By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T

The nearly completed archdiocesan Capital Campaign has successfully garnered more than $200 million in gifts and pledges to assist the Archdiocese into the future in its various ministries. In addition to much-needed funding it has served to increase awareness of these ministries and galvanize community leaders to become more involved through time and talent.

One outcome of this is the formation of the Cardinal’s Cabinet, an idea first suggested by Mark Nicoletti, a member of the campaign’s Leadership Gifts Task Force and vice president of Philadelphia Suburban Development Corp. {{more}}

In September Cardinal Rigali hosted a breakfast meeting for approximately 50 members of the just-forming group, and they heard presentations by Joseph Sweeney, secretary for Catholic Human Services; Richard McCarron, secretary for Catholic Education; Donna Farrell, director of communications; and Glenn Masakowski, former secretary for Temporal Services.

The cabinet is made up of mostly younger Catholic men and women – a group the Archdiocese would like to encourage to become more active in the work of the Church, said Auxiliary Bishop Timothy C. Senior, archdiocesan Vicar for Administration.

“The Cardinal’s Cabinet is primarily a networking group and has no governance authority as such,” he said. “Members participate in the work of the Archdiocese through their membership on various boards. That said, the group is given the opportunity to get to know the Archdiocese – our strengths and our challenges – and will have the opportunity to discuss their observations from the perspective of their experience with one another, with archdiocesan leadership in the four major spanisions and with the bishops and the Cardinal.”

At this point, with a definite structure for the group coming together and with more than 50 members representing various areas of expertise, the members and their families attended a Dec. 20 Mass at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary celebrated by Cardinal Rigali with a reception following.

Currently, Bishop Senior said, the members of the cabinet are being categorized according to areas where their professional expertise might be of service to the Archdiocese through membership on existing boards of directors, advisory boards and committees, or some boards in the process of being developed; for example a Real Estate Committee or Development Committee.

Nicoletti serves as chairman of the Cardinal’s Cabinet; Michael Tierney, a partner with the law firm Dilworth Paxson is vice chairman. In addition there are three co-chairs for each of four affinity groups including human services, education, media affairs and temporal and financial matters. The executive committee, which includes Bishop Senior, the chairs and co-chairs, will meet four times a year, including twice with Cardinal Rigali.

In addition, the members of the four affinity groups will meet with their co-chairs and the auxiliary bishop who oversees that area of archdiocesan administration in which they are serving to discuss general issues related to their affinity group. It is anticipated there will be special meetings of the group as a whole with the Cardinal twice annually.

The Cardinal’s Cabinet “is an unprecedented effort to integrate energy, passion and intellectual capital of successful Catholics (through board memberships) in the decision-making process of the Archdiocese,” Nicoletti said. “In return, Cardinal Rigali intends the Cardinal’s Cabinet experience to be personally satisfying on several levels: professional, social and spiritual. The Cardinal’s Cabinet will host business networking events that will bring cabinet members together with business, civic and political leaders from the region.”

Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.