ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK — The Most Reverend William Murphy, bishop, Diocese of Rockville Centre marked the closing of the Golden Jubilee year of the diocese on January 20, 2008, by announcing the establishment of a Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC), a new consultative body to the diocesan bishop. The first meeting is scheduled for later this spring. The 30-member DPC will assist the bishop through advice, research, study and the development of recommendations on pastoral issues of structures/organization, education, formation, worship and service within the diocese.
The Diocesan Pastoral Council will be principally composed of lay faithful, as well as clergy and members of institutes of consecrated life who meet periodically with the bishop in order to talk about the future of the Church and to help give ideas for planning for the growth and spiritual and pastoral well being of the people.
The need for a Diocesan Pastoral Council arises out of the Second Vatican Council and subsequent letters and decrees by popes and congregations in Rome. It is a response to the desire to have greater collaboration in the life of the Church and to let the voices of the laity be heard in plans and hopes for the future of the Church.
“For a long time, I have hoped we would be able to have a council of this sort for the good of the whole diocese,” said Bishop Murphy. “I am deeply grateful to Bishop Emil Wcela and his committee for the work they did in giving us the foundation stones that made this Diocesan Pastoral Council possible. I thank all the members of the Priests’ Senate and the Presbyteral Council who have worked together and have discussed this many times. I thank the men and women of the Vincentian Center for Church and Society at St. John’s University, who worked so closely with the Chancellor and Vicar General in giving us a variety of proposals from which the Presbyteral Council indicated this model as the model for us.”
The Diocesan Pastoral Council functions under Canon 511 which states in part: “In each diocese, to the extent that pastoral circumstances recommend it, a pastoral council is to be established whose responsibility it is to investigate under the authority of the bishop those things which pertain to pastoral works, to ponder them and to propose practical conclusions about them.”
To qualify to be a member of the Diocesan Pastoral Council, one must be a Catholic in full communion with the Church. This means someone who accepts and lives the Gospel, the message of Jesus Christ and the teaching of the Church, particularly of the Pope and of the bishops.
The members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council will participate in meetings with Bishop Murphy to share their hopes and prayers, plans and ideas for the good of the Church in the years to come. They are not involved in jurisdiction or in governance but they, like all Catholics, share in the mission of the Church which is to see how we best can proclaim Jesus Christ and to make our witness of Him a credible witness to the world about us.
“I look forward to the constitution of this new Diocesan Pastoral Council and to our future meetings when we will be able to talk about what it is that has made this Church so great and how we can contribute together to plan for the future,” said Bishop Murphy. ”This will serve the Church’s present and future mission and build up the unity of our diocese.”
About The Diocese of Rockville Centre
The Diocese of Rockville Centre (www.drvc.org) was formed in 1957 and covers 1,198 square miles in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The diocese serves approximately 1.4 million Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 2.8 million). There are 134 parishes in 115 towns. Last year over 18,000 baptisms, 18,000 confirmations, 19,000 first communions and 4,000 marriages took place in the diocese. There are approximately 22,000 students in Catholic elementary schools; 13,000 in secondary schools and 3,300 in higher institutions. There are 69 Catholic elementary and high schools and one Catholic college in the diocese. There are also 120,189 total students in religious education. Catholic Health Services of Long Island consists of five hospitals, three nursing homes, a community-based home for those with special needs and a hospice. Last year, Catholic Charities assisted more than 59,000 individuals who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged on Long Island. (4/20/07)
Sean P. Dolan
Director of Communications
516-678-5800, ext. 625