Bishop Zubik announces balanced budget for Central Administration

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Robert P. Lockwood


Amid fears that a continuing ailing economy and an early projection of a $2.4 million deficit would lead to widespread layoffs, Bishop David A. Zubik informed the pastoral staff of the central administration of the Diocese of Pittsburgh on August 29th that “we have a budget that is balanced, and a new organizational structure to carry it out.”

Through a combination of over $1 million cuts in non-staff expense in central administration, voluntary retirements and a structural reorganization that eliminated 25 full-time positions, 8 part-time positions, and created 10 new positions, “we have been able to reach where we need to be now,” Bishop Zubik said.

With the new positions necessary to meet the needs of the structural reorganization and vacancies created by those who chose to retire, the number of lay staff displacements was kept to a minimum – two full-time and one part-time.

“This has been accomplished through right-sizing our diocesan staff to fit our needs and resources, strategic reorganization, and conducting our study in an objective but compassionate way,” Bishop Zubik said.

“Combined with careful cutbacks in expenses,” Bishop Zubik told pastoral staff, the projected budget deficit had been eliminated.

“The decisions were not easy,” Bishop Zubik said. “But they were done with care, precision and professionalism. And with the clear understanding that we are first and foremost Church, not a corporation trying to build an attractive bottom-line.”       

  “This reorganization has changed our pastoral staff dramatically. Every area of diocesan pastoral staff has been impacted. Secretariats have been re-structured, positions have been eliminated. This reorganization has affected everyone who is part of pastoral staff – clergy, religious and laity,” Bishop Zubik explained.      

 “This reorganization combined with the changes introduced to meet the budget deficit have created an entirely new, streamlined diocesan structure that dramatically changes for the better the ministry and service of central administration,” Father Ronald Lengwin, General Secretary of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, stated.   

A reorganization of the structure of the central administration has been under way for the last several years to better achieve the vision outlined by Bishop Zubik in his first pastoral letter, “The Church Alive!” (June 29, 2008).

The reorganization of central administration follows the earlier appointment by Bishop Zubik of four regional vicars to serve directly the 204 parishes of the six-county diocese.

The reorganization, which will be effective on October 1st, will create among other widespread changes in diocesan structure, a new “Secretariat for Leadership Development.”

That new Secretariat will include Pre-ordination and Post-ordination formation for both priests and deacons; formation of Lay Ministers, the continued formation of Parish Advisory Councils, and Youth and Young Adult Ministry.

Much of the extensive reorganization of central administration combines, streamlines and realigns departments, offices and services of central administration to better serve parishes (see accompanying organizational chart).

These changes, announced in May in the Pittsburgh Catholic, will be profiled in a series of articles beginning in the Pittsburgh Catholic in October.   

As with many dioceses throughout the country, the Diocese of Pittsburgh has faced the dual problems of a declining population and a weak economy.

“Most of our parishes have faced these difficulties and struggle with their own limited resources,” Father Lengwin said. “The impact is no different on the central administration of the diocese.”

“While the faithful here are so generous in their support of the Church of Pittsburgh,” Father Lengwin said, “the reality of the economic situation and our declining Catholic population means that we have fewer resources.   

 “Bishop Zubik has made it clear that central administration must be careful stewards of our resources that come from the faithful and our parishes, and that means we must not operate at a deficit,” he said.

“Our work on this budget and our restructuring have put us into the best position to serve the Church of Pittsburgh well,” Father Lengwin said.

“I cannot promise that we have solved every problem. I cannot promise that events will not take place, particularly in the economy, that will impact us in a negative way. But I can promise that for now, we have addressed our present difficulties,” Bishop Zubik said.

“There is no way that I can fully express my love, appreciation and admiration for all you do,” Bishop Zubik told diocesan pastoral staff.

“There is no way that I can fully express my thanks for the years of service our colleagues that have chosen to retire gave to us. There is no way that I can fully express my thanks for those who have agreed to undertake new assignments within our reorganization. I wish that I could ease the sadness of those leaving and our sadness at their departure.

“We begin a new time in service to the Church of Pittsburgh. We carry on the labors of those who came before us, and carry on our labors for those who will come after us,” Bishop Zubik concluded.