19 January 2011

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. – January, 19, 2011 – The Most Reverend William Murphy, Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre has formally established the Bishop’s Advisory Committee on Catholic Education (BACCE).  This new advisory committee will develop a comprehensive strategic plan to support the long term sustainability, growth and excellence of Catholic schools on Long Island.  The advisory committee is a working group of members from both the Diocesan Education Commission and Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation.  These entities, both established in 2005 will continue operations as usual.

The new committee will work to build upon and leverage the substantial progress made by the Diocesan Education Commission and the Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation.  BACCE will connect the individual plans, work and effort of the two groups to increase the coordination between the Education Commission, the Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation and the Education Department, to develop a cohesive strategic plan in the most efficient manner.

“I am extremely grateful to each member of this new committee,” said Bishop Murphy. “Our Catholic schools are a jewel, yet they are feeling the effects of significant demographic and societal changes.  To help ensure Catholic education remains a viable option for all who desire it, we need a strategic direction for all of our schools that factors in these and other variables.  By uniting some members of the Education Commission and Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation, we have put together some of the best minds to help our diocese chart a sustainable future for our schools.  Their principal task is the immediate development of a strategic plan for the sustainability and affordability of Catholic education in this Diocese.”

The new committee builds on an ongoing strategic effort to ensure excellent Catholic education is available to anyone who wants it in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.  Many members of the committee are also members of either the Education Commission or Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation. 

The committee includes the following members: Rev. Msgr. Robert Brennan, vicar general, Diocese of Rockville Centre; Sister Joanne Callahan, OSU, superintendent of schools, Diocese of Rockville Centre; Robert Catell, executive director and deputy chairman, National Grid and board member, Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation; Dr. Steven Cheeseman, associate superintendent of schools, Diocese of Rockville Centre; Rev. John Derasmo, pastor, Saint James parish, Seaford, NY; Thomas Doodian, director of finance, Diocese of Rockville Centre; Joseph Geoghan, chair, Diocesan Education Commission; Maureen Hannan, co-chair finance and education committee, Diocesan Education Commission; Dr. Eileen Kilbride, principal of Saint Joseph Elementary School, Garden City and board member of the Diocesan Education Commission; Rev. Michael Maffeo, pastor, Saint Joseph parish, Ronkonkoma, NY; Kevin Murphy, director of administration, Diocese of Rockville Centre; Anthony Nastasi, owner/president/CEO, Nastasi and Associates, Inc. and board member of Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation; Peter Quick, former president, American Stock Exchange and board member, Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation; Lewis S. Ranieri, chairman, Rainieri Partners, LLC and board chairman, Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation; James Riley, Jr., former managing partner, Goldman Sachs and board member, Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation; Rev. Charles Romano, Saint Raymond’s parish, East Rockaway, NY; Brian T. Shea, president and chief operating officer, Pershing LLC, a  subsidiary of Bank of The New York Mellon and board member, Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation; Ryan Sheehan, assistant to the chairman, Ranieri and Co. and board member, Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation; Carol Taylor, co-chair finance and intervention committee, Diocesan Education Commission.

“We are truly blessed by the volunteers who have stepped forward to give of their time, talent and treasure to help us keep Catholic elementary education as a viable option on Long Island,” said Sr. Joanne.  “With the demographic shifts taking place, the decrease in school aged population expected to accelerate, the financial challenges we all face and the lack of recognition on the part of New York State and the Federal government as to the value Catholic education brings to our society, we are facing extremely challenging times.  Yet, I’m confident that with the assistance of the new Bishop’s Advisory Committee and the continued work of the Education Commission and Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation, we will be able to continue to weather the storm and continue to carry out our mission.”

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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 1.5 million Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 3.4 million).  There are 134 parishes (1 campus parish) in 115 towns.  In 2009, nearly 16,702 baptisms, 16,900 confirmations, 17,537 first communions and 3,402 marriages took place in the diocese.  There are 19,261 students in Catholic elementary schools; 12,595 in Catholic high schools and 3,500 in higher institutions.  There are 54 Catholic elementary schools (50 parish or regional and 4 private), 10 high schools (3 diocesan and 8 private) and one Catholic college in the diocese.  Catholic Health Services of Long Island consists of six hospitals, three nursing homes, a community-based home for those with special needs and a hospice.  In 2008, Catholic Charities assisted more than 55,485 individuals who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged on Long Island.  (12/10).


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