Diocese of Rockville Centre

Rockville Centre, New York, July 7, 2006 – Bishop William Murphy appointed Deacon Thomas Connolly as the new director of deacon formation, effective July 1, 2006.

Deacon Connolly, of St. Raymond parish in East Rockaway, N.Y., recently earned his master’s degree in pastoral studies at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, N.Y. He had been ordained a deacon in 2003 after graduating from the Pastoral Formation Institute in 2000.

The director of deacon formation oversees the formation process for aspiring deacons. He or she is responsible for interviewing candidates and working with seminary faculty, retreat teams, spiritual directors and mentors. There are currently 272 ordained deacons and about 40 men in formation.

Deacon James Murphy, director of deacon personnel, is confident in Bishop Murphy’s choice. “Deacon Connolly has a well-defined understanding of how the deacon functions in the workplace,” said Deacon Murphy. “I see him being a real asset to the office.”

Deacon Connolly said he believes his responsibilities are “extremely important.”

New deacons “have to develop their own sense of spirituality…and bring that message to the people we serve,” said Deacon Connolly. “The caliber of candidate we’re looking for is a person who’s answering a call—a good man of spiritual values.”

Deacon Connolly stressed the need for catechesis since parishioners, priests and even deacons themselves sometimes seem unsure of a deacon’s role.

He described this role as one of “service and character in the community.”

“We’re able to bring the Gospel message into the workplace,” he said. “It has to be a ministry of giving.”

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About The Diocese of Rockville Centre
The Diocese of Rockville Centre was formed in 1957 and covers 1,222 square miles in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The diocese serves approximately 1.4 million Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 3.3 million). There are 134 parishes in 115 towns. Last year over 20,000 baptisms, 18,000 confirmations, 20,000 first communions and 5,000 marriages took place in the diocese. There are 2,137 students in Catholic kindergarten, 23,825 in primary or elementary school, 12,628 in secondary school and 3,300 in higher institutions. There are 76 Catholic elementary and high schools and one Catholic college in the diocese. Catholic Health Services of Long Island consists of five hospitals, three nursing homes, two home-care agencies, two senior housing complexes, a community-based home for those with special needs and a hospice. Last year, Catholic Charities assisted more than 80,000 individuals who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged on Long Island. For more information, visit www.drvc.org

Sean P. Dolan
Director of Communications
516-678-5800, ext. 625
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