FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
REV. MSGR. RICHARD HENNING APPOINTED RECTOR OF SEMINARY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION AND DIRECTOR OF THE NEW SACRED HEART INSTITUTE
ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. – December 13, 2011 – The Most Reverend William Murphy, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre has announced the appointment of Reverend Monsignor Richard Henning as the Rector of the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception (SIC), Huntington, New York, and the Director of the new Sacred Heart Institute for the Ongoing Formation of Clergy.
The appointments, made after consultation with Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, will take effect in the summer of 2012. Msgr. Henning, a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, currently serves as the Vice-Rector and a professor of scripture at the Seminary of the
Ordained in 1992, Msgr. Henning takes charge of the 81-year-old seminary at a time when its academic programs will be focusing on the education of laity and permanent deacon candidates in the three dioceses of the downstate region (Archdiocese of New York, Diocese of Brooklyn, and Diocese of Rockville Centre). The same dioceses have pledged to work together in the continuing education of their clergy through the Sacred Heart Institute.
"I am very grateful to my Bishop, Bishop William Murphy and to Archbishop Dolan and Bishop DiMarzio for their confidence,” said Msgr. Henning. “I am excited by new possibilities for serving the good of the Church through these initiatives and I look forward to sharing in this work with many others."
The changes in the program at SIC and the creation of the Institute are part of a larger inter-diocesan partnership that took effect on November 10, 2011 when Bishop Murphy, Archbishop Dolan and Bishop DiMarzio signed a Joint Operating Agreement that pledges collaboration in the training of present and future Catholic priests and their co-workers in ministry.
Last September the three dioceses implemented the first phase of their partnership with the opening of the college and pre-Theology programs for training future priests at the Cathedral Seminary Residence in Douglaston, New York.
The current SIC program offers a Master of Arts in Theology and a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies. Beginning next fall, SIC will offer these degrees to laity and permanent deacon candidates from the three dioceses on both the Huntington campus and on the campus of St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, New York. At the same time, Saint Joseph’s Seminary will be the location for the single program in priestly formation at the graduate level.
Since joining the faculty in 2002, Msgr. Henning has coordinated a number of efforts to introduce distance-learning technologies to the seminary program in Huntington. “SIC looks forward to offering theological education to laity and deacon candidates through a variety of delivery systems in the coming years,” he said. There are already some 400 graduates of SIC's programs in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The use of educational technologies will extend the programs to a larger student body over a larger geographic area.
The placement of the Sacred Heart Institute at the seminary in Huntington fits with its long history of forming the clergy for all of Long Island. That mission will now expand to priests and deacons of the entire New York Metropolitan region and beyond. The institute will provide opportunities for intellectual, pastoral, and spiritual renewal as well as programs tailored to the needs of international priests.
Msgr. Henning holds a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the University of St. Thomas in Rome (Angelicum) and a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. For the last two years, he has directed the Parresia Project, a grant-funded initiative working to improve reception processes for international priests serving in the US.
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