Compiled from different
sources by: Anthony & Ida Montuori
The parish of Holy
Name of Jesus was created on June 27, 1962. We were one of the five new
parishes established to mark the fifth anniversary of the Diocese of Rockville
Centre. Bishop Walter P. Kellenberg, the first Bishop of Rockville Centre named
Rev. Charles A. Schlick as the Founding Pastor. Rev. James J. Hannon was named
as his assistant.
Three years later,
Fr. Hannon was succeeded by Rev. William J. Gill. The first thing Fr. Schlick
and Fr. Hannon had to do was to find a place for Mass. Through the generosity of
the manager of the now defunct Syosset Theater, the first Mass was offered on
July 6, 1962. Mass was offered there every weekend for three years.
Fr. Schlick and Fr.
Hannon alternated Saturday nights after the last movie to set up the theater for
Mass with help from the sympathetic theater employees.
There were other
generous donors like Frank and Camille’s in Huntington who loaned an organ each
week. Beney Funeral Home furnished palms to decorate the stage around the
One parishioner, so
the story goes, attended Mass and then stayed for the Sunday movie matinee.
Going to the movies at the Syosset Theater, parishioners found themselves
entering and making the Sign of the Cross ... or wondering if they should.
The priests stayed
at their respective rectories until the house on Gloria Drive was purchased and
remodeled as a rectory. A chapel was built in the den and the garage was
converted to office space. On December 8, 1962, the priests moved in and
started daily Mass, Baptisms and Confessions.
the Church seeks to prepare its members to proclaim the good news and to
translate this proclamation into action. For the past forty years Holy Name of
Jesus has endeavored to emphasize Christ’s teachings through our religious
education program and the dedication of the priests, sisters, parents and our
ever generous teachers.
Early in the life of
the parish, Fr. Schlick asked the Sisters of Mercy for assistance in readying
the classes for First Communion and Confirmation. One of the Sisters who came
over to help was Sr. M. Labouré and she stayed with the parish until she retired
in 1999. She was made Director of Religious Education by Msgr. Anthony J.
Savastano. Another Sister of Mercy, Sister Eleanor Peters, has devotedly worked
at United Presbyterian Residence (the name has recently been changed to Cold
Spring Hills Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation) as Pastoral Minister for
many years and continues to do so. She has continued working long after most
people have retired. Also, she can often be seen at hospitals visiting
hospitalized UPR residents.
Thanks to the
dedication and sacrifices of so many good people over the course of these forty
plus years, we have remained a vibrant and flourishing Christian community in
which our Religious Education program is alive, strong and growing!
Holy Name of Jesus
serves Plainview, Bethpage, Syosset, Woodbury and Huntington. In addition to
these five towns, Holy Name of Jesus also ministers to three Nursing Homes and
which have Rehabilitation Centers. Cold Spring Hills Center for Nursing and
Rehabilitation, formerly known as United Presbyterian Residence, consists of
several large buildings with a recently expanded Rehabilitation Center. White
Oaks Nursing Home and the Woodbury Center for Health Care are also in Holy Name
of Jesus Parish.
In all we have about
750 additional parishioners that we minister to and are responsible for at these
facilities. The residents’ religious needs are met by our Pastor who is
assisted by a group of about 100 very dedicated volunteers. Various visiting and
retired Priests have assisted the Pastors of Holy Name of Jesus over the years
in administering the sacraments to the residents.
The late Rev. Thomas
J. Reynolds succeeded Fr. Gill in 1970 as Associate Pastor and he served at Holy
Name until 1976 when Rev. William G. Dailey came to the parish. He was very
familiar with our area, having served at St. Dominic’s in Oyster Bay, Our Lady
of Mercy in Hicksville and Maria Regina in Seaford. In 1978, Fr. Dailey went to
the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island and then returned to several other
assignments on Long Island. He is now retired and resides on Long Island.
Rev. John Pazo
followed Fr. Dailey in 1979 and was with us until 1982. Fr. Pazo died in
Pastor, the late Rev. Thaddeus J. Semla, joined our parish in 1982 and stayed
until 1984. Fr. Semla was born and educated in Poland and was ordained in
Kracow by then Cardinal Carol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) in 1963. Fr. Semla
died in 1992.
At this point in
time, Fr. Schlick had been ailing and was relieved of some of his pastoral
burden by Bishop McGann who appointed Rev. Martin W. Curley as Administrator of
Holy Name in 1984. The following year Fr. Curley moved on to another assignment
in the diocese. Fr. Schlick retired on June 12, 1985 and became Pastor Emeritus.
He continued to reside in the rectory on Gloria Drive until his death on March
Rev. Msgr. Anthony
J. Savastano was appointed pastor of Holy Name of Jesus on June 12, 1985. At
the same time, Rev. R. Michael Reid was named Associate Pastor. Shortly after
Msgr. Savastano arrived, he offered the parishioners his vision recognizing that
the parish would celebrate its Silver Jubilee in 1987. At that time, he wrote,
“We must not stand still but go forward to do those things necessary to allow us
to care for the spiritual and material needs of all our parishioners. Time
makes change necessary in the life of a parish. What we have now would not be a
reality without God’s grace, the foresight of Fr. Schlick and Bishop Kellenberg,
the generosity of John Froehlich and the cooperative spirit of the people who
helped get us to this point.”
recognized the need and was urged by Bishop McGann to locate the rectory on
church grounds. Before coming to the conclusion to locate the
Rectory/Administration Center where it now stands, a series of alternatives were
screened, evaluated, discussed and some were taken to the Bishop for
consideration. The most practical consideration at the time was to build behind
the church and keep the front acreage available for the annual festivals, which
became a major source of fund raising for the parish.
