Letters to parishioners
As you may have heard, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Oakland filed a voluntary petition for bankruptcy relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code on May 8, 2023. The filing was made because of lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse brought against the Diocese under a recent California law that allowed decades-old claims otherwise barred by the normal statute of limitations to be filed. The federal bankruptcy process will provide a fair and equitable outcome for survivors of clergy sex abuse while allowing the Diocese to stabilize its finances and continue normal operations.
Because parishes are part of the corporate structure of The Roman Catholic Bishop of Oakland, St Joseph Parish is covered by the filing. However, all parish services, programs, ministries, and charitable activities will continue uninterrupted. Offertory and other financial contributions to the parish, our projects, Saint Vincent de Paul and second collections are not affected and will remain with the parish or the designated charity. Our projects and mission to bring Christ to others, make disciples and engage in works of mercy, charity, and justice will continue as planned.
All Catholic schools in the Diocese, including our St Joseph School, are part of separate legal entities and are not included or affected by the filing. Similarly, other entities affiliated with the Diocese such as Catholic Charities of the East Bay and Catholic Funeral and Cemetery Services are separate corporations and are not included or affected by the filing. Contributions to the Bishop’s Ministries Appeal and other specific Diocesan programs are restricted by law to their intended use and are not affected by the filing.
Friends, God has great plans for our parish community and together we will continue our undertakings. Recall the words our Lord Jesus proclaimed in John 16:33: “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” We move forward in courage with Christ at our center.
Please know we appreciate your support and grace during this period. Please keep the victims of clergy sexual abuse and our Diocese in your prayers, and reach out to me or the staff if you have any questions or concerns. You may also find updated information about the Diocese’s Chapter 11 filing on the Diocesan website: www.oakdiocese.org.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Father Anthony Huong Le
Q: Is our parish included in the RCBO Chapter 11 filing?
A: Yes. Our parish is legally part of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Oakland (RCBO), which is considered a corporate sole..
Q: Will our parish function differently now that bankruptcy has been filed?
A: No. Our parish operations will continue uninterrupted by the Chapter 11 filing.
Q: Will my donation to the parish during Mass now be used to settle sexual abuse lawsuits?
A: Monies given by parishioners will continue to be used as operating funds for our parish. Our parish relies on our donations to continue our works of mercy both within our parish and our community.
Q: If a parishioner has made a designated gift or donation to this parish, will that money remain here or can it be moved to RCBO for settlement purposes?
A: Designated gifts and donations are protected under state law and cannot be used to settle claims.
Q: RCBO administers the lay and clergy pensions along with health and welfare benefits for parishes. Will there be changes in these programs? Will these funds be available to use for settlements?
A: RCBO serves only as the administrator of these funds. The actual funds are held in trusts that are not available to any party for reasons other than the payments to beneficiaries as laid out in the various programs. We expect no changes in these programs as a result of the RCBO’s filing.
Q: What effect will the filing have on the operations and stability of our Catholic schools?
A: All Catholic schools that operate in the diocese are part of separate legal entities and therefore are not included in the bankruptcy filing. They will continue to operate as normal and employees will be paid as usual.
Q: Is there a chance money for the RCBO schools could be used to pay abuse settlements?
A: Tuition, philanthropic support, and parish support of schools will, as always, be fully dedicated to funding the operations of the schools and are not impacted by RCBO’s Chapter 11 filing.
Q: Will the programs and ministries of the diocese, such as marriage preparation, Hispanic ministry, CYO sports and others, continue uninterrupted?
A: Yes. We recognize these are vital programs for our parishioners and the people of our communities and will continue to provide these essential ministries.
The Chapter 11 process has been undertaken to bring closure to all lawsuits facing the Diocese, which includes all of the parishes as well. As we move through the settlement process, additional information will be available..
Additional Information is available at www.oakdiocese.org.
Letters to parishioners