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Update on diocesan reorganization case

By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

October 25, 2023

Dear Friends:

I am writing to update you on the status of the Diocesan reorganization case and its impact on all of us. With a lot of hard work by our fiscal office and our attorneys, we have secured the court permissions we need to operate the diocese in the ordinary course of business. Of great importance is our ability to continue our normal banking and investment procedures, which the bankruptcy court has authorized, subject to certain limitations and disclosure requirements. Among other things, we will need to establish and share with the creditors’ committee a budget for withdrawals and new loans from the Diocesan Deposit and Loan Fund and distributions from the Diocesan Trust Fund. We will also be required to file monthly operating reports disclosing all such transactions.

Parishes should continue to operate in the ordinary course. Parishes should continue their programs, worship, and social outreach to others. In order to assist the Diocese in complying with the bankruptcy court’s requirements regarding the Deposit and Loan Fund and Diocesan Trust Fund, however, we have asked pastors to plan ahead as much as possible, and to please request any new loans, withdrawals or trust distributions at least 45 days in advance of the date they anticipate needing to receive the funds. Of course, if an emergency arises, we will do our best to expedite the process. Additionally, we have asked pastors and other administrators to make only such requests that are necessary to support normal operations and necessary repairs.

At the present time, state court lawsuits against our parishes, schools and other entities are stayed. The Diocese’s expectation is that these lawsuits will be settled on a global basis as part of the mediation process in the reorganization case.

Our attorneys have worked hard to get all parties to the table in mediation to resolve all contested issues, including the settlement of the Child Victims Act (CVA) lawsuits. We hope to have the preliminary work for mediation done by the end of January: selecting a mediator, bringing the mediator up to speed, exchanging documents and information between all parties (Diocese, Parishes, Creditors, Insurers), and begin settlement talks in February. Our insurers are participating in the process for mediation. While we anticipate difficult negotiations with the insurance carriers and creditors, it is good to have them participating in the process this early in the case. All parties agree that mediation is the way to go. The parishes will be represented by Jeffrey Dove, Esq., and the five-member Parish Steering Committee (Father Demo – Chair, Fathers Morgan, Diesbourg, Robinson and Hauser).

Lastly, we expect that the bar date for filing claims will be January 18, 2024. Please pray that our work continues to move along and that a just outcome for all is attained. We are committed to fairly compensating survivors of sexual abuse. We must keep them uppermost in our thoughts and prayers as we continue our mission to serve the faithful of the North Country. We ask for your continuing support and prayers as we work together as a Catholic Family to resolve the challenges we face.

If you have any questions about any of these matters, please contact Father O’Brien or Mark Mashaw. Thank you for your prayerful support. Asking God to bless you abundantly, I am,

Faithfully yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Terry R. LaValley
Bishop of Ogdensburg

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