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Spotlight Report

Church extends capital schedule

Archdiocese spreads fund-raising plan

By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff, 3/12/2002

The Archdiocese of Boston, acknowledging that the clergy sexual abuse scandal is making it more difficult to raise money, is extending the length of its capital campaign by at least six months.

The church still expects to meet its $300 million goal - the most ambitious attempted by an American diocese - but will need more time to get there, according to Kenneth Hokenson, director of development for the archdiocese.

Hokenson said the extra time will be used to reduce the number of parishes raising money at any one time, and to allow the church's development experts to provide more support to pastors who are trying to raise money while answering questions about clergy sexual abuse.

''We're going to modify the plan, but the campaign will continue,'' Hokenson said after a meeting with pastors and others who are advising the church on its fund-raising campaign.

Hokenson said donors have so far pledged $170 million toward the campaign, which was formally launched last June. He said the church has raised $15 million since the clergy sexual abuse scandal broke with a Globe Spotlight Team report in January, but that he expected that amount would have been higher were it not for the current crisis.

He said that 49 donors, out of 16,000, have canceled their pledges, causing the church to lose $260,000, which is less than 1 percent of the money pledged.

Church officials have said that none of the money will be used for the settlement of abuse lawsuits.

''People understand that the many good works of the church are crucial, and we have to continue to fund the schools, Catholic Charities, health care, and all the services that help thousands, if not millions, of people in a given year,'' he said.

''That work has to continue, regardless of the difficulties we now face.''

Hokenson said the scandal does not appear to have affected the church's other fund-raising programs, particularly the weekly collection in parishes, which he said is up in some places because worshipers want to support their local priests. And he said the church plans to launch its annual operating budget campaign, the Cardinal's Appeal, in May, and that he also expects the cardinal to go ahead as usual with his annual garden party to raise money for Catholic Charities.

By changing the capital campaign schedule, Hokenson said, the church will be able to give more assistance to parishes as they raise money.

Originally the campaign had been scheduled to run through December; now the campaign will be extended at least through June 30, 2003, and the end date is flexible, Hokenson said.

''We try to give the best answers possible, and the answers are that this situation is a tragedy that is causing a great deal of pain and uncertainty,'' he said. ''The campaign would have been easier if this had not occurred, but we just have to deal with this as a church.''

Under the church's original fund-raising plan, the archdiocese was divided into five groups, with each group getting 12-16 weeks to raise funds. Under the new plan, the archdiocese will be divided into seven fund-raising groups.

Whereas originally 90 parishes were raising money at a time, the next group will have only 25-30 parishes in it, and many parishes will not start raising money for several more months.

The money is to be used for Catholic education, including teacher salaries, for recruitment and training of priests, deacons, and lay leaders, and for social services, health care, and a discretionary fund for the cardinal. Parishes will be allowed to keep 25 percent of the money they raise.

Michael Paulson can be reached at

This story ran on page B1 of the Boston Globe on 3/12/2002.
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