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Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse Building Commission

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse Building Commission is responsible to ensure that all projects initiated with the Diocese of Syracuse are in compliance with the corporate structure of each parish and institution.  Proper approval by the Bishop as President of each corporation within the Diocese is required for all projects noted in these regulations. 

Building Commission Members


Bishop Douglas J. Lucia

Rev. John Kurgan, Vicar General


Building Commission Chair

Rev. John Kurgan



Danielle Cummings, Chancellor

Stephen Breen, C.F.O.

Fr. John Manno

Brian McAuliffe, Risk Management

Rev. Christopher Seibt, Liturgical

Rev. Msgr. James Lang, Vicar for Parishes

Ed King, Facilities Manager


Trustee’s Resolution are required prior to any of the following projects below: 

·         New constructionrenovation projects or any expenditure over $25,000
·         Any Liturgical changes to worship space regardless of cost
·         Donation of Real Property
·         Purchasing and /or disposing of Real Property
·         All short or long term LEASES or RENTALS of any Parish / Diocesan Property
·         Borrowing money over $10,000 from either a Lending institution or another diocesan entity
·         Feasibility Study for Capital Campaign when the cost exceeds $10,000
·         To execute a Capital Campaign


 If the total cost of a project is estimated to be $10,000 but less than $50,000 – See Section A below:

 Section A New Construction, Repairs or Renovation; the total cost is between $10,000, but less than $50,000

 1.       Submit a written proposal to the Bishop’s Office to include:

a.       Scope of, support for and rationale for project

b.       Estimated cost of project

c.       Plan to finance project

d.       List of contractors you wish to have bid on project 

2.      Chancellor will review proposal with Construction/Facilities Manager and distribute to various other members of the Building Commission.

3.      After written approval is received from the Bishop’s Office, the pastor in consultation with the trustees and the Parish Council will proceed with the bidding phase of the project.  A minimum of two bids are required.  Bidding contractors should be invited to be present.

4.      When the bids have been received and reviewed by the Pastor, Trustees and Parish Council, a recommendation should be made to the Bishop in the form of a Trustee’s Resolution.  The lowest qualified bidder must be awarded the project.

5.       When approval is received from the Bishop’s Office a written contract may be signed with the selected contractor.

Section B – New Construction, Repairs or Renovation – Total Cost between $50,000 - $500,000

1.     Submit a written proposal to the Bishop’s Office to include:

a.          Scope of, support for and rationale for project

b.          10 year projection of other maintenance/repair needs of parish (e.g., roofs, boilers, parking lots)

c.          Estimated cost of project

d.          Plan to finance project

e.          Proposed architect for project

2.        Chancellor will review proposal with Construction/Facilities Manager and distribute to various other members of the Building 
3.        After written approval is received from the Bishop’s Office, preliminary drawings may be developed and fund raising may be initiated.
4.        Submit final report on fund raising/finances, proposed contract with architect, and preliminary drawings to Bishop’s Office for review.
5.        After written approval from Bishop’s Office, contract with architect, detailed drawings and list of proposed bidders may be developed.
6.        Detailed drawings and list of bidders are formally presented to Diocesan Building Commission.  The Commission will consider                            accessibility and just labor practices in its evaluation of proposals. Upon modification and/or approval, the project may be put out to                 bid.
7.        Bids are opened at the Chancery.  After review of bids by Pastor and Parish Council, a recommendation is made to the Bishop in the                 form of a Trustee’s Resolution.  The resolution and certificates of insurance are forwarded to the Bishop’s Office.
8.        Upon approval of resolution, contract may be signed with the selected contractor.



All projects which involve worship space, regardless of cost, must receive approval by the Bishop

This includes any changes made to the worship space that will affect the liturgical environment.  In the initial phase, the Pastor should contact the Director of Liturgy.  The Director will assist the pastor in assuring the proposed project conforms with church documents.

After preliminary discussions, the Pastor should refer to the liturgical policies and procedures in the Building Commission’s policy statement to familiarize himself with the steps needed to move forward with the project.


Sale of Real Estate          

All dispositions of real property including grants of easements require the permission of the Bishop.  

Sales in excess of $500,000 also require the consent of the Diocesan Finance Council and the College of Consultors. Alienation with a value in excess of $5,000,000 also requires the permission of the Holy See. Additional approvals are required by the Supreme Court under New York State Law.

