By Michael G. Sarafa
With the massive growth in the Chaldean Diocese and ongoing financial management needs, Bishop Francis moved earlier this year to formally create a Diocesan Finance Council. They mulled over the idea of the Council over the years but it has not taken hold in the long run until now. The need is not only there but the Council is an actual requirement of the Code of Canon Law.
Arkan Jonna and I met with Bishop Francis and Monsignor Kejbou earlier this summer to lay the groundwork for the creation of the Council. It was agreed that members should be steeped in financial and legal knowledge as well as board governance and fiduciary matters. It was also agreed that the Finance Council would operate under the provisions of Canon Law. Experts from outside the community were also tapped to serve.
Rounding out the Council are CPA Jason Alkamano, Attorney Neb Mekani, Auditor Paul Cenko and CPA Harry Cendrowski who also has worked with the Archdiocese of Detroit. Attorney Ramy Sesi joined more recently and is heading up the Legal Committee which has been tasked with reviewing the legal structure of the Diocese and proposing changes based on the current times.
The vast resources of the Archdiocese of Detroit have been made available to assist with this endeavor. This includes the assistance of retired Bishop Walter Hurley who himself is a Canon Law expert. Bishop Hurley formerly served as Pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington Hills before being tapped by Pope Benedict as Bishop of the Grand Rapids Diocese. Just this past month, the Vatican appointed him as Apostolic Administrator of the Saginaw Diocese after the sudden passing of their Bishop.
The first task of the Council was to identify potential CFO candidates for Bishop Francis to interview and hire. This has been accomplished. The new CFO will work closely with Bishop Francis and the Finance Council to put in place proper reporting procedures for all the parishes, the Diocese and all Diocesan related functions.
The goal of the new Council is to support the Bishop and all the clergy in their ministries with an eye towards accountability and transparency with and among each other and all the faithful.