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Diocese of Rockville Centre

New Plan Proactively Addresses Effects of Enrollment Declines/Rising Costs

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK, November 30, 2004 - The Diocese of Rockville Centre today announced a bold new multi-faceted plan to ensure Catholic elementary school education will be available for future generations of Long Islanders. The new plan, approved by The Most Reverend William Murphy, Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre creates a Catholic Elementary School Education Commission, a Diocesan Education Foundation and an annual collection dedicated for Catholic Elementary Schools.

Bishop Murphy and Sister Joanne Callahan, OSU, diocesan superintendent of schools have been concerned about declining enrollments and increased financial pressures on parishes. After discussion with the Priests Senate, Bishop Murphy appointed a Catholic Elementary School Study Committee comprised of clergy, women religious and the laity to study the issues facing elementary schools and make recommendations.

“Catholic Schools are vital in the ministry of the Church. Our priority is to proactively respond to recent trends in student enrollment and costs so we can continue to provide quality education rooted in the Catholic faith through well-formed professional educators and administrators and with the support of the entire diocesan community,” said Bishop Murphy.

The Committee is responsible for studying Catholic school enrollment trends; analyzing demographic data; studying school finances and the percentage of subsidy from parishes; designing and implementing surveys to ascertain commitment of pastors and parents for continuing Catholic schools; investigating the interest in and cost of regional middle schools; reviewing the current use of the annual diocesan grant; recommendations for the future; discovering alternative funding sources, and the creation of a diocesan-wide Education Endowment.

“Through the implementation of this plan, the diocese is calling upon the People of God for help. Just as previous generations of generous Catholics helped create our network of schools and churches, we now must ask for increased involvement to ensure Catholic elementary school education continues to be readily available and affordable,” added Bishop Murphy.

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About The Diocese of Rockville Centre
The Diocese of Rockville Centre was formed in 1957 and covers 1,222 square miles in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The diocese serves approximately 1.5 million Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 3 million). There are 134 parishes in 119 towns. Last year over 21,000 baptisms, 18,000 confirmations, 21,000 first communions and 5,000 marriages took place in the diocese. There are 2,622 students in kindergarten, 26,738 in primary or elementary school, 11,979 in secondary school and 9,310 in higher institutions. There are 77 Catholic elementary schools, high schools and colleges/universities 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. These facilities served over 743,000 people last year. Last year, Catholic Charities assisted more than 80,000 individuals who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged on Long Island. For more information visit


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