June 01, 2011| The Long Island Catholic Vol. 50, No. 9 | BISHOP WILLIAM MURPHY
To be a bishop is an unmerited gift. To be bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre is a joy — most of the time! One of the reasons for this is that my brother bishops and I get to see so much of this Church. This puts us in a unique position to know how blessed this local Church truly is.
Last week for example I was in Mattituck, then Riverhead, then Seaford for confirmations. One day brought me to a visit to St. Mary’s High School, Manhasset, and then at the end of the week to the graduation exercises for Holy Trinity Diocesan High School. Thanks to the leadership of committed and generous lay men and women led by Mr. Lewis Ranieri, the Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation held a gala that raised $1.3 million for scholarships to help families send their kids to Catholic elementary schools. There was a Mass to bless the new addition and the splendid new stained glass windows in a parish. And for two of the days I met one by one with the priests who have been appointed to be new pastors of a dozen of our parishes.
Those are just a few of the extraordinary moments that mark the life of any man who has the good fortune to be called to be bishop on Long Island. The reason I speak of them is that I don’t believe any of us stops and thinks often enough of just how blessed this Church is and just how much we have been endowed with gifts that come from God into the lives of so many individuals, groups, parishes and schools that are deserving of thanks to God and humble but heartfelt gratitude to the Lord and to one another.
That is why on Pentecost Sunday this year, a cross section of the whole Church of the Diocese of Rockville Centre is being called to gather at St. Anthony’s High School in Melville for a Mass of thanksgiving for the gifts of the Holy Spirit that are so abundant in this local Church! (click for details about this event)
The time is 3 p.m. The venue is the new facility of the school that has space for 5,000 persons to celebrate Mass with the bishops, priests and deacons, consecrated women and men and the lay leadership of our parishes and organizations. The purpose is to thank God for the many gifts that have enriched this diocese for more than a half century and to acknowledge with deep joy and humble pride how you, the faithful of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, have so generously used the gifts God gave you to build up this Church and to make this Church the sign of Christ’s life and love for all peoples.
No one can be more humbled and grateful than this simple bishop. Like many, but not most of us, I was not born here. I was sent here by God’s goodness and the Holy Father’s mandate. And, believe me, there can be no one more thankful of God’s generous love than the one who has the privilege to serve you and to know you and to love you.
But think just a moment of your own personal experiences of living the life of faith as a Catholic in any of our parishes. Think of all you have received from the moments of your baptism, first Holy Communion, confirmation, marriage, religious consecration, and especially the greatest gift of all: Sunday Mass, the Holy Eucharist. Think of the education you have received in Catholic schools or through parish religious education, the groups in your parish where you found friends and shared healthy, holy and wholesome experiences. Think of the priests, the sisters and brothers who have touched your life and helped you become the person you are today.
Do not forget either the tough times, the moments of sadness and loss when the Church was your solace and your faith the one consolation you could count on. The priests and parish staffs who assisted you when someone you loved died, the neighbor who came to visit you when you were sick in the hospital, the deacon who helped you when you needed an extra hand, the Parish Outreach, the St. Vincent de Paul Society member and Catholic Charities who came to you in every possible circumstance to bridge the gap, to mend the fence, to restore dignity and hope.
And then multiply that by 133 parishes plus all the schools, convents, social and religious activities and then multiply it again by four generations in the last half century. How blessed we are and how grateful to God we must be.
So let’s celebrate the life of the Spirit that is our Church by giving thanks to the Lord our God!
Every parish has received 30 tickets to distribute to parishioners who can join us. The diocesan organizations and the houses of consecrated life have all been invited and given tickets. If your parish or Catholic organization runs out of tickets, call Angela Giacalone in the diocesan Office of Worship, at 516-678-5800, ext. 504 –– and we’ll send you out whatever tickets we have left. Come join your brothers and sisters of this truly blessed Church in giving thanks to God for the gifts of the Spirit on Pentecost. Come give thanks and experience once again the outpouring of God’s love as together we celebrate the greate