Sale of Real Estate - Procedures

The Bishop must be consulted when alienation of property is proposed. The Pastor must submit a written request to sell the property and include the following information:

1.       Specific identification of the property to be sold and its location relative to other parish property.

2.       The rationale supporting the sale.

3.       An assessment of the sale in view of current and future needs of the parish.

4.       An assessment of the impact of the sale on parishioners and the local community.

5.       A statement detailing the financial condition of the parish and the proposed use of the proceeds from the sale.

It is important to submit this information to the Bishop as soon as a proposal to sell has been formulated for consideration.  No significant action (such as obtaining an appraisal, listing the property or publicizing the matter) should be initiated prior to a response from the Bishop.

The Bishop will review the proposal and make a determination to move forward.  A positive response to move forward on property valued at $3,500 or more will require a recent appraisal by a New York State Certified and Licensed Appraiser, which supports the ultimate contract price.  For the sale of an entire campus, two separate appraisals are required.

In addition, a proposed real estate  listing agreement should be presented for review and approval.

The Bishop will seek input from the appropriate office within the Diocese. After review of the information, the Bishop will make a determination on the proposal and communicate it to the relevant parties.

Once an offer is received on the property, a Trustee Resolution requesting the Bishop’s permission, will be required in order to proceed further.

All purchase offers must include the following language:  “This offer is contingent upon the final approval by the Bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse”.


Purchasing or Donations

Prior to acquiring real estate, a parish, school, cemetery or other Diocesan organization including Catholic Charities must have the written approval of the Bishop.  This should be done in the form of a Trustee Resolution. 

In order to obtain this approval, a written proposal must first be submitted to the Chancellor outlining the complete details of this acquisition.  The proposal should include three things:

1.       Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment

2.       Certified Appraisal Report

3.       Outline intended use of the property

1.  Phase 1 Assessment Reports

The report identifies any indicators of hazardous materials or petroleum products defined by the State of New York.  Examples of these materials include:

  • Asbestos
  • Lead containing materials
  • PCB Ballasts
  • Storage Tanks (above ground and below ground)
  • Mold

If there are any indications of the above mentioned hazards, a Phase II Assessment would be necessary, along with a written proposal to eliminate the hazard(s).

2.  Certified Appraisal Report

This will give a fair market value of the real estate.

3.  Property Use

  • The intended use of the property must be outlined
  • Consideration must be given to the potential liabilities associated with vacant property.  Ponds, hills, vacant buildings, etc.  It should be noted that property not used for church purposed may be subject to property tax.


Financial Review

Diocesan entities requesting approval of a parish renovation or building project will be required to provide financial information for review by the Bishop’s Office.

As a general rule, parishes must have 100% of the cost of the project in pledges (or 100% combined in pledges and unrestricted reserves) and 50% or more in cash in order to receive approval to move forward with the project. These guidelines are subject to the overall financial health of a parish.

The cost of the project for this purpose must include professional services, financing costs, contingency for uncollectible pledges, furnishings and fixtures; and a contingency for cost overrun.

A current financial report for the parish must be on file with the Diocese. In addition, a balanced budget for the current fiscal period must be provided.  The budget must include any increased cost of the new or expanded facility for maintenance, insurance and utilities. All invoices payable to the Diocese and outside vendors must be current.

If outside financing is required, the terms of the financing agreement must be presented in writing and are subject to the approval of the Bishop.

All contracts for professional services are subject to review by the Building Commission.



Feasibility Studies and Capital Campaigns

A feasibility study is required for any project where the cost is equal to or exceeds a parish’s most recent fiscal year’s schedule A income.  Mitigating factors could include parish size, parish reserves and parish debt situation.

Parishes must consult with the Diocesan Development Office with regard to feasibility studies and Capital Campaigns. (Phone number 315-470-1730)

A resolution is required to proceed with a Capital Campaign.



Construction, tear down and maintenance work: Certificates of Insurance must be secured from any outside contractor prior to the completion of the Diocesan approval process.

Contact the Risk Management Office to discuss the Diocesan certification requirements or click on the “INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS” heading on this website to obtain more information.


Examples of Trustee Resolutions click on the title below to bring up the document