ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK, February 1, 2006 – The Diocese of Rockville Centre today announced the creation of the Diocesan Office of Faith Formation as a new office to lead diocesan efforts in faith formation. The physical offices of Catechesis and Laity and Family will cease to exist. In their place will be one Office of Faith Formation with a director who will oversee all efforts in this field and will be a member of the bishop’s cabinet.
“This will not mean a major change in the content of what we offer, which is the teaching of the Church,” said Bishop William Murphy. “It will attempt to ensure that the human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral elements that make up good catechesis will be present in all our programs for children, youth and adults. These changes will benefit our efforts to pass on the faith in all its richness for the life of God’s People and the witness of that life, ‘so that the world may believe.’”
As part of an ongoing review process, Bishop Murphy formed a committee to help assess faith formation in the diocese, to better understand what was happening, evaluate what the diocese is doing and to confirm what is good and improve what needed improvement.
After a comprehensive assessment, the review committee proposed a reorganization of diocesan catechetical and formation programs designed to enhance collaboration among catechetical and formation agents; provide programs at the parish or regional levels (rather than the diocesan level); promote consistent evaluation of programs and personnel; maintain the integrated approach to formation used by the PFI, and to be more cost effective.
Brother Jeffrey Pederson, OFS, Ed.D., academic dean at the seminary of the Immaculate Conception and theologian, Sister Mary Alice Piil, CSJ, Ph.D, facilitated the vast majority of the committee work. The final phase of the review process was based extensively on interviews with a wide-variety of individuals involved in the vast work of catechesis in the diocese. Several drafts of a proposal, based extensively on a study of the recently published National Directory on Catechesis, were presented to the Diocesan Priests’ Senate for discussion and input. Bishop Murphy then accepted the final proposal.
Once appointed by Bishop Murphy, the new director of faith formation will provide the leadership for a new vision in the delivery of the Catholic Church’s responsibility to provide for ongoing faith formation initiatives across the diocese and in the 134 parishes that serve the People of God on Long Island.
Structurally, the new office design seeks to have four associate directors in place who will report to the new director, each providing the leadership and support of four specific areas of faith formation:
1. The Associate Director for Adult Faith Formation will oversee all programs associated with adults including the Pastoral Formation Institute (PFI). This person will seek to implement programs for the development of similar adult faith formation experiences within the parish communities as opposed to strictly on the diocesan level.
2. The Associate Director of Faith Formation for Children and Youth will be responsible for catechetical programs for children and youth ranging from pre-school through Grade 12. He/she will work with the associate director for adult faith formation to design the programs, train catechists and directors of religious education at the local parish level for the child-focused programs.
3. The Associate Director for Educational Media will be relied upon to design and facilitate the communication of new materials and programs in various technological media to the local parish level. Particular emphasis will be on responding to the need of providing information and resources in new electronic media formats such as DVDs, CDs and Internet-based education solutions. This person will facilitate the movement of new materials in various media to the parish level.
4. The Associate Director for Family Ministry and Formation will be responsible for the office’s creation as well as dissemination and evaluation of all materials, resources, programs and workshops intended to support families including such programs as: parish Pre-Cana, marriage support and family crisis.
This model is an innovative and new design intended to blend the best facets of the current programs and offices with more modern and updated resources.
To facilitate the transition to the new vision for catechesis in the diocese, Bishop Murphy appointed Sister Mary Alice Piil as interim director. In this capacity, she will help implement the new design and form a search committee to find a permanent director.
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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