day trip to Sicily Saturday, Pope Francis told priests and religious to fight their vices and strive ...

What is the pontifical secret?

Vatican City, Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Following the allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò about the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, ...

Vatican publishes list of synod participants, including papal nominees

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To the list of members of the Synod of Bishops elected by national bishops' conferences, Pope Francis added cardinals from 14 countries, ...

Addicts and their loved ones talk about life with opioid addiction

ARLINGTON, Va. (CNS) -- It was a Saturday night, and Billy was eating pizza and watching a sporting event in the basement bedroom of his residence, a ...

Signers of letter hope Vatican meeting will bring needed steps on crisis

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Signers of an open letter from Catholic women to Pope Francis urging "truth" and "transparency" on the growing sex abuse crisis expressed ...

Community 'overwhelmed and shell-shocked' after gas explosions, says pastor

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 ...

Down to earth: Vatican brings together world's meteorite curators

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) -- Rocks, mineral debris and even dust from space are kept in special collections, museums and laboratories all over the ...

Algerian martyrs to be beatified in Algeria Dec. 8

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The beatification of 19 martyrs of Algeria, including the seven Trappist monks of Tibhirine, will be celebrated Dec. 8 in Oran, ...

'Anything but a picnic' - Cardinal Dolan on the Church's summer of scandal

New York City, N.Y., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Cardinal Timothy Dolan has spoken about how the extended sexual abuse scandals facing the Church have taken a ...

Restoring and reimagining: Transformation at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross

BOSTON -- Considered by many to be the heart of the Archdiocese of Boston, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross is the largest Catholic church in New England, ...

Archdiocese says Cardinal O'Malley will personally review all abuse letters

BRAINTREE (CAN) -- The Archdiocese of Boston has announced changes to the way it will process and respond to letters addressed to Cardinal Séan P. ...

CM receives $2.5M grant from Yawkey Foundations

West Roxbury -- Catholic Memorial, a college-preparatory school for boys in grades 7 to 12, announced Sept. 5 that they have received a $2.5 million grant ...

Father Christian Ohazulume removed from ministry

BRAINTREE -- The Archdiocese announced on Sept. 11 that it had removed a priest from ministry after receiving an allegation that he sexually abused a ...

From Cardinal Seán's blog

This week I am in transit to Rome in anticipation of the next meeting of the C9 Council of Cardinals. So, I have asked Vivian Soper to share some reflections ...

Kavanaugh's birth control comments spur controversy -- What did he say?

Washington D.C. (CNA) -- Opponents of Judge Brett Kavanaugh have suggested that a reference to birth control pills as "abortion-inducing drugs" during ...

Missouri to enforce abortion regulations in wake of appeals court ruling

Jefferson City, Mo. (CNA) -- Missouri's health department announced Monday that it will immediately being enforcing state laws regulating abortion clinics ...

Book tells about behind-the-scenes search for St. Peter's bones

HOUSTON (CNS) -- Two Houston men shared a journey through centuries of history and a decades-long archaeological dig under the Vatican to unveil a story ...

Update way priests are chosen, accompanied, pope tells new bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The best way to help the Catholic Church, Pope Francis told new bishops, is not by pointing fingers and creating scapegoats, but ...

Vatican confirms ongoing Sistine Chapel Choir finance inquiry

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican confirmed an ongoing investigation into financial irregularities involving the directors of the Sistine Chapel Choir. ...

After meeting pope, cardinal says he's hopeful about addressing crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston struck a determinedly hopeful tone after his long-awaited meeting with Pope Francis ...

DA clears Indiana bishop of misconduct, says claim has harmed prelate

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (CNS) -- The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend welcomed findings by a Pennsylvania district attorney that cleared Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades ...

Cardinal DiNardo calls meeting with pope lengthy, fruitful

Vatican City, Sep 13, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Cardinal Daniel DiNardo has called a Sept. 13 meeting between Pope Francis and leaders from the Church in United ...

What do Church abuse policies mean by 'vulnerable adult?'

Denver, Colo., Sep 12, 2018 CNA.- A Vatican summit this February will gather the presidents of bishops’ conferences from around the world. While ...

'Elitist, clericalist' church allows abuse to thrive, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Sexual and physical abuse by priests and religious and the scandal of its cover-up by church authorities thrive in countries where ...

Cardinal Wuerl to ask pope to accept his resignation

Washington D.C., Sep 12, 2018 CNA.- An archdiocesan spokesman has confirmed that Cardinal Donald Wuerl will soon ask Pope Francis to accept his resignation ...

Pope accepts resignation of West Virginia bishop as inquiry into abuse claims launched

Vatican City, Sep 13, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Pope Francis Thursday accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael J. Bransfield from the pastoral government ...