By Tim Jimenez
PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has a deal for a Bucks County based company to manage their 13 Catholic cemeteries in the area.
In return, the Archdiocese is getting a needed chunk of change, including $53 million dollars up front.
StoneMor Partners, based in Levittown, is the second largest cemetery owner and operator in the country, and now thanks to a long-term deal and $89 million dollars, will be managing the 13 Archdiocese of Philadelphia cemeteries.
Company CEO and Cardinal Dougherty grad, Larry Miller says, “We’re honored to have been chosen and I think it’s going to be that old cliche, a win-win for everybody.”
Archdiocese spokesman Ken Gavin says Archbishop Charles Chaput agrees.
“Obviously the Archdiocese needed to experience financial benefit. We wanted the cemeteries to remain ours in terms of ownership. We wanted them to remain Catholic in terms of identity. And we wanted to make sure the employees who work in the ministry were kept whole.”
Miller adds, “Our lease gives us all the risks of ownership and the rewards of ownership. But at the end of the day The Archdiocese is still the owner and everything to do with Catholic tradition and ministry will be honored.”
The Archdiocese, under Archbishop Charles Chaput, has been trying to get their finances in order; so much of the upfront money, officials say, will chip away at liabilities that are in the hundreds of millions of dollars.