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Diocese of Rockville Centre

Bishop William Murphy Issues Pastoral Letter on Life in the Church Print E-mail

“United in Heart and Mind” Prepares Diocese for Upcoming Eucharistic Congress and Diocesan Synod

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK, March 1, 2006 -- Bishop William Murphy issued a new pastoral letter today entitled, “United in Heart and Mind.” A pastoral letter is a letter about Catholic teaching or practice from the bishop to the People of God. Like the encyclicals of popes, they are a principal way for the bishop to teach. In this way, a bishop, who cannot be in every parish every week and who depends on his brother priests to be teachers in the parishes, has the opportunity to focus on a specific aspect of our life in Christ for all the people of the local Church.

Available in English and Spanish languages, the letter has two parts. In the first part, Bishop Murphy calls the diocese to revisit the five characteristics that have allowed the Church from the very early days to live her mission and to shine brightly with the presence of Christ and which remain essential today for Christ’s Church on Long Island.

These five characteristics are: 1. Kerygma (preaching or proclamation); 2. Catechesis (the instruction by which the faithful are formed and educated in the truths of Christ’s teachings and the teachings of the Church); 3. Koinonia (the union of the faithful with Christ and among themselves); 4. Diakonia (a life lived in loving service of others is the only appropriate response to believing in the kerygma); and 5. Eucharistia (Eucharista is the source and summit that calls from us ‘gratitude.’)

Bishop Murphy said these five principles continue to be descriptive of the Church today. “As a diocese, the Lord calls us to be ever vigilant in our commitment to live as fully as possible the mission entrusted to us by the Lord. Responding to that call means in essence that we must constantly re-appropriate over and over again those five characteristics that mark the life of the church.”

In the second part of the letter, Bishop Murphy details how two major events, the Diocesan Eucharistic Congress and the Diocesan Synod will assist Catholics on Long Island in the ongoing process of renewal and recommitment to the five principles.

“We are blessed as a diocese to be at a particular point in our history where two upcoming diocesan events will assist us in the on-going process of renewal and recommitment to kerygma, catechesis, koinonia, diakonia and Eucharist,” said Bishop Murphy. “Those events are the Diocesan Eucharistic Congress and the Diocesan Synod.”

The first Eucharistic Congress for the Diocese of Rockville Centre will run from
June 3, 2006 to June 18, 2006 and its theme is “Bread of Life, Hope for the World.” The two weeks of the Diocesan Eucharistic Congress will be marked by special days of prayer, reflection and adoration in every parish in the diocese.

The celebration of the Synod in 2007 will culminate a common commitment to work together to build the Church of the new millennium. Before the actual celebration, members of the Synod will be chosen; they will review the pastoral proposals the committees have been developing. “Once they have approved the pastoral statements, I will have the privilege of promulgating them. With the pastoral ‘vision statement’, the work of the synod will begin to bear fruit for the future of the diocese,” said Bishop Murphy.

“Truly it will be a time of great joy for us all, bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated women and men and all the lay faithful, ‘united in heart and mind.’ It is my prayer that as we give thanks for these first fifty years of the Church on Long Island, the Eucharistic Congress and the Diocesan Synod will be privileged, grace-filled moments to make us better poised, spiritually and temporally, to meet the challenges of the new millennium and thus be more effectively united in heart and mind in the years ahead.”

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EDITOR’S NOTE: “United in Heart and Mind” may be downloaded from the diocesan website,  The Office of Public Information can also fax or mail you a copy.

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

For more information Contact:
Sean P. Dolan
Director of Communications
516-678-5800, ext. 625