My dear people of St. Mary’s:
On February 20, 2018, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Robert J. Coyle of the Archdiocese for the Military Services of the United States to be an Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. If his name sounds familiar to you, it is because Bishop Coyle was originally a priest of our diocese, and you may recall that I wrote to you about him five years ago when he first became a bishop. I have known Bishop Coyle personally since the late 1980’s when he was a seminarian and I was a law student. In fact, he wrote my letter of recommendation for entrance to the seminary (so, part of the blame goes to him!). He also invited me to visit him at Naval Station Norfolk some years ago, and he fulfilled one on my boyhood dreams: to sleep on an aircraft carrier (the USS Harry S. Truman).
Born in Brooklyn, as a child he and his family lived for a time in Manhasset. His parents, Robert and Kathryn Coyle, currently live in Cold Spring Hills. Bishop Coyle was graduated from St. Edward the Confessor Elementary School, Syosset; St. Mary’s Boys High School, Manhasset; Fordham University, with a B.A. in Economics; and Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington, with an M.A. in Theology and a Master of Divinity degree. He was ordained a priest on May 25, 1991, for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, by Bishop John R. McGann.
Bishopwas commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy in 1988 and served nearly 25 years on active and reserve duty. During his years in the Naval Reserve, he served from 1991-96 at St. Dominic Church in Oyster Bay, and (just up the road from us) at St. Patrick’s Church in Glen Cove, from 1996-99.
On active duty from 1999 to 2009, he was first assigned to the 3rd Marine Division on Okinawa, Japan, during which time he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and deployed to Southeast Asia as Landing Force Chaplain. During a three-year assignment aboard the carrier USS Harry S. Truman, he deployed to the Middle East and served in Operation Southern Watch and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Later, assigned to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, he served as Assistant Command Chaplain before assuming duties as Command Chaplain. In 2005, Bishop Coyle was promoted to the rank of Commander, U.S. Navy. From 2007 to 2009, he served on the carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, and deployed to the Middle East for Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2008, he was named a Monsignor by Pope Benedict.
In August of 2009, Bishop Coyle separated from active duty, returned to reserve status, and was appointed by Bishop William Murphy to be the pastor of Corpus Christi Church in Mineola. It was in February of 2013 that Pope Benedict named him a new Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese for the Military Services. On April 25, 2013, he was ordained an Auxiliary Bishop at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., by the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services. For the past five years, Bishop Coyle, 53, has served as the Episcopal Vicar for the Eastern half of the United Sates in the Military Archdiocese.
Upon his appointment, Bishop Barres said: “I am extremely grateful to the Holy Father, Pope Francis for assigning us Bishop Coyle. I am also truly grateful for Bishop Coyle’s pastoral service and for his leadership to the young men and women who defend our great country. Bishop Coyle will assist me and auxiliary bishops Robert Brennan and Andrzej Zglejszewski in the pastoral ministry of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.”
Bishop Coyle issued his own statement: “Today, I humbly accept the appointment to serve the People of God on Long Island as auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Years back there was a spirit campaign with the expression, ‘I’m a Long Islander and proud of it!’I again can say that here as a native son I look forward to assisting Bishop John Barres, Bishop of Rockville Centre, in our pursuit of Missionary Growth Long Island.”
I think that Bishop Coyle is an excellent choice to serve us in the diocese, even though I know that for him, it will also be a sacrifice to leave the men and women of the armed forces he has served so faithfully for so many years. Let us pray for our new bishop, that the Lord will bless him as he begins his new ministry to all of us in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.