In keeping with Archbishop Charles Chaput’s June pledge to release audited financial statements for every major archdiocesan entity, a statement audited by the accounting firm Grant Thornton for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office for Catholic Cemeteries covering the year ending June 30, 2012, has just been released.
The Cemeteries Office was one of 15 separate entities that operate separately and distinctly from the archdiocesan Office for Financial Services and were not included in financial statement of OFS released in early July.
That statement, also audited by Grant Thornton, basically covered the central administration of the archdiocese only.
(See all the financial statements here.)
The Statement of Financial Position (the balance sheet) for the Cemeteries Office discloses assets of $67,111,162.
While the archdiocese lists 14 diocesan-owned (as opposed to parish-owned) cemeteries in the Catholic Directory, six of them are filled, except for plots previously purchased.
Cemeteries’ assets include Holy Cross with columbarium space only; Holy Sepulchre, SS. Peter and Paul and Resurrection with burial privileges, mausolea and columbaria; St. John Neumann with burial privileges; and All Saints and All Souls, land held for future use.
Combined, these land assets equal $14,675,641.
But whether a cemetery is accepting new burials or not, it must be maintained, which is why sufficient funds must be retained and invested to cover perpetual care costs. The Cemeteries Office designates a flat fee of $150 per grave and a percentage fee per crypt to provide for future maintenance.
Total income and gains for the year was $13,471,610; total expenses were $17,863,171 with $12,434,244 of that for employee salaries and benefits. The next largest listed expense was a $2 million assessment by the archdiocese.
On paper, a significant change was made in the calculation of assets. The Cemeteries Office, which previously had not recorded depreciation on its assets, adopted standard accounting procedures concerning long-lived assets for non-profit organizations that resulted in a prior-period adjustment for depreciation of $10,061,799.
For asset purposes, equipment, furniture, fixtures, building roads and improvements were reduced from $12,861,699 to $2,379,122 because of accumulated depreciation.
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Regarding perpetual care and maintenance, are the funds for those purposes in a trust restricting it to only those uses and protecting it from the Archdiocese’s creditors?
Some dioceses seem to see the cemetery money as fungible, a problem in itself, and the present Milwuakee controversy should make us all pay attention. We need to ensure that all of the restricted funds for various charitable endeavors are protected and are used only for those restricted purposes.
Money contributed for priests’ pensions and for retired religous, should be similarly restricted and protected.