Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre

Diocese of Rockville Centre
Dioecesis Petropolitana in Insula Longa
Country United States
Territory Long Island, New York
Ecclesiastical province New York
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2014)
1,531,445[1] (53.7%)
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Roman Rite
Established April 6, 1957
Cathedral St. Agnes Cathedral
Patron saint Saint Agnes
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop William Francis Murphy
Metropolitan Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Auxiliary Bishops Andrzej Jerzy Zglejszewski
Robert J. Brennan
Nelson J. Perez
Emeritus Bishops Auxiliary Bishops Emeritus: Paul Henry Walsh and John Charles Dunne[2]

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. 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.[3] The diocese is named for the village where its cathedral, St. Agnes Cathedral, is located, Rockville Centre in Nassau County.


  • History 1
  • Ordinaries 2
    • Bishops 2.1
    • Auxiliary bishops 2.2
  • Arms 3
  • Media 4
    • Television 4.1
  • Seminary 5
  • High schools 6
    • Diocesan 6.1
    • Private 6.2
  • Elementary schools 7
    • Private 7.1
  • Province of New York 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Most Reverend Walter P. Kellenberg served as first bishop of the diocese from 1957-1976. 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.

The Most Reverend William Murphy has served as the diocese's fourth bishop since 2001. Murphy arrived in Long Island from his native Archdiocese of Boston, where he served as the archdiocese's vicar general.


The following are the lists of the diocesan and auxiliary bishops and their years of service:


  1. Bishop Walter P. Kellenberg (1957–1976) †
  2. Bishop John R. McGann (1976–2000) †
  3. Bishop James T. McHugh (2000) †
  4. Bishop William F. Murphy (2001–present)

† = deceased

Auxiliary bishops


† = deceased


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.




St. Agnes Cathedral

Seminary of the Immaculate Conception

High schools



Elementary schools


Province of New York

See: List of the Catholic bishops of the United States


  1. ^ Who We Are. Diocese of Rockville Centre. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  2. ^
  3. ^ [1]

External links

  • The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre Official Site

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