After a number of
individual proposals, which were carefully evaluated, Msgr. Savastano decided
that we should sell the land to a developer who would build senior housing.
This would allow one hundred fourteen individuals or couples to down size and
stay on Long Island with tax benefits provided by the Town of Oyster Bay. With
this accomplished, the parish realized funds to invest so that the interest
would help to offset the loss of the annual income from the festivals. A
portion of this money is earmarked for renovation and necessary improvements to
the church building. This will provide a more modern environment for our
religious education classrooms, a much needed elevator and other improvements to
the sacred space.
proscribed course necessary for any building project in the diocese, plans were
made for the rectory complex and a major fund raising effort was launched. This
was a first for our parish and the people responded with great generosity. The
new building was dedicated on April 10, 1994. It provided adequate living
quarters for the priests, office space for the staff and a large conference room
for the many meetings held almost daily.
Fr. Reid moved on to
a new assignment as Chaplain of the A. Holly Patterson Home early in 1989. He
was succeeded by Fr. Louis Angeles and then by Fr. Bonaventure Thekkeveetil.
In June 1993, Rev.
Lawrence Rafferty, our current Pastor, joined Msgr. Savastano as Associate
Pastor. When Msgr. Savastano became ill, Fr. Rafferty was named Temporary
Administrator. He remained in this position until he transferred to the Diocese
of St. Petersburg in Florida. Upon Msgr. Savastano’s return to Holy Name, he
decided to ask Bishop McGann if he would appoint an administrator to assist in
running the parish. Rev. Msgr. Donald McE. Beckmann was appointed Administrator
became Pastor Emeritus on June 30, 1999, having made many significant changes in
the parish in addition to overseeing the building of the rectory complex as well
as starting the process of evaluating how and to whom to sell the six acres in
front of the church. The parish needed cash flow and the parking lot was in
need of extensive repairs. Msgr. Beckmann became Pastor on June 30, 1999. The
Beckmann years saw the development of many new and exciting programs designed to
attain greater involvement by the parishioners.
Msgr. Beckmann was
very actively involved in Interfaith activities so he divided his time between
the parish and his office and duties in Rockville Centre. Because of his dual
role, Msgr. Beckmann hired a Pastoral Minister to assist him. Diane Vella
served in that capacity from 1998 to 2002 coordinating the religious education
program in our parish and started new adult education programs
Shortly after the
arrival of the Most Reverend William F. Murphy, he quickly determined that he
needed Msgr. Beckmann’s skills in the Interfaith area and appointed him to his
cabinet as Secretary for Pastoral Ministry. Fr. Donald as he likes to be
called, left Holy Name on February 1, 2002 and was succeeded by the Rev.
Lawrence B. Rafferty as the fourth pastor of Holy Name of Jesus parish.
One of Fr.
Rafferty’s first priorities was to study and introduce various liturgical
changes that were mandated by Rome. Guidelines for all liturgical ministers had
to be revised and the parish in general was presented with the new procedures
that went into effect in December 2002. At the same time it was necessary to
continue the planning of the parish’s 40th Anniversary. This
culminated in the celebration of a special Mass of Thanksgiving on January 4,
2003 followed by a Dinner-Dance in the Hall. The planning of the 40th
Anniversary was done with the assistance and collaboration of a dedicated and
capable Committee of parishioners.
project that Father Rafferty coordinated was the installation of new state of
the art folding partitions in the Church Hall. This was done during the summer
of 2004. These were necessary in order to provide a better environment for our
Religious Education students and teachers. The improvement in the Hall’s
overall appearance was appreciated by everyone in the parish and the Hall has
continued to be a focal point for many enjoyable social gatherings that have
benefited the parish in many ways.
The many new
challenges that have come to the Church in general and to us here in our parish
in this Third Millennium are being met by deep Catholic Faith that assures us
that we are not alone; we work dedicated to and in the power of the Holy Name
of Jesus. We face the greatest challenge which is the ongoing normal
pastoral activity which requires the sacrificing collaboration of dedicated
This brief overview
has not focused on those hundreds of people who devoted thousands of hours as
volunteers in many different programs, all designed to make the parish grow and
prosper as a community of faith.
We are very blessed
to have the many dedicated volunteers who serve Holy Name of Jesus with their
Time and Talent as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Readers, Home
Visitors, Altar Servers, Ushers, Religious Education Teachers and Assistants,
Nursing Home Volunteers, Office Volunteers, Altar Care, Choir Members - all
working together to enhance the parish. We owe the priests, religious, dedicated
volunteers and members of the parish family our gratitude for their past and
We pray, as we now
go forward in hope, that Holy Name of Jesus will continue to be blessed with
dedicated clergy, abundant volunteers, staff workers and parishioners who will
continue the tradition of these past forty-two years.
from different sources by: Anthony & Ida Montuori