Fr. Richard Erikson's Letter FY06

Fr. Richard Erikson's Letter from Annual Report Fiscal Year 2006

Greetings,

In the Archdiocese of Boston, we have the extraordinary privilege of worshipping Jesus Christ as a family of nearly 2 million Catholics, in 295 parishes, across 144 communities. We are educating and passing on the faith to nearly 50,000 students each year in our Catholic schools and 156,000 children in our religious education classes. We continue the healing ministry of Christ for more than one million patients annually in our hospitals and continue the Lord’s care for those most in need for 200,000 individuals through our social service outreach. Mass is celebrated in close to twenty languages each week. We are a very blessed and diverse body of Christ.

“To those whom much is given, much is expected.” Those of us who work and minister in the administration of the Archdiocese are committed to service to our parishes, schools, social service agencies, hospitals and cemeteries. Over the past year we have redoubled our efforts at service on behalf of all who call the Archdiocese of Boston home. The attached Annual Report gives an account of our stewardship of the generous resources we have been given for the care of God’s people. At the heart of the Archdiocese of Boston is the strength and life of our parishes and much of our energy and resources are devoted to parish life.

We established the Office of Regional Services, led by Sister Marian Batho, CSJ , to bring services closer to parishes by helping them find the resources they need, both inside and outside the chancery. The office connects a parish with the appropriate professionals at the chancery who can help meet the parish’s particular need. We have a dedicated and professional staff ready to provide assistance in pastoral care, planning, finance, risk management, technology services, real estate and cultural diversity, to name a few areas of expertise. We are also creating programs for staff development and providing opportunities for parishes to share best practices with one another.

Last December, we installed two new Auxiliary Bishops to help us better serve our clergy and parishes. Considered by all to be respected pastors within our own Archdiocese, we are blessed that Bishop John A. Dooher (South Region) and Bishop Robert F. Hennessey (Central Region) have now joined Bishop Emilio S. Allué (Merrimack Region), Bishop Francis X. Irwin, (North Region) and Bishop Walter James Edyvean (West Region) in helping Cardinal Seán minister to the faithful. Working in concert with Sr. Marian, we envision a more efficient, responsive effort in meeting the pastoral needs of the Archdiocese. We give thanks and offer our continued blessings for a lifetime of achievement and service to the Catholic faithful by retired Bishop John P. Boles, D.Ed., D.D.

An important part of our ministry has been to enhance communication. This past year we completed the transition from the postal service and faxes to emails and Internet as our primary means of communication. We reach thousands of individuals instantly now through the use of email. We also created an intranet site designed specifically to allow clergy, religious and parish staffs to get information quickly and in a user friendly way. We are saving tens of thousands of dollars through this effort, all the while providing instant communications to a growing number of clergy, religious and lay leaders in the Archdiocese.

This past year, Cardinal Seán launched his blog, cardinalseansblog.org. His regular posts allow him to communicate directly with Catholics of all ages. He also is now podcasting, recording video messages that can be downloaded from iCatholic.com, courtesy of the Archdiocese’s own Catholic TV. The Archdiocesan newspaper, The Pilot, launched a new and exciting website  www.thebostonpilot.com and provides up to the minute news and Catholic perspective.

These are just a few examples of the many ways we are making every effort to be good and faithful stewards of the resources that have been entrusted to our care. I keep in my view three questions to help me assess how we are furthering the ministry of Christ in the Archdiocese of Boston. These questions serve to keep me grounded in what is most important in the ministry I have been called to by Cardinal Seán:

Am I giving Glory and Honor to God?
Am I serving Christ and His Church?
Am I honoring and respecting those I serve and those with whom I serve?
We are grateful to our many benefactors for providing us with the resources we need to continue the ministry of Christ in a way that exudes glory, honor, respect and service.

Very Reverend Richard M. Erikson, Ph.D.
Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia