UPDATE: RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Services are scheduled next week for former Bishop Walter F. Sullivan, the late spiritual leader of Roman Catholics in the Richmond Diocese.
Sullivan died Tuesday at his home in Richmond. He was 84.
Sullivan will lie in state starting at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart Church in Richmond. An ecumenical service will be held that evening. The next day, Dec. 19, a funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. in the cathedral.
Sullivan was bishop of the Richmond diocese for 29 years. He retired in 2003.
As the 11th bishop to head the Richmond diocese, Sullivan was known as one of the more progressive leaders in the Catholic Church.
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Richmond, VA—Bishop Walter Sullivan, who served as head of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond from 1974-2003, passed away Tuesday from liver cancer.
Bishop Sullivan retired from his position in 2003, after years of service to the Richmond Catholic community.
A prayer vigil was held for Bishop Sullivan on Sunday. Parishioners and friends walked to his home after the service, some singing and others speaking about his outstanding character.
“So many stories…so many people are going to miss this man. He was a good man,” said Church Business Manager Wayne Snellings.
Marilyn Lewis, Bishop Sullivan's secretary of 36 years, was happy and honored to be among those comforting him before his death. Outside his home on Sunday, she said, “It's bound to have meant everything. I know he could hear it from his bed there in his home. He had the perfect setup. All the people in his backyard.”
Sullivan sparked controversy, by opening his churches to gays and lesbians, condemning wars in Vietnam and the Middle East and speaking out against the death penalty.
A memorial service for Bishop Sullivan is planned next week…stay with 8News for information about the date, time and location of the service.
Copyright 2012 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond