Diocese of Rockville Centre

Mass Begins 50th Anniversary and a Year of Diocesan and Parish Celebrations

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK, January 19, 2007  – Bishop William Murphy will officially open the Golden Jubilee Year of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, at the 11 a.m. Mass this Sunday, January 21, 2007 in St. Agnes Cathedral.  The Mass will be celebrated in honor of the Feast of St. Agnes, the diocese’s patron saint, with prayers and readings chosen in observance of that feast.

“What a privilege it is for me to serve as your bishop during this momentous time in the history and life of this great diocese, and for this I offer praise and thanksgiving to almighty God,” said Bishop Murphy.

Bishop Murphy has encouraged all parishes to celebrate the Feast of St. Agnes at their own parish Sunday Masses on January 21.  Normally, the feast of a saint that falls on a Sunday is not observed so that the liturgy can focus on the regular Sunday lectionary readings.

Parishes throughout the diocese will plan local celebrations throughout the year to commemorate this moment of grace in the diocese.  The major diocesan liturgy will be held at St. Agnes Cathedral on Sunday, June 3, 2007 at 3:00 p.m.  Each parish will receive tickets for this Mass and the reception so that we can have all our parishes represented.

Celebrations for the rest of 2007 include a diocesan YouthFest, where young people can celebrate the diocesan anniversary in preparation for World Youth Day 2008, and a pilgrimage to Rome from November 4 to November 12.  The pilgrimage is open to all and Msgr. James McNamara, pastor of Church of the Holy Cross, Nesconset, will serve as the spiritual leader. 

The celebration will conclude January 21, 2008 with a closing Mass at St. Agnes Cathedral. 

The anniversary theme “Faith lived, Faith prayed, Faith professed, Faith celebrated” was taken from the heading for each of the parts of the new U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults. This theme represents the past, present and the future of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.  It expresses a combination of our spirituality based upon Catholic teaching, and our good works. The crosses of the anniversary logo reflect the relationship of the diocese to the larger church. The smaller gold cross represents our diocese, which stands upon the larger bluish cross representing the universal Church.  The double circles express our past and our future; our connection to those who helped created our history and those who will carry it into the future. In between is the present where we celebrate as a diocese this important moment. The blue and gold colors connect our anniversary logo to the official diocesan crest.  This logo is a reflection of who we are and is a celebration of our faith in Jesus Christ. 

Pope Pius XII created the Diocese of Rockville Centre April 6, 1957, separating the two easternmost counties – Nassau and Suffolk – from the Diocese of Brooklyn.  Bishop Walter Kellenberg was installed as bishop of the new diocese, and Rockville Centre was designated as the see, the town where the diocese’s Cathedral would be.  At the time, there were an estimated half-million Catholics.  Today, after a half century of population growth, the diocese serves approximately 1.4 million Catholics out of a total population of 3.3 million.  There are 134 parishes located in 115 towns

About The Diocese of Rockville Centre
The Diocese of Rockville Centre (www.drvc.org) 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. 

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