FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
21 December 2011
Church Name Becomes “The Basilica Parish of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary”
ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. – December 21, 2011 – The Most Reverend William Murphy, bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, visiting Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Church in Southampton last Sunday, announced to parishioners that at his request, the church has been declared a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI.
“For many centuries the Holy See has granted the honorific title of ‘minor basilica’ to a limited number of churches around the world that have a special meaning, are of unusual beauty and have a solid community of faithful,” said Bishop Murphy. “For example, the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington is one as is Old Saint Patrick’s in Manhattan, the first cathedral in New York.
“Our diocese has the cathedral in Rockville Centre. There is and can be only one seat of the Bishop. Yet the diocese is comprised of two counties. In the past, some in Suffolk and especially the East End have felt distant from the diocese. As bishop, I have tried for these ten years to be present in every part of the diocese. However, I thought it would be a mark of recognition to the Catholics of the East End to have a parish with a distinguished history and a church building of remarkable beauty well supported by a congregation of faith receive this title.
“When in Rome for the ad liminia, I made the request for Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, submitting the 100th anniversary history and a DVD done by John Romanowski (of the office of faith formation) and Bishop Libasci to illustrate the significance and the beauty of this parish church.
“A day after I submitted it, I was informed that the Holy Father had granted this title so that from now, it will be known as the Basilica Parish of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
“I believe it adds distinction to the Church on the East End and will a recognition in which the parishioners can take pride and it will become more and more a place of pilgrimage with people from all over the island and beyond joining the parishioners in prayer and in the celebration of Mass.”
Bishop Murphy said that in the New Year a special Mass will be celebrated when, “we will officially install within the new basilica the insignia of its new status.”
About The Diocese of Rockville Centre
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 1,737,498 baptized Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 3.4 million). There are 134 parishes (1 campus parish) in 115 towns. In 2010, 16,318 baptisms, 16,296 confirmations, 17,123 First Holy Communions and 4,773 marriages took place in the diocese. There are 18,496 students in Catholic elementary schools; 12,328 students in Catholic high schools and 3,500 students in higher institutions. There are 53 Catholic elementary schools (49 parish or regional and 4 private), 10 high schools (3 diocesan, 2 parish and 5 private) and one Catholic college in the diocese. Catholic Health Services of Long Island consists of six hospitals, three nursing homes, a community-based home for those with special needs and a hospice. In 2010, Catholic Charities assisted more than 53,500 individuals who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged on Long Island. (09/11).
Sean P. Dolan
Director of Communications
(p) 516-678-5800, ext. 625