You have heard of our most recently established
board: the Diocesan Review Board. Composed of ten people of
distinguished professional background and extensive experience, it is
assisting us in further developing and implementing our policies on
sexual and physical abuse. We have already begun to meet and to work.
the same time I am profoundly grateful to the many people who have been
providing excellent work for some time on a number of excellent boards:
the Catholic Health System Board of Directors, the Diocesan Board of
Catholic Education, the Catholic Charities Board of Trustees, the Baker
Victory Services Board of Directors, the Diocese of Buffalo Foundation
Just recently the Christ the King Seminary Board of
Trustees, composed mostly of lay people, was applauded for its excellent
work by both the Association of Theological Schools and the Middle
The Diocese of Buffalo manages its financial
resources carefully with the assistance of a number of important
committees and consultants. The independent firm of Deloitte and Touche
audits the financial statements of the Central Administrative Offices.
This work is reviewed in its entirety by the Diocesan Finance Council
and the Diocesan Audit Committee, consisting of professional lay persons
whose experience is from the business community in finance and
administration. The complete results are published in the Western New
York Catholic for the information of all in Western New York.
professional money management firms manage our diocesan investments.
The firms are selected based on the recommendations of an independent
Investment Committee of competent lay people. The Diocese also retains
New England Pension Consultants to assist the Diocese and the Committee
with our supervision of the investment process and the performance of
its managers. Managers who do not perform up to their benchmarks are
The Diocese also has two separate Boards of Trustees who review the Lay and Priests' Pension Plans, respectively.
We also have a special diocesan committee of lay people who convene on matters related to real estate.
list goes on. We have the Priests' Council, the College of Consultors,
the Board of Episcopal Vicars, the Leadership Conference of Women
Religious, the Bishop's Council of the Laity, the Diocesan Pastoral
Council, Vicariate Councils, Parish Councils, Parish Finance Committees,
School Boards for Catholic High Schools, Parish Education Committees
for Elementary Schools and Religious Education Programs, the Diocesan
Liturgical Commission, the Diocesan Musicians Guild.
Then we have
the Diocesan Council for Persons with Disabilities, the Diocesan Council
of Catholic Youth, the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, the Diocesan
Council of Catholic Men.
I should mention also that there are
clergy, religious, and lay people working together on ad hoc committees
and planning groups in Vicariates and clusters of parishes addressing
challenges for the future.
I take all of our consultative groups,
councils, boards, committees, etc., very seriously. I have no interest
in wasting people's time. There is strong theological support for these
developments: we all have a responsibility for service and mission from
Baptism. There is also sound practical wisdom here: we have superbly
educated people with extremely valuable life experience and inspiring
commitment to the Church interested in offering their service and
leadership to the Diocese.
All of this facilitates accountability
and transparency in the Church. With deep appreciation I pray for God's
blessings on all of us in 2003. Many minds, and hearts, and God's grace
make for a better Church.
Most Rev. Henry J. Mansel
Bishop of Buffalo
January 1, 2003