ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK, June 8, 2007 — Pope Benedict XVI conferred the papal honor of monsignor on Father Richard M. Figliozzi, director of the Office of New Evangelization and the Office of Propagation of Faith and Mission.
“I was quite surprised and quite appreciative and happy,” Monsignor Figliozzi said of his reaction when the Most Reverend William Murphy, Bishop, Diocese of Rockville Centre, announced the conferral of papal honors onto 12 diocesan priests.
The Office of New Evangelization comprises eight different offices: Campus Ministry, Catholics of African Ancestry, Haitian-American Apostolate, Hispanic Ministry, New Evangelization, Propagation of the Faith and Mission, Renewal and Youth and Young Adult Ministry.
Msgr. Figliozzi said the goal of the office is to “reach more and more people with the announcement of the Gospel.” This was exemplified by the May 19, 2007 Proud 2B Catholic Youth Fest, which attracted hundreds of young people.
Msgr. Figliozzi was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he attended Cathedral Preparatory Seminary. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Cathedral College, Douglaston, N.Y., before entering the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, N.Y.
He has known he wanted to be a priest since he was young. He recalled that in 8th grade, he raised his hand when the nun asked who wanted to be priests.
“I’m grateful I did respond [to the call],” he said. “When you know that you represent Christ, it’s a tremendous treasure and gift that you’ve been given. You feel God’s love through responding to the call.”
Ordained into the priesthood October 7, 1979, Msgr. Figliozzi was first assigned to St. Frances de Chantal parish, Wantagh, N.Y. In 1985, he was assigned to St. Vincent de Paul parish, Elmont, N.Y., and in 1988, he was assigned to Our Holy Redeemer parish, Freeport, N.Y., where he spent five years as associate pastor and 12 years as pastor.
Msgr. Figliozzi has been director of the Office of Propagation of Faith and Mission since 2004, as well as chaplain of the neo-catechumenal way community at Our Holy Redeemer since 2003. He described this as a “lay ecclesial” community that meets weekly for Scripture readings to foster spirituality.
Msgr. Figliozzi’s parishioners saw something special in him.
“He’s so faith-filled and he really has a true spirit of Christ,” said Alexandra Bastien, coordinator of the Young Adult Apostolate and longtime parishioner at Our Holy Redeemer. “He was really a very excellent shepherd.”
Bastien said his mission work made parishioners aware of the conditions in other countries.
“He challenges you to do more with your life.”
Editor’s Note: Photo Courtesy of The Long Island Catholic/Greg Shemitz
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About The Diocese of Rockville Centre
Celebrating its Golden Jubilee, 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)
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