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Letter from Bishop Michael F. Burbidge

Diocese of ArlingtonDear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Diocese of Arlington is blessed with a faithful and generous people, as witnessed in parish offertory, the annual Bishop’s Lenten Appeal, our diocesan Scholarship Foundation and the Partners United in the Heart of Christ Leadership Initiative. With these blessings comes a responsibility that is not to be taken lightly.

I am mindful that your faithful stewardship must be honored with open and transparent management of these resources. To ensure responsible administration of these funds, we have many safeguards in place. As required by canon law, the Diocesan Finance Council is made up of laity and clergy of the Diocese and is charged with preparing the annual diocesan budget and making recommendations to me regarding administrative and financial matters. Each parish also has its own Finance Council that provides budget oversight and assists and advises its pastor. Additional safeguards which protect the assets entrusted to the Church include: strict procedures regarding the handling of offertory, internal audit requirements, and annual financial reporting.

In 2010, the Diocese built upon this structure by implementing a toll-free fraud hotline through an independent service provider, EthicsPoint. This hotline, available in both English and Spanish, provides a confidential method of reporting financial, accounting and administrative concerns, as well as employee misconduct. All reports are taken seriously and promptly investigated; when requested, anonymity is provided.

This hotline is an important additional safeguard in our management of resources, and I encourage both employees and volunteers who perceive possible misuse of Church assets or unethical practices to report such concerns. Let us continue to work together in building a culture of stewardship and fiscal accountability.

As the Holy Father, Pope Francis has noted, "Economy and finance are dimensions of human activity and can be occasions of encounter, of dialogue, of cooperation, of recognized rights and of services rendered, of dignity affirmed in work."

With an assurance of my continued prayers for you, I am

Sincerely in Christ,

Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge
Bishop of Arlington