On October 1, 2020, the Diocese of Rockville Centre (DRVC) announced that as a civil corporation, it has filed for Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code to manage legal expenses and facilitate settlements with abuse survivors. The Diocese sent every parish pertinent information regarding the filing for Chapter 11. The Bishop also met with pastors to further explain the context and consequences of this action. We want to make the parishioners of St. Joseph aware of the following points of information that we have received from the Diocese and as they were presented at that pastors’ meeting.
1. St. Joseph Parish is a separate legal entity from the Diocese and not part of this action on the part of the Diocese. St. Joseph Parish is not filing for bankruptcy, nor is it included in the Diocese’s action. Our daily operations and the celebration of Sacraments and regular parish life will be unaffected by the action taken by the Diocese.
2. Understandably, this may raise concerns from families, employees, and community members as to the impact on the operations and stability of DRVC elementary and high schools. Each DRVC school, while affiliated with the Diocese, is a separate legal entity from the Diocese and is also not included in the bankruptcy filing.
3. Our schools will continue to pursue a variety of initiatives aimed at stabilizing and revitalizing. The Chapter 11 filing and the related legal proceedings will not have direct impact on the day-to-day operations of our schools.
4. The continued employment, salaries, and benefits of DRVC school and parish employees will not be impacted by this filing.
5. Tuition, philanthropic support, parish support of schools will, as always, be fully dedicated to funding the operations of the schools and is not impacted by the Diocese’s Chapter 11 filing.
6. As of this time, neither St. Joseph Parish nor any pastoral staff nor any parish employee has had any charge or complaint brought against them.
7. In October 2019, St. Joseph Parish retained the legal services of Cullen & Dykman LLP to provide legal services and advice in the event of such filing on the part of the Diocese to protect our parish assets, which are separate from those of the Diocese. At this time, it does not appear that parish assets, savings, and/or investments are deemed vulnerable.
8. The Diocese will continue to administer health and welfare benefits, along with the various retiree programs, without interruption. The funds for these programs are held in trusts and can only be used for their specified recipients.
9. All parish activities and ministries will continue.
10. Any settlement will be determined based on the assets of the Diocese and will not include any parish offertory donations collected during Mass or contributions to the Catholic Ministries Appeal. Parish collection income will be used for activities at this parish. No contributions from the offertory collection will be used to settle claims. All expenses and payments from the Diocese will be reviewed and approved by the court.
11. The bankruptcy process should bring closure to the Diocese and a release for all parishes from any and all abuse claims. The extension of the New York State Child Victims Act into 2021 has not allowed the liability to be quantified at this time. As we move through the settlement process, additional information will become available.
12. The Chapter 11 process will provide parishes with a conduit for resolving their individual abuse cases under the ultimate settlement process. (Again, we have none in St. Joseph.) The Diocese will work with those parishes toward the goal of completing a settlement that includes a comprehensive and final resolution for suffering survivors. Bankruptcy filing is intended to address the need to respond to the victims of abuse. According to the bankruptcy court process, all proceedings will be transparent – nothing will be hidden.
For more information on the Diocesan Reorganization, visit our parish website or the Diocesan website, www.drvc.org, and click on the “Diocesan Reorganization” icon to view Bishop Barres’ words to the people of our Diocese.
We continue to pray for all victims of abuse, for our Diocese and our parish, and for justice and healing, that we might continue the Church’s Sacramental ministry and her mission of Evangelization.
Prayer for Healing for Victims of Abuse
God of endless love, ever caring, ever strong, always present, always just:
You gave your only Son to save us by the blood of his cross.
Gentle Jesus, shepherd of peace, join to your own suffering
the pain of all who have been hurt in body, mind, and spirit
by those who betrayed the trust placed in them.
Hear the cries of our brothers and sisters who have been gravely harmed,
and the cries of those who love them.
Soothe their restless hearts with hope, steady their shaken spirits with faith.
Grant them justice for their cause, enlightened by your truth.
Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts, heal your people’s wounds
and transform brokenness into wholeness.
Grant us the courage and wisdom, humility and grace, to act with justice.
Breathe wisdom into our prayers and labors.
Grant that all harmed by abuse may find peace in justice.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.