2019: The Year in Review Across the Archdiocese



• As Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Reproductive Health Act during the early evening of Jan. 22, the 46th anniversary of Roe. vs. Wade—the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case that legalized abortion across the country—pro-life advocates assembled inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral to participate in a Prayer Vigil for Life that included a Holy Hour and Mass.

• ArchCare at St. Teresa on Staten Island will open this summer to house independent young adults with autism spectrum disorder, ArchCare President and CEO Scott LaRue said at a press conference Jan. 17. The $3 million project to convert a former convent on the St. Teresa of the Infant Jesus parish campus into nine private studio apartments for young adults 21 and older with autism will be completed in June.

• Msgr. Edmund J. Whalen was appointed vicar for clergy of the archdiocese, effective Jan. 1. He succeeds Retired Auxiliary Bishop Gerald T. Walsh, who has been named vicar for clergy emeritus. Msgr. Whalen had served as principal of Msgr. Farrell High School on Staten Island since 2010.


• Seven Catholic elementary schools—two in Manhattan and the Bronx, and one each on Staten Island and in Dutchess and Sullivan counties—will close at the end of this school year. The archdiocesan Office of the Superintendent of Schools made the announcement Feb. 4.

• Cardinal Dolan, backed by clergy, religious and lay professionals, reaffirmed the archdiocese’s long-standing commitment to stand with all pregnant women who seek its assistance. The cardinal spoke at a morning press conference in Manhattan on Presidents Day, Feb. 18.


• On the first Sunday of Lent, March 10, Cardinal Dolan celebrated the annual Rite of Election at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, welcoming and congratulating more than 300 catechumens preparing to join the Catholic Church. The catechumens will officially enter the Church in their parishes at the Easter Vigil, April 20.

• Catholic Charities lined up with the UJA Federation New York and other faith communities in a human chain outside the Islamic Center at NYU as a sign of solidarity with Muslims March 22. The ring of peace gathering occurred a week after massacres at two mosques in New Zealand claimed 50 lives and injured dozens in one of the most catastrophic mass shootings in the country’s history.


• Cardinal Dolan, on April 8, presided over a joyful official opening of St. Augustine Terrace, an archdiocesan development in the Bronx that provides 112 units of affordable housing for low-income families. It is located at the former St. Augustine Church, 571 E. 167th St., at Fulton Avenue.

• A man arrested by the New York police after he tried to walk through St. Patrick’s Cathedral with inflammables late April 17 was charged with attempted arson, reckless endangerment and trespassing.

• Anne M. Buckley, who served as editor in chief of Catholic New York from 1991 to 2000 and was one of the founders of the archdiocesan newspaper a decade earlier, died April 23. She was 87.

• Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of archdiocesan Catholic Charities, was part of a delegation to the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador April 22-26 that included New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

• Cardinal Dolan, in a pastoral letter to the faithful of the archdiocese dated April 26, announced his decision to publish a comprehensive list of all archdiocesan clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors or the subject of a claim made to the archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program determined to be eligible for compensation. The list, which contains 120 names, is now public at archny.org/letter.


• Thousands of people gathered in Times Square May 4 to celebrate the dignity of human life with song, prayer, inspirational stories and a live ultrasound screening of a baby in the third trimester of development. Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, said the “Alive from New York” rally organized by his group was the “largest pro-life event in New York history.”

• Dr. Karl Adler, M.D., announced his retirement as the cardinal’s delegate for health care, a position he has held since his appointment by Cardinal Edward Egan in 2001.

• Cardinal Dolan ordained six new priests during a Mass May 25 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The new priests include five who were ordained for the Archdiocese of New York and one who was ordained for the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.


• Cardinal Dolan ordained 14 men to the permanent diaconate at a Mass June 15 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

• Cardinal Dolan celebrated Pentecost Sunday Mass at St. Thomas of Canterbury Church in Cornwall-on-Hudson June 9. St. Thomas of Canterbury-St. Joseph parish is waiting for the decree to arrive with final approval for the name change to St. Marianne Cope parish.

• Cardinal Dolan offered Mass for the New York Foundling’s 150th anniversary June 6 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Founded by the Sisters of Charity, the Foundling serves more than 30,000 children and families annually in New York City’s five boroughs and surrounding counties, and in Puerto Rico.

• Cardinal Dolan offered a Mass heralding the success of the archdiocesan capital campaign, Renew + Rebuild, June 20 in the Cardinal Spellman Recreation Center on the grounds of St. Joseph Seminary, Dunwoodie. At the start of the campaign, launched in 2016, a goal of $200 million was set. To the date in June, $240 million in pledge commitments had been raised.

• With a small group of witnesses looking on, the mortal remains of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen were interred at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria, Ill., late in the afternoon of June 27, completing a transfer from St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan that began early that morning. That same day, it was announced that the sainthood cause of Archbishop Sheen had resumed after being suspended for five years pending the resolution of a legal dispute over the location of his remains.

