Diocesan Commitment to Financial Transparency

The Diocese of Bridgeport, in the continued practice of full transparency, has released its Consolidated Financial Statements as well as The Faith in the Future Fund, Inc. financial statements for the Fiscal Year ended June 30, 2016.

“One of Bishop Caggiano’s continued priorities is to provide a clear, transparent and comprehensive account of the finances of the diocese each year to ensure we are good stewards of funds entrusted to us, and we issue these audit reports in that spirit of transparency,” said Michael Hanlon, chief financial officer.

The Diocese of Bridgeport’s consolidated financial statements reported operational revenues, support and other changes totaling $75.0 million and total expenses from operations before depreciation of $ 74.4 million, resulting in income from operations before depreciation of approximately $600,000 for the eighteen-month period ended June 30, 2016.

The audit reports total assets of approximately $88.0 million, which includes $38.6 million in property, buildings and equipment, $9.2 million in beneficial interests in third party trusts, $8.2 million in investments and $3.4 million in receivables from related diocesan entities.

Liabilities total approximately $158.0 million, which include $130.6 million in underfunded pension and other retirement benefit obligations and $8.3 million in a note payable to the Knights of Columbus.

Hanlon said the diocesan fiscal policy continues to focus on a strategy of returning the diocese to financial stability and long-term growth and viability. Strategies include the goals of eliminating debt, controlling medical and other benefit costs and developing options related to reducing longterm pension liabilities.

“Last year the diocese initiated many steps to continue our financial turn-around plan and those strategies are starting to reap benefits. Medical insurance benefit cost increases have been controlled and are less than national averages. Certain assets will be sold in the near future to further reduce the Knights of Columbus loan balance and annual interest payments.

Hanlon said strategic school reorganization plans will reduce the medical and insurance burden absorbed by the diocese, while pastoral and strategic planning is on-going within our parishes.

Cemetery operations have been evaluated and a management company has been engaged to provide an executive director and to develop a future strategic vision. And lastly, a committee has been established to formulate options related to the underfunded future pension benefit obligations.

Additionally, many successes have been realized. Initiatives arising from the synod are being implemented and some are partially funded. The $3.5 million expansion project for The Catherine Dennis Keefe Queen of Clergy residence for retired priests has been completed. The Bishops Scholarship Fund has awarded over $2.1 million in scholarship aid. The St. John Fisher Seminary remodeling project has the necessary funds earmarked for a phase one construction project this summer, Hanlon said.

The growth or establishment of various foundations continues to be a priority for Bishop Caggiano, which include The Faith in the Future Fund, Inc., Foundations in Education, Inc., and the establishment of a foundation for Catholic Charities of Fairfield County, all of which will provide much needed support for mission-related activities.

Programs included in the diocesan financial report include the St. John Fisher Seminary, The Queen of Clergy residence, the Newman Center at Western Connecticut State University, Teresian Towers and Carmel Ridge Estates, life use and rental properties for elderly residents, and pastoral care services for residents at nursing homes, formerly owned by diocesan related entities.

Additionally, the diocese directly operates fifteen Catholic cemeteries and publishes the Fairfield County Catholic, a monthly publication available to all Catholics in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport.

During 2014 the diocesan Finance Council approved a change in the fiscal year from December 31 to June 30 to align with diocesan parishes, schools and many other diocesan related entities. Therefore the diocesan financial statements are reported for an eighteen-month period ended June 30, 2016, Hanlon said.

Faith in the Future Fund, Inc., a related diocesan entity, is a Connecticut nonprofit, non-stock corporation formed in February 1996. Faith in the Future was established by the late Cardinal Edward M. Egan when he was Bishop of Bridgeport, to raise, manage and disburse funds raised by the Faith in the Future Endowment Campaign of the diocese.

“The purposes of the campaign were to create a permanent endowment to support Catholic education, vocation and seminary education, priests’ residence and retirement fund and diocesan ministries and programs,” Hanlon said.

Faith in the Future goals included ensuring the viability of diocesan elementary and secondary schools; continuing to develop priestly vocations and funding seminary education; providing appropriate support and facilities for retired clergy and enhancing the religious education programs in its parishes.

The Faith in the Future financial statements report revenues and support totaling $1.8 million and total expenses of $1.6 million resulting in an increase of net assets of $200,000 for the twelve-month period ended June 30, 2016. During this period, $1,593,000 was distributed for school support, programs and scholarships and other support for vocations, seminary and religious education programs.

Hanlon said some of the biggest challenges the diocese continues to face going forward include funding of care for a growing number of retired priests, assisting schools and parishes to a path to financial stability, and find solutions for longterm pension liabilities.

The Diocese of Bridgeport numbers 420,000 Catholics in 82 parishes throughout Fairfield County. It also educates more than 10,000 children and teens in 34 schools and provides religious education to an additional 36,000 students. Its network of Catholic Charities services sponsor’s 30 programs, including behavioral health services and feeding programs that provide over 1.5 million meals to the poor and elderly. There are also 240 priests, 103 deacons and 343 religious women and men serving in a wide range of ministries.

The complete audited reports are available online here.
Click for Diocesan Consolidated Financial Statement (PDF)
Click for Faith in the Future Financial Statement (PDF)