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Diocese of Rockville Centre

The Most Reverend John C. Dunne Print E-mail

Titular Bishop of Abercorn in Scotland & Auxiliary to the fourth Bishop of Rockville Centre

Biography

Bishop John Charles Dunne was born in Brooklyn on October 30, 1937. He received his formal education at St. Boniface School, Elmont, St. Francis Prep and Cathedral College, both in Brooklyn, and Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington, N.Y. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 1, 1963.

After serving as associate pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Church, East Northport, Bishop Dunne was assigned to be associate director of the Diocesan Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (now the Office of Faith Formation and Worship) which oversees the religious education of young people outside the Catholic school system and the continuing education of adults.  He also served as associate director of the Family Life Bureau which included conducting programs to prepare couples for marriage.

In 1970 Bishop Dunne was appointed spiritual director at Immaculate Conception Seminary where he served until he was appointed associate Vicar for Religious, the office which acts as liaison between the bishop and the woman and men religious who serve in the Diocese.

In 1974 Bishop Dunne became associate pastor of Corpus Christi Church, Mineola.  In 1978 he was named director of the Priest Personnel Office which involves acting as liaison between the bishop and the priests of the Diocese as well as facilitating the assignment of priests.  Bishop Dunne also served on the Priest Personnel Policy Board.  In 1984 he was appointed pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church, Valley Stream.

On October 25th, 1988, Pope John Paul II appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of the Rockville Centre Diocese and he was ordained on December 13th, 1988 at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre.

Bishop Dunne’s parents, Mark and Helen Dunne, are both deceased.  His only brother, the Reverend Mark J. Dunne, was also a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre; he died in 1982.

The design of the Dunne Coat of Arms can be explained as follows:

 Bishop Dunne Coat of Arms

Bishop Dunne selected a coat of arms which is a modified version of one that already exists in the Dunne Family: a blue shield and a gold eagle.

Bishop Dunne ordained Titular Bishop of Abercorn town, in the West Lothian region of Scotland, has personalized the Dunne family’s coat of arms.  The sky-blue background of the shield is divided into four primary sections by a large shiny cross with fluted edges.

The silver cross on the blue shield is used to honor St. Helen, who traditionally was the one who discovered the cross of Christ and who is the baptismal patron of Bishop-elect Dunne’s late mother. The shape of the cross is taken from the arms of County Mayo, Ireland, to signify the bishop’s Irish heritage and additionally to represent that both of his parents came from County Mayo to the United States.

The two gold eagles above the crosspiece are taken directly from the Dunne family shield.  These two eagles signify that Bishop Dunne has the Dunne heritage on both sides of his family: his mother’s name was Helen Dunne before she married his father, Mark Dunne.

Below the crosspiece are two gold lions, standing facing each other.  The lion is often used as the symbol of St. Mark, the Evangelist.  In this design the two lions are present to honor the bishop’s father, and his late brother, Father Mark Dunne.

Bishop Dunne’s motto is “God Is Love,” taken from the first Epistle of St. John (I John 4:16). His usage of this phrase is to convey the message that “no one has ever seen God. Yet if we love one another God dwells in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us (v 12).” Bishop Dunne wishes to bring the love of God, as best he can, to all people.

The external ornaments of the shield include a gold processional cross placed behind and extending above and below the shield, and a gallero (pontifical hat) with six tassels, all in green, in three rows, on both sides of the shield.  These are specifically the heraldic insignia of a unrelate to the bishop’s rank by instruction of the Holy See. March 31, 1969.