Bishop Accountability
  Letter from Rockville Centre Priests to Bishop William F. Murphy

October 1, 2003

Most Rev. William Francis Murphy
Bishop of Rockville Centre
50 North Park Avenue
Rockville Centre, NY 11570

Dear Bishop Murphy:

We write to you out of a great love for the Church, which we strive to serve faithfully each day. We write out of a great love for our local Church, the Diocese of Rockville Centre, and out of fraternal concern for you, our brother priest and bishop.

In our own personal experience we have perceived a general malaise and even an abiding anger within our beloved diocese. There are very many in the diocese, clergy and laity, who sense this same atmosphere. We perceive a fairly widespread dissatisfaction with the way you have related to some clergy and laity and we sense a certain lack of confidence in your pastoral leadership in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. We find the situation distressing. People feel hurt by events in the Church and in our diocese. The response of the faithful to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal this year is powerful evidence of this hurt. We are sure as well that you have experienced pain by things that have been said and published about you. There is open and public conflict that remains unresolved and it is the experience of many that life goes on under a dark cloud. What others and we experience is not an acceptable situation.

We recognize that there are certain individuals and groups that do not share this same sense of alienation and do not share the criticisms that have been so publicly aired. There are those who have expressed strong support of you and your ministry in the diocese. Despite that, the situation described in the preceding paragraph is the reality that we wish to address.

We believe that your brother priests may have a special role to play in creating a more mutually respectful and dialogical climate which will help the diocese move forward in the task given us by Jesus to live and proclaim the Gospel. We believe that it may actually be possible for us as a group to be reconcilers and to make concrete the reality that together we form a community of forgiven forgivers.

We are suggesting to you a process that begins with the most open dialogue possible between you and all the priests of the diocese. This dialogue would be realized in a meeting between you and all the priests interested in taking part. This meeting would be absolutely private and certainly would exclude any media-related persons. During the first part of this meeting you would be able to speak to the priests indicating how you see your first two years in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, especially in your relations with the priests of the diocese, but also with laity. We would like you to address any aspect of diocesan life that you consider urgent and important and that you think may contribute to the uneasiness that many feel. During the second part of the meeting priests of the diocese would be free to address you and/or the assembly of priests present regarding the issues that they may deem urgent or important, especially regarding your relationship with the priests of the diocese. We ask that you would not only listen to what priests have to say. We hope that you would also respond to this input.

Such a gathering will be difficult to manage. For that reason a professional facilitator would be important. We suggest further that such a meeting be held for an extended time in the afternoon to enable as many priests as possible to participate. These and all aspects of such a meeting would be discussed and agreed on beforehand. We recognize that such a meeting would be quite challenging for all of us, We believe that the current situation justifies the suggestion as a viable route towards creating a more open, friendly, fraternal and Christian atmosphere than what many priests and laity seem to experience at present. It will help us to meet a goal presented by the Diocesan Synod document, that is, "to be better poised, spiritually... to meet the challenges of the new millennium and thus be able to more effectively build the kingdom of God on earth with the grace of God."

The sadness and sense of desperation that we experience as so prevalent in our diocese impels us all to find a way to be true witnesses to the joy of the Gospel of Jesus, to the possibilities of forgiveness and reconciliation and to the power of truth, openness and flexibility to bring peace to our communities.

We hope that you will receive this appeal and respond to it in the same spirit of charity, respect and fraternity with which we offer it. We have great confidence that, if we approach one another in a spirit of truth and humility, the overwhelming grace of God will make up for whatever we may lack in truth and humility and bring our project to a peaceful and fruitful conclusion.

We ask you to respond to our proposal through the committee of three listed below, who were chosen by a small group of priests who first started to consider the proposal.

Chris Aridas Tom Gallagher <signed>

Rev. Chris W. Aridas Rev. Thomas G. Gallagher

Pete Pflomm <signed>

Rev. Msgr. Peter J. Pflomm Rev.

