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Diocese of Rockville Centre

Jesuit With Background in Teaching to Lead St. Anthony Parish

Rockville Centre, New York, July 24, 2006 – Bishop William Murphy appointed Father James D. French, SJ, pastor of St. Anthony parish in Oceanside, N.Y., effective August 15, 2006.

A Buffalo native, Father French entered the Society of Jesus at the Bellarmine College novitiate in Plattsburgh, N.Y. in 1962. He studied at Fordham University in Bronx, N.Y. and Woodstock College, then in New York.

From 1968 to 1971, Father French taught at Brooklyn Preparatory School. He was ordained in Rochester in 1974.

He then taught at Canisius High School in Buffalo, N.Y. from 1975-1988 and served as chaplain at Regis High School in New York from 1988 to 1993.

From 1993 to 1999, Father French served as rector at St. Peter’s Preparatory School and
St. Peter’s Church in Jersey City, N.J. From 1999 to 2001, he served as assistant to Jesuit New York provincial for pastoral ministry and for formation. Then, from 2001 to 2004, he served as assistant to Jesuit Maryland and New York provincials for formation.

Since 2004, Father French has served as assistant director of novices for the Maryland,
New England and New York Jesuit provinces at St. Andrew’s Hall in Syracuse, N.Y. In this capacity, he directs first-year and second-year novices on silent retreats, teaches the novices about the Society of Jesus and oversees their placement in apostolates in the Syracuse area.

After his host of positions, he said he is happy to become a leader of God’s people.

“I have been privileged to spend some time with the people of St. Anthony’s in Oceanside,” said Father French. “It is a wonderful community of men and women, priests, deacons, religious and laypeople all working together for the Kingdom of God. I am eager to do my part to help bring together the parishioners of St. Anthony’s with our loving God and to be of service in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.”

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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 1.4 million Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 3.3 million). There are 134 parishes in 115 towns. Last year over 20,000 baptisms, 18,000 confirmations, 20,000 first communions and 5,000 marriages took place in the diocese. There are 2,137 students in Catholic kindergarten, 23,825 in primary or elementary school, 12,628 in secondary school and 3,300 in higher institutions. There are 76 Catholic elementary and high schools and one Catholic college 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. Last year, Catholic Charities assisted more than 80,000 individuals who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged on Long Island. For more information, visit

Sean P. Dolan
Director of Communications
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