Diocese hires consultants in development, property administration, accounting

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Patrick Downes
Catholic Herald of Hawaii

The Diocese of Honolulu has recruited three construction, property management and accounting experts to assist the diocese and parishes in areas where experience is a necessary and valued good.

New on board are Caven Raco as part-time facility services advisor, Lee McCluskey as full-time facility manager and Michele Lum as full-time parish clerk.

Raco started on November 30th. McCluskey and Lum started on February 1. Raco and Lum are residents of Kauai.

Raco and McCluskey have shared the responsibilities of ex-diocesan worker Vincent Vernay, the retired facility manager, and St. Stephen Diocesan Center’s maintenance manager, Pelle Vig, who has left the diocese.

Raco will do what Vernay did to “provide parishes and schools with the much-needed expertise for their construction and plant needs,” said Dara Perreira, Diocese Human Resources Director. “Construction projects can be very complex so we knew we had to take on that role, but since not every community or school is working on projects at the same time, we thought the position could be part-time.”

McCluskey will oversee the maintenance of the cathedral chancellery and rectory at 1184 Bishop Street, which is home to the central diocesan offices of Bishop Larry Silva and staff, the finance office, the Hawaii Catholic Herald and other offices, as well as the residences of the cathedral priests and the basilica Our Lady of Peace.

He will also oversee the Kamiano Center on Fort Street Mall. St. Stephen Diocesan Center, which houses diocesan offices, the episcopal residence, the Carmelite monastery, retreat accommodations, and more; the historic Catholic cemetery on King Street; and diocesan apartments on One Archer Lane, the tower of the residential complex overlooking King Street Cemetery, home to several retired diocesan priests.

Lum will be based out of Kauai helping the communities manage their finances. She will be part of the staff of the diocesan tax office, but will be paid for by the communities that she supports.

“Michele was hired to meet parish needs because of the need for accurate, timely and complete accounting reports,” Perreira said. “There is also an increasing need for analysis, financial strategy and future planning.”

The diocese has already successfully tested remote billing support for parishes in rural areas of the Big Island, she said. And Lum signed a contract with St. Catherine Church in Kapaa and Holy Cross Church in Kalaheo and oversaw their accounting needs.

Deacon Raffy Mendoza’s remote billing pilot program for several Catholic schools “worked well,” said Perreira. Lum is the “counterpart to the church”.

Caven Raco was born and raised on Kauai. He has been married for 19 years and has two daughters, one in college and one in high school.

He is a member of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Lihue.

“I hope I can bring my years of experience and knowledge of the building process to all of our communities and guide them on the latest building technologies and practices,” he told the Hawaii Catholic Herald.

Raco said he intends to “protect our churches in building contracts and a good faith selection of contractors who can add value to our churches. I am here to support and accompany you in the successful selection and implementation of projects. “

According to Perreira, McCluskey has property management experience as a resident and property manager for many on-site residential buildings.

Lum and her husband and two sons are members of the Holy Cross Church.