Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond Information

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Diocese of Richmond

Dioecesis Richmondiensis
Diocese of richmond.png
Country  United States
TerritoryCentral and Southern Virginia, as well as the Eastern Shore of Virginia
Ecclesiastical province Baltimore
Metropolitan Baltimore
Area36,711 sq mi (95,080 km2)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2015)
236,061 (4.7%)
Denomination Catholic Church
Rite Roman Rite
EstablishedJuly 11, 1820 (198 years ago)
Cathedral Cathedral of the Sacred Heart
Patron saint St. Vincent de Paul
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop Barry C. Knestout
Metropolitan Archbishop William E. Lori
Diocese of Richmond map 1.jpg
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond
Catholic "church on wheels" in Richmond, 1955

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond ( Latin: Dioecesis Richmondiensis) is an episcopal see or diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. Its current territory encompasses all of central and southern Virginia, Hampton Roads, and the Eastern Shore. It is a suffragan diocese of the metropolitan Archdiocese of Baltimore, from which its territory was taken, and is a constituent of the ecclesiastical province of Baltimore.

Currently, there are 236,061 active Catholics and 142 parishes that are part of the Diocese of Richmond. The diocese currently has 87 active priests, 59 retired priests, 115 permanent deacons, six religious brothers, 139 religious sisters of Catholic religious orders and 25 seminarians. There are 28 diocesan Catholic schools in the diocese, with a total enrollment of 12,062 students in 6 high schools and 22 elementary schools. [1]

The diocese's current Bishop is Barry C. Knestout, who was appointed by Pope Francis on December 5, 2017. [2] He was installed to the position on January 12, 2018. [3]


Prior to the American Revolution, few Catholics lived in colonial Virginia. Anti-Catholic laws discouraged the faithful from settling in that area. [4] It was not until the passage of Thomas Jefferson's Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1786 that Catholics were free to worship openly in the commonwealth. The Diocese of Richmond was canonically erected by Pope Pius VII on July 11, 1820.

The new Diocese of Wheeling was formed by splitting off the western part of this diocese in 1850, and that same year, this diocese received the small area which had been retroceded from the District of Columbia in 1846. The Civil War led to formation of the state of West Virginia, but the boundary between that state and Virginia did not coincide with the boundary of the Wheeling and Richmond dioceses. The two eastern-shore counties were transferred to the new Diocese of Wilmington in 1868, leaving Virginia split between three dioceses. In 1974, Virginia and West Virginia dioceses were realigned so that West Virginia was a diocese by itself and Virginia had the Richmond diocese and the new Arlington diocese, both in their entirety.

Sexual Abuse

On February 13, 2019 Bishop Knestout released a list of 58 priests who had "credible and substantiated" accusations of sexual abuse made against them. [5] [6]


Bishops of Richmond

  1. Patrick Kelly (1820–1822), appointed Bishop of Waterford and Lismore
  2. Richard Vincent Whelan (1841–1850), appointed Bishop of Charleston
  3. John McGill (1850–1872)
  4. James Gibbons (1872–1877), appointed Archbishop of Baltimore (elevated to Cardinal in 1886)
  5. John Joseph Keane (1878–1888), appointed Rector of The Catholic University of America and Archbishop of Dubuque
  6. Augustine Van de Vyver (1889–1911)
  7. Denis Joseph O'Connell (1912–1926)
  8. Andrew James Louis Brennan (1926–1945)
  9. Peter Leo Ireton (1945–1958)
  10. John Joyce Russell (1958–1973)
  11. Walter Francis Sullivan (1974–2003)
  12. Francis Xavier DiLorenzo (2004–2017)
  13. Barry Christopher Knestout (2018–present)

Auxiliary bishops

Other priests of this diocese who became bishops

Notable people

  • Servant of God Francis J. Parater (1897–1920), seminarian and candidate for canonization

Knights of Columbus

The Knights of Columbus has several councils in the Richmond Diocese. The Knights serve parish and communities throughout both dioceses in the Commonwealth. One of the best known services is the KOVAR drive which raises money for assisting Virginians with intellectual disabilities. [7]

High schools

See also


  1. ^ "History of the Diocese & Diocesan Statistics". Diocese of Richmond. Archived from the original on 2012-02-05. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  2. ^ "Bishop Barry Knestout tapped to lead the diocese of Richmond". Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  3. ^ "Bishop-designate Barry C. Knestout". Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  4. ^ Horvat, Marian T. (25 January 2006). "Let None Dare Call it Liberty: The Catholic Church in Colonial America". Tradition in Action. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  5. ^ Lavoie, Denise. "Virginia Catholic dioceses list 58 clergy with sex abuse allegations". News Leader. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  6. ^ "Virginia's two dioceses release lists of clergy credibly accused of abuse". Catholic News Herald. Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte. 15 February 2019. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  7. ^ "KOVAR". Virginia Knights of Columbus. Retrieved 2016-02-29.

External links


37°32′50.8″N 77°27′07.7″W / 37.547444°N 77.452139°W / 37.547444; -77.452139