Bishop William F. Murphy’s voice boomed through the loudspeakers at St. Anthony's High School Thursday morning.
The leader of the Diocese of Rockville Centre used his visit to the South Huntington Catholic school to express excitement over the election of Pope Francis and ask Long Islanders to reconnect with the church.
“That is the prayer I’d like you to make part of your life, that we be one with our Holy Father,” Murphy told the high school. “We pray that he have health and long life and can lead the church into a deeper and deeper sense of God in our lives, in our hearts and what we say and do and how we live those lives.”
Follow Rockville Centre Patch on Facebook
Murphy called the choice of a Latin American pope an “inspired one.” With more than 500,000 Hispanic Catholics on Long Island alone, the bishop said it’s a move he hopes will energize the local Latino community.
Murphy met with several Hispanic students before he made his morning remarks and explained how the diocese made an effort beginning last July to connect more closely with the Hispanic population.
Spearheading that outreach is auxiliary Bishop Nelson J. Perez, who has Cuban roots and is fluent in Spanish.
“We have made a great deal of pastoral outreach to them,” Murphy said. “However, the presence of an Argentine as pope is certainly going to give more prominence, give more life and inspire the Latino community here.”