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Archdiocese says finances are stable

Cardinal Sean O’Malley

John Tlumacki

Cardinal Sean O’Malley

The Archdiocese of Boston issued its annual financial report for fiscal 2011 today, saying its finances are on solid ground, compared with their precarious footing just a few years ago.

“We have made great progress in moving the Archdiocese from a position of financial freefall just a few short years ago to one of stability, fully committed to supporting our parishes, schools, and ministries,” Chancellor Jim McDonough said in a statement accompanying the report, which was released today.

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Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley said that the archdiocese had faced challenges from the recession just as other organizations have and he was “very proud” of the “careful management of our resources and the contributions provided by our donors.”

As of June 30, 2011, the close of the fiscal year, the archdiocese had $563.5 million in assets, up from $532.5 million the year before. Operating income swung to $5.1 million in fiscal 2011, compared with a $9.9 million loss the year before, according to the report.

The Central Ministries of the archdiocese, which includes 50 agencies and departments, achieved a balanced budget after austerity measures that included employee layoffs, freezing of open positions, and salary reductions.

Among the encouraging signs for the archdiocese: a 3 percent increase in collections in parishes; a 19 percent increase in investment performance; and a slowing in the rate of decline in enrollment in parochial schools to 1.1 percent, the lowest in 10 years.

“The enrollment decline that has dominated Catholic education nationally and locally for decades has slowed in the Archdiocese and in some cases been reversed,” McDonough said in an overview of the report.

While enrollment declined overall, Catholic schools in Boston saw a 1 percent increase and the schools in Lowell saw a 2 percent increase, the overview noted.

O’Malley said he saw progress in the rebuilding of the church, which has struggled in the past decade with, among other things, the clergy sex abuse crisis, declining Mass attendance, and the closure of parishes.

The “signs of hope” included an increasing number of men answering a call to the priesthood and a thriving campus ministry, with large numbers of students gathering each week for prayer, Mass, and service projects, O’Malley said.

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