May 31, 2018
Dear Brothers in Christ,
On this Feast of the Visitation, I write to share the good news that an agreement has been reached to resolve the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese. The consensual agreement, reached after much hard work, both establishes a trust fund totaling approximately $210 million dollars that will be available for the resolution of the bankruptcy claims, while providing a channeling injunction for all of the parishes of the Archdiocese, enabling all of us to avoid further litigation and to carry on our mission of spreading and living the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I am particularly grateful to the victims/survivors who have bravely come forward. Without their courage and persistence, today would not have been possible. The Church let them down and we are humbled that they allow us to begin to make amends.
I am also grateful to Judge Robert Kressel for the direction he provided which led to this settlement and to Magistrate Arthur Boylan and Paul Van Osselaer for their extraordinary efforts as our mediators. They were true honest brokers in working with all parties.
Gratitude is owed as well to Jeff Anderson, Mike Finnegan, Rob Kuglar and many other advocates who worked so passionately on behalf of survivors. They, along with the counsel for the parishes – Margo Brownell, Mary Jo Jensen-Carter and Dennis O’Brien — played a vital role in helping us all find a path to a just and fair resolution. I am likewise grateful to our legal team from Briggs and Morgan, Charlie Rogers, Lauren Lonergan and Rich Anderson who worked tirelessly to analyze, address and advance this matter for over three years, while respecting our Gospel values and objectives. And I would be remiss if I failed to thank Tom Abood, the chair of the Archdiocesan Finance Council and chair of the Reorganization Task Force. His volunteer work on the Archdiocese’s behalf was the key to this resolution.
Many others deserve gratitude – you the clergy, your parishioners, the Archdiocesan staff, and the many volunteers throughout the Archdiocese. You have relied on our Lord in the Eucharist, your families, friends, and fellow clergy for strength during these most difficult of times that have tested the faith of many. Please know of my gratitude and please continue to reach out in love and generosity to those around you who are hurting and are in need of healing.
Even as we take another step toward providing justice to survivors of abuse, we know our work in this regard is not complete. Our Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment team – under the direction of Judge Tim O’Malley – will continue its work on demonstrable actions to ensure our churches, schools and communities are safe places for all. Our December 2015 Settlement Agreement with the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office that established what County Attorney John Choi called “unprecedented” child safety policies, continues to be the national standard for maintaining safe environments. Our progress reports to the court since that time evidence our commitment to permanent change and with the settlement today we reaffirm our efforts to protect children and vulnerable adults.
While today marks the end of a difficult period for many, today really signals a new beginning. The completion of the bankruptcy process allows pursuit of a new day that has many realities – atonement, healing and restoration of trust.
In closing, I ask that you continue to pray for those who have been harmed and for all the generous men and women who so faithfully serve this local Church. With every personal best wish and prayer, I remain
Fraternally in Christ,
Most Reverend Bernard A. Hebda
Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
777 Forest Street | Saint Paul, MN 55106-3857 | T: 651.291.4511 | F: 651. 291.4549 | www.archspm.org | email@example.com