Raised on Long Island's North Shore (&Quot;where our beach gave us rocks in our shoes
as opposed to the South Shore barrier beach's sand!&Quot;) Donald McElligott
Beckmann received a graduate degree in theology from Catholic University in
Washington and a Doctorate in Ministry from our diocesan seminary in
Huntington. He was ordained a presbyter of the Diocese of Rockville Centre in
After serving parishes in Rockville Centre and Huntington, he was appointed spiritual director of St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary. Later he was Catholic chaplain at Hofstra University and diocesan director of campus ministry. During the Hofstra years, he also served the summer mission in Davis Park on Fire Island. ("It was tough work, but somebody had to do it!")
During his university tenure as well, he was appointed diocesan director of ecumenical and interreligious affairs, a position in which he served for over 30 years. In that role, he served on the national Orthodox Christian-Roman Catholic dialogue, the national Muslim-Catholic dialogue and the national Orthodox Jewish-Catholic dialogue. For eight years he was ecumenical representative from the Catholic Church in the United States to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. ("My father's Lutheran family was delighted with that appointment.")
Of all these works his most memorable has been his involvement in the peace process in Northern Ireland in the 80s and 90s. ("My mother's family in the County Kerry was proud, if a bit bemused that their cousin was 'involved with those people in the North.' ") He represented our diocese on the Board of Governors of the Long Island Council of Churches. He is now director emeritus of the diocesan ecumenical and interfaith office.
In recognition of his ecumenical and interfaith work he was named an honorary prelate by Pope John Paul II. For sixteen years, until his retirement, he was pastor of Saint Ignatius Martyr in Long Beach (&Quot;a parish I have come to love like none other&Quot;) In retirement he remains co-chair of the Long Island Lutheran/Anglican/ Roman Catholic Dialogue and continues to celebrate Mass and preach at barrier island parishes and at Saint Edward the Confessor Church in Syosset.