The Names and Addresses of the Signers

Rev. Christopher J. Aridas Church of St.Margaret of Scotland 81 College Road Selden NY 11784-2813
Rev. Peter A. Allen Sacred Heart Church Main Street Cutchogue NY 11935-1213
Rev. Donald M. Baier Our Lady of Lourdes Church 65 Wright Avenue Malverne NY 11565-2199
Rev. Andrew P. Blake St Andrew Church 122 Division St Sag Harbor NY 11963-3154
Rev. Henry J. Benack St. Patrick 235 Glen Street Glen Cove NY 11542-3091
Rev. James C. Bowman Corpus Christi 155 Garfield Ave Mineola NY 11501-2583
Rev.Msgr. Joseph K. Curley Assumption Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary 20 Chestnut Street Centereach NY 11720-1702
Rev. Andrew P. Connolly St. Francis de Sales RC Church 7 Amity Street Patchogue NY 11772-3504
Rev. William F. Brisotti Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church 1434 Straight Path Wyandanch NY 11798-3909
Rev. Msgr. Peter A. Chiara St. Mary 20 Harrison Ave East Islip NY 11730-2314
Rev. Serafino A. Corali St. Pius X Residence 1220 Front St Uniondale NY 11553-2097
Rev. Thomas W. Coby St. John the Evangelist Church 546 St. John's Place Riverhead NY 11901-4691
Rev. Msgr. Thomas D. Candreva St Raymond 263 Atlantic Ave East Rockaway NY 11518-1117
Rev. Gregory J. Cappuccino Church of the Blessed Sacrament 201 No. Central Avenue Valley Stream NY 11580-3198
Rev Paul A. Dolan Corpus Christi Church 155 Garfield Ave Mineola NY 11501-2583
Rev. Paul J. Dahm   176 Montauk Highway Southampton NY 11968-
Rev. William G. Dailey   1016 Bishop's Rd Smithtown` NY 11787-
Rev. Nicholas Figliola St. Frances Cabrini Church 134 Middle Country Road Coram NY 11727-4413
Rev Ivan Gonzalez St. Kilian RC Church 485 Conklin St. Farmingdale NY 11735
Rev. Thomas G. Gallagher Sacred Heart 720 Merrick Ave No.Merrick NY 11566-1605
Rev. Peter J. Garry St. Philip Neri 344 Main Street Northport NY 11768-1779
Rev. Christopher Heller St. Gerard Majella Church 300 Terryville Road Port Jefferson Station NY 11776-2854
Rev Msgr Daniel Hurley St. Rose of Lima Church 2 Bayview Avenue Massapequa NY 11762-7299
Rev Msgr William Jablonski Church of St. Raymond 263 Atlantic Avenue East Rockaway NY 11518-1117
Rev. Edward J. Kealey Church of St. Sylvester 68 Ohio Avenue Medford NY 11763-
Rev Joseph Mappilamattel Church of St. Gerard Majella 300 Terryville Rd Pt Jefferson NY 11776--2854
Rev. John P. Martin Notre Dame Church 45 Mayfair Road New Hyde Park NY 11040-2094
Rev. Joseph A. Mirro Immaculate Conception Main Rd - Box 1227 Westhampton NY 11978-7227
Rev Raymond H. Nugent St Mary 20 Harrison Ave East Islip NY 11730-2314
Rev Kenneth Nee St. Pius X Residence 1220 Front St Uniondale NY 11553-2097
Rev Martin J. Osborne St Patrick PO Box 1117 Southold NY 11971-
Rev. Lawrence J. O'Leary Maria Regina Residence 1725 Brentwood Rd Brentwood NY 11717-
Rev. Steven J. Peterson Church of St. Mary 20 Harrison Avenue East Islip NY 11730-2314
Rev Msgr Daniel Picciano St. Peter of Alcantara Church 1327 Port Washington Blvd. Port Washington NY 11050-3096
Rev. Charles E. Papa St. Louis de Montfort Church 75 New York Ave. Sound Beach NY 11789-2506
Rev. Bruce J. Powers Church of St.Elizabeth 175 Wolf Hill Road Melville NY 11747-1398
Rev Msgr Peter J. Pflomm Maria Regina Church 3945 Jerusalem Avenue Seaford NY 11783-1627
Rev. Francis Pizzarelli, MM PO Box 358 Port Jefferson NY 11777
Rev Msgr. T. Peter Ryan Our Lady Queen of Martyrs PO Box 0609 Centerport NY 11721-1130
Rev. Thomas St. Pierre St. Anne RC Church 88 Second Avenue Brentwood NY 11717-5395
Rev. Kevin M. Smith St. Francis de Sales Church 7 Amity Street Patchogue NY 11772-0071
Rev Robert J. Smith Immaculate Conception Seminary 440 West Neck Rd Huntington NY 11743-1623
Rev. Gerald S. Twomey St. Anne 88 Second Avenue Brentwood NY 11717-5395
Rev Msgr John P. Sullivan St. John the Baptist Church 1488 No. Country Road Wading River NY 11792-0212
Rev Msgr Edmond J. Trench   PO Box 1503 East Quoque NY 11942-
Rev. Msgr. Edward L. Tarrant Church of Corpus Christi 155 Garfield Ave Mineola NY 11501-2583
Rev. Michael J. Torpey St. Boniface Martyr Church 145 Glen Avenue Sea Cliff NY 11579-1324
Rev Msgr Thomas L. Spadaro Church of the Good Shepherd 1370 Grundy Avenue Holbrook NY 11741-4717
Rev Robert C. Scheckenback Good Shepherd 1370 Grundy Ave Holbrook NY 11741-4717
Rev. James L. Wood St. John Nepomucene 1140 Locust Ave. Bohemia NY 11716
Rev John F. Wymes Church of Our Lady of Lourdes 65 Wright Avenue Malverne NY 11565-2199
Rev Charles A. Gartner Our Lady of Mercy Church 500 So. Oyster Bay Road Hicksville NY 11801-3570


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