RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Pope Francis announced Tuesday that Washington Auxiliary Bishop Barry C. Knestout has been appointed 13th bishop of the Diocese of Richmond.
Knestout succeeds Bishop Francis DiLorenzo, who served as Richmond’s bishop from 2004 until his death on Aug. 17. He was officially introduced during a Tuesday morning ceremony the Catholic Diocese of Richmond.
The Catholic Diocese of Richmond includes all of central and southern Virginia, as well as the Eastern Shore. The diocese has 153 parishes and more than 220,000 active Catholics across 33,000 square miles — a big change from Washington D.C.
“It’s a large territory and very different from where I’m coming from where you can get anywhere in a couple of hours,” said Knestout, who added that he’s excited to forge unity across the diocese.
“As a church, I think we should be a shining example of how that’s expressed within our own lives and our own communities That we see the dignity of each human being; that’s the first principle of Catholic social teaching.”
Knestout said he’s also eager to minister to college students, something his predecessor relished.
“I know there’s a legacy,” he said. “Bishop DiLorenzo’s been very attentive to the needs of young people.”
Knestout, who grew up in Bowie, Maryland, earned an architecture degree from the University of Maryland before beginning his studies at Mount St. Mary’s seminary in Emmitsburg. He was ordained a priest in 1989 and said he’ll bring all of his experience and faith to bear in Richmond.
“The Lord is good,” Knestout said. “He gives us grace and help in every circumstance and I’ve experienced that many times over the years and I’m grateful for that and look forward to serving as much, as best, I can as the shepherd here.”
Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl, meanwhile, issued the following statement:
“Pope Francis’ appointment of Bishop Barry Knestout as Bishop of Richmond is good news and reason for us to rejoice with the Diocese of Richmond. Bishop Knestout carries with him the affection, respect and admiration of all of us with whom he so generously gave his time and efforts.
‘Bishop Knestout has faithfully served as a pastor, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Washington. He also helped host the pastoral visits to this local Church, first of Pope Benedict XVI and most recently of Pope Francis. During all of this time, he has demonstrated his pastoral skills, his commitment to the Church and her teaching, and his devoted service to those entrusted to his care.
‘When I look back over these past years of our close association in ministry, I reflect with gratitude on Bishop Knestout’s role. He was greatly involved in the implementation of the first synod in the history of the Archdiocese of Washington, the revitalization of our educational ministry, the stabilizing of our nearly 100 Catholic schools, together with a renewed and expanded Catholic Charities, the opening of our new Saint John Paul II Seminary and so many other important aspects of the life of this archdiocese.
‘With great appreciation, we thank Bishop Knestout as he takes on his new responsibilities and we ask God’s blessings on him.”
Knestout will be formally installed as the 13th Bishop of Richmond at a mass on January 12 at the Cathedral of Sacred Heart.
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