Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre (Latin: Dioecesis Petropolitana in Insula Longa) comprises the territory of Nassau and Suffolk counties (regionally known as Long Island) in New York state, USA, except that Fishers Island, part of Suffolk County, is included in the Diocese of Norwich, Connecticut. Founded in 1957, this diocese was created from territory that once belonged to the Diocese of Brooklyn. It is the sixth-largest Catholic diocese in the United States, currently serving approximately 1.5 million people in 134 parishes.[2] The diocese is named for the village where its cathedral, St. Agnes Cathedral, is located, Rockville Centre in Nassau County. The fifth and current bishop is John Barres.[3]

Diocese of Rockville Centre

Dioecesis Petropolitana in Insula Longa
St agnus.jpg
St. Agnes Cathedral
Coat of arms of the Diocese of Rockville Centre
Coat of arms
CountryUnited States
TerritoryLong Island, New York
Ecclesiastical provinceNew York
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2014)
1,531,445[1] (53.7%)
DenominationRoman Catholic
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedApril 6, 1957
CathedralSt. Agnes Cathedral
Patron saintSaint Agnes
Current leadership
BishopJohn Barres
Metropolitan ArchbishopTimothy Cardinal Dolan
Auxiliary BishopsAndrzej Jerzy Zglejszewski
Robert Joseph Coyle
Richard Garth Henning
Bishops emeritusWilliam Murphy
Emil Aloysius Wcela
John Charles Dunne
Diocese of Rockville Centre map 1.png


The Diocese of Rockville Centre was split off from the Diocese of Brooklyn April 6, 1957. St. Agnes Cathedral is the seat of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

Walter P. Kellenberg, former Bishop of Ogdensburg served as first bishop of the diocese from 1957 to 1976.[4] He founded the diocese's Catholic Charities office in 1957.[5] Kellenberg was followed by Bishop John McGann, who retired in 2000 and died in 2002. The diocese was led briefly by Bishop James T. McHugh, who died of cancer on December 10, 2000.

William Murphy served as the diocese's fourth bishop from 2001 to 2017. Murphy arrived in Long Island from his native Archdiocese of Boston, where he served as the archdiocese's vicar general. He was succeeded by John Barres on January 31, 2017.

Reports of sex abuseEdit

By August 2019, 68 clergy who served in the Diocese of Rockville Centre were "credibly accused" of committing acts of sex abuse.[6] Some were either convicted for their crimes or agreed to pay financial settlements.[6] Former priest Robert E. Guglielmone, who was later appointed Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston in South Carolina, was also revealed to have been named as a defendant in a sex abuse lawsuit in the state of New York and is accused of committing acts of sex abuse while serving in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.[7]


Bishops of Rockville CentreEdit

  1. Walter P. Kellenberg (1957-1976)
  2. John R. McGann (1976-2000)
  3. James T. McHugh (2000)
  4. William F. Murphy (2001-2017)
  5. John O. Barres (2017-present)

Coadjutor BishopsEdit

Auxiliary BishopsEdit

Other priests of this diocese who became bishopsEdit


Coat of arms of Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre
Arms was designed and adopted when the diocese was erected
The arms of the Diocese of Rockville Centre is divided per saltire and is bordered by a bordure composed of wavy lines. The colors of the field within the bordure are gold and blue. Three of the four partitions formed by the saltire are emblazoned with a scallop shell. The top partition is filled with a lamb’s head. A black roundel in the center of the shield with the three stones or rocks is present.
The arms is based on the history of Long Island and the etymology of the name Rockville Centre. The colors of the field within the bordure, gold and blue, appears on the coat of arms of King William III of the House of Nassau and on the arms which the county of Suffolk in England has used at times, these arms being those of Ipswich. Although there are more than 12 names for Long Island, the name generally preferred by the Indians of the mainland was Seawanhacky or “Island of Shells.” The scallop shell is also truly heraldic, and a symbol which is often used to signify the flowing of water in the Sacrament of Baptism.
The wavy silver bordure is the heraldic equivalent of water and surrounding, as it does, the other charges, signifies the insular nature of the diocese. The lamb’s head is the symbol of St. Agnes, virgin and martyr, the titular of the Cathedral of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. St. Agnes has been represented with a lamb, the symbol of her virginal innocence, since the Middle Ages.
The black roundel in the center of the shield with the three stones or rocks affords canting arms for Rockville Centre. The black roundel is in the exact center of the shield. The three rocks or stones are derived from the coat of arms of Pope Pius XII, who established the new Diocese of Rockville Centre in April, 1957. The roundel is tinctured in black to represent the seventeenth century name of Brooklyn, from the diocese from which the See of Rockville Centre was separated. The black tincture represents the marshes, which recalled to the Dutch their homeland in Breuckelen in the Province of Utrecht. The Dutch who first settled Brooklyn called it “Breuck-Landt’” meaning “broken land,’ or “marshland,” inasmuch as a great deal of the land was broken up by patches of water.


  • Catholic Faith Network, formerly known as "Telecare" was founded in 1969 by Monsignor Thomas Hartman of the Diocese of Rockville Centre in New York. CFn's programming includes live religious services, talk shows, devotional programs, educational programming, entertainment, and children's programs. It also presents coverage of special events at the Vatican and of papal journeys. It serves subscribers in three states.

In 2012 the diocesan weekly newspaper Long Island Catholic switched to a subscription-based monthly magazine.[8]


High schoolsEdit

As of 2019, there were nine Catholic high schools on Long Island.



Elementary schoolsEdit


  • Holy Child Academy (Old Westbury)
  • St. Christopher's (Baldwin)
  • Our Lady of Grace (Manhasset)
  • St. Martin de Porres (Uniondale)
  • De La Salle (Freeport)
  • Our Lady of Mercy (Hicksville)
  • St. Patrick (Huntington)
  • St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (Bellmore)
  • St. Peter of Alcantara (Port Washington)
  • Our Lady of Peace (Lynbrook)
  • St. Raymonds (East Rockaway)
  • Our Lady of Lourdes (Malverne)

Catholic CharitiesEdit

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rockville Centre began operating in 1957. In 1974, they opened a residence for the developmentally disabled in Valley Stream. As of 2019, there were thirteen such residences. A shelter for single mothers opened in 1968 and in 2009 expanded to include transitional housing. Catholic Charities is the one largest provider of affordable senior housing on Long Island, operating over 1,300 units.[9]

Catholic Health Services of Long IslandEdit

Catholic Health Services of Long Island was founded in 1997 and operates under the sponsorship of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.[10] CHS operates six hospitals: Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, Saint Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown, Saint Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, Saint Francis Hospital and Heart Center in Roslyn, and Saint Joseph Hospital in Bethpage.[11] With 17,000 employees, CHS is the third-largest employer on Long Island.[12]

Province of New YorkEdit

See: List of the Catholic bishops of the United States


  1. ^ Who We Are. Diocese of Rockville Centre. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-08-05. Retrieved 2005-12-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "New Long Island bishop to be installed today". Newsday. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  4. ^ "From Church to Cathedral", Parish of Saint Agnes Cathedral
  5. ^ "Celebrating 60 Years" Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rockville Centre
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Rockville Centre diocese converts newspaper to monthly magazine", Catholic News Agency, October5, 2012
  9. ^ "About us", Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rockville Centre
  10. ^ Catholic Health Services of Long Island: About CHS
  11. ^ Catholic Health Services of Long Island: Hospitals
  12. ^ "Long Island's largest employers". Newsday.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 40°39′48″N 73°38′13″W / 40.66333°N 73.63694°W / 40.66333; -73.63694