Column by Bishop Lee Piché, auxiliary bishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
This year, for the first time, the archdiocese is releasing its full audited financial report, as has been planned for months and communicated publicly in December 2013.
We are doing this because we are accountable to the people we serve. Without the time, talent and treasure of the hundreds of thousands of Catholics who support the ministry of this local Church, we could not live out our mission to make the name of Jesus Christ known and loved. The Catholics throughout this local Church are the Church.
The financial information contained in this edition of The Catholic Spirit and posted online covers the 2013 and 2012 fiscal years, which ended on June 30, 2013 and 2012. Thanks to you, support for ministry across this local Church remains strong. Local Catholics’ steadfast support for ministry to fulfill the mission of the Church speaks to the unwavering faith of those who make up this local Church. Catholics understand that the tragic moral failure of a few does not define who we are as Catholics.
First, please note a few structural facts that may not be known to everyone. The most important thing for you to know is that the archdiocesan financial report covers the activities of the archdiocese’s Chancery Corporation. Each parish, as well as certain other Catholic entities located within the 12 counties of the archdiocese, is a separate Minnesota corporation. This means parishes, as well as Catholic entities like Catholic Charities, most Catholic high schools and other Catholic organizations, operate as separate corporations and report their own financial information to their stakeholders.
It’s also critically important that you are aware that since March 2012, new internal controls have been put in place. They are enforced strictly.
Another important point is this: The information in this issue of The Catholic Spirit, as well as the information posted online, including the full audited financial report, while more expansive than that shared in the past, is still summary by its very nature.
Please know that independent auditors had access to all of our financial accounts before issuing an unqualified opinion on our fiscal year 2013 financial statements. An unqualified opinion means that an independent auditor finds that an institution’s financial statements are fairly and appropriately presented, and in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
In addition to the full audited financial report posted online, in this issue of The Catholic Spirit you will see an article describing financial activities in detail, condensed financial statements and accompanying notes, and additional information about certain financial accounts that have elicited particular interest in recent months. Auditors had access to line items rolling up into those accounts, 1-515 and 1-516, (see statement “Detailed Accounting of Accounts 1-515 and 1-516,” page 19), just as they had access to line item detail for all other archdiocesan accounts.
The archdiocese wishes to thank members of the Archdiocesan Finance Council, the corporate board, and the College of Consultors for their continued diligence in financial oversight and counsel.
The Catholics of this local Church are generous — and their generosity makes possible the many good works carried out by the Church across our archdiocese, including:
•Support for seminarians studying to become priests for this archdiocese;
•Support for Catholic schools, tuition assistance for families, organizational support through the Office of Catholic Schools, and campus ministry;
•Support for youth ministry programs that build up the faith of our young people; including Archdiocesan Youth Day, which brings together hundreds of area high school youth every year to praise God, grow in the faith, and find fellowship;
•Support for Latino ministry outreach to meet the spiritual needs of local Spanish-speaking Catholics at 23 parishes across the archdiocese;
•Support for the work of Catholic Charities to help the hungry, the homeless, the elderly, immigrants and at-risk youth;
•Support for the many marriage, family and life programs and events that serve to strengthen marriage, build up families and promote the dignity of life from conception to natural death;
•Support for the Rediscover: evangelization and catechesis initiative, which reaches out with joy to invite others to a full life in the faith.
The release of our full audited financial report, as well as additional information to explain particular points of interest, is part of our ongoing commitment to improve transparency and accountability, evidenced not only in our ongoing disclosure of clergy with credible claims of abuse of minors, but also through our commitment to improved financial reporting.
We are taking these steps because they are the right thing to do — because they help us to protect the young and vulnerable, care for victims of abuse, and restore trust among the laity, as well as our clergy who are serving honorably.
We have made a commitment to transparency because we are accountable to the people we serve. The archdiocese’s Chancery Corporation exists to support the people, parishes, Catholic schools, religious education programs and other Catholic organizations of our community in fulfilling the mission of the Church.