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Cardinal Appoints Rev. David Couturier Director of Pastoral Planning

www.bostoncatholic.org 

Braintree, MA - In keeping with his commitment to institute a culture of planning in the Archdiocese, Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley today announced the appointment of Reverend David Couturier, OFM. Cap., as the new Director of Pastoral Planning for the Archdiocese of Boston.  Father Couturier most recently served as Vice Rector-Vice President of St. Mary’s Seminary & University in Baltimore, MD.

Cardinal Seán said, “Father Couturier is an experienced scholar and practitioner in the area of pastoral planning.  He shares our vision for implementing a culture of planning and for advancing a plan that meets the pastoral needs of the Archdiocese now and in the future.  His desire to serve the Archdiocese at this time in our history is important as we continue the work of rebuilding our local Church.  We pray that that he is guided by the Holy Spirit in all his work and that through his leadership and contributions we will see a vastly stronger and more vibrant Archdiocese in the years ahead.”

The Cardinal noted that many important initiatives are currently underway in the Archdiocese, including an initiative to increase vocations for clergy and religious, a plan to strengthen and enhance Catholic education, the implementation of a program to encourage the vocation of marriage, an effort to stabilize the Archdiocese’s finances including the clergy pension fund, and a strategic effort to maintain and increase contributions to parishes and the annual Catholic Appeal.  Cardinal Seán added, “we have much work ahead of us, but so much good has been accomplished in recent years and for this we give thanks to our Lord.”

Father Couturier will report directly to the Reverend Thomas S. Foley, Episcopal Vicar and Cabinet Secretary for the newly established Parish Life and Leadership Secretariat.

Father Foley said, “We are very pleased to welcome Father Couturier to the Archdiocese in this important role.  The Archdiocese is engaged in a process that brings all of the talents and resources together in order to meet the many diverse needs of our parishes, schools and ministries.  Father Couturier brings a fresh perspective and an impressive track record to his new role with the Archdiocese of Boston.”

Father Couturier said, “I am honored to have the opportunity to assist Cardinal Seán at this important moment in the Archdiocese’s history.  The challenges for churches today are significant, but the opportunities are greater. Our ancestors who built this great Church in America faced challenges, but they believed in the future they were trying to create together. I love their zeal, their passion and their courage. I want to imitate those virtues. We have a Gospel mission that is alive and relevant. The Archdiocese needs the Cardinal’s vision to be implemented. Our task is to claim that mission in today's world and to reset our plans for an enlivened experience of Church.”

Very Reverend Richard M. Erikson, Vicar General & Moderator of the Curia, said, “We are blessed to be able to welcome Father Couturier to the Archdiocese of Boston.  He is prepared to help us in advancing Cardinal Seán’s vision for the Archdiocese as we seek to inspire our Catholic community to become more involved in the rebuilding of our local Church.  We are inspired by his depth of skill and compassionate care for the Catholic faithful and we look forward to his many contributions in the months and years ahead.”

A Culture of Planning

In 2006 Cardinal  Seán called forth the archdiocese to a greater focus on three areas critical to the life of the Church: Faith Formation, Marriage, and Pastoral Planning. He appointed a committee to study each area and charged each committee with bringing its findings and recommendations to him and to the Presbyteral and Archdiocesan Pastoral Councils. In elaborating on his charge to the Pastoral Planning Committee, the Cardinal asked that the Committee look at what exists in terms of services and programs; review the best practices locally and nationally; and formulate recommendations and priorities to guide the archdiocese into the future.  In 2007 the Pastoral Planning Committee issued a report laying the groundwork for how parish life can be best served in the years to come “permeated by a spirit of trust, unity and hope, and one intended to breathe new life into our archdiocese.”  

Father Couturier will be responsible for coordinating and developing the initiatives that will lead the local Church through this period of pastoral planning.  As the Pastoral Planning Report of 2007 stated:  “As we make our report, we on the Committee are very aware that the efforts to meet what is called for in this report may be costly in terms of time, energy and finances. We ourselves can anticipate the question: Can we afford to attempt this? Our answer has to be: Can we afford not to do it? That being said, we hope it can be carried out in a way that is as simple as reasonably possible without sacrificing courage, wisdom and respect, and be carried out in a way that does not place too heavy a burden on priests, parish and archdiocesan staff members, and parishioners.”

Fr. Couturier  Background

A 1975 summa cum laude graduate of St. Anselm College, Fr. Couturier earned a Masters in Divinity from Maryknoll School of Theology in 1978, a Licentiate in Psychology from the Gregorian University in 1984 and his Ph.D. in Pastoral Psychology (Organizational Studies) from the Graduate Theological Foundation in 2005. 

Fr. Couturier joined the faculty of St. Mary’s Seminary & University as Director of Pastoral Formation in 2005 and served as Dean of the School of Theology before his appointment as Vice Rector.   From 2007-2008 he was also the Richard and Barbara Fisher Chair in Social Theology. His experiences are extensive including having served as Vicar Provincial of the Province of St. Mary of the Capuchin Order in New York from 2002-2005. 

Fr. Couturier is the past President of Franciscans International, a NGO at the United Nations (2000-2003).  An experienced organizational consultant and author who has published extensively, Fr. Couturier has lectured and provided workshops on matters involving pastoral administration and pastoral leadership both in the United States and around the world.
Fr. Couturier is scheduled to begin his service as Director of Pastoral Planning on May 4, 2009.

About the Archdiocese of Boston: The Archdiocese of Boston was founded on April 8, 1808 and was elevated to Archdiocese in 1875. Currently serving the needs of nearly 2 million Catholics, the Archdiocese of Boston is an ethnically diverse and spiritually enriching faith community consisting of 292 parishes, across 144 communities, educating approximately 46,000 students in its Catholic schools and 156,000 in religious education classes each year, ministering to the needs of more than one million patients annually in its hospitals and 200,000 individuals through its social service outreach. Mass is celebrated in nearly twenty different languages each week. For more information, please visit  http://www.BostonCatholic.org .