We come to the beginning of the closure of the summer season.Our extra summer Masses at Rehoboth Elementary School and extra Masses in the hall are finished. It seems like the season rush just began and here we are toward the end.
With the beginning of the Autumn Season, we look forward to beginning our 75th Anniversary as Saint Edmond Parish. God continues to bless us with good memories, graced ministries and a bright tomorrow. In this Diamond Jubilee, we are appreciative of the past, live in the present and hope for the future...all based in prayer.
Rev. Joseph J. Piekarski (Pastor)
Sunday Masses at St. Edmond's Rehoboth are:
Saturday, afternoon 4:00 St. Edmond Church
5:30 St. Edmond Church
Sunday, morning 7:30 St. Edmond Church
9:00 St. Edmond Church
10:30 St. Edmond Church
Sunday, afternoon4:30 St. Edmond Church
Sustaining Hope for the Future...
Saint Edmond Parish is one of the 33 parishes preparing for Wave II of the Sustaining Hope for the Future campaign, which aims to help the diocese get back on its feet following a 2011 bankruptcy court settlement, by collecting $28 million. The campaign seeks $10 million for the Lay Employee Pension Fund; $3 million for the Trust for the Welfare and Retirement of Priests; $2 million for diocesan ministries, and $11.2 million for individual parish projects. Wave II parishes begin their campaigns next weekend to raise a combined goal of $16,435,000.
The bankruptcy agreement and clergy sexual abuse scandal led to many questions regarding Sustaining Hope for the Future during Wave I, in which 21 parishes pledged almost $7.25 million.
The clergy sexual abuse scandal included “admitted, collaborated or otherwise substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors” by 23 diocesan priests; other cases in which the diocese was named as a defendant involved religious order priests. Most of the cases occurred in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, with the last reported incident involving a diocesan priest in ministry occurring in 1986.
The following “frequently asked questions” address the major issues raised during Wave I:
Q. Why did the diocese agree to the bankruptcy settlement?
A. Bishop Malooly has stressed that two major factors led him to seek an umbrella settlement covering all parties in lawsuits filed against the diocese and 29 of its parishes: fairness to the abuse victims and survival of the 29 parishes. Bishop Malooly said, “There could have been over 100 trials, stretching over years,” and he believes had the settlement not been reached many of those parishes (some with schools) would not have survived.
Q. Why is $10 million earmarked for the Lay Employee Pension Fund?
A. The $10 million set aside for the Lay Employee Pension Fund is a requirement of the bankruptcy agreement. It will cover diocesan contributions of $5 million to the fund in 2016 and 2017, as stipulated in the agreement. That is in addition to a $10 million payment at the time of the settlement, and additional funds each year until 2016-2017.
Bishop Malooly stated, “Let me be clear; no money was used from the Lay Pension Fund to pay for the settlement of the priest abuse claims. The $10 million to be raised through the Sustaining Hope for the Future campaign is not to replenish any funds used to compensate survivors. Rather, this additional $10 million will help ensure that the employees vested in the diocesan employees’ pension plan will receive their full benefits once they achieve retirement age.”
Bishop Malooly addressed the question about the diocese’s ability to manage its finances, especially in relation to the Lay Employee Pension Fund. “This perception probably developed because our Lay Employee Pension Fund was underfunded,” he said. “However, it is quite common for pension funds of both nonprofit and for-profit institutions alike to be underfunded since the beneficiaries of the fund retire over a period of many years.” He also noted last year that “the average return during the past 20 years on our investment was 8.8 percent,” offsetting any question of mismanagement.
Q. Who receives lay pensions from the diocese?
A. Most of those who now receive or will receive pensions from the Lay Employee Pension Fund work as secretaries, maintenance workers, directors of religious education, directors of liturgy & music, parish managers, and housekeeping. They are our teachers, administrators & support staff in both parochial (parish) and diocesan schools. A relative few work as diocesan directors of ministries, support personnel, Catholic Charities personnel and cemetery ministries. The Lay Employee Pension Fund was frozen in 2011, following the bankruptcy agreement. Currently, 260 former employees receive pension benefits, and some 1,300 others are eligible to receive benefits in the future. Those who receive or are eligible had to work a minimum of 1,300 hours per year, continuously for five years.
Q. Sustaining Hope for the Future also seeks $3 million for the Trust for the Welfare and Retirement of Diocesan Priests. Why?
A. The need for additional funds for priests’ retirement and welfare arises from a question of aging, not a question of financial management. There are 37 retired priests receiving pensions at present; that number is anticipated to grow to 58 by 2020. The average age of diocesan priests is 64. They are eligible to retire at age 70 with 25 years of service.
Several other factors make strengthening the Trust for the Welfare and Retirement of Priests a priority. The trust was set up with one major gift; parishes and ministries in which the priests serve have not paid into the trust. The trust’s assets dropped by 30 percent during the recession that began in 2008 while more priests began drawing pensions from the trust. The trust’s assets have recovered from that drastic drop, but the trust still lost anticipated growth on that 30 percent of assets. Also, the Religious Retirement Fund Collection never went to our diocesan priests but toward the retirement funds of various religious congregations of priests, brothers & sisters.
Q.How can we be sure the money raised will go to the specific needs?
A. Bishop Malooly instructed that a separate trust fund be established for Sustaining Hope for the Future, which “will ensure that all contributions to the campaign will be used for their intended, specified purposes.” Such a trust is legally binding.
Q. What’s in it for my parish?
A. Each parish will receive 40 percent of its target once the goal is met. Should a parish receive pledges of between 100 and 120 percent of its target, 60 percent of the additional funds will go to the parish.