The Archdiocese of New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Diocese of Rockville Centre, has announced the formalization of a new initiative of inter-diocesan partnership to share personnel resources and facilities to prepare future and present clergy, as well as other Catholic leaders, for various kinds of service in the spirit of the New Evangelization called for by the late Blessed John Paul II.
As a first step in what is being called, “The New Partnership in Theological and Spiritual Formation for the Priests, Deacons, Religious and lay Faithful of the Archdiocese of New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Diocese of Rockville Centre,” the three dioceses have agreed to a single program of priestly formation for college seminarians and pre-theologians at the Cathedral Seminary Residence of the Immaculate Conception, Douglaston.
This college and pre-theology program began the 2011-2012 academic semester with 80 students from the three dioceses as well as from the dioceses of Rochester, Scranton and Syracuse.
Secondly, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, of New York, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and Bishop William Murphy of the Diocese of Rockville Centre have appointed Father James Massa, a priest from the Diocese of Brooklyn and most recently on the staff of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, to the newly created position of coordinator to develop the plan for the new partnership.
Among the tasks assigned to Father Massa is the furthering of discussions about a single graduate-level program in priestly formation for the region.
“The sharing of resources includes enhancing and opening up to other dioceses the excellent theological programs offered at all three centers of learning – Huntington, Dunwoodie and Douglaston,” said Father Massa.
For the past six years, Father Massa served as executive director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C. There he coordinated national dialogues and meetings between Catholic leaders and scholars and their counterparts in other religious communities.
Father Massa earned a doctorate in theology from Fordham University, where he studied under the late Cardinal Avery Dulles. He served on the faculty of the Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Mass., from 1996 to 2001 and on the faculty of the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, from 2001 to 2005.
In the coming months, the three diocesan bishops will announce further plans to implement the new partnership, especially as it pertains to the ongoing formation of priests and deacons and the graduate-level programs of priestly formation.