Boston Archdiocese Forms Lay Committee to Oversee Church-Closure Funds.

The committee, dubbed, “The Parish Reconfiguration Fund Oversight Committee” will monitor how the funds from closed parishes will be allocated and used, and will give recommendations as the closings continue throughout the holiday season

Catholic Archbishop Sean O’Malley on Tuesday announced the formation of an independent committee to review the financial transactions involved in the massive Boston-area church closures. The committee, dubbed, “The Parish Reconfiguration Fund Oversight Committee” will monitor how the funds from closed parishes will be allocated and used, and will give recommendations as the closings continue throughout the holiday season.

The formation of the group came only days after the archdiocese decided to drop its plans to close one of the chosen churches.

Since August 2004, the archdiocese began closing 83 of its 357 parishes because of shortage in priests, falling attendance and the rising cost of maintaining dilapidated chapels. In recent months, worshippers in nearly a dozen “chosen” parishes rebelled against the closure by locking themselves in the chapel.

For the most part, O’Malley emphasized that the overnight vigils and lock-ins will not affect the initial decision to close the chosen churches. However, this week, the archdiocese announced that it would at least give two Stoughton area churches the choice to keep one chapel open.

O’Malley also called on the parishioners from the two churches to make the decision as to which church should close its doors forever, on their own.

Accordingly, the Parish Reconfiguration Fund Oversight Committee is led by parishioners and laymen. The Committee, which began operating informally in September, will report their progress to the archdiocesan newspaper, the Pilot.

"We appreciate that our archbishop recognizes the importance of obtaining independent review and advice from lay Catholics and hope that this serves as a model for our Church in the future," said the committee's chairman, David Castaldi, a prominent member of the lay reform group Voice of the Faithful.

Other committee members include Maureen Corcoran, Nan-Marie Jaeger, Kathleen Rabe, Norman Sabbey and Timothy Schiavoni.