Our ParishHistory › Part 3 ~ 1957 to 1972


 1957 Pope Pius XII announces the formation of the Diocese of Rockville Centre and appoints the Most Reverend Walter P. Kellenberg, Bishop of Ogdensburg, NY as the first Bishop of the Diocese; Rockville Centre becomes the seat of the Diocese and St. Agnes Parish is designated St. Agnes Cathedral Parish. .  
St. Agnes purchases the Clinton Avenue School from the Village and it becomes St. Agnes Elementary School; Msgr. Quealy celebrates his 90th birthday and the part of College Place running from Village Avenue to Clinton is renamed by the Village of Rockville Centre as "Quealy Place" to honor the pastor

Father John R. McGann, who will later succeed Bishop Kellenberg, is assigned as Secretary to Bishop Kellenberg with residence at St. Agnes Cathedral.  The church, now Cathedral begins to take on its dual role serving both parish and diocese.  Bishop Kellenberg conducts the first of many ordinations of priests for the new diocese.  
  1959 Msgr. Peter Quealy, having served as Pastor and Administrator at St. Agnes for 54 years, dies at age 91; Father Frank Williams becomes the Administrator of St. Agnes Cathedral Parish.  Both Fr. McGann and Fr. Williams are named by Pope John XXIII as papal chamberlains and domestic prelates.

1961 Bishop Kellenberg dedicates an eight room addition to the Elementary School to handle the increasing enrollment.  An addition is also made to the Convent.

St. Agnes Cathedral’s First Annual Parish Celebration, chaired by Joseph B. Wagner, is held at the Garden City Hotel. Bishop Kellenberg is the honoree.

The St. Agnes Cathedral Choir under Director Paul D. LaMedica offers the first of its annual Christmas concerts in the Cathedral.

1965 The cornerstone is laid for the new rectory.  Father Andrew P. Connolly, former curate of St. Agnes is named principal of one of the newly formed Diocesan High Schools.

1967 St. Agnes Cathedral is the site of the first Christian unity service with non-Catholic clergy. Monsignor Williams, Cathedral Administrator, after serving St. Agnes for 25 years, dies at age 51. Monsignor Edward L. Melton is appointed Cathedral Administrator for a growing parish of over 4,000 families.

Monsignor Melton hires the first full time CCD Coordinator (this later becomes the Office of Religious Education).  A major new role for laity in the Church is unveiled as all parishes are directed to establish parish councils to assist and advise pastors and priests.  The St. Agnes Parish Council holds its first meeting the following year.

1971 Monsignor McGann becomes the second Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre at his ordination ceremony in January. He is appointed as Vicar of Suffolk and takes up residence in Brentwood.  Cathedral resident Father Edward G. Sullivan is asked to initiate a pilot project for spiritual care of the diocese's Hispanic Catholics, beginning in the Freeport/Rockville Centre area.  In an interview, Bishop McGann says of St. Agnes, "It's an alive parish!"

The Women of St. Agnes celebrate the Thirtieth Annual Mary's Day Mass.  Monsignor Melton commissions the first group of Eucharistic Ministers - two nuns and one lay women, to serve St. Agnes Parish as assigned.
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- "From a Blacksmith Shop To A Majestic Gothic Edifice", 1935
- Leonard, CSJ, Sr. Joan de Lourdes, "Richly Blessed, The Diocese of Rockville Centre 1957-1990", (Walsworth Publishing, 1991)
- O'Neill, James "To Believe In A Vision"  (Delmar, 1983)
- "Rededication Journal", 1982


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We, the parish of Saint Agnes Cathedral, a community of believers, proclaim the presence of Christ in the

world through Word, Sacrament and deeds.  Affirming the sanctity of each person, we minister to all
by committing ourselves to renewal, formation, and living the Gospel. 

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Parish of Saint Agnes Cathedral
29 Quealy Place
Rockville Centre, NY 11570
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