Diocese of Rockville Centre

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK, July 11, 2007—The Most Reverend William Murphy, Bishop, Diocese of Rockville Centre, appointed Msgr. Donald M. Hanson pastor of Most Holy Trinity parish, East Hampton, N.Y., effective July 11, 2007.

“It came as a complete surprise to me,” Msgr. Hanson said of the appointment. “I’m excited to go to East Hampton. It’s a very beautiful part of the world.”

Born in San Rafael, Calif., Msgr. Hanson was raised in the Bronx, N.Y. and Wantagh, N.Y. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a Master of Divinity from the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, N.Y. and a master’s degree in theology from the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind. He also studied music for five summers at St. Pius X School of Liturgical Music at Manhattanville College, Purchase, N.Y.

Ordained on May 29, 1971, his first assignment was as associate pastor of Our Lady of Loretto parish, Hempstead, N.Y. In 1973, while still serving at Our Lady of Loretto, he was appointed director of music at the Huntington seminary, where he also composed liturgical music, taught sacramental practice, and formed a “little Renaissance dance band.

“We used to play the great dance hits of the 1500s,” he joked.

In 1976, he was named Diocesan Liturgy Coordinator, a position that involved training Eucharistic ministers, launching a diocesan newsletter and accompanying bishops to Confirmations. In 1980, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, a professional organization made of bishop representatives. Msgr. Hanson prepared educational materials on subjects such as the Eucharist and represented the eight dioceses of New York.

In 1984, he was appointed associate pastor of St. Agnes Cathedral parish, Rockville Centre, N.Y. The following year, he also became Bishop’s Master of Ceremonies at the parish and for major diocesan functions.

He served as temporary Vice Chancellor for the diocese from 1986 to 1990. This position involved granting marriage dispensations, counseling priests on canon law, and fielding various liturgical questions.

He served as pastor at St. Joseph parish, Babylon, N.Y. after taking a sabbatical at the American College in Louvain, Belgium, a national seminary located at the Catholic University of Louvain. In 1992, the seminary in Belgium appointed him Vice Rector of the American College, where he taught liturgy and preaching for five years and wrote a book entitled “From the Weaver’s Loom,” a collection of homilies. He learned to speak, read and write Dutch fluently.

He came back to the United States in 1997 to serve as associate pastor of St. Margaret of Scotland parish, Selden, N.Y. and as pastor of Our Lady of Hope parish, Carle Place, where he has served since 1999.

Pope John Paul II conferred the papal honor of monsignor on Msgr. Hanson in 2005.

Msgr. Hanson has recently been receiving training in the Gallup Organization’s new division on Faith Practice. The goal of the division is to discover what factors drive spiritual commitment and membership engagement in congregations.

“People are very grateful to be asked what they think about things,” he said of the program. “It’s something that’s absorbing a lot of energy and also giving me a lot of energy.”

Msgr. Hanson has referred to himself as “the utility infielder of the Diocese of Rockville Centre,” referring to his array of appointments.

“I throw, I run, bat and catch, but I’m not going to be considered a slugger,” he said. “But I’ll get on base.”

Editor’s Note: Photo Courtesy of The Long Island Catholic

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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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Sean P. Dolan
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