• Sarah Lawrence, 17, of St. Clare parish on Staten Island, was crowned Miss New York Outstanding Teen 2019 June 8 at the Paramount Hudson Valley Theater in Peekskill. She is an alumna of St. Clare School and Notre Dame Academy High School, both on Staten Island.


• At St. Frances Cabrini Shrine in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, July 13 was a day for two Masses in two languages, with one message: the Church in New York reaffirmed its commitment to immigrant rights and demanded “fair and just” treatment of immigrants on a weekend of federal arrests of undocumented immigrants in New York and other cities across the United States.

• Pope Francis, on July 5, approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, drawing the former auxiliary bishop of New York one step nearer to beatification.

• Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of archdiocesan Catholic Charities, expressed the archdiocese’s commitment to providing affordable housing during a press conference updating the progress of Second Farms, a 319-unit, low- and moderate-income building in the West Farms section of the Bronx, scheduled to open next year. The event was held at the construction site July 12.


• John A. Coleman Catholic High School in Hurley will close Aug. 30, school officials announced Aug. 1. The only Catholic high school in Ulster County, Coleman Catholic graduated 35 of its 105 students in June, and had only 74 students, including nine freshmen, when the decision was made to close the school.


• St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie is instituting an additional year of priestly formation, a Pastoral Year, beginning at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year, for men studying for the Archdiocese of New York and the Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre, who have completed second theology. Their third year of theology will be moved back a year to accommodate the additional year, as will their fourth year of theology and subsequent ordination.

• Cardinal Dolan appointed Michael J. Deegan as superintendent of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York Sept. 17. Deegan, 66, who had served as interim superintendent since April, became superintendent effective immediately. He has been a professional educator for four decades, all in New York Catholic schools, including as deputy superintendent of schools since 2013.

• Cardinal Dolan was among New York’s religious leaders speaking to support the closing of the jails on Rikers Island at a morning press conference in front of the New York County Courthouse in lower Manhattan Sept. 19.


• No archdiocesan priest or deacon with a substantiated allegation of abuse of a minor remains in ministry today in the Archdiocese of New York. Barbara S. Jones, independent reviewer and special counsel for the archdiocese, provided that assurance at a morning press conference with Cardinal Dolan at the New York Catholic Center in Manhattan Sept. 30.

• John P. Cahill has been named chancellor for the Archdiocese of New York, becoming the first layperson to hold the position. Cardinal Dolan announced his appointment Oct. 1.

• NYPD Officer Brian Mulkeen was remembered as someone who traded a future in finance and business for the opportunity to serve and protect the people of New York City at his Funeral Mass Cardinal Dolan offered Oct. 4 at Sacred Heart Church in Monroe. Officer Mulkeen died from friendly fire in the line of duty with the Bronx’s anti-crime unit Sept. 29.

• Pope Francis has appointed two of the archdiocese’s most well respected priests, Bishop-elect Edmund J. Whalen, vicar for clergy, and Bishop-elect Gerardo J. Colacicco, pastor of St. Joseph-Immaculate Conception parish in Millbrook, as auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of New York. Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, announced the appointments Oct. 10. The ordination will be Dec. 10 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

• Msgr. Peter Vaccari, rector of St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, was named to succeed Msgr. John E. Kozar as president of Catholic Near East Welfare Association/Pontifical Mission for Palestine, Cardinal Dolan announced Oct. 22. Msgr. Vaccari will initiate the process of transition as vice president Jan. 1. At a date to be determined in the near future, Msgr. Kozar will retire and Msgr. Vaccari will assume his responsibilities as president. Father William Cleary, dean of seminarians and chair of the department of Sacred Scripture, has been appointed interim rector of St. Joseph Seminary.

• Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that state aid will be used to assist Italian-American groups and the Diocese of Brooklyn in constructing a St. Frances Xavier Cabrini statue. His announcement came after Mother Cabrini was snubbed for a statue after she received the most votes in a public poll connected with the She Built NYC project, overseen by Chirlane McCray, wife of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.


• Cardinal Dolan, flanked by three of his auxiliary bishops, tweeted from Rome Nov. 15 about the successful meeting the New York bishops had that day with Pope Francis, which capped off their “ad-limina” visit to the Vatican to report on the status of their dioceses to the pope and Vatican officials.

• The International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima completed a month-long visit to parishes and other Catholic institutions in the archdiocese. The tour ended Nov. 22 at Holy Innocents Church in Manhattan, where Father James Miara, the pastor, is spiritual director of the Archdiocesan Division of the World Apostolate of Fatima.



• A news release from the Diocese of Peoria said it was informed Dec. 2 that the Vatican had decided to postpone the Dec. 21 beatification of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen “at the request of a few members” of the U.S. Conference of Bishops. Pope Francis Nov. 18 approved the beatification ceremony for the popular archbishop, who served as an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of New York, 1951-1966 and as bishop of Rochester, 1966-1